Race schedule

Day 193

As there is only one more race left this year, I started thinking ahead of what races I will do next year. There are couple that were deferred from this year to the next. There are many new ones I want to do. Richmond Marathon is one that is calling my heart at this moment.

My goal for next year is pretty much the same. Now that I have stepped into the ultra world, I want to do more of them. I also still want to run marathons in all fifty states. I will go to California and Maine next year, and possibly Oklahoma.

Not trying to bore you guys, but here is the full list so far.

(Jan 19, 2020) (reg’d)  Carlsbad Marathon, CA. It will be near the venue of my cousin’s wedding. Two birds with one stone. I will be attending the wedding the night before. It is near San Diego. The course is like running an out-and-back four times on the road/sidewalk next to the beach. Not the most exciting thing, but it will get me California.

(Mar 7(considering) Seneca Creek Greenway Trail 50k, Germantown, MD. I volunteered there this year and it seems to be an amazing race to do. I definitely keeping my eyes on the registration date.

(Mar 28) (reg’dDC Rock n Roll, Wash, DC. $70. This was my first race and I have been coming back again and again. It is near where I live (30 mins), so not much planning is required. Simplify the supports.

(April 18) (reg’dRoanoke Double Marathon (52 miles). ($130 value as full price). I ran this race earlier in the year. They offered me a free entry for next year! I couldn’t resist and signed to do as a Doubler. The doubler will start a little past midnight (depending if the expected finish time is 5 hours or 6. The goal is to arrive when the Full marathon starts and do it again with everyone. I am excited! First time to run a double marathon. A real double marathon. What this mean is once I finish, I head back out and do again on the same day (no break)! crazy right? I think the first one is untimed and without support and self-navigate.

(May 3) (reg’d, transferred entry) ACE Physical Marathon / C&O Canal. Fletcher’s Cove, DC /8AM. I have done it couple times. It was my training race in the past. I used the course to prepare me for a real marathon. It is a real marathon but it has very little fanfare. I treated it as more a weekend long run. Low key and low stress run.

(May 8) (reg’d. May 7-9) Maine Coast Marathon; hotel booked, but have not yet reserved for flight and car rental. Another destination race and looking forward to it. I read it is scenic. I have not been to Maine but my friend described it as one of the places I should go. I have a few of those races in the pipe.

(May 25): (not reg but gave my wordBolder BOULDER CO 10K, group trip. Memorial Day! I will red eyed flight back the next day for work. It will be the first group trip with my running group/friends. Also I am very excited about this trip. We will all stay in an AirBnB but so far I think we hit a snafu. Boulder’s, CO, law won’t allow a group of unrelated people staying together.

(Jun 13) (consideringLaurel Highlands 70 miles Ultra, need to reg before Thanksgiving. depends if able to secure a spot through mail-in appl. This is probably the biggest race for 2020 if I could secure an entry. I have been following it on Facebook and the chance of getting one seems high if act fast when the race is open! I backpacked half way through the trail back in May on Memorial weekend and had such good time.

(Jun 20(considering) Highlands Sky 40. Lanesville (dolly sods, WV). Fall back option. A running friend recommended me (He won first place many years back). Dolly Sods has been on my heart for backpacking trip and finally I went there late summer. To run there is just mind blowing.

(Jun) (probably won’tEastern Divide Ultra. Pembroke, VA, conflicts with Laurel Highland and Highlands sky. But Another fallback option if I don’t get into either of them. I have done it this year. It is a good race to do again and is a good fallback option. Also someone I raced with commented that was the easiest 50k she did. I wanted to go back to challenge my time. 7 hours seems unacceptable to me.

(Jun) (probably won’t) SF Dipsea race. America oldest trail race. believe reg open in Dec. Too far to get to. I am having it on the planner but probably won’t do it because I have too many good races already. This one is expensive. I will only do it with a friend. Also the distance is kind of short. I think it is like a 10k or something.

(Sep 5) (not regIron Mnt Ultra – IMTR, labor day weekend. highly likely. I missed it this year due to sickness and TN Roan Mnt trip. I will want to do it next year. I have not chosen a distance. They have 30, 40, or 50 miles. 40-50 miles is what I am eyeing. I read it is rough terrain.

(Oct) Grindstone 100. Likely not going to do it yet but this has certain appeal to me because the race will take place on one of my favorite hiking trails (The Wild Old Trail). But 100M is a lot to ask for and my confidence is low whether I will finish.

(Oct) (Reg’d, Transferred from last year) High Bridge 50K. I missed this race due to the Triple Crown Backpacking trip. I hate missing a race. Luckily the RD allowed me to move it to next year. So, I hope to finally get to do it.

(Nov) (Considering) Richmond Marathon. I am hyped about this. Couple of my friends did it last year. Many good things.

(Nov) (ConsideringStone Mill 50M. Local race. I hear good things about this race. It is hosted by the same people who are doing the seneca creek greenway trail 50k during spring.

(Nov) (Considering) Old Glory Ultra. 50k Did it this year. Possibly going to do it again because it is fun. I know, too much on my plate for November. It is a fallback option since it is likely will conflict with the StoneMill 50.

(Nov) (considering) Route 66 (Tulsa City) Marathon – Oklahoma (fall), My goal race for 2020!!! Was my goal race, but I already travel to three places and it would be a hard to make another trip. I have too many good races on hand, so likely will defer for another year.

(Dec) (Considering) Devil Dog 100, Triangle, VA. Got to finish the year with a bang! I might suck it up and run a 100M or drop down to 100k. A baby step. The terrain isn’t any where near brutal as Grindstone. There will be hills but none of them are over 2000 ft. We are talking at most 100-200 ft climb per hill.

Parks 10K

Day 189

Fidelity Investments Parks 10K is one of races I run each year. Each year as far as I can remember, the weather was cold. We started at 8AM. The sun was already up and started to warm up a bit but I think the temperature is still uncomfortably cold in tees and shorts. I woke up early again though not as early as 3AM like the previous day.

Most people bundled up. I started with two layers and a fleece and took off most of them and ran in my short sleeves and shorts. Only a few of us did so. I was very cold in the end. Again took me the rest of the day to warm back up.

It got warmer later in the race and I did not regret my decision. I love running in the cold. I love running fast.

I have been running marathons lately and my average pace for those were between 11-12 min pace, about 6 mph. Finally to be able to run a 10K felt great. I ran it like it was a 5K, fast, then after the first couple miles, I started to realize this race would last an hour instead of half an hour.

I noted that I was not gasping for breath at any point the during the race. My muscles though were a bit tired. I couldn’t really push them to my max.

I thought I did very well. I finished in 54 min. However, my previous fastest time for the course was 48 or 49 mins. I had no regret about my current time, but thinking I was indeed much slower now than before. It is hard to train for being fast and also running for long distance.

C&O Canal Towpath Marathon

Day 175 Race Report

If yesterday was a fluke, today was not. I again started the race late. All I got to blame is myself. I got to race of what I thought was an hour early and took my time eating my breakfast. I had a lot of fried rice. Somehow, as other people gathered up, I was staying confidently at my car. I saw other cars were still pulling in and thought I had plenty of time. Somehow, I took today starting time to be the same as yesterday. However, in fact the marathon started half an hour before the half.

By the time I walked up to the starting line, only the half marathon runners were still there. I don’t know why I did not check the race website for the start time beforehand. I made another rookie mistake.

The race director kindly informed me the race has started and I should start running. He told me the course and which direction to go.

Luckily, being half an hour behind was not as bad as yesterday of being an hour and half behind. I tried to catch up to the runners. I know they were about three miles out. The course was out and back four times and so I saw them usually running in the opposite direction but I never caught up to them. The closest I got was within two miles.

I was not able to catch up to any runners but I did catch up to those who walked. Officially I finished at 6 hours but unofficially my garmin time was 5:34 about the same as yesterday.

The weather was hot. I did not lube up myself today because I woke up late but surprisingly I did not get chaffed. Halfway through I felt a bister was developing on my left foot but I readjusted how I planted my foot and in the end no bister. I did not know you could do that.

If you think how could someone can run two marathons within two days, the answer is simple, you run very slowly. I tried to run fast but I was unable to do it. My time was 45 minutes slower than usual.

Was it hard for me? A marathon is a marathon. It seemed when I was running, the course seemed unending. Eventually, it did end. It was hard in that sense. However it was not extremely hard. I am at a point now in my training, where doing 20+ miles for a long run and the next day going out and do it again is typically what the plan calls for. I am supposed to be doing that much miles during the weekend.

I ended up using the races for my long runs.

Marathon and a half

Day 167 (race reports)

three races in one weekend – SHF Abebe Bikila Intl Peace Marathon, Arlington 9-11 5K, and Parks Half Marathon

Total miles ran for the week was 46. Mostly all on the weekend. I did 4 miles during the week. I was mostly recovering from my backpacking trip. The tumble at the end of the trip injured me more than I initially realized. My lower back was out of wack for couple days and my left ankle was not so good. On top of it all, I woke up one day, with a knot in my neck/upper back (I couldn’t turn my head to the left, making runing difficult). Luckily, they all went away on race day.

This week should be either the 4th or fifth week of my training, but last two weeks pretty much no running due to the Roan Trip – a week of preparation beforehand and a week of recovery. But even with very little runing, it was pretty satisfying to run a race.

Here is the race report – three in one. I signed up to run a half marathon and a 5K, which is no big thing, but at the last minute (last Sunday or Monday) I went and signed up for a full marathon on top. I have been on the fence about the full for maybe a month. On paper, that was the amount of mileage I was supposed to run any way, but it seemed daunting because I never run three races on a given weekend before.

I got to say even after running so many marathons, there were still lessons to learn. It all came down to preparation. I should have packed the night before and I should have slept early.

I had about four hours of sleep the night before – my own undoing. The race didn’t start till 8 AM. Some started as early as 6, with the Race Director’s permission. The bulk of us, started at 8.

I left my house around 6 but my head was a bit whoosie. I don’t even get up this early for work or church.

I swallowed some oatmeal and got to the course with plenty time to spare.

The first half of the run was pretty much on pace. I ran a 2:01 (hr:mm) for a half. Then I started to unravel after that. I lost my water bottle. It felt off from my hydration vest and somehow I never noticed when it happened. I was pretty much out of it from lack of sleep. I really didn’t need it since water stop is at every two miles but still, I am one of those guys — if something is out of place I would think about it all the time. So for the rest of the race, I was scanning the course for my water bottle.

I caught a second wind by mile 17-18 when I was being chased by another runner (#840), well not sure if I chased her or sh was chasing me. She chased me for couple miles until the turn around point (between mile 19-20). I stopped. I needed to stop. I was out of it.

The first half, I didn’t need to stop but second half I stopped at every station. My stomach was not doing too well. Later, I think it was because I had too much sweet (starburst candies).

Then it was pretty much a struggle to the end. My underwears were giving me rash burn. It never happened before in previous races. It was uncomfortable. I tried readjusting them throughout the race but it stuck to my left thigh and cutting into it. I wasn’t wearing the stretchable one. So every step was painful as it rubbed and cut into me.

Then my shirt too was burning me. The right sleeve was cutting into my arm. There was nothing I could do about it. I didn’t bring any cream or lotion with me in my vest — they were left behind in the car. I felt the heat and rub burn with every swing of my arm.

I kind of find my tempo on and off between water stations. I probably could keep my tempo if I didn’t stop for water. I wasno longer running for time but to finish. So every water station was a stopping point. I picked up the pace on the last mile and finished it. Somehow, a marathon always seems so long but eventually, the finish line comes into view, there is a sense of relieve.

That was my first race of the weekend.

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My second race started at 6 pm. It was a 5k. I kind of take it as a joke. A 5K, I could run it with my eyes close. Unfortunately, my body didn’t take it the same way. I had on compression socks and so I didn’t feel much from my legs.

However, my breathing was another matter. I couldn’t breath. I think there was too much lactic acid in my chest. Every time I suck in breath, all my chest cavity hurt. I hoped I was not having a heart attack. I am so young to…

Any way, I huffed and puffed through the first couple miles. That was the most difficult 5K ever. The pain didn’t go away until the last mile. I put on speed and rushed to the finished line. My time was little over 30 min, averaging near 10 mins mile.

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My third race was on Sunday. This was much easier than expected. I ran on tired legs, but after the first few miles, I was used to it. My breathing was under control. I didn’t start too fast. I built up my pace with each mile. I was expecting a large hill and hard climb at the end, however, the hill was smaller than I imagined. While every one paused to walked up, I sprinted up. I think it was less than 100 ft at mile 8. I ran this course last two years, but it was not how I remebered it. I had so much left in my tank this year that I blazed through the last mile. The course finished on a downhill. I used that to my advantage.

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Aftermath.

I was sored the whole day and next. I couldn’t squat down. My quads took a beating. Not sure when I can run again. I will try any way.

Looking back, I enjoyed the three races. The mileage was high but it shouldn’t be something that I couldn’t do. I think I am ready now to do a back to back marathon – it is no longer beyond my ability.

Also, I ran two of the races this weekend with my friends. Though we all ran at our own pace but we celebrated together at the finish line. The race was much more enjoyable because of them.

Leesburg 20k

Day 157

I finished today run with ease. It was a race so that helped. I ran faster than normal training run. Twice as fast. I was not trying to win any medal though. I finished last in my age group. I was ahead of my expected time however. That is a win for me.

The run took two hours for me. It was hot and I was drenched in sweat. I poured water on me. I finished the race completely wet from head to toes.

I felt the vibe. It was an out and back on the W&OD trail with the race started from Leesburg and went near Purcellville. I think we were like two miles from there. We turned around and headed back to Leesburg.

Though it was hot, it was much cooler than yesterday. We started early. I had to wake up at 5 AM for this. I got to the course kind of late and almost couldn’t find a place to park. Last year I was there before anyone and I could park in any spot. I arrived 45 mins later than last year (but 45 mins before the race start.

I felt fresh even though I did a 20 miles yesterday. It is good to run on fresh legs. It was only the first week of my training so everything is fresh. I know the feeling after 10 weeks in, I don’t think I could do a race after a long run.

My run from yesterday though was not the usual long run. I broke it into three segments, with about 7 miles each. The middle segment was a 6 miler. The middle segment was a torture, but the last one was really good as the sun was setting.

I am not sore yet. I have a blister on one of my toes. There is an onset of shin splint on my right leg. I will keep an eye on it. Monday is usually my rest day. I am thinking of shifting it to Wednesday to better fit my schedule.

I love Sunday. Well, weekend in general.

Mini race day

Day 119

I ran a 4 miler on Mothers’ Day. I forgot my Garmin watch, so there is no detailed data on the run. I ran this course in 2017 and I did much better this time. I finished, running at 8:30 pace. Not my fastest.

My take away was 4 miles were quite long a race to do. I started out slow but I didn’t feel I was moving slowly. It might be due to lack of warm up and so the first mile was a warm up run for me. At mile 2, I was on pace and was actually going too fast for my body to handle. At mile three, I stopped at the water station, because I was feeling it – tired. Normally, I would skip the water station on short races. After the rest, I was able to gain back my pace and finished my last mile on pace. Still several people passed me by right before the finish line.

My next big race is this coming weekend. I plan to do a back to back half and full marathon (like the goofy run) to get a feel of running when I’m tired. This would be my first time doing a Half and then a Full in two days.

The following weekend after this will be Memorial weekend and I will be traveling to PA for a backpacking trip. Hopefully, I have plenty to write about once I get back.

Running in the rain

This weekend was pretty intense too, but wasn’t like last weekend. Some people say I have a lot of energy.

I don’t remember what I did on Friday. Ah, I took a half day from work on Friday and went to Harrisonburg to watch my cousin’s graduation from James Madison University. They were forecasting heavy rain that evening and the ceremony was outdoor. They cut out or shorten many of the speeches and called the graduates name to come on stage at the beginning in case the rain comes and they would have to cancel the ceremony. The rain came as the ceremony was ending.

Students walking on stage to receive their diploma.

I got home at a decent time. Originally, I had expected not getting home until midnight. We spent a lot time on the road. The trip was special because I got to spent time with couple other cousins who were riding with me, normally wouldn’t see them.

On Saturday, I left for Frederick, MD. It was not too far from where I live but it was far enough that I decided to stay over night there. I had to go there early to pick up my bib for the Sunday race and I also signed up for a 5K on Saturday night. It was so cool that this race gave out 4 cans of free beer at the end of the 5K. I only took one…I didn’t want to get drunk or be dehydrated the night before the big race.

Sunday: Frederick Half Marathon is one of the big time races at a small town. I was surprised of the services and race support they offered. The whole town came out to support us.

Worse of all, it was raining buckets of water even before the race got underway. During the race, the rain alternated between light and heavy. I had my rain jacket on, and it helped but everything was wet.

I finished at a bit slow at 2:02. I got tired about at 10 miles. My ankle though wasn’t healed yet but did not bother me. I was afraid I might trip again during the race. I think I have recovered from my last marathon. I had enough breath in me. The course was familiar since I did a pre-run on the course couple weeks ago.

The reason I was slow might be because I didn’t (couldn’t) go to the bathroom before the race until the race started. I never had this problem before. I tried to go but nothing came and when the race about to start, I had such a strong urge to go. I thought it was race jittery. So while running, I hit the first pottojohns I saw and floodgate opened literally. Running with a full bladder probably costed me 5 mins.

I ran in my trail shoes. I brought a bunch of shoes with me, but decided to go with the trail because it might do better in the rain. It did.

I carried my phone with me but the rain was too much for me to take pictures.

Funny thing, I read beforehand that they asked us (runners) to leave for the starting line at least 30 minutes before what we think we should be there. Apparently I forgot. My hotel is only at most 10 minutes away, but boy, did it take me 45 minutes to get to the parking lot. There were a lot of road closures and detours and traffic. I was aiming to get to the course at 6, but didn’t arrive until 6:45. As the race started, I saw people were still pulling in. Boy was I nervous that I couldn’t get a parking spot and couldn’t start on time. Next time, read and follow directions (printed in the runner handbook).

As I ran, I saw a lot of fast runners were passing me from behind, I think because they got to the course late!

Also we parked on the grass lawn. It was Frederick Fairground. We (cars) totally ruined the lawn. Rain and car tires don’t go well together. There were cars that couldn’t handle the mud well. Smaller cars couldn’t get out the parking lot at the end of the race.

Fairground: we finished on the race track. It was special because I have never been on a horse track before. It was much bigger than what I thought. It must be exciting to see horses run on the track! I felt I was a thoroughbred as I ran on it!

This was taken on Saturday before the rain turned it into a mud pit.

What I packed. I didn’t end up wearing my swimming truck because I was afraid I might get chaffed in bad places. I was tempted though. Wool socks were good. No blister.

There were a lot of people, thousands I think. I didn’t take any picture of the crowd though.

Here 15 mins before the start and no runners willing to line up at the 7 min pace. They came later. I guess many were stuck in traffic or stayed in their cars until the race about to start due to rain. (I don’t run at 7 min pace though and I moved back to my pace group after I took the picture). Rain was not heavy at this point but a few minutes later, it really came down hard.

Really though thousands of people were there.