still on high

Day 187

I still have the feeling of that was the best marathon I ran. MCM was really a pick me up marathon for me. I really needed that. I had a period of not finding the joy in running. I signed up Baltimore Marathon and it was kind of bringing me back to running. Marine Corps Marathon really fanned the flame.

I came out of it feeling that was how a marathon should be. Big, Loud, and badass.

I wrote about the race already. I think the rain and storm really made me appreciate the race more. We kept thinking how miserable it was but think of all the volunteers out there standing in the rain with us.

I enjoyed the special challenge of running among the slower crowds for two third of the race. But that made me looked so much better. We were catching up from behind. We were running 2-3 minutes faster than everyone. We were blazing fast.

The rain was refreshing on a hot day! Ah, flood street! We did it. We ran through like a boat skipping on top of waves.

The pace signs and mile signs situation was hilarious. I am sure they can do better next year. The scope was couple thousands of us were clueless once we came out mile 9 and merged back the regular marine marathon course. They only post the ultra mile every 10K and a lot of us have no clue how to convert it back to mile to find our min mile pace. I know my 5K time was 35 minutes. And so 10K should be 70 minutes. So every 10K, I have to check my time and do some math. My goal was to finish under 360 minutes (nice round number of 6 hours). 35 times 10 brings me to 350 minutes. So I know I was running a bit faster and I could afford about 30 sec correction on each mile. I banked my minutes and used them on my water stop.

It was funny, suprised kind of funny when people see the 4 hr pace group catching up from behind and finished with the 4:30 pace group. What they did not realized was the 4 hour group was pacing the ultra and they ran and extra 4.8 miles. So it was pretty good that they could finished with the regular 4:30 marathoners. same with me, I was with the 6 hour group and we finished with the 5:20 people. A lot of people were feeling despair when they saw the 6 hours people passing them (and they did not realize we were the ultra people). I am sure they will fix this issue next year. They already said they will have different color pace sign and with big red word saying Ultra on them to distinguish the ultra pace from the regular marathon pace.

Reread

Day 139

I reread a blog post I wrote a few days back about why I run. At that time I thought my running career would go on indefinitely. I was young and there doesn’t seem to be why I couldn’t run except for lack of interest. Now looking back I spoke too soon.

I don’t think I am being taught a lesson. But immediately after that I started to struggle with my run and everything. It is like a switch is turned off.

I did many things since. Too much to recount them here.

Last weekend I had to take a break from running. A 5K was only thing I did. A consolation for me was it could have been worse. At least I finished. I don’t mind when people were passing me because at least I know I have done my best. Run used to be effortless for me. I just tapped on the pavement and I would glide across. Big steps and fast steps and I hardly breathing. Now I am huffing and puffing. It doesn’t matter if I take a big step or small step or if I run in fast cadence or slow cadence, I just don’t go any where. My lung feels like exploding and my heart really twists violently inside and a few times I put my hand across my chest to feel if it is alright. People were calling out to me, asking if I am Ok. Luckily at the 3 mile mark, I had a burst of energy. I felt a little bit like my old self and ran to the finish line. It wasn’t super fast but the feeling was the same. It was like I could fly again.

I have been fasting every Monday for the past month immediately after I got the news that I have high cholesterol. I was determine to lower it. A total life change. I went from eating burgers every day to eating none of those food. I still eat out but choosing Panera or Chipotle instead and usually having a salad or a wrap. So that I cut 15-20% of my calories. No fat or sugar either. Instead of Coke I now have vitamin water.

The result is my run now is 25-33% slower. I can’t get any slower than that. Any slower would be walking. I can walk in a 5K but I can’t walk the whole thing in a marathon. I wouldn’t able to finish within the given time. Walking through a marathon takes about 10 hours and most races stop around 6.5 or 7 hours. I used to do it little over 4. And I thought I was slow because others were doing it in 3 hours. Everything is relative.

I wish it is the other way around. If I improve on what I eat and my run would improve 25-33%. Why food matters? On the weekend I went for a bike ride. Originally I planned to ride on a trail that is 45 miles long from the city to way out in the suburb and back making it a 90 miles ride. This was before I experienced being very weak. It is actually biking to another city in the outskirt of the DC area. By middle of the week, I realized I probably wouldn’t make it out and back, so shorten the ride in half, a 45-50 miles ride instead. I did this distance a few times before. But on the day of, once I got on the bike, I knew I wouldn’t make it at even this distance either and cut it down to 30 miles. My friend was biking with me. He biked slow but he had to stopped and waited for me a few times. The first 15 miles was a struggle. I just couldn’t keep up. We got to Leesburg by lunch time, and we met up with a friend for lunch. I had a whole 14 inch pizza. It was one of a few times I broke my diet. Actually 2nd time since I started eating right. The result was, on the ride back, my friend was getting tired but I was full of energy. I felt I could pass him if I want. We ended up biking back faster than when we headed out. I was so happy. Food really helps. It was an insight.

If I continue on my vegetarian-like diet, I am thinking of taking vitamin supplements. That is a start my friend told me.