Day371 – 2nd anniversary

It should be my 2nd anniversary here on WordPress or the first day into my 3rd year of blogging. No special fan service today…other than Thank you fans always for your continue supports!

I remembered in the early days it used to a delight every night as I finished my run and I rushed on here to post how great that run was and usually talked about this and that of what I discovered during the run.

As my runs have been longer and longer recently, I don’t write so much about them any more. It is like oh another 5K, what to write about that.

No, I still think short runs are exciting. I have not done enough of those. Couple weeks ago, I finished a short run. I think I went out to do a three mile that night. Details now escape me, but at the time I was so excited. So that was how it use to be like I told myself. I was going to write a blog entry about it. I think I fell asleep not long after and the entry never made it out the press. I forgot now why I was so excited after that run that I was dying to share. Only thing was it was a great run.

These few days I have been reading on how to improve on my runs. I want to run fast. An article in the Runner World peaked my interest. It mentioned about form. You have to run more efficiently to run fast. A way to do that is build strength and also train your mobility (involve stretching). I hate doing either of them.

I see that is one of my weaknesses. I don’t pay too much attention to strength training and much less on stretching to improve my balance and mobility (range of motion).

When you look at fast runners, their strides are incredible! They are flying through the air. My strides compare to them are just baby tiny steps.

I have been doing more running on trails and I notice I wish I have better footwork. There are certain positions I can’t do well. Some steps are too far out of reach. There were a few times I almost fell. Mobility training will definitely improve my trail running.

I am kind of losing my focus this year. If you read the previous year anniversary, I was bubbling with excitement because I was on the verge of running the MCM 50K and I was just off the mountain the night of, which was kind of my first trail run.

Nothing crazy for this year anniversary. I did not go to the mountain over the weekend. The race I thought I am about to run, got one of their permits denied. Race won’t happen unless they have all the permits approved. Who knew there are so many of them. We thought having the Covid permit approved was the hardest thing and rest would be easy. We held our collective breath for that one. What frustrating is our race will be mostly done in the park. I think we got the park permit approved, but we got hung up on the road permit. We do have a short section being on roads and a few road crossings, so it is not that we can ignore that. The county denied our permit for the road portion. The whole race is up in the air at the moment. The race director is trying to appeal the county’s decision. I don’t know what to think. The race date is so close already and now this.

I know with Covid many races got canceled. We have come to expect no racing for the forseeable future. However, things were improving in our area and we got our Covid plan approved and it looked likely a race would be possible, but now this. It is like don’t get our hope up and then got dash by it.

Why all this mumbo jumbo I am writing? I hope next year will be better. I wish I have the exuberance like I did before. This is the third year, right? It should be better than the year before.

There are many different things I could write…I have a list of races I did for this year and a list of races I am ready to do for the next year. Don’t worry I will post it some day soon. I want to show, even with a crazy year, we got things done. That though is not what I am feeling at the moment. We are baking something but we are not there yet…not sure how it will turn out, since I am kind of doubting anything good will happen. A little pessimistic won’t you say?

I know there is always next year. How about that for 2nd anniversary?


Day346 back to normal

It felt weird, now things are back to normal. Couple days ago, I was in Atlanta doing this run. It was not really my life goal. Yet I poured in energy and time for whole summer. It could have been the capstone for this summer.

I don’t know what to think of it but to move on. It was a nice experience. I learned more about ultra running when I thought I knew already so much.

It is different from doing ultra training runs in my own neighborhood than going to a place like an actual race and do it. The stake is higher. Everything before was a test run and this time is for real.

They say to train your run like if it is a real event. Mental barrier is real. It is hard to fool the mind.

What all the rambling is about? I don’t know, they are a bit of reflection on the Alanta run. I have a race report 99% done. While I ran last night, I discovered a few more things that I want to incorporate into the report.

A preview of it, is the previous blog entry I wrote immediately afterward. It is the shoes, but I found deeper things/insight than that. It has to do with training and preparation.

A thought too, there always plenty of reasons for why something didn’t happen. I could write a book on it – like the Fall of Rome. Eventually, I got to move on.


Some math

Day 202

I struggled with this of not having a purpose at the end of every running season. The things I do: I work. I run. and I relax.

Work is pretty much an auto-drive. I don’t write much about it. I go in, work, and I get paid. It generates revenue for me to do things. It is to me a necessary evil! I won’t describe it as real evil but I wish I don’t have to put 9 to 6 every day or any day, even if work is really good. It is a third of my life! But I do need the money. This is our world we in, and for most people is like this. There are only a handful of people in the world who don’t have to work – unless we are unemployed, retired, or can’t work. We work, so that we get paid. And we do stuff (spend) with it. People talk about investing, but that’s for another post.

I think about it a lot! I kind of need the money. In truth though if to just survive with food only, I have made enough supposingly to last for a lifetime.

How do you calculate? What is minimal calories need to sustain life? How much does that cost? Let guess $10-20 a day (first world problem I know; third world figure is $1-2 a day when I was back in school – the amount is probably still the same unfortunately). So you need about $3650 a year. I am at mid-life, and maybe will live for another 50 years, so times 50. I’d need about $187,500 to $365,000. Given it is still a big sum of money, and not many have it, but it is not unimaginably large. There are those who follow the FIRE movement (Financial Independent and Retire Early). I am not a high earner compare to my peers who are making twice or three times my salary — also a tricky comparison because there are those who made much less. For me though if I really want to, I can retire within 10 years, before my official retirement age. It is not out of reach. So it is kind of a false belief that we are tied to our work. I might have writen about this before.

Many immediately can point out, what about shelter and clothing and other stuffs we want and need. True. Hence, the reason I am and everyone else are still working. I love to drive my big loud truck and go places. A bit excessive I know. However, they are choices we make. Even my own food expense is costing me more than my estimate. Sorry to those who lives on a year with less than $600, or even $6,000 income and here I am debating if $600 is enough for food for a month. I recently watched a video on world wealth distribution and know how much wealth I have and my country have compare to the rest of the people. I am not rich, but the video has a point, I am very favorable. I know as I was growing up, not too long ago, our family food budget was between $100-200. Inflation does not account such fast growth in cost now. I spent more is the bottom line (and I don’t cook for myself). Actually I don’t know how much I need to spend for food. I really need to budget and to cook. I could do better. My shelter costs me more than food. I should aim to buy a piece of land in the wilderness and live off it! That would be a dream.

I am investing, with the hope that a day will come when I can’t work any more and when my income from investments, would be greater than my present earning salary. Yes, it is a hope, like many people. Who know if it is still true 20-30 years from now.

What else do I do? I run. I spent time running, reading about running, watching movies or videos on running, planning for next run or race, and looking up for the next race and so forth.

Then I veg’d. It may be a form of relaxation. I sometimes stop doing anything – like now. I don’t know why. I just finished a big race a week ago. I haven’t had much desire to run or do anything. So I have been laying low (literally too).

I can’t imagine a few years ago, before I took up running, I really had nothing to do. I wasted my life fulltime back then! Now I only waste it a day here or there. Well to some, running is also a waste of time. We each find what we like to do outside of work, where to others might be a waste of time. Not me, unfortunately. I do like what I do for a living, but just it is not the same as running. I definitely like running more.

I should think more on it too. Some might say I live only for myself. Is it not selfish? It probably is. I help other people incidentally but never purposefully like I am going devote my life for others. One of my friends is like that. She advocates on issues for the oppressed and of injustice in her free time. Most of us in the first world are blind or we put blinder on to ignore this (even me). Actually, that what God requires of his people, is to love mercy and render justice (Micah 6:8a).

Maybe a little time-out for me at this point in time, helps me to refocus my priority of what I should be doing in life: To not live in excess, and pursue a nobler life.


November, bye bye

Day 201

Last day of the month. I had nothing to do today. It has been quiet in my life. No trip no run.

I have spent my day reading on my own journals! I reread my last race report at least 4 times. I have been reading other people reports too. I love it. I guess, to relive the moment. I want to read a report from the fast runners (front of the pack), the average runners (midle of the pack), and the slower / and even those who couldn’t finish. So far, I have read two of mid-pack, they finished around 10-hour mark.

I guess I have nothing to do.

I had a great race on Thanksgiving Day. I did the Ashburn Farm 10K. It was a slow run for me because I was still recovering from the 50 Miler. Apparently, my legs were good and I was faster than I thought! Much faster than I thought possible. I finished under 55 mins.

The funny thing was before the start I was trying to figure my pace. I couldn’t. I had no idea how to run a 10k any more. I went and just ran it with no idea on pacing. I know if I am fresh I could run somewhere around 50 minutes. I know during the 50 miler, I was running 14-15 min per mile. So 6 mile run, could take me 1.5 hrs to finish. I told my friend who came to watch me that I will be coming in around 1 hr mark. I did! I surprised myself.

I was a good run.


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.



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.



I was so focused on my race this past holiday I forgot that it was Thanksgiving. I know it was Thanksgiving because we all have a day off, but that was