Categories
life running

Day343 Atlanta here I come

Ready or not here I come!

I am not ready, but I am going. About 7 weeks ago (July 1/2), I was in Atlanta to run the Great Southern Endurance Run (GSER). I was only able to do it halfway and vowed I will be back to finish it.

Here goes, this weekend I will be there to redo the run. However, I feel totally under-prepared.

I am not as frantic as the last trip there. I don’t know why. I am even less prepared than the last time. I reread my blog of my trip last time…and I said I will do better in term of preparation, like taking the week off before the trip…change my sleep time to adjust for overnight running, pack the stuff I need for the runs (last time was last minute packing and I forgot certain things like lipbalm, sunblock lotion), get a better map and turnsheet, laminate the turnsheet, and many other things.

I have done none of that. I am just showing up to wing it! I told my friend I probably give up at the 13th mile this time around.

Any way, I will be flying out soon in couple hours. My run will probably be tomorrow. I could start at any time (it is a virtual race), but once it is started, I have to stay to finish. I am picking for the best day to start…Thursday or Friday? I am also thinking for a day time start instead of a night time.

I want to lean toward a Friday start. I will check the weather tomorrow and then decide.

It is sad to see an empty airport here at Dulles International! Just like last time. I bet though Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International will be crowded.

Worries? I have a lot. Mainly it is the D*** poison ivy. I am much better. The blisters have stopped oozing. I am using a type of soap that basically said take 2 days to heal. I am on the 2nd day. They still itch but much less (90% less). The itch drove me crazy before the medication. But still, yesterday, a whole bunch of blisters/boils popped up on my other foot. I applied the medication. They have not started oozing yet. It might take two more days for this foot to heal. However, I will be in the middle of the run by then…so the blisters might get infected during the run. Right now they are about to pop, so I am very nervous to run with a bunch of those. It is very uncomfortable. I would take a picture, but it will gross you out! That is my worry.

I had a history of bad allergic reaction to poison ivy. This time the overcounter medication seems to be able to suppress it. However, I hope it won’t break out while I am in Atlanta…ya, the last couple times I had poison ivy, I had to go see my family doctor for antibiotic to stop it. I won’t able to do that while in Atlanta.

Coronavirus: Virginia number is half of that of Atlanta (Georgia). It has come down a bit but the number is like last time when I went to Atlanta (on July 1). Riskwise should be the same as last time.

How do I feel? Not stressed. I felt I have to do it, like an obligation. So I will face all kind of ‘adversities’ and get worked up, and interfere with many other people (coworkers) to have this trip done. The truth is its not. This is a pleasure trip.

On a happy note…for me at least, is when I get back I will start the next wild thing. We will run across the world! (virtually). I am really looking forward to that. For a week (3 weeks actually) I thought no one would want to run with me, but I found 9 random people yesterday (well not me, they found me) and we are doing it! We are running as a team, and we need 10 people because that was a requirement. They are from all over the places, some from Texas, Florida, England, etc. I couldn’t keep track of all their names.

Categories
life running

Day341 reality

I have to accept the reality that to run back across Tennessee (virtually) within two weeks is out of reach for me in my condition.

I had the ambitious goal of doing 250 miles this week and another 250 miles the next. I have ‘slowly’ trying to bring my miles up from 5 miles to 30 miles. My body still prefers running 5 miles. Beyond the 5 miles it bonkers. So I splitted my run into two. 5 miles during lunch and 15 miles in the evening. Doing 5 miles are great. 15 miles not so great.

After 4 nights of running 15 miles, yesterday, the body relented. I walked most of the 15 miles.

It reminded me back at the time I was in Atlanta when I was trying to run a hundred miles. It came to a point where the body can’t run any more and running is no longer fun. I felt I was 10 miles away from my home and couldn’t get back.

I had blisters on my feet. I don’t mind the pain or the discomfort. It is just all my muscles are so tight. I don’t think I could squeeze any more out of it.

Also I am suspecting my cardio has taken a hit. Last year I had Lyme disease and I know how that feel. I felt something similar. My performance is really poor. At least I am not yet fainting. Last year when I overexerted I fainted. I am also questioning whether I might contracted the corona virus. It is a respitory disease. My breathing is fine, just couldn’t run. Maybe it is really over exertion.

Anyway for the GRVAT. I am at mile 901 and I need to get to mile 1270 to be considered ‘finished’. I have about 10 days left to do it. I could try to get mile 1000, there is an award for that. 10 miles each day is doable. 370 miles is too much to ask of.

Weekend is here. Originally, I planned to put in 100 miles, 50 on Saturday and 50 on Sunday. Now scratch that plan. The body just couldn’t handle it.

This weekend I will go down to Virginia Border to Buffalo State Park for a family camping trip. I don’t have children of my own, but I will join my brother-in-law and he will bring his wife and kids. My mom will be there too.

Personally this kind of camping is not my kind of thing. I don’t like sitting around at a camp with nothing to do. There are the kids. I rather be hiking all day (or run) and only get to camp when we can’t go on further. Survival kind of camping is what I like.

My mom will like it. It is her kind of camping. We don’t do it often enough. As I was growing up, money was tight and going camping was not our family thing. I really didn’t get on the camping stuff until a few years ago when I started running and discovered this whole world.

My mom and brother-in-law though took the kids out for camping a few times every years. As for me, I think this is the first time joining them.

Any way, it will be like a party. Indeed, my niece I think is turning 5 today, so we will celebrate her birthday at the camp. My mom’s birthday too is over this weekend. Obligatory I have to show up 🙂

I know the kids will enjoy the trip. They are leaving for the camp today. I have work and so will join them tomorrow. Still debating if I should drive down after work…I’m afraid I might fall asleep behind the wheel.

Categories
life travel

Going places

Day 205

This post is hard for me to write. For some people (like my hiking friend), they love traveling. For me, I have such a fear, stressful/worrying kind of fear of going to places, no matter if it is local or is far away. I am content to stay at home. I know a coworker of mine too who shares my view and she is happy just by staying at home for her vacation. I like to tease her about it. Really, I was teasing myself too.

However, I have been going to many places recently due to backpacking and running. They do help me to build up a higher tolerant of fear.

I am an immigrant and came to the US when I was a child. Traveling shouldn’t be strange to me. However, I remember I did not want to come to the US back then. At the time, I did understand why we had to or how much better for us to move. I had to go where my mom was taking me. It was silly of me to have wanted to stay back at my home country than to go, now thinking back. Now I really love the US, having grown up here, there is no other home for me.

I had similar occasions while growing up during my teen years, when we would have to move to a different place. Looking back, it was not that many times, but each times were like a life changing event. Luckily in the recent years, I have not had to move. I have been staying put at the same place for a long time.

Last few years were kind of stressful, when I started running. Running let me to explore places around my neighborhood, to places where I normally don’t get to. I usually just drove/walked from my house to the bus/train station and to the grocery shop, which would be the extend of my travel. However, with running, I needed to put in the miles and it forced me to go to new places. I had to run a little farther to places I normally would not go.

Pretty soon, I was not just running just around my neighborhood, but running in other parts of our county/city. I would take my car to a new place and ‘explore’ it on foot. Pretty soon after, I was doing races in my neighboring states. I don’t have to, but one of my goals is to run in all 50 states kind of make me have to travel outside my area. I have traveled to about five states now (not including the state I am in). I wish I can add, pretty soon I will go run marathons in another country. Not yet for now.

Backpacking kind of get me through my fear of traveling the last couple of years. I am still much afraid, but I have been doing it with a friend, and I was not afraid when I was with her…unless she herself becomes afraid as once time she was. I have hardly done any backpacking just by myself.

Having a companion definitely helps. My trips for my races to Delaware, Pennsylvania, Washington, and West Virginia were all done with my mom. Haha! I went to Maryland to race (NCR and Baltimore Marathon) by myself (though the first half marathon in Maryland, my mom came with me, but subsequent trips to Maryland were all done alone by myself). I have become a pro now! I mentioned a one of previous entries, that Maryland is no longer a ‘foreign country’ to me.

Now next week, I will be out of the country. Really get out. This is my fourth times in my life. I have my passport and documents ready. Yes, my hiking friend will be going with me, but I have still been terrified about it. I have spent many sleepless nights staying up or awaking in the middle of the night and unable to get back to sleep because of it.

No one made me to go some would say, but I am going to go. I am taking it as a dare. I am not a globe trotter. Sorry I probably won’t blog about my travel – I wish I could. I am gritting my teeth and will get on the airplane next week with butterfly in my stomach.

Categories
hikes

game on

Day 181

Though I don’t have much to say, this weekend instead of running the High Bridge Ultra (50k) I will be heading south and west for a backpacking trip. I will probably the last one until Patagonia.

I will be packing tonight once I get home. I have a bit of running to do beforehand. The weather has turned cooler now, and we might face near freezing temperature up on the mountain. I will have to dig through my stuff to pull out the winter/fall gear for the trip. Also the food situation is not good. My mountain house dehydrated food packs won’t arrive until Friday. I am thinking I might have to run to Walmart tonight to get some food otherwise I might be hanged high and dry.

I hiked the the McAffee, Tinker Cliff, and Dragon Tooth loop previously but that time I was a completely noobie. This time around I should know what to pack and have a little bit more sense of direction.

For the trip, we are leaving from Arlington around 6:30pm. I think it is a 4 hour drive. We have to hike couple of miles into camp, so we probably won’t arrive until midnight.

The next day, I heard we are planning to do 18-20 miles, to the other side (North Mountain). On the last day we might skip Dragon Tooth, but still there will be something close to 15 miles before we are out of the woods. It will be 30+ miles total.

I am ready.

Categories
camping

Labor Day Weekend

Day 165 / Roan Trip

Instead of running 50 miles last week I hiked/backpacked 50 miles on Roan Highlands. It was the longest backpacking trip I did, totalling 4 days.

I started on Thursday after work. My friend and I drove 7 hours down to Tennessee. We did not quite get there. We ended up at Damascus, Virginia and we were going to camp at a campground but unfortunately the ranger told us the it was full and we were not allowed to camp (at the picnic pavilion).

So we continued driving hoping to reach our destination by midnight and hopefully still able to set up tent camping at the Mountain Harbour hostel, where we would leave our car.

We passed by the Cherokee National Park on our way and we decided turned off the road did a stealth camping there. We survived the night uneventful (yes but, we almost ran over a bear when a cub ran toward our car). Bears are my friend’s mascot and she would have been heart broken.

The next day we continued on our trip. We came across a beautiful sight at Lake Watauga. It was a foggy morning. We got to experience the Smoky Mountain without having to go to the Smoky.

We arrived at the Mountain Harbour Hostel and we left our car and took a shuttle to Ervin, TN about 50 miles away. They dropped us off at the trail head. We hiked the Appalachian Trail back to Mountain Harbour Hostel (Hwy 19E), passing Roan Mnt and Carver Gap on the way.

There were many hard climbs. There were miles of uphills. The highest point was Roan Mountain at 6000 ft, which we reached on Sunday. There were many stunning sights. Tennessee is unlike anything we have seen in Virginia. My friend said after hiking in Tennessee and coming back to Virginia, mountains here are like hills. They are flat in comparison.

Physically, I was not too tired from the trip. The trip was hard but nothing compare to the runs I have been doing. I am physically fit and strong.

I learned from the trip to bring more water, food, and to be better at find paths. I got a chance to lead on the first day where I was the designated person to sweep the trail of snakes. We didn’t see any (at least not me) but people spotted coperheads and big black snakes.

Most importantly I should not have left my hiking boots at home. I was tripping and falling the whole weekend. My left ankle is kind of messed up. I hope I can still run a marathon this weekend.

There is no word for me to describe the trip. It was magical. The weather cooperated. The experience could have been like the time I went to Peru except that I felt it is less so because it is closer to home and it is always available for me to go back.

I like it the trip not so much about the sights but the time I was able to spent with my friend. It is worth a million to see the smile and joy on her face as she glazed at the sunrise or sunset each day while we were on the trip.

I tried to make every effort to go on every hiking trips she plans but I know the chance of doing that is less and less as I am ramping up my effort and focusing more toward my running. Boo, she said. It is certainly I could go back to Roan Mountain any time but not every time I get to go with my friend. Running is still my passion and everything.

I made many other sacrifices for my running and many of those I gladly made without a second thought but giving up on backpacking with my friend, is almost unimaginable painful. I tried to combine running with backpacking, though so far I was not able to pull it off.

On this last trip, I brought my running hydration vest and shoes, but in the end, I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my friend at the camp at the end of the day while I do my miles. My running would have been just as long as the hike itself and it seems so silly to hike the trail during the day and then run the whole thing over, while the others sleep/rest – I wouldn’t mind but I would make others worry about me.

It is almost time to put backpacking away. I took up backpacking to help me be a better runner/ now trail running. I have reached my goal and I have become a stronger runner.

Categories
running

quiet

day 164

I started the week with high hope that I would run all the miles like last week. The week is almost over and it look unlikely I am any where close. I feel like a big failure this week.

Total mileage so far is 4. The goal is around 60. Why? I think the reason is … it is so hard to get the run in. Just a little lack of discipline derailed my week. Like Tuesday after my club run, there was happy hour after. I know I should have skipped it but couldn’t resist the temptation.

Wednesday instead of running, I spent the time preparing for this weekend trip. I looked at the map, entered the coordinates into the gps unit, and read the trail note. By the time I finished it was late.

Today, I could have run in the morning but didn’t. In the afternoon, I am traveling to my campsite. Starting tonight my friend and I will backpack 50 miles on Roan Highland. We won’t be back until Monday night. Hopefully, I could put some mileages to make my running goal but likely will not.

Categories
running

Race plan, and last night run

Day 159

The people I run with are organizing to go to Boulder, CO next May to run a 10K. I haven’t signed up yet but gave my word that I will go. We will all going to stay at a house together. I have never done something like this and always been wanting to do it like a Ragnar race but couldn’t find enough people to do it. I think we will have a fun weekend with all my running buddies together plus some new friends. I know about ten people, there will be many more going come later. We already are in the process of booking a room. It will cost me a fortune. Before this I only plan on travel for marathons. Traveling far for a 10K seems a bit excessive. However, this is a group thing, so there is an exception.

As for my 2nd week training, I took the Monday off but my shin still hasn’t healed and my left shin is starting to hurt. Yesterday my club run was canceled due to weather. I ran 8 miles by myself. I ran fast too because I was angry at something my best friend told me and I felt powerless to help. Anger really got me worked up. That might have caused the left shin to hurt too. Now I have shin splint on both legs.

I started taking fish oil and omega3 supplement on top of one a day multi-vitamin. Let see what they will do to me. Not sure if I need them, but just in case.

Categories
camping

Preparation

Day 79

Morning going to work.

Foggy morning after yesterday snow; taken at Vienna bus/metro station

Checking the weather for this weekend. We have little over full moon and few degrees above freezing temperature. Wind is at 5 mph. It may rain both Friday and Saturday, but I am going camping!  

Categories
running

Booked

Day 72 – Seattle Trip Plan (July 2019)

I just booked my plane ticket to Seattle for the Jack and Jill Marathon. This is for July. I know it is still awhile away but usually price will go up,  so might as well book it now. 

Categories
running

Logistics

Clothes and shoes. Day 67

I’m not running today because I need a time off to recover and to be ready for the coming weekend long run. I could run but my muscles are a bit tired. My total distance done during last 4 weeks is 33 miles out of 100 miles planned. I definitely need to do better. I have about 12 weeks left.