Day381 reset

After a big race, I need some time to reset. A bunch of thoughts colliding inside or still fermenting that are not ready to put into words yet.

Life for me is hopping from one high point to another. Now it is like I’m in a peaceful valley.

My mind is still pretty much being still in the race. It was one of the best race I had. I say this almost for every one of them I did. I rarely had a bad rotten race. They were all great.

Racing for me – running in general, brings so much joy and goodness. I think of it as a feast. I was anticipating it months ahead. First the idea of doing something I never have done before. There is the unknown. I was wondering whether I can do it. A lot of them, the first thought is no I cannot do it. I am not there yet. Not even not there yet but it is impossible. Thinking back three years ago if you would say I will be running a 50 miler, it is just incomprehensible. It does not matter how many miles I could train for it. It just cannot be done. Even last year after having done it, to do it again in a year, you got to be crazy. That was pretty much how I felt this spring.

In my Bible Study class, the leader said imagine what heaven is like a feast. I couldn’t really grasp it at the time. I ate good meal before, but nothing bring me more joy than being outside and run, esp run in a race. It is not so much about the competition but just knowing it is preformance time, just kick things to the highest level! I wish if heaven can be anything, I like to run and hike/camp all the time forever.

For me, racing is testing the limit. Yet there is the idea of let try it. It is hard but let overcome that fear. I did not say that just to prove myself. No it more like it is going to fun. I signed up somehow. The excitement only built up. By then I knew my ability that I could run it but whether I could do it within ‘spec’ that is within the required time for the course, that is a whole other issue. I did not know that even on that day I stepped on the course. Too many factors in play. I mentioned before that to finish within the 13 hours I needed to run near perfect race. Meaning, having good race condition, not tripping over roots as I am frequently do, healthy, and not getting lost. They all came together perfectly.

I know my body. I know my speed. I did many test runs beforehand. Usually it is not as good as I wanted. I was having the feeling of not able to do it for weeks leading up to the race. You feel the body just does not want to run. Also it has become colder and night comes earlier. The week before my race, my right hip was causing trouble and my right knee was also showing sign of weakness – I had hard time climbing stairs. Not good for going into a race with a lot of hill climbs. But all these problems evaporated on race day. I ran my strongest ever. I was amazed how strong the body was. I could run up hills while people around me were dying/walking up. Even toward the end I was still full of energy. At no point I was out of breath. I did hit the wall around mile 34-35, but it was quickly passed. It is amazing because usually my wall comes very early like mile 15-16. Quick is a relative word. It took me an hour to chase down people who were around my pace. There were only few low points. My finish was strong. And I am ready to do again.

I love running races. Thinking back to couple months ago, I was debating between running the JFK 50 versus the Seneca/Stone Mill 50. In the end I chose Stone Mill. It was not a wrong choice. I don’t regret it.

Someone suggested that I should do both. At the time I said no way. No way I would be recover back to peak condition within a week. Stone Mill was a big enough project. I am not tackling two of it. But guess what. A few days before running Stone Mill , I was itching to do the JFK as well. I said I will decide once Stone Mill is over. The last few days I have been agonizing over it. This time it is not so much whether I have the ability to do it. I feel ready for it! My body almost completely has recovered by now. This would be a first – to do a 50 miler back to back!

In the end (well I could still sign up for it) after a good night sleep, I decided not to run the JFK. It was more due to worry over COVID spreading in our area. The race will have over a thousand people, probably around 2000! This includes volunteers and crowd there even though spectators are not supposed to come – yet people will going to show up anyway. Events having 200 people such as at Stone Mill are already nerve shaking, JFK is 10x bigger. Of course there will be mitigation measures such as social distancing and wearing masks, but I really don’t know how to gauge the risk of attending to such large crowded event. This is all with Thanksgiving being so close too. If I come down with Covid attending the race, I would be bring Covid home too. So in the end, I did not pull the trigger.

It does not mean there won’t be running for me this weekend. I am going to try a new training run call 48×48. No it is not a piece of wood. It is to run 48 miles in 48 hours (two days). The twist is we only do a run of 4 miles every 4 hours. This means little to no sleep. My friend told me this is a good training for the 100 miler. Because it testing the body ability to reset.

That is so true. I am good with long run. I could run 50 miles withput pause. But if you ask me to run 4 miles and then 4 hours later to do it again, yike! So 48×48 means doing it 12 times. (I am thinking of adding 13th to it to make it over 50 miles, to compensate missing the JFK.)

My goal is to start on Friday night after work, with my first run probably at 5/6 PM. The graveyard shift will be tough. I will try to catch some snooze between the runs. Saturday-Sunday night probably the worse. I have to do it till Sunday 5-6 pm for my last run. Oh this starts tomorrow!

Hopefully I have some time to tell you guys how it was next week.

Other things on my mind I hope to jot down in the future because with post being too long already, is the news of my grandmother’s passing during my Stone Mill run how that effected me and my thoughts on death. It is a lot to think about. Still too much to wrao my head to it. My brother in law said death is like a race, actually life is and death is the finish of it. I see it too, I like that, because death is not sad, but a celebration of life. My greatest joy in a race is when I finish it – the moment stepping over and celebration that follows. I am still festive.

But I know this weekend, there won’t be time for much thinking. 48×48 is a tough one.


Day369 Life

I have been blogging on and off since 2018. I probably have been repeating myself about my running and stuffs.

Not sure how many users/readers are out there reading my posts. I admit none of my writing are creative works unlike many other writters on here (wp).

Existentialist question: what is the purpose of all this? I write because for myself because it feels good. If there is someone reading it, good. I am happy about that. If none, it does not bother me. They say, write for your readers. Nope. Not me.

Over the summer, due to Covid-19, and I was mostly quarantining at home, and I watched a lot of Ytube videos. That is the new platform compare to blogging. People who want clout and monetize the media should go into video making. You get ton of fans. We are talking about audience in millions. vblog at one point was pretty popular. Now it is all about VOD – video on demand, something I just learned. People record livestream, and saved it to be “reboardcast” for the rest who want to watch it at a later time, but also want the livestream experience, you get VOD. You do it for the crowd.

Back on topic, blogging, the way I do it…ya is for audience of one.

Have I lost everyone now? Writing used to be expensive (time/printing/distribution), but with online platform, cost is low, very low. So I am basically writing everything and anything. The cost is usually now bear by the readers in term of time. Time is expensive. Videos I think is a better platform people can endlessly watch dozen of videos than to have the time to read a blog entry. I don’t mind the crowd moving to videos.

So what’s up. I took my truck in for a maintenance today. Nothing is wrong just that it will reach 100000 miles soon maybe in a week or so. I wanted that peace of mind, to have the half-life maintenance done. Yup. My truck required the big job done like timing belt replacement (actually I just checked the maintenance schedule, TB is required at 105000, so I was a few months ahead of schedule). I know this. I got the parts and watched endless numbers of Ytube videos on how to replace the timing belt since March.

In the end, I decided to take it to the mechanics to have it done by them. It was probably a good decision because nothing I open up ever come back together in one piece. They did everything, hopefully well. This was a new mechanic. My normal guy went bankrupt during Covid, and don’t know where he went. So this was just a random guy I passed at a gas station. He look honest to me and the charge was around what I was willing to pay. I don’t know the market price (I know it takes about 6 hours). Any way the guy finished the job. There is no way I can inspect it if it done properly unless I was there watching him work or I take my car apart. It takes some trust that he did what I wanted him to do. I asked him to replace the spark plugs too though that wasn’t due till 120000. The car turned on and I drove it away. If the guy didn’t replace it, there was no way for me to know. I asked him to replace all other stuffs too, water pump, tensioner, pulley. I gave him a new serpentine belt too so he can cut the old one. But I didn’t know about the serpentine belt tensioner and related pulley, so those were not done. Some people say those should be replaced too, but they were not as hard as replacing the timing belt.

The engine sounds the same to me after the work. Maybe a bit quieter but this might be just my feeling. It is one of those things it is impossible to tell if any work has been done. Unless the belt broke not long after. Oh I pray not.

Out of curiousity I started googling known problems with my model. The bad news is I probably should replace the radiator soon because it tends to break down without warning and will mix the fluid with the transmission fluid and damage that, which will cause tons of money to replace. Online people were saying to spend 200 dollars now to avoid needing to spend 5000 or more later.

I hope it will last me another 100000 miles. My previous truck was near 300000 miles before I let it go, so I have high expectation for this truck. I like a machine that just works.

I have been following the maintenance schedule. So fingers crossed.

I have no plan for this weekend. I am thinking of going to Cole/Cold Mountain. It will be a solo camping trip. I am a bit scared about solo camping. But then, if I have time, I should go because I don’t know when else I will have the chance to do it. My hiking buddy has been doing it with her friends or by herself…so not likely, I get to do it with her by year end. It is not fair right…she gets to lead one but I don’t get to have my trip. Any way, since Covid, I have not done any camping with her. That’s fine. Just an observation, not a complaint. I just feel so much safer when I did it with her. I think though she wants me to have my own experience…so I don’t have to rely on her.



Happy Friday!

Been tired lately and last night I felt asleep by 9pm. I came home had dinner. The day seems to go by faster now with going into work. All the driving.

I started driving to work. Normally it is ok. It is not as bad as driving into DC. My workplace is just outside the city somewhere between the suburb and really suburb where I live. Still it takes about half an hour.

This week though I had such bad lucks. Couple times I got stuck in traffic. I know, I live in the city and traffic is normal. I got use to it these many years of driving in the areas. We have one of worse traffic in the nation behind New York and Los Angeles (I think rank 3rd or something). The point is we are not a big city like those! 1 mil in pop vs 19 mil. There is no comparison. I think it is just poor planning. We spent a lot money on transportation too, probably more than any cities of our size in the nation.

But with the pandemic, traffic virtually has disappeared here. Now I am back at work and the unbelievable traffic has returned too. I think everyone has the same idea as me.

There were many road works since people were not on the roads. But now people like me are back at work. At the same time they start making weird road closures and lanes changes that are like a five year old drawing on the sidewalk. Maybe a five year old can do a better job. When combine them together you get huge accidents every day. You think they learned. I wonder why no one sue them! Or maybe department of transportation (VDOT) can’t be sued. They always go after the poor soul who couldn’t react quick enough.

There were a few times during the summer I drove into work and each time I almost got into an accident. None of it was my fault. They closed a lane abruptly with little to no warning and imagine you were driving near 65 ish (speeding I know during morning rush) on the interstate and a car on the lane that was suddenly closed either had to make a sudden stop or quicky shift out to your lane or crash into the concrete barrier. Most stupid drivers would shift into your lane hoping you would stop in them for them. And I have seen all scenarios. My heart stopped a few times driving on that highway. I tried all the lanes too and encountered being both the victim whose lane was suddenly closed or the poor soul on the lane with suddenly a car popped onto your lane with no warning and they then making a hard brake on you! It is insane!

You would think yes, next day, you remember that section of the road and be better at it except they changed to something different the next day!

And so this week, a few time I got stuck on the highway for hours. A normal commute even during a rush hour should only taken about 35 minutes (hey sometimes only taken me 15-20 mins, ah those early pandemic days), but this week, it took me one and half hours to get into work or coming back home! Why don’t I just stay at home right? Exactly, why am I venting? I have a choice to just work from home.

They did try to redo the lane to make it safer, but they shift it every day and it like try and miss to see which day they would screw up badly and cause a huge accident.

Another thing I have been thinking while being stuck on the highway is couldn’t they have a special road crew whose job is to clear accident? We have an accident almost every day on the highway. However, if you have seen an accident or a breaking down car on the highway, it likely will block the roads for hours. It is like the first time anyone has seen an accident and no one know what to do. I am not just talking about us the rubberneckers, but the emergency crew too.

Indeed, the emergency crew has a different priority. Their job is public safety and to hell with the people stuck in traffic. They take the whole day if they want and they block an extra lane or all lanes if they have to.

They would bring the fire trucks and if an ambulance is needed, they you wait for it too, and of course the police would show up and then two or three other cruisers too. They would call a tow truck or two. This would take a whole day before they move the cars to the side. They bring out everything.

By then the road would be blocked for hours! Even when the accident is cleared, the road would be continued to be congested. I am sitting there thinking, can they make the whole proccess go faster? Like five minutes and move everyone to the side? Or for example, stop sending cars onto the highway until the blockage is resolved! And direct cars off the highway – like reroute them. I passed like three or four exits (with no one exiting, and everyone stuck to their lane) bumber to bumber and we were crawling at 1 mi an hour. Our local roads run parallel to the highway and why no one is using them? They could redirect all those cars like me off the highway onto local roads. Just a bit of coordination, it would have been so much better.

I have heard in Korea they have a rapid team that clears the accidents. Why can we have something like this here.

Enough ranting… I have no plan for this weekend. I know I should be running but I don’t know where or when.

A few choices I have is either to do the VDM I did last weekend again or doing something new.

My second choice is to go to The Wild Oak Trail. This 28 mile trail gave me a beating last year. I really want to do it again.

Third choice is to go and do the Priest. I have heard it is pretty challenging. I have not done it before. Last year I was very sick and had to go home during that camping trip to the Priest. The Priest is the farest of three from home. I think about 4 hour drive.

I likely will pick the second choice…but it is a lot of work to prepare for and I am still not packed yet. I would have to wake up like 3 AM for the long drive, which is not very attractive to me. Plus I have get food tonight – food to eat after the run. I have food I already cooked but those can’t last in the car. I need camping food that won’t spoil.

update: 10:30 AM – I am still in my bed. Option #2 is still good. I got food and everything packed now


Day308 weekend

Nothing in mind of what I will post. It is weekend. The race GVRAT is kind* of over. I didn’t run last night, but truly enjoying the night off.

I did my shopping for food and restocked the fridge with some basic stuff. Really wished I would have brought a bottle of Coke :). No I just brought the boring stuff like bread and more cornbread. I don’t even like eating them. For some reason, there was a craving when I saw them. There was not much I want to get afterward. I checked the meat section, prices were normal, nothing were on sale, so I didn’t buy.

After dinner I went to bed early…maybe around 9 pm. First time of having dinner at a normal time. I was too full to run afterward, but I was debating though. I slept like the next 10 hours, didn’t know when I felt asleep – I just did with all my clothes on. The body just crashed, I guess. I could have ran this morning when I woke up. The body is already feeling much better. I am ready for a good long run this weekend, though nothing is planned.

I was thinking of heading to Blacksburg, which is like 5-6 hours away to do a memorial run. Last year, while running in the Eastern Divide Trail Run Race a runner died (I didn’t see it happened but I was the last guy who came to his body before the EMT hauled him away) and the race director had marked the course for anyone (for last weekend and this weekend) who wants to go out there to do a run in honor of the guy. There is a bit of memory I want leave for the guy/myself as a closure. However, it is a bit far…the course is only 8 miles. I was more looking into to run the full course 28-30 miles (50K) I did last year. So I am on the fence about this 8 mile thing.

It will be just myself if I go. I still think it is a neat thing to do. It will take the whole day. 6 hours there, 2 hours for the running, and another 6 hours back. Technically, I can do it. My friend was thinking I might shelter / backpack on AT for the night – which is not a bad idea. However, that is just a lot of work. Do one thing and do it well…

That is on the list. Weatherwise, looks like we will have rain the next 7 days.

GVRAT* – I woke up this morning, and got the email link for signing up the next leg of the Tennessee Race. I knew it was coming. I duly signed up and paid the fee for another go. So I am heading back across Tennessee in the next two months (virtually). So, here we go again! This time my enthusiasm is much subdued.

People were asking when will this race ever gonna end. The answer is never and whenever. Laz, the race director, is having the race across the US continent in the work. It might debut in January. He said 4 months thing with the Tennessee is kind of short. We should do it for a year. Not so sure about that.

I’m going to sleep some more and then get up and put in the run. (grrr, do have to go to work before the run). Let’s go.

life running

no dramatic weekend plan

Day 249

With each day like the day before of sheltering in place, this would be the first weekend without real clear plan.

With most races canceled, why bother to train?

I guess I will still do some running, before that is prohibited. In France, people were not allowed to jog or bike. So, it probably will happen here also if things get worse. It probably will get worse.

My local area (my county) has only 16 cases as of early morning. We have 5-6 counties in the Washington area (3 counties in VA). Probably adding all up is about 100 cases.

Still, the rate for my state is increasing. So soon I expect my area to probably reach 1000.

I got sidetracked. Yes, do what I have to do before we really have to be locked in. Yup there are still some people outside. Restaurants are not banned yet. There are restrictions in place but not banned.

Traffic on the road is less but not zero.

Yes, I still semi training to hoping to run some virtual races. The Marathon Maniac have some virtual events! Yes! I am excited. I also want to run the Ronoake race as a virtual race on April 18. It would be 52.4 mile long. More on that when the day get closer.

That’s all. Sorry for the noise. I wanted to post something so I can get to my 250th post!



Day 169 – weekend plan

The middle of the week is like a valley between two peaks. Last weekend was awesome in that I had a full plate and I was attempting something I have never done before. The weekend before that was the same. This coming weekend though would be the boring run of the mill thing. I have no plan. However, weekend is still way better than now…the middle of the week.

I did not do much yesterday. I should have run or work-out in a gym but did not do any of that. I stayed late at work to finish up some adminstrative stuff. Then the weather was looking beak like a storm was coming. Instead of running I headed home, thinking I would run after getting home.

Then it went downhill. I was hungry – not really; it was an excuse- so I stopped at a Korean place across from where I live. I haven’t been to there for a long time. The food is really good. I was surprised. They sell Korean rice sausages. This is my second tine eating it. The last time I brought them home and did not eat them right of way and they did not taste good at all. However, this time I ate them immediately and they were so good. I at first thought they were pricey but then realized the lady gave me too pair of chopsticks. They were like four servings inside the box! I ate them all (I had to do it in two sitting – food was still good an hour later). Most people dine in, I do carry out.

So I did not run at all. Not even a mile or two. I slept early and got about 8 hours I think, the longest ever.

Oh, though I don’t have plan for this weekend, I have to do my long runs. When I was training for a marathon, my long run is just a Saturday, but now it is Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully, I will get in 60+ miles.

I do have some unscheduled events for Sunday … not really want to go but there is church with my best friends, then lunch, then kayak or paddleboard with them, then 2nd lunch, and an afternoon watching a Christian documentary on the Charismatic Movement (its a two hours film), and a dinner or maybe even 2nd dinner with them (my friend said she will cook two meals for us since I missed the one yesterday). There might be a 2nd worship too at night (another 2 hours event). I might not able to squeeze in my 20 miles long run after all. I might go to the first worship service and skip out the rest and rejoin them at dinner time. Or while they attend church, I skip out to a nearby trail and do my run. W&OD near Reston is my favorite.

My friend is going away for two weeks so, maybe a sacrifice of a Sunday is an acceptable trade-off. Any way, I will go by ear and act accordingly.


funky feeling

Day 166

I am in a funky mood. So I withdrew myself and drank lot of bubble tea. Heehee. I really want Coke but knowing they have way too much sugar to do me good.

The hike/backpacking trip affected me more than I anticipated both physically and mentally. I haven’t done any running. Mentally, I am feeling lazy and being lacking in discipline. Physically, I feel beat up and roughed up. The weariness slowing creeping on me. I lost quite a bit of toenails from the trip because I was wearing improper shoes and I was kicking rocks and roots throughout the trip. I tripped and felt once. My left ankle has a pulling pain – just a little almost not noticable but it is affecting me running gait. All the work left undone during the weekend caught up to me. Excuses I know.

Mentally, there are a lot on my plate. There are lot of pressure from work, personal issues, planning for next trips, social, … relational. Ah, Normally, when I go out for a run, all these things are silenced. I know I am just running away from them.

For example, I have a big trip coming up in December. I really have no issue with it. The plane ticket was purchased. I am going regardless of if the sky should fall. Yet, it is the biggest trip of the lifetime. I am going on it with my new found best friend. There are still a lot of preparation. Many of friends and family don’t want meto go. My coworkers and boss said I took too many trips already (they were weekend trips). Their complaints not withstanding but still it is affecting me mood.

I haven’t done a six days backpacking trip before. The longest I have done was really two days (4 if you count the first and last day of driving there and back). I have never traveled outside of the country by myself. So I am afraid – paralyzing fear. I think about it a lot.

Another thing on my mind is a friend has a bad relationship with someone and I am kind of caught in the middle. They are not talking to each other. I could care less but then as a Christian I am to show loving compassion to both. Their relationship is a mess. They don’t want me to be involved. I am thinking to myself, why am I even involved in this?

Running would take my mind off this. I will be doing three races this weekend. A marathon, a 5K, and a half marathon. It is the first time running so many miles. 42 miles total.

Oh my back is kind of messed up too from the hike. I couldn’t bend down this morning and it would hurt if my right leg crosses in front of my left leg. I could still run, just don’t do weird twist or foot work during it. Luckily it is not a trail run this weekend. I think the fall caused this. I pulled something.


Will see how it goes

Day 97

No big plan this weekend compared to the last one. I did a short run last night, about 3 or 4 miles. I was going to do 10 but my mom called for dinner, so I put my plan away. My heart was not in the run. By the end of the dinner, I didn’t want to go back out.

My body was a little better than on Tuesday. My shins still have a bit of ache. Not sure how long it will take to recover. All other parts of my body are in good condition.

I have a race tomorrow. Afterward if I am still fresh, I plan to hike/run on a trail. It would take the whole Saturday. Tapering will begin next week or a week after.

Sunday will be quiet. Maybe attend the early service and then run the rest of the day.