Lazy weekend

Day 195

I had a lazy weekend. I did a small 9 miles hike up to Old Rag on Saturday. It took whole day but it was not because the hike was hard but because we had to wait at several times before we could ascend in the crowded section. We might have lost couple hours waiting. Serious hikers don’t go up on Old Rag for that reason.

Also, I could have done it in four hours if we ran down, but the person I was with is not a runner. It was kind of her first time hiking in a long time. I had a great time nonetheless.

I slept mostly whole Sunday from the afternoon into the next day. I felt lazy. I also caught up on anime, I might have binge watched for at least 8 hours and slept 14 hours.

People asked if I am ready for my 50 miler race. Yes I am! I still have ache and pain in various places but I should be ready. I wish I could sleep 14 hours right before my race, but I have to work on Friday.

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.

week7

day 173

I lost track of whether last week was week 7 or 6. It was probably week7. There are about 7 weeks till my 50 miler. I have not trained much last couple of weeks. Running a marathon takes more than a day to recover. I would say maybe even a week.

During the summer, I thought running a marathon a month doesn’t give me enough time to recover. Now I am entering a season of a marathon a week.

I lost count on my miles ran too. I used to religiously keep track of them but now, it is kind of eyeballing and hand-waving.

I don’t remember if I was hurt or not last week. Good thing I was ready when the marathon started.

I have been resting the last couple of days. Funny thing was at the start of the marathon last Sunday, my right heel was giving me problem. After several miles, it warmed up and the discomfort went away. Now my left forefoot feels a bit unwell. It is not pain but it feels hot as if it was overly used. I have been resting.

Because of my foot, I am a bit reluctant to sign up for two marathons this weekend. I signed up a local race on Saturday and they are doing another one on Sunday. It would be an ideal time to run a back to back marathon. Yet my foot does not feel that great. I am still considering about Sunday. They say go slower on the Saturday one and I will be fine on Sunday.

Will see. I will write something, if I do a marathon back to back.

Total miles last week was about 30. Might have been 35 but couple miles do not make a different.

captain log

Day 171 Guilty pleasure – icecream

The weekend wasn’t as intense as I had anticipated. My training fizzled out due to my own undoing. I ran on Friday, but my quad wasn’t healing properly and pain shot out after about 8 or 10 miles. I was going to do 20. Any way, I started the run very late around 7 pm instead of six or five – I was dreadful of the long run and so delayed starting it. There was no way for me to finish 20 miles before midnight by the time I actually went out. I could have finished but I didn’t really try.

That was Friday. I was hoping then to make it up on Saturday. I had a 10k in the morning. I didn’t hype this race up but this was one of the coolest 10k to do. It was sold out. We ran on the International Airport of Dulles (IAD) main runway. They closed half of the airport for us. We ran the whole runway. It was indeed long. It took maybe a mile before getting on the runway and then the runway was unending. We did out and back. I think the runway was about 2 miles long. I ran marathons but comparing to running on the runway, I felt despair.

Most people were running on the edge of the runway but a few of us got to the center where the white strips are painted. I really wanted to spread out my arms and pretended to fly. Maybe next time though, because I was running for time and I didn’t want to be goofy.

The runway really messed up your pacing when there is no reference point for you to know how fast or far you have been running. They had mile markers but still. Of course it was flat and big. Everything is far away. We had good weather. I did not see any plane landing or taking off, which kind of disappointed. We knew too because they closed the runway. I think the other side of the running was really far away, probably half a mile away where planes were land, but we didn’t get to see. Mybe they did shut off the whole airport. I don’t know. It would have been so cool to run on the runway while planes were landing or taking off on top of you.

Security was heavier than usual 10K. They had hundreds of agents and airport polices on bikes surrounding us. They had helicopters and drones flying overhead — saying taking pictures though I think more for security. We went through security check but we didn’t have to take off our shoes or go through those milliwave detectors. I didn’t bring anything in but my phone and ID, but I could have. They used the handheld metal detector sweeper on me. When I arrived in the morning the parking guard asked me: what is my purpose of being here! I said to run. He let me through. Isn’t it obvious, there are thousands other cars behind me that we were obviously there to run? We were using the air and space museum parking lot that is next to the airport. Museum doesn’t open until 10. Normally, I don’t think anyone would park there at that hours.

Would I do again? maybe. I had to get up extra early to leave the house in time for the race. And our race was delayed for a bit (like 15/20 mins) because a bunch of people couldn’t get through security in time and the organizer decided to wait for them.

After the race, I was very cold and I went home to sleep for the rest of the day until evening. Not sure why I was cold, maybe I wasn’t feeling well.

Sunday was really a lost day. I ran maybe 5-6 miles in Reston while waiting for my friend to finish church and for her call. She was waiting for me to call but I didn’t. She didn’t call me until near 1pm and my moning was gone doing nothing. If I knew ahead of them, within those six hours I could have squeezed in the long run.

Then I couldn’t get to the lunch place because my friend moved up the time and I was still out in Reston while she was in DC and I wasn’t aware until she texted me asking where am I. She then promised to bring me lunch. I wanted to decline and gool for a run but she wasgetting mad at me for skipping church and now the lunch. So I waited for another three hours at a park boat launch place, where we were to meet. I ate around 3:30 when she showed up. I was no longer hungry, but food was food and good stuff. Again if I knew I had to wait for three hours I would be running in my stomping ground around DC instead of sleeping on a bench like a hobo. DC traffic and parking is bad even on Sunday, so I couldn’t blame her for taking too long for getting to me. It took couple hours to get from one side to another. I normally run on Sunday afternoon, but since she was kind of mad at me when I said, I couldn’t make it to lunch, I dare not turn down her kayaking event. We launched around 4 pm and kayaked until 5:30. With each minutes ticked by, I knew my Sunday run was toasted but I still had hope I might be able to get some run in at the end of the day. After kayaked, we had plan to go to her house and she would cook for us. And I was hoping to be in and out within an hour since she sleeps early. However, the dinner took 2 plus (near 3) hours to cook. We watched a documentary and a movie. Ended up my whole evening was gone. I got home dead tired and before long it was midnight. Guess what! I ran into traffic on the interstate on the way back to my home so I got home extra late. And on a Sunday night! They closed all lanes but one. So no running at all. Murphy law.

Total mile for week 6 was 20-24, maybe 26 miles. I was aiming 60-70. It was the lowest mileage I put up.

I was not happy. I wasn’t mad at my friend but myself for not being more resolved to run. Dinner was good though. I brought a half gallon of icecream and wolfed down after I got home. My friend also made icecream but it was too chocolately and salty. The icecream sated my anger a bit.

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.

######

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.

####

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.

####

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.

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.

short post

day 162

I will keep it short as I have to sleep soon. Thank you faithful readers for reading my stuff. I don’t think I am that entertaining but it is encouraging there is someone out there reading my rants and complaints.

I am about to finish my second week of training and looking back, I did rather well. I complained about my runs much less than the first week. I think I found my groove now (I stopped using the word rut). I hope by week three I will fall into some kind of routine.

I survived the Saturday. I am glad I moved the long run to last night because it is virtually impossible to do it today. It was hard to squeeze in a 10 miler today.

In the morning I helped my cousin move. I was kind of upset because I felt I shouldn’t have been there. They had enough people. It was very disorganized. There was no one taking a leadership role. There was no clear goal what to move and by when. It was because they could move bit at a time for probably the next month and they were in no rush to leave the old place. Nothing was packed. There was no moving truck. They tried to arrange one at the last minute and they couldn’t secure it. The whole morning was to find a rental truck while everyone was just standing there (at least I was). I felt the day was wasted. I moved two no three biggest things off my schedule just to be there to help, and regretted it.

I left at three while a few remain till the evening moving still bit by bit of things to their personal cars and transporting them to the new place. I got to go. Not my style. Nope, I am not sharing my truck.

Oh, and I got my truck waxed and vacumn and shampooed today. It smells good. like brand new.

I started my run at 7 pm. I had 11 miles to do. It was not as daunting as last night. Amazingly I wasn’t sored. My shin splints didn’t return. All healthly. I wouldn’t say my legs were fresh but it was not dead weight that you feel when after running 20 miles. So it was a good sign.

The temperature was moderate 65-70 (around 18-20C). There was a lady I passed, she was wearing long sleeves. It was a good run.

I didn’t use my garmin since I didn’t charge it since last night. It is about dead. I ran a set route I know is 10 miles. I use the garmin for the eleventh mile since I can’t eyeball a mile by distance. I finished around 9:30.

I had a profound thought on running while I ran but now I have forgotten. I will write about it if I remember again. I think something about if I have a life outside of running. I thinl I do. Yah, kind of morbid thought when you are running alone in the dark and you think why am I out here.