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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Jump Ropes

So I went to Walmart last night and got myself some $6 jump rope, and decided that I'd see if I could go jump 10,000 times in one day.  That night, at around 9, I began my little journey, and counted to a 100, paused for 5 sec, then kept going til I reached a 1000, where I took a break for a couple minutes.  I kept this up til I reached 6,447 jumps when the jump rope snapped.  It had worn down from each time it hit the ground and finally broke during one of my jumps.

Jump ropes are definitely a good source of exercise.  It really does a lot.  Works your whole body, and it's great.  Today, I'm sore all over because of it... especially my left shoulder (since I'm right handed)... but that's not what I want to talk about.

I bought a jump rope at Walmart.  We all know that Walmart isn't known for it's most fabulous artifacts that lasts forever and ever.  It's known for being cheap, and with cheap comes an average rating for liabilities.  You get what you buy, and usually, when you get great deals, you end up with a cheap things.  It doesn't last as long and isn't as good.  So how's that important to life?

When I train, there aren't any short cuts to train to run these races.  Short cuts don't do anything.  It's the same as buying cheap meals which aren't nutritionally balanced.  In short, whatever you do in life, if you do it half heartedly, you're not gonna be satisfied, you won't get the full results.  You want great results in whatever you do, you work hard, you work smart, and you get what you came for.  Whatever you put in will come out.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Quality and Quantity

There is value in both quality and quantity. Quality is what we want to do when we want to grow. Quantity is what we do in order to engrain the information to our bodies. It's important to have both, and not just one or the other. Should we have a lot of one and not of the other, we cheat ourselves out of growth. The importance of the two together is that they encourage the individual to grow.

The thing is, we sometimes forget that and we choose one over the other. When that happens, we lose the potential, what you could have done to improve yourself. You see, running every other day does a lot for the individual in getting them back into shape, but running 5-6 days a week does quite a bit more. It allows the individual to train for longer distances. Our bodies adapt at an amazing level, and the adaption only occurs through the quantity of what we do to it. In adding the quantity and quality to the workouts, people grow and become athletes.

Dedication to both quality and quantity is also important because should you miss even one day, it changes the direction of the workout and what you want to become (the same goes for anyone that has any sort of dream towards some goal). Anything and everything you do changes the direction of where you're going. Of course, both quantity and quality effects each other, as well as the overall goal. Yesterday, I ran 7.85 miles in 58:46, an average of 7:29 min/mile. It was a really fast pace where I put a decent amount of effort in. After such a workout, there ought to be some sort of rest. However, today, I chose to go out and run 3.86 miles in 29:47, an average of 7:42 min/mile. Not too fast... but not too slow either. The important thing wasn't just the quality of my run in this case, but the quantity. I did that run today because my overall goal was to get to a point where I can run that 100 mile race. A person does not just up and run such a race without a good amount of mileage in ones legs. With that kind of goal, it's no wonder people do back to back runs. There is value in both quantity and quality.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Future You

One thing that helps me take that extra step is when I look at the mirror and see what I could be.  I don't look at the mirror and see the me as I am, the dude that can run 20+ miles whenever I feel like it.  I look at the mirror and see what my goal is.  I blink once and I'm back, looking at where I am now.  Am I satisfied with where I am now?  Heck no.  There's so much I need to do.  Understanding where I'm at and not being satisfied with that, I can make changes that redirects me to where I need to be.  Tools like mirrors and the bathroom scales can be used for good.  I use them to look at where I can be.  Just as tools can be used for both good and evil, I tend to go towards the good side.  Never really understood the 'dwelling on where I am' sort of thinking.  I enjoy my time thinking about how to get to where I want to be... a much more exciting way to live.

The future is yet to be determined, and since it IS yet to be determined, it means that you're in control.  The future is in your hands, and since I have a certain future that I want, I'll have to work towards that.  Part of having that goal, that future, is that you would need to redirect yourself if you're not going towards it.  Instead, you would direct yourself to take the steps towards where you want to be.  If you want to be a world class writer, then it looks like you may have to start writing a little bit.  If you want to be a professional blogger (not me, haha) then you would blog like crazy and figure out how those hashtags work and get your blog out to as many people as possible.  If you want to be a professional runner, you're going to have to start running and taking care of yourself so that you get closer to sculpting your body to the way you want it to be.

Focus on the future you but don't forget the present you.  Work towards the future of your choosing, and that is what you will become.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Post Holiday Slump

You know that feeling after the holidays, when you don't feel like going on and doing things?  Well I'm right there right now.  I just had the most glorious Christmas Day, and now I don't want to do anything.  I've probably gained a good amount and need something to keep me going.  Today, I didn't even go out for a run.  It was 'too cold and windy' and I didn't feel like it.  Instead, I spent the whole day cooped up doing a couple hundred push ups and calf raises and squats.  Yes it was a little bit, but it wasn't what I needed.  If I'm going to get through this... what should I do?

Well what I do is to jump back on it.  Every day you stay off lowers the chance you'll make a comeback.  The couple things I have in store for me that helps me continue my running is races.  By signing up for races, I'm forced to undergo some sort of training to finish it up.  Right now, being the end of the year, and after Christmas, it's tough on me to get back to that.  However, 2013 is coming, and I want to start counting exactly how many miles I've run in one year.  Usually I'm half-hearted about writing down how much I've run, but I think it'd be fun to see how many miles I've run in a whole year.

People get in slumps, so what do you do to get out of them?  Force yourself to take those baby steps and give yourself a little wakeup call.  One thing I'm going to do is to go to sleep early (yes... that means I'm getting off facebook and turning off the computer...) and wake up early to start my day out with a run.  I have a little more than a week left before my 50k in January, but since that's more or less a training run to get me ready for the big races, I'm not too fired up for it.  I'm still figuring out which races I'll be running, but since I'm hoping to get in the Leadville 100, we'll see what's in store for me when I sign up on January 1st.

Goals get you out of your slumps and the steps you take towards your goals helps push down the laziness that's put in you during the holidays.  Fight it head on and be strong.  Not excuses and have fun.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Time is Here

And so Christmas has come and is finishing up, a time to celebrate with family.  I time... to eat.  And of course, during this Christmas day, I ate.  I ate a lot.  It was a little too much compared to what I would normally eat... but it was glorious.  I ate and I ate, it was nice... but of course, according to my little rule, it only lasts one day.  I have to get back to the meal plan I have for myself... a strict diet... but hey, today was a wonderful time.

Yesterday, I had the wonderful time, even had enough time to go for a little run, running 3.84 miles in 32:16, an average of 8:23 min/miles.  Slow but nice, it was great to go out for a small run.  Going to have to make sure I make that a priority... going to be hard.  Tomorrow... I'll have to get back to running again.

First, I had a meal with one of my good friends in the morning, another friend for late lunch, and another meal with another friend in the evening... so much food, and such a great time.  One awesome day, one great time with friends.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Nothing Good Happens After Midnight

Okay, so maybe I'm going too far saying that nothing good happens after midnight, but the thing is, we're often tempted to do a ton of things at night.  There are a few things that are good for us at this time, but there's millions of things that we do that aren't.  One major problem we have is the issue of eating.  At midnight, my stomach suddenly decides that it's hungry, and that I'm in need of food.

Totally wrong.

My body just craves to fill my stomach because it's empty, and so we want to fill it up because it's comfortable.  The thing is, we become so used to that feeling that we have a hard time getting out of that (gluttonous) habit.  In eating after midnight, all the energy we put in our body will not be used because our metabolism would slow down as we sleep.  As the metabolism slows down, what happens is that all the energy we have inside of us begins to be stored... as fat.  Not really a great idea, but we choose to do that because it feels so good.  How can you get away from that?


Just sleep.  What we tend to do is ponder on the problems, and the longer we dwell on the problem, the more we're tempted to make the wrong decisions.  The more we are tempted to make the wrong decisions, the more likely we actually make the wrong decision.  So instead of going through all that, just sleep.  Sleeping is valuable and important to your body, so instead of thinking about eating, choose to sleep.  After all, when you sleep, you're taking a break, and you won't be tempted at all to get any food.

Sometimes, things just pop up that we know isn't good for us.  We want it so bad, but we know it's not good, so we try to stay away... but eventually do it.  Instead of fighting it, just run away.  Eventually, it becomes second nature and you don't have to worry about even getting to fighting because you start not caring as much.  Sometimes, strength is just running away.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Effects of Variables

Variables make a difference.  What you do in one day compared to the next is dependent on so many variables.  It's important to understand the importance of making different decisions.  20 days ago, I went out to unexplored territories to make a nice long loop, running a little over 21 miles.  I was unprepared to do so, and due to that, I suffered a lot.  I didn't eat before I ran, I didn't bring any water with me, and when I ran, I didn't plan anything out.  I finished my run in 3:21:18.  This time, I ran 21.55 miles in 2:51:58, 7:58 min/mile.  I ran almost 30 minutes faster under harsh circumstances.  While I ran my first time in a nice day, temperature was awesome, no winds, but even with the good weather conditions, I wasn't able to perform at my best.  Today, it was cold... there were snow flurries, and there was wind coming in from the west.  It was a miserable condition and the weather wasn't working for me.  However, last night, I bought some pedialyte.  This morning, I ate some chia seeds mixed with the excess pedialtye, and filled my running bottle with pedialyte.

When I ran, I made sure to conserve my speed, knowing the distance I was about to run (psychological advantage comes with experience), I drank my first little sip 30 minutes into my run, then at min 40, I started taking sips every minute (continuing the replenishing of my water supply as well as electrolytes in my system).  The hard part was the weather.  As the flurries fell, my fingers were cold.  Ten minutes of holding the bottle with my right hand made it feel as if my pointing finger and thumb was frozen up.  I switched hands and figured that I could somewhat get through it.  At first, it was really cold, but as it came closer to noon, it got warmer and my hands got used to it.  I managed to get through the run, looking at my watch for how much time has passed, and also listening to a running jam I made up.  The music pumped me up, and the pedialyte rehydrated me.  Using the music and pedialyte, I worked my way through the run, planning on finishing the run at about 3 hours.  Knowing the distance, it was a lot easier for me to judge how much I needed to work.  Having extra fluids really helped me out.  The chia seeds also helped me with all the energy I needed during the almost 3 hour run.

Variables.  They change a lot of things, but ultimately, you could be in charge of the variables.  I wore my underarmour to protect me from the cold, and my upper body felt fine (probably need to get some for my legs... anybody got some?) and my asics gloves really helped out keeping my hands warm enough.  The water bottle served to store my pedialyte which got me through the run, and I had a great time.  Things happen that you might not be in control over (like weather) but you can always control what you do about it (put on underarmour) and the thing is... you're not as helpless as you might think you are.  Humans are an amazing group.  We don't give up and we become stronger.  Why?  It's because we have a brain that we use.  Variables makes differences, a few simple changes can save 30 minutes on your run (for me, I was able to run 1:15 min/mile faster than the last time).  Use your head, find a way, and make things happen.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Peer Pressure

Whenever you're with people, there's always a certain amount of peer pressure.  Sometimes it's only a subtle amount, while other times, it's massive.  Either way, when you're with people, you will have that peer pressure (and you will also give out peer pressure).  People, whether they like it or not, will encourage others to do as they do, to live as they do.  Whether we like it or not, we influence others, and others influence us.  Do you remember how in movies, the main character's mother always tells the main character to not hang around 'those people' because they'll influence the main character in a bad way.  Believe it or not, it's true.  People you hang out with will influence you to be more like them.  In the same way, you will influence the people around you to be more like you.  Now when you and the other people think differently, it's going to create some conflict... reverse peer pressure, where you're convinced your way is the right way and the other person isn't and you continue on to your path.

Yesterday, I didn't feel good at all and had a massive headache so I wasn't able to go out for a run like I wanted to.  Today, I had the best time this week.  I went to the track at UT and met up with a few runners and went out for a good run.  Running together is always an encouragement, and when you're with other people that enjoys running, you feel as if you belong.  It becomes a reaffirmation that your lifestyle is what you want.  It gives you the extra spark... but now that's the good type of peer pressure.  There are other times like yesterday, when I hung out with one of my non-running friends (yes, I do have those too) and marveled at his life decisions (I mean, he's totally different from me, and we're best friends).  He had snacks in his house, he didn't go out to go run, he had a wife and a kid, he enjoyed life... oh wait... I enjoy my life too.  But I was so jealous of some of the things he had in his life that I would love to have in my life.  I mean... he had OREOS... I wish I had oreos in my life.  Unfortunately, it's not a part of my diet, and so I wasn't allowed to keep that sort of thing in my house.  He and I made two different choices, and we both were a result of it... but still, being with him made me want to go to the store and get some snacks.  Now THAT is what I call bad peer pressure.  We have both good and bad, and they help us... and sometimes hinder us.

I was really tempted to get myself a whole bag of oreos, but I managed to go through that and reaffirmed why I didn't have oreos in my house.  Just like when good things and bad things happen, the only things that brings you down is how you react to it.  Using peer pressure, our true desires starts to come out and how you react to the pressure determines who you are.  Are you living and being true to yourself, living as you truly want to live?  Or maybe you're covering up something.

Today's run was fantastic, we ran 10.05 miles in 1:13, a 7:16 min/mile average.  Pretty darn good for me, since I took an extra day off.  Lets make sure tomorrow I keep it up and run some more.  I'm in need of continuing on my way of living, and pursue my goals.

Hope I get into the Leadville 100...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Whatever it Takes

The mindset you need to have in order to accomplish your goals is to work towards it and achieve it NO MATTER WHAT.  There is no room for excuses.  You need to go forward and get it.  Passion drives you forward, but it takes guts to finish it off.  When you're racing, you don't run with just your body, but with your heart, and your mind.

Having the mindset on doing whatever it takes to achieve your goal is very powerful.  It puts that as the number one priority.  That means that there is absolutely nothing that can get in your way.

As W Clement Stone once said, "Whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe, it can achieve,"

If you truly go for your goals and work towards getting there, it means you're willing to sacrifice anything to get there.  It means that you're committed.

It means that you'll get there.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

For Want of a Nail

For Want of a Nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

A little thing can make a difference.  As the Emperor from Mulan said, "A single grain of rice can tip the scale."  No matter how miniscule it is, what you do can impact your life.  A split decision can in turn change the direction you grow, and make a huge difference.  My impacting decision was when I decided to go out for a run.  I really didn't feel like doing it, but I was training to eventually run a 100 miles.  I can't afford to lose a day's run because I didn't feel like going out for a run.  Every little run that I do is another step towards that goal.  I went out 30 minutes to see whether or not I could come back faster than that.  I ended up running 7.32 miles in 56:21, an average of 7:42 min/mile.  By itself, it isn't much, but the thing is that this one run will impact the rest of my runs which in turn will impact my races, all the way up to the 100 mile run that I'm working towards.

Everything you do is important, whether it be that 3 mile run or eating that banana.  Who knows how what you do will impact your life.

One Hour

One hour... 60 minutes... 3600 seconds... you can do quite a lot in that amount of time.  Of course, in that amount of time, you can change your life.  I've talked about how important 24 hours is in one's life, but the importance of what you can do within that hour is also pretty darn amazing.

In an hour, with pressure, a college kid can finish writing an essay.  A chef can cook 2 full course meals.  A musician can play a whole set list worth of songs.  I chose to run 7.36 miles in 58:04 (7:53 minute/mile average, happened yesterday) burning roughly 904 calories (according to the mapmyrun app).  Had I run faster, I could have burned over a 1000 calories.  When you're sitting, you burn about 60 calories in that hour.  Standing, you can burn over 200 calories.  In one hour, you can choose to burn less than a 100 calories up to over a 1000.  The power of one hour is rather amazing.  One hour can make a difference... but think a little more than that.  Think about how much you could possibly burn during a 100 mile race... now that's a lot of calories.

Back to the hour.  That one hour does impact your life and it does raise your average metabolism as its effect goes further than just that hour.  One hour of eating doesn't impact the you during that hour, but effects the you throughout your day.  Every moment counts, including that on hour.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Molding Your Body

Isn't it interesting that people can change how they look via means of exercise and stretching instead of surgery... yet there seems to be a lot of people choosing surgery to change themselves.  Now in some cases, surgery is the only case... but when it has to do with just how fat an individual is, most people choose to lose their fat through invasive means.  Molding your body is my ideal type of thing.  What you consistently do every day molds your life...

All my childhood life, my parents tell me to keep my back straight.  It seems like we all just want to keep a slouchy position because it feels so comfortable.  However, putting yourself through that comfort eventually will cause your spine to start forming that way.  When we're young, our whole body is continuously growing, which means that cells are replicating at all times.  The growth only occurs according to how the certain thing is molded.  A plant at the window sill grows towards sunlight and if you keep turning the plant around it will change the direction it will grow, but whatever has already has grown will stay that way.  In the same way, when you slouch, you alter the direction your spine was growing.  When the spine becomes strong and firm and the body grows up, it sets and the back becomes bent over.  By the time you realize where you're at, it might be too late.  By the time the bone sets, it won't feel comfortable for you to straighten your back, a habit is already set, and you're getting a lot more tired because you're stuck in that position and have to support your body in order to continue to go forward.

Realizing where you are and changing how you're molding yourself is how you can prevent this problem.  Look at the direction you're going and make a change in your lifestyle.  Mold your body according to what your goals are.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Don't Forget

We forget about a lot of things.  Today, after church, I went to Walmart to buy some Christmas presents.  I was thinking about what I could possibly get for my sisters and thought long and hard about it... when I suddenly remembered that I make jewelry.  Having a lot of females in my family has made it so that I have a set of skills that aren't to be trifled with.  Of course, it's not REAL jewelry that I dabble with, but I think it's still pretty darn good.  I've fortunately (or unfortunately... depending on how you look at it) built up that skill over a few years of practice, and so now, giving jewelry to the females in my family has become pretty easy.  However, over the years, I haven't been around family too much and bought presents instead, forgetting my set of skills.  After visiting Walmart and wondering what I should get my sisters, I went across the jewelry making section and figured out the perfect things to gift my family.

Sometimes, we forget about what we can do because we are out of practice.  When you don't do that many things, you forget what you can do.  Your mind becomes confused and doesn't understand what it's capable of doing.  Practice does go to performance, and without it, you forget.

Let's not forget.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Had a Bad Day

Things happen.  We're in a world filled with both good and bad days.  I had a not so good day today.  In my evening run at the track, I did a 3 mile warm up, then proceeded to try to keep up somewhat with Ethan, a fast runner in the group.  He was doing 800 repeats with a minute and a half of a break in between at a 5 min/mile pace.  Since I'm curious and wanted to see what I could do and how long I could hold it... I went for it.  Didn't do well... I finished the first one but couldn't do the second one.  I had to stop doing 800 repeats and did 400 repeats instead.  Looking at that, I realized how slow I was.  I've been practicing running so long that I've neglected my speed.  Not only was I tired and not able to run fast for a longer period of time, I felt light headed and faint for some reason.  Looking back, I believe that it was due to the fact that I didn't drink and eat enough, and I pushed myself hard.

Good days or bad, both of them are 24 hours long.  So much to learn, so much to grow from.  Doesn't matter if it was a good day or a bad day.  You can learn so much.

After going through all that, I jogged around the track and finished it off with a 3 mile cool down.  It didn't end out too bad... especially with a good meal at the end of the day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Just a Salad

Seems like salads are back in.  Lately, I've been working hard to use less money, and in doing so, I've been pretty darn hungry.  You see, because I've been filling myself with rice and whatever else I eat, I take in enough energy... but my stomach isn't full.  However, with the addition of the salad, it's so much easier for me to eat and become satisfied.  I eat a lot, and with the salad, you take in a lot of water weight, fibers, vitamins and minerals.  It's just a good deal.

The simplest things can be good for us.  We don't realize that our stomach enjoys eating and we tend to fill it up.  The problem is that most people end up putting in more calories inside of their bodies than what they use.  With that kind of intake, the excess energy will turn to fat.  It's kind of like biting off more than you can chew... but in this case, we listen to how much we want to satisfy our stomach and end up filling our body with too much energy.

The salad provided me with not as much energy, but filled my stomach.  It didn't give me an overdose of things I didn't need.  It gave me exactly what I needed and the amount I needed.  Finding the thing that fills your life without adding too much pressure.

Find the balance.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Less Weight

Now, when I say I need to lose weight, it's not just for health reasons.  I want to lose all the excess weight in order to run faster.  Sometimes, the weight that we don't need for running just needs to go if you want to compete.  Although it may be a lot of muscle, the thing is, when running, it doesn't matter what you have, if you don't need it, then it's just extra things you could get rid of.  Of course, it's important for me to lose some of the fat, but I can't segregate.  I need to make sure that I mold my body into the most running efficient shape.  Only with the 'perfect' body can I have the 'perfect' speed.  Less weight is more of a side effect, rather than the main point.  Most people tend to think of losing weight as the main goal, instead of chiseling their body.  Make sure you do that, focusing on your true goal, instead of your side effects.

Now, in order to step towards my goal, it's important that I lose weight, and I do aim at correcting my weight in various ways.  One is diet, the other is activity.  With those two things, I can alter my body size and shape, and am able to run at my best.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The 7.6%

This year, for the Western States 100, there was only a 7.6% chance for me to enter.  Of course, I tried out for it, and today, as I waited for the names to be called... out of the 275 names, my name was not a part of that.  For a moment, I heard Knoxville TN being called and my heart started beating really fast.  Unfortunately, it was someone else.  I had hoped that I might get lucky, but that was not the case.  Maybe I wasn't really ready for it anyway.  Either way, I'm not going, and I'll have to try again next year.  We'll see where that goes.

The thing is, 7.6% is an awful small chance, but there are a lot of people that took that chance and won.  Next year, should I try again, my chances would double, but we'll see what happens when that time comes.  Trying is always better than not trying.  Although you know what the results are, there's a big difference between 7.6% and 0%.  I would always choose the 7.6% because having a chance is more than not having a chance.

To take that chance is the strength you need.  Finding strength to attempt to do something that you might not achieve is something noteworthy.  Now THAT is truly what strength is.

Find that strength, make that leap of faith, and go for your dreams.  You may get it, you might not... but the fact is, you tried, you went for it... and that itself is a huge accomplishment.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Stretching Yourself

There's a fine line between stretching yourself and straining yourself.  Straining implies that you've put a little too much into what you're doing while stretching implies that you're going just a little further.  Stretching helps you get better while straining destroys you.  Now when I talk about stretching yourself, I'm not just talking about the importance of stretching before and after your runs, I'm talking about putting yourself slightly beyond what you're used to doing and training to improve.  On Tuesday, I went out for the hard run where I pushed myself hard.  Now it seems as if the right thing to do would be to take a rest the next day, but instead, I opted out and decided I'd stretch myself just a little bit and go a medium distance.  I went out, and gave myself a minimum of 40 min to a maximum of 1:20 of running.  During the run, I thought about how I wanted to grow, and decided that I needed to get my longer distances down if I was going to train for an ultra marathon, so I went with the 1:20, running out 40 minutes and hoping I can run back faster.  Of course, I didn't go all out and try to run hard both ways the day after running a speed work out.  Instead, I went pretty easily.  Altogether, I ran 9.9 miles in 1:16:21, an average of 7:42 min/mile.

Stretching yourself enables you to grow, and you only grow the direction you stretch yourself.  Knowing that, it's important to know the directions you want to grow, so that you can stretch yourself.  Also, it's important to not stretch yourself in multiple directions at once because in doing so, you can stretch yourself too much in different directions so that you don't stretch too much at all, becoming a jack of all trades and masters of none.  Focus on what you want to be and stretch yourself in that way, and you will grow fast.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Unlimited Running

When I run, I enjoy running how long I feel like running... how fast I feel like running... when I feel like running.  I have these guidelines that I put on myself that I more or less follow.  With these guidelines, I have the general idea of what I'm going to do.  Sometimes, mid-run, I change my mind and I go off and do something else.  Although my running may seem somewhat random, there is some sort of purpose with each run I have.  The hardest part about my running is that sometimes, I become lazy and think to myself, "Tomorrow, I'll run long, so today, I won't go too hard." and start off my run like that.  However, what tends to happen is that I would change my mind and decide to work harder or run longer and tomorrow decide how my run would turn out to be.

In giving myself the freedom to choose my own workouts and how much I do, I give myself a potential of an unlimited amount of running.  Usually, because of my passion towards running and the yearning I have to become better, I tend to push myself just hard enough that I run further and get better.  The thing about letting go of my limits and following how I feel is that it allows me to grow further than I would have, had I limited myself to a certain sort of work out.  A set workout will control your growth, however, it limits your growth to your plans, not allowing you to stretch further.

My idea of unlimited running only works if you're mentally prepared to push yourself as much as you are able to after understanding yourself.  Most people who start running shouldn't do this because most of the time, they won't feel like running and will be more likely to skip work outs because they'll try to deal with themselves.  However, there will always be the exceptions which will do just fine with this sort of training.  In actually understanding the concept of unlimited running, you will be able to push yourself as far as you can without hurting yourself.

Being able to put yourself through the unlimited training, and you can perform amazingly.  In order to improve yourself, it's all about not having any limitations that keeps you from performing at your best.  At times, things we set out to do pushes us too much... and at times, it pushes us too little.  Only in pushing ourselves enough do we improve the most effectively.  Find that point where you can improve at your best, and push forward.

(today, I did a 3 mile warm up, then 800 meters at 80-85 sec per lap, then a 400 meter jog.  I repeated that 4 times altogether, and then did a 3 mile cool down.  It was nice to push myself on that 800 meter... my original plan was to run 400 meters hard and take a break and repeating that.  Finding out that I could go beyond that and enjoy it as I pushed myself, I changed my mind mid-run)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Fit to Run

So on Saturday, I went on that epic journey (aka stupid run) of almost 22 miles, and for the next couple of days, my shoulders and back was a little sore from the run.  That showed me that my upper body was not at the place it needed to be for long distance running.  I needed to work on them in order to be able to run at my best.

Today, in order to combat that problem, I devised a really simple workout.  It would incorporate building strength in the upper body and lower body but without gaining muscle.  I did 4 sets of 5 pull ups, 10 push ups, 20 squats, 40 calf raises, and after that, did some shoulder exercises.  I feel that by doing that and continuing to do that every day would help me grow.

You have to be fit to run long distances, and it's more than just your legs.  Some people don't realize how important it is to train your upper body too.  There's more than meets the eye...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Find Your Niche

We all have different passions and different niches.  We like certain foods, different places, and we have our preferences in what TV show we watch.  We are all unique, different... and because of that, we have different groups of people we associate with.

I'm kind of crazy.  I like running.  I like music.  I like food.  I like people... and because of all the things that I like, I find it easy to just mesh with people.  Obviously, my passion for running is outstanding and because of that, people kind of get to understanding how much I'm crazy about running... but I make sure to tone it down to not scare them away.

Finding your niche is important because it helps you stay comfortable, being in a place where you belong.  Being in a place where you don't belong is going to wear and tear you up (or down...) and it's just not healthy for you.  It's important to find that community of people who share your passions and preferences and associate with them.  Common ground is what people need because it gives reassurance and stability.

I find that because of my love for running, the friends that I made while running encourages me to run further and to run faster... to keep on going because I have people with me that back me up and support me.  Having that niche helped me find a good community, though they may be in different states... or even countries, and they've pushed me more than I could have pushed myself.

Finding a community that shares what you believe in, that understands you, is important because of the encouragement and strength they give you.  Finding that niche helps you work towards your goals.

Go find your niche.

Being Smart

Sometimes, you make dumb decisions.  But just because you make them doesn't mean that you're going to mess up your life.  The decisions might have not been the best, but you can still learn and grow from the decisions you made.  It's important that you know you can do something about it.

Today, I went out for my long run, and my original plan was to go out for an hour and a bit and then come back.  I went out, and kept on going, and by the time I was suppose to go back, it seemed like I could probably find a way that I could go around in a circle.  Bad idea... I only had a banana and a glass of water before I left, and when I decided I would do that, I went out for 3:21:18, running 21.81 miles, which was a 9:13 min/mile pace.  Now I didn't run the whole thing that slow.  What happened in the run was that I was running about 7-8 min/mile pace, and felt pretty good.  When I decided to keep on going, I kept up that pace til I was about 14 miles into the run.  Then I looked at where I needed to be and figured out that at my current pace, I wouldn't be able to make it... especially without water and the proper amounts of energy inside my body.

If you make a dumb decision, you can make the most of it by using your brain.  First of all.  I made a dumb decision by running without eating breakfast and taking water.  I also decided that I'd be running a long run.  Now, if I kept on making dumb decisions, then I would have ended up on the side of the road, dehydrated and without energy.  Knowing the cards I've dealt myself, I needed to make the most of it.  That meant that the last 7 miles would need to be a smart 7 miles.  I chose to walk some of it because I knew I wouldn't be able to make it by forcing myself to go on.  I also decided to continually check my pulse to make sure it wasn't too high so that I would be able to tell if I'm using too much energy from carbs rather than from fat.  I also made sure to breath out with my nose to insure that I wouldn't lose too much water from the water vapor that would come out of my mouth.  Breathing in and out through the nose protects you from losing too much water. (works great in survival situations too!)

People make mistakes... that's a sad given.  However, just know that the mistakes are not your undoing.  Learn from it, rise from it, and make the right decisions to go forward in the right direction.

Friday, November 30, 2012

How You Feel

How I feel affects how much I run.  Today, I felt pretty good.  Lately, I've just been really happy with my life, but missing some of my running.  Getting the chance to go out and run, I went out for what I planned on an hour, but during the run, I felt like I could go longer, and decided that I'd go out a little further.  Going out for a little over forty minutes, I planned on making it so that I would try to do my second half faster than my first half.  Successfully, I came back in 1:17:08, running a distance of 9.81 miles, an average of 7:51 min/mile.  It wasn't a blistering fast pace, but a nice and smooth pace.  I was feeling so good that I just kept it up.

Feelings do matter.  Emotions do affect our performance.  Just as a positive personality can positively influence you (and a negative one negatively influences you), feelings affect what you do.  Me having a great couple of days had me going off and running a little more than my original plan.  Tomorrow, my plan is to run  a longer distance, but we'll see what really happens.  I do like to let my feelings guide my runs.  Letting the feelings get complete control can be a little too much, but I tend to let them guide how fast and long I run on my easy and long days.

Feelings do matter.  Work on how you feel and in turn, you can work on how you live.  There's a direct correlation between feeling and life.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Easing In and Out of Training

Yesterday was one awesome day.  I met up with two other people from the Knoxville Track Club's Tuesday Workout group, and we went out for a nice 10 miler.  In the beginning, we eased into a good pace, and at the end, we eased out of that faster pace until we reached the finish line.  I had a great time.  It wasn't a race pace so we didn't work too hard, but still, the average was pretty good.  According to the app, we ran approximately 10.23 miles in 1:15:13, an average of 7:21 min/mile.  With the easing into and out of the run, we probably worked about 8 miles at about a 7 min pace.

It's important to ease into and out of runs because in doing so, you warm up your muscles so that they aren't overstretched all of a sudden.  It's important to be able to push yourself, but only after an adequate amount of warming up.  Warm-ups are vital because it stretches the muscles without putting too much strain on them.  Should you go full force from the beginning, you could end up tearing or pulling something because of the amount of strain you put on yourself.

In the same way, it's important to ease out of the training and cool down.  In suddenly stopping, it confuses your body and with a sudden stop, it'll leave the lactic acid inside of the muscles and suddenly slow down the blood flow, which can disrupt the biomechanics of the human body.  It strains the body too much if you go for a harder run and then suddenly stop.

We need to take a little bit of time to get in and out of things because we need to adapt to it.  Sometimes, we are able to adapt to such things with ease, but other times, we need to make time to do that.  In understanding yourself and where you're at, you can help yourself out by taking some time to transition from one thing to another.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Last night, I went over to Fellowship just to get in a little sermon for college kids (even though I'm no longer a college kid, it still is nice to listen to a little preaching that's not for those that are over 50, haha).  The subject he talked about was worrying and how worrying means that you're not trusting in God.  I took from that and now am going to talk about how worrying doesn't do you any good if you are training to get in better shape.

I hear a couple people talking about how they worry about their weight.  If they are indeed worrying about their weight, that means that they aren't trusting what they're doing to take care of themselves.  Worrying about your weight means that you're not trusting in the lifestyle you're in.  What does that mean?  Usually, it means that you aren't doing your absolute best, which gives you something to worry about.  Worrying happens when you don't trust in what you should be trusting in... it means that you think that that certain 'thing' becomes untrustworthy.

When I train the people around me, I always bring about the subject of trust.  I ask them if they trust me and trust what I say.  Usually, I get the answer yes, and from then on, they find it a lot easier to work out and don't worry about their weight or how they're doing.  Once in a while, these people will forget about it and start worrying again.  When they start worrying again, they would come up and ask me about how they're doing.  In return, I will give them affirmation.  I will tell them exactly what I think about their situation, and since they know where they are and what direction they are going, it's less likely that that they would worry.  Affirmation does put out the worrying that people may have.

So what do you do about the worrying?  My advice.  Stop it.  There's logically nothing that will happen by worrying.  So if something does come up that takes you towards starting to worrying, take action and do something about it.  Worrying does nothing and it's a waste of time.  Do something productive and get to a place where you are strong and do not have to worry because you trust in what you're doing and going through.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rainy Days

There are days when it will rain.  But is that enough to make you stop?  Or will it just be one of those excuses that you use to not go out and run?

I hear a lot of different people complain that they couldn't go out for a run because it was raining.  Now I understand if it was a thunderstorm, but in most cases, the times that they 'could not' go out for a run was on a day when it was just raining.  Sometimes, we use little things that aren't hindrances and blow them up to make them seem as if they were a hindrance.  If you truly don't want to do something, you will find a way to find an excuse to not do that.  In the case of running, a simple rain shower can stop millions of people from going outside for their daily jog.

The only hindrance is the individual.  There will be rainy days.  There will be sunny days.  Both of those days will not push you into or pull you away from running.  You're in charge.

If you're in charge, then you need to have resolve to do what you need to do.  Take the right steps to keep your resolve and push forward into the person you want to be.  Faltering is weakness and you don't have time for that.  Rain or shine, it shouldn't matter because you can still push forward.  Be smart, be strong, and push on.

(yesterday, I ran 5.03 miles in 40:35, an average of 8:03 min/mile, it was a nice little run.  Today, I just had a nice break.  Tomorrow is going to be a longer run.  I'm working on a new training method, running 2 out of 3 days... unless I feel like continuously running.  My goal is to get to a point where I'm running about 2 hours a day, hoping to get closer to running 4 hours ever so often.)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Getting Back

Seems like my days of running is always on and off.  Some days, I'm running like a madman, and other times, I just can't seem to find the time to go running.  Yesterday, before I went back home to Knoxville, I 'forced' myself to make time and go run.  I ran for 32:19 and ran 4.32 miles, an average of 7:29 min/mile.  Every little bit counts, and forcing myself to run that little bit makes that much of a difference.

Even though I'm a runner and enjoy all that running... I do have days I don't want to go running.  Most people would look at me and listen to my love of running and wouldn't understand that.  Knowing how much I love running, they expect me to always love going out for runs.  I mean, yeah.  I do have a lot of those times where I enjoy going out for a run, but there's also times I don't want to.

Sometimes, doing what you're passionate about isn't always the sunshine and daisies that people think it is.  There are those days that are rainy and downright miserable.  Sometimes, it's not 'fun'.

Now you're at the crossroads.  Should you take a breather and come back to it?  Or should you continue on?

There are some days where I take that breather, and other days where I don't.  How do I know the difference?  It's through understanding myself.  The more you know about yourself, the better decisions you can make about what you are needing to do and what you aren't needing to do.

Today, I don't exactly feel like running... but what am I going to do?  I'm going to go running.  Why?  It's because I know that it's just me being lazy and as soon as I go outside, I'll start to love it again.  Getting into a comfortable and lazy habit can be dangerous.  Know where you're at and work towards improving yourself and get back into the good habits... even if it doesn't seem as white and fluffy.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Up to Date

It's nice to be able to get a new computer, a new phone, a new watch, because it helps us out with a lot of things.  It's convenient to have this constant connection with the world around us... but what happens when it's not there?  It becomes a little inconvenient.  My little trip with that happened these past few days.  Not having a laptop, I had to rely on my phone for the most miniscule of that I wanted to do online... it was pretty annoying.

Now that Black Friday had come and gone, I bought myself a good ultrabook, and now have to take a lot of time and learn how to use this Windows 8 system.  I really enjoyed the new things on it, and am finding it fun to figure out how different things work.

Now my grandparents... they're in a whole different level.  They still use computers that barely work because it takes so much time for it to turn on and do anything, so they aren't exactly caught up with the rest of the world.  Interesting how we both live in the same world... but at the same time, live in a different world.  I'm all caught up with a lot more than they are, keeping up with the things that are current while my grandparents are still quite a ways behind.  It's not that it's bad that they're so behind.  It's just that they seem to not know as much.

Keeping up with what's going on now is very important.  Getting stuck in the past isn't going to help you out with anything.  Most people think that running is harmful because of what went on in the past with different people getting hurt because of their running.  People don't realize that now, people are figuring out how to run and what running is.  That running before was harmful because people didn't understand how to run and it ended up hurting them.

We can't get a computer and never update it.  It's important to update it because things are always changing.  In the same way, it's important to keep on 'updating' yourself, so that you too can grow and move forward.

(on Thanksgiving, I went out for a nice run before eating a good bit and ran 7.31 miles in 1:00:03, an average of 8:12 min/mile.  It was a nice pace and I felt pretty good with it.  Little by little, I'll be speeding up because I'm going to need to be able to race at a sub-7 minute mile for a 50k in January)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Eating Just Right

Depending on what you do, you need to make sure you eat enough to make sure you take in as much energy as you use. I make sure that on most days, I would eat as much as I use that day.

Eating is something I live to indulge in. Eating is awesome. I love to eat. But at the same time, I need to be in control over what I eat, instead of having eating control me. What most people have problems in these days, is that we are controlled by food.

Eating is a necessity, however, as food became plentiful, we have started to consume more than what we need. What happens to the excess amount of energy we consume? It just goes straight to the hips. Haha. It turns to fat.

Is that good? Nope. It doesn't help you out at all. What happens is that choosing to indulge in overeating has its consequences.

Make the best decision for yourself. Eat right and live right.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Time Commitment

When I trained to run my first marathon, half of my run was about how much time I would spend running, and the other times I would spend would be based off of how many miles I ran.  I believe that it's important to balance between the actual miles and the time.  However, ever since the wonderful invention of the imapmyrun app, I've been looking at how many miles I've been running.  Although I've been able to look at the miles I've done, I've more than often looked at how fast I was going and start pushing myself in order to get a good time.

Last night, I decided that I would do it differently.  I'd still be running with my phone, but I put my app off and just ran as fast as I felt like running.  The result?  One of the most fantastic runs I've done in a long time.  It was wonderful, being able to run without worrying about time or writing down how fast I went because... I don't know.  In this case, the lack of knowledge helped me understand that it's not about how fast I ran, but how much time I sacrificed to make this run.  In last night's case, I ran for 2 hours.  They were two glorious hours where I just ran and thought, and occasionally sang.  At first I felt 'bad' that I wasn't recording how many miles I was running, but all in all, that was the whole point of me going out for that run.  It was designed to keep me from working too hard and focus on actually enjoying the run.  The only time I felt 'bad' about the run was at around the 1:40 mark, when I reaaaally needed to go to the bathroom.  Now this was a little bit of a problem.  I told myself 2 hours, and I was dead set on that.  So for 20 minutes, I was calmly making sure nothing bad happened... but man that was awful... Need to remember that before I go out on those 2+ hour runs, I need to make sure to get rid of that extra baggage.  Haha.

Sometimes, we focus too much on exactly what we do and the task at hand and we forget to enjoy the time we took to go through it.  It's good to log in miles and look at how we've progressed, but at the same time, it's also good to just go out and enjoy your run.

Think about going out for a certain set amount of time.  Forget the distance.

Enjoy the time you're out there... running.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Importance of Being Earnest

Yesterday, I decided to find a new route, in order to see a different part of where I live (as I recently moved) and when I took that new route, I soon found out that this route would only serve as a speed workout.  The reason being that on the way out, I came upon two dogs, one a pit bull, and they both decided that it would be funny to chase after me and see if they could catch me.  Needless to say, I didn't want to be caught, and I sprinted as fast as I could in order to not get caught by those two dogs.  I ran as if my life depended on it, and even this morning, I could feel the soreness in my legs from running as fast as I possibly could for a certain amount of time.

If I had given up, they would have caught me, and I guess they would have bitten me or something, but because I didn't give up, I was able to live another day... of course, I had to go back that way too so I did a couple feints and ran past them yet again... the other dog was faster but didn't look as mean so I only had to really worry about the pit bull.  The pit bull wasn't as in shape so I just had to make sure I kept my dead sprint as long as I possibly could in order to not get bitten.  Silly that I was thinking about taking the two dogs on my own, but once I got a little closer to the pit bull, I decided against it.  Maybe next time, I'll bring a stick with me as the dogs chase me for about 200 meters...

The important thing was that I made it out alive, and I'm glad.  This run made me realize that when you have to push yourself... you can do it.  If you want to live, you'll do anything you can to make sure that you get through it.  If you lose that will, then you don't care as much and don't try.  When you're so passionate about something (such as staying alive) you give it your best and work as hard as possible to make it happen.  It shouldn't only be done in extreme circumstances, but also during the times when we are just working to improve ourselves.

Of course, after the dead sprint, I jogged extra slowly because I pushed a little too hard a little too much, but hey, for a moment, I was going pretty fast.  All in all, I ran 5.58 miles in 45:34, an average of 8:09 min/mile.  Not my fastest, but the main thing is... I made it out alive,

and by the way... I don't think I'll go back on that route again...


Sunday, November 18, 2012

What You Gotta Do

You gotta do what you gotta do.  It's hard sometimes when things get in the way of plans, but you know, there's no use complaining.  You gotta do what you gotta do, when you gotta do it.  There's no way around that.  It can suck because you might have had an original plan, but when things come up, you gotta take it as it comes and work with it.

Today, I had a wedding that I was going to attend.  I thought it'd be cool to not only attend that wedding, but also go for a run in the mountains after the wedding, as the wedding would take place in Virginia, and between TN and VA, there were a ton of mountains that I could go for a run in.  The trails would have been awesome too, but unfortunately, I had to cancel that running arrangement in the mountains because the reception went to a little after 5.  Because of the time, the sun had already begun to set, and by the time I would have been able to get to a trail to run, I would have been running in the dark.  Although I was prepared to run, I wasn't prepared with a headlamp, to run in the dark.  Begrudgingly, I went home driving the 3 hours and a bit it took to get there.  As I really looked forward to the run, I felt sad that I couldn't do it, but hey, I knew the wedding was important for me and for my friends.  I kept the main thing as the main thing and what I gotta do... I did.

It's alright when things don't go your way.  Stuff happens.  And when it does, you just push on through it and be strong.  Tomorrow, I'll have to make sure to get a good run in.  Enjoying the break from running a little too much, but don't wanna build a habit like that.  Looking forward to racing a good 50k in January.  Time's running out.  Hard core training... begin!

Friday, November 16, 2012


On facebook, ASICS had this little article about getting free shoes if I reply (and become top 3) to a tweet that Lolo Jones put out.  Her question was simple:

How are you pushing yourself?

Simple, right?  Well it turns out that it wasn't as simple as I thought.  The thing I kept on coming across is how little of a space you had to write what you wanted to tweet (still getting used to this whole 'tweeting' ordeal)... with the '@lolojones', I only had 129 characters to type this message.  At first I was thinking of something amazing like 'I push myself by making goals to break my limits,' or 'I push myself by looking at where I was and where I am and where I want to be...' but by the time I worded them the right way, it all turned out to be too long.  So I sat down and wondered what I was going to do... it had to be something simple, something that stood out as TRUTH! or something... and it came to me.

Whatever we do, we do because we want to do.  Then what's driving us towards that?  Why do we do things?  The reason that I came up with is because of passion.  If you are passionate about something, you really don't have any other choice BUT to push yourself forward.  My passion towards running was what drives me forward.  Sometimes, when I lose my focus, and thus 'lose' the passion, but if I was so passionate about something, there's nothing else I could do but to talk about it, share it with friends, and work towards becoming better.  Funny how things hit you when you think about the same questions over and over again.

Passion drives you forward.

(yesterday, I ran 10.38 miles.  I decided that I would go out for 45 minutes and get back under or at 45 minutes.  Little did I know that my wonderful plan included me finishing at the top of the hill... but nevertheless, I managed to finish in 1:26:19, a 8:19 min/mile average.  Not too shabby.  Today, I'm taking a break, and tomorrow... I'll have another one of those longer runs.  After crushing myself with a couple hard legs, I need to ease into running again, 1.5 hours every other day)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Next Goal

Now that the Ragnar Race has ended and I've taken a nice break, it's about time for me to think about what's ahead.  On Sunday, I went out for a run because it was World Running Day, and ran 8.19 miles in 1:01:16, a 7:28 min/mile pace, which was pretty decent.  Since then, I've been busy unpacking my things because I was moving from my place in Cedar Bluff to the east side of Knoxville.  Over here, there's a lot of places I haven't run, so as soon as I'm done unpacking and making my room livable, I'll get out and explore. Due to my sister borrowing a car, I've had a hard time doing anything around here, but it'll all end when I start running around and getting acclimated to the surrounding area.  My roommate told me that it'd be dangerous to run around at night, so I'll have to refrain from that from now on, but it'll be good to run around during the day while my break lasts.

As for the next goal, I've chosen the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon as one that I would like to train for.  This time, instead of getting first place in my age group, my goal is to beat everyone running the race.  After running the Ragnar, I saw that I could run pretty fast without exercising and training for it, so now with my new found confidence, I feel that I could take myself to the next level and train to run a sub 6 minute per mile for the whole marathon.  It's going to be a lot of work, but it's not going to be impossible.  I think it'll be rather exciting.  I don't know how I'm going to train for it this time... but for now, I'm going to build a good foundation of miles run in order to prepare for the training program that I'll specifically design for me.

On a side note, I signed up for the Western States 100 and I really do hope that I get to be one of the lucky ones that gets drawn to go.  Since I've qualified for it, I am eligible to sign up for it (which I did) and out of everyone that signs up for it, only 10% of the people gets to be chosen through the lottery.  It sounds like a long shot, but I figure 10% is better than 0% so I'm going for it.  I know that if I get chosen, I'll have to work hard to get in good enough shape to run that 100 miles and compete with a field of elite runners and others that have qualified.  Should that happen, my marathon training will still be in effect, but I would also add a lot of other long runs.  I've already prepared myself for running the Frozen Sasquatch 50k on January 5th, so I'll see where I stand with that (it's only about 5 miles more than a marathon so it shouldn't be a big deal) but maybe I'll have to find a 50 miler or something to run soon after the Knoxville Marathon, if I get lucky and get chosen to run the WS100... oh life is so fun when you're going from race to race.  We'll see how it goes... Hey, I might just do the Smoky Mountain Relay and see if I could do an ultra leg or something... should be fun.  We'll see how everything falls into place when December 8th rolls around... by then, they'll have announced the chosen people for the WS100 and I'll know whether or not my life is going to be drastically different... or just about the same.

The next goal does drive you forward, and without that goal, you kind of stagnate.  Find that goal and you will thrive.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ragnar Relay - Tennessee

12 runners, 2 vans, 2 drivers, almost 200 miles... and 1 goal.

Team: I Thought This Was a 5k!

Van 1:
Driver: Lindsay
Runners: Cayla, Jenny, Kelly, Marc, Michael, Jayney

Van 2: (technically, it was a suburban)
Driver: David
Runners: Chris, Joel, Sho, Spencer, Sarah, Chris

It has been one hectic weekend.  On Thursday, I went to the McDonalds on Lovell Road to meet up with a few people that I have never met in my entire life.  A couple months previous to this meeting, I had decided that I would try to find a team to run a 196 mile relay (shirt says 197... not sure which is real... but whatever).  I looked up on facebook to see if there were any teams that were looking for individuals to join them, and I came across one person who had posted on Ragnar's facebook site that they were in need of a runner.  Non-chalantly, I sent an email, and thus started the road to getting together with 11 individuals I have never met before, and running from Chattanooga to Nashville in this  crazy relay.

Thursday at 1pm, I met up with one of our drivers, and 3 of our runners, got to know them a little bit while we waited for another runner from Oak Ridge to join.  Finally, when our fearless captain realized that she had been sending text messages to the wrong person (apparently, some random dude was getting texts but wasn't replying...) we got ahold of our last runner and off we went.  Our team name was 'I Thought This Was a 5k!' and we were ready to meet up with the rest of our crew in Chattanooga.  On the road down, we talked a little about who we were and what we did, and got to know everybody pretty well... maybe a little too well... but in any case, it was a lot of fun for me.  It wasn't just about meeting new people, it was about meeting new people that were as crazy as I was.

Talking for a couple hours, time flew as we traveled from Knoxville to Chattanooga and before we knew it, we were in Chattanooga, well ahead of the other group that was coming in from Nashville.  We chillaxed at the hotel (having trouble with our cardkeys), waited for the other half of our team to arrive, and as they came in, we went out and got to know each other over some Cracker-Barrel where I proceeded to fuel up.  I made a deal with our server that if I could eat more than a meal and 3 pancakes, I would get my meal for free, and the end result?  I got a free meal.  During our dinner/breakfast, we had a blast getting to know each other, everyone excited about meeting new people and about the upcoming relay.

Afterwards, we went to Walmart, bought some window chalk (idk what you call that...) and went back to the hotel, proceeding to decorate our vans as best as our artistic abilities allowed, although the aesthetic appeal wasn't the best, we were all proud of our work.  It was around then that I learned about the kill chart.  As the race had different waves going every half hour (250 teams running the race...) we had quite a few teams that started ahead of us.  Every time we passed someone, it would count as a kill.    We would then put our kills on the window, displaying for all to see the carnage we were responsible for.  After our artwork, we proceeded to go back to our hotel rooms and slept.

Excited about the race, I woke up at 2am, got myself a drink of water (proper hydration!!) and slept again, to wake up 5 hours later, taking a nice shower, and we were out at around 8:30.  We then went over to the starting area where we took a picture as a group, and ready to leave at 10:30.  We were all so pumped up to run, adrenaline in our system... but half of us soon realized that we weren't going to be running for the next few hours and that kind of ruined the atmosphere...

Cayla led the charge at 10:30, starting her leg, and as Van 1 went to support her, Van 2 decided to search for an IHOP... to of no avail.  Seems like it was replaced and nobody knew about it... ignoring the minor detail that the 'IHOP' was in fact not an IHOP, we went on and found a Chick-Fil-A, where we ate our 'breakfast' and went to our checkpoint, where Van 1's 6th runner would meet hand the run over to us.  We went to the checkpoint, checked in, went through the safety course, and got our little Ragnar bag with the toilet paper inside, we just bummed around, waiting for the other van to let us know when their last person started their leg.  Being nervous about the race, I got to know the port-a-potties really well and after hearing that there was a bathroom at the facility, I decided to venture over to see if I could find a more comfortable place to relieve some extra baggage, but as I didn't want to swim to the toilet, I thought better and just stuck with what worked.  Some runners can be messy... Also, as a voracious eater, I planned ahead and made sure to eat a nice jar of pasta saute that I prepared, and finally we heard from the other van that they had handed the slap band to their last runner... but they were behind schedule.

Due to the elevation change in the first few legs, it was hard to stay on schedule, but they managed to pull through and hand the slap band to us, and our mission was to kill and catch up.  As our first runner left (from Van 2), we went to our van and followed him.  Chris's first leg was a tough one, uphill basically all the way.  We followed and cheered and cowbelled him as we passed him on the way up, and just after the water station, we found a place to park and waited for him as he worked his way up the mountain.  As he neared us, we took pictures, videos, and cheered him on, afterwards driving up to the next checkpoint, as our next runner got ready to go for his run.

As we weren't allowed to go out due to the excessive amounts of people being there, we sent him and one other to the exchange point to continue on with the race and retrieve our runner.  The next leg wasn't as bad as the first leg, but it was still a race to kill and a race to catch up.  With the mission in mind and a task to do, Joel went on and strode out to kill as many as he could.  Next in line was me, not as ready as can be, but I was excited to go, still worried about the 7 minute pace that I promised early before my 50 miler.  Training for a 50 miler is a little different than running a shorter and faster leg and so I was worried like none other, unsure whether I could do the min/mile that I promised... but in the end decided that I would just give each race my all and kill as many as possible.

Taking off my glasses, putting on my bandana, my headlamp and led lights, and my  reflective vest... and most importantly, drinking my pedialyte, I got ready to run my leg.  We thought that Joel was coming down earlier, but we weren't sure and so I went on the other side, put my iPhone on Pandora, and listened to my Dream Theater station, ready to go... until I saw a dog and started paying attention to that... a little too much attention.  All of  a sudden, Joel was right beside me, I was slightly confused, and he slapped my wrist with the slap band, and a little shocked, I turned on my mapmyrun app and away I went.  At first, I couldn't really see anyone ahead of me and even though I promised to warm up the first little bit, I broke that promised and ran a little faster, seeing a little bobbing light ahead of me.  I went in for the kill.  As I felt the rush of adrenaline pumping through me, I saw my next target, this time moving ahead of me a little faster than this one.  I went after it like a wolf, drawing closer little by little. As I was doing this, the van passed by with everyone cheering and it felt good to be supported by such an awesome group.  I went on and managed to catch up with the next runner, and by then, it became pretty dark and so the only thing I could see were the few steps in front of me and the blinking red lights of the next person I was going to kill.  This went on (a lot slower than the pace you're reading this) for the whole leg, and as I was catching up to what could have been my 7th kill, it was time for me to hand off the band to Spencer... except Spencer wasn't there.  For a moment, I remembered what Van 1 told us about a different team that had an individual wait for his team to come, but after waiting for a good bit, nobody came... so he did the next leg.  Prepared to go out and run again, I looked around... and fortunately, as I reconsidered running another leg, I was met by Joel who told me that Spencer was just coming out of the bathroom, and after giving him the band, away he went.  I then stopped my mapmyrun app, and saw that I had run 6.06 miles in 37:47, a 6:14 average (official length was 5.8 miles, so would've been 6:31 min/mile).  6 kills.

I drank my pedialyte as soon as we got in the van to chase after Spencer, and also took over the 'whole' back seat, and we cheered him on as he went fast and stopped once or twice as he ran, getting Sarah ready for her leg.  Spencer had his fair share of kills too, and as he passed the band to Sarah, she took off and went her way on her first leg.  By the time Spencer had received the band, it was pitch black, but the leg that Sarah ran didn't have many streetlights, making it slightly more difficult for her.  We did our bit of cheering as she did her leg, stopping when it seemed right and timed it pretty well, getting to cheer for her... however, we didn't give Chris enough time to stretch before he ran, so when she handed off the band to him, he worked hard on his leg as we all cheered him on, waiting for him to get to the next checkpoint, where we would trade places with Van 1.  Chris's leg was a little bit more lit up compared to Sarah, and with his sweet reflective vest, it was a lot easier for us to recognize him coming along.

Once we passed the band to Van 1, we were hungry and tired, wanting to eat something... anything, and so we decided on eating at Wendy's.  Of course, I ate my usual Sho-sized meal of 2 Chicken Wraps, 2 Chicken Sandwiches and 2 Jr Cheese Burgers, but it didn't exactly sit well with my stomach, and alongside the nervousness, I wasn't sure how well I would be able to do my next leg, which was going to be 3.8 miles.  We then trickled out, and as I was the last one to pay, I left later, and saw that they had left the parking spot and was on the other side of Wendy's... now whether it was on purpose they had left me, or by accident, I didn't care, I just wanted out, so I went in, and attempted to crawl into a fetal position and sleep... well... tried.

Van 1, however, also had their fair share of trouble.  Jayney had gotten sick during this time and wasn't feeling too well so was unable to run, and Cayla took her place, running the 1.6 mile leg at the end, which wasn't too hard by itself, but more difficult because of the lack of time she would need to eat between runs.  We were already at the checkpoint, but we weren't sure if they would remember to let us know when she started running, to give Chris enough time to warm up before she came.  It was only AFTER they arrived that we learned that she had already started, Chris and I went out, and he didn't even have enough time to go to the bathroom because she just came and he had to take off (it made life a little more interesting, I'm sure).  After she gave the slap band to Chris, I had to take off, as we had to get our things together to go after Chris.  I'm glad that Chris took the 7th runner position.  It was not only the hardest because he had to run the most, but it was also because he had to run uphill... a lot.  Fortunately, this run wasn't too bad, being rolling hills, but he still had to work hard to go to the next exchange point.

At the exchange point, Joel was ready to get off and do his run.  It was going to be a short one, and I was going to have to be ready almost as soon as he went off, because the distance that he was going to run was only 3 miles.  We cheered him on as we passed him, and as soon as we got to the exchange point, I finished drinking the little bit of pedialyte to calm myself down and hydrate myself.  It was already cold, but I knew that as soon as I started running, it would feel hot for me, so I waited with Sarah for Joel to come and give me the slap band.  I was nervous because I put a lot of pressure on myself, but as he came, he whooped so we could hear him, my head instantly cleared and I became a runner, turned on my music, got my app ready, and as he slapped the band on me, I took off, starting with a decent pace, then picking it up bit by bit til I was running hard towards the next blinking light... kill #7. As I passed each individual, I saw the next and was able to continue on this relentless pursuit of kills, and got to the next exchange point in 22:54 (according to the mapmyrun app, it was 3.97 miles and an average of 5:46) which would've given me about 6:02 for the 3.8 miles.  I worked my butt off to race the best race I could in this leg, not worrying about the last leg I would have to run.

Spencer was there ready for me as I came in, and as I slapped the band on him, he took off... and I slowed to a stop, happy and proud of my accomplishments.  A fast time and 8 kills.  Spencer's leg was a little over 4 miles, so it was going to be another fast one.  Again, without too much time to stretch, I jumped in the van and we drove off after him, cheering him on as we passed him, me drinking my pedialyte and eating a banana and Sarah getting ready for her turn as soon as Spencer ended.  Spencer ran his fastest in this leg, running 40 seconds per mile faster than his last leg.  As he handed the band to Sarah, she went off, and for 4.5 miles, she worked hard, passing it on to Chris, who ran hard for 3.6 miles so that he could finish and we could all get a break.  By this time, it was early in the morning and we were so tired, we had no idea what anybody else was doing... we just wanted to crash somewhere.

Chris arrived and as Van 1 went off doing their longer leg, our group looked for somewhere to eat... We found an IHOP, but it was closed... and we just wanted to eat something, then sleep as soon as we get to the checkpoint... so we went to Waffle House at about 3 in the morning, where most of us attempted to eat, but only a little went in.  The most exciting part of the whole Waffle House trip was the fact that one of the workers were mentioning that she was asleep.  She turned around and told her that she was awake... but 20 seconds later, we looked over and she was leaning against the side, fast asleep (Spencer took a video of that...).  I wasn't able to eat a Sho-sized meal, so I stuck with the cheese steak omelette with hashbrowns and toast... it was a glorious meal and I ate slowly and felt good, the sick feeling from Wendy's went away.

We went to exchange station 30, but nobody seemed to be there.  A little confused, but not caring, everyone just started trying to sleep.  However, Chris was sure that something was up, so he left and asked people... and figured out that we had accidentally skipped 30 and went to exchange station 31.  Silly us.  We begrudgingly drove to the correct exchange station and tried to go to sleep.  At this point, I was one ticked off customer, wanting sleep desperately, but not able to get it.  It was miserable and I was angry at everyone and everything... especially the seat for being so close to me.  After being too exhausted to complain anymore, I fell asleep and when I woke up for a moment, I realized that Spencer wasn't beside me, that he had sneaked out to take his nap elsewhere... and just like the colonial days, I claimed this land for Sho and went back to sleep.  I woke up after a little bit as the world around me became bright and David let me know that Cayla was about to come back from her 5th leg, having run over 20 miles...  As she came through her last leg, she gave the band to Chris, and our van was off.  He had a 6.7 mile leg now so compared to his other legs, it wasn't too bad, but being the last leg... it was still pretty hard.  We cheered him on as he ran his last leg, all of us anxious to get to our legs and finish it... me dreading the 8.9 miles I would have to run.

As Chris gave Joel his band, we looked to see that Joel was having to go up a steep incline, and RIGHT after that, a steep decline which was just as hard.  We stopped once to cheer him on, and we went on to the check point, me drinking my pedialyte, ready to run my heart out on this one.  Just to add to the pressure and make me run faster, I told everyone that I was going to double up my kill count and go for 14 more kills in this leg.  I put some Ben Gay on my calves and hammies so that I would get them as loose as possible before the run.  I had some minty legs and I was ready to go.  As soon as I saw Joel's neon shirt far away, I turned on my music, put my hand out, and was ready to do my last leg.

Joel came in, and gave me the band and as I had it slapped on, I turned on my app, and started booking it.  The first half mile, I caught up with two runners that had just arrived before, breezing passed them, and looking forward to the next runner, I kept on going... but there was noone there.  For a moment, I was confused and wondered if I was going in the right direction.  I wavered a little bit but kept on going, pushing forward and finally came across a Ragnar sign, giving me the confidence to run forward.  After about 2 miles, the van came alongside to cheer me on, but I only had 2 kills for them... I was getting worried that the other people were way ahead of me and I wouldn't be able to kill any more people.  I picked up the pace a little, and realized that I didn't like running on gravel road.  I kept going and at about the 4-5 mile point, I saw ahead of me, a form of an individual runner.  I went a little faster, ready to go get him or her, but no matter what I did, it seemed like they were too far ahead of me (I guess I did see them about a half a mile ahead of me) but I kept on going.  Once again, I saw my group ahead, and cheering me as I went, I was still discouraged that I didn't get to kill anymore people.  I wanted a kill so bad... I kept going at the fast pace I was going, and little by little, the small dot became a tiny person, the tiny person began to get better and I would concentrate on their cadence and match it with bigger steps, pushing hard, and finally managed to catch up to the individual.  I saw some other support van ahead of me, and knowing they could see me, I pointed at the runner ahead of me, made the motion of slitting a throat with my hand, and then charged that 50 meter gap and blew past them.  No sooner had I passed the individual, I saw another runner waiting for me to pass them, and the next... I passed the next few runners and felt pretty happy about myself, even though it was only a third of what I promised my team.  After the 5th kill, I looked ahead and saw the familiar face of Chris holding a BOTTLE OF PEDIALYTE!  It was like a dream come true.  I took a good swig of that, and back to normal, I went towards the bigger hill that was ahead of me (up til now, it had been on and off mini rolling hills) and passed by one person who was walking, and passed another person towards the top.  As I went down, I saw a couple individuals, and I picked it up, and way up ahead of me, I saw a group of people that looked almost to be enough to make it to 14 people.  There was one mile left, and I didn't have that much time to catch and kill.  This was the last mile for me to race, and I went out with everything I had.  I looked at my splits and on average, my last mile was a 5:58, and knowing that I came in with everything I had at the end, I'm sure I was almost at a 5 min mile pace.  I passed the group of people, making my kill count to 13, and saw a couple guys up ahead closing in on the exchange zone.  I sprinted to get my 14th kill and seeing that 15 was just a little ways ahead, I flew by him and went to the exchange zone with 15 kills... and Spencer wasn't there. (finished the 8.9 miles in 1:00:52, an average of 6:50... mapmyrun says 9.13 miles... a 6:40 pace)

I wasn't a happy camper when I realized that some of the work I did to get there as soon as I could went to waste as the other runners came in and handed their band off to their teammate.  Chris told me that Spencer was stretching and would be there in a bit, and I was a little peeved... but eh, it's not my fault, I just ran my best.  29 kills altogether.  Spencer eventually came and I gave him his band and he went off, and since his leg was a little longer, I took off my shoes and stretched a little so that I could get some sort of relief for my feet before I went immobile in the car.  We changed tactics and dropped off Sarah at the exchange zone as we went back to give water to Spencer and cheer him on, and we got back in time to see Spencer and this other guy neck to neck, going for the finish line.  Unfortunately, Spencer was beaten at the end, but Sarah got the band and she went ahead, pushing onward to her last leg (her brother and his family met up with her at the exchange point cheering her on, so that was awesome).  We did the same thing again, dropping Chris off at the next exchange zone, then going back and cheering for her, and then going back again and getting out and waited for her to finish her last run.  Her family was also there to cheer her to her finish, and we hurried back to our van and we went to a place where we knew Chris would come, cheered him on, and then hurriedly parked so that we could go to the finish line and run through that as a team.  We met up with our members from Van 1 and as soon as Chris came around the corner, we went with him and ran to the finish line victorious.

I guess what made it more memorable was that we had this plan of finishing as a group, with Chris (the first one) taking a video of us all running as a team, together... but of course, we didn't tell the other Chris that... so he just sped up as we came closer to the end, mashing with another group that came, and when we ended... we beat the other team coming in, having our name called out first.  It was a wacky ending.  Overall... it was one amazing race.

Thursday I met a bunch of crazy strangers, and on Saturday, I said goodbye to a bunch of crazy friends.  This Ragnar Relay has been one of the best moments of my life.

It wasn't about the time and how fast we were as an individual, or a team.

It's about how 12 runners, 2 vans, and 2 drivers came together, and how we all ran for 200 miles to the finish line together.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pack Ahead

One thing that's important to do before you go elsewhere is to pack. Packing right before you leave is never a good idea. That's why I pack the night before. Packing the night before insures that you pack the right things and you have everything that you need. However, my problem was that I had to pack for my move as well as for house sitting, which made me miss a few things for my trip to Chattanooga to do the Ragnar Relay race with eleven people I have never met. One thing that bonded us. We were crazy. We were going to embark on a 200 mile mission, doing our best to get to the finish line in Nashville.

I knew that I wasn't going to be at my best, but I needed to make sure that I was prepared enough to run well with the team. Packing is important if you want to do your best and packing is done best when done a day prior because it helps people with race mentality. When you're rushed, it's actually not the best situation for you. Make sure to pack ahead and be prepared for the things to come.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Variety keeps people motivated.  Variety keeps people from being burnt out.  Variety... it really makes life interesting.

Yesterday, I had one of the most busiest days, and I only made it because I added that variety in that day.  I packed most of my things, watched a couple episodes on netflix, got on the computer for a bit... and played games... it was wonderful.

Adding variety to your workout does the same thing.  It adds to it, keeping runners from being burnt out and adding that 'spice' to make things interesting.  When you live, live with variety and don't stop with the same old things because that's when you start to stagnate.  Change it up, do different things... and most importantly, have fun.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


When I took tests... I hated them.  It wasn't the most exciting thing to do.  However, these tests are important.  They help the test makers understand what level the test takers are at.  In understanding what level the test taker is at, one can see what needs to be worked on... so in fact, even if taking tests suck, it helps the test taker make the right decisions to go towards the right directions. (funny and long way of saying it... but it works!)

Tests are important because they give you the general idea of where you are.  I took a 'test' by running last night... without taping my knee.  It means that I had no extra support on my leg.  I ran at a decent pace, covering 3.13 miles in 23:07, a 7:23 min/mile pace.  The result... made it.  I didn't have any pains on my knees, however, I did notice that I was still slightly favoring my right knee, making my left leg work just a little bit harder, which meant that I was running a little off balance.  One side of it is a psychological problem, but after waking up this morning and checking my leg out, it seems that I have something going on in my knee, but not too bad.  There's a slight physical problem, but shouldn't be a problem too much that I couldn't handle.  When I go for the 200 mile relay, I'll be sure to tape my knee in order to protect myself.

(side note... previously, I walked 1.99 miles out in 33:16, and 1.98 miles back in 33:30, to buy a reflective vest at Dicks Sporting Goods)

Tests, though annoying, is a good thing.  It provides information on where you are and what you're capable of... and in the end, what to work on.  Remember the importance of test taking.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Test the Waters

There are two ways people get inside a swimming pool.  One way is to jump straight in and immediately get used to the cold and wetness.  The second way is to test the waters and little by little get used to it.

There are times when we ought to jump into things and immediately get used to it, but there are also times when we ought to just get used to things little by little.  In training for a longer distance race, or recovering from an injury, it's important that we take things slowly and adjust to what we're getting into.  The same can go for getting into a new job.  At times, it might be okay to just jump right in, but at the same time, it's better for you and less stressful for you if you just take things in little by little and understand the job bit by bit.

Now that I've pretty much recovered from my little injury, I've taken off the tape that was around the bottom part of my knee.  With the tape, I ran 8 miles at a decent pace (yesterday) and could've kept on going.  However, without it, I don't know what I can handle.  Tomorrow, when I go for a run, I'm going to start out real slow because I need to make sure that it's actually healed.  If it isn't healed, that means that I'm going to have to stop earlier before I hurt myself by overexerting myself.  It also means that I would have to wrap some tape around my leg again to make sure that the muscle doesn't pull away from the bone.

If you really want to be successful and achieve whatever goal you set for yourself, that means that you're going to have to take care of yourself.  If you're going to have to take care of yourself, that means that you would test the waters first before you get into it.

To Start Running

What part of a hard workout do people like when they just started running?  The finishing part, because they don't have to do it.  That's definitely not how I would want to start up my running after a break.  It doesn't matter if you're a beginning runner or you've been running a long time.  When you treat running like work, you're not going to enjoy it... and you might head back and not start running.

Let me tell you a story about how I began running.  In middle school, I was pretty in shape, but not too great.  I had the usual burst of energy, but I couldn't run long distance worth anything.  Every year, in the fall, we would have a race called 'the fun run' where we would run a 1.8 mile course, and see who was the fastest in the school, and where we stood.  I was in the middle of the crowd.  I ran fast at the beginning, but didn't know how to pace myself... and towards the end I was barely going forward.  It would be funny if the story ended there, but it didn't.  The next year, in 7th grade, I joined Cross Country and decided I was going to get faster because I was pretty slow.  We ran a lot, but for some odd reason, we just ran nice and easily.   Of course, some of us just ran fast because we wanted to be fast, but we didn't really push ourselves til we dropped.  We still had quite a lot of energy left, and I would come back the next practice day, ready to run again.

When you start running, enjoy it, don't let it be work.  It doesn't matter what you do, when it's work... it's no longer a fun thing.  It becomes a mission, not a passion.  Two letters really do make a difference in the meaning of the words.  Mission is duty while Passion is from the heart.  You do it because you want to, not because you 'have' to.

Yesterday, after playing an hour of wallyball, I decided that I would just chill and run for about an hour as I waited for a friend to get off work.  I went out and ran around, sometimes hard up a hill, and other times just whatever pace I felt like going... just enjoying the run itself.  Sometimes I listened to music, sometimes I was talking on the phone or texting... it wasn't like I was racing, it was more of me just 'chilling' as I ran.  It was rather relaxing, and I enjoyed running that 8.05 miles in 1:02:39, an average of 7:47 min/mile.  Looking back, it amazes me that a week before, I had a problem running 3 miles, but now, with a wrapped knee, I could handle a decent 8 miler at a good pace.  The human body is amazing, and when you're just having fun and enjoying yourself, your body adapts to it so well.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Balance the Present and the Future

Sometimes we focus too much on the here and now and we forget about our future and the path ahead. Other times, we focus too much on the future and we forget about what's before our eyes, the beauty that is in the present. Balance, therefore, is the key.  Without the balance, we would not be able to find the happiness we desire in our lives.

Today was my 'day of rest' where I just enjoyed myself and had a good time.  I hung out with friends and just chilled, at the end of the day, we played almost 3 hours of wallyball and I had a lot of fun jumping around hitting the ball, working with the team, and helping my teammates get better.  I could just hog the ball and do my best and try to beat the other team using my athleticism, but that wouldn't be the same and even if I did win... there would be no team play involved.  Balance is needed in order to have everyone do their best and work together.  It doesn't matter if we win or lose as long as we as a team works together.  Funny how that works.

Balance helps everything not just survive, but thrive.  Balancing allows you to become your best.  In talking about the present and future, sometimes, we choose to focus on just one, which can be good, but we miss so much in doing so.  In focusing on the present, we forget about what's coming up in the future and then when the future becomes the present, then we're in trouble.  Should we focus on the future, we forget the world around us right now, what's going on and how we interact with people, whatever is surrounding us... the beauty of nature.  We shouldn't miss the moments that comes in the present, but at the same time, we shouldn't lose the prospect of the future... we need them both, because it makes life... livable.

Take some time to look at both and truly appreciate your goals... your life.