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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Training Pace

Today was one of those days that you could probably crack an egg on the sidewalk and watch it cook.  It was the day I decided I needed to go for a long run.  Well... I thought I did, but after 59:02 and 6.23 miles (9:28 average) of going nice and slow, I decided that it would be wise of me to not remain outside, and so I went to the gym and went cycled for an hour, doing 14.5 miles on the stationary bike.  As I was cycling, I read a book called "Chi Running" which talked about running at it's most basic form.  I was convinced that the way I was training was good, and encouraged that I really needed to follow my knowledge.  My head told me that I was jumping in too much, but what I really wanted to do was run even more.  I knew my body couldn't handle running too much too fast, so I needed to take a break from that and go at my body's pace.

We all have a pace we train at, and our body is capable of handling up to a certain degree.  We need to make sure that the pace is correct.  Going too fast would mean injury while going too slow means not as good of a performance.  I needed to truly know my body and train according to that.  I know my body really well and could tell that I've been pushing it a little too much, and because of that, I wasn't sure where I needed to be.  However, reading this book encouraged me to continue training as I usually did, where my knowledge of my own body would shape the pace that I would go.

When you train, you train according to your level.  If your level is low and you train high, you'll end up getting hurt.  Also, if your level is high and you train low, you'll end up wasting your time because you are not at where you should be, challenging yourself just enough to grow, and not to get hurt.  I need to make sure that I train at a pace where I know my body can handle.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Can-Do Attitude

In yesterday's game, we had our ups and downs.  Our team could have lost it at the end and given up, but with the whole team working together, working hard, we were able to manage to put up two goals in less than two minutes.  We had two choices when the other team scored their 11th goal.  We could either choose to give up, or to fight.  The thing is, we had that Can-Do Attitude, which allowed us to persevere and use our talents to overcome this obstacle and succeed in tying up the game.

A Can-Do Attitude is vital in a life of success.  With that kind of attitude, no matter how hard an event can be, you can overcome it.  When life throws something difficult at you, you have two choices.  To give up, or to fight.  When we give up, do we get any stronger?  Do we grow?  I can't see that happening.  However, when we fight, do we get stronger?  Do we grow?  We do.  No matter what the outcome is, growth is inevitable.  A Can-Do Attitude is what pushes us forward, a Can-Do Attitude helps us achieve the 'impossible'.

When confronted with something, will you choose to focus on the things you can't do about the situation, or focus on the things you CAN do about the situation?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Can or Can't

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
-John Wooden

I am not a soccer player.  I'm a runner... yet I play in indoor soccer matches with my friends.

Today, I had one of the best games of the season.  We had a great lead, but they caught up in the end and were up 11-9, with 1:30 left in the game.  One of my team members managed to get a shot in, making the score 11-10 with only 24 seconds left in a game.  In that last 24 seconds, we pushed hard, and an opportunity arose, Nathan passed a perfect ball to Nick, who dribbled it into the penalty area, and just as the goalie  rushed towards him, I sped in from the other side and he passed the ball right to me, and before the final second ticked, I kicked the ball in, tying up the game 11-11.  In that 50 minute game, I made 5 goals, and it was one of the best games I have had.

Indoor soccer has been really fun for me.  I'm still learning the techniques and tactics of how indoor soccer works, and it's been a long process.  However, I choose not to focus on my inability to understand techniques and tactics.  I choose to focus on what I can do: on my running, my ability on reading the player's movement, and especially on doing my best and not giving up.

Everyone has things that they can do, and things that they can't do, and when life throws things at us, we need to make a decision.  Do we focus on the few things we can't do about it that we wish we could?  Or do we focus on the things that we CAN do about it?  Let our knowledge of what we can't do help us grow and not hinder us in our steps towards our goals.  Let the things we can do push us forward and deal with whatever life throws at us.  Remember: Knowing what we cannot do is just as important as knowing what we can do.

In the last few seconds of the game, we worked together as a team, focusing on the things we could do, and took steps to make it happen.  What we couldn't do did not stop us because we did what we could do.  We took charge of our abilities and when combining our talents and abilities, we were able to make that last goal, tying up the game.  Our victory didn't come out on the score board.  Our victory was when we overcame the obstacle that was before us.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Small Step

It's important to take those small steps because instead of going behind, you get a little closer.  Every little step really does add up in the long run.  It's because of the small steps that you get closer to your goal.  Today wasn't too bad of a day.  Since I was still a little sore from working out before, I just did 10 pull ups and then cycled for 31:50 and went 8 miles.  After that, I went to the sauna to stretch out.  My knee isn't giving me as much trouble as it had before, but I still want to make sure that I'm set to go so I'm going to make sure to take these little steps to go forward.

Sometimes, people want to just jump and take a bunch of big steps.  When you're ready for that, it'll be okay, but sooner or later, because of the big steps you take, you'll end up hurting yourself.  I want to be able to do those big steps, but where I am right now, small steps are just what I need to prepare to take the bigger steps.  I chose to take the smaller steps because it's safer and surer.  It's always better to train at a safer and surer route rather than a unsafe route.  Slow and steady wins races, while fast and sporadic hurts.  Even though I have a couple races here ahead of me, the big races aren't going to come for a couple years.  As a ultra distance runner, I'm going to take those little steps and continue to take them until I reach my goal.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

100th Post Challenge

It's my 100th blog post and it's been quite an adventure.  I've had one heck of a journey.  In the last few 100 or so days, I've run a marathon and a 12 hour race, I've trained recklessly out in the sun in the middle of the day, as well as in a gym for more than 4 hours.  I've grown a lot through writing about what I've done, and at the same time, I've also learned a lot more about running and how it has changed my life.

Looking back, I see how I've grown.  The ups and the downs, and looking at the running, it really is similar to my life.  Looking through the other 99 blogs I've posted, I can see where I've stood and where I am now. Physically, I've been up and down, but all in all, I can see that psychologically, I've been steadily growing.  Sooner or later, my goal is to not only steadily grow psychologically, but also physically.  As the 100th blog post, I'm challenging myself to grow further and not stop.  I'd like to see the seeds sown in my life to take root and grow.

Psychologically, I've gained knowledge on how I should train in order to achieve the results that I want.  Now, I'm putting what I've learned into practice and work towards achieving my goals.  As I have stated before, I want to be able to work on my 5k time, marathon time, 50 mile time, 12 hour run, and finish a 100 mile race.  Today marks the beginning of my epic journey.

I have one year from June 10th to finish.  I've challenged myself almost 3 weeks ago, to achieve this, and today is the day that I begin the real journey towards accomplishing it.  In order to achieve this, I need both speed and endurance.  If I want to do well in a 5k, I need the speed.  If I need to finish a 100 mile race, I need the endurance.  The hardest thing isn't training for speed or training for endurance, the hardest thing is to train for both.  That is why I'm excited about the challenge.  If I could accomplish achieving my goals within the year, I would be amazed.  This isn't something that I can do half-heartedly.  This is something I need to focus and work hard towards.

Today, I cycled for an hour doing 18 miles (making me think that yesterday's stationary bike is a lot more different than I thought).  I also did 10 pull ups and 30 push ups.  I also forgot to mention that both yesterday and today, I spent a good 20 minutes stretching to help myself become flexible (to insure I don't get injured and also allow my muscles to work with each other more efficiently).  After that, I hit the sauna, able to let the blood flow through my tired muscles, helping with the recovery.

Taking everything into account, I think I'm at a good place and can't wait to get in shape TO GET IN SHAPE.  In order to get to where I need to be, I need to be in shape so that I could start the hard core training I'm going to get into.  After 2 weeks of muscular fitness, I'll begin piling on the things that I need in order to run my fastest 5k as well as working to run a really fast 50 miler.  2 weeks of pre-training, and then I'll go super-training until October when I have the 50 mile race.  I'm probably going to run a 5k in the winter or spring, but while I'm focusing on getting my 5k time down, I'll also be working on extreme distances... I'm so excited.

Challenges work to better yourself, and it helps push you forward.  The most important thing is to not let it break you.  Challenges are there to better you, not destroy you.  Make sure that when working towards that challenge, you are bettering yourself and taking care of yourself.  With the wrong balance, you might end up hurting yourself.  Use challenges to take you to the next level, because ultimately, that's what challenges are.

Monday, June 25, 2012


"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their mind cannot change anything."
-George Bernard Shaw

I've had a couple people ask me for help with their training.  One of the first things I do is find out where they  are.  After figuring out where they are, I go and find out what their goal is.  Once we find out where they are (point A) and where they are going (point B), all we have to do is find the path that will take us from one point to the other.  The path is what takes you from one place to another, and as for those that ask me for advice, it helps them understand the change that they need to make in their lives to progress towards their goal.

People can only overcome themselves if they change themselves.  The progress that they make is only due to the change they make in their life.

Change leads to something new.  Just as the seasons change from winter to spring, the change brings with it, a new life.  Progress cannot exist without change.  When we set our eyes on a goal, we must change a part of us in order to achieve that goal.

Today, I went to the gym, did 20 pull ups, 25 push ups, and cycled for 60 minutes (21.6 miles) and then 210 calf raises for each calf, and then did 210 vertical lunges with high knees in order to work on my quads and hammy.  In order to achieve my goals from 5k to 100 miles, I needed to change my training, and make my whole body capable of performing its best for all the distances I wanted to do.  Little by little, my training would incorporate both short distances and long distances.

If you want to achieve your goal, you're going to have to change.  Change, and you'll achieve your goal.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Easy Run

There's a time to go easy on yourself, and today was one of those days.  In the afternoon, I went out and ran 7.54 miles in 1:09:37, an average of 9:13 min/mile.  It wasn't the hardest I've run, but it was a good distance for me.  My right knee is still feeling it, so I'm making sure I take it slowly, running and then taking a break, but if I keep on doing it, I believe that I'll be able to make progress and eventually, my muscles would be able to take the strain off my knees and everything would be alright.

The next big race on my agenda would be The North Face Endurance Challenge (50 mile race in Atlanta) and probably a few 5ks here and there.  I'll go little by little, make it a goal to go under 17 minutes, and then 16 minutes, and then hopefully 15 minutes.  In order to do that, I'm going to train in two extremely different ways.  The way I see it, if marathon runners can keep that pace up for a whole marathon, I could keep that pace up for just 5k.  I know I'll do a lot better on the 50 miler because I'll be a lot more prepared this time compared to last year's 1 month training.

The first thing that I need to do is to build a solid foundation.  Running 7+ miles for an easy run should get me to where I need to be.  As soon as I build my muscles to a point where it won't hurt my knees, I'll start training 2-3 days on speed for the 5k, and 2 days taking it medium and easy, and at the end of the week going long, so that I could be training for the 50 miler.  The easy runs are going to help me recover from the hard speed workouts I would be doing, and the long run in the weekend will just be a long run that works my endurance and not my speed.  I've never done this form of extreme training and I'm excited to see how it would work... but before all that I need to keep doing my easy runs so that I would be running fully prepared to take on the punishment I'm putting on myself.  As for weekly mileage, I will probably not go over 45 miles, but each and every mile of my training will be dedicated for my personal growth.

Easy runs are good and helpful.  They help you with your recovery while not giving you too much of a break.  In life, we all need our easy runs, to help us take a break, yet at the same time keeping your feet on the ground and being productive.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Winner

In a race, there can only be one winner.  Does the winner win only through sheer talent?  No.  The winner wins because he or she has trained for it and put effort into it.  Without determination, discipline, and direction, you cannot win.

If you want to win, you need to train to win.

Think about the characteristics of a winner and train under those characteristics.

Friday, June 22, 2012

How Push Ups Can Help Running

Push ups by themselves do not bring me from point A to point B.  Pull ups don't get me from point A to point B.  However, they do help with the overall running economy.  Running helps out running, but there are so many other things that can benefit.  I've talked about cross-training and how it helps out, and it's important to realize that in order to make sure you don't get injured, you need that variety.

Today, all I did was push ups because I needed to make sure my legs recovered from the soccer, cycling, and running.  Because it's the first few days of getting back into shape since the big race, I needed to make sure I took things slowly.  Slowly never hurts you.  In fact, it'll help in the long run.

When I focus just on running, it means that the muscles I don't use for running gets weaker, so I need to make sure I do activities that would involve those other muscles.  It's nice to do more than one thing and add that variety in your life.

Sometimes, we focus a lot on our specific goals and we sharpen that blade so much that it breaks easily.  Balance is the key, and we need to focus not only on our goals, but also on the things around those goals we have made for ourselves.  Focus on the whole and not the specific.  Take steps to reach your goal with solids steps all the way.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Safety First

Now I've noticed that when I played indoor soccer, I don't play safe, and I put myself in danger a lot.  This time, I made sure that I needed to keep the important things where they were suppose to be.  My goal for now is to get my fastest 5k, marathon, 50 mile, 12 hour time, and also finish a 100 mile race.  In order to do that, I needed to make sure that I kept myself from getting injured, because injury kind of makes sure you don't achieve anything.

Today's indoor soccer game was amazing, and I used it as interval training because I needed to work on my speed as well as my VO2 level.  The important thing about this game wasn't just to win, but to make sure that I get the most out of it and have fun while making sure that I DO NOT GET INJURED.

I've played a couple times where I've hurt my right knee and my right foot, but kept on playing anyway.  This time, I made sure to play smart and not do impossible tasks and end up hurting myself because I needed to keep myself safe for tomorrow's training.  During the course of 50 minutes, I made 3 goals, a header, a nicely placed pass, and a deflection.  It felt great to score that many goals... too bad we lost the game in the last 2 minutes of the game.  All in all, I had a fun time, and I was fully exhausted from playing that whole game, running as fast as I could for 50 minutes.  It wasn't a constant run, but when I gave it my all, my limit was pushed, and it felt great to put that much into that time period.

Working that hard, I didn't put myself in a situation that I would hurt myself.  A coworker once told me about the dangers of soccer... and I really understood what she meant by that.  People get really serious playing soccer and get really physical.  During the game, I made sure to make as little physical contact as possible... which meant that I needed to run faster and play harder so I wouldn't get in a situation where I could have gotten hurt.

No matter what you do, safety is a priority.  Without it, we won't get anywhere.  With it, we can step closer to our goals.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


When you build a house, it needs proper support.

In the same way, when you run for 12 hours, you need your support.

Without support, you can't go as far, do as much, hold as much.  We need support, because it helps us.  Right now, the support I'm going to be talking about is supporting my right knee.  For some reason, my right knee seems to be a lot weaker.  It's probably because I've played soccer and have hurt it a couple times.  However, if I train properly, the muscles around the knee will support it so that it won't work too hard.

In order to help myself, I've made sure to train this part of my body before I go out and train hard core for my races.  It's kind of like training for the training.  To make sure that I train well enough, I need to make sure that my body is ready to handle the different amounts of strain that would be a part of the race.  Whether it is long or short, I would need to make sure that my knees would be protected from the harsh training I would go under.  Today, I went over to the gym and went on the stationary bike and cycled for 50 minutes, finishing 13.6 miles.  Did I work hard? No.  Did I work long?  Yes.  The whole point of the stationary bike is to make sure that my knee would get the long and easy training, to begin building the muscle needed to run.  Since my training is going to be tough, I needed to make sure that I was in enough shape that I would be able to undergo the training.

For the time being, until I feel that my knee is ready, I'm going to rotate running and cycling, so that I would be ready for the training.  If I don't do that, then that means that I am putting my knee and running career in danger, and I'm not ready to do that.

Support is critical because it spreads the strain from one specific part to multiple parts.  I remember when I was in middle school, we had a bridge building contest.  We all got spaghetti noodles and glued them together to make a bridge that we would put weights on to see how much we could put on it without it breaking.  Although I didn't win, I did learn the importance of support.  Without a proper structure of support, the bridge would not be able to hold as much, but with support, the bridge would be able to carry a lot more weight.  Support divides up the workload and allows the weight to be distributed evenly so that the strain doesn't go to one specific area, and instead, works a lot of different areas, making it a lot easier.

There are times in life when you can't do things on your own.  That's why it's important to have the support you need with you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Addicted to Running

Before my run this afternoon, I started getting headaches and I wasn't feeling that well at all.  I needed a run. For the first mile, I still had that headache, but after that mile, my pounding headache went away and I was able to run my 5.96 miles in 51:29 (8:37 min/mile).  I haven't run in a long time so this felt really good.  After the run, I was slightly exhausted, but it felt so good.  The headache was gone, and I couldn't wait to go out again.

I'm addicted to running... or am I?

When you religiously do something every day, you get 'addicted' to it.  You might be psychologically addicted, or even physically addicted.  The thing is, when you do something every day, it becomes somewhat addicting.  When you miss out on it, you feel the difference, and you long for it.

There are so many things that we can get addicted to, and not all of them are good.  Once we get used to it, we just keep on doing it habitually and eventually, our body begins to need it.  I remember reading in the paper about how an individual from UK was addicted to chicken nuggets.  At age 2 she was introduced to them, and since then, her main course was chicken nuggets for 15 years.  Looking at that, it seems awful that she was in that situation, and I couldn't imagine anyone actually allowing that to happen... but the thing is, we get addicted to a lot of things.  Watching movies, eating junk foods, smoking, working out, running, drinking, and a lot more.

In the beginning, we choose whether or not we want to go on that path, and as we walk down the paths we choose, we might lose control.  My advice, make the right choices and choose to help yourself rather than hurt yourself.  I love running, but I'm not addicted to it.  Running is part of my life, but it doesn't control me.  I want to live a healthy lifestyle, and work towards encouraging others to take steps towards that kind of life, but I don't sacrifice everything around me in order to run and try to make the whole world a world of runners.

It's important to know who's really in control.  Are you in control?  Or is it the thing you like doing?  Who really wields the power?  I look at myself and I see that I am in control over my running, and not letting running take control over me.  Let's make sure to be in control and don't let anything else control you.

Monday, June 18, 2012


I had the honor of going to the University of Tennessee and talk to three different people about the Kinesiology program.  Now that I've more or less decided that I would get into the Masters Program, I wanted to know more about what they did.  One of the professors was writing an article about retention.  Not muscle retention as I initially thought, but focused towards the psychological side.

When you're in front of a crowd about to perform a solo, or maybe you're about to make a big presentation, or you're standing on the track ready to start the race, or on a soccer field about to start playing... we sometimes get so nervous that we don't perform as well as we ought to.  While we may train and perform better without the pressure, our goals are to go beyond that and perform our best with that pressure.  What we practice in training should go to what we do in the actual competition, and we should retain the same imagery in order to help ourselves perform at our best, in training and in performing.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pushing Beyond Your Limit to Grow

Now it's funny to write something about pushing beyond your limits because what it really means is finding another limit.  When you go beyond this 'limit' you only prove that the 'limit' was not a limit, but instead, something that you created for yourself so as to protect yourself from pushing too far and finding yourself drained.  We put those limits up for a reason.  We put them up to protect ourselves.  We make sure that we don't go beyond the limits because we set the perimeters up as a safe zone.  Going beyond the safe zone means going into the unknown territories... or the danger zone.  Some of the fences (or limits) we put up are good and keep us from making bad decisions, but some of those fences can deprive us from going out.  Little by little, we break down the fences and build new ones, and that's how we grow.

We all start out as a baby, we are confined and limited.  We can't move by ourselves and so we are watched over by our parents who control where we are and what we do.  We're limited in our movement and so we're confined in a certain area.  As we grow from being a baby to becoming a toddler, we are still bound by the rules set by our parents, but our 'territory' has grown and now we can move freely and instead of a crib, we have a house.  Instead of being moved from one place to another, we can use our own two feet to take us from one place to another.  As we grow from a toddler to a child, our territory grows yet again.  Now we're allowed to play outside on our own.  More responsibility is given to us, and we break our limits even further.  From being a child, we become a teenager, where little by little, where we now can stay out later and go off on our own.  We'll still need to communicate with our parents on where we'll be and what we're doing, but we have more freedom, and we start going places and making our own decisions.  Finally, from being a teenager, we become adults, where we make our own choices and we go where we want to.

Little by little, our limits have been broken and made new, our territory and responsibilities have grown.  When we grow, our limits grow with us... but the funny thing is that the opposite is true also.  When we push our limits, we grow as individuals.  When we push ourselves outside of our safe zone, we grow.

Until the 12 hour race, I have not run 62 miles before.  The longest I've run was 50 miles and to me, doing 62 was a limit breaker.  Looking back at my experiences, I've seen the paths I've taken to get to where I am now.  It's really nice to see the change I've undergone to become the runner that I am.  Limits are set up to protect you, but when you break that limit and push yourself just enough... it can push you to grow.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hiatus Status Update

I've been on hiatus for a little bit, but here's what's been going on in my life the past few days... Work, work, work... and more work.  I have been at it for a week and it's been a lot of hard days.  After this week, I'll be free and glad that I have time to go out for a run.  I've heard a quote saying that it takes 21 days to build a habit and 3 days to break it.  I've been off running for this whole week, and I'm still addicted to it.  I miss the freedom and strength it gives me.

To me, running is part of my lifestyle, and it keeps me... well... alive.  I love being able to do a lot of physical activities, and running takes a large role in that.  It's been a hard week of no running and so I can't wait for the day to come where I'll have the time to take it easy and run down the greenway.  The prize is always worth the wait, and when I go running... it'll be worth it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Your Work and Your Goals

There are times when your work and goals are not one in the same.  As for me, this is very true, and it's because of this that I have a harder time balancing my work and my goals.  However, it's important to for me to work towards achieving my goals, so that it eventually becomes my work.  Right now, I'm not at that place yet, so I'm having to work hard at balancing all that.  Sometimes, this is hard for me to do.  This time around, I'm fortunate that I ran the 12 hour race because I really needed a break from running and focus on work.  Because of that, I have been able to focus on work and finish what needs to be finished.

It's funny how balance is key throughout this whole running blog.  Without balance, I really can't get anywhere because I'd be too focused on one thing.  I'm fortunate that I'm able to use the rest period for work, so that I would recover well.  Now only if I could work proactively on my job and get an actual break... maybe next time, when I actually know my job.  Sometimes, it can be hard to balance your work and your goals... especially when you are unsure what that exactly entails.  Once you know what it means to work (at your specific job) and go towards your goals, you can be sure that it's a lot more easier to balance it, enabling you to live an easier life.

Just as it is important to work towards your goals, you need to ensure that you spend some time on your work, so that you can support yourself and your journey to your goals.  Keep the main thing the main thing, but make sure not to forget about the different things that supports it.  Looking at the future and your goals is a good thing, but when you lose sight of your next step and how to support yourself to reach your goal, you might fall down.

I look at this as rock climbing.  You need to make sure you clip on at every check point so that you would be able catch yourself if you fall.  Although your goal is to climb that rock face, it's good to take some time and clip yourself in just in case.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Every Day

Be confident every day.  Be smart every day.  Be strong every day.  It's not just one day out of the year you have to do your best... it should be every day of the year.  Those that train for the Ironman understands the importance of every day.  They train hard every day, making their training as efficient as possible, so that they would not only finish, but compete against each other.  They don't try one day and not the next.  Every day, they have a specific training regiment that they follow, maximizing their workload to what their bodies can handle, but also so that their body would be able to grow and peak out at the Ironman they are competing at.

In the same way, I believe that every day is a day to which we can take the best steps towards our goal.  My goal is to become a top runner in the ultra marathon world, to be an example to help those achieve their goals.  I need to make sure that I take each day seriously and that I grow according to what I do each and every day.

I made sure to take it easy today in my training because it's been only a week and two days since the 12 hour race.  I went out to run 5 miles, but due to me feeling pretty good, I ran 6.9 miles in 1:01:28, an average of about 8:54 min/mile.  Now this is faster than my pace during the 12 hour race, but it's still considerably slow when I look at my goals.  I need to work on my speed so that it could translate to the ultra distances, so I am definitely going to have to work on my 5k time.  This week, I'll be getting some mileage on my feet so that I wouldn't have to worry about hurting myself by pushing too much with the pace.  I'm creating a firm foundation so that I would be able to build off that.  My plan next week is to start up speed drills 3 times a week, and one long run a week and two easy medium runs.  I believe that with proper amounts of work, I would be able to work on both short and long distances, maximizing my speed and using that for a long distance race.

The most important thing between me and my goals are to make sure to work on it every day, that every day would mean something to me, pushing me off towards my goals.   You can't just jump up and achieve your goal.  The goal can only be reached through a journey, and what better to do than to choose what to do every day, to make it to that goal.

It's all about working at it every day.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Building Blocks

When you build a house, you need a solid foundation.  When you are planning on having a financially secure life, you need a good budget.  When you're working to be a great long distance runner, you need that mileage.  The firm foundation is what you need in order to take the right steps and build to your goal.  Without a firm foundation, it is impossible to create a situation that allows you to reach your goal.  If you have a high goal, you need a firm and strong foundation.  If your goal is not as high, you won't need as big and strong of a foundation.

My goals for my running is high and so I need a firm foundation in order to support me and my goals.  Now I have to make sure that I create a strong foundation and not tear myself down.  The reason I have to make sure to build a firm foundation for my running is because I just had a race.  After a race, especially an ultra distance race, a runner's body is especially weak.  In order to compensate for that, I need to make sure that I get back into it slowly.  I'm figuring that tomorrow, I'll just go out for an easy 5 miler and if my body feels like it needs a break sooner, I would make sure to stop and walk so that I won't have to deal with me hurting myself.  For the next few days, I'm going to get back into a little distance, but as soon as I feel that I am ready, I'm ready for my challenge to myself.  In order to run fast in an ultra distance race, you would need to be able to run fast in a shorter race.  I have made myself a goal which involves me running distances from 5k to 100 miles.  Within one year, I would like to be able to run a 5k in 14:00, a marathon in 2:30:00, the 50 miler in Atlanta in 9:00:00, finish the 12 hour race with more than 70 miles, and finally... to finish a 100 mile race.  Since it's my first 100 mile race, my goal would be only to finish the race.

Driving myself towards a high goal will achieve good results because I'm pushing towards it.  However, the hardest part about these goals is that they are going to be difficult to achieve.  Running a 5k and running a 100 mile race is totally different, and require a different kind of training.  This means that I'm going to be confusing my body and forcing it to run in different kinds of races.  I have to make sure that I'm doing both short distance strength training as well as long distance training, but I figure that if Olympic runners can run a 14:00 5k for the whole marathon, I would be able to do it for just a 5k.  The hard part is going to be the fact that I'm going to be running a 2:30:00 marathon.  This is a pace that can get 1st place overall.  I'm still at a crossroads to which direction I feel like I ought to go.  Some part of me wants to do well in running a marathon and seeing how fast I could get in a marathon, but another part of me wants to go far beyond the marathon and see how long I could run.

Sometimes, you have to take each step as it comes and depending on the outcome, it may lead you in a slightly different direction.  I feel as if my goal towards ultra-distance running is more than reasonable, and compliments my character, however, I am curious to see what my limitations are in the marathon.  I figure that this year might be the year that I would attempt to take steps towards seeing how fast I could run my marathon.  Should I finish a marathon under 2:30:00, it might be a good decision to work on my marathon time to see how fast I could get and see whether or not I could compete in a world-class level.  It's a fun thought, but I need to take things as they come.  I have these different goals, and I'm going to work to see how close I can get to all of them.  The important thing to me is to push myself as far as I can and as fast as I can.  I want to push my limits and achieve these goals, and I need the firm foundation to back me up so that I would be able to take steps towards my goal.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Today, my friends and I went out to go rock hopping.  Rock hopping is where you go to a mountain river that has a lot of rocks/boulders, and just jump upriver from rock to rock.  We have a special place we go to near the Chimney's in the Smokey Mountains, and so we got a group together, and just jumped along.  We reached a spot high up on the river, where we took off our shoes and got wet in the 'waterhole'.  Since it wasn't quite warm, the water was freezing, so I just went in little by little, until I was waist deep... when Duff came from behind me and threw me in the water.  Slightly disturbed, I was shaking with cold, but still managed to make it through.  After a while, we went down and returned to our cars and went back.

During the trip up and down, there were choices we had to make, to choose which path to go, which rocks to jump onto.  Knowing how my legs were, I knew there were distances I couldn't handle, and so I made decisions to only go as far as I knew my body would allow.  One misstep and I would fall into the river, or possibly slip and hit my head on the rock.  I made sure that I wouldn't take the wrong steps and both ways up and down, I managed to get through without incident.  Some others weren't so lucky.  There were a couple splashes and bruises because some of them misjudged and made poor decisions.

Decisions happens when cross-roads appear.  When there are two paths.  We decide which path to take.  Some paths are challenging and have great rewards, other paths are easy and gets you to where you need to go.  On the rock-hopping trip, we would try to go for the challenging paths and only take them when we were absolutely sure we could make it.  Knowing yourself and your capabilities definitely helped us make our decision.  You weren't ever sure if you could make it until you tried, so once you made a decision, you would go for it... or fall trying.  I remember a friend of mine who made a decision, but mid-jump hesitated, and because of that hesitation, didn't make it and banged his knee up.  Once you make a decision, you don't want to hinder yourself but instead go full force in order to give it your best shot.

We have a lot of decisions that we have to make in life.  They change the path you take and the direction that you go, but as long as you know what the end result is, it's important to make the right decision.  Have fun.  Make the decision of your life.  Go forward and don't regret it.  We'll fall at times, but we learn from that.  Decisions happen whether we want them to happen or not, so lets make the best decision possible.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Make it Fun

Today was another interesting day.  My friends came over and we hung out for a little bit.  Then, they introduced me to geocaching.  Geocaching was something that I have heard of, but I hadn't taken any steps towards that.  I guess it was designed to encourage others to go out and explore.  I thought that was pretty cool so we decided to find a couple geocaches.  We went to the nearby library and found one, then we found another not too far away... but there was an interstate between us and them.  I knew of a path that would lead under the interstate, but we couldn't get to it from where we were, so we tried to bushwhack through... but to of no avail.  We eventually had to go around and walk the long way to get to the caches and finally found two of them.  After finding the third one, we went to eat at Panera's and I had a wonderful meal...

We went back after that and altogether, we probably walked more than 4 miles.  It was definitely good for my legs and I feel that it helped make them a little stronger.  However, during that walk, we went through some poison ivy that made us regret trying to bushwhack.  I had to work hard to ignore that, so I went through the whole rest of the day resisting that temptation.

It's fun to go out and do things.  It's fun to go out and find things because it gives me something to do.  Running and working out can be sometimes a little too much to ask and it might get boring, but it encourages others to go and run more.  I think that it's important to have fun when you're working on that running because you don't want to learn to hate running.  You want to enjoy it as much as you can so you would do it again.  Find something that'll make your runs more enjoyable.  It's important to follow steps, but it's also important to enjoy life while you can.

Let's remember that the goal isn't something that is hard and instead, is something that is fun... a crazy fun lifestyle.   So listen to that iPod, find little tiny film containers, do something... and enjoy the steps you're taking.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I remember the first marathon I ran.  Hitting the wall was tough, but I pushed forward and finished with a fast time.  I also remember how I felt after the marathon, I was so sore I could hardly walk for a week.  It was a little like that for this 12 hour run.  After finishing 62 miles, I was sore for a few days, but it went away fast because of the little bit of pedialyte that I drank every lap.  Proper preparation prevented the muscles cramps, and I was able to recover quite well after the race.

When we do something that forces us to work hard, we need the time after it to relax and rest.  Resting is important because it lets your body adapt to the amount of work you'll have to do again... later.  During the run, I took care of my body and so I didn't need as much recovery time because of that.  If in performance, you properly take care of yourself, your body won't need as much rest.  Since I've been running pretty economically, I've been able to run further and without as much pain and cramps in the muscles.

Recovery may seem like a waste of time, but it's something everyone needs.  Recovery is essential in our daily lives.  There are times to race, times to train... but there are also times to rest and recover.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Starting Easy

It's been a couple days since "The Run" and I've made a promise not to go running... however, today was National Running Day, so I had 'no choice' but to run.  I started out with 30 minutes on the stationary bike (7.47 miles), and after my legs had warmed up, I ran a quarter of a mile at a 10 minute pace.  My knees were still feeling it from the race and so I made sure not to overexert myself and possibly hurt myself.  When you're back to doing something new, you don't want to wear yourself down right away.  It's important to ease into your training because that way, you're not stretching yourself too much.

Does an athlete practice right after a hard game?  Do students study for the class right after they take a test?  Do people after they get married immediately go back to their jobs and work just like normal?  After a funeral, do you just go out and party with your friends?  We aren't made to continuously work like robots.  Our body needs rest, no matter what we do, and that rest is important.  After doing something hard, it's important to loosen up and relax so that our bodies can recuperate and get back to that tip top shape (whether it be physically, mentally, psychologically, or in any other way) so that we could perform at our best during the 'training' for our next goal/step.

When getting back into the good habit of working towards your goals, don't just jump in because you'll hurt yourself.  You can overburden yourself and that awesome goal won't seem so awesome anymore if you do that.  Nice and easy helps you get over the initial steps and gives you the time you need to get a sturdy footing to take steps towards your goal.

Start easy, work steadily, and you'll definitely be rewarded.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

12 Hours of Running

The 12 hour run on Saturday was one of the most intense runs I've ever had.  I woke up at about 5:40 in the morning to prepare what I needed for the day.  I had previously bought 5 bottles of pedialyte for the race, and so all I needed was a good meal before the race and during the race.  I had some left-over pasta from the day before that I was going to eat in the morning, but I needed food during the race, so I cut up some potatoes and fried them with salt, pepper, and some basil.  It was simple, but it had enough of what I needed... or so I thought.  My sister and I went over and picked up my other sister and a friend and off we went.

We left a little after 6:30 and drove down to Asheville, arriving there a little before 9:00, where I went and lined up to get my bib number, and then started to prepare everything.  I told them what needed to be done and how the course was, and what I needed them to do.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, a friend of mine just came and plopped down right beside me!  Aaron had told me that he wouldn't be able to come to the race, and so I thought I had only 3 people showing up, but with his surprise visit, I had four people in my support crew.

It was almost 10:00 so I had to get ready to run.  I ate a little bit, drank a little bit, and went to the starting line. I was nervous because I had no idea what I was putting myself into, but as soon as the countdown started, I focused on what I needed to focus on:  The task at hand.  As soon as we started, I moved up and ran nice and smoothly, feeling out what the course was like.  There were a couple hills and one horrible paved downhill, and with all the twists and turns, I went smoothly through the first lap, finishing it in 25:38.  My heart beat was at about 140 so it was pretty okay during that time.  I stopped and walked at that time, waiting til my watch said 30:00 to start the run again, and kept on going:

Lap 1:   25:38
Lap 2:   52:17
Lap 3:   1:21:56
Lap 4:   1:50:08
Lap 5:   2:19:24
Lap 6:   2:47:42
Lap 7:   3:17:56
Lap 8:   3:50:42
Lap 9:   4:23:08
Lap 10: 4:57:09
Lap 11: 5:31:33
Lap 12: 6:17:18
Lap 13: 6:56:40
Lap 14: 7:34:47
Lap 15: 8:38:17
Lap 16: 9:22:15
Lap 17: 10:00:22
Lap 18: 10:36:15
Lap 19: 11:08:44
Lap 20: 11:51:28

As you can see from the times above, I was going as planned in the first 11 laps, but after that, I got really off pace.  On the 12th lap, I decided to just walk to rest up and sacrifice a lap so that I would be able to get back into my old pace.  Unfortunately, I was not able to recover because I had been using too much energy, and miscalculated the amount of work I was  doing.  Although my heart rate had been on average at 140-150, I still had been using too much energy during the first half, resulting in the depletion of the energy in my muscles and liver.  After every lap, I made sure to drink 8oz of pedialyte so I was alright in regards to sodium, but 25 kcal wasn't enough for my body during that race.  After the 11th lap, I was tired and I still had another 6 hours to go.  Looking at the laps, I see that the downhill slide started between laps 6-8, when I was running 30+ minutes per lap.    As for the big gap between laps 14 and 15, I went over and got a 20 minute massage.  Although it didn't feel that much better and my muscles had cooled down, I learned of a new breathing technique, and I felt a little more ready to go out and run once my body warmed up.

My support crew made sure I was doing well, and kept up with how much effort I was putting in, but I still failed to calculated the amount of calories I needed to run the race.  I had to stop and eat pizza after the 15th lap, and although that slowed down my time at first, it provided me with enough energy to work hard on the last few laps I had left.  With that burst of energy, I was able to push through.  With a few seconds under 2 hours left, I had run 52.7 miles.  In order to achieve my goal to get over 62 miles, I had to be able to run the last three loops under 40 minutes.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to do the last lap under 40 minutes, so I made sure to push hard with all that I had for the first 2 laps, and was able to give myself leeway to finish the last lap.

Overall, I had a good race.  It was my first 12 hour race, and I enjoyed every aspect of it.  The camaraderie that the different runners had really encouraged me to go further (and hopefully worked the other way too).  Now that I've had all this experience, and a new personal record (distance), I feel as if I've gotten a lot of experience regarding the ultras and am going to be better prepared for the next race.

Next year's challenge is to beat myself and also to get first place.  It's unfortunate that I didn't get 1st place this round, but 2nd place is in itself an accomplishment.  Now for a week of break...

Saturday, June 2, 2012


At the moment, I'm a little too tired to talk about the race, so I figure something short would do.

The first 11 laps were on schedule, with 34.1 miles done in 5.5 hours, but my body got tired and could not handle the pace and so I ended up with 62 miles in 12 hours. A part of me does not want to get into this race again, while another part wondered what would happen of I had trained more for this.

All that behind me, now I know I can run 62 miles (100 km) in 12 hours. But first... I need my sleep.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Day Before the Race

It's the day before the race, and I ate as much carbs as I possibly could.  I rested (most of the time) and I packed.  All I need to do is to get ready for tomorrow's meal.  I've planned and planned in order to perfect my run at an optimal pace.  I wanted to make sure that I would do the best, so I made sure to study hard the last few days before the race.

Today, I did a lot of worrying alongside the prep-work, that I'm just hoping that I was able to finish everything.  I honestly don't know what's going to happen, but in order to make it the best day possible, I'll do the best I can for myself today.  Doing your best for tomorrow helps tomorrow become even better.

I've finished packing, I've finished planning, now all I have to do is get the proper rest I need before the race.

Today, prep-work.  Tomorrow, RACE.

12 hours of running.

Let's do it.