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Friday, August 31, 2012

Born to Run

I recently started and finished reading the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.  It was a fascinating book, and after reading it from cover to cover, I was encouraged to continue on with my path.

As an avid runner (that hasn't been running too much recently), reading this book helped me rediscover the joys of running.  Earlier, I did a blog about how you need to enjoy running in all it's parts, whether training or racing, and the reason that I wrote that was because I was reading this book.  In this book, it talked about the Tarahumara people, and how they enjoyed the running that they did.  The Tarahumara led a lifestyle that forced them to become strong.  It wasn't because they protected their feet with proper footwear... it was because they strengthened their feet by running in sandals.  It wasn't the massive amounts of food that they were eating to help them recover from runs, but instead, they ate very sparingly, putting in only a little bit of food into their bodies, pushing their body to become a lean machine, able to run long distances with that body structure.

Their lifestyle supported running, and that is why the Tarahumara people were a great community that had good runners, living a very healthy life.  Because of the healthy lifestyle, the Tarahumara people group didn't have that many illnesses.  Today, I went to the RUSH to do a simple workout on my day off, and was convinced by three girls that worked there to go back out and join the class that was doing some kind of workout.  I joined that workout and pushed my body to work on my core and it felt generally good (although I didn't like the amount of arms used...), but at the same time, the Tarahumara didn't do that kind of thing in order to get in shape for running.  They were already in that shape.  As children, they played games that required a lot of running, and they would occasionally have races  as adults.  We as children didn't really have that.  Although I did a lot of things outside, most of my friends would be playing video games and stay indoors.  How we are raised does make a difference.

There's so much that I can say about this book, because it is packed with a lot of information and has a great story at the same time.  If you're a runner, this book is definitely a must read, talking about a tribe that helps us see what it is to run, the enjoyment, the lifestyle, the community, and at the same time, a great story.

Especially after reading this book, I can't wait to go running tomorrow.  Going to go run about 8 miles and then running with a friend, and then running to town and eating... then running back.  It's going to be a long day, but it's going to be a very fun time.  Can't wait to wake up.

We're all meant to do different things, we were born to accomplish things, and doing what we were meant to do is something we ought to understand.  We as humans have an endless amount of potential of what we could do, because we are all made to do so many things.  I run because I know I'm meant to run, so run towards what you're meant to do, and if that is truly what you're meant to do, you'll accomplish that.

ASICS Gel Hyperspeed vs ASICS Kayano... and then some

Mankind has spent thousands of years making things easier for ourselves, but in the process, we may have weakened our bodies. Its sad to see that through the years, we've been able to accomplish so much, yet at the same time, made ourselves weaker. Before, it was required of us to be able to walk long distances to go to school, but now, all you need to do is wait for a bus to pick you up and it'll take you to school as you sit. Society has made us become more efficient... yet at the same time, it has stunted our growth and we aren't as strong as we are. With the luxury of tools that helps us, we grow weaker.

Just as our minds grow weak when we rely on calculators to work on simple math problems, our body can grow weak with too much support. When we break a bone on our foot, a cast is placed to support our foot, and after we get off the cast, we need to go through therapy in order to strengthen the foot. Support is good, but having too much support will weaken the body (as well as our mind). In certain cases, it's good to rely on that support, but should we always rely on that support... even when we don't need it? Sure, it makes things easier or faster... but in the long run, it slows us down, makes us weaker, and in the end, we may even end up hurt because of the support.

Shoes have always been a big part of my life. Currently, I have approximately 8 pairs of running shoes that I regularly switch out to wear on different runs. I have two favorites which are completely different from each other. I have the Asics Kayano 18 which my dad bought me for my birthday present, costing over a hundred dollars. I also have the Asics Gel Hyperspeed 4 which I bought on for less than fifty dollars. I do most of my training on the Kayano because of the support that it gives me, and because I'm not worried about speed. However, on my hard runs and races, I put on the Gel Hyperspeed because of its lightness and with it, I can speed up. The Kayano weighs approximately 11.5 oz while the Hyperspeed weighs 6.6 oz, making a considerable difference. However, even though the Kayano is good because it supports my legs in my long runs, I need to balance it out with other shoes so that my feet can becomes stronger. It's not that the Kayanos are bad, but it's that if I continue to run with them, the muscles from my calves up will get the exercise that it needs but the foot will weaken, getting use to the support it receives from the shoe. There are times that my feet need the break and support (which is why on weekends, I switch out my other shoes with the Kayano on the second day of running the long distances), but there are times when I need to make sure my feet are strong and the arches are holding.

I'm hoping to be able to get to a point where I won't need the support anymore, but it's important to take breaks and sometimes, I need to force myself into that break. The idea behind barefoot running is that you are working on your foot strength, and allowing your foot to support itself. I agree with the ideology of those kinds of shoes, but for some reason, I'm wanting to stick with the Asics that I'm wearing. It protects me a lot more, and my legs have already gotten accustomed to wearing shoes, so I'm choosing to wear the Asics shoes, which supports my feet more by protecting it, rather than preventing the biomechanics to do their own job. I look at my heel and see that I mainly use it when I'm standing still, more like a base, but when running, the heel doesn't take any of the impact, as the feet almost 'rolls' from heel to toe, and the impact lands on the balls of my feet, allowing me to continuously go forward.

There are times though, where having a good heel support is good. Yesterday, I had previously cycled to work and learned that my car was fixed and cycled to my car to pick it up (going to school, made a PR of cycling 15.82 miles in 58:33, and cycling to my car, I made it 4.62 miles in 19:42). After cycling for 4 consecutive days in a row, and pushing that last little bit, my legs were exhausted. The day before, I had done an hour and a half of floor hockey, which was a lot of sprinting, and by the time I went over to the indoor soccer field to play, my legs were nearing their limit. Fortunately, my mind was just fine. I pushed myself hard that game, and wearing soccer shoes, which has no support for the heel, it hurt me when I made a sudden stop with my whole foot, and after the game, with the constant stops and goes, my right heel felt a little bruised.

Support is needed at times, and at other times, it's unneeded. At work today, I'm wearing my flip-flops. They do nothing as a support, and pretty much are devices that help protect me from stepping on something sharp. I've heard people say that flip-flops are accidents waiting to happen and are bad for your feet because it doesn't have arch support. I look at my flip-flops and see something that lets my feet become free, allowing me to walk as I want, allowing my body mechanics to work the way it should. Without arch support. Our bodies are complete, and when we support it too much, we weaken it.

As I write this little article on shoes, I'm starting to change how I see things... I look at the 8 pairs of shoes that I have and see that those protect my feet from excessive amount of training and possible injury from running too much. I look at the flip-flops that I'm wearing and I see that it has strengthened my feet and allows me to run with the strength I've trained through the lack of support. When running, I think it's important to have some support because it is what it is... support. Should I wear support all the time? No. Should I wear it to prevent possible injury because I'm pushing myself? Sure. Should I wear it for a race? Why not? As long as it allows you to fully utilize all the muscles of your feet and you're running correctly, having support should be fine right? What it boils down to... is balance. Balance is key in life and when we go extreme in either direction, we end up injuring ourselves. Balance yourself with what you run in, balance yourself with what you work in. Balance yourself.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Enjoy Your Work

I dread waking up in the morning to go to work, I don't exactly enjoy what I do, and I look forward to the weekend.  Don't we all get tired of doing the things we need to do and just want to quit?  Well, sometimes, when I go for a run, I lose that joy and focus on the work and not appreciate it as much, forgetting the fun that running is for me.  I realized that I forget that joy when I focus on the numbers.  I like knowing how many miles I'm running, how fast I'm going... but being caught up with numbers, I began treating running like it was a job.  Something to do, and not something to enjoy.  Being caught in that trap, we forget how to enjoy life, how to enjoy what we're doing, and we get caught up looking at results and things we need to do.

Enjoy the moment, push hard because it's fun.  Don't forget that feeling of enjoyment as you're improving yourself.  As I rode my bicycle to school, it was a game.  My goal was to get there faster than I got there yesterday.  This time, I was armed with knowledge of a shorter way, so I took that road and went.  I made it to work cycling 15.96 miles in 1:01:14.  Knowing this route, I know that the next time I decide to go all out on that path, I would be able to make it in under an hour... maybe in 50 minutes if I get stronger and faster at cycling.  The possibility was endless... it was more than possible for me to improve and become able to ride faster and consistently.  On the way back, however, I had to go the safer route, riding 16.82 miles in 1:08:01, 2 minutes slower than yesterday.  Now it's understandable that I was slower because it was the second day in a row, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to get the time down on this also, and go under an hour. Now that this is a game, it's a little more fun.  Now with the hills, it's like a dare.  The hills are daring me to stop while I challenge myself to not.  It's a simple game, yet it always brings the best out of me.  I want to go up at a certain pace, but because of the steepness of the hill, it becomes hard.  On the way down, I want to see how fast I can get... and I push myself hard to see if I could keep up with the cars, using the draft from the car to go even faster.  It was fun...

After all this cycling fiasco, I went and played wallyball for 25 minutes, and then floor hockey for an hour and a half.  These two sports worked me pretty hard, but they were also fun.  Alongside the cycling that I did earlier, the two definitely pushed my body... but the most important thing about today was that the things that I did... was fun.  I enjoyed the cycling that I did, the sports that I did.

Now tomorrow, it's not going to be so great for me, because I would be a little tired from earlier, but at the same time, I'll take it easy and cycle slowly.  Enjoy my ride and push myself forward.  No matter what your goal is, don't forget to have fun.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What Makes Impossible Possible

Inspiration comes to those who listen to others who have done the 'impossible', and when hearing about it, what was 'impossible' now seems possible.  Possible, but at the same time, still pretty darn hard.  We look at Roger Bannister, the first person to break a 4 minute mile, and we see that after him, multiple people started breaking that 4 minute barrier.  You see, once the 'limit' was broken, it became possible.  The only thing that was blocking the individual was themselves.  Our mindset is the deciding factor on what is possible and what is impossible when it comes to such a close margin.  Logically, we know that it's impossible to run a mile in 2 minutes, but it's not impossible to lower the world record.  Records have been broken for a long time, and each year, some kind of record is broken.

We are inspired by those who have done what is impossible in our heads, and due to that, we ourselves are able to achieve more.  I like going on youtube and watching the extreme races that The North Face puts out and see how much the athletes run, how they conquer the race.  I read books by Dean Karnazes, and other runners to see what they did to get to where they are, or understand more about running.  I get inspiration through people who already have done it, and from that, I'm able to muster up my willpower and push through, training harder, longer, and not stopping.

I didn't run at all... I only cycled to work and cycled back.  On the way, I rode 16.71 miles in 1:02:38 (which included all the stop signs and traffic lights), and on the way back, I rode 16.81 miles in 1:06:07 (due to me being more tired and there being more ascents.  At the end of the day, I was tired.  I didn't want to go on.  I needed my break.  I thought about working out after taking a nap, but 'decided' to sleep at 8.  It was a long day...  This morning, I woke up and felt a little sore, but encouraged to cycle back to work.  I still have a long ways to go before cycling to work becomes something easy, but I know that it's not impossible.

Sometimes, I wonder why I'm training so hard... but I think about how badly I want to get top 5 in the upcoming race.  When you want something so bad, you have to drop everything else and work hard towards your goal.  If you want it badly enough, it's worth dropping everything else and reaching as high as you can towards your goal.  Whatever your goal may be, give it your best.  Nothing less.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Forced into a Lifestyle

Sometimes, you get to a point in life where you have to all of a sudden change directions.  As for me, that point in life happened recently, when I had my car die on me, forcing me to find other ways to get to work.  It wasn't easy, but after finally buying my very own bicycle, a Scott SUB 30, I was able to travel to work without working too hard.  The thing is, that when I went to work, I would need to wake up earlier in the morning.  Now, when I was in training, I had to wake up and go run, and then go to work, but with me cycling, the morning workouts ceased to exist, and instead, I would ride to work.

The ride was tough, and I had to push forward and force myself to wake up, for fear of being late to work.  Today, I woke up and went to work, cycling 17.81 miles in 1:07:09, a reasonably fast pace.  I went to work, and after that, cycled to AutoZone (.7 miles) and then cycled to Nathan's house to see what could be done about my car (4.49 miles).  After waiting and figuring things out, the car needed to be worked on again, and so I had my sister drive me back home.  I then decided that I needed some running, especially since I was training for that 50 mile race.  I ran 1.75 miles to the gym in 13:26 (average of 8:02 min/mile) and then worked out, doing 20 pull ups, 50 push ups, and oblique exercises.  After working out, I ran back 1.77 miles in 12:53, an average of 7:16 min/mile.  Comparing it to my 5k average, this time is horrible, but when understanding that I'm training for a 50 miler which would require you to push through even when tired, it helps me understand that this little bit of running was only a part of what the end of the race would be like.

Sometimes, we just are forced into a lifestyle.  Sometimes it's a good lifestyle we're forced into, and sometimes it's a bad lifestyle.  What can we do about that?  I believe that we could accept the good lifestyle and work against the bad lifestyle.  Accept the good that happens in your life and react positively.  However, when bad things happen which forces you to change your lifestyle in a not so healthy way, we need to learn to fight it and make the best out of the situation.  Some things can't be stopped, but it can still be deterred.  We may not be able to save ourselves from all bad situations, but we could always change it for the better.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

One Move Ahead

Being prepared definitely helps out, and being one move ahead is amazing.  Today, I went to Walmart and bought myself a good bike lock, to insure that my bicycle would not get stolen on one of my stops.  Being prepared for an incident like that prevents it from happening.  Tomorrow, I'm planning on cycling up to school to go to work.  That means that tonight, I need to make sure to go to sleep early and get enough rest so that I would be ready to ride tomorrow.  I'm not altogether excited about it, but at the same time, it's also going to be a productive way of using my time.  Instead of driving a car an hour round trip and going to the gym and cycle for an hour, I'm able to cycle for a little over 2.5 hours, which uses my travel time as gym time, getting more exercise as a result, and enforced the start of my day to involve exercise.  Because of that, I do not need to go to the gym as much, and my cardio as well as my muscles would be enhanced due to the prolonged exercise that I might possibly do.

Being one move ahead makes it so that you know what to do, should anything happen.  Being prepared means that your choice has already been made, and all you have to do would be to follow your decision.  In chess, it's important to not think about the current situation, but to think a couple moves ahead.  Basically, the person who can stay one move ahead of the other person will win.  It doesn't matter if you can think 100 moves ahead if the other person can think 101 moves ahead (assuming you knew every single possible move).  Being one move ahead helps you in the long run.

In a race, being one move ahead is knowing what the course is going to be like and train accordingly.  Knowing that my next race will involve a lot of hills, I knew that I needed to strengthen my legs to be accustomed to the large amounts of climbing I would have to do that day.  I'm excited about this upcoming 50 miler because it's going to be a step for me... a step to applying for the Western States 100 mile race.  If I apply and get it, then I'll have to prepare to race my hardest on that, because only 10% of the runners who apply is able to make it, and if you want to have a 100% chance of returning to do it, you need to be one of the top ten people to complete the race.  Every year, I would be able to apply for the Western States, and every year, my chances of getting in will go up because the way they let people in is through the lottery, where they draw a certain amount of names to see who gets it.  If you don't get it that year, the following year, if you apply again, you'll have two names, doubling the chances of success.  I'm hoping that I would be one of the lucky few that would be chosen to run on my first go-around, but since I don't know if that's going to happen for sure, I'm going to be training like crazy for a race in February.

Being one move ahead helps you out a lot.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

West Hills 5k

Today was my race day.  I woke up early in the morning, walked 3 miles to the park, raced, and walked 3 miles back to my house.  It was a tough 5k... I'm not used to running fast so this really was something new for me.  I managed to finish in 2nd place with a time of 18:52... a really slow 5k time.  I hadn't realized how hard the hills were til around two miles into the race.  I led most of the race, but the person behind me caught up in the last mile, and although in the last 400m, I was catching up to him, he still finished 18 seconds ahead of me for the win.  I wasn't too sad about the whole ordeal, since I biked around 30 miles the day before, but I was glad that this race was over.  I paid $12 to get into the race, and I got a t-shirt, free water, free food, I won a door prize (vegetable grilling wok), a couple gift certificates, a free smoothie, a lunch box, and a couple free chips and salsa tickets for Chili's.  I put training and a little bit of money, and I came out with a lot more than what I put in.  It was definitely a good day.

I started out the race as the leader, following the cop car, feeling pretty good, but my hamstrings weren't feeling as good, since I was still recovering from the bike ride I had the day before.  I was able to push through and act like it was the final 5k of the marathon, and it was a great feeling as I rushed through the finish line.  Even though it was a small race, there were still some supporters and it looked like we had a good community backing it all up.  The community was great and it felt good to be a part of that.  I met a couple people before and after the race, and was able to talk it up with a couple of them, and enjoy that morning.  After I finished, I went back up and began to cheer for the other people who were finishing up the race.  There were so many different kinds of people.  Some bigger than others, some pushing running strollers, some young, some old, some who had a goal to beat, others who didn't.  I was able to see a lot of them come to the finish line and cheering for them was just as good as running that race.

Sometimes, people come into races with the sole mission of winning, and they ignore the little things around them.  I'm glad that I was able to spend a little bit of quality time with a few people and make friends with them.  There weren't too many professional level people running the rest, but there was definitely a group of people that enjoyed the run and the experience.  It was nice to meet and talk with them, see faces of those who ran their first 5k and celebrate with them.

West Hills 5k:  A small race.  Quality people.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Pacing and Pacing

I learned a lot today about pacing.  In running (as well as in life) there's two different kinds of pacing.  There's the pacing when you train, and pacing when you perform.  Both are important because if you go too fast, you burn out.  If you go too slow, you're just slow and won't perform at your best.

It's important to pace your training and races because if you race too much, you end up pushing your body too much, and not helping it.  Look at what you run and how much you push yourself in each run.  Every training run you go do shouldn't be done at race pace, but at the same time, it shouldn't be done slow.  To pace yourself is to balance yourself with what you can do, so as not to burn out and not reach peak performance for a race.  In training, it's important to plan ahead, but at the same time, know yourself well enough so that you could change plans mid-run.  The thing about pacing yourself during the week is that you need to plan for the unplanned.  There are many factors that may enhance our runs or slow us down, and depending on how we're feeling at that moment and what we're training for, it's important to understand that and take the appropriate measure.

In racing itself, pacing is important because when you run too fast in the beginning, you end up tiring out and losing your power.  If you go slowly at the beginning, then you'll have a hard time catching up with everyone else.  Perfect pacing ends up looking like this:  There's no possible way you could have run any faster in that race.  Pacing yourself in a race means that you're running efficiently, and at the same time, when the course changes, you adjust accordingly.  Should the course go uphill, you look at the distance between you and the finish line and your capabilities on the hill and change your cadence and stride, adjusting your speed so that you could make the best out of the situation and run a good race.

Overall, pacing is important and the person that has their pace perfect is the person who knows their body perfectly.  The more you know about your body, the better your pacing CAN be.  Notice that I said the word 'can' because at times, we ignore what we know and run forward beyond what we can do, messing with our own pace.

Knowing yourself can bring out the possibility, mental strength is another aspect that we need to work on because it helps us with the usage of the knowledge, and apply it... since what good is knowledge if it's not well applied?

Today, I started cycling to school on my friend's mountain bike and after going 6.11 miles, a co-worker saw me and pulled over and drove me to work.  After work, I rode the bike a little more than 5 miles, and then met up with an individual that was selling his bicycle on craigslist.  I took a look at the bike and knew that that bike was something that I wanted.  I bought the bike for $250 and right after that, rode 18.43 miles back home (even though I knew that tomorrow I was going to have a 5k race).  Biking that distance, I understood the importance of pacing... especially when it came to uphill cycling.  It was a brutal course, but I managed to get back alive, proud that I biked from work all the way back home on my 'new' hybrid bike.

Can't wait for tomorrow's 5k.  I know I'm not going to do fantastic, but at the same time, it's going to be good to put myself in a short race like this.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What it Means to Not Give Up

Today was another interesting day.  Once again, I didn't have any 'runs' today.  After work today though, I walked my bike over to Cedar Bluff Cycles and watched them put a new tube on my bicycle.  Looking at how they did that, I now could probably do that on my own.  After getting the bicycle fixed up, I rode the bike the 1.7 miles I walked.  After eating dinner, I went back on the bike again to ride over to Johnny Long Training Academy (5.53 miles in 23:17... which included traffic lights and stop signs, etc.)   After that, we went to Wendy's and I ate a sandwich... then left and rode to the RUSH to work out.  That ride was 8.24 miles, and I got there in 30:53, which was a decent pace for me.  I then did 24 pull ups, 50 push ups, and did some exercise for my obliques... and then rode to Walmart to get hair gel, and then back home.  Altogether, I probably biked a little less than 20 miles.  It was an awesome day.

Now in the indoor soccer game, we started out bad... really bad.  In fact, we were losing 4-2 in the first half of the game... however, we didn't give up.  We tried hard, and our efforts yielded results.  We ended the game 8-5 and at the end of the day, we were 4th place, able to compete in the tournament.  Because we didn't give up, we were still in the game.  Because we knew that we could do it, we persevered and pushed through in order to achieve this win.  With this, we pushed our way from 6th place to 4th.  When you don't give up, hope lives on.  When you give up, that hope is extinguished.

Not giving up mean you have hope.  It gives opportunity, and when opportunity is given, you take as much as you can from it.  Whenever you have some sort of goal, you keep at it til you reach that goal.  In running a 50 miler, I can see the difference between one that has hope and one that does not.

Whenever we come to a point where we feel like giving up our goal, just realize that when we persevere, there's always that chance that something might happen.  In fact, when something happens, we ought not to give up until the very end, because hope is something that exists til the very end.  Tough times will come about.  So be mentally prepared to take it head on.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lose Weight... Forever

Some people have a very simple goal... to lose weight.

According to a few articles that I've read, in the last 50 years, the obesity rate of Americans have more than doubled from under 15% to over 30%.  It's an epidemic that some are constantly fighting.  There's the latest diet... which doesn't seem to work after we're done.  There's the latest exercise that you can do every other day... but you stop and the weight goes back on... How can we get rid of this excessive fat once and for all?

Over 2/3 of American adults are overweight or obese.  We've figured out how to fight diseases that could kill people, we've developed technology that can take us into space.  We have done so many things... yet it seems like we cannot help ourselves lose the excessive fat that surrounds our body.  Why?  Why is it that most Americans are overweight or obese?  Why is it that we can't find a way to fight this 'disease' that's killing us and making our life unhappy?  The answer is so simple.  It's because we don't have the lifestyle we need to dig ourselves out of that hole.  First, you have to understand where you are.  Then, you have to understand where you're wanting to go.  Finally, you will then understand what you need to do to get there and STAY THERE.  Simply put:

START:  Overweight/Obese
FINISH:  Lose weight forever
PATH:  Healthy lifestyle

There you have it.  A simple solution.  Yet, why is it hard for us to put that into practice and continue to do so?  It's because of the culture... the mindset.  Most people will pick an easy out if they think that it would give them the results they want.  Television advertises a lot of things that are medically proven to help you lose weight.  However, there's nothing that can be done about keeping the weight off.  Results can be seen by taking the medicine, but they can't sustain that result.  The problem isn't solved by a one time deal.  It can only be solved by a continuous work done by the individual.

I like math, and it really does make life simple.  I look at the simple math problem that helps me understand how people can become overweight or obese.  If energy consumed is more than energy used, then that energy gets stored on the individual as fat.  If energy consumed is less than energy used, then it shows me that the body will deplete the fat that's stored up within the body.  Should the intake energy equal the energy that's being used, what it means is that the body is sustaining itself, because it isn't taking energy from another place, nor is it storing energy.

Promoting a healthy living style means understanding more about what it means to live healthy.  Understanding the simple energy in, energy out, will definitely help the individual with their understanding of how the body works.  Exercise promotes healthy living by using a lot of energy.  Exercise helps our body figure out what shape it needs to be in in order to maintain.  Figuring how much you need to eat to maintain means that you need to know how much you're exercising also.

The simple solution to losing weight forever, is to develop that lifestyle that promotes healthy living.  What good is it if you don't develop that lifestyle?  The lifestyle is what your body adapts to.  If you lead a lazy lifestyle, your body will take that into account and with the energy given to them, they'll store more and not be able to use any of it.  Exercising is also a big part of losing weight forever.  Just because you run for a year doesn't mean that you could get away with just racing from then on.  You need to work hard and constantly push yourself to excel.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

When You Try

In any sport, if you try, there's a chance something may happen.  It might not happen... but the thing is that it COULD happen.  We don't know the outcome of something until we try.  You won't know whether or not you'll make a goal unless you shoot.  You won't know if you're going to do a perfect dive unless you try.  When you try, something happens.  What happens is that you're given an opportunity.

Some people don't have that mentality and don't quite understand that without trying, things won't happen.  As long as we have the spirit, as long as we persevere and go forward, anything can happen.  Sure against a strong team you might not do so well, but you will never know until you try.

What bugged me today was an individual that would not try.  His effort level was minimum and it really frustrated me.  I went over to Johnson University and played some floor hockey with the college kids and in my line up, I had two people that didn't have as much experience with hockey.  One of them gave it his all and produced results.  The other... not so much.  In fact, it came to a point where I was asking him to move and do something instead of standing around and not doing anything.  The thing was that it seemed that his feet was firmly planted on the ground so that he couldn't move and do anything effective.  Usually, when you play a game of floor hockey, just running up to the person with the ball pressures them.  There isn't too much pressure when you back away from them or don't move at all.

I mean, I'm glad he came to get better and play... but I would like more effort.  When you give up, there's no way that anything positive will happen, but if you don't give up, then you're giving yourself a chance to make something happen.

The same thing can apply to multiple things in life.  If you don't ask a girl out, you won't find out if she'll go out with you.  If you don't apply for a job, you won't get it.  If you don't offer that low amount of money to buy a car, you won't know if they'll accept that offer.  The thing is, without taking chances... without trying, things won't happen.

I'm not saying that it'll happen every single time you try... but it'll happen a lot more compared to when you don't take that chance.  Try, take a chance, jump.  Doing that can create opportunities.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Stuff Happens

When I got stung by a bee on Saturday, I was like, oww... that hurt... and I went on and ran 14.3 miles.  On Sunday, after street hockey, I came back to my car and found that it stopped working, I was like, "It's okay, it means I'll have to start cycling to work and get my exercise that way and it'll all work out."  Today, since I had stayed over at a friends house, I just cycled 5 miles to get to work.  However, as I was cycling back to my apartment, a piece of glass punctured the rear tire of my bicycle when I was 7.2 miles away from work. Now, I lived 15 miles away from work, so that was basically half way.  I was fortunate enough to catch a friend who was going towards the same direction as me, and he gave me a ride for 2 miles, and so I walked the last 5 miles pushing my bike.

I had a lot of time to think.

I thought about all these things and how they happened and what happened because of that.  I thought about what I needed to do because all these things happened.  I wasn't in the greatest of moods exactly.  My car failed, my bicycle failed, and by that time, my phone failed and I was on my own.  The only thing that hadn't failed me was my two feet.  Even though my right foot was slightly swollen from the bee sting, I could stay on it and keep going forward.  I had my fair share of things happening to me, but that can't stop me.  Stuff happens, and we can't control it.  We can only control how we react to it.

Stuff happens, both good and bad.  It really does.  Right now, it just seems like bad things are just piling on top of each other.  In times like this, you need to push on and go forward.  Failure is only occurs when you give up, and until you give up, the 'game' goes on.  Fight on and persevere and in the end, you will not only win, but you'll come out a lot stronger than before.  Also, it's always good to have others around you because when things do happen, they can help you out.  For example, tomorrow, because of my 'emergency', a co-worker offered to come over and drive me to work with her.  It's nice to have friends and very nice to have people around you that offers to help you in whatever way they can.  It not only helps you here and now, but it encourages you, showing you that they'll be there, should the need arise.

When stuff happens, your friends will always support you.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Optimist's Outlook

Bad things happen.

Good things also happen.

Sometimes, we see the bad things that happen and refuse to see the good that could possibly come out of it. Others look at the good things that happen and only see the bad that could come out of it.  I enjoy looking at the good things and being happy about it, and looking at the bad things and seeing the good that can come out of it.  Today was a rather interesting day.  I went to church like normal, and then at 3, I went over to play some street hockey and had a lot of fun... but when I returned to my car, I saw that one of the spark plugs came off and even after putting it back on, the threads weren't catching, so it just kept on popping off after I started the car.  Now my car has been annoying me for the past... year? and so this kind of thing has been happening for some time.  Normally, I'd be a little peeved about this situation, but knowing that being angry about it wouldn't do anything about it, I had another great idea.  This gave me the perfect opportunity to begin cycling to work.  Fortunately, my friend had a bicycle that he could lend me, and I would ride back and forth from my house to work (after tomorrow since I'm staying at his place to get the bicycle).  It would be a round trip of 30 miles every day on a mountain bike.  It's not the most fun thing in the world, but it's something that'll definitely help me getting to my goals.

Things happen in life that you can't control.  What you can control is how you deal with it.  If you deal with it in a negative way, then it's obvious that the whole situation will end negatively.  If you deal with the situation in a positive way, something good's definitely gotta happen.  Positive thinking always produces results that are beneficial to the individual.  Being positive shows how motivated you are towards your goals.  If you're negative, it shows that you aren't motivated towards your goals because you focus on the different things you can't do, rather than the things you CAN do.

As Albert Einstein says, "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."

Look at the bigger picture, see what it could be, and push on forward and make things happen.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Your Social Life

When pursuing your goals, you have to set boundaries of what you can do and can't do with your friends.  It's important to be able to have that social life because when you drop everything for your goals, you lose the things that should be just as important to you.  However, putting them above your goals would hinder your pursuit.  In order to achieve a good balance, there needs to be some sort of guideline that the individual ought to follow.  For each person, that guideline is different because the goals that individual has is different.  For some, the guidelines are more lax because their goal doesn't have as much time constraint, while others will have to figure out how to balance time to focus on their goal and time to hang with friends.

As for me, my goal is to become an elite-class runner, which requires a lot of time and effort.  This means that I would be spending less time hanging around with friends because of this time constraint.  My goal is important to me, as are my friends, and fortunately, my friends understand the importance of my goal and what it entails.  At times though, it seems a little too much.  I have to schedule my hang out times around my running schedule, or vice versa, and at times, I have certain friends who don't plan ahead and do things on the fly.  Although it may be good for most people and add the excitement to their lives, to me, it can be a wrench thrown in the formula.

Today, I had all day in which I could have hung out with friends, but because they were busy or something was up, I couldn't find time to hang with them and so even though in the morning, I ran 14.3 miles in 1:50:06 (7:41 min/mile average), I had a lot of free time during the day and between 2-8, had no social time and was just bumming around all day until I worked out at the gym, doing 26 pull ups, 60 push ups, and cycling for 30 minutes, followed by some stretching.  I then proceeded to go to Starbucks and see if I could see some friends from 10:00, but it seemed like nobody was available.  As soon as I went back home to get ready to sleep, I noticed on my facebook that a friend of mine happened to be in town and was hanging out back where I was at... I could have gone back, but I couldn't because tomorrow, I needed to wake up early and run for 30 minutes before going to church.  Running is a huge priority, and unfortunately, because of bad timing and bad communication, I couldn't go and hang out.

Having to pursue my goals, I needed to make a few sacrifices.  It's important that my friends understand that because if they don't, then the relationship I have with them will fall apart.  Things like miscommunication or lack of communication can make that happen.  Therefore, when working towards your goal, it's important to keep that communication line open, so that both you and your friends would know what's going on.  The thing about having a goal is setting priorities depending on the closeness of the friendship you have, and the determination you have concerning your goal.  I'm fortunate to have friends who understand the importance of my goal and my pursuit of it.  They understand that I can't eat late with them because it can mess with my metabolism in a way I don't want it to.  They understand that I need to sleep earlier so that I could wake up and go running in the morning.

Sometimes, the strain can be hard, but if your friends are truly your friends, they'll understand you and work with you.  Don't forget to balance your friendships with your goal.  When you sacrifice everything for the sake of your goal, you lose the important people in your life.  Strive on towards your goal, but take those breaks to keep the personal relationships you have with the people around you.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Running and my iPhone

Before, I used to go out and run and get a rough estimate of how much I am doing.  Now, I have my iPhone with me that tells me exactly how much I ran, and what my pace was at every certain spot (although I don't think it's too highly accurate with the pace at a given point).  On my iPhone, I use the mapmyrun app which tells me what I think is the most important thing.  The distance, and the time spent on it, and the average min/mile.  Every time I go for a longer run, I bring the iPhone with me, and it helps me keep track of everything I do.  Now when I do strides or sprints, I don't think the iPhone is as effective, but when using it to figure out average pacing for running a longer run, it really helps me figure out what my fitness level is.

Knowledge is valuable, but can only be valuable if you use it.  What good is it to know things yet not utilizing the knowledge?  The iPhone is a valuable tool for me to figure out how fast I'm running and exactly how long I'm running.  As I know how I feel, I can figure out what intensity level I'm at, and compare it to the measured data the iPhone gives me.  The mapmyrun app is really important to me because it collects my data and keeps account of all that I put in.  Now, it doesn't put in EVERYTHING that I do, but to me, the most important thing is to see how my running is, and I utilize the tool by collecting and understanding the data I receive.

This morning, I didn't have too much time to go run, but I ran 4.76 miles in 32:24, an average of 6:48 min/mile.  Using my iPhone, I can tell the exact number of miles I ran as well as the minutes and figure out my average pace.  Knowing that I was semi-pushing myself to get this time, I can see that I'm still a ways from getting to where I need to be.  The iPhone also calculated the amount of calories burned (610 in this case) which is a pretty good indicator of how much energy I need to intake in order to balance it out.

Tools are meant to be used.  Tools help us with the gathering of data.  It's important to utilize these tools, but at the same time, we ought not to completely depend on the tools in order to work with our data.  Some things are hard to measure.

After working today, I ate, and took a nap, and then played soccer.  Soccer is a sport that really works you out, but gives you enough of a break... it's a sport that is really hard to gather any data from.  I didn't bring my iPhone with me because I knew it would be pointless.  I use soccer as a way to work on my speed and continue to become faster, having my body get used to the bio-mechanics of running faster.

I enjoy having my iPhone because it really does help me understand my body a lot more.  Having a tool like that helps me understand where I am in my journey towards my goal.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Signing Up For a Race

What goes on in the mind of the individual once they sign up and pay for the race?  To some, it's 'Oh yeah~ now it's time to get it on~' while others go, 'Crap... what did I just do?'  Either way, signing up for a race changes things.  The moment you sign up for a race, it's a statement to yourself that you've made a personal commitment to the training that's going to take place, and it's the beginning of a whole new attitude.  Before you signed up, although you may have been fired about the fact that you're training for a race, you might not have been AS passionate.  AFTER you signed up, you are a lot more passionate because you have just put an investment down.  Today, I officially signed up for The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile race.  Last year, I spent a month training mostly on a bike before I ran it... because I ran it for... fun.  This year, I've signed up 2 months before the race, with a good amount of training already on my back.  I'm ready to race, and with finally making it official, I'm even more determined to end up as one of the top finishers.

The change that happens can be phenomenal, and if controlled, can benefit the individual greatly.  When you invest your time, your money, your life... you are definitely more passionate about it.  Your will becomes stronger, your goal is more visible, your focus is finer... the moment you sign up for a race and make that investment/decision, you are taking a psychological step that will affect your physical life.

I chatted on facebook with one of my friends, and he was talking about how important his training was.  Once you've signed up for something, you're pushing yourself further, sacrificing many things in order to achieve your goal.  Now that I've signed up for the 50 mile race, I'm a lot more focused.  I'm ready to put a lot of effort into my training to sculpt my body into what it needs to be in order to win this race.  The chances of me winning this race isn't too good, considering that there would be professional athletes in the mix, but just because it isn't good doesn't mean that it's not impossible.  Anything can happen in 2 months, and I plan on making something happen.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Three Runs, Three Reasons

Running has definitely been a big part of my life, and it has impacted me in so many ways.  Today, I had the opportunity of doing 3 different kinds of runs.  First, I needed to get somewhere to meet Anthony, a friend who I was going to start train.  I ran 3 miles in 20:35, a 6:51 min/mile pace.  It wasn't the fastest, but it was me pushing it slightly.  I wasn't in a big hurry, so I didn't push too hard.  I started at a pretty slow pace, warming up as I sped up.  This first run itself was divided into a couple parts, where I would warm up, and where I would work hard.  Once I finished the 3 miles, I met up with Anthony, who was still new to running, and proceeded to run and walk with him for 3.7 miles, taking 45:25, an average of 12:17 min/mile.  It wasn't too fast personally, but the important thing was the mileage, and work on form.  As we ran, walked, and talked, I taught him various things he ought to do when running.  I noticed that his form was not good, which caused his muscles to tire out easily.  As he was already accustomed to doing this, it was hard to change it, but bit by bit, he began to adjust himself to be able to run correctly, and help his whole body in the process.

After that, he drove me to The RUSH, where I proceeded to do 25 pull ups, 60 push ups, worked on my obliques, and then cycled for 30 minutes.  After stretching out at the gym, I ran 1.79 miles back to my apartment, in 13:14, an average of 7:23.  As this was only a cool down run, I didn't push myself too much, but without pushing myself too much and running at this rate, I could tell that I was in decent shape, almost ready to run the 50 miles in Atlanta.

Each of these runs had different meanings, and each run was worthwhile.  Altogether, I was able to run 8.49 miles, which adds up especially in the long run.  Although my 5k is coming up soon, it's the 50 miler that I'm really worried about.  Running like this will definitely help my 50 mile time.  Running to the gym to exercise is probably one of the greatest ideas I've ever had, because my run had two purposes, to exercise, as well as get to the gym.  With each run comes a different reason, and although the reason may be different, the result is the overall mileage I have already done with my body.

Every Run Counts.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Control and Responsibility

It's important to be in control because without control, it could be chaotic.  However, being in control also means that you are responsible.  It's important to know that the responsibility affects your entire life.  The most important thing you need to control is yourself.  In being control over yourself, you are given the responsibility to take care of yourself, and with that responsibility, you decide what your life is going to be like.

Other people can influence you, but in the end, it's you who has the control.  Once you give up that control for an urge, your body will be affected.  For example, there are multiple cases where people just give in to their desire to eat.  Because of that desire, they cannot stop and cannot balance the caloric intake and usage, causing their body to react to that by storing all that extra energy.  Eventually, because you've lost control over your body to your urges, your body is affected with the weight gain.  Now, the fault lies with you because you allowed yourself to choose that.  There is no other explanation, because you are the only one putting food into your body.  The weakness in the body is directly related to the weakness in the mind.  The stronger the mind is, the stronger the body can be.

In the end, the choice is yours, however, with encouragement from other people, and positive influence, you might be able to make the healthy life choices your body needs.  Today, after a hard day at work, I went back to the apartment, put the rice in the rice cooker, and slept for an hour, waking up and eating, and after taking a little break, drove over to the gym to work out.  The rice/eggs/spinach/soysauce/mayo combo was amazing.  It tasted pretty good and it was a good balance for me... but anyway, I went over to the gym, did one max set of pull ups (24) and one max set of push ups (60) and then cycled for an hour at a decently fast pace.  I then went over to do my single leg calf raises when I felt good enough and doubled my usual amount, doing 420 calf raises for each leg.  After working out, I went over to stretch when I met another individual that saw me and thought I looked like a runner and asked me a couple questions regarding running, and after talking with him and getting to know him, I found that he was a new runner and wanted to get back into shape without hurting himself.  Naturally, I offered to help him, and we stretched and talked for a bit, planning a run tomorrow evening.  After that, I went back and ran 5 miles in 36:22, an average of 7:16 min/mile.  The only reason that it wasn't that fast was because for a couple minutes, I was jogging in place because I was talking to a neighbor who was walking around with his friends.  The important thing to me about this run was the distance, not the time, so although I mostly ran in sub 7 min miles, the average went up because of that.

It's nice to know that there are people out there that want to take responsibility of their own bodies and ask for help to do that.  That shows that they have the passion and understand the importance of taking steps to help yourself go towards your goal.  When reaching for any goal that you have, it's important that you are in control of yourself so that you can take steps towards that goal, that you can go directly towards your goal, in order to accomplish it.  There may be distractions, but if you have absolute control over yourself, you can reach your goal.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ryan Hall's DNF

Today, I had the opportunity of waking up in the morning, skyping a friend and watching the last 20 minutes of the marathon.  Uganda got first place, Kenya second and third, USA fourth, Brazil fifth, and Japan sixth.  The finishes of all these individuals were fairly fast.  I couldn't understand how they could go so fast for so long, but looking at them, I know that they've trained the whole time in order to be able to achieve that status.  They had to take steps to get to that point.

Although there were a lot of runners that finished the marathon, there was one individual that I noticed that did not finish the race.  Ryan Hall had his first DNF, his first... failure.  However, this was the best choice he could make because had he gone, he would have had a hard time with his nagging injury, possibly ruining his running career.  Although the DNF probably felt glad at the moment, holistically, there's a lot more to it, and that  actually save more.

We have points where we need to know that we need a DNF, to understand what is important.  Today, I didn't run.  Instead, I did 24 pull ups, and 60 push ups.  After that, I cycled and then later had 2 hours of wallyball.... it was a nice day.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


When you run long distances, it's not about the speed.  It's the mileage.  People often mistaken that and focus on the speed of what they're doing.  Although speed is important, overall, mileage is what counts.  Experience piles on top of each other and it affects the body and how it develops.  Speed only lasts a short amount of time, and in the overall schematics, it doesn't do too much.

It's about the distance.  It's about making it.  It's about adding it all together.  Today, I ran with a good friend of mine twice, after taking a little breather between each run. 3.4 miles in 37:59 on the first run (11:11 min/mile average) and 2.32 miles in 27:22 (11:49 min/mile average).  It definitely wasn't my fastest run, but it was a very enjoyable run.  I enjoyed going out and running with Whitney, who I was able to help out with form and such.  Running is pretty important to me, and when I go with people, I do my best to go at their pace and be helpful to them if they ask for it.  She knew I was a big runner so she asked for some advice on her running form, and we worked on it as we ran.  It was nice to just go out, talk and run all at the same time.  Part of me wishes that there were more people that would do that.  I enjoyed getting to know Whitney while on the run too.  Personally, running is really good to get to know other people, because it shows you their character as well as sharing your own.

After the run, I decided to stick around the park and meet up with total strangers and play some beach volleyball.  I saw some people playing, and I thought I'd join, and asked... and was easily accepted.  I got new friends, I played a couple hours of volleyball, and went home pretty happy.  This was one of the best Saturdays ever.  I really enjoy being all active.  Can't wait til next week. Haha.

It doesn't really matter how fast you do something, as long as you enjoy it, and make it work.  Today was something that was fun, and definitely helped with my overall goal of running.  Keep up the mileage and the goal won't be too far off.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Another Day, Another Dollar

Another day, another dollar.  That's what it's like when you're training.  However, each day, you earn a little bit and as you save up, as a whole, it becomes something.  No matter what, a step is a step, a dollar is a dollar... but every bit counts as long as it's a part of the whole.  Every minute, even every second counts.

Today, my minutes spent were used to do 25 pull ups, 55 push ups, 30 minutes of pretty hard cycling, and finished it off with working on my obliques.  I enjoyed another moment at the gym, and really felt like I was getting stronger.  In becoming stronger, I was also preparing my body to be able to take that 50 miler (even though the next race I have is a measly 5k) and finish strong.  I know that I can run a marathon whenever I feel like it, but now I need to get to being able to run 50 miles and race against competitors.  Since this round isn't about finishing, it's going to be about finishing at the top.

Finishing at the top is kind of like cashing in the checks you've saved up.  You've saved up nickels and dimes here and there, and when you finally get to cash it all in, and see what you get.  October is the month I cash my checks in, and I have 2 months til I am at that point.  I'm excited about the race and with the training I'm doing in and outside the gym, I can't wait til I get through with it and become a top competitor.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Our body is made up of many parts, and we are made to adapt to our environment.  Constant stress to our body will eventually cause our body to be able to handle it because it gets used to what you do.  Almost every day, I would do pull ups and push ups and I've been able to little by little, raise the numbers of each.  As of today, I'm up to 25 pull ups and 59 push ups in one max set.  I cycled for 20 minutes because before I went to the gym, I played a good bit of indoor soccer.  It's nice to be able to work on my speed using another sport because the amount of work I put into pushing myself is more enjoyable.  Sprinting at top speed for the sake of getting faster isn't as appealing as chasing after a person who has a soccer ball with them.  This constant push has become a normal thing for me, so now I don't really 'tire' as much because my body is so used to the activity level.

Now as I increase my activity level, my body needs to adjust, and each time I adjust it, my level of fitness rises to a new level, allowing me to continue on.  After my 5k on August 25th, I plan on starting each day with a certain mileage, to get my body acclimated to continuously run.  At first, it'll only be 8 miles a day, but eventually, I'm going to go up above ten miles a day and go on towards 15 if I have the time to do so.  As I work out at the gym, my mileage may not increase too much, but because of the constant running I would be doing every day, my body would eventually get used to it, understanding that it's just another day, so that I need to get used to that.  Now of course, I'll have to balance my social time because of this, but with a goal in mind, I'm planning on moving onward and running longer.

Our body is amazing, but at the same time, it's not unbreakable.  When you're adapting or acclimating to what you're doing, if you go too fast, you'll end up hurting yourself and fall back to square one.  It's important to be able to push forward at a reasonable pace, so that you would be able to adjust and adapt to where you need to be.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Trust Your Training

You've practiced 100 times, you know what to do, yet there are times when we don't have the courage to trust our training and go for it.  All it takes is a leap of faith and you can race the best race of your life.  Practicing how to jump out of an airplane is totally different than actually jumping out of an airplane.

When you train, the pressure that's on you is different than the actual performance you are training for.  We have the Olympians who train like none other to compete, but once in front of everyone else, the pressure is immense.  It takes incredible courage to trust your training and perform to the best of your abilities.  Everyone's eyes are on them, a single mistake is not allowed, and because of that, the athletes get a little rigid and can't perform as well.  However, when they overcome that pressure and rise up above everything that is pushing them down, they perform phenomenally.

Trust the training, trust your rest, trust every move you make, and in trusting everything, it allows you to perform under those extreme pressures.  Overcoming the pressures, you can rise up to an even higher level, making a difference to your performances.  The pressure doesn't matter to you anymore, and you're able to put your best foot forward and work hard.  A foundation of trust must be built upon the training you underwent.  Believe in that training, and believe in yourself.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Going Against Plans

Today, my plan stated that I was to run 8 miles, but I didn't feel like running 8 miles, and my shins were telling me that I needed a little break.  Instead, all I did was just go to the gym and get some exercise done.  I did 24 pull ups, 59 push ups, and cycled for 30 min.  After all that, I stretched my legs and went home.

Sometimes, it's just the simple work outs that you need.  Sometimes, you have to take a step off your plans and go with what you feel.  Change it up, add something new, and most importantly, take care of your body.  Most people get injured because they have a hard-core plan that they 'need' to stick too.  It's important to be able to let your plans go and taking steps towards your ultimate plan.

When you have a plan towards becoming a professional athlete, would you stick to your running program if you knew it was going to hurt you?  No!  So if you look at the end goal and don't see that what you're doing right now is helping you along, then don't do it.  Take a break.  Go off course and make new plans.

In this day and age, we can only survive by adapting, and sometimes, when we adapt, we go against our plans that are 'supposed' to do, and alter our course in order to get to the place where we need to be.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Conditioning Your Body

There's a fine point to conditioning your body and damaging your body.  Each person has their own limit to what they can do at a certain point.  When we go past that point, our body can choose to adapt and grow stronger (conditioning) or it can choose to not adapt and end up destroying itself.  It's important to know your body well enough and know where you are at in order to condition yourself.  Before every season, football players have a conditioning session in which they get pushed to grow.  Although the sessions are meant to jump start the growth of the individual, assisting in making the individual stronger, sometimes, it can be too much and injuries are likely to take place.  The grey area between our limits and our destruction is where our bodies find ways to adapt.  When we barely go beyond our limits, our body will slowly adapt, but the adaptation will take long due to the small amount we are going beyond the limit.  However, going close to destroying yourself isn't a fun place to be.  When training, it's important to know that it isn't just one day that makes you into who you are.  In fact, your life as a whole pushes you towards the destruction point while each day you rest helps lower the level you are currently at.  If you continuously push, you'll end up at that point, and from there on, it's downhill and you would need a lot of recovery time in order to get to where you need to be.

When you condition your body, you push the limits, forcing the body to adapt.  Given enough time, the body will adapt and a new limit would be made, pushing the 'destruction zone' further away.  With a good and healthy balance and force, one could improve themselves to become stronger.  In the same way, when we work, we adapt to what we do.  When we go beyond what we can handle, we might be able to finish our objective, but we would go into a 'burnout' stage where we wouldn't be able to handle simple tasks.  Balance is the key to conditioning your body, and the more you know yourself, the better you can be at balancing the amount of work you put upon yourself.

Today, I went for a run, running 7 miles in 52:53, an average of 7:33.  I wasn't working too hard, but because of my current body condition, my nice and easy time has slightly improved.  After eating a good dinner, I proceeded to go to the gym and work out.  I did 22 pull ups, 55 push ups, cycled for an hour (17.4 miles) and did 220 single leg calf raises per calf, and due to how late it was, I had to leave.  Because of all the hard work that I have been doing almost every day, I've been able to push into the grey zone without going into the destruction zone.  Working towards a goal means conditioning your body to be able to achieve that goal.  I can't wait to condition my body to get there.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

To be a Team

I work at a school and I work with Kindergarten all the way to 4th grade.  At the first class, I went through the rules, and talked about how each class was a team that worked together.  We first formed a circle with out hands to remind us what a circle looked like, and after everyone 'figured out' what a circle was, I gave them 5 seconds to create a circle that would include me.  They had a difficult time because it wasn't enough time and they couldn't communicate clearly what needed to be done.  After giving them a little more time, I asked whether or not it was a circle.  After finally making a circle, I asked them what would happen should someone step out.  Would it be a circle?  Immediately, they answered no, because a circle is only a circle if everything is connected.  Should there be a missing piece, it's not whole, and therefore, not a circle.

It's the same way with running a long distance race, or working in an office... in every day life.  You work with people, and you are all part of a team.  Should one individual mess up, the whole team is messed up.  Every individual counts, and in order to become the best, you have to make sure that each individual is in their top shape and ready to work their hardest.

Today, I played wallyball with my sister and friends, and for 3 straight hours, we played... and I didn't lose a single game.  Part of it was because we got lucky, but on most of them, because of the teamwork that my team had, we were able to out-hustle the opponent and win.  Now it's a good thing that I'm rather athletic, and the same for my sister, but it was the teamwork that really pulled everything together.  With good teamwork, you can do so much, and if that teamwork didn't exist, then it would be more or less chaotic and the team would be a group of individuals with their own specific goals and it wouldn't work nearly as well.  Working together, it's not a matter of 10+10, but rather 10X10, improving the amount of output.

Teamwork is what brings people together.  Teamwork is what gives us good results.  Without teamwork, we won't be able to excel as well, able to produce as much.  It is teamwork that helps each individual work together as efficiently as possible.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Catch the Olympians

Once every 4 years, the Olympics picks out the best from each country to represent and compete against each other to find out who truly is the best.  After watching the 10,000m race featuring Mo and Galen, winning gold and silver, I was encouraged to make my place on the Olympic team.  I have 4 years to get to that speed, which seems like a lot of time, but for someone who doesn't have the same history as the professional runners, it's barely enough time to do so.

In order to be able to compete in the Olympics, the individual has to qualify for an Olympic Trial.  Depending on the sport, there is a certain number that can go per event, and as for me, as I want to run the marathon, I need to be able to be the top three American to run that race.  This past year, the top three times were as follows:

1.  Meb Keflezighi     2:09:08
2.  Ryan Hall              2:09:30
3.  Abdi Abdirahman  2:09:47

Dathan Ritzenhein, who placed 4th was only 8 second behind Abdi, with 5th place far behind, but it didn't matter.  Only the top three can advance from the trials to the Olympics.  In order to get into the trials, you needed to qualify:

The Men's Standards
Marathon - 2:19:00 and under
Half Marathon - 1:05:00 and under
10,000 m - 28:30 and under

All this needs to be done in order to participate in the Trials, which determines your entry to the Olympics.  Looking at my best time and at the times for the Trials, I would have made last place because of how slow my running is, compared to them.  In order to compete and manage to secure a spot on the Olympic team, I need to get below 2:10 and beat the whole field.  Having 4 years is a lot of time to build and develop the right kind of strength and endurance for this race.  Having a goal in mind, it's easier to take those steps towards that goal.  Two specific things I need to take from this.  One is to make sure to train for endurance because stamina is a vital role in the running world.  The second is to make sure that you get the quick speed and able to run fast.  Putting those together would make the perfect marathoner.

Like I said, there's going to be a lot of work needed in order to get there, make sure to give it your all for both endurance and speed.  Use your knowledge and catch the Olympians.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Breaking Point

Everybody has a breaking point, the point at which one little thing would break you.  At that point, you've already had cracks go all over, and you're not able to maintain your 'shape'.  In running and exercising, I've pushed myself considerably, but because of the little rest I've been giving myself, I'm at a point where if I keep on going, I would hurt myself.  It's pretty sweet to get to that point and stop and watch yourself recover from all that hard work you've been putting in.  It's not the normal soreness that goes away and makes you feel better.  This was different.  It was where you knew that if you keep on running too much, you'll end up hurt.

Training to the breaking point is very good, but at the same time, it could be pretty dangerous.  Knowing where that point is will help you become stronger.  Not knowing can be detrimental to your health.  Once you know where that point is, you can train to it, pushing your body to the limit, and thus pushing the limits even further when you recover.  Now that I know that I can run for 26.2 miles the day after running 11 and then keep on working out for the next few days, I know that my stamina has increased and I still need to focus on speed in order to help me with the 5k that I would be doing in a couple of weeks.

The Breaking Point is where you shouldn't push your body any more, and because of that, I'm glad to say that I won't be doing any running or any sort of exercise for the whole day, the next day.  Today, I ran to the gym (3.22 miles in 27:42, an average of 8:46 min/mile) and then did my 20 pull ups, 50 push ups, and then finished off with 30 minutes on the stationary bike and sauna for 20 minutes to loosen my muscles.  After that workout, I ran home (1.85 miles in 14:48, an average of 7:59 min/mile.  As an easy day, I'd say that that was a good run.  Can't wait til my body recovers to run another long run.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How to Become a Beast

Two days ago, I ran a marathon on the treadmill.... one of the worst decisions in my life, second to running a 50 miler with a month of training.  Yesterday, I just worked out at the gym only for a little bit.  Today, I went to the gym did 20 pull ups, 54 push ups, and then cycled for an hour before stretching and then going to play indoor soccer.  I played hard for the time that I was out there, and although I thought that the marathon would have affected my stamina, I found out that my stamina wasn't too affected by the marathon.  This meant that the marathon that I ran was not at my 'best' (probably because I ran the day before, making it so that I didn't feel like pushing hard during the marathon).  Because I prepared beforehand and brought a lot of drinks, I wasn't dehydrated nor lost salt, but I was getting closer to losing energy from carbs.  I managed to get through without going through my glycogen storage, but I was pretty close.  As soon as I went back, I ate a lot of food in order to replenish myself and recover as much as I could, and the next day, I was fine.

Now normally, when a person does a marathon, the glycogen storage is depleted, and the individual is usually dehydrated and doesn't have enough salt in his/her system, but in my case, it was different.  I made sure to prepare for it, and accidentally didn't push myself to a point where I wouldn't be able to recover.  Considering that I'm training for a 5k, this might be a little extreme, but it certainly showed me that I'm ready to tackle almost anything.  I have the stamina it takes to run long distances.  I'm building speed to run the short races.  As today, I played a lot of soccer, I really pushed myself to improve my speed.  It feels so good to be able to run as fast as you can, to challenge another person, to get in the way, to force people to make mistakes, to reach long passes, and to score goals.  All these things help me push my body to run fast, to take it up a notch.

How do you reach that?  Do you one day wake up and find yourself able to run marathons and play soccer back to back?  No.  A lot of work needs to be put into it, and the lifestyle of the individual must be geared towards being able to do all that work.  Dedication is what brings you to that point.  When you keep on pushing yourself, your body adapts to your lifestyle and choices, and little by little, begins to shape and becomes something stronger.  Just as every pound from the blacksmith's hammer strengthens the sword, each day of training strengthens the individual as he or she grows.  To become a beast, you must train like a beast.  When you have a goal and you run towards it, the chances of you making it is considerably higher than when you're only half-heartedly going for it.  Keep on strengthening yourself in the proper way and you can become a beast.  It doesn't matter if it's a physical beast, or just a working beast.  If you really want to become a beast, you'll get there because you'll push and shove til you  reach that point.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Giving it Your Best

I've read on the news about how different badminton teams were disqualified because they lost on purpose.  I'm personally glad that they got disqualified because of that, because I believe that in a competition, the teams ought to do their best to win everything.  When a team forfeits a match on purpose, it is for one thing, a very disrespectful thing to do, and secondly, it shows that you don't really have what it takes to be a true Olympian.  The thing about the Olympics is that the best athletes have been training for years in order to compete in this event, representing their own country, and attempting to win gold.

It is both an honor and a privilege for the athlete to be participating in the Olympics.  Because of that honor and privilege, I believe that each athlete ought to do their best, and to not do so would be a shame, not just to them, but also to their countries.  Giving it your best means that until the buzzer sounds, or the time runs out, or there is a pin... anything, you will not stop.

An image is played in my head of a volleyball game.  As long as the ball is in the air, the ball is still alive and something could happen.  A libero is a defensive specialist, good at both digging and passing.  As long as the ball hasn't touched the ground, the libero will dive and roll and somehow get to the ball, helping it so that the team wouldn't lose a point.  As long as there's enough space to put a hand under the ball, then there's a chance to keep that ball alive.  If there's a chance, there's hope, and if there's hope, there can be a future, if there's a future, you may be able to win.

Today, I didn't run because of a hard day yesterday, but instead, I did 22 pull ups, 55 push ups, cycled for 20 minutes, and worked on my forearms by hanging off a pull up bar.  My goal is to do well in this upcoming 5k, and although it's going to be rough, I'm going to push through and without giving up, race at a very fast pace.  The same thing for the 50 miler in October, I will give it everything I've got and push on forward to the finish.

Giving it your best gives you hope, and that hope leads you forward.