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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Studying to Run

Mankind's mission in life is to learn and grow.  We have within ourselves the need to challenge ourselves so that we can improve.  Those that have lost the will to improve do not see this and instead, they just fall apart.  The moment when we think we're done is the moment where we lose that momentum and start falling backwards.  It's important to continue that growth, to push our minds so that we would truly understand what's going on within us and grow in knowledge and understanding.  Once you learn something, you can take that and keep it close to your heart, changing who you are and use that knowledge to become a better you.

Getting stuck isn't what we appreciate.  We like to move, we enjoy accomplishments, and studying allows that to happen.  I study a lot about running and read running websites often, thinking about how I could become a better runner, but most importantly, I learn from working on myself and my running, studying how I run and where I am and where I want to go.  I research a lot and put that in my head, but using that research, I study how my body reacts to the different kinds of training and I do my best to improve myself as a runner and take steps towards finding a great way to train myself.  I always learn something new every day, and because of that, I'm able to add more to my training regiment, figuring out what best suits me.

Yesterday, I ran before going through the rest of the busy day.  I went around Nashville to the Music City Greenway and ran around the area, even stopped by the police when I accidentally got myself into some private property.  It was pretty fun though, running through a new place, getting to explore.  I ran 8.41 miles in 1:07:02, an average of 7:58 min/mile, which was a pretty decent pace, especially since I was stopped by the police.  Being the last day at Nashville, it was nice to end it with a nice run like that.  Can't wait to run there again... some day.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Sometimes we get stuck in a place where we are just cool with how things are going.  This may be good while you are taking a break, but should it go on for too long, what happens is that you get used to the amount of rest you're having that your body starts losing the muscles you've built up and the effort you put into yourself.  There's a point where you need to get back up onto your feet and go do something in order to become stronger.

When we place ourselves in a situation where we're comfortable and don't need things because we're supported, we get used to it.  We get comfortable... we get complacent... and we get lazy.  We don't realize that we've walked into the trap until it's too late.  Looking at the past few days, I've seen that the distances I've been running lately hasn't been too much because I've been complacent about how much I've been doing.  Because of the amount of things I've had to do, I've dropped my distance and amount of running by a lot, making myself turn into a 'lazy' individual.  For example, this morning, I woke up and didn't feel like going out for a run because it would've been too much for me and I just didn't feel like it.  I got too wrapped up living comfortably that I didn't want to go out and push myself.

We get stronger through putting ourselves in harsh situations.  The moment we go back into a comfortable lifestyle is when we start tempting ourselves to become lazy.  It's good to take that break ever so often, but it's not good to get used to the break and instead of returning to your normal life, to live life as if it was a break.  Sometimes, we get caught up in this trap, but what's important is what happens once you realize that.  The moment you realize that you've got yourself into a trap, you need to get to the next step... GET OUT.  If you're caught in the trap, every day that you don't try to climb out is another day where you go the wrong direction.  There's a time to rest, and there's a time to move onward.  The moment when you rest too long is the moment when you start going the wrong direction.  Every second wasted after that point takes even more time to get back... and once you get too comfortable with where you are, you're in trouble and need a lot more to get yourself back up.

Today, I realized that with all the work I've been doing, I've been slacking with the running, but needing to get out of that as soon as possible, I decided that this morning, I would wake up and go for a run before I started my day.  Although the run was short (3.15 miles in 24:40, an average of 7:50 min/mile) it was a step towards the right direction.  Tomorrow, I'm planning on going even further and running a lot longer... speaking of which, since I'm in Nashville now due to a conference, I've been able to go out and run different places, looking at a lot more things... and being able to run safely on sidewalks, a big difference between Knoxville and Nashville (Knoxville doesn't have as many sidewalks).

Don't get caught up in complacency.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

One Goal, One Direction

I enjoy reading Runner's World articles, and today's article talked about the number of people that used heel striking versus the number of people that didn't.  According to their statistics, over 90% of the runners use heel striking.  However, the number of heel strikers decrease as you go towards the front of the running pack.  This tells me that mid or forefoot strikers were more likely to have the best form.  I prefer to think that mid foot strike is the proper strike, because I believe that it supports your whole body going forward while not jarring anything too much.

When your body works to go one direction and only one direction, your body can go faster.  We can see that when we look at the statistics telling us about those that use heel striking are more likely to be slower.  Pushing forward and not stopping yourself is how you do well... and win races.  When you have a goal that you're trying to reach, go towards it just like when you run a race.  Forward motion shouldn't be hampered with the little bumps and stops we might have in our life.  By putting forth the effort to continue forward, we improve our speed as well as efficiently using our energy towards the right thing.

Take steps to focus on your goal and don't let little things hinder your forward motion.  Just like running, we need to live our lives going forward, one goal, one direction.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Supporter

Supporting people and being supported are two important things.  If you aren't there to support the individual, who's going to bring him or her back to being his or her old self?  Also, there are times when we stop believing in ourselves.  At that moment, it's important to have that someone to support you.  We are all made to give and need support from others.  Other times, we are just lost and don't know which direction to go, and how to get there.  At that point, it's also important to have someone there to show you the way.

Today, as I visited my old college to talk in front of a class about how I got my job and how college education helped me prepare for it, as well as what to expect out of the job, I met up with one of my friends Roberto, who asked how he could improve his endurance on the soccer field.  I immediately talked about how a fartlek or interval training would help after he ran about 3-4 miles.  What I suggested he should do is to pick sprint the long side of the soccer field and use the shorter side to recover, and circle the soccer field over and over again to improve.  Now, the way I wanted him to run that was to start slow and pick up the speed until you're going all out from 25% of the field to 75% of the field, when you coast to the end of the field and then start the recovery jog to the next sprint.  Having this change of pace will help him when he continues to do that til he gets too tired to go any further.  It's up to him to figure out where his limit is and continue to do that to improve his limit.

Supporting other people is really something that I enjoy because I love seeing the fire return to their eyes and their passion towards their goals grow.  I do hope that because of the support something happens, but part of supporting someone is believing in them.  Whether they do or not, it doesn't matter, because the supporter is there giving it their best to trust that the individual will make it to their goal.  A supporter is someone that give it their best to encourage them to continue on their path towards whatever goal they have set before themselves.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Strengths and Weaknesses

When it comes to hills, I'm not particularly fond of them.  One of the best races I've run was at one of the worst courses.  I believe it was my junior year when I was one of the top runners at our school.  We had a dual meet with one other school, and in this race, we started at the bottom of the mountain and raced up to a trail (which had it's ups and downs, but was on average, a flat surface) where we went out and back.  At this race, I planned on doing well, but knew that the mountain part of the race would totally own me.  So I just jogged up the mountain.  I was probably around 6th place when I came to the top and everyone was kind of surprised that I wasn't up with the top runners, and that's when I suddenly picked up the pace to play a game of catch up.  I wasn't the fastest climber, but my strength was in the flats.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to compete with the other runners on the uphill, but if I saved my energy and used it on the trail part of the race, I would be able to do well.  As I ran, I passed a couple runners, and with about a mile left, I passed the first place runner and lengthened my lead to win that race.  It was a small race, but it was one of my best.  This race taught me about the importance of pacing and working on your strengths.

Some of the runners went too hard on the uphill because it was the beginning of the race and they had that strength that allowed them to push hard.  Due to the extreme amounts of energy they put upon themselves in the beginning of the race, they didn't have enough 'gas' to finish strong.  Even the ones who were strong with hills probably pushed themselves a little too much on the hill because of the competition.  I on the other hand did the total opposite and enjoyed the run, taking it easy so that the distance I would be racing would be shorter and more to my liking.  When you do anything, utilize your strengths and understand your weaknesses.  It's important to keep your strengths strong, but it's just as important to improve your weaknesses.  Just because I'm good at flats doesn't mean that I don't practice it, it means that I work just as hard as I did before so as to keep that strength.  However, because I'm weak with hills, it's even more important for me to work on getting better at running them.

Because of my weakness on the hills, I decided that today, I would focus on my weakness.  As there weren't any mountains nearby to run up and down, I went to a hill nearby, and ran up and down that hill continuously.  Including the run to and from the hill, I ran 6.73 miles in 1:00:34, an average of 8:59 min/mile.  It wasn't the fastest of averages, but looking at the number of times I went up and down that hill (approximately 17 times), it looked as if I ran about 3 miles uphill and 3 miles downhill.  It wasn't one of the most interesting of runs, but it really helped me work on my weaknesses, allowing me to grow and become a better runner.

Whenever you work on your weaknesses and keep up your strength, you improve yourself.  Know yourself first, and then work to better yourself, and because of that, you'll be able to reach your goals.

Monday, September 24, 2012

One Jump

It took one jump to get from the cliff to the water.  Something so simple, yet something so hard to do.  About 5 years ago, as a counselor at camp, I thought it would be cool to do a double back flip off a two story building into the lake.  Needless to say, it ended badly with me failing to do that double back flip and instead landed on the side of my head, breaking my eardrum.  The story goes on, with me not knowing what happened and thinking that water got lodged in my ear, asked for help and was given alcohol to put in my ear because it supposedly gets the water out of your ear... too bad there wasn't water.  The pain was almost intolerable, and I could barely hold myself from screaming in pain.  Since that day, jumping into water has been a little... harder for me to do.

Today, at around 5 in the afternoon, my sister and a couple friend of ours went to the Bluffs in Tellico Plains to cliff jump.  Having that past made it slightly difficult for me, but knowing that my eardrums had healed and that I was ready to do it, it wasn't too hard for me to take that leap into the water.  I remember a similar feeling to that when I ran the 50 mile race for the first time.  Almost a year ago, I signed up for and ran my first ultra marathon race, barely surviving.  Entering was like jumping, and when I went through the whole ordeal, it wasn't the nice landing that I thought I would be getting.  Instead, I went through a lot of torturous miles, where my whole body was trashed.  I'm planning this one to be a little different, to not go for an impossible pace, but instead run smart and race well.

This race isn't the same as jumping off a cliff into the water.  I trained hard for this race, ran a lot to prepare myself.  The jump into the water... not so much, I just did it.  Nothing fancy, just a jump into the water.  We don't have to do all the fancy stuff, because the normal stuff is just fine.  In the same way, in the race that I'm going to run... in less than three weeks... I'm going to enjoy my run and push forward in a smart way.

In life, there are times where we just need to jump in order to get somewhere, and at other times, you prepare yourself for the path you're about to take.  Each moment counts, and each moment pushes you forward.  Make sure to go through each moment to achieve your goals.

(as for today, the only 'training' I did was swimming for a little bit and rock climbing back up to jump off.  Simple and sweet.)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Good and Bad Days

Everyone has their good and bad days.  Anything can trigger you to have a great day, or a bad day.  Knowing this, don't come to a conclusion that because of one day you're doing great, or you're doing horrible.  Look at it in perspective, seeing how you're doing in that week... that month, and you can generally tell how you're doing at a month to month basis.  Today for me was a 'bad day' where I didn't feel too strong about my running.  My main goal for today was to run for a couple hours, and I came out running a couple hours.  To some, what I did today would be something that they could not do, but at the moment, I'm comparing myself to what I did before.

I ran twice today (10 min break in between my runs) and ran first with my New Balance Minimus for 1:21:56, finishing 9.42 miles (a 8:41 min/mile average) which really used my calves a lot because I didn't have the cushioning that my Asics provide.  It wasn't that the Minimus was bad, but it was that I wasn't used to it, and because it required my feet to become stronger, I decided that I needed to run with them.  Now after that hour and a bit of running, my calves felt like they needed a break, so I returned home, took my shoes off, got a drink of water, and switched shoes... waited a bit and ran.  My feet appreciated the cushioning my Asics Gel-Frantic 6 gave me (even though they're not the 'best' shoes, they're great for training) and ran 8.06 miles in 1:05:45, an average of 8:09 min/mile.  By the end of my run, I was rather tired because I felt like I overexerted myself.

Looking at what I did today and comparing it to what I did a couple days before, the difference is like night and day... and the reason is the exact same thing.  Night and day.  A couple nights ago, I ran at night.  Running at night and running during the day is totally different, because during the day, you have the sun shining down, giving your body extra heat, causing your body to lose water, and thus little by little become dehydrated.  At night, the temperature is a lot cooler, so your body doesn't have a hard time trying to keep the body at that certain temperature.  Good days and bad days can happen for a number of reasons, but don't let that get you down.  It's not always going to be bad, and it's not always going to be good.  The important thing is that you continue to work your hardest towards your goals despite the current results, and take the steps to make that dream become a reality.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rice and Arsenic

Recently in the news, talks about how rice has arsenic has come up and spread like wildfire.  The levels of arsenic is higher in rice than most other foods, and because of that, a lot of people are concerned about what they're eating.  I for one, am a rice-eater.  I eat rice like crazy.  I eat rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner most days of the week.  Because of that, I felt that it was important to know more about what I'm putting in my body.

Raised in Japan, rice is a staple food item that is present in almost every single meal.  Rice in Japan is like the bread here in the US.  However, I compared the longevity between Japan and the US and see that according to the CIA World Fact Book, Japan is ranked 3rd with an average life expectancy of 83.91 years while the United States ranks 50th with an average life expectancy of 78.49 years.  Sticking with what Japan's been eating, I believe that I should be okay.

Fortunately, arsenic gets flushed out and does not stay within the body, so at this point, I'm not too worried about it.  I'll just have to wait for the FDA to approve or disapprove the consumption of rice.  I've been eating it all my life and it hasn't hurt me.  Why should it be hurting me now?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pectin vs Menthol

After talking with one of my friends, I discovered that my favorite cough medicine, HALLS (the blue one) has menthol in it that isn't good for your throat.  As an individual that loves to sing, the menthol is detrimental to the voice and can take part in causing voice damage.  It's not that it itself causes the damage, but instead, it allows the damage to be done.  The menthol in the cough drop not only soothes the throat, but it also numbs the throat, so that when I do use it, I don't feel the pain I should be feeling when using it.

The thing is, when I use the menthol, it goes beyond just soothing my throat and covers the pain that tells me that I need to stop.  Because of this effect, it actually allows me to hurt my voice even more.  Pectin just soothes without the numbing, and because of that, I've chosen to use that.  I also did a little bit of studying and found out that hacking and coughing also hurts your vocal chords because it strains it.  In order to combat that, I've decided to drink a lot of water, use the pectin, eat honey, and hot tea.  I've also done my best to restrain the cough that builds up within me, and with that, continually keep my voice warmed up so that it wouldn't become easily hurt.

Just in the same ways, whenever we encounter a problem, we ought not to look at anything that works, but instead, work hard to find the BEST possible way to help solve that problem.  Something that helps the effects of the problem doesn't solve the problem.  Instead, what we ought to do is to work towards a workable solution.

Yesterday, instead of going out and running, I enjoyed 2 hours of floor hockey, which definitely helped me and my speed, as well as my core muscles.  I'm glad to have an outlet outside of running that goes with my running.  Today, it's a break day, so all I did was just have a nice and normal day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

No Matter the Outcome

Whenever you are doing your best at something, no matter what the outcome is, it's NEVER in vain.  I've trained hard for a month for this 50 miler last year, the same one I'm planning on doing right now, and I know that even though I only signed up for in at the spur of the moment, I didn't do too well, having to walk more than 10 miles of the course.  I felt weak during that time, thinking about all that planning that I did within that month, and thinking about how it all felt worthless, but in fact, it was because of all that training and studying I did that I was able to continue on that race.  I felt like giving up during that run, but I refused and kept on going.  The outcome wasn't what I wanted, running slower than what I knew I could do, but I finished.  The hard work that I did was not in vain, rather, it was what kept me from giving up.

Yesterday's 15.8 mile run really is going to help me with my 50 miler, which is coming up in less than a month from now.  I ran that 15.8 miles in 1:59:29, running an average of 7:33 min/mile.  I felt great when I ran that, able to run that without any extra energy intakes (aka food) and only with water fountains that were at the park I passed through.  Having run a marathon at a 6:43 min/mile pace, this might mean nothing, but knowing that I'm psychologically ready to run this race, this 7:33 being an easy pace means a lot.  I'm almost ready for this continuous run of 50 miles.  I'm planning on finishing as close to 8:20 as I can, which would put me at just at 10:00 min/mile, which would be good enough for me to get top 5 in last year's race.  This 50 mile race that I would be doing is a lot harder than other 50 mile races because of the mountains and trails, so I'm excited about what I can do this time around.  Over 8 hours of running is going to be one long journey, but now that I have a 12 hour (62 miles) race under my belt, I am very confident with what my body is capable of doing.

Knowing this, I know that there's always a chance that I'll crash and burn, trying to improve considerably, compared to last year, and I'm willing to take my chances on that, and see if I have improved that much on this hilly course.  However, no matter what the outcome is, the hard work that I've done to prepare myself for this race is going to be worth every step I took during the days I was training.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Internal Struggle

There is always going to be an internal struggle when there's a decision that has to be made.  There are times when the 'right' decision is not so obvious.  Yesterday was one of those days.  In the morning, I woke up and ran 3.9 miles in 28:38, an average of 7:20 min/mile.  It was a decent pace and I only wanted to go run for 30 minutes anyway, so that worked out really nicely.  However, after work, I planned on going and doing an hours worth of running.  Usually, the hours worth of running goes over that hour time, but it was still a time that I really wanted to get used to doing daily because I wanted my body to get used to that sort of strain... which would eventually become a lifestyle, which wouldn't really be a hassle, but something I'm used to doing.

However, things didn't end up that way.  A friend of mine came into town and we watched a movie.  By the time it ended, it was already late and we made plans for dinner.  We ate dinner, and after that, we went back to his girlfriend's house, where we just chilled.  I had to make a decision right then and there.  To stay or to go back.  Outside, it was storming pretty badly... and I didn't want to go running in that... and even though I really wanted to get the exercise, I chose to not run and hung out.

We have internal struggles in different places, but when we make decisions, make sure that you're making the best decision, by doing something you won't regret when you look at it holistically.  Don't make those decisions that you'll regret because you live with the regret, but since that happens every so often, use it by learning from it and insure that you won't make that same decision again.  I look back at yesterday... and I don't regret the decision I made.  Sometimes, it's a gamble because we're caught up in the moment and our emotions block some of the logic.  Make sure to do your best by clearing your mind and look at the situation from an unbiased perspective.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Earnestly Training

It's not about what you do, but how you do it.  When I do a sport, it's not that my skills are so much better.  In fact, in most cases, I lack in skill, and the only way I can compete with the other players in whatever sport I do is because of the effort I put into it.  Especially in long distance running, it's not that some people are gifted and have the talent for it and do well in that sport.  It's the people with heart and guts that can do well. This is one sport that anyone can do well in, if they try.  Life has so many things within it that is similar to that.  Many people can get an A in school should they work hard enough.  Sure, some people are smarter than others, but if they don't utilize that, they're the same level as someone who doesn't have the brains.  If the ones without the brains try harder, they'll get better.  Effort does change what happens.

Sometimes, we do lots of things that may seem pointless, but when we're working hard towards that goal, since our heart is in it, we can make that difference and improve ourselves.  By earnestly working towards our goal, even though it's 'pointless' according to others, we take steps in improvement.  If a person seriously wants to change, they will change.  Your heart, your guts, and your earnestness will lead you towards a different you.

Yesterday, I ran 3.66 miles in the morning before church, in 28:54, an average of 7:53 min/mile.  After church and eating lunch and laying around, I ran 9.95 miles in 1:15:12, an average of 7:33 min/mile.  I am getting used to running a sub 8 min pace for longer distances, and I'm hoping that this would be enough for me to run an average of 10 min/mile for the 50 mile race in Atlanta.  The main difference is going to be the mountains... but all that will fall into place.  After this week, I'll be heading into a 3 week break (at the end of which would be the 50 miler) and I plan on using this week and next week to tire myself out and train myself hard.  I am hoping that my earnest working would produce the results that I want.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Secret to Running Long Distances

Here's the secret to being able to run long distances:  It starts with a dream.  It starts with you believing something is possible, that it is possible for YOU to do it... simply put, if you have dreams, go for it.  There's nothing stopping you from achieving that goal.  It's a lot more simpler than we realize, but at the same time, it's hard to go by.  To some people, it's the dream that they cannot conceive.  To others, it's the commitment to that dream they cannot follow.

When I train people, I always start at the beginning and ask them about their goals and what they want to achieve in this time they're training.  First, we set up the end goal.  I usually hit high because I like challenges, and it's through the challenges that people grow.  When I mention running a half marathon to a friend of mine who asked me for help, he looked at me surprised and said that it was impossible.  In reply, I told him that of course it was impossible for him to do it now, but not impossible for him to achieve that goal in half a year.  He looked at me and was amazed at my confidence.  Not in myself and my training, but in him and his potential.  We talked about different things he could do to get there and little by little, he became excited about it.  I enjoy coaching people and helping them get into their dreams because it truly is something that is wonderful to see.  You see the excitement build as they begin to understand the possibility that they could run that distance if they worked towards it.  In their heads, gears clicked and a light went on.  The potential was already within them, but it just hasn't come out.

Now the continuation of that path is different.  Each individual has the potential, but not every individual has the will to make it to their goal.  They are not able to because they lose sight of what their goal is.  Keep that goal in sight and working towards it takes a lot of discipline and not everyone has that.  Which is usually why coaches are there.  Coaches encourage athletes, giving them the push that they need when they feel weak.  It doesn't matter what sport there is, a coach gives the team inspiration.  It doesn't matter where we are in life, we have life coaches everywhere, our family, our friends... and they encourage us as we go towards our goal.  When I'm not with my friend, I have a harder time training him because he doesn't have that constant interaction with me... with his coach, but we do what we can with the limited interaction.  It's good to have someone there with you to push you forward, because we can't all be strong at times.  I have trouble myself with going forward.  There are days where I feel tired and don't want to go all the way, but I look back at where I was and look forward to where I need to be, and if that's enough... I push forward and continue on that path.

It's up to you whether or not you'll be able to achieve your goal.  The balls on your court.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Circle of Life

As a Disney music freak, I listen to a lot of Disney songs.  The song that went straight to heart was the Circle of Life.  Part of the lyrics goes like this: "You should never take more than you give in the circle of life."  It's funny how things just keep popping up.  Yesterday, at work, I taught the kids about interdependence and how each living thing needs each other.  I put it in simple terms.  The wolf needs the rabbit because it's their source of food... of energy.  The rabbits need grass because THAT is their source of food.  Up til now, it was pretty simple.  Then I went on.... The wolves needs the grass because it provides the rabbits with energy so they could live.  The grass needs the wolves to keep the rabbit population down so that the grass wouldn't be eaten up.  Looking at this, the rabbits needs the wolves to keep the rabbit population down so that the grass wouldn't run out.  Interdependence shows that these three needs each other in order to survive as a whole.  Should one die out, it would impact the others.

Balance is key to our lives.  It keeps us in check, allowing us to survive and continually push forward.  In order for me to survive as a runner, I need to make sure that I get the proper amount of exercise I need, the proper amount of stretching, the proper amount of energy taken in, and the proper amounts of rest... I need to pay attention to a lot of things in order to do well.  Starting with a good balanced foundation, it's important for me to add more and constantly look at my life in perspective in order to balance it out as I add more to my plate.  Sometimes, when I add a lot of running, I need to add more food and more sleep, other times, I feel like what I just need is to get used to running that distance with only a slight difference on my food intake.  The human body can adapt to a certain degree (physically as well as psychologically) and when we put ourselves a little off balance, our bodies will automatically make a move in order to balance it out.  Some people call this torture.  I call this discipline.  The more we have control over what we do, the better we can control what happens to our bodies and what our bodies can handle.  Work towards being in control over your body and work smart.

(Yesterday, I was suppose to be taking a break, but at the end of the day, I ended up doing 2 hours of wallyball, making myself have to work hard and take a break today... I might decide to go running later though... but we'll see)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Finally... Break

I've been cycling so much I've been pretty exhausted.  Being without a car can prove to be on the tough side.  Fortunately, as of yesterday, I bought myself a car (using all that hard earned money...) and now driving it around.  But first, lets recap the mundane bicycling I did for the last couple of days.  On the 11th, I cycled 16.23 miles in 1:00:29 on the way to work and 16.66 miles in 1:11:06 on the way back from work.  The elevation change really affects my speed a lot... going back home was going up more hills so it was harder, but it's all worth it in the end.  On Wednesday, I road 15.88 miles in 59:36 to work and got a ride from my sister to buy my car.  Now all I have to do is go to the town clerk and pay taxes and register it.

Finally getting a car to go to work... it's been worth it.  I've enjoyed my bicycling, but when you're forced to ride to work, it's not as rewarding as choosing to ride to work.  My body was getting a little tired from the whole effort, but my mind was even more tired from constantly having to think about riding to work.  I was also worrying for the last 3 weeks about what kind of car I was suppose to buy.  Since the car was bought and I was given a break, I gladly took that break, both physically and mentally... well, except for playing floor hockey the day I bought the car.  I biked in that morning clocking in under an hour, and after that full day, I went over to Johnson University and played floor hockey with the college kids, playing a lot.  I've always enjoyed pushing myself to run fast and work hard, and in the following games, I played hard and did fairly well.

Today, on the other hand, was a lot more smooth.  I was able to just chill and drive to work, and drive back (well of course, there was teaching piano, young adults group, and Walmart shopping... but I was able to go to those places because I had a car).  Cars are so useful.  They provide us with a lot of things... but at the same time, they allow us to become lazy, should we choose to do so.  A store may be only half a mile away, but we would still choose to ride a car there because it's faster and easier.  The important thing that we all ought to remember is to know what kind of lifestyle we want to lead, because what we go towards will affect our lives overall.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Don’t expect results to appear the day after you’re finished with your run. Don’t even expect results to appear the week after your first run. Real, lasting results appear a lot later, after you’ve started getting used to running or doing the exercise. When I first started writing this blog, I started out running with a little pain because I couldn’t run as fast or as long as I’d liked. I was running low miles at a slow pace. In the first few months, I managed to trudge slowly to a point where I ran a marathon for fun and ran 62 miles in 12 hours. I still have a long ways to go, and after that race, I dropped down again because I used a lot of energy to run that race, but once again, I’ve trudged up (starting a little higher than before) and am currently at a position where I ran a marathon for fun on a treadmill, finishing at a faster time than the marathon in Nashville, and am confident that I could run further than 62 miles in 12 hours.

I won’t be able to prove that unless I do it… but I’ll save that for the 50 mile race coming up in October. I have 32 more days to get ready for this race. Normally, there would be a tapering period of 3 weeks, where I’d have to ease up my training, but I’m training my body to be able to get to the point where I can run 50 milers whenever I felt like it. Right now, 20 milers are nothing to me, as long as I have enough to drink and take breaks when I feel like it, but 50 miles… it’s going to be hard. I’m not quite at the point where I can do 50 milers with ease, but this weekend, I’ll be going out for a couple long runs and we’ll see what that’ll do. Dividing up my runs during the day gets the same results, but helps me recover because I can stop and eat and drink between them, allowing my body to get the energy it needs.

Although I want to hurry up and get to a point where I can run nonstop for miles upon miles, it’s not going to happen overnight. Because of that, I need to work with what I can do, which is doing the miles in one day. I have a water-pack that I can carry while running, but with the miles that I’ll be doing, the smartest decision is to let my body slowly get used to that. Eventually, I’d like to be able to run 50 miles with just a pack on my back, eating a few energy bars while on the go, but I can’t make that happen overnight. I need to realize that my body is human and can’t fly up to the top of the mountain. I need to take steps towards the top in order to get there.

With the cycling that I’ve been doing (16.13 miles in 59:51 on the way to work yesterday… didn’t cycle back home because I was looking for a car and needed to stop at the bank and so got a ride), I’ve been able to work my muscles out without causing unnecessary pounding on my feet. I’ve also built a little tolerance towards hills because riding a bicycle up a hill forces me to raise my legs higher and push harder. I’ve noticed that running up hills aren’t as tiring as before due to the fact that I’ve trained my legs to ‘cycle’ as well as leaning forward so it feels as if I’m almost floating up the hill. I’ve always had a hard time with hills but cycling to work has really benefitted me. I’ve also felt less pain around my shins because I’ve been adding quite a lot of miles on it, always straining it and not allowing it to recover. Little by little, the pain has been going away because of the training (both on and off the bicycle) and eventually, it just disappeared. With great patience comes a great reward.

If you truly want something and really want to achieve your goals, you need to be patient and continue to work towards your goal, even if you don’t see any visible confirmation that you’re improving. You just have to realize that if you wait long enough and look back at where you were, you’ve actually improved and the patience becomes all worth it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cruise Control

When you're in the middle of something you enjoy, time just flies.  Whenever I'm out for just a nice run, without worrying about how fast I'm going, I just realize that I'm flying along and going at a decent pace.  When you're just on cruise control, you're just going at the pace you're body is telling you to go at.  You're not running too fast where you're tiring and you don't know how much strength you have.  You're not so slow that you're not going anywhere and you feel like you're not doing anything.  It's the point in between, where you're comfortable and enjoying the ride.

Sometimes, people get focused on improvement that they forget to enjoy life while they're in the midst of it.  Other times, people get focused on the fun in life, forgetting that they need to work on themselves and see how they could get better.  Balance is once again, the overall theme, where the individual needs to understand what that point is where you get both enjoyment and improvement.  No matter what we do, we can't go one extreme or the other, because in doing so, we lose value of the other.  It's important to work on both at the same time, because it gives the best improvements.

Working too hard to produce results will backfire and end up hurting the individual, while enjoying life too much will end up causing the individual to lose that focus on the task at hand.  Both are important, but at the same time, it is necessary to have both at the same time.

Cruise control helps you go at a constant pace.  In a car, if you go on the interstate, you can go on cruise control, which will automatically help you save gas when you're going on a flat surface.  Should you choose not to do that, the slight variation in speed will not maximize the efficiency of the vehicle.  In the same way, it's important to let your body know what it can handle and get on that cruise control.

(forgot to mention that I cycled 5.05 miles in 18:33 and ran 8.8 miles in 1:17:36, an average of 8:48 min/mile. During that run, I was on cruise control and just taking it easy)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Spread it Out

When you have homework, the easiest way to finish it is to finish it in chunks.  When you want to eat healthy, you need to eat sparingly 5 times a day rather than 3.  When people can't afford a car, they pay it off month after month until they've bought the car.  If you want to run 20 miles in one day without getting too sore, you need to divide up your miles and spread them throughout the day.

As you can guess, today, I ran my 20 miles in chunks.  I woke up in the morning and waited for my good friend Whitney to come down and run with me.  We ran 3.01 miles in 30:12, an average of 10:02 min/mile, took a small break and walked a little, then ran 3.6 miles in 41:14, a 11:26 min/mile.  After coming back, I ate a nice lunch, took a little break... and then went out and ran 9.17 miles in 1:13:58, an 8:03 min/mile pace.  It was a little bit faster because I was enjoying the run and was working on making my legs move at a faster cadence.  Then, after eating dinner, I took a little break... and then went out and ran 4.48 miles in 34:36, a 7:43 min/mile average.

It wasn't easy running it all in chunks, but it was easier than running it all at once.  After each run, I ate something, so that my legs would get a boost into the quick recovery I wanted it to get in.  My legs rested well enough, but at the same time, when I ran the later runs, I still felt the effects.  The recovery time I had wasn't enough, but it helped build a stronger body that could continuously run with the soreness that would be part of running 50 miles.

Spreading out your workouts help make your metabolism stay high, it helps your body get physically fit faster because you're able to do more.  Spreading out your life and your training helps each individual tremendously.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Suck it Up!!

Sometime, we do things we don't really want to do, but we know is good for us.  For example.  This morning, I went to school, 16.25 miles in 59:43.  I was pretty tired that whole day, but by the time school was out, I was pretty much recharged.  Unfortunately, there was a ride that I had to make in order to get back to my apartment.  I could have easily called someone or gotten someone to pick me up and drop me off near my house... but I knew that the better choice was to cycle all the way back... which I did.  17.05 miles in 1:07:25.  Now the way back had more hills, so I had a harder time, but I pushed on.

During those times, our body may feel weak, or mind may feel tired... but you can push on.  It's doing the right thing.  It's doing what truly is important.  I needed that bike ride.  I needed to push myself for over an hour to go 17 miles.  Doing that made me push myself and become a better athlete.

Sucking it up at first makes you ask yourself why... but after you finish, you remember the reason.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Keep Truckin'

Sometimes, you get tired and want to quit midway.  This has happened to me on more than one occasion.  I've asked myself the same question multiple times.  The question is, "Why am I doing this?"  When we ask ourselves this question right now, we may be able to answer it, but when we're in the middle of a long run, a big report... something major, we're mentally exhausted and we don't want to continue.

At those times, you need to push on through, because if you stop, all that moment you've built up thus far will dissipate... and you'll have to build it up again.  There are times when you take breaks, but there are other times where you need to keep truckin' on.  In a mile, the truckin' time is between a half mile and a three quarters mile.  That's when you've finished half, but still have another half to go.  In order to get past negative thoughts like that, you need to attack it with positive thinking, pushing yourself to go on.  Putting that into your head is important because without it going in your head, you become weaker and weaker until you actually do stop.

When tough times come, you have two choices, to keep going, or to stop.  Choose to keep going and you're gambling whether or not you'll make it because you're pushing hard, but if you stop, you definitely won't make it.

Keep on truckin' and move forward.

(as for today, I only did 15.85 miles in 1:01:30)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

How You Start

How you start the day impacts the rest of the day, and in turn, how you do that day may as well impact your week, which in turn impacts the month, which impacts the whole year, which in turn, can impact the rest of your life.  One day may seem a miniscule moment comparing it to a year, but each day makes a continuous impact to how one’s life goes.  Time holds an immense amount of value.

In a sprint, how you start basically lets everyone know how it's going to finish.  Should the person leave the blocks too late, more than likely, that person will not do as well.  Especially in the 100m dash, where a 100th of a second makes a difference.  It's not just how you finish, but also how you start.

Today, I woke up early in the morning to go run to get my car that was 'stuck' at a parking lot.  I jogged 1.66 miles in 13:34, an average of 8:08 min/mile.  I got in the car, and chugged along til I finally reached the apartment complex, where I had to get out and push the car into a good parking space.  Altogether, it took 30 minutes for me to do that.  After all that, I went out for a run, running 7.37 miles in 52:40, an average of 7:08 min/mile.  I was excited to be able to run that fast for that period of time.  It kept me going the whole day.  Doing exercise like that in the morning to start your day really lightens your day.  It also jump-starts your metabolism, helping your body use that energy, so that throughout the whole day, you'd be using energy.

Imagine taking a test.  If you look at the first question and don't understand what it's asking, most likely, you'll end up not doing well on the whole test.  However, should you understand the question and are able to answer it, you are more likely going to do well on that test.

Start the day doing something productive and it'll carry on throughout the whole day.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


When looking of a job, a question that gets asked is how much experience do we have with this certain job.  Usually, when applying for a managerial position, they require a certain number of years of experience because with experience comes knowledge and understanding of what you're suppose to do.  It doesn't matter where you are in life or what you're going for.  Experience gives you the edge on a lot of things.

To me, my running experience automatically rolls over to the next run.  Each run gives me experience, which constantly accumulates and gives me even more knowledge on running.  The knowledge that I get from that experience is very valuable, and because of that, I occasionally have people asking me about what they should do when they run, or how they can train.  With each individual, the training differs, but with the knowledge I've gained from different kinds of training, I'm able to help those around me.

The most important thing about experience is that it not only helps other people but also yourself.  The experience always keeps me in check and always lets me know if I'm doing something I've done before that didn't end well, or if I'm doing something new.  Experience gives me that foundation that I can logically derive answers from.  Knowing one thing can help me assume another.  It might not be correct, but my personal guesses on the topics of running far exceed random guesses.

Experience is valuable, so don't blow by those experiences, but take your time and take it all in.  The more you put inside, the more valuable that experience is.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sandals Are Good for You

Most professionals would say that because of the lack of arch support, sandals are bad for you.  But looking at history, I'd say the opposite would be true.  During Pax Romana, gladiators fought each other in the coliseum, fighting not with Nike and Adidas shoes, but with sandals.  These sandals that the gladiators wore did not give them arch support and did what they were suppose to do:  Protect the feet of the gladiators whenever they took steps.  Back in those days, people didn't wear brand shoes, but instead wore sandals to travel from one place to another.  In fact, there were only so many people that were able to go from one place to another on a horse/donkey/camel.  Those people had to walk.  Society now relies on cars to get from one place to another, and we wear shoes that supports our arches so it'll 'help us'.  I believe that by relying on those things, we weaken our bodies, and prevent ourselves from growing to our full potential.

There are lots of things we do that put ourselves at a disadvantage, but the thing about putting ourselves in that disadvantage is that because of that, we grow stronger.  Only through hard times can an individual grow stronger.  Only through some pain can we grow callouses that will protect us from further pain.  Yesterday, for about 5 hours, I was walking around in flip flops, and one of the kids that were with me told me that by the end of the day, I would be complaining about having pain in my foot.  I replied and told him that I wouldn't feel the pain because I walk properly and my feet are in shape.  It's funny that because ever since I was young, I've been wearing flip-flops, and without realizing it, I've been strengthening my feet, allowing myself to 'start off' stronger.

Some schools start their sports with conditioning week, but how much more prepared would the athletes be if they've been conditioned before that and hadn't stopped growing?

Conditioning your body means to put yourself at a disadvantage.  That disadvantage eventually becomes an advantage, which helps you pursue your goal.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Problems and... Being Productive

Today started out an interesting day.  I woke up in the morning, ready to run 9 miles to meet a friend at Victor Ashe Park, and wrote down the directions on my hand.  I just drank a little bit of water because for a 9 mile run, I could make it without too much trouble... but I ended up missing one turn and ended up running for 14.78 miles in 2:04:57 (8:27 min/mile pace).  I didn't feel that great at all and wasn't ready to go out for another run right away.

Making a mistake can cause you to have to change plans.  It can mess things up.  It can hurt you tremendously.  In those cases, you need to work with the problem at hand.  Whining and crying won't do anything about it, so when you have a problem, you need to attack it and find something to do.  It's not always about figuring out what the solution to the problem is... but it is about figuring out what productive thing you can do.  Sometimes, the productive thing isn't solving the problem.  For example, let's say that there was a fire.  The solution would be to stop the fire.  However, we might not have the means to do so, so we're helpless... except that we can do something productive.  Call for the firefighters to come, scream and shout to let people know that there's a fire going on... things that won't stop the fire, but could still save lives.

We can't solve everything, but we could definitely help situations.  I made the mistake of making a wrong turn that added miles to my route, causing me to work harder and run without water being put back into my system.  I couldn't deal with the situation at hand, and I needed to get to the Park to go run.  Dehydrated, I made my way to the park, and immediately began hydrating myself.  After the initial hour and a half, and figuring out that I went too far the wrong direction, I immediately dropped my pace because I knew that I wasn't going to get hydrated in the near future.  It didn't solve my problem, but it sure helped me from getting sick.  I made it to the park and rested a little bit, and after talking with Whitney, we walked, and then ran for 3.34 miles in 37:00 (11:03 min/mile pace) and fortunately, she was sore from working out the day before, and so we called it quits after that, and she offered me a banana and a ride home, and I gladly took both.  I originally planned for a little break and a lunch before I headed back home, but because of this unexpected longer run, my body couldn't handle the trip back and I made the hard decision of taking her offer and riding back home.

During those times, you just need to shove your pride down and be smart about what you're going to do.  When something unexpected comes up or a bad decision is made, you need to be productive and do what's best in that situation.  Sometimes, it's actually finding a solution, and at other times, it's about doing what's best for you and your goals.