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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Can You Keep a Secret?: The Strength Within

It's that time of the year when people begin to put their thoughts on paper and make this grand new decision on how they're going to start this year fresh and change their lives.  Most people start of strong... but eventually get back into their old habits.  A few manage to continue the new path and end the year with success.  So how do they do that?  The thing is that there are many tools out there that can help an individual become stronger.  There are studies that shows how people can put themselves through certain paths in order to reach success.  There are also superficial ideas where people look at the 'good ideas' and judge basing it off of how they feel by looking at it... and failing to understand it to a deeper level.

Here's my method of success.  First, you write down what your goals are.  After you write them down, figure out the steps you need to take them.  Write them down.  Live your life according to those steps.  If whatever you do prevents you from getting to your goal, then don't do it.  If it helps you get to your goal, then do it.

That's all.

Can it be this simple?  Yes.  HOWEVER, people mess things up by adding extra steps to this simple equation.  They feel the need to be accountable and ask others... which can be okay to a certain extent.  If you tell someone and ask them to keep you accountable, you end up less likely to do it.  Rather, if you had not asked them but told them the exact steps you are currently undertaking, you will be more likely to do it.  If you share your goals, your mind gets this euphoric feeling where you feel as if you've accomplished something by sharing... but have you really?  Not in the slightest.  Instead, you made yourself feel like you did something without doing anything, and therefore, you are less likely to actually do it, because you already have that sense of satisfaction ingrained in you because you shared your goals to someone else.

Instead of sharing goals, if you share the step you are doing, and stating it as a fact rather than a plea for accountability, you put pressure on yourself.  It's that pressure that allows you to figure out if you really want to take the steps towards your goals.  It's that pride that you have, the integrity, the strength within that allows you to reach your goals.  If you already feel good about yourself getting to your goal without actually doing anything, it's getting yourself further away from reality.

So why do I share my goals with you?

It's really simple.  When I share my goals, I'm not looking for an accountability partner.  I am not asking for encouragement to get to my goals.  I am sharing with you the path that I am taking so that I can live a life of encouragement.  I put that kind of pressure on myself so that I can encourage other people and push them to become the best they can be.  As a motivator, it's important that I share.  I share so that I can help you.  It does make me a little weaker.  It makes me less likely to push myself as hard, but if it's to help others get closer to their goals, it's worth making my path a little more difficult.

Step by step, I progress, and as I share my goals, it becomes a little harder for me to push on, but because of a habit, and because I keep reminding myself of my goals and putting pressure on myself, when I achieve the little steps, that's enough to keep me pushing towards my next step as I climb the ladder towards my goal.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

3 Steps to Plan for Success

Once upon a time, there was a boy who signed up for a race.  He trained hard, and when he arrived to the race, he saw a starting line, but nothing else marked.  He wasn't exactly sure where they were going, so he asked another person, "Which direction are we running?" and to that, the person replied, "I don't know, but I'm going to do my best."  The boy went to another person and got the same reply... in fact, everyone around him seemed to be ready to go and do their best, but not one of them had any idea where the finish line was.

The thing is, there are a lot of people that want to succeed.  However, they miss the most important part.  They don't have a dream... a goal that they are striving for.  Sure, they may have a vague understanding of it, but what good is knowing that there is that 'finish line' but failing to figure out what the course was and understanding how to get there?  The desire to finish is very important, but being able to envision that finish line is just as important.

First step:  Look at where you were.

If you don't know where you come from... or accept that that's where you came from.  You won't really know how you're doing now.  Also, when you look back at where you were, you'll be able to know that you're going the right direction, and have a sense of pride in the distance you've traveled.

Second step:  Look at where you are.

If you know where you are, you have an easier time to discover what your next step is.  If your foot is stuck in a bear trap but you ignore that and continue forward, heading towards your goal... it's not exactly productive.  First know that your leg is in that bear trap, get it out, and THEN move forward.

Third step:  Look at where you're going.

Have that goal in mind.  After knowing where you were and where you are, the next obvious thing that still eludes people for some reason is to have that ultimate goal or dream.  If you don't have the finish line in mind, and work towards that, you might not even be going in the correct direction.  If we put all our efforts into something that goes against where we want to go... it's counterproductive.  If you have that clear and concise goal that you're working towards, then you can put that energy to reach it.

These simple three steps are simple in theory, but when actually put into practice, it will be crucial to you making your plans towards success.  Once you have a plan, it's up to you to follow that plan and work hard towards your goal.  Obviously, there's more to it than this, but once you figure out where you were, are, and want to be, you have just taken a critical step towards achieving success.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Dreams... they are things that a few strive for, and even fewer achieved.  It is something that can bring us up to where no one has gone before... or it can be out of our grasp...  The thing about dreams is that in order to achieve it, you either have to have exceptional talent and get there... or you're dumb enough to not see how impossible it is... yet have the guts to try it out and see if you succeed.  Dreams are further away than goals.  It is a possibility of finishing.  While goals are attainable, dreams are what you possibly might be able to do... if you're lucky.

My aim is to make my dream turn into a reality.  I've been off this blogging spree because my father had a stroke and I rushed to Japan.  After I came back to the states, I've jumped back into coaching, schooling, ministering, and running (of course), but haven't felt the urge to get back into blogging because I frankly had no time... but I figure that now when I've gotten everything figured out and back into my rhythm, I can somewhat go back to where I used to be.  I can't say I'll be blogging as often as before, but I will be running like crazy, back to where I want to be, so that I could take on the world.  Now that I've got my life back into some sort of rhythm, I've been running 8 miles here and there, with the occasional 17 mile with morning and evening runs put together.

Since I've been training the cross country team, I haven't had too much time working on improving myself, but since I do run with the team, with the little I was able to train, I winged The North Face Endurance Challenge in Atlanta, and finished just under 11 hours to qualify for the Western States 100, where once again, I will put my name in the lottery in order to hope that I get chosen.  Since running the race, I've made a few schedule changes, allowing me to run a little more, and so now I'm hoping that running 70 minutes every day (minimally) would get my aerobic threshold to where it needs to be.

My DREAM (simply put) is to become an endurance athlete.  My goal is to analyze everything I can, learn as much as possible, and work towards making that possibility into something definite.  It's taken a little while, but I'm back on the path again, and working towards getting myself into the shape I want to be in order to tackle the road ahead of me.  There are several paths I've thought of going through in order to become that, and the best path for me is to become a known runner, the best runner that I can possibly be... and to me, I believe that I can take on the world.

Now that my dad cannot work anymore, my deadline for becoming an ultra athlete has come a little sooner than before, and now I need to take proper steps in order to be able to get to where I am.  I'm no longer running for just me and the people I want to impact.  I'm running for my father, and that is a burden I can't drop.  Encouragement and motivation will definitely be a key point, because I need to work hard as he is working hard to getting back to being able to walk.  If I succeed, there's a path I can take to ease my families life and provide something.  Normally, I would have just stopped running, found a proper job, and worked extra shifts to earn money to provide my family with the money that we need... but I know that that isn't what my dad would want me to do.  He would want me to follow my dreams.  In throwing my dreams away, I would end up putting more stress in his life, and therefore, the best option for me is to pursue my dream 100% and get to a point where I can be the best.  I'm giving myself a year to get to where I want to be, and once a year has gone by, I'll see if I need to give up the dream to provide for my family. 

My dream isn't just to become the best endurance athlete.  I want to be a person that can look back and never regret the decisions I've made.  I'm going for my dreams, I'm not going to give up, and I'm going to get to where I need to be, because I'm fighting for both my father and myself.

Dreams.  They're just goals in the distant, but I'm going to make time to reel it in and attain it.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Understand First, THEN be Understood

I'm the coach of Cross Country at Johnson University, and I take my job... pretty seriously, I guess.  It's important to me to push my runners as much as I can to help them achieve their goals.  In order for me to properly push them to the next level, I need to know more about them.  If you don't know where you are, how can you get to where you're going?  If I don't know where my athletes are, I might just hurt them by giving them too hard of a workout, and crush their spirit (which I am definitely afraid of doing, since I run 50-100 milers and they run 3-5).  They know that I'm a big runner, and fortunately, I believe they respect that and accept my leadership as their coach.  Therefore, I try to do the very best I can to get to know them as I start off their weeks of training.

First week of preseason went by without me because I was in Japan, but during that time, I wanted them to get to know themselves.  In the crazy amounts of running that they did, they learned a lot about themselves, and what they could do.  Finding out what they're capable was a big step.  Once I came, we started practice Monday, and kept on going til Saturday.  Getting miles in was important because the first thing I wanted them to understand was that the distance they were training for is not hard.  Once they understand that the distance isn't hard, then the next phase comes along, that they can improve drastically by training hard towards that goal.  Hard work pays off.  When we get to that place, then it's just a hop skip and a jump because what they started out with and what they're going to end with... is totally different.

But how to get them motivated and understand what I want out of them?

First I need to know what they want out of Cross Country.  For some, it's to beat last year's times, for others, it's to get in better shape.  Still others wants to do well against our opponents, and there's always the dream to become number one in the nation.  Understanding that there are various goals, my next step is then to encourage them and help them move forward toward their goals and achieve them.  In understanding them, it's easier for them to understand that my training methods are made in order to push them forward.  The mileage is made in order to create a strong foundation that they can build upon.  The strength workouts are to improve their minds as well as their body, to handle the hard hills and to remain strong.  The speed workouts are meant to help them persevere, to continue when things are tough, to get used to a faster pace.  The breaks, to remind them that whatever they do, make sure to take that time off to recover, because you grow the most during the time that you rest.

With that all being said, there's another important thing that I believe is important in coaching.  To understand thoroughly by training yourself and pushing yourself, so that you truly do understand what they are going through.  I know some coaches like to bark, but I'm a little different from them because I also enjoy pushing myself.  I hope to be an encouragement in this way also, to be able to show that hard work does indeed pay off.  Understanding each other is vital, especially in a mentoring relationship, where you have someone teaching someone else.  It is both my duty and pleasure to coach my team and I look forward to what each individual will bring to the team.

(Over the last few days, I've been running a little with the team, and some on my own.  Last three days are as follows, 2, 7, and 5.4 miles.  Next week I'll probably double my mileage because this week was a warm up week.)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Being Smart

Sometimes you have to make the right decisions, knowing it goes against your manliness.  Today was one of those days.  After the intenseness of floor hockey yesterday, there was another floor hockey game scheduled for today.  I was totally going to go... til I felt that my Achilles tendon wasn't doing so well.  I mean, it felt like it would crack if you bent it enough, you know, the healthy kind of crack where you feel good?  Well, I tried that but it didn't want to crack... and it started hurting a little more.  I knew that after having a major cramp right before going to bed, I might have needed some rest, but after waking up and feeling that pain, I knew I would have to make today a nonrunning day.

Doing the right thing could be the most simplest thing, or the most complex.  The thing is, either way, you make choices.  Now was it the best thing for me to sprint my heart out yesterday playing floor hockey?  Probably not... but it still was one heck of a speed/recovery drill.  Was it what I needed? Not exactly, but it was nice to run with people and push myself... and might have also gotten me another Cross Country runner.

Instead of leading 'the perfect runner life' I've decided that I've got more than just one thing on my plate, and out of everything I have before me, the select things I've decided upon should be my main focus.  In focusing on all of them, my goal is to become the best I can be in whatever I do, and whatever I do, I do it in order to better myself in all those ways.

There's more to life than running, like family and friends, and to keep that in my mind is very important because I've heard of stories where some people devoted their entire lives to running, and that tore up their lives.  We're definitely here to do more than just that.  There's a lot to living than the one passion.  Let's continue on that path, be smart, and work hard (and don't forget to have fun!)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Getting Back on My Feet

The 3 weeks of no running has really gotten to me, because I was still sore from yesterday's little run.  However, I needed to get back into my running.  I woke up this morning at about 3:40, and stayed awake the whole night, even though I tried to get back to sleep.  With that, I went to both my lecture classes, and afterwards went to Johnson University to coach the cross country team.

After jogging about a mile, I had the team run up a hill multiple times.  The problem with this hill was that there were two parts to it.  The first part was a short hill which leveled off pretty quickly, but the second part was a longer hill and it... took some time to get up.  The problem wasn't the length, but the leveling off from the first hill, because that messed up the pace.  As the runners went through all that, they learned how to run conservatively while running strong at the same time.  After they managed to reach the top of the hill, they would jog around for about 500m, and then go back down to the hill and walk the first hill, wait a little bit, and then go out again.

We repeated this drill quite a few times, pushing each runner to go on until they felt like they would hurt themselves if they went out again.  This also helped each runner understand themselves more and gave them the choice to push themselves even more or not with that understanding.

As for me, I only ran a few times, and left it at that because I didn't want to push myself too hard.  Afterwards, I did go to the gym and played floor hockey for about 2 hours.  Now THAT was a workout and speed work (unlike this morning's strength workout)

But here I am right now, tired, sore and very sleepy.... it was a good day today.

Monday, August 26, 2013

1 Month Later

It's been a month since I've posted on this, but it's been one very difficult month.  First of all, I had a family emergency which caused me to go to Japan for the last three weeks.  Because I was going to the hospital every day, I never had enough time to go out for a run, so for three weeks, I did nothing, and in three weeks, I gained almost 10 pounds.  Now in 3 weeks, a lot can happen... and when you don't run for that long and have the same appetite because previously you were running over 10 miles a day... you gain a little weight.  Also, unfortunately, because of my quick trip to Japan, I had to miss my Leadville race.  Sad, but I needed to do the right thing.

Now I just came back at 1:20am after being awake for over 24 hours (and then slept in the plane on and off for 3 hours), but I went to sleep at my friends house and woke up, went to school, went through a lab, and then afterwards went to Johnson University, and coached my first day of Cross Country.  During that time, I jogged a little over a mile and then ran 4 miles with the team as I helped them all with their form.  It was a harder 4 miles, but it wasn't one that would make me sore the next day.

Now that I've finished with my first day back and my first run in 3 weeks, I feel like it's time for me to get back in shape and train for another 100 miler.  I know there's one I'm interested in running in early January, and another 24 hour race 2 weeks after that... so I might do one or both of them.  For now though, I'll train for a 50 mile race in September.  Only have a month to train!  31 Day Transformation?  Sounds like a plan.  Lets do it.  (but take it easier because I've taken off for 3 weeks)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Day 30 (31 Day Transformation)

It seems as if I'm getting tired of running because I'm not out and about in the morning.  Rather, I'm staying in bed, being pretty tired, and not wanting to do anything... I need to kick that bad habit and run as soon as I get up!  One day at a time, so tomorrow, I plan on doing just that.  As for today, I ran twice, once by myself, and another with my friends up at Haw Ridge.  Running by myself, I didn't have to push too hard... but running with friends up at Haw Ridge... well let's just say that they push me hard up those hills because they tell me to run up as fast as I could ahead of them, and whenever I slow down... they yell at me to go faster, that it's good for me.  Although I do believe what they say, I just don't think they understand that this is my second run, so I'm not running on fresh legs... in fact, I only had a 45 minute break between my two runs.  Well, I still managed to survive and we hung out afterwards and then parted ways.

Here's what I did today:

7.42 miles in 1:04:01 (8:37 min/mile average)
6.54 hilly miles

Since we were starting and stopping all the time, I could never get a proper pace, but according to my friend's watch, we ran that many miles... and I'm totally cool with it.  Keeping this higher mileage thing up is really pushing me, but I'm definitely seeing a lot coming out of that.  Building a stronger body takes it's toll in the short run, but in the long run, I've gone a ways from where I was to where I'm at.  Tomorrow's my last day for the 31 Day Transformation!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day 27-29 (31 Day Transformation)

Now that my roommate paid back the internet provider, I have internet once again and can post about what's been going on the last few days.  On the 27th, I only had a run in... because I was... doing stuff... okay... it was because I took a nap that lasted a little longer than expected.  On the 28th, I was going to go run outside... but by the time I got my lazy butt out the door, it was already late, so I went to the gym to get my miles in.  Finally, today, I was able to do both run and gym time.  It was a good day for me.

Here's what I did on the 27th:

13.19 miles in 1:52:45 (8:32 min/mile average, starting off at 9:24 min/mile and ending at 7:25 min/mile.  It was definitely a good run)

Here's what I did on the 28th:

21 pull ups
5.5 mile run
.5 mile walk
7 mile walk
50 push ups

Here's what I did today:

6 mile run (last 1.88 mile I did 14:19, an average of 7:37 min/mile)
20 pull ups
5 mile walk
1 hour of cycling

As of today, I'm close to averaging 10 miles a day for the month... but I would need to run close to 35 miles in the next two days if I want to get my average to that point.  We'll see what tomorrow is going to do to me... whether I'm too tired from today... or ready to go for another adventure.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Day 25-26 (31 Day Transformation)

Man... one thing after another... things just keep happening.  All I did yesterday... nothing, and when I came back home... I came back to a home without internet due to my roommate not paying the bills... which kind of sucked.  I mean, through the whole day, I had a lot of things to do.  I started the day working at the day camp, running around with kids for the whole day, ESPECIALLY when we had all 20+ kids chase after me with water guns for half an hour.  At about 2:30, I went over to the park, where I went out with the youth kids and went tubing... which totally worked my deltoids... could still feel it today... and played a couple games of sand volleyball, and then went over to young adults group... ending the day sleeping at about midnight.

As I didn't have internet and I fell asleep before I could type up stuff on my phone.  After I woke up... 9 hours later, I went over and ran with my friend, and then proceeded to go back home and sleep... but hey, if my body needs the rest, I'm going to give it rest.  Needing rest means that my body was recovering... having two intense weeks... meant that it was time for me to rest and recover.  Once I recover, I can go at it again... right before the race.

At this point, I think that the 31 Day Transformation was a little too short of a time period for me to change as I wanted to.  That doesn't mean that I didn't change, because I did change and transform.  I just probably need to plan things out for a 42 day plan instead of a 31 day plan.  Today is going to be another little break for me... but I feel like after this break, I'll be able to push myself a little more for the next week or so before I go to Leadville for my epic 100 mile adventure.

Here's what I did today:

4.9 miles in 44:36 (9:06 min/mile average)

There's no problem in 'failing' as long as you can learn, grow, and continue on.  There is no real defeat unless you stay down.  The moment you get back up, you can move forward and conquer even more.  I can't wait until I make time for a 42 Day Transformation.

However, this adventure still isn't over.  After learning, I'm going to continue forward and learn more as I go on and push myself as much as I can in these last 4 days.  We'll see what'll happen tomorrow.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day 24 (31 Day Transformation)

Kind of a tough Wednesday, because after running around with the kids during day camp, I didn't have time to train on my own because of different talks and phone calls I had to make during the day.

Here's what I did today:

3.71 miles in 39:12 (10:33 min/mile average)

Not too happy that I didn't get to run much today... but sometimes, social and work life gets in the way of training... which is good that I have priorities like those.  You can't just balance training and not balance anything else... everything ought to have training.

Hoping that tomorrow I could somehow find some time... but it doesn't really look it... which means that Friday, Saturday, and Sunday is going to be a hard workout... not exactly looking forward to it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 23 (31 Day Transformation)

Today was an easy day.  After working at the day camp, I ran with a new friend of mine, and then taking a break, I ran that night.

This is what I did today:

3.75 miles in 37:24 (9:58 min/mile average)
7.04 miles in 58:28 (8:18 min/mile average)

It seems like I only did a little bit, but the thing is, no matter what you do... however small the steps are... they still are the steps of progress, and running over ten miles is definitely progress.  My body is still exhausted from the continuous running and exercise I'm putting myself through, and since I haven't taken a break from running in over two weeks, my body is telling me to shut down for a little bit... but I'm refraining from doing that, because I want to build up my body and have running as a norm.  The thing about the body is that no matter what you do, it will do its best to adapt to whatever you put yourself through.  In this case, with my running, my aim is to have running become my body's norm, and with a firm foundation, I can build even more off of that.  Imagine if I could run 10 miles a day without feeling any different from when I started... imagine if I could run a marathon every day... or 40 miles every day...

The possibilities are endless.  Only I can limit myself, and if I build myself up little by little, I believe that such a thing is possible.  Will I be able to do it this month?  No.  This year?  Probably not... but with every single day, I can progress and move forward to my goal, and when I get closer to my goal, I'll not only be able to become the beast I strive to become, but I will also be able to compete with the elite runners of the world.

One step at a time.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day 22 (31 Day Transformation)

Today wasn't a very hard day... but it also wasn't an easy day.  Because of the storm coming through, I had to spend 4-5 hours in the gym to get everything done.  It was kind of boring and I didn't really enjoy it (especially treadmill running... not a fan) but I did what I needed to do in order to transform my body so that I would be able to finish the Leadville 100.

Here's what I did today:

20 pull ups
1 mile walk
8 mile run
1 mile walk
52 push ups
1 hour of cycling
500 calf raises (and between every 100, I did 100 'taps' where I raised my toes up and down)
15 minutes of sauna

Doing this used to be fairly hard before, but now, I'm pretty used to the amount of training, and so I feel pretty good about it.  Tomorrow I'm planning on making it a little harder to insure that my mileage is higher this week than last week.  Changes are happening and little by little, I'm noticing a difference of how strong I am and how much stamina I've gained through this training... but I still need to do more.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 21 (31 Day Transformation)

Well, after going to church, I decided to eat and then take a nap before I ran... and woke up at almost 7 with my phone battery dying... so I charged it up and by the time I was ready to go, it was getting dark... but I still went to this small park nearby and ran around in tiny little circles.  After finishing that up, I went to the gym and did a few things, went home, ate a LATE dinner, and here I am right now, typing what I did today.

Here's what I did today:

10.74 mile run in 1:31:02 (8:28 min/mile average)
22 pull ups
.5 mile walk on treadmill
55 push ups
30 min cycling

It wasn't the best week for exercising, but I guess I sort of needed the break.  I'll have to make sure that next week, I'll have a lot of running and a lot of exercising to do.  Altogether, I had 80.09 miles down for this week... which is pretty good for a 'bad' week.  I'll have to push myself even more next week.  This coming week, I'm planning on getting more than 100 miles down... we'll see how it turns out.  This will be my final full week, and I plan on working hard.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day 20 (31 Day Transformation)

Today was clean up day!  Spent all morning and noon-time getting myself psyched up to clean... and cleaned up my bathroom (separated my roommate and my stuff... instead of using one sink as my roommate's storage area, I made that my sink, and he could deal with his own sink his way.  Also cleaned the hair out of the bathtub and emptied the trashcan... man it was dirty)  Also washed a few extra tupperwares that needed washing, and brought my clothes from the dryer to my room... basically did the stuff I should've been keeping up with in the first place.  After a cleaner bathroom and cleaner kitchen, I was satisfied and got ready to go run.  Did my running as the sun went down so it was a lot cooler, and then afterwards, I went over to the gym for a mini-workout.

Here's what I did today:

10.41 mile run in 1:25:50 (8:14 min/mile average)
22 pull ups
.5 mile walk
55 push ups
1 hour of cycling

Not the hardest workout, but I'd say I'd count this as an easy recovery day.  Tomorrow, I should do a little more, and see if I can continue running double digits every day for the last third of my 31 Day Transformation program.

Day 19 (31 Day Transformation)

Today was a simple day.  Just one nice long run, running 5 and walking 1, I kept on going... but didn't bring a water bottle with me so I almost didn't make it.

Here's what I did:

21.78 miles in 3:37:29 (9:59 min/mile average)
chopping down branches with a machete

Haha.  Well the second part wasn't exactly a workout, but it got me to stay outside and work on my arms a little bit.  After running almost 22 miles, I was pretty tired, but hopefully, it got me closer to where I needed to be.  Afterwards, I went over and celebrated a friend's birthday party so I didn't get to go to the gym... but I have a feeling tomorrow I'll be able to go and work out to my hearts content.

Keeping it at a 10 min/mile pace means that the 100 miles would be finished in 1000 minutes.... 16 hours and 40 minutes... but I know that I won't really be able to do that.  However, with that kind of training, 12 minute miles for 100 miles won't seem too far off... and for Leadville, 15 minute miles is what I need to finish in 25 hours.  We'll see if the training that I undergo will be enough... I only have a little more than 10 days for training myself to become a beast capable of finishing the race. 

Here's what I say to that.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Day 18 (31 Day Transformation)

Once again, things happened and ended up only barely running... for some reason, I've been pretty tired and sleeping a lot more... in fact, today, I slept a total of about 10 hours... while I'm used to sleeping 6 hours... it's weird.  However, this tells me that my body needed the recovery time because recovery is best when you're asleep.  I would gladly give up running for sleep because in the long run, the sleep would be most beneficial to me.  Tomorrow, I'm definitely going to do a lot more running.

Here's what I did today:

1 mile run with a dog
10 hours of sleep (with nap in the day)

Hopefully, tomorrow I'll be running a bit and that would get me to where I need to be for next week.  I'm behind on my mileage, but once again, it's a guideline and not something that's set in stone.  It's important for training to be based off how your body feels and change it according to where you are in that day, that moment.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Day 17 (31 Day Transformation)

As I was busy all day (seems to be a Wednesday thing...) I took today as a rest day.

Here's what I did:

2.47 miles in 23:12 (9:23 min/mile average)

Nothing spectacular... but I'm hoping that tomorrow I'll have time to run quite a few miles.  Running a little over 2 miles is a little too little.  I feel like I need to make sure that I'm able to run a lot more.  Hopefully, tomorrow I'll be able to have that time to press on and get myself to the next level.

Day 16 (31 Day Transformation)

Today is definitely the 'hump day' for the month.  It's the middle and I've still got a lot to go... but at the same time, it's almost over!  Can't wait for my training to be over.  Transforming my life into being that of an ultra runner requires a lot of discipline and sacrifice.  As day camp started again, I wasn't able to run in the morning, but after it was over, I had the opportunity to run a little bit before meeting up with some runner friends, and then after that, went to the gym and worked out and then finally came home at a semi-decent hour.

Here's what I did today:

5.14 miles in 49:39 (9:39 min/mile average)
7.5 miles (running on trails with friends)
1.5 mile walk
1 mile run (8 minute pace)
.5 mile walk
20 pull ups
1 hour of cycling
50 push ups

Wanted to do stairmaster, but sleep is also essential for my growth and so didn't add that on to my workout... maybe tomorrow.  As of today, I'm only ahead of my miles by about half a mile, so I need to make sure that I follow my goals...  Hoping to get over 100 miles this week as part of my training.  One of the important things I need to work on before the race is to improve my endurance.  Just because I finished one race that went over 100 miles doesn't mean that I would be able to finish this race.  Each race is different and this one is definitely harder than the rest.  The altitude will definitely be a big factor, but I'm hoping that with enough training and getting there early, my body would be somewhat acclimated to that... as for the elevation... I need to make sure I run a lot of hills and mountains.  Every little bit will help me take another step forward in the race.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Day 15 (31 Day Transformation)

Getting back to running higher mileage meant another tough day.  Increasing the amount of running means that my body is also starting to tire out...  After tonight, I feel a slight tenderness on my right knee, but other than that, I feel pretty good.  We'll see how I hold, and I do hope that I will continue to grow and not falter.

Here's what I did today:

5.49 mile run in 48:45 (8:52 min/mile)
11.5 mile run... but no time calculated
22 pull ups
1 hour of cycling
53 push ups

Not quite sure if the running went to my knees or if the cycling finished it off.  Tomorrow when I wake up, I need to make sure to take note of how my right knee feels before I go off and run.

Half way through, and it only gets worse from here on~

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day 14 (31 Day Transformation)

Thank goodness for rest days!  According to the 31 Day Transformation Guide I made up, I didn't have to run that much at all.  I was only to run 4 miles because that's what my body would consider 'easy' this week.  I'm hoping that because of this break from exercise, I would be able to recover, because Week 3 is going to be even more tough.

Here's what I did today:

4.13 miles in 37:06 (8:59 min/mile)

I was running at an easy pace because it was my rest day, but at the same time, I'm not sure how much longer I would be able to last.  It's recommended that you increase your mileage by 10% each week, but the difference between Week 1 (44.96 miles) and Week 2 (82.97 miles) was by 84.5%.  However, in order to become a beast, you're going to have to train like a monster.

Knowing my limitations, I was able to continue this hard core training, but next week... it looks like I'm going to increase my mileage a little more (but not by 84.5%, thank goodness...).  We'll see how things turn out next week.  Whether my guidelines are going to be followed... or whether I'm going to find my limits sooner than expected and have to take it easy.

Day 13 (31 Day Transformation)

Since yesterday was a nice and long run, I was a little sore today and didn't exactly feel like running... but I had to anyway.  Got my lazy butt out the door and went over to House Mountain and ran the trails up and down 3 times.  Afterwards, I took a little nap and then woke up, went to the gym... and thus concludes my day.

Here's what I did today:

9.72 miles in 2:02:08 (12:33 min/mile average)
.5 mile walk (treadmill)
3.5 mile run (treadmill)
20 pull ups
50 push ups

Again, not too much, but I was being a little lazy after going overboard the day before.  Now to rest and have a great peaceful day tomorrow.  Hoping to recover enough so that the next week I'll be able to jump up another level... we'll see what happens!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Day 12 (31 Day Transformation)

Today... was a boring day.  Basically, it means I only ran.  However, this doesn't mean that it was a short rest day run.  It was a long and tiring run.  One that I look back and wished I never did that, because I'm not sure if it was beneficial or not.

Here's what I did:

22.26 mile run in 3:25:58 (9:15 min/mile average)

The hardest part about this run was that I didn't bring any water with me, so after the first several miles, I began to feel the amount of thirst I was suppressing.  Around the 14th mile, I was able to get a drink from the water fountain, and I practically drowned myself in it, drinking for a whole 30 seconds in order to fill up my body with the much needed liquid.  After that, I was able to run faster and keep going.

However, towards the last bit of the run, I was pretty dehydrated and needed another drink... but someone else was there, so I just sucked it up and ran all the way back to the car.  After I got back, I was a little tired and dizzy because I didn't have the water that I so desperately needed.  On the way home, I dropped by the Pilot and bought myself grape juice and Gatorade so that I would get the water and also the sugars and electrolytes that I needed in my body.  After all that, I ate dinner and didn't feel like going to the gym so I just laid around and ate and recovered.

According to the schedule that I created, I'm 7.12 miles ahead of schedule this week, and so I don't technically have to work too hard... just hard enough.  We'll see what happens tomorrow once I wake up.  I just need miles.  Doesn't matter how I get them.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Day 11 (31 Day Transformation)

Today was a pretty good day.  I ended up not working as hard as I wanted to because my leg felt a little tired and I knew that if I pushed myself too hard today, tomorrow I wouldn't be able to continue my running.  I did run multiple times with breaks in between because I wanted to make sure I wasn't hurting myself by pushing too hard too fast.  Kind of funny how things turned out for the run.

Here's what I did today:

4.36 miles in 38:57 (8:56 min/mile average)
4.65 miles in 38:50 (8:21 min/mile average)
5.04 miles in 38:33 (7:39 min/mile average)
20 pull ups
50 push ups
1 hour of cycling
15 minutes in the sauna

It's kind of funny how the running went down.  I just went out 20 minutes and then ran back at the speed I felt like.  At the beginning, I just wanted to run easily, so I did a nice and easy pace.  The second time I went out, I kind of wanted to beat what I did before and managed to get there in 20 minutes but still made it back... even faster than the time before... and the third time, I was running and all of a sudden there was a downpour and I was just wanting to get it over with and run at a little faster pace just to make myself feel like it was worth running in the rain for... and ended up running longer and running faster (and overall less time running).  Tomorrow, the main thing for me is just to get the miles in.  As long as I could get them in, no matter the pace, I would be happy... so I need to make sure I make time to do that.  We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day 10 (31 Day Transformation)

Well once again, life added another little twist which caused me to make today my rest day and have 3 days in a row of longer runs and harder workouts.  Not exactly looking forward to that, but what needs to be done needs to be done.

Here's today's rest day workout:

1 mile walk
3 mile run
.25 mile walk

All of it was done on a treadmill and I didn't feel like I accomplished too much... but I needed to make sure that the Cross Country coaching stuff is all in place.  This is going to be my first time coaching cross country and I'm hoping that it's going to be a great experience.

But now I'm not exactly looking forward to tomorrow's training... haha.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Day 9 (31 Day Transformation)

Today I was going to run in the morning... but ended up not doing so.  Then I was going to run right at noon... and once again failed to do so.  By the time I started my run, it was already past 4... good thing that it's summer break and I could afford that kind of luxury (only during the month of July...).  In the end, I felt like the workout was light, but knowing that the day after tomorrow would be a simple run, that means that tomorrow is going to be hard core.

Here's what I did today:

9.71 mile run in 1:16:28 (7:52 min/mile average)
1.76 mile walk in 30:09 (17:08 min/mile average)
21 pull ups
43 push ups
600 calf raises
10 minutes of hard cycling
1:20 of normal cycling
15 minutes in the sauna

It wasn't the hardest of days... but I can tell that I'm definitely getting stronger (except for push ups... for some reason, I'm still weak).  In balancing running with cycling, walking, stair master, and pool running, my strength and endurance have increased at a very fast rate.  At this rate, in 31 days, I believe that the change would be very significant and non-damaging to my body.  The human body always amazes me, and when you take things step by step, you can definitely surpass expectations and redefine what your limit is.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Day 8 (31 Day Transformation)

Man, today was a wonderfully tiring day.  Started out with a run in the morning, and then  a walk with my pastor, then ended with going to the gym and working out.

Here's what I did:

8.11 mile run in 1:04:38, an average of 7:58 min/mile
4.98 mile walk
19 pull ups
1:30 cycling
42 push ups
400 calf raises
50 min stair master (5.32 miles, 255 floors)
30 minute pool running
15 minute sauna

Today was one FULL day and I really did a lot that made me tired.  Being the first day of three workout days, it was suppose to be on the light side... but oh well, that's how it turned out, haha.  There are just some things you can't plan for, and that includes yourself.  I wonder what I'm going to be doing tomorrow... hopefully, I'll take it easy and continue to press on towards my goal.... but is that the lazy side of me talking?

We'll see what happens once I wake up tomorrow morning.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Day 7 (31 Day Transformation)

Today was another day of rest.  I really wanted to work out or do something... but the thing is that the human body does need time to recover.  However, at the rate that I'm going, next week, my rest day would probably include a run of 4 miles.  If I can keep this up, then my 'rest day' may end up as a 10 mile run.  If I could get to that level in two weeks, by the last three days of the 31 Day Transformation, I believe I might be able to get to a point where I'm running a marathon distance every day.  Once I'm in that position, running the Leadville 100 shouldn't be as big of a deal.  The fortunate thing about my training is that I've been able to put a lot of time into it.  The only reason I'm able to do this is because of where I'm at in my life.

I guess it's important to not take each moment for granted and while you can... work up to where you can potentially be.  If there's nothing else holding you back from getting to where you want to be... why should you hold yourself back... right?

Day 6 (31 Day Transformation)

After a lazy morning, I did my run in the afternoon, and then after a little break, worked out at the gym that night... training has really become a part time job... and I'm loving it.  During the day, when I wasn't running, I was on youtube and watched the 2012 Ironman World Championship in Kona.  I was amazed at how the elite athletes pushed themselves so hard in the training so they would be able to perform at their finest in this race.  Looking at how hard they pushed themselves in the race, I looked at my own training and thought that I wasn't working nearly as hard as they were... and I aim to be at that point by the end of the month.

Watching the 2012 Ironman really opened my eyes to a new world... in the effort people took to train... and also as my interest piqued, because maybe some day I might want to take a crack at the Ironman... but one step at a time.

Here's what I did for today:
9.31 mile run in 1:17:04 (8:16 min/mile average)
18 pull ups
2 mile walk
3 mile run on treadmill in 24:49 (8:16 min/mile average)
1 hour of cycling
10 minutes in the sauna

Today was a little more running than usual, but less cycling, stair master, and pool running.  I'm hoping to change that little by little til I spend a lot of time doing all of them.  I look forward to the day I am training over 6 hours a day.  Can't wait to transform myself into a beast.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Day 5 (31 Day Transformation)

After taking a break, I knew that today was going to be a tough day for me.

Here's what I did:

8.77 miles in 1:06:16 (7:33 min/miles)
19 pull ups
3.5 mile walk
50 push ups
1:20 of cycling
20 minutes on the stair master (121 floors and 2.52 miles)

The run that I did was in the morning, and at first, I was running on the slower side... but eventually, I became interested in what my cadence was in running, and realized that it was way too slow and stepped it up to 180 steps per minute.  Instantly, my pace quickened and my average went down from about an 8:34 pace for the first two miles to where it ended up as.

The rest of the workout was done at night, and I almost managed to get my 20th pull up... but stuck with 19.  I went with the 3.5 mile walk because I wanted to work on walking fast (that way, walking at a normal pace seems THAT much more easier).  Push ups were good, but the hour and twenty on the stationary bike... really killed my butt.  I was already tired, this being the end of the day, but I still forced myself to go on the stair master and walk at an average of 97 steps/min and pushed myself for that 20 minutes.

I don't know what tomorrow has store for me, but here's me hoping it's not going to be too bad.  Feeling pretty lazy~ but I need to make sure I don't give up and instead push myself forward.  Transformation doesn't happen by itself.  It takes effort.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Day 4 (31 Day Transformation)

Since yesterday was suppose to be my break day... and I didn't follow my plan, today was my break day... in fact, I did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.  This also means that tomorrow is going to be one... interesting day.  Kind of sad that I didn't do anything because I really wanted to do some sort of training... but hey, it's the first week.  Pushing myself too much will end up with me getting hurt.  Tomorrow's post is definitely going to be a workout that's going to take as much time as one would work in a day... we'll see (and I'll see) what's going to happen tomorrow...

so excited...


Day 3 (31 Day Transformation)

So the original plan was to take an easy day at the gym today, but... you know how plans get ruined by the member of the opposite sex.  Saw a pretty girl, decided that I'd stay a little longer than my original plan.  Here's my workout for the day:

18 pull ups
1.25 miles of walking
42 push ups
5 miles in 35:19 (a 7:04 min/mile average... but I did start from about 8 and went up to 6 min/mile)
400 calf raises
15 minutes of solid stretching
10 minutes of sauna time

I did go quite fast on the treadmill, however, I decided that it would be best if I stayed off the stationary bicycle as well as the stair master, and let my body (somewhat) recover.  Tomorrow, being the 4th of July... I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do for a work out... but we'll see what happens.  3 days done, 4 weeks to go.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Day 2 (31 Day Transformation)

Today was a little bit tougher for me because I worked at a summer day camp.  During this time, I would be walking a lot, playing tag and other various games with the kids... so basically, when I was done, I was a little tired before starting my workout.  Here's what I did for my July 2 workout:

17 pull ups
5 miles in 37:43 (on a treadmill...)
1.5 mile walk
40 push ups
200 calf raises
1 hour and 10 minutes of cycling
50 minutes of the stair master (5.37 miles or 258 floors)
50 minutes of pool running

I definitely felt the difference and my legs feel pretty tired... lets see what tomorrow is going to do with my legs... should I work out or should I take a break... we'll find out for sure tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 1 (31 Day Transformation)

So since I'm training for the Leadville 100, I decided that the month of July, I would start with the transformation of my body into becoming a beast.  I have a goal in mind, and in 31 days, I plan on achieving that goal.  The next 30 days will be just a list of what I do to get myself to where I want to be.  I'm hoping that in 31 days, I'll become a beast that could crush the Leadville 100... here's what I did today:

4.03 mile run in 31:55 (7:55 min/mile)
1.6 mile walk
14 pull ups
60 minutes of cycling
35 push ups
45 minutes of stair master (209 floors... 4.36 miles)
45 minutes of pool running

Seems like a good beginning.  Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

How Little Things Pile Up

My roommate... well... lets say that he has a lot of hair... and with a lot of hair... well... lets say that it clogs up the drain over time.  My hair, on the other hand, is pretty short, so it doesn't do that much damage.  Now taking showers is an important part of both of our lives, and over time, there's a good bit of his hair in the drain.  Since it's not my hair... I just let it go and have my roommate deal with the hair.  However, instead of throwing it away in the trash, he has this... interesting habit of... putting it on the side of the bath and even on the wall.  For the first few months, I surrendered and got toilet paper and took them off.  However, this time, I decided that I would do my best to ignore that and let the bath wall grow a beard.  It wasn't the best idea ever... but it sure did make the bath a lot more hairier.

To sum it up, it was disgusting.

Little by little, hair clogged up the drains.  Little by little, the hair went to the wall.  Little by little, my will to 'force' him to clean up the mess was being shaken.  It seemed to me like the wall of the bath was changing color because of the amount of hair on it and I'm sure it would have kept going if his girlfriend had not come...

Now I'm not sure who exactly put the hair off, but after his girlfriend got through using the shower, I went in to take mine and lo and behold, there was a white bath tub.  It was nice... but I wonder if there was a lesson learned or if it was just a phase.

Whether it be hair, or clothes... or anything else, when things pile up, it doesn't start so bad.  It just ends up that way.

Funny thing is... it can be a good thing or a bad thing.  When you exercise every day, the little you do each day piles up and makes a big difference over time.  When you lay around on the couch and don't do anything... it also makes a big difference over time.  Whatever you do, when you make it a part of your lifestyle, it affects who you become.

I'm hoping to add a little bit of mileage to what I do almost daily, and my goal by the end of July is to be able to run a marathon every day for a week.  If I'm able to get to that point in my training, I would feel a lot more comfortable with the Leadville 100.  Running well in a regional race is completely different than running well in a national race.  I'm hoping that I would get myself leveled up to where I need to be to compete with the elite runners and take just a few steps closer to running well.

My goal for Leadville is to get top 20.  Looking at last year's time, I need to be able to run a little under 13 minutes per mile.  Looking at what I've done in the past week, I believe that currently, I'm right on track to being able to run where I need to in this race.  The only factor that I haven't fully been able to calculate is the altitude.  I'm not sure how the altitude is going to affect me... but I'm sure it's going to be tough.  Hopefully, the next several weeks, I'll be able to exponentially grow and  little by little, take myself to the next level... and become a beast.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


It's been 2 weeks since I ran the 24 hour race in Asheville NC, and I haven't blogged about that race yet... Currently, I'm waiting for the information to be written down and sent to me from one of my friends that was at the race timing every little thing that went on.  Once I figure that out, I figure I'll be able to write a little blog about the amazing experience I've had.

The short version of the race is this.  I ran long and hard, ran 102.3 miles and finished 1st overall.  I started doing the 5 min run 1 min walk for the first... 16 hours and then after that, I got too exhausted so I ran more and rested more when I finished a loop.  Funny thing is that after the race, I slept, and within 2 days, I was back on my feet playing tag at a summer day camp that I work at.  In 5 days, I did my first run which was 5.38 miles, the next day running 5.32, took a break the next day, then ran 5.79 miles, 6.29 miles, break, and the day before yesterday, ran 6.04 miles.  Yesterday, I was a little tired from spending the week doing housing projects and watching Man of Steel (which was pretty nice, I thought... especially because I didn't expect anything from it, haha) but today... after blogging, I plan on going out for a run.

The first two days of running, the top of my right foot hurt.  I'm not sure exactly what the cause of it was, but it was because of that pain that I decided that I would turn around and make my way back home.  The pace I was going on the first two days of running was 9:19 and 9:15 min/mile so I wasn't going too fast... but I felt like running on the road was still a little too much after the 102.3 miles endeavor.  After the break, my right foot hasn't hurt me and so I was able to run a little faster, at a little over 8 min/mile, but I still don't want to hurt myself and made it my goal to only work on building myself up in distance, so that when I go to Leadville to run that 100 miler, I would be more prepared.

Recovery can be a pain, but at the same time, it's something that your body needs and so we have to go through with it and let the body take it's course.  Recovery slows down if you don't rest, and so rest IS important.  However, resting too much can be detrimental.  In doing that, your body might get acclimated to the resting state and in turn, you won't just fully recover, but also build a bad habit.  Since running has begun to be a lifestyle for me, it hasn't been too much of a problem when I occasionally take two days off in a row, but 5 days in a row... my mind was affected by that and I enjoyed taking that break from running.  Let's hope that the next couple of weeks I continue my training plan and get to where I need to be for the race in August.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Setting Lofty Goals

The thing about setting these lofty goals are that the person usually thinks that he/she is capable of doing it.  After doing some research, I've found that in order to qualify for the USATF 24 Hour National Team, I need to run 135 miles within that 24 hours... which kinda seems a little tough... but at the same time... it feels doable.  Of course, I've never done anything crazy like that, and the longest run I've ever done was last year's 12 hour run, where I did 62 miles... and here I am right now, thinking about doubling the time and more than doubling the distance... how crazy is that?

Having a lofty goal isn't a bad thing... when you're looking at taking steps towards getting there.  However, should you have a lofty goal that is immediate... now THAT would be a bad thing.  Setting lofty goals should help you build yourself up, and not break yourself down ASAP.  It's one thing to look far off in the distance and seeing yourself go towards there... but it's another thing to make impossible goals for your race next week (although I am tempted).

The thing about lofty goals are they push you.  And when pushed, you have to adapt and improve yourself, and step by step, you get to where you need to be.  My lofty goal is to become one of America's top ultra distance runner.  Right now, I'm nowhere near that, but I believe that over time, as I train and work hard, I'll take small steps towards my goal and finally manage to be one of the elite runners of America.

I always liked a quote a friend once told me:

Aim for the stars and you might hit the moon.

I plan on hitting the stars.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

When You're Tired

I ran twice today, running both in the morning and at night, and of course, the hardest run was my second run.  It was hard because I was already tired from the morning run as well as from standing at work for 7 hours, and it really was tempting to just not run.  However, after telling people that I was going to go for a run... and being a man of my word, I went and did my (stupid ol') run.  I wasn't exactly enthusiastic as I started the run, but as I kept going, I felt pretty good about getting up and going forward.

After finishing the run, I was glad it was over.  It was a lot tougher but I managed to finish it, and the satisfaction was that much more to me because I was weak and tired, but kept on going.  Whenever you're weak and tired... and you have a goal to accomplish, accomplish it, and you'll feel so much better and the satisfaction is exponentially better than when you accomplish something when you're not  tired and weak.

It takes a lot of willpower to get through... especially when you're tired.  Push through and you'll be satisfied.  Give up and you'll have regret.

Personally, I like the first choice...

(altogether, I ran 11.43 miles... 3 days in a row where I ran more than 10 miles)

Friday, May 10, 2013

2nd Day of Training

It's always harder to run on the second day because you're still a little sore from the first day.  Today was a little hard for me to go on and do a run because of that.  However, I was able to push on and finish 10.41 miles.  Since school is over, I made it a goal to run double digits every day.  It was hard... but not impossible.

The important thing about continuing your training on the second day is to persevere.  It takes a little to run one day, but to run on the second day takes more out of you.  On the second day, your mind is a little weaker, and you don't want to work as hard.  You've done the hard work on the first day, and on the second day, you want to take it easy.  In order to get through that, you need a strong will.  It takes a little bit to start, but a lot to keep going. 

One way to get through it is to let other people know about what you're doing, the more you let others know what you're getting yourself into, the more you'll actually be 'forced' to do it.  Putting proper pressure on yourself will in turn help you to continue to push forward.  When you can't go forward with what you aim to do, work to get something to give you that final push.

Find the push and you'll be able to continue forward on your journey.  Sometimes, the push is within you, and other times, it'll be something outside.  Once you figure that out, the second day won't be so bad.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Returning to Running

Over the last few weeks, I've spent almost no time running, and a lot more time studying.  Now that exams are over, I'm getting back to running.  The first thing I did today was go on an easy run with a friend.  Together, we ran about 1.5 miles.  Afterwards, I went on my own little run, running around 4.5 miles.  After having a good break, I took a nap and then went out and ran 6 miles with the running club in Knoxville.  Altogether, I ran 12.27 miles, and it was fun.  My muscles are pretty tired, but I'm excited for what tomorrow has in store for me.

When you're getting back into something, you can't jump in and go hard core because when you do that, you actually can end up hurting yourself or tiring yourself out.  In my doing this amount of running, I probably pushed a little too hard... but I'll find out tomorrow whether or not it was too hard.  The thing about this running thing is that my break wasn't too much of a break.  Sometimes, people take small breaks and are afraid of jumping in because they recognize that they've been out for a bit... but in reality, it's their knowledge that prevents them from excelling as much as they could.  Others will see this break as nothing and jump right into what they were doing before... and end up hurting themselves.  Finding the happy middle is where we all ought to be when getting back into things.

I believe I know myself pretty well and understand what the break did to me.  The important thing for me is to not push myself because I fall into the 'push myself' category.  Knowing myself is good, but playing as close as I can to my limit... can be a little dangerous.  When returning to running, I ought not to play so dangerously... but I do because THAT is how much I want to get back to what I was doing and do that as fast as I possibly could.

Let's see what tomorrow brings and how dangerous I could play this game.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Influencing Others

Whether we want to or not, we influence others, and others influence us.  We look around and see changes made in this world because of an influence of one individual.  A single person can change the world.  An individual CAN make a difference.  You can make that difference.  The difference you can make can either be positive or negative, depending on the type of influence you have... but I'd like to stick to the positive side of things. 

Last year, I went to the Rush like normal and worked out like normal, and suddenly, someone comes up to me and asks me a little about running.  He told me that I looked like a runner and wanted to know how he could become a better runner.  Eventually, over the course of a few months, he was running consistently, dropping weight and got in shape.  After that, I changed my schedule and didn't see him until more recently.  When we met up again and went out for a run, he talked to me about how his dad started walking and getting back into shape and how his family started making meals that were more healthy, thanks to him taking that step in his life.  You see, the power of influence spreads through the different people you make contact with.

I had no personal contact with his family, but through him, I was able to make a difference in their lives.  Influencing others doesn't take too much.  It's because you make a difference in certain individual's lives that you're able to pass that on through them.  The influence doesn't stop with the people you make contact with because it spreads through them into the people they make contact with... which in turn goes even further.

Since influence doesn't stop, it's important to know how you influence people.  There is great power in influence and when used for good, good can spread so far... but when used for bad... that can also spread too.  Make sure to keep your influence a positive one and make a difference in others lives in a positive manner and continue to do so no matter who you meet.  Every person you shape can in the same way shape others.

The last few days, I've noticed a few people around me and how much they've taken steps towards improving themselves, and it's been amazing seeing the change happen in their lives.  I want to continue to encourage others, so that they in turn can encourage more... and who knows... maybe more people will be able to encourage me with my goals.

Keep on running strong everyone!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Daniel Komen

In 1954, Roger Bannister made history by being the first man to run a sub 4 minute mile.  This brought on many more competitors who ran that fast... however, there is only one person in history that has run 2 back to back miles that are sub 4 minute.  In 1997, Daniel Komen ran the 2 miles in 7:58.61 which broke the original record by over 2 seconds (which is a big difference).  This same individual has held (at one point) 5 world records, and currently still holds 3 of them.

I had the opportunity to meet Daniel Komen last Saturday, when he and David Cheromei came to Johnson University for a 5k run.  I was able to spend quite a bit of time talking to both Daniel and David, and learned about what it took to be someone of that caliber.

Sure it takes talent to be able to compete as an elite athlete, but what brings them up to a higher level is their mindset.  I was able to talk to both Daniel and David about their training, and they told me that their training went to about 100 miles a week... which is longer than what most people run per week training for a marathon.  Considering that both Daniel and David run shorter races, it seems utterly amazing that they put in that kind of mileage and compete in the races that they race.

However, they look ahead with the end in mind and train 3 hours a day in order to reach that goal.  In order to get to where they are at, it takes time, dedication, hard work ethic, and talent.  Looking at what they've done, it encourages me to work harder to get to where I need to be for the races ahead of me.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Boston Marathon Bombing

I first heard about the bombings at the Boston Marathon when my grandparents called me to see if I was over in Boston or not.  After they told me about what happened, I looked at the news and saw the horrific news of what happened.  I also received other texts and Facebook messages asking if I was alright and if I was in Boston.  It's nice to know that there are quite a few people that care about me.... but at the same time, it's sad to know that there are people out there that do bad things like putting bombs out and killing and injuring innocent people.

However, the story doesn't stop there.  There is more to it than just the bad things that happened.  In the midst of the chaos, with injured people and mass confusion, there were people who stood out and made a difference.  There were so many runners that kept on running and donated their blood to the hospitals for the victims that hospitals had to turn them away because there just wasn't enough space.  You see, even though there are many bad things that occur in this world, there still is a lot of good within each of us.  On television, we see so much horror from the bad things that happen... because bad things make news, but at the same time, there are so many good things that happen in this world.

I'm proud to know that there are those good people that fight to make things right and do the things that help other people.  I'm proud of the good that people can do, in the midst of this terrible situation.

(I ran 9.07 miles yesterday, and today, ran 11 miles... it was a good feeling to go out and run.  For the time being, I think of the events and pray for the families of the injured and deceased.  I really hope that this will not happen again.)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Saying No

It's so easy to say yes when people ask for help.  It's so easy to say yes when you're offered a free meal even though you don't like it too much because it affects your stomach a good bit... It's so easy to say yes when you're given an unhealthy object.... it's so easy to just say the word, 'yes'.

However, people forget the simple two letter word, 'no' that could also be an answer.  However, it's hard to say no because acceptance is what most people consider 'good'.  To me, saying no is an important part of my training.  In saying no, I'm able to deny the good tasting food given to me and allow myself to take a step forward towards my goal.  In succumbing to the temptation and saying yes, I take myself a step away from the goal.

Things aren't going to be easy.  There will be tough decisions you'll have to make.  That would be the decision to do the right thing.  Sometime, the right thing is to say yes... but the right decision can also be no.

It's easier to agree with something and do the right thing.  It's a lot harder to disagree with something and do the right thing.  The challenge is to be strong in the decisions you make and go forth from there, making a difference in your own life.

Today, I was able to go for an 8 mile run... it was nice... can't wait to go run tomorrow.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Power to Push Yourself

There are going to be times when you don't want to push yourself.  There's going to be a time when you just... don't feel like it.  What can you do?  You have that goal ahead of you... but you don't want to strive for it.  Your willpower is gone, you lack the strength to push yourself... how can you flip the switch and start striving towards your goals?

One way that I find power to push myself to go forward is through the power of words.  Words hold authority, and when you remember what kind of authority was behind the words that were written, you regain that strength and are able to continue on your journey.

The past few weeks have been a little troublesome.  First, my dad came down to visit, and since he's way more important than my running, I let my running slide for a couple of days.  Then on Wednesday night (he left that morning), I played floor hockey and I pushed myself to the limit and went home... to wake up throwing up at 2am.  I was not a happy camper, and managed to get better, but for the next couple of days felt rather lethargic... also losing the habit of continuous running that I've been building up... On Tuesday, I went out for a 4.25 mile run followed by a 30 min cycling session, and on Wednesday, I went out for a 5 mile run, followed by intense amounts of floor hockey, and today... I just did my daily exercise, not running or anything.  However, due to the last few days of intense daily workouts, I've been able to get better and I see the difference it's made in my life.

The only reason I was able to get through Tuesday was because I was running with a good friend of mine.  However, on Wednesday, I had no good friend to run with, so instead, I wrote "I'm a BEAST" on my hand and now as a reminder, whenever I look at my watch, I get reminded that I am a beast and therefore needed to work hard to get to my goal.

Tomorrow is going to be a very nice day, and if the day is sunny, I'm sure I'll be able to get quite a bit of running done.  Can't wait for that, I'll have to get some rest though... but I know that when I wake up, I'll look at my hand, and on it, there will be a message written saying "I'm a BEAST" and I'll believe and work towards that.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Eating Good and Bad Foods

It's been a while since I've blogged because I've been sick, my dad came to visit... and I haven't run too much.  Finally, I've gotten better and am at a place where I can resume what I've started.  Through the last few days, I've only run once and that was only for a little over a mile.  Stomach Viruses can really damper your training plans, but at the same time, it has allowed me to see a lot more regarding what I eat and how it affects my body.

Eating good food is good for you right?  That's a pretty obvious statement.  Why would good do anything bad?  However, I've come to a point where there could be a sliver of truth when I say that eating bad food may be good for me.  Now that is an off the wall comment that doesn't make sense at all.  Why would something bad be good?  It would seem obvious that bad food is bad, however, it could be good... now why is that?

The most amazing thing about the human body is the ability to adapt.  When we put in a bunch of preservatives and other manmade things inside of our body, it doesn't kill us.  In fact, our body processes it just like it processes everything else, and it goes through.  With each little adaption our body makes, we build ourselves up and become stronger.  The virus that went inside me eventually was purged from my system because of my body reacting to what went inside of me.  Now I am a little stronger.

During the time I had the virus, I was weak.  I was vulnerable.  However, due to the virus entering me, my immune system became a little stronger, and because of its use, I was given the opportunity to do a system check, to make sure that my defense mechanisms worked in my body... so in fact, eating some bad will make you stronger.  That doesn't mean go out and eat pizza every day, eating junk food instead of the good things... It means that we can add some bad to our good and have a healthy balance in which we grow stronger in more than one way.

If we don't test our bodies, it won't become stronger, and if we constantly eat good food, then our body gets used to that and when something gets into our system, we lose the ability to process it and it may hurt us more than we can imagine.  (and of course, this doesn't mean that you ought to continue to consume foods that you are allergic to... there's a difference between growth and stupidity).

For lunch, I went to Buffalo Wild Wings, and ordered 12 traditional wings with 3 different flavors.  Was this healthy?  No.  Did it taste good?  Yes.  Did I need it?  Yes.  In fact, the protein that I was given during this time was very beneficial as it helped me and my muscles grow in the way I wanted them to.  There was definitely too much fat as well as the preservatives and artificial flavors in the sauces, but all in all, it would serve to build my body up to becoming stronger and able to work efficiently.

Sometimes, it's good to go eat the bad things.  Try it out every once in a while so you don't lose it.

(at the end of today, I started back getting in shape, working on my 100 day transformation plan, doing 20 minutes of stretching, 100 push ups, 100 crunches, 200 squats, and 400 calf raises, as well as 30 minutes of cycling in the gym.)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Never Stopping

The important thing about building a habit is the continuation of what you're doing.  This 100 day transformation program that I made is really pushing me hard because I'm not used to doing the amount of push ups, crunches, squats, and calf raises... nor was I used to stretching every day.

Never stopping means that it doesn't matter what happens, you continue to do your thing.  The important thing is to not have excuses.  In order to make sure you don't have excuses, you have to make sure to have the time to do what you're doing.  In my case, it's forcing myself to stay awake, do what needs to be done, and then go to sleep.  I can't sacrifice anything else for it because I'm making sure that I get to my goal.  In this case, it's a 100 day transformation, which means that I have 100 days of hard work and by the time I get through with this, my body would be completely transformed.

Having a 10 step 100 day transformation also means that my body is going to go through one heck of a time with each step I take.  Now that I'm finishing up day 12, I'm dreading the 100 push ups and 100 crunches I'm having to do.  Whining and wasting time doesn't do me any good.  All it does is prolong the time in which I go to sleep...

Today, I had a great time, running a 5 miles in the morning and 7.38 miles in the afternoon.  In the morning, I ran 7/8 of a mile at a fast pace, and then jogged the last 1/8 of the mile... repeating that for 5 miles.  At the end of the day, after 6.5 hours of standing at work washing those dishes, I ran that 7.38 miles in 59:04, an average of 8:00 min/mile.  It was a nice and easy run.  Pretty glad I was able to run this long... but at the same time, noticed that my knees were getting tight.  I'm going to have to make sure to stretch them out a little more so I wouldn't get hurt.  (also, the day before, I ran 3.96 miles in 29:26, an average of 7:26 min/mile)

Never stopping means you gotta make sure to go strong.  No excuses.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Could and Should

I could have not rested yesterday... I should have rested yesterday... I could have run more today... I should have run as much as I did today.... We have a lot of things that we could do.  We also have a lot of things that we should do.  There can be a difference between the two.  For example, today, I could have run twice or even three times.  Instead, I just ran once... and kept it that way.  As today was my little step day for running, I decided that I would run longer and see how much I could do when I went out for 50 minutes.  The return trip definitely was a lot faster.  It turned out that I went a little faster on the return trip, running the whole 12.97 miles in 1:38:17, an average of 7:34 min/mile.

Just like every other day, this run wasn't meant to work on my speed or anything.  This run was for me raising my aerobic threshold.  In order to do that, I needed to run below my aerobic threshold, and continue working on that to push my limit higher.  I wanted so badly, to run at a faster pace and push myself, but I knew that the best thing for my body is to get acclimated to the distance and pace, and raise my threshold.  As I'm planning on running another good lick tomorrow, I don't want to push myself too much today.  There's a lot of things that we could do, but they may not all be something we should do.

Just because we could do something does not make it something we should do.  I could have run another 10 or 20 miles, but instead, I just stuck out with a little less than a half marathon.  The word 'could' only lets the individual know what is possible at that moment, however, the word 'should' goes beyond that moment.  During my training, it's nice to know what I could do, because that helps me gauge where I am.  However, it's more important to know what I should do because it leads me to where I need to go... the path I ought to take.

I could have run an ultramarathon today.  Instead, I chose to do what I should.  Positive training technique.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Just a Mile

Today wasn't my most well thought out day, when it came to running.  Things happened which meant that I had to change plans... and eventually came to running a simple mile with my roommate.  Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to run after work and get 7.33 miles in 56:03 (7:39 min/mile average) but today... work went overtime, I had homework due, and therefore... I just didn't have enough time to get things done.  Fortunately, I still did my 50 push ups, 50 crunches, 100 squats, 200 calf raises, and 20 minutes of stretching... but only did that one mile.

But I ran a mile.

It's not the big victories that makes a difference in your life.  It's the every day small victories that shapes you.  It's sad to see that I didn't run my usual 7 miles... but at the same time, I'm happy that I ran that one.  I could have chosen to not run at all... but instead, was given this opportunity of running a mile.  Don't focus too hard on the things you missed out on, but instead, see what you've done and the little things you've accomplished.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Knowing When to Take a Step

Sometimes, I have a hard time figuring out when to take the next step.  It's those times that I make a mistake and take a few too many steps.  The thing is, I can't afford to take too many steps because that will lay back my plan on getting in better shape and in better health.  A month ago, I was going on about 4-5 miles every time I ran... which wasn't too much.  In January, I was running 4 miles whenever I felt like it... and that wasn't much at all either.  It was mid-February when I got serious and started to take steps towards building up my body in a healthy manner, and because of my decisions, I started taking positive steps.  Starting out with a 4-5 mile base, I started running more consecutive days, knowing that I had to get myself moving in order to get anywhere.  As my consistent running became more of a norm, I waited til I was comfortable enough to jump up and do more.  A few 10 milers came into being, but by March, I was comfortably running a minimum of 5, going up to around 7 miles.  Now, I'm trying to make the norm 7.5 miles and push it towards 10 miles a day.

Running consecutively, if you happen to push too much, you'll end up hurting yourself, which will ruin your training and running career.  In order to take that next step, you have to know for certain that you ARE READY.  If you know you are ready, then that means that you can take that next step.  If you don't know... it's better not to push too hard.  On Saturday, I decided that I would go longer, and in three runs, I ran 16.87 miles.  Today, I ran 7.47 miles in 7:22 min/mile.  Saturday's run might have been a little too much, and because of that, I barely held on today.  My knees didn't feel exactly the best, but at this point, I'm going to stick with around 7.5 miles a day, unless I feel good enough to run 10 miles.  By April, I want to be at a point where 10 miles a day is nothing to me but a walk in the park.  It's not going to happen by just jumping into that sort of lifestyle, but step by step, I believe I'm getting to the right place.  One step at a time, making sure that the area in which I plant my foot is stable, I can get stronger and get to where I want to be.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Rainy Days

Out of all the days in one year... there's going to be a day where there's rain... and there's nothing you can do about it.  In the same way, during runs, I'm going to have my bad days where I'm just not feeling it... but you know?  That's not stopping me.  Just as the day keeps on going, whether it rains or not, I keep going too, whether I'm having a good day or not.

Today... was one of those not so good days.  I was tired, and I didn't exactly feel too good about running... but it needed to be done.  Before work, I ran 4 miles in 29:21 (a 7:20 min/mile pace) and after work, I ran 7.46 miles in 58:30 (a 7:50 min/mile pace).  It was a slow day because I was tired.  But you know, I didn't really mind that.  In fact, I'm glad I had that because that helped me get the break that I needed.  I won't know what my condition will be tomorrow, but I know that I'll need to make sure that I get some miles in, because that's the most important thing at this moment.

Whatever happens, the most important thing is to keep you head on your shoulders, and progress.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Balance... it's a law.  We are all a part of this law and balance plays a key role in it.  Energy is never lost... why? It's because it's always transferred somewhere else, and goes out in some form... but it never dies... instead it changes appearance or moves further outward.  Same goes with how everything else works.  There is always some sort of balance... an equilibrium that has to... just BE.

In the same way, our body has it's natural balance system.  The water level balances itself, and when we are in need of water, our body lets us know that we need it by giving us this 'thirsty' feeling.  We quench that thirst by drinking some sort of beverage and our body feels satisfied because the thirsty feeling is gone and we've replenished our water supply.  We call this balance of the body homeostasis where the first part of the word, homeo, means 'same' or 'similar' and the second part, stasis, means 'standing still'.  Together, it defines how our body system naturally balances itself out, keeping our whole self regulated in the way it ought to be.

Now although it's important to know that there are so many things in the body that is regulated and made to be balanced (like temperature, calcium level, and many others) I'd like to talk about how your body is balanced according to what you eat and what you do.  Now I've gone off how important it is to watch what you eat and what you do... but here I go again.

Over the past few weeks, I've upped my running into being more of a daily thing rather than a 4 times a week kind of deal.  Although time-wise, it's great to do the 4 times a week, but over the course of my research and studies, I've found that as an ultra runner, it's important to me to make it more of a daily deal and little by little improve myself.  I've also recently added a wonderful 100 day transformation workout, which added a whole lot of upper body workouts that I wasn't used to.  However, I believe that as an ultra runner, it's important to balance your whole body and keep everything strong... which means that my life needs to be dedicated to keeping every part of my body in the best physical while running extreme distances.  If I did not run, the muscles would build and I would definitely build a stronger upper torso due to my training.  However, with the running I've done, my body is more lean, and is now a little more chiseled.  It's nice to see how training affects you, and right now, I've actually lost weight.

Whatever you do, your body will adjust as best as possible and as fast as possible, and work to getting you to where you're capable of handling whatever you're doing.  In doing so, my health level has gone up dramatically.

Today, I was able to go out for an 8.02 mile run in 57:38, an average of 7:10 min/mile.  I was surprised that I was at that point because I didn't really run too hard (til the end...) but where I'm at now, that's a good thing because it means that I'm getting used to this pace as well as this consistent running.  Little by little, I'm turning into a beast.  Little by little, I'm getting to a point where I'll be able to run that 100 mile race.  (afterwards, I played floor hockey for about an hour and a half... kind of was sore, but got through)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Moving Forward

Rarely do your goals come to you.  That's why you take steps towards your goals.  It's not easy to go to your goals because it requires work... but if you just sat back and didn't do anything, then there's no way that you'll be able to get to your goal.

My wonderful calculus teacher back in high school, Mr. Mhlanga told his class multiple times, "If the mountain does not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must come to the mountain."  It was funny to us, but we knew it meant that if we had any questions, we were to come to him, instead of him coming to us.  If we wanted results, we needed to get out of our seats and go to him and talk to him and ask questions so that he could answer it.  Effort was needed in order for success to happen.

For the past two days, I've been doing my push ups, crunches, squats, and calf raises, and unfortunately, today, I wasn't able to do my run due to a take home quiz I had to do before midnight (which I finished).  This'll mean that tomorrow, I'll be playing catch up and running a little more than usual to get to where I need to be.  One step at a time... and a couple times, I skip steps and go further.  Excited for another day to get closer to my goal.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Weight Loss

It's easy for us to look at what we weigh and look at how much we've gained or lost.  However, weight alone does not account for the health of the individual.  Sure it lets you know how much you've changed... but only with one measurement... a measurement that doesn't really hold too much value.  Considering that muscle weighs about 4 times as much as fat, it's easy to not gain any weight but look skinnier (or vice versa).  Since weight only tells you one thing, it's weight (no pun intended) isn't worth much.  What matters the most is your overall health.

Sure weight can give you a measurement, but it doesn't measure your health, your ability to do things, how efficient you are in movement, breathing, or what your body is made up of.  There are far more important things than weight... yet people are so focused on weight that it hasn't crossed their minds that it may not be something that they should focus on.

I weigh myself almost daily to look at how much I weigh.  However, I do this mainly out of curiosity because I want to know how much I weigh and what kind of weight I'm carrying while running.  Certainly my weight changes depending on what I do that day... but then again, it just lets me know that I'm doing something.  The most important numbers are the numbers that let you know how efficient you are at what you're doing.  To me, the numbers important to me are the numbers letting me know how fast I am and how many miles I've run, comparing all that to how much I've put into that run (whether I pushed myself really hard, or not that hard at all).  I've noticed that I've been able to push myself further now, that I've gotten a good foundation, and little by little, I'm able to do more each day, and fully recovering from it, I'm now at a point where my health is getting closer to my fitness level.

The last few days have been exceptionally busy.  After running for ten days in a row, I had to stop running because I had pushed myself a little too far (with the Wednesday night floor hockey game, my right knee wasn't feeling too good, and I knew that a little more would have sent me to the hospital).  Thursday was a break day for me, where I enjoyed a day of relaxation.  Friday and Saturday, however, was a little more exciting, with a camping trip where I carried a camping pack for a little over 11 miles in the mountains.  It was nice to not run but still get those miles down because they were muscle while not having to worry about putting too much strain on the knees.  Coming back, on Sunday, I decided that I would take another break before starting again on Monday.

I had previously made a new 100 Day Transformation schedule where I would transform myself into becoming a beast, and thought that it would be a great way to start now, so I started working on that (to test and see what kind of transformation program I made) and after work, I ran 7.32 miles in 52:10, an average of 7:07 min/mile.  I wasn't running too hard because I didn't want to hurt myself because I was starting back again, but at the same time, I wasn't slacking either.  Working at this point, I'm able to continuously run and train and raise my health level.  I can't wait to see what this next few days will have in store for me.  Marathon coming up, and I'm training pretty hard core.  Let's look at the important numbers and go for your goal.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Time to Rest

In 24 hours, we do a lot.  We walk, we eat, we sleep, we sit, we stand... the list goes on and on.  However, out of that 24 hours, we do a lot of sleeping.  Why do we sleep?  It's because we need a moment to shut things down and take that break.  Breaks are important because they let our bodies recover that little bit.  However, there are times when the overall strain is too much and a day of rest is needed.  Today was one of those days... or maybe not exactly...

Yesterday, I was already tired from the day before's 15 miler, but I ran anyway, finishing 7.59 miles, but today... today was suppose to be a nice and relaxing day.  I had somewhat decided that I would take a break from running, but after talking with my roommate, decided that I'd go for a short run.  Ending up running 5.04 miles in 39:50, I felt pretty good about running it at a 7:54 min/mile average.  I wasn't pushing too hard, but it wasn't exactly a break.  Ideally, it would be amazing if my body got used to this amount for a break day, but this is why I'm trying it now, because towards the beginning of the training, your body is still working on finding what the foundation is.  I'd like my foundation to be 5 miles a day for now, but eventually get to 10 miles a day.

During your rest days, it's important to actually rest because that's when your body is actually 'fixing itself' and recovering from whatever you're doing.  If I'd be running 5 miles on my rest day, I think that my physical health ought to be pretty high.  I wonder what'll happen on the day I reach 10 miles on a rest day... (which also has me thinking... am I going to have a life?).

It's important to me to work towards my goals, and at the same time, not tear my body apart.  Having been running 10 days in a row, I'm feeling pretty good about myself and the rate I'm going... I'm hoping that the trend will continue and I'd be able to get through and make a difference in my life, and eventually, through this, get to my goal.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Transforming Your Body

Everyone at first is like a rough stone.  It takes time and commitment to transform that rough stone into a beautiful gem.  In order to make that transformation occur, there is an 8 step process called a faceting process.  This process is a very delicate process, and can be seen here at:

Now, you can see the difference between the rough stone and gem is significant, but it's not a simple process.  One mistake could ruin the gem, and cause it to lose it's value, it's beauty... its everything.  It's really interesting to see how the transformation takes place, and it's also really interesting to see that each of us is like that rough stone... and at any time, we could go through a similar process and transform ourselves into a 'gem', whatever that may be.  Sometimes, the gem is not the physical you, but rather the characteristics of the individual.  At other times, it IS the physical... but the thing is, whether it's your physical, mental, psychological, or spiritual self, you can change and you can transform yourself into whatever you need it to be.

The transformation of yourself doesn't occur in a blink of an eye.  It's something that takes time and proper procedure.  Taking the right steps will result in the transformation.  People might only see you at whichever step you are, but they won't see the end result.  We are always a work in process... and even if we do make it to a gem, we still need to keep ourselves polished in order for the beauty to truly shine.

In order to become that gem, you need to have a vision, a goal that you can see yourself achieving, and with that vision/goal in mind, you can take the proper steps to transform yourself to become the gem.  Take the proper steps.... take them one at a time, and you will end up as a polished gem.

Yesterday, I ran twice.  The first time, I ran 7.56 miles in 57:14, an average of 7:34 min/mile, and then that night I ran 7.44 miles in 54:34, an average of 7:20 min/mile.  With that done in one day, today, I'm going to have to make sure to take it easy.  Going through hard days, there's a need for easy days.  This week, I'm planning on pushing myself, but not too much.  I want to transform, but I also don't want to break down.  Taking the right steps, I'm planning on transforming my body into becoming a beast at ultra running.  Let's see what happens...