Tag Archives: failure

The Good News Part II

THE ZOO

Sadly, the entrance is the best part of the zoo
Sadly, the entrance is the best part.

The first week I ran up to the zoo. I’d run there once on a previous visit, so I knew I’d be safe. There are just a few houses on the way to the zoo, and thus the dog threat diminished, but I was still leery. Only once I got passed the gates did I feel at ease.

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The beginning of the hill…
The hill at the zoo
In case you didn’t realize the hill was steep, here’s a sign.

Inside the gates, all I had to worry about was dying from exertion trying to make it up the hill. It was a pretty decent grade, gaining almost 400 ft elevation over two miles, which might be peanuts to some folks, but it was a tough workout for me.

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The small shrine at the zoo
Offerings
Offering stage

One of my cousins works at the zoo. I was chugging up the hill and I saw her at the small shrine where the workers make offerings. When I saw her, I was like, “She looks familiar. Do I know her…Oh snap, that’s my cousin!” I waved. She didn’t recognize me at first either. I didn’t stop to chat, which I later realized is really is rude, sorry, but lesson learned.

The downhill run was super fun though. It was hard to slow down. I was flying! I’m sure the workers there were thinking “Crazy Farang (foreigner).” Actually, most of Thai people that saw me running had a confused look on their face, that I understood as, “What is that idiot doing?”

THROUGH FARMLAND AND THE WOODS

My earliest run. It was awesome!
My earliest run. The sun was a super intense orange, simply awesome.

The next few runs were out through some farmland. I wanted to be adventurous and go explore. Running in an unfamiliar location is thrilling in that you have no idea where you are, so it’s very easy to get lost – and that’s the best part! You just go. You don’t know where you’re going or what you’ll run into, but you’ll find out when you get there.

I  followed this dirt road for what seemed like eternity. Running unfamiliar locations has that effect, making distances seem greater than they actually are. Eventually the road ended and I turned around. The next time I ran the same course, but ventured out a bit more at the end of the road. And I ran the course a third time and ventured even further.

Thrilling as it was, the idea of getting lost was scary. After all, I couldn’t exactly tell anyone where I was going, since I didn’t know myself. So they wouldn’t know where to look for me if something happened. Often, I was in the middle of nowhere and if I had been injured, it would be hours or days before I saw a person.

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Much of the area had recently burned.
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For all I know, the sign says, “TRESPASSERS WILL BE SHOT”

I tried to take mental notes about where I was running. I figured worst case scenario, I could simply backtrack. But after a certain point, my brain could recall only so many  “unique” rocks or trees or whatever. And when it’s a million degrees and you’ve been running for an hour… all of a sudden backtracking isn’t so easy. I also had an idea of leaving a trail of bits of torn up neon colored paper, but I tried it and that wasn’t as good an idea in practice as in theory. Big surprise there!

A posted sign however, is unmistakable. This sign was my landmark for where the “road” ended and I ventured off into the woods. There was always a sense of relief when I saw the sign on my way back. I was cautious on those runs and didn’t get lost. So naturally, I stopped being cautious.

Two Months Later… The Bad News

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This is actually in Laos, but ignore that.

Two months have come and gone. I had some high hopes for my time in Thailand. Unfortunately, I didn’t achieve either of my fitness goals, which is disappointing, but not the end of the world. I am very excited to get back on track and more importantly, I still had a really great time.

I ran almost every other day for the first two weeks. I ran relatively short distances at a casual pace to acclimate to the heat and humidity. Then I increased my distance, keeping the same pace. The third week I did 12.3, two days later by 8.8, two days later 6.13. By no means is that running too much, but that’s when my Achilles started to become really sore.

3 days later I did another a short 5 mile run thinking it would “warm up” and be okay, but no such luck. It was sore during the run, after the run, the next morning, and occasionally during the day when I was just walking around. Having injured my Achilles before, I was not going to take any chances, so I stopped running. Waiting for the ache to subside, I was constantly fretting about the days I was missing, and after two weeks without any improvement, I just said the heck with it and decided to just let it go. If I could not run, so be it. Better to lay off for 6 weeks than injure myself and be out for even longer.

What did bother me about the not-running situation was that I had no idea what caused the pain. My mileage and pacing were well within normal limits, I was running exclusively in my New Balance Minimus, (which aren’t much different from any of the other non-supportive shoes I usually wear), and I was running was mainly dirt roads. The only thing different was my diet; namely I wasn’t able to have my post-run nutritional smoothie. I had to make do with one or two juice boxes of chocolate soy/milk. (Which is better than nothing?) But how does that translate to a sore Achilles? I don’t know, but that’s the only thing I could come up with. Looking at it now, maybe it was too many miles on inadequate nutrition.

My other un-achieved goal was the 100 pushup challenge. The first two weeks were cake. So cake in fact, that I thought I copied the schedule down wrong. But then it got really tough. So tough, there were several days I could not manage the minimum on the maxout set. I was flabbergasted and bummed out by this turn of events. I think the combination of this secondary small failure, getting sidelined from running, and simply adjusting to living in different environment was just too much for me to handle. I guess I just gave up. Which is the biggest disappointment.

But I plan to undertake and accomplish this challenge. There’s no way I’m going not going to make 100 pushups. I know I can do it.