Tag Archives: Thailand

The North Face 100K Thailand

Plan Better Next Time!

 

Was concerned about how to find the pick up point for the shuttle to race venue. Got there two hours early. Eventually saw some other folks that looked like runners, and sure enough they were also wondering where exactly to meet. “Airport Link Makkasan” was all I knew. I just didn’t want to miss the bus because I was waiting in the wrong spot. At the very least, I wouldn’t be the only one to miss the bus. But two girls from the race agency showed up and got everything sorted. Had two steamed buns while waiting. It was like a 3 hour ride to get to the race.

At the race site, picked up race kit. Heard from a few elite athletes as we waited for the mandatory race briefing. Race director said he wanted to keep the race briefing “brief” like 15-20 minutes, but went over an hour… Maybe he was joking?

Hadn’t eaten much that day. Bought a hamburger that definitely could have been cooked longer. Figured there would be more food options around the hotel. Get on the shuttle and get to the hotel. Check in and drop stuff. There are really only two restaurants within walking distance. Both are full. Go back to my room and figure I’ll go back out later. Try again later and those folks are all still there… they’ve been waiting for over an hour. At both restaurants. Talk to some other foreigners who are also looking for food. And then a group of four women. We join forces and try the other large hotel. There is a large family being served. One table of runners, that are still waiting. Owner doesn’t want to or can’t serve us. Go back to the hotel and get a cup of noodles. Pray that breakfast will be good. Otherwise, tomorrow is going to be rough.

Breakfast is at 3, alarm set for 2:30. I assume there will be a bunch of runners wanting food. Nope. There are only a few runners up. And breakfast is not bacon and eggs like I hoped, it’s rice porridge. Which is not bad, but it’s probably not nearly enough calories to make up for yesterday. Eat and get ready for the first shuttle out to the race. I am the only runner on the shuttle. It’s me and three race volunteers. We get to the race about an hour and a half before the start and I am literally the only runner there. Well, someone has to be the first runner!

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We were required to bring 2 litres of water, a cell phone, a whistle, and the laminated map that they gave us. Before entering the start chute, the director checked that we had a cell phone and headlamp and enough water. (Though I’ll see tons of people on the course that sure don’t look like they are carrying 2 liters of water.)  I think because so many of the Thai runners are new to trail running, the race director wanted to make sure no one got lost. The course turned out to be pretty well marked, maybe even over marked with tons of flags, giant turn signs, and lots of course marshalls along the way.

They count down in both Thai and English and we go. We start on a road. Lots of people are amped up and hustling to the front. Rookies!

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“Pretty sure this is the wrong way…”

In less than a mile, we are plowing through a farm field, off course. Not by much, but still. Whoever’s in front isn’t paying attention. I try to be vigilant and watch for flags and not just follow the person in front of me. It happens again 10 minutes later, but this time I’m paying attention. I run down the marked trail and call them over.

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Soon the sun comes up and I ditch my headlamp. I’m remembering to eat and drink take a salt pill every hour. After a few hours, I realize my biggest mistake of the race.

Race instruction said to pack everything you needed for the race. I packed enough calories, but  they were all sugar calories – gels and chews. I neglected any salty items. (I did have Endurolyte salt tabs for electrolyte balance, but it didn’t help with sugar fatigue.)  Leaving the hotel, I grabbed a half eaten bag of chips as an afterthought. Definitely glad I did. Had to ration those few precious crisps and use them as a reward of sorts. 13 hours of eating sugar just doesn’t fly. Luckily I was able to force myself to eat up until about the 11th hour. I started in on a chew, gagged and spit it out. From then on I just ate watermelon and sport drink at the aid stations.

 

The course was pretty tame for the first 20 miles. Running through farmland and dirt roads, not much in the way of scenery or views, and more road running than I cared for. But eventually we get some nice views. And then finally we got some hills. I think they saved all the climbing for the end. There were some truly challenging sections that were jammed with traffic from the shorter races.

I remember looking at the elevation profile and thinking “3000 feet. Oh that’s no big deal.” But I didn’t notice that I was looking at meters, not feet. So there was a lot more climbing than I expected. But it was just enough to still be fun, and not turn into a critical error.

Another mistake was not reading how drop bags worked. Didn’t plan on a drop bag, then waffled at the last minute to leave a bag at the start.  What I thought was the “Drop Bags” was actually “Bag Drop.” I thought it was just a translation issue, but it was in fact a place to leave your bags.

It turns out that we didn’t return to the actual race start. Instead, there was a turn around a quarter mile away. I was looking for my bag, it was nowhere to be found. They asked if I had labeled it for checkpoint 5, and that’s when I realized my mistake. I didn’t feel like making the trek at that point, so I asked if they could send someone to get my bag. Although I was grateful I didn’t have to get my bag myself, I’m pretty sure they sent the slowest person there. I tried to scarf down a plate of fried rice while I waited. As I waited anxiously, I debated just going ahead anyway. But it had all of calories for the second half, it would have been foolish trying to get by on watermelon slices and bananas. And I thought about taking some fried rice with me, but it wasn’t that good. The girl finally arrived and I took off on the second loop.

For the most part, I ran by myself. Chatted with one guy for a few miles, left him at an aid station. He would catch up and pass me. He “still had his hiking legs” and was moving well. Two or three other guys passed me and that was bothering me. I stopped and wanted to lay down, but all the water in my bladder forced me to lie on my side, which was uncomfortable.

Another runner runs up and asks if I’m okay. I half jokingly tell him I want to take a nap, and he says I need to get to the mountain before dark. I’m like dude, I’m almost finished… ? Don’t know what it was, but something clicked and got me motivated. Remember thinking to myself, “You can sit here whining about it, or you can get up and do something about it.”

The one non mistake of the race was that I finally found my working Ipod and was able to enjoy the magic of music. Nothing lets you forget how crummy you feel and how hungry you are than several good songs. So I put on my music and got going. I passed that ‘get to the mountain by nightfall’ guy. And then a few others. Was working in a better mental head space, even if I was still lacking calories. It made me think where does this energy come from, that can change things around just like that?

As much improved as I was feeling, the last 5K was longest 5K ever. Was so ready to be done. Got on the road, and thought, “This is it!” Nope. There was one last hill. Laid down on the ground in the last mile. Looked back, caught sight of the guy behind me. Got up, put in my headphones and found a Rage Against the Machine song and ran. Taking the final turn into the finish, ran really strong and finished in 13:40.

After the finish I was soooo hungry. I got my medal and beelined for the food. The girl put some noodles on my plate and I asked for more. I slathered on some Maggie soy sauce and oh man! Salt! I ate a few bites… and realized it was too soon to eat. Felt dumb that I had asked for more.

I ate what I could and decided to get on the shuttle back to the hotel. I learned my lesson and bought two hamburgers and three beers to go. The first cold beer was fantastic after drinking water and watered down sport drink.

Another mistake: I didn’t pack a post race bag. Luckily, we got a finishers shirt, so I was able to change into a dry shirt, so I didn’t get super cold afterwards.

There were two other 100k runners in the shuttle. One guy finished and the other DNFed. We chatted about the race and running in general. I shaved my head and bought a giant old man hat expecting it to be insanely hot. I learned that this is usually one of the hottest races in Thailand and that the weather this year was a fluke. It turned out to be perfect!  (Lucky me!) Also, some of the elite runners had complained that the race was too easy, so the crazy hill climb section was new for this year. (Lucky me!) And probably most surprising, was that the race was a Western States qualifier! (Lucky me!)

Overall, I’m happy with how things turned out. Would have been nice to run closer to 12 hours, but I’m okay with 13:40. That was good enough for 17th out of over 200.

5 Months Later….

I can’t think of a good title right now.

I know some people suggest making the title after you do the writing. But I feel like the title is the easy part: I come up with something catchy and it gets the ball rolling. The title drives the writing.

Well, how’s this: It’s been 5 months since I’ve written, and there’s a ton of great stuff I didn’t write about. And that bugs me to no end. Why blog if you aren’t going to blog the good stuff?  But recent events have breathed new life into my belly fire. This will be a short post, I’m just going to breeze through all the stuff I didn’t write about.

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I finally sold a painting a few paintings. Two for under $200, but the big one  (top) netted me $1800, my biggest sale ever.

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The Rockhoppers had their first official beer mile. I love to drink but I was not going to participate until the last minute I caved. It was tough since I had a tallboy right before the race. I was still working on my first beer when the fast guys came in from their first lap. Beer miles sound like a good idea when you’re talking about it, but actually doing it is way hard. For me anyway. Those other guys were professional.

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My mom, my sister, and I drove to Florida to visit my other sister and her husband. Not a lot of sightseeing, but I got in a few runs with one 20 miler in some terrible heat. However, they were all on paved roads. :(

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I started doing Bikram yoga. A friend took me to check it out and WOW! Did I feel great afterwards. For me, it is actually a very tough workout. It has really helped my running. I look forward to getting back into it.

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Me and one of the other Rockhoppers put on a photo show. We busted our ass building these frames which were way overkill (too heavy). But things turned out well enough. We sold a few pieces. Though I’m surprised we didn’t sell more considering our prices were pretty reasonable. (Or so we thought.) Regardless, we didn’t expect sales, and it was still fun. We also had a photo booth of sorts set up in the hosts’ bedroom. That was really fun, although I still have not seen the pictures…

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I went and read a story at my friend’s grade school. I still can’t recall what grade they are, but they were the sweetest bunch of kids. After that, I went with them on a field trip to the Witte Museum. I’ll be visiting them again shortly to bring them some presents.

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Perhaps one of the biggest deals: I ran my first 100 Miler, the Cactus Rose. I ended up running about 85 miles with Don, another Rockhopper with whom I trained with. It was unplanned that we would run together, and very lucky for both of us as neither of us had a pacer. We tied for 6th place. (We ran it in together.) We were hoping to get in under 24 hours, but that wasn’t in the cards. Still very pleased with the effort. My right knee was f*cked for the next few days.

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I celebrated an early birthday. They threw a surprise party because I was going to be in Thailand for my actual birthday.

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I went to Thailand with my mom again. We stayed and visited family for 7 weeks. It was really awesome. Really awesome. I met a ton more people, and did some fun cultural stuff.  That will be a few posts coming up.

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I made some spray paint stencils while I was there. I am planning on using spray as my medium for awhile as it can do some beautiful things.

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I joined Facebook? What? Wait, that is another post unto itself.

 

 

The Good News Part III

FINDING BUDDHA, GETTING LOST

The Buddha I "discovered"
The Buddha I “discovered”

One day I really went exploring. I went down a road I noticed running home from the zoo. Ten minutes into the run, I stumbled upon this Buddha statue. I took some photos (with my iPod, which is why the pictures all these picture are so crummy) and as I made my way onward, I realized this was the backside of a temple my cousin had taken me to. I’d just never seen the Buddha statue.

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DSC_0067 DSC_0059Now I had a vague idea of where I was. I made my way around a small pond and lo and behold it’s the same pond we’ve been getting water for the farm from! Now I had a much better idea where I was, but that would change soon enough.

I found some really awesome trails made not by runners, but people walking and riding motorbikes. (They ride those things EVERYWHERE.) The trail just seemed to keep going, and even better, it was uphill. Wherever the trail split off, I tried my damnedest to remember where I’d went. I encountered a few people foraging for food, and one guy with a really long, skinny rifle. I think he was hunting birds.

After following the trails for at least an hour, my water supply told me it would be wise to head back home. Attempting to make my way back out, I got myself all turned around and lost. I tried to conjure up some hunter tracking skills looking for my footprints, but couldn’t conjure any results.

I remembered the find-your-way-back GPS function on my Garmin. I had no idea how to use it, but I sort of figured it out. However, I think it just tells you how to backtrack, without regard for where you are in relation to the start/finish, and there was no way I was going to re-run the entire distance. So it may have been more dumb luck than anything, but I did somehow get un-lost.

I was pretty stoked about discovering these trails, and even more stoked about finding my way back home. When I unpacked my Camelback, I saw it was one pull away from completely empty.

THE LONGEST RUN AND GETTING LOST AGAIN

My longest run was 12.3 miles, but it was an awesome 12.3.

I started down another road I’d passed by several times. Going down the dirt road, it came to a T. I went left and saw a trail leading into the woods. After a few minutes, I came upon a pond I’d never seen before. I sat down on the bank. There were some other people there: two kids playing in the water and some guys hanging out on their motorbikes, smoking- which would seem to be the national past time for Thai men.

I sat and relaxed for a spell, watching the kids have fun splashing around in the water. I would love to come back and take a dip here. I’m sure the neighborhood kids would too. I knew I was relatively close to the house, so I was surprised no one had ever taken me here or even told me about it. Are ponds are boring?

Not wanting to get too relaxed, I took off looking for the road the smoking motorbike guys rode in on. Once I found it, I followed it. It ran along side the boundary fence of the zoo. Then into more farming territory. I passed a small hut which appeared to be abandoned.

Up the road, a dog barked and started toward me. Luckily it’s owner, a guy I recognized from the neighborhood, appeared and called the dog off. I thanked him and continued on. I came to a point where I wasn’t sure where to run. I noticed some footprints in the sand [my delayed hunter tracker skills!] and decided to follow them. They took me by a tree farm and then I took a short exploratory detour into the trees. My anal retentive nature loved the orderliness of the trees in rows and had to document it. It’s nowhere near as cool as the real thing.

Again following the footprints, the farmland gave way to a road which offered a small dose of relief. I thought I knew the road, but decided I didn’t. I could flag someone down and ask for directions or a ride if I needed to. Unsure which way to go, I spotted a temple in the distance and decided to go check it out. I saw a truck in the distance heading toward me; I thought it was my Uncle. I kept running, waiting for the truck to pass me, expecting to hear a honk any moment.

The truck passed, it wasn’t my Uncle.

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I wasn’t in the mood, so I didn’t enter the temple, as I figured taking a few photos was enough excitement. I’ve come to realize these small temples are pretty common, so no big deal. I continued on, and heard prayer chanting coming from… somewhere. I stopped and listened, trying to determine the source. I thought it might be a function related to the temple.

It would be cool to witness whatever ritual was going on. I headed down the street and entered a residential area. I heard the prayer chant growing louder and louder and then I found it – coming from a loudspeaker. It was a recording.

Slightly amused, I continued through the neighborhood. The garbage was being collected. They still did it the old fashioned way, the poor saps have to pick up each bin by hand. Those guys must be pretty strong. That has got to be a hell of a workout. Hmmm….

Along the way, I did a little garbage collecting of my own. I make collaged postcards using “trash”or “litter,” however you call it. I told my running group that I would send one to whoever wanted one. ( I made about 10 for the group. ) As I ran through the neighborhood, I found some interesting wrappers and assorted trash. I stuffed them into my Camelback. With limited space, I had to be choosy about what trash to pickup. (How ridiculous does that sound?!)

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I ran by some people in the neighborhood, and they all gave me that WTF look. I passed one guy and he just smiled. Then there were two seriously pissed off dogs. I turned around and started walking the other way. The guy I’d just passed had also turned around and was walking back toward me; they were his dogs. I guess he knew the dogs wouldn’t like me.

I tried my best to ask him how to get to Moo 9 (our neighborhood). He hollered at some lady laying in a hammock, I assume he was asking her where Moo 9 was. She said something and then he said something to me. I didn’t understand either of them but then he pointed. The pointing was enough for me. That and corraling his dogs. Off I went, with only the vaguest notion of where I was going.

I turned the corner and saw train tracks. The tracks were a welcome sight because they would lead me to the train station, which is very close to the house… If I just knew which direction the train station was. I had a 50/50 chance of guessing right. I immediately gave up on the tracks and just ran. I ran under a small bridge and was back in a another residential area.

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Khao Suan Kwang sign

Things were seeming pretty hopeless, until I came to this sign. I’d never been so happy to see a road sign. I still didn’t know where I was, but this was concrete proof I was headed in the right direction. I kept running and eventually figured out where I was. I was flooded with relief once I knew exactly where I was. And i was absolutely thrilled about getting lost, and finding my way.

Tired, sweaty, and hungry, I stopped by one of the roadside restaurants near the house. I had eaten there yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed the meal. I told the lady that I would be back for more. She was happy to see me, and quite amused by my running get-up, and the fact that I had just been running. I mean, who does that? I know that’s what she was thinking.

The food was, whether by virtue of hunger or otherwise, absolutely marvelous. Soup never tasted so good. I almost ordered a second bowl, but didn’t have enough cash on me. I walked the rest of the way home, content with another awesome run.

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.

It’s Go Time!

Last month I read The Longest Race by Ed Ayres.

The Longest Race, kind of a boring book
The Longest Race, kind of a boring book

It sounded like an interesting read. It’s about Ayres’ running the JFK 50 miler. He runs the race, and as he talks about how the race is progressing, he segues into related ideas and thoughts from other aspects of his life. About stuff. And then he comes back to the running.

I felt like more of the book was his thoughts on the human condition than the actual running of the race, and that kind of bugged me. Or bored me, rather. It was mildly interesting, but definitely not a page turner. But there were two things that I found noteworthy.

The first was about the virtue of letting the land go fallow which was somehow related to some aspect of running. (Or at least I think that’s what I remember. I can’t find the quote. It might not even be from that book. But I’m pretty sure.) Regardless of the details, when I read that, I realized that if you’re struggling to keep up with something, if possible, just drop it for awhile. Put it on the back burner, let things stew and percolate. I did that with my art and when I resumed making art, it was actually fun to paint again. If running is becoming a chore for you, take a week off.

This blog is another example. I started all hot and heavy at the beginning, and then ran out of steam. I started out at a ridiculous pace I couldn’t sustain. Classic rookie mistake! But after this post, the blog will be allowed to go fallow, because I’m going to Thailand for two months and I won’t have internet. I’ll be able to think about where I want to go with this and how to get there. I want to keep up with this blog as well as I keep up with my running.

While I’m in Thailand, I plan to continue running, God willing. I’ll have to be up at the crack of dawn to avoid the scorching sun, but that’s just how it is. I also plan to do the 100 Push Ups Program, http://www.hundredpushups.com/index.html, and possibly the squat or situp program. I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, but for sure, I should be able to handle running and pushups.I had better do some running since 90% of what I’m bringing with me is running stuff! Check it out.

This is everything I'm bringing with me.
This is everything I’m bringing with me.

This is everything I am bringing with me, most of which is running stuff.

  • 2 short sleeve shirt, 2 tank tops
  • 1 swim trunks
  • 3 pair shorts
  • sandals
  • Cascadias
  • 2 running tank tops
  • 3 pairs running shorts
  • 4 pairs running socks
  • old Minimus – Close to being retired.
  • belt – To be worn on the plane.
  • prescription glasses, running sunglasses, fashion sunglasses
  • 1 box contacts – 45 day supply. Wear glasses on non-running days.
  • toiletries
  • 3 running magazines
  • Thai Made Easy book / Charlie Brown book (gift)
  • jeans and boxers – To be worn on the plane.
  • hat and headlamp
  • Garmin – To be worn on the plane. / charger
  • iPod shuffle / headphones
  • The Stick
  • Camelback
  • passport / cash / credit cards
  • flashlight – Probably don’t need this.
  • iPod touch – For use as a camera on runs.
  • 2 16-Gig data sticks -To back up photos.
  • shirt and hoodie – To be worn on the plane.
  • camera bag / camera / extra lens
  • laptop / drawing pens / pencils

That sure seems like a lot! But I managed to fit almost everything in my backpack. I couldn’t fit the Thai Made Easy book, so I’ll have to hand carry that. Which isn’t too big of a deal.

This is everything smallified.
This is everything smallified.

The other thing I gleaned from Ayres’ book:

“Reaching the highest possible performance as a runner is a year-long, even lifetime, venture. By the time you get to the starting line, 95 percent of what you’ll accomplish in the race has already been done.”

That’s a great realization. All the time and preparation before the race may well determine how well your race goes. You put in your miles and then all you have to do is run your race. I can attest to this after putting in three solid months of training for Bandera (my first 50K). I was super tired afterwards, but I felt I ran a good race. And it explains why I was so nervous about doing Nueces (my first 50 miler) on only 5 weeks of training. I was super-duper tired and thought I was going to die afterwards, and I felt I could have run a better race, if I’d had more time to prepare.

Ayres’ quote really makes me think about is how important weekly training is. Every mile you run is money in the bank, so to speak. And it adds up. The Chicago marathon is six months away. I want to run a 3:10. For the next two months I can put miles in the bank toward that goal, or I can slack off, waste an opportunity, and have to play catch-up when I return.

Do you have an upcoming race that you need to prepare for? Are you putting in the miles or putting off the miles? Do you wanna pay now or pay later? What’s it going to be?

See you in two months!!

Neglecting Your Blog

Neglecting your blog isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if it means you’re doing stuff – good / fun stuff. I’ve been out in the garage pretty much all week working on art. I don’t have any pretty pictures to post, so you’ll have to suffer plain text.

I don’t know what the deal is, but my art mojo is in full swing. I’m 99% finished painting Lady Painter, or officially, The Final Finish. Because of some technical difficulties, it was a bear putting together.  But I found a way, (there’s always a way!) and finish framed it and it looks great. I stained the frame, but it needs just a bit of gold trim. God, I love gold paint. It’s wired and ready to hang, which I’m slightly nervous about because the outer frame was really beefy and so this sucker is the heaviest painting I’ve ever made. But I’m sure it will be just fine.

I’m almost finished with another throwaway! I had a canvas that I did a long time ago that I was never terribly fond of. I was going to paint over it, but painted over just part of it, and decided to keep it. I layered some stuff on it and it looks totally dope. (Actually, it just looks like a magazine cover layout, which is sort of depressing.) It needs one more element and it’ll be ready for framing.The best part is I have some painted finish frames from a project that I had to redo that have been languishing in the wood pile that will work brilliantly for this piece. Putting this crummy old canvas and these unused frame parts to use makes me happy!

I cut out the text for the Bambi piece that I thought would solve the issue, but it didn’t. I came up with another idea to make it work, but will test that tomorrow.

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A-Punk by Vampire Weekend

Since we have been blessed with this extra hour of daylight now that Spring has arrived, it’s really hard not running. I mean, it’s freaking gorgeous right now! I really have to take advantage of this weather because before I know it, it’ll be so freaking hot… I don’t even want to think about it.

I got out there and ran the greenway. As much as I’m not a fan of pounding the pavement, today was pleasant. There were a ton of other people out running and biking. Which if I could digress and get up on my soapbox:

Let me first just say that as much as I love bicycling, I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a “biker.” I’ve done plenty of riding in Chicago and Portland, and some here in Texas, but I don’t see myself as a biker. I (think I) get what it’s about.

I cannot understand the bicyclist that insist on speeding by on the path. To me, it seems like cyclists don’t care about anyone else because they’re too focused on going fast. Which is similar to the way motorists treat bicyclists on the road! But here the cyclist is the jerk! ARGH!

Bicyclists, don’t ride like a motorist! Yes, it’s fun to go fast, but it doesn’t always have to be a race. Slow down when you’re passing people. Please and thank you!

Omigod and the running! Let’s get back to the good stuff. I ran my butt off today. I was a little surprised, since I hadn’t eaten much during the day. After I have my coffee, I’m usually good for a few hours. So my energy was a bit flagging, especially after working in the garage all day. But my stomach was empty, so I didn’t have to deal with the bloat.

03/12/13 Run
03/12/13 Run

The first mile was tough. My ankles were pretty stiff, but by mile three I was rolling well. I don’t know how accurate the Garmin is without using a footpod, but my third mile was the fastest at 6:24. That makes me happy because I think that bodes well for the Culinaria 5K. I think shorter distances are hard because you push yourself so much harder. I remember the last time I ran this race, I thought I was going to have a heart attack! Two more weeks til’ 3.1 miles of push!

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Other awesomeness: My mom and I are going to Thailand for two months! Her mother is 90 something, and this might be the last time she can see her mother. It’ll be cool to go back again and see our relatives. And bonus is that we’ll be there for Song Kran, which is the Thai water festival. I was there for it last year, it was really fun. The video clip is from Pattaya, which is a touristy party city. We’ll be in Khao Sun Kwang, which is way more low-key.

It’s going to be tough to keep on track with any sort of running schedule, but I have more motivation this time to stick with it (Chicago). It’s just going to be a lot of early morning runs to beat the sun.

Do you have any suggestions how to stay focused and not totally slag off whilst on holiday? Oh and did you want me to send you a postcard? ; )