Thursday, July 3, 2008

Tagged - And I'm It (for now)

Sorry for copying some of Rajeev's (Patel) response (see Tagged - And I'm It)for my template :-)

Rajeev Patel (The Poetic Runner) tagged me a few weeks ago with the 5 questions below. I will try my best to be reasonably honest in answering them. Let's see.

Drumroll please.

1. How would I describe my running 10 years ago?

Last year was my tenth year of running, so I was really a rookie about running 10 years ago regarding this question.

I had my first job at Oracle in 1997. Oracle had the best Gym in the area. I started to use it as a way against the work pressure while improving my fitness.

I went on the bike path just outside the company for a run. Don't laugh at me, but I was able to run only 10 minutes. I found a group of runners (called Thuesday Runners) who also worked in Oracle. I joined them, but had to turn around after 10 minutes or so. Since then, I ran every day and kept a running log. In a few weeks, I was able to run 45 minutes. Then I reached one hour of running. After some time, I was able to run to San Mateo Bridge and back. This landmark used to be a remote artificial to me. This was 10 mile running. In a year, I ran my first half marathon. This was my running 10 years ago!

2. What is your best and worst race experience?

I love running and I really don't have bad experience. I do have DNF (Did Not Finish) and DNS (Did Not Start), even am proud of being in DNH (Did not Happen) for the prestigious Western States 100M this year (See Jean Pommier Western States 2008: DNH like... Did Not Happen), but I still enjoyed every second I was in any run. Almost every run was my best experience no matter if I had best performance or not. For example, I suffered in Cascade Crest Classic 100M and Wasatch Front 100M, but I somehow enjoyed them and love to do them every year even my time were not good enough (had 9 min to spare as an official Wasatch finisher last year).

If I have to find a run of fair experience, I'd pick Helen Klein 50M I did in 2006. Don't get me wrong. It's a wonderful run named after the great ultrarunner Helen Klein and hosted by her husband, the great RD Norm Klein. Check AMERICAN RIVER 50 MILER- THE NIGHT BEFORE for a visit by my friend Alan Geraldi (Endurazone) and Rajeev Patel (The Poetic Runner) the night before American River 50M this year.

Lots of buckles from Norm/Helen Klein. Courtesy of Alan Geraldi (Endurazone)

I did not plan to run it at the end of the calendar year in 2006. I thought I entered the rest period. However, I was notified (Thanks Mark Tanaka - Utrailnaka) that I'd better run it in order to win the FeltBelt Age Division. It was quite an honor, but I had to persuade my family to go with me as a family trip. I also found out the competition will be tough for me with the veteran Jack Meyer not far behind in scores. The course is actually an out-and-back 27 mile bike path of American River 50M, which is not my favorable surface to run. At the end, I ran faster than Jack Meyer and won the place. This was always a nice reward and honor.

I think I normally have no best experience if I can not find a lot of motivation in it.

3. Why do you run?

In the beginning, running was a way to go outside of my work space for a while. As I kept doing it, I found more and more improvement in my fitness as the reward. I set up confidence in myself. This was a joy coming all the way when I explored myself. The exploration began in my physical fitness, but became more on the mental strength. Dawn Infernal Bean said something in the film A Race for the Soul like that if she can run a 100 miles, there is nothing to worry when in bad situations.

Dawn Inferna Bean at PCTR Diablo 50M

Plus I am proud and glad to know a lot of friends at the trails. They are the best persons I've ever known. I can figure out that running requires the best performance of a person, so called dig deep, while presents the best personality of a person.

Therefore, running has become a part of life since long. Perhaps it's more like what Jean Pommier said Running, my second job and passion....

4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you've been given about running?

Worst piece of advice - don't run as it will hurt your knees. Or you'll take the consequence when you get older

But somehow I have strong knees. I can see a lot of runners older and stronger than me. I may not be at their level, but perhaps I can try a little to get closer.

Best piece of advice - "When devastatingly low, things will normally get better..." Gordy Ainsleigh, the father of 100 milers, said this in A Race for the Soul about the second half of Western States 100M.

This always broadens my sight and helps me see things positive. There is no help to be negative.

5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.

Would rather be running in a swimming trunk

I guess it would be in the Old Dominion 100M this year. It was so hot and humid that all my anti-chafing tricks failed. It was usual that I had to tape my nipples. However, I also had to taped my inner thighs as the never-failed Vaseline I applied earlier were all gone from heavy sweating. There was already a hot spot of 3 inches in diameter. The industrial tape could no longer attach to it due to the sweating. I had to run with my short rolled up to avoid the rub on my thighs. I wished I had run with a swimming suit. I thought I looked pretty awkward so that I let go when approaching a female or an aid station.

Time to pass the baton, but I guess it's too late - every blogger seems to have been tagged. I'll find someone in the mean time :-)