Friday, July 31, 2009

Blog Tag

I was tagged by Alan Geraldi on this topic. Please check my responses below and how this tagging works.

"It has been awhile since us Ultraholics and friends have played that old game called Blog Tag. Here is how it works (or should work in theory). I pose a few questions, answer them and then tag three other blog owners to answer the same questions, and so on and so on (they also have to tag the person who tags them). So, here it goes:"

1. Do you have a favorite race you ran this year - if yes, which one and why.

That would be finishing Western States 100M. No doubt this race stays high in almost every ultrarunner's wish list and always my favorite race. However, it also means a lot to me this year as my first time doing it.

First, as many of you know, I have had a couple of 100 miler DNF before that. I had not finished a 100 miler race since Sept 2007. In between I DNFed ALL 100 milers, closed to 10. I don't want to count the number for there are a few reasons behind them. Job changes, natural disaster, and, especially, my stress fracture injury. So finishing Western States 100M after so many DNFs is important to me.

The Fu family finishing WSER 2009

Secondly, because of another injury, I was not well prepared for Western States 100M such that my hope was to go as far as I could. This was named as "Chihping style" by Martin Casado recently when Martin decided to run the coming Headlands Hundred in the same attitude. For me, I had no other choice, so show up and go is the only thing I can do.

As usual, there were some lows or devastating lows through Western States 100M such as the altitude and muscle cramp before Duncan Canyon, becoming exhausted at Eldorado canyon climb, extremely sleepy at Peachstone. I even planned to drop to get a ride back to the hotel and stay with my family.

There were also highs in the race such as flying after Robinson Flat, speedy climb at Devil's Thumb, cruising after River Crossing that I was able to pass 52 runners before the finish.

These highs and lows made what Western States 100M is my favorite race this year so far. Plus with my latest plantar fasciitis injuries with nearly record high temperature make it my most memorable race that I was able to overcome these adversities and finish it.

2. Have you selected any race goals for 2010?

I like to be in Barkley Marathons as my friend Alan Geraldi, but I'm always short of budget and vacation. So I think Barkley Marathons is not in my list for next few years.

Currently I don't have any specific goal in 2010 except being selected in Western States 100M and staying healthy to improve my base training if I want to pursue my best performance. If there is no surprise, I think I'll have my goal to be finishing those favorite mountain ones or unfinished 100 milers such as Massanutten Mountain Trails 100M, Old Dominion 100M, Vermont Trails 100M, Cascade Crest 100M, Wasatch Front 100M, and Angeles Crest 100M.

My exhausting trail work at Bishop Ranch

Btw, I really don't like so many trail works involved. Don't get me wrong. I highly esteem the value of trail work. I simply have difficulty performing that many trail work among my other busy commitments.

I'll participate in Hardrock Hundred lottery and will seriously consider doing it.

3. Did you discover any new (non-race) trails this year?

During my 2+ week family visit in Taiwan two weeks ago, I really loved the trails in Taiwan mountain - gnarly, rooted, muddy, slippery, rope rappelling, stairs. Very challenging, full of O=O but no PO (ouch, I have to be careful not to wake up my PO spots). See one of my video

But don't be scared. There are also very nice groomed trails. Visitors will be amazed that there are so many trails with lots of varieties in Taiwan, considering its size is smaller than Florida or about 1/300th of USA.

Btw, if you need altitude or snow, there are over 100 mountains of over 10,000 ft connected with trails to be explored and take your breath away.

4. Why do you run?

One simple reason that I usually tell others to run is running is a very efficient and effective exercise - you don't spend much time and can achieve the results or goals. And running is simple ad cheap, a kind of freedom. A pair of shoes/socks and a short, and You're ready to go anywhere just from your house. These fit myself - a cheap busy over-achiever. :-)

Also running does not need much skill. It is said that we were born to run. I myself am not good at sport skill, so running is becoming to me.

However, this may need to go back to why I started my running. It was mostly from healthy reason. My Dad passed away with with heart disease. I was told that this is genetic, so I wanted to pick up exercise to improve or overcome any of my heart defects, which had been found by my doctors. Also at that time, I started to feel going down in my overall fitness condition. I wanted to improve it. Therefore I ran. When running started to show the positive results, I became addicted since then.

5. There are extreme ultramarathons - Spartathlon, Run Across America, Badwater, etc. are you planning any?

Sorry - Nope.

They are beyond my limits. Spartathlon may be possible as it's not far from the 100 mile distance I've usually done. I'd love to do some 120K or 400K cross Taiwan before considering it. However, the other factor is the expenses. Currently traveling to out of state is the most I can afford. I never think I'll be able to get to Europe to do races there. Perhaps wait another 10 years!

I guess when I am able to run the 1,000K around Taiwan, I'll have much confidence in doing Running Across America.

Badwater is probably impossible too for it is expensive and requires too much resources other than running.

Oh, forgot to mention, road running is currently not my favorite. I'm very addicted to mountain trail running.

6. Favorite food during ultras and favorite post-race food?

I'm a little minimalist regarding this. Gel is best. If not, I'd like to have the food easy to chew and swallow. Somehow my mouth and teeth are exhausted through the miles like my legs. Grilled cheese sandwich is great at night running.

My favorite post-race food will be hot cheese burger. Two come into my mind - Quicksilver 50K/M burgers and Ohlone 50K burgers.

7. Are ultrarunners part of your life outside of races?

Ultraholics bound closely

I consider some ultrarunners my best friends. I have known some ultrarunners for many years because we worked in the same company or near to each other that we had run together since the early days.

I usually make friends with ultrarunners over the trail. There is nothing to hide or shameful. We share our laughters and suffering, talk about everything, sad or joyful, like siblings or parents with children. After the race, we normally keep close touch and look forward to meeting again in future races since we usually live far apart. They are all my friends.

8. What do you consider the most beautiful ultra course you have run?

Me running

To me, doing ultra is not only to test my limits, but the same important is to experience it as a journey. I think those mountain 100 milers are beautiful, and that's why I keep doing them every year. Wasatch Front 100M is very beautiful, so is Angeles Crest 100M. Cascade Crest 100M in the Pacific Northwest is also pretty. In the East, there may not be that mountainous as in the West. They have the other kind of beauty - lush green with a bit of history - Vermont Trails 100M, Massanutten Mountain Trails 100M, Old Dominion 100M I always want to do them if I have chance and can afford to.

9. Favorite race director?

Ouch - that is a tough one. I have not up close relationship with race directors. I can only just tell from the race quality and they mostly have done great job.

10. What is your longest streak at running the same race?

Unlike some of my friends like to do different races each time, I will do a race in streak if I like it. I have run Quicksilver 50K/M 6 times since 2004 though the first time was a 50K, my first ultra. The entry fee is reasonable and course design wonderful, race overall is top notch. This should be my longest streak and will continue to be.

I have run American River 50M 5 times with my first 50 miler in 2005. However, it is becoming an exception to what I said above. I'm getting to have difficulty doing it because of its high rising entry fee and 2hr driving each way for the event. Perhaps this year will be my last one :-(

I have done some other races in streak. 4 times Ohlone 50K, one of my favorite races, but I have stopped my streak to volunteer again due to the high entry fee. 3 times Miwok 100K, same reason such that I skipped this year and probably future years.

Ruth Anderson 3 times. The race Director is our best friend Rajeev Patel. and the fee is very affordable, so I'll continue to do it. 3 times Firetrails 50M, The entry fee is reasonable, so I'll continue to do it.

I will tag Steve Ansell, Mark Tanaka, and Jean Pommier.


Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Enjoyed reading these Chihping. I'm glad you finished at States to break your DNF streak.

I'm going to defer an answer until the season's winded down. Some of the questions seem more appropriate to answer in a few months anyways. I'm starting my 2nd race hump, and way behind on my blogs as it is.

Anonymous said...

Everyone fastens where there is gain.........................................