Monday, December 6, 2010

I am moving for the next 10 months.

I am switching blog for the next year or so. Check out Vita Panda for both Kevin's Ultra Marathon training and my Ironman Training.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Bringing my A game on

In 2010 I did a total of 16 events. Most are my 'C' races because I just want to do it for fun. My mission for 2011 is simple. Treat all races as my A race. I'll drop a few pounds, do some speed work and see where I go. This blog won't be so much about my training but more about making process. There is going to be a lot of work involve, but I also know that the result is going to be rewarding. Let's see how bad ass I am going to be in 2011. I am definitely looking forward to the challenge and result.

Ironman Arizona Race Report - 11/21/2010

I got to Tempe Thur night with my hiking friend Stephen and this is going to be his first Ironman. After I arrived at Tempe one of the first things I notice is how the temperature changes within a short window of time. When it’s sunny out it gets very hot. When it’s overcast you feel chilly. I know staying hydrated and regulate my body temperature will be the priority on Sunday.

I went to the Expo on Friday to pick up my packet. Then went to this Wine Bar for lunch and it was surprising good. I then drove the bike course and hung around for Ironman Dinner. I managed to find Jennifer Jay from the Ncal Ironteam so I ended up sitting with her team along with Stephen, David Ruckman and Jennifer Howard. After dinner I drove to my home stay Dea to unload my stuff. Boy she has a very nice place! I even get my own room so I can lay my stuff everywhere! Bonus points for the 3 cats.

I went home and packed my stuff. Unlike Vineman where you setup your run/bike stuff next to your bike, you are not allowed to do so in official Ironman races. Instead you get 5 bags to put stuff on. Morning Clothes Bag, Swim to Bike Bag, Bike Special Need Bag, Bike to Run Bag, and Special Run Bag. If you race with me you know I am always prepared for different condition, so naturally I put a lot of stuff in the bag. Food, Clothes, Contact Lens… you name it I got it. Learning from this year Vineman Bike Special Need experience I basically put stuff in big Ziploc bags so I don’t spend a lot of time looking for different stuff like I did in Vineman. I packed my stuff into ‘must need’ Ziplocs and my ‘Oh Shit’ Ziplocs. So when I am looking thru those Ziplocs I know only to go thru the ‘must need’ Ziplocs and leave the ‘oh shit’ Ziplocs untouched unless something happen and I need to access stuff that I may need.

Saturday was pretty uneventful. I went to drop off my bike and the next thing I know TheWongstar (Professional Triathlete) was calling my name. Who’s the stalker now? I followed her around, took some pictures and even get to meet the mama WongStar. I then went to lunch with Jennifer and Sam who came all the way from LA to be a volunteer and to support Stephen and I. We went to a pho place called UnPhogettable and it was very forgettable. Food was expensive and bad! I called Coach Paul from teamsquareone thanking him and telling him that I am ready. I had dinner, and went to sleep at around 9pm.

I woke up around 3:30am on Sunday, left the house around 4:45am and got there around 5ish. One thing that I noticed right away is the city skyline around the racing area. It looks so beautiful and neat! Love the moon reflecting the lake and the lighting on the bridge. Anyway, I dropped my bags, and just wonder around. While I was waiting around I saw people pouring water on them. I put some in my wetsuit so I won’t be as cold when I go into the water. I jumped into the water at 6:45am, and the canon went off at 7:00. Mass swim start is interesting because you actually know who’s in front of you and who’s behind you. Half way thru the swim I was able to pee while swimming. That itself is a new accomplishment! I got out of the swim in 1:57.

The volunteer gave me my Bike bag and another volunteer led me to the changing tent. I forgot his name but he did Ironman Wisconsin in September and it’s now volunteering at the race. I told him I wanted to sit for a bit to get warm up and he just laid out everything for me. He helped me put on my BIB, help with HR monitor…etc He was very helpful and I really appreciated the support I received from the volunteer group. As I exiting the transition area I saw Ironteammate Linda, Sam, and Jennifer in Pikachu outfit!

The bike course is a 3 loops course. I was going at a good pace and I felt very strong. But above all my back didn’t hurt (as much). And I was even going uphill in around 19 mph??? Wow really? I got to the turn around (3rd aid station) and I stopped to take a break. I know the WB and TNT people are volunteering at that aid station so I figured I say hi and take a pee break. I didn’t know it at the time but I lot of people that I knew from Team In Training was also there. After I actually turned around I found out I was going 19 mph uphill because there is a crazy wind going uphill. So it’s tail wind uphill and head wind downhill! The wind was so strong I was going downhill at 12-14 mph. at times 10mph!!! It took forever to go back and I know it’s going to be a long day. As much as I don’t like the wind everyone is facing the same condition, so I just deal with it.

Lap two started to rain hard, thanks god it was a short period of time. Also I needed to pee at aid station 1. Man I need to practice peeing on the bike! I got to the turn around and saw Pai Wei and Linda. I stopped, resupply, and gave them a hug. I know I was over heating (wearing too much) so I took off my tri top at Bike Special Need and only wear the cycling top. Shortly after I took another restroom break at Aid Station 4!!! As much as I am peeing all the time I know I need to take in my nutrition. I also kept up with drinking extra water because I know AZ is hot. The headwind agave me a false of coolness but I just needed to remind myself that AZ is hot and dry. During the race I kept passing the people that I passed because I took extra time to pee. Remember, it only take 3-4 minutes to bike a mile so if I passed them for a mi all they need is an extra 4 minutes to pass me. Lap 3 I decided to hold it and not pee so often. I skipped the first two aid stations and stop at Station 3 again. This time I saw my friends at the WB Tri Team! It’s always nice to see familiar faces! I gave two of my bottles to them and told them to take it back to LA for me =P.

Loop 1 (Stopped): Aid Station 3

Loop 2 (Stopped): Aid Station 1, Aid Station 3, Special Bike Need, Aid Station 4

Loop 3 (Stopped): Aid Station 3, Aid Station 4

Luckily for lap 3 the uphill wind disappeared so I was finally able to go downhill at around 27mph. Then I rode the last 8 miles with headwind again *_*. During the later part of the bike I focus more on the heart rate so I don’t actually get lazy on the bike. At one point a girl was drafting behind me for a good 3-4 minutes before I finally dropped her. I talked to a few people on the bike at the last stretch and they all agreed that they are done with the bike for a while. After I dismount I told the volunteer I don’t want to see my bike for a while. The Volunteer at T2 Changing tent isn’t as eager to help in T1 so I took a minute to recollect myself from the bike so I can focus on the run. I changed my clothes and head out to run.

Run is a 3 loop course and its a little less than 9 mi each. Soon I discovered the bottom of my feet hurts. Not sure why. I tried to run it as much as I can. In fact I was doing well during the middle of the 1st loop I was averaging 9 minutes per mile for a good 2 miles. Eventually I started walking more and more because every step hurt. I compared the condition I am in versus the condition I was in at Nike Women’s Marathon and decided to just treat IMAZ run as a training race to minimize injury and reduce recover time. Don’t’ get me wrong, I did my run/walk and passed a lot of walkers! About a mile left I bumped into another Ncal Ironteam and she asked me if I am Pikachu. Yes I am famous. When I got near the finish line I started running, saw my friends, passed another handful of people and dashed across the finish line.

Monday was a chill day. I picked up my special need bag and took my friends to meet theWongstar. I decided not to buy any Ironman stuff until Ironman Canada. I knew she probably don’t want to talk about triathlon but as her #1 fan in Monterey Park I felt like I needed to get her Q&A ready when she has her podium finish.

So what do I think about the race? The swim is what I expected. I felt very strong on the bike throughout the whole 112 mi where on Vineman I was kind of out of it the later half of the race. And I felt good on the run compare to my Vineman run. I definitely did not run a 9 minutes mile in Vineman for 2 miles! I will need to work on my liquid intake so I don’t pee as often. Either that or pee on my bike/pee while I run. I think personalized training I received from squareone definitely help me to become a stronger athlete. Although I finished around the same time as Vineman but I feel a lot more solid during IMAZ, it is an important improvement because it allows me to get faster in the long run.

Overall it’s a very nice race. I like the city landscape and I like how the swim course is around the lake. You can actually see building and people walking with you to see you race. The bike is pretty flat with a nice downhill (if we don’t have the headwind!!!). The run is well staff, well lighted. And I did get a lot of people cheering from Team In Training. It is going to be a nice race for the Ironman and I am looking forward to hear the experience from the Georgia Ironteam.

I can’t thanks enough to the people that come out to cheer and to volunteer. I know I can’t remember anyone so I am not going to list them all. And my home stay host for giving me a comfortable stay and picking up my bike. Congratulation to first time Ironman Stephen Soong, Jennifer Howard, Lisa Lefner, Galya Bassin, Chris Andrew, Stephanie from WB Tri Team.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fews things to do in Kentucky

1. Cheer for the Ironteam
Because I am awesome!

Just because we may hang a bike on the tree in Louisville, I need to be there just in case

2. Meet the one and only Wongstar
My friend Gigi told me about this Chinese Elite Pro named TheWongStar and I have been following her journey since. Am I a stalker I think not. But thanks to me, the whole Ironteam and my 575 facebook friends now know about the WongStar (well I have 578 friends... but I need to minus the wongstar, gigi, and papa Wongstar).

3. Give Coach Paul a hard time
He likes it
trying to plug Paul with my tail... as if he is one of those avatar creature

4. Eat Kentucky Fried Chicken
Will KFC win the Battle of Chicken 2010 with the home court advantage?

5. Stretch
With all these hours waiting, I may as well do some stretching to become a better athlete. Is there yoga classes in Kentucky?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I am Pacman - My Vineman 2010 Race Report

It's 1 year after my first Ironman and I am in Santa Rosa again doing my second Ironman. This year I am the photo and mission captain of the Ironteam. Throughout the season I took most than 10,000 pictures for the team and each one of them have a story... the achievement, the struggle, the hunger, the inspiration... you name it I took a picture of it.

The days prior race day were fun. I followed the team around and took as many pictures as I could. During the inspirational lunch on Friday my campaign manager told the other chapters that they may see Pikachu running with them during the race and she ensured them that Pikachu is real and they are not hallucinating. So naturally, I got up to the mic and told people why I run as Pikachu. In case you don't know here is a recap, I am running as Pikachu as a way to honor people who are going thru cancer treatment. They get stared at constantly because they are bald... so why not have people stare me as Pikachu so I get a sense of what they are going thru.

thur team dinner

After lunch, the team went to pick up our packet and dropped off our run gear. We had dinner and the coach gave out gag gifts to people. Little did I realize, the coach actually got theWongStar to write the team an email wishing us good luck. I think theWongStar email is inspirational to the team. When is the last time an Elite Pro write an email to you? And did I mention she is Chinese. Asian Pride! *throwing peace sign*

When I did my one on one race talk with the coaches I just looked at them and they just looked at me. I told them I am good... and they said... cool. I guess this year they don't have any concern about me.

Race Day came fast. Came Sat at 4:00am, people started to show up at the lobby with 3 bags of stuff. Swim bag, Special Bike need bag, and Special Run need bag. You drop off these special need bags and they will be available at various point of the race (For bike it's at mi 56, and the run is outside of transition 2)

by 4:30am, everyone was here and we headed out in one bus. During the duration of the ride everyone was very quiet. I felt like we were a group of solider getting ready to parachute down to Normandy.

After our little 20 minutes bus ride, we arrived at transition 1. I setup my area, then walked around and took pictures. With 20 minutes to go, I told Rich to write 'I love WongStar' on my forearm to show her that I am still her #1 Fan in Monterey Park. Apparently I put too much bodyglide around my wrist and Rich couldn't get the writing on me. He finally got it on somehow.

With 10 minutes to go I handed my camera to Brad. During Vineman training weekend I FINALLY realized that taking pictures really slow me down, so I decided not to carry a camera this time. I did my warm up, the gun went off, and I started my 2.4 mi swim... I have two swim speed. Slow, and very Slow. Today I decided to go with the first one - I got out of the swim 2 hr later.

Yup I am out!

As I was running up to the transition people were yelling at my name. Go Louis, Go KwanStar, Go Kwan, Go Pikachu. I don't know who yelled what but there were a lot of names floating around. I really appreciated people being there for me, but I have this bad habit of not acknowledge them and just looking forward. Maybe I am shy, I don't know. I changed to my bike stuff and headed out. Knowing my back will probably start hurting soon after I bike, I took the first 4 mi easy. I spin at high cadence to get my leg fresh. After 4 mi I did not feel any back pain! Then I started to pick up my speed and I started to pass people... lot of people. Aero helmet people... checked, people with expensive bike... checked, pro-looking cute girl in perfectly fitted tri kit... checked, people that don't like Team In Training... checked, people with ego issues... crushed... and of course teammates... (I don't really consider myself passing them, more like I just caught up and say hi). When I passed Kim on the bike I told her she owe me a cupcake (we had a bet: whoever swim faster buy cupcake). I was feeling very good and very strong. I was having fun and I was enjoying my day. As I was a few mi away from the first aid station I felt sensation on my back, I knew the muscle is started to get tight. I decided the best course of action is to stop at the aid station, get off my bike and stretch. And that's what I did. Of course I took a few minutes and everyone I passed earlier passed me. Unlike running, passing someone in cycling is pretty easy. I can be a mile ahead of somebody and it will only take them 3-4 minutes to pass me. After my short stretch I got on the bike and kept going. I passed Kim, gave her a 'ha ha', then disappeared in front of her... only to have her passed me again at the second aid station. By then I saw a lot of my teammates and I was happy. Last year I saw 2 during the bike. This year I saw like 10.

feeling awesome!

I got to mi 56 special need area with a time of 3:20 (ave 16.9 mi per hour). If I didn't stop I maybe doing 3:10... who knows... but compared to last year, I was very happy with my time... and more importantly how I felt compare to last year. Last year I wasn't a happy camper. I couldn't even bent my back when I got off my bike at special need. I secretly cried a little at mi 58 because I didn't know if I can finish the bike. This year I felt great! I was giving people the Anna Wills smile (Anna is this triathlete I know that always put on a big smile... even after a bike crash!!!).

Never forget to thanks your coaches during the race

I took longer breaks during the second loop of the bike. When I was at the last aid station Lilly caught up to me and told me two things: - She had been having Asthma attack on the bike... 3 times - Yvonne had two flats and she had a big cut on the tire So I did my own Ironman triage. Lilly was there with me and she didn't look like she was dying, so I focused on Yvonne first. Lilly told me Yvonne was ok physically, but she didn't know if the tire will hold up. Since I did't know where Yvonne was I couldn't really help. I decided to just tell Tom and Sharon when I see them at around mi 105. And with Lilly, I asked her a few questions to make sure she wasn't dying on me. I asked her if she had her phone and she said no. I asked her if she want to carry my phone just in case and she said no. She said she'll just take it easy and finish the ride. We rode together til chalk hill. She seem fine so I took off (actually, I probably looked like the one having an asthma attack when we rode up chalk hill) I hammered the last 6 mi of the bike course and got a time of 7hr and 40 min. In was hour 10 into my race. Only a marathon to go.

As I started my first lap some of my teammates are already finishing their first. One such person is honored teammate Gordie Lat. All reason he doubted himself. He wondered if he can finish the race after the mini stroke back in Jan. He wondered if being a cancer survivor will affect his performance. I saw all my teammates and everyone look great! I felt like I was running a good pace until I checked my watch... 13 1/2 min per mile? Are you f@#@ing kidding me? I felt like I was running at 11 min per mile. I kept running at a constant pace hoping to get out of this slow poke pace.

At some point Coach Paul came up to me on the bike and check on me. He is actually a sensible man. I told him I felt great and I could of gone 40 minutes faster on the bike. He said let it go. You are here and you are not hurting. Who knows what happen if you hammer the bike... maybe you'll be walking now. I said... Paul you are the best coach ever... then continue my run (actually I didn't say that... but that's what I wanted to say). Sometime in lap 1 I decided to stretch my legs. Bad idea. They started to cramp right a way. Lesson learn... no stretching during the run portion of the Ironman. Near the end of Lap 1 I saw PikaRich cheering for people.

After a while I finished lap 1. Everyone was there cheering for me. That pumped me up a little bit. The beginning on lap 2 is uneventful. I do my usual random chat with people. When people yell at my name I act surprised and ask them how do they know my name? (it was on my shirt), I also told people that forcing food down now was tougher than the actual run... most of them agree. I wasn't kidding, I had a lot of liquid in me and I just wanted to vomit. Actually I stopped running several times just to make sure I don't vomit.

Then came Jenny at around mi 11. Jenny is one of the ncal TNT teammate so I started talking to her. Jenny was on her second loop like me and she was doing her first ironman. Then I made the biggest mistake of this race. I told her I will finish around the same time as her. Minutes after I said that, she picked up her speed... and I picked up my pace just to keep up with her. It was Pac Man time for 15 miles. She was the ghost and I were the Pacman. I wanted her to be ms Pacman because labeling a girl as a ghost is just wrong. But hey she seem to be the faster one and I was really running away from her just to keep up. so ya I am Pacman.

Jenny checking on me... I think

At times I pulled away from Jenny only to have her caught me when I went to the restroom. At the later half of my lap 2 I saw this woman with LA Tri Club and I wondered if she is Amy Berkin-Chavez (aka ABC). I never met ABC in person but I known of her from our mutual friend Alison. As I was thinking if I should talk to her Amy asked me if I am Louis Kwan... Before she even finish telling me who she was I was like are you Amy Berkin Chavez LOL. Yes, Amy is famous and I am infamous! We chatted a little and she disappeared in front of me.

Jenny and I finished lap 2 together and she passed me once again at the beginning of lap 3. By then the Pacman game caught up to me. I was more tired than usual because I wasn't running at my own pace, I was running at Jenny's. At mi 22 or so I wanted to give up (not the actual race, but keeping up with Jenny). I wanted to tell Jenny to go ahead. I had a slow bike time and I knew I wasn't going to PR on the marathon. I needed to drive back to LA the next day. Why bother? My body was fine but there were ten thousands reasons why I don't want to push myself. But there were one reason to keep me in this pacman game - Tyler. Tyler almost die few weeks ago. I am serious. And I thought to myself, I am doing this race in honor of Tyler, I needed to dig deeper and make an effort. Unlike the bike where I took breaks to avoid injures, I know I can push myself on the run... and so I did. I started to pick up my pace and I started to pull away from Jenny. I looked back often to make sure I had a good distance between Jenny and I.

After I don't know how long I was finally in the final .5 mi or so. I wanted to wait for Jenny and cross the finish line with her. But at the same time I don't know if she wanted this random dude to ruin her finish picture. I wanted to give her the moment so I decided to finish first and wait for her at the finish line. I ran the last .5 mi., crossed the finish with my Coyotes running shirt, and I became a second Ironman finisher. It was the toughest marathon I ever ran (including the one where I was injured). Thanks Jenny =)

One of the first thing I did was to give my Rachel my campaign manager a hug. She offered a hug to me last year after I crossed the finish line but I was too cold to hug her. So this year I made sure I gave her a hug! I waited until Jenny came in then I gave her a hug. I then changed out my wet cloth to some dry one, put on my mountain hardwear beanie, popped open a few chemical heat patches, and put on my mountain hardwear shell. Yes I am a mountain hardwear fan.

Eric, Alex, IronKimbo, and IronteamLouis

To tell you the truth, there were so much going on at the finish line and I didn't get a chance to thanks everyone. However we were all doing one thing. We were all cheering for our teammates to come home. Lilly came back, Sandra, Tony, Ale, Nurit, Yvonne, then Andie ran across the finish line with her Canadian Flag. She was crying with tear of joy and I had tear in my eye... she's my favorite Canadian.

The support of my teammates were awesome. Sarah helped me pick up my swim and bike stuff so I don't have to walk around. Sara also helped me with my bike. I am sure if I demand a back rub I would of get one... damn it. Next year.

Andie my favorite Canadian

I got back to my hotel, took a 45 minutes shower to get my body temperature up, ordered a glass of chocolate milk and ate country fried steak at Carrows, then went to sleep.

After thoughts (Ironman)
I had a very good day. My back didn't hurt when I got off the swim. I took it safe by getting off my bike and stretch at every aid station. I always encourage others to be active and not worry about the time. Yet this time I was feeling 'ashamed' of my time shortly after my race. All the could of should of thinking got to me. I should of been at least one hour faster (not counting the swim).

I made the decision to stop and I made the right one. When your back hurt, every mile sucks!

Then I thought about what I did. I did an Ironman. Things can go wrong and will go wrong. We had teammates that did not cross the finish line this year. That's not because they didn't train enough. 0ne of them was sick in the med tent for 2 hours half way on her bike. One just had a very bad day. My team consist of very capable and strong willed athletes. As a support staff, a teammate, and a friend, I am prod of very single of them. The strogest will of all is probably Lilly. I didn't know it at the time but Lilly ended up going to the ER because her blood pressure was too low... crazy woman!

I ran my first marathon back in March 2008, in 2 1/2 years I ran more than just a few marathons, finished 3 Half Ironman and 2 Ironman. Heck I didn't even know how to swim back in Nov 2008. anyway. If I am not happy with my time, I just have to do another one. And if I don't have a good time next time, I'll do another one. It took me maybe 10 half marathons to finally finish one in under 2 hours. I just need to be patience with my Ironman.

Endurance Sport (hiking is also an endurance sport) is not in my 'check list', it's part of me. What I lack in speed I make up with endurance and solid performance. I am very solid this year compare to my first Ironman. For that I am happy.

After Thought (the last 10 months with Ironteam)
This year I took a lot of pictures for the team to help my teammates document their journeys. *I take payment in Tonkatsu or Korean BBQ Thank You very much*. And hey two SGV marathon alumni that I recruited, Strawberry lover IronKimbo and Cancer Survivor Gordie Lat , finished the race! Freaking Gordie stressed me out because he kept saying he can't do it... only to finish an hour faster than me... jerk j/k!

I also experienced a few unfortunate events last year. Renee Benson and Jessie Mastan passed away from cancer this year. Renee was 2 weeks shy of her 30th birthday. Jessie was 14. These girls never get a chance to experience a lot of things in life. I decided to live my life to the fullness. I am running Carlsbad half marathon in memory of Renee and Disneyland Half Marathons in memory of Jessie.

Little Tyler also got very sick this year. Social Worker asked Tyler's parents to see if they need help with funeral arrangement. The kid was dying. Fortunately he went over that huddle.

I had my ups and downs this year. But I learn that you have to constantly move forward. You can't blame on stuff that did not favor in your direction.

If you don't like the current situation you are in, you need to take initiative and start changing... doesn't matter if is your health, your finance, your relationship, your career. Nothing is going to change if you just stand around. You may find yourself running in circle, but eventually you'll break away and start moving forward. That's what the Ironteam taught me. Stop watching those infomercial and think that you can 'lose 20 lbs in 20 days' or 'get rich by following the secret'. I trained 10 months for an Ironman and I did not lose an oz (well it has more to do with my eating habit). But there is definitely no short cut to the top.

I would like to thanks my donors again for their donations, my friends and family for their supports, and my teammates who are always there for me.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wildflower Race Report

- getting to the campsite is an accomplishment itself: I worked tue-fri since 6am (I usually get to work at 9am-10am), I got sick, I was sitting in traffic on the 101, and more importantly, I missed Chick Fil A (I thought it was in SLO... but Chick Fil A was in Oxnard!)

- After I got out of the swim I finished my first bottle in less than 1/2 hr. That wasn't a good sign

- I hit a pothole going down hill and dropped two of my rear water bottles. I am glad I didn't crash!!!

- My cage on the frame broke in half at the second water station. What the hell? The cage was hitting my left leg... I need to stop and remove the cage.

- During WTFW I got to the top of Nasty Grade at 2:30. It was 2:30 and I was half an hour away from Nasty Grade. I did too many races and I am paying for it

- My leg almost cramp up on that hill going back to the park entrance. I pushed thru it. I told myself I either push thru it or get tipped over like a cow.

- I got to T2. By then I figured I'll just finish the course so I pick up my camera (no camera on bike because I was planning to PR) and head out. May as well make myself useful! Cramp on both leg at ~ mi 2.5 (the small hill before we enter the trail). Today isn't my day... started walking and really continue to monitor my condition.

- I took pictures of other TNT people because I think we are all part of the family. I hate it when I see people from another chapter and they look at you like you are from another planet.

- I saw my friend Godfather Sean at mi 7. He is one of the key people to get me into the world of triathlon.

- Definitely ran up that small hill leading to TNT camp site... don't want the walk of shame!

- I have two thoughts during the run.
a) I wanted to sing like Scott but the only song that I can come up with is 'Killing me Softly'. I didn't think it will go well with other runners so I didn't sing it.
b) I want clean hands... my hands were sticky... sport drinks, sunscreen, bio-relief, sweat, salt, hand oil.

- I saw my friend Pai and I told him I didn't know he was doing the race. He said he broke his pedal and rode 10 mi with one leg. I told him he was stupid. He laughed, walk for a while and I kept going.

- I saw Sara Tung running in pain! But she kept on moving! Determination to keep moving!!!

- I saw Gordie in front of me and I told him... 'And you said you don't know if you can do it? You are faster than me!'

- After I got down to Lynn hill there was a woman vomiting and crying on the side of the road. I could of finish my silly 'sub 3' LOL but I was like whatever. I'll run her in... maybe she'll join TNT next year. She walk, vomit, walk, vomit, walk, vomit... and we are finally off. Then both of my legs decided to cramp up and I fell on the ground in pain. I was thinking... it will be funny if she took off without me. Of course she didn't... anyway this woman somehow pull me up and we continue to run. I told her it's funny how things just turned around. We crossed the finish line together holding our hands up high. By the way I knew she ate half an orange......

- My heart sunk when I saw people that got cut off. I know we are all capable but they got cut off by the silly rule of triathlon. Men have an extra hr to complete the race! I asked Jen Shaw what's her first marathon time is... she said she was slow... ~5:45. I told her mine was 6:30 (LA Marathon 2008). I had knee pain and ended up walking 1/2 of it. I told myself I'll just do another one.

Bad day? Sure. Was it a meaningful day? Definitely. You don't have a good day unless you learn from the bad! Like one of my coaches told me. Learn and move forward. Don't keep thinking about your bad day, let it go.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Renee Benson's Blog

I learned of Renee few weeks back when my teammate Jame gave a mission moment about Renee. Renee started fighting cancer since she was 21 and she is now 29. A rough time for a young beautiful girl.

Time after time I ask myself what am I supposed to do when I hear things like this?

Do I want to feel fortunate after hearing things like this? No.
Do I want to feel bad for Renee? No, I don't think she wants us to feel bad for her
Do I help the world by donating more money? Maybe

I am still searching for the answer. The only thing I know is I should support her in some way, so I PR the Carlsbad Half Marathon in honored of Renee.

Renee's Blog

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Procrastination will kill you!!!

I found myself wasting a lot of time nowadays. I will wake up at 6am in the morning, procrastinate, then go to work. When I get off work, I will do my workout, go home, procrastinate, then sleep. Days after days, all these time add up and I can't afford to procrastinate anymore.

There are just too much going on for me to procrastinate. So starting this week, I will try to post what I do everyday. I figure if people are watching over me, then I can't procrastinate (well at least not as much!). I think this is my new year resolution(See, I even procrastinate on new year resolution!!!).

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Running the Boney Mountain Half Marathon just for the heck of it.

I ran the XTERRA Boney Mountain Half Marathon because
- I won't register for the race (TNT training every sat) but I want to know if I can make the cut off (finish in 3 1/2 hr)
- Do a write up for Alison and XXX.
- get back to my hiking shape.

Here is the stats
Finish in 3:48:07
13.4 mi on my GPS
3hr 37 moving time
11 min and 44 sec stopping time
Total Ascent 2854 ft
Took 66 oz of drink... only 2-3 oz left!
Mapping from my garmin running watch Please note that the evaluation chart is not accurate.

I start off with 66 oz of drink. Initially I was going drop off some water at mile 6 but the gate was locked, so I figure I just have to deal with 66 oz.

This is the breakdown for me (if I were to do it next time)
0 - 0.7 mi: uneventful
0.7 - 1.73 mi: downhill, keep at comfortable pace
1.73 - 3: rolling hill. take advantage of the flat and gain speed
3-4: uphill. try to run on flat
4-4.85: downhill. I use it to gain some speed. make sure you are not putting too much stress on your legs.
4.85 - 6: downhill. less steep. you can gain a lot of speed if you want.
6 - 6.6: rollling. get speed. If you are too beat up from the previous section you wouldn't be able to run fast (well for me)
6.6 - 8.7: uphill. It's like hiking. Try to run the flat. If you are running as fast as you hike. Hike!!!
8.7 - 9.11: downhill. you can use it to gain speed. Remember that you will hike up again. save some leg.
9.11 to 10: uphill. It level a bit toward the end. run the flat.
10 - 11.55: First part is fast descent... then it level out for a bit (since I was going too fast on the downhill I can't get myself to run fast on the flat)
11.55 - 11.9: last uphill. I walk most of them
11.9 til the end. The last downhill section is uneven. Please pay attention.

All pictures

The bottom of my left foot started to bothering me around 7 so I slow down a bit. I took a 7 min break because I need to take off my pack and find stuff to eat. My right knee started to bothering me maybe at mile 8.5 but it never develop into any kind of problem. My left arm also started to cramp starting I would say mile 10.

I was kind of beat for the last 1.5 mi.

Overall I had a good day. Even though I did not make the 3 1/2 hr cut off. I think I did pretty good (in my standard). I didn't even train for this race! The course is not difficult for me because this is the kind of terrain that I hike on. Running it definitely give you another perspective... it's so much harder. The downhill put a lot of stress on your legs, but I was ok because I took enough abuse on hikes where I don't really feel pounding. I was tired from 'running' toward the end (but I can still walk/hike LOL). There are probably a lot more places I can run if I were to do this again.

The biggest tip I have is to have a better average time (hike faster on the uphill, run little section, maybe go a bit faster on the downhill). I think it was 3:00 when I got to mile 10. I started running downhill but I can't get myself to go under 10 minute pace because my legs are beat up from previous uphill/downhill (muscle fatigue).

Have fun Alison and XXX!

Friday, December 11, 2009

I learned more about Cancer... this time from my friend.

I feel like I have to share all my experience at once, so this is going to be a long one. If you don't want to read everything... skip a few paragraph and start reading after the red text.

Before joining Team In Training, I really don't know much about cancer. My first 'encounter' with cancer happened 10 years ago when my grandmother had advanced stage of breast cancer. I love my grandmother. She lived modestly and care about her family. She was sick while she was in Hong Kong so I flew back a few times to see her. Doctor said she has a few more years to live after the chemo treatment. However she did not finished her treatment because it was too painful for her. She went with alternative medicine and passed away. I was at college during that time. She did not get to see me graduate from college, she did not get to spend money that I earn (cause I was at school), and she did not get to see my wife and my kid (I am still looking for 'the girl'). I know these are some of the things that she look forward to. I know there isn't anything I can do, but this is one of my biggest regret in life. Now I am reduced to offer my respect by burning paper money and material things made out of paper when I visit her at the grave.

I am devastated of her passing, but I think I had an easier time just because she is half way around the world so I don't see her in a regular basis. My family also know about her condition for a while so we know that this may happen.

Fast forward 10 years. My second encounter about cancer is from Team In Training. I joined the marathon team and I started to know people that get affected by cancer. I met cancer survivors and I started to know people that lost their love one from cancer. I still remember my coach broke down in tear while talking about his dad. Yet I try not to think too much about it. The survivors that I know were doing fine so I don't want to bring it up.

I think it's typical response from people. Since most of us don't know how to react we tend to avoid the topic all together.

Few months after joining Team In Training my friend told me her mom has Lymphoma. I care about my friend's family and I offer any help I can. I talked to the mom and offer my support. She did her treatment and she is fine. But beyond talking to them and eat with them I did not do anything else.

Everything changed in Sept 2008. My honored teammate Tyler got sick. One day the doctor said he needed bone marrow transplant, few days later the doctor said he needed chemo instead. During that week I was literally riding the roller coaster from hell. Not knowing what may happen really put me in fear. I felt useless about the situation because there wasn't anything I can do. This is the reason why I joined the Ironteam. I want to do something for the Kid. If Tyler can go thru chemo, I can learn how to swim.

So up to this point, I pretty much don't have to really think deep about cancer. I continue to train for my Ironman, fund raise for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and I eat. I continue to be myself.

You can start here if you want (Sorry if I jump around... too much feeling is going on and I can't tie everything together!)!!!

Then 2 weeks ago, I got a text from my friend. She said. "I am going to start my chemo tomorrow and I am scared". The sentence is short and emotional.

I called her and she told me she listened to the doctor about the treatment but she wanted to talk to someone that actually been thru Chemo. I called up Virginia Garner (a good friend of mine, also a honored teammate) and have her talk to my friend. Virginia shared her experience and offered tips better cope with the disease.

I know cancer can happen to anyone. She is young, beautiful, and very active, why her?

So few nights ago I went out to dinner with my friend and talked for a long time. She told me she had a routine check up and the doctor found out she has an early stage of cancer.

But before she can deal with the treatment, she needed to overcome her emotion, found out more information about cancer, and think about the cost of treatment.

I know medical treatment made a lot of advancement in recent years, but cancer is still cancer. If I were to have cancer, that would of be a death sentence for me regardless of the stage. Since both of us are serious backpackers, I am glad that her hiking experience and her mindset help her control her emotion and being positive. I talked to her and we realized we both thought about our own death and how we need to move on and keep hiking if one of our close friends die from a mountaineering accident. It actually happened to her in 2006. One of her closed friend passed away while doing a winter ascent of Mt Morgan. It took her a few good months before getting out there again... but this is something we have to do. We need to move on. I wouldn't want my friend to stop hiking/running/doing triathlon if something happened to me.

ok... getting back to the cancer. My friend started to read up information about cancer and she also talked to the hospital about her treatment. She was a month away from having insurance so this thing took a big chuck out of her saving (for people that don't know, a chemo shot is $10,000 per dose)

All these things reinforce the idea that when you are seriously ill, you don't just deal with the diseases, you need to deal with everything that surround it. A lot of time you need to talk to somebody but your friend/family don't understand. It also make me realized why The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is spending money on things like educational material and first connection program. I used to question why they spend money on 'educational' material and web broadcast? Why do they set up the First connection program so people can talk to other people with similar cancer. Now I know.

After she had her first chemo treatment her hair started to fall off. She realized that some people started to treat her different. People started to stare at her. She told me she would say hi to some people and they wouldn't even look at her or response. She became very aware of how people see her. She was getting the impression that people see her as a sick person now, not the old person they used to know. She wonders why. She is still the same person... only with no hair. Why do people act differently? Maybe these people think that she is contiguous? I don't have an answer for that. I think some of these people are trying to avoid contact because they don't know what to say or how to react? I used to be one of those people.

She is now feeling more confidence about her new appearance. People actually talk to her about their own experience (either themselves or people they know) and she think this is helping others. This is one of the reason why I am writing this blog.

Sometime people ask why I fundraise for Team In Training and why I sponsored a family from the Children Hospital. I still remember one of my friend question my motive because I don't have a strong reason for doing Team In Training. Apparently helping someone and 'I think running a marathon is kind of fun' was not enough. I'll probably say the samething if you ask me why I am doing the Ironman with Team In Training. It doesn't matter. I think you just have to go out there and do some charity work. Donate money or become a volunteer. You'll find your reason one day.

Everything is working out so far. I am glad my experience allow my friend to talk to Virginia.

The experience make me think more for others. In turn I become a better person. These experience is not something that I can understand by reading an article or a book, you need to experience first hand. Sometime the experience is not a good one, but we all have to learn from them and move on.