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Highlands Sky

I probably wouldn't admit how stressed I was the whole week leading up to Highlands Sky 40. Now that it's over, I realized I was partly in denial and partly rationalizing it as healthy nervousness. A 40-mile race is long for me. It's technical. And I pulled my lat muscle carrying a handheld bottle a week before the race. I am out of my comfort zone.

As everything in this world that is governed by time, the race is bound to happen like an unstoppable incoming train. A line from Bridges of Spies came to mind the evening before the race. When his lawyer James Donovan observes the alleged Russian Spy Rudolf Abel doesn't seem a bit nervous about his pending trial, he asks him about it and to which Abel responds: "Is it going to help?"

Of the many things that I am concerned about the race, weather isn't one of them. We start the race in cool mountain temperature and I find myself nestle in the crowd, just going with the flow. There are distinct moments that I …
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Eastern Divide 50K

“The secret of man is the secret of his responsibility.” -Václav Havel
This weekend, I’ve learned that you can be both undertrained and overtrained. A few week ago, I signed up for the Eastern Divide 50k because I wanted a longer race in June as training. My last one was the Leatherwood 50k in April and I haven’t run longer than 20 miles since. I did, however, start training with the TriYon team again, which means adding back a bit of strength and speed work into my running. Hence, undertrained with less than ideal miles on my legs, but overtrained with tired muscles from workouts.
That didn’t dampen the excitement of a weekend getaway at Mountain Lake in Pembroke, VA, though. A group of Salisbury runners rented a house at the Mountain Lake Lodge, where “Dirty Dancing” was filmed, and they welcomed me as a late add-on.
Eastern Divide 50k is a point-to-point race that starts from the Cascade Falls in the Jefferson National Forest, up and down Butt Mountain, through forests and meadows, a…

Newness of Life

Two Sundays ago, I skipped church for a run at Crowders. Lately, I've gotten into the habit of getting in a run before church. I like the post-run me: content, happy, cleansed. So much so that when I realized I wouldn't have time to run before church, I still chose to run.

Needless to say, I felt guilty. I was afraid that I was once again placing something else above God. 168 hours a week, I couldn't even consecrate one hour to worship and give thanks? As I dug deeper, however, I realized there was something else. Running gives me satisfaction. I feel fresh afterwards. I am less grumpy. I am content. I am centered. I am better...without relying on God. Going to church afterwards is just icing on the cake. I was relying on myself to save myself.
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4 ESV) But that is not the Gospel and that…

Big Rocks

​The "Big Rocks of Life" analogy keeps coming back. I have been contemplating on going on another eMi trip this year, but fear that it'd interfere with my fundraising to becoming a full-time staff with eMi and also drains more of my resources. The analogy came back and reminded me to put the important things - the big rocks - first, and other things will fall into place. A day after I've made up my mind about going, a few affirmations came rolling in. Yes, yes, I get it. Mind the big rocks first.

Last Friday night, I witness more big rocks - the important stuff - in running. It was Derek's race, the Night Mare. In many ways, a lot of us have also taken ownership of it - even me, a participant/consumer/spectator. I saw many familiar faces at the race, and then even more that were volunteering. The Revolutions crew rocks. They were selfless, and they sacrificed their time for the benefit of others. They even suffered for others, spending hours and hours in a cold, …

Post-Race: HK-100

All along, even up till moments before the race, I was ambivalent about the Hong Kong-100(k). While I was stoked about the race itself, my training since getting into the race through lottery in September had been plagued by injuries. I was very much out of training for two months till November. The two months leading up to the race, I had but two weeks with weekly mileage above 50. Still building on base mileage, my shin splints poked up its nasty head last week. In spite of all that, I still had hopes to tough this thing out. For the first time, I even wrote a list of motivations to keep me moving and promised myself to go through the list before I would call quit. Part of my list includes:Running for Ellis: because I get to be alive and well to do it;How do I want to remember the race after tomorrow?"If you can take it, you can make it!" The more I thought about the race, however, the more pressure I put on myself. I am so glad that I schedule the race to be at the front…

Love is a Muscle

After spending half of the summer on injury reserve, I'm slowly coming back and adding back mileage cautiously. First two to three weeks had been sluggish. My legs had no spring, running uphill felt like hopping up and down on the same spot, and I just felt heavy. With each run, however, I'm gradually feeling like my old self again. Then, I remember. My muscles, my cardiovascular system, and my body in general need to re-learn and re-adapt to the heavy-lifting of running. They need to be strengthen again. It does get easier with practice...just like everything in life. Loving others takes practice. Extending kindness takes practice. Giving grace takes practice. As I am so thankful to be able to run and visit my favorite places again, I'm reminded that love also is a muscle; use it often. :)

Living Intentionally

If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son! "If—" by Rudyard Kipling A close friend is dealing with some difficult health issues. The short story is that he is - in his words - holding a "6 months, 6 years, or hit by a bus” outlook of his life. He shares with us that his new favorite word is now "intentional." Again, in his words, "We only have so much time. All of us. And we don't know how much. Don't miss your life. Live purposefully."
​Time doesn't wait. When the unforgiving minute is gone, it's gone. As I'm spending these minutes typing this, my intention is that we will all be reminded to live intentionally. In the greater scheme of things, we want our lives to have purpose and we strive to live for something greater than ourselves. However, do such meaning and purpose reflect in …