Holiday Hoot + EPIC 24-hr

Let me being my recap of the weekend with a confession. I missed worship on Sunday. No excuse. I did, however, spent some qualify time in the beautiful nature He designed. We are in third week of Advent!

Saturday was the Holiday Hoot, my first ever swim meet. Captain Kirk (my personal adviser) encouraged me to try three events: 50 fly, 500 free, and 200 IM. Going into the meet, I was mostly nervous about about the IM -- all the start, turns, and transitions. I wasn't worried much about finishing last, but was much worried about getting disqualified for missing a touch, swim an extra stroke before my turn, or an extra kick here and there. I've heard from others that Coach Patty is notorious for putting some last minute relays together. At the deck, moments before the start of 200 free relay, I heard my name being called. Perhaps that was a good thing because it didn't leave me too much time to think or be nervous. I barely had the time to put my cap and goggles on, step on the block and dive. In all honesty, that 50 free did shake most of my nervousness away. Following right after that was the 50 fly. I clocked a 46.51 (WR is 22.43). 

Next came the 500 Free. "200 warm up, 100 transition, 200 build," that's what I told myself. I came in at 8:53.01. Captain Kirk was writing all my splits down. The first 200 was around 52 secs for each 50s, and down to a 46 for my last 50. He said I shouldn't have "so much gas left in the tank." I've always known myself to be a conservative runner. I guess that's carried into my swimming, too. Last event was 200IM and how I wished I had more left in the tank. I finished in 3:33.50, didn't get disqualified, but I have a lot to work on.  Shout out to Coach Patty who did a stellar job in organizing and directing the event.

Here's the only picture I could find of myself in the meet:

After the meet which concluded at around 5:30 p.m., I began my drive to Croft State Park, where Epic 24-hr was held and where my friends had been running at for seven hours. By the time I arrived, Jim, Josh, Jessica, Nicole, and Kate had already covered anywhere from a marathon to a 50k. Patrick, Beckie, and Rob were still on the course on a mission towards 60 miles. Dark and cold, I began running at past 8:30. Navigating the course was difficult initially, but it was well marked. I could at least say I wasn't lost or off course at all. Footing at some rooty and rocky areas were tricky, but doing the first two loops with Patrick, Beckie, and Rob helped me to familiarize myself with it. After doing two or three loops with them, I ventured on by myself. 

The three-mile-loop course looks like a figure-8 loop on a map, but the way we ran it is closer to a mirrored-3 and a 3 shape. At night, I liked the first half (mirrored-3) more because it was more runnable. However, when I ran it again in the morning and was able to see the trail in daylight, the second half was much more fun with more technical trails and switchbacks.

The sound from the stream was welcoming at night, especially at the second half because it signaled the final stretch of the loop. In the morning, I was finally able to see the beauty of it.

After running six loops in the dark, I called it a night and retreated to get some sleep. Falling asleep wasn't easy in the cold but I managed to somehow. At around 8 a.m., I decided that it's better to run and be warm than shivering in the cold. With around 20 minutes to spare before 10 a.m., I ran four more laps and finished with 10 loops for the run. Patrick, Rob, Beckie, and Nicole have all put in 60+ miles within 24 hours, more than double of what I've ran. Hats off to their tenacity and endurance. The whole crew went out for breakfast after leaving Epic. One thing was noticeable: those that ran 30 +/- miles and were walking/running fine (Jim, Josh, Kate, Jessica, and I), and those who were moving with two legs in crawling speed.

There can never be enough "thank you" to those who made my epic weekend possible -- Coach Patty and first-time RD Joseph Parker, all my friends whom I am blessed with, and all the volunteers who donated their time and effort in these events.

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