Mt Hamilton Road Conquered

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We did it.  We ran on a LONG ROAD up and down.  We rarely run on road, mostly dirt trails.  Last week was a break through long run for us on flat trail pavement of 15 miles but yesterday has a long climb.  We trained hard and finally, yesterday was the day.  

It was starting to get warm at the base of the climb and already, I was concerned of my abilities.  We had discussed our pace plans of sticking around 13-14 min/mile uphill to stay around Z2 pace based on my pace fitness currently.  It’s a good pace and a pace I call, “forever” pace where I can go all day long.  We parked at on the dirt by the fire station and noticed a bucket with a sign.  It says, “cold water.”  I knew then that this run is going to be a warm one.

I felt ready.

We started out with a gradual uphill and so far so good.  I looked at my watch and it said, “11:24″ average pace.  In reviewing my Strava files, the pace is a bit faster than I anticipated but this run was also about practicing PE or perceived effort and pace effort so I decided to run up feeling the Z2 PE then see what happens.  Mile 2, mile 3, mile 4 then mile 5 have gone by.  I was still running an average of under 12 min/mi in a very relaxed effort.  Earlier at mile 3, about half way I really anticipated that my body would slow down as we climbed higher in a more exposed road and much more steeper sections.  The top is visible and my heart rate got a bit excited.

Drenched in sweat but happy...

Drenched in sweat but happy…

We got up to the intersection which I consider the top.  I sat down on the little bench while Doug is refilling his water bottle from the free water provided by the residence.  It could not believe that we made it and in the heat!  I told Doug that we ran up in under 12 min/mi.  It was better than we expected.  Our fitness is really improving and progressing.

Now for the downhill.

Ugh.  The heat was beginning to bother me somewhat.  I have the tendency to overheat a bit more than Doug so after a couple of miles downhill, I made the decision to stop every mile to drink up and spray my legs and head with water to cool down.  The last 3 miles were tough as the temp rose heading into the bottom canyon.  I really wasn’t sure if I was going to make it and had thoughts that my legs would just fall apart because it felt rubbery from the heat not from the run.  It was also the longest downhill we’ve ever done on road so I was being cautious not to break anything.  The plan worked out great and we made it back but I was toasty.  We got cold ice water from the bucket from the really nice people at the fire station.  Mt Hamilton Road is notorious for being really hot in the summer specially the back side.

Doug was pretty stoked about running Mt Hamilton Road.  It was one of the climbs we’ve done on the bike and now we’ve ran up with our two feet.  We plan to come back in the winter or fall where it’s a bit cooler.  It’s really a great training hill climb.  The grade is about 6% average and very good surface.  It’s like running on a treadmill uphill but not the downhill, though.  I still need to work on my confidence to trust the body on the downhill.  I am always cautious not to get injured on pavement.

We are proud of ourselves. A big deal because it took us about 2 years to work on the body’s durability to handle road or even trails.  We don’t have a running background and just started trail running mostly about 2 years ago so we have to be extra cautious of not getting injured while training.  It looks like our training plan is working out and is paying off.  Every step of the way is slow progress and each small success is a big success to us.  That’s how we roll.

Thanks for reading!

 

Over a Bowl of Ox Tail Noodle Soup

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Doug at Whitney Portal after 204 miles on our JMT fastpacking trip this year…

We arrived at our favorite Vietnamese fast food center in Little Saigon and ordered two bowls of Ox Tail Noodle Soup.  It’s a noodle soup very similar to the popular Pho but with ox tail.  I watched Doug as he started sipping the broth before he dives into the noodles then finally the protein.  That is how he prefers eating noodle soup.  We started talking about his work, stuff that needs to be done at home and life.  I really enjoy these moments simply because there’s food and seeing Doug unwinding from a hard day at work.

I asked him what is his happiest moment lately while slurping on my warm noodles with fresh herbs.

Doug was happiest on the JMT.  I asked him why, it was his happiest moment.  He just said, “It was the happiest I’ve ever felt.”  Sometimes, we don’t know why some things make us happy but we feel it.  I can think of many reasons why but it occurred to me that he had answered a question he’s been questioning all his life.  I looked up some of the pictures on our JMT trip and found a picture I took of Doug on our last day of our 10-day journey.  I understood that happiness from the picture.

This morning, while washing dishes I looked out the window and saw a truck drive by.  Our dumpster is ready to be picked up.  The whole week, we’ve been busy dragging old furnitures and a lot of junk into the dumpster parked in front of our house.  Most of the furnitures we dumped were not even ours initially and some were second hand.  It’s time to let them go.  I watched the dumpster leave with a piece of our home.

In looking back at our JMT trip, I begin to understand Doug a little more.  It’s not that I don’t know him but understanding him is a little different.

In my warm goose down sleeping bag, I unzipped and looked around our tent.  I heard the stove and the spoon swirving around the titanium cup of coffee.  I reached over a small pocket in the tent to grab my iPhone to check the time.  It was 5am.  I peeked out of my tent to check on Doug and saw him sitting by the stove making his morning coffee.  It was a really nice morning with the birds chirping and the lake so still while the moon was still out waiting for the sun to rise.  Every morning, Doug made his morning coffee in silence.  A peaceful time.

“Are you ready for your coffee?”  Doug asked me every single morning.  How does he know when I am up?  His timing is perfection.  “Yes.  Thank you.”  I replied.  I slowly sat up, unrolled some toilet paper, went on my morning pee-time then back to the cozy sleeping bag.  It was getting brighter as the sun started to rise.  Doug unzipped the tent and gave me my cup with hot coffee, milk and sugar, exactly how I like it.  Every morning on the JMT was that way.

Day in and day out, we traveled on foot on the JMT.  Up and down the passes, crossing a few creeks, setting up camp and breaking camp.  It’s no different than our treks in Nepal.  Travel all day, find a tea house, eat dinner, sleep and repeat.  Both have destinations, new sights, sounds, people, challenges and never ending trails.  Everything we needed was in our back packs.

Another NCCN Product Review Assignment

Eligo Hydration system

Eligo Hydration system

I am working on another product review write-up coming out soon for a new product called Eligo Hydrate.  The company is based in Los Gatos California and I met Shawn Rogers, the engineer who designed the product for a quick impromptu interview last week.  This morning, I was able to test the product on a very cool and gray morning on my cross bike.  Eligo just launched this April 2014 and business is starting to pick-up.  

The word “Eligo” means “to choose.”  The product is a mouth piece that connects to a bladder with water and a spile with electrolyte then there are two bite options, one for water and the other for both – you get to choose.  This is a product to watch for.  It is awesome for any activity that require hydration specially in hot weather.

Here is the interview with Shane I just published on NorCal Cyclingnews fan page.  Review coming soon so stay tuned!

I love this job…

Racing and Emptying

Manaslu Trail Race 2014 (Photo Credit: Richard Ball)

Manaslu Trail Race 2014 (Photo Credit: Richard Ball)

Manaslu Mountain Trail Race director, Richard Ball published the entry list of this year’s race and seeing our names in the list gave me goosebumps.  The first thought that came to me as I browsed through the 40 names was the diversity of participants from all over the world.  It should be fun!

In Richard’s words:

The Manaslu Trail Race 2014 is looking to be great fun with around 40 people signed up already, with a few others working out their schedules. Among them: doctors, entrepreneurs, serial endurance event competitors, widely distributed expats, a ranger, educators, climbers, an endurance coach – in short it will be a great bunch of interesting people.

***

I’ve been working on emptying a few book cases and cabinets at home.  Most of the furnitures are going into the dump. The process of carrying the furniture out of the house into the dump takes minutes, however the process of emptying it out takes some time.  There are books on the floor and our plan is to sell them at a used bookstore down the street.  Doug was busy dumping some things from the garage yesterday.  He didn’t realize he had so much tools laying around.  Goodwill is going to be sorting out many of our clothes.  We donated about six bags of just clothes this weekend and there’s more on the way.  Our strategy during the week is for me to empty out cabinets and book cases so when Doug comes home, all we have to do it dump it in the dumpster.

I am going to be honest, it feels liberating.  Also, it’s not so bad.  We don’t ever buy furniture ever since we lived in our home.  Some furnitures came with the house.  Almost all our furnitures are second hand and the reason is, we always had dogs.  It would be a waste to have good or brand new furnitures.  There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done emptying the house but it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

It feels good to have more space and less clutter.  It’s hard to explain the feeling but I like seeing our living room with no furnitures.  In fact, if we were to stay in our home longer I would have build a similar dining structure like the tea houses in the Khumbu.  The tea houses have these community or shared “L” shape tables or corner benches made out of wood.  The seats are dressed in aisle rugs enough to keep warm.  It’s quite comfortable and warm.  The whole room is lit by the natural sunlight of the glass windows all around the room.  I like sitting by the window, have my milk tea and look out to watch the Yaks.  The “L” shape leaves the center of the room open and in the Khumbu, it’s usually where the stove is.  The stove is the main attraction and it’s where everyone sits around after dinner to keep warm before bed or get to tell stories.

Renting the dumpster is very helpful and there’s enough room to fill it up with what needs to be out of the house specially big items.  Just a note, we got one of those Green Waste Box Rentals for $99 but it’s actually $300 by the time “other” fees such as delivering and picking up the box for example are added into the final bill.  We rented the box for a week from Thursday, that way we can do more work during the weekend with both of us being home.

Today, more work at home sorting and bagging more stuff.  Doug’s going to be busy today at work and most likely will be home pretty late.  It will be just me and the little guy. Hayden seems to think that the broom is his toy and gets all wound-up running around mad while I move things.  I believe he is trying to help.

From Journals to Memoir

whats-your-story

A friend of mine sent me her journal about her travels to India and Nepal in her twenties.  There was a sense of two paths crossing each other as I read through her description of the sights, sounds and the people she met along the way.  It brought back memories of our trek up in the Himalayan mountains and the busy streets of Kathmandu.  It’s not surprising that we both took away very valuable lessons after the trip and we both grew stronger as a person in our life.  We are much more resilient.

A memoir is a collection of memories that an individual writes about moments or events, both public or private that took place in the author’s life.

This blog is my journal that will ultimately become a memoir at some point.  Although, it’s still taking it’s form just like how our traveling lifestyle is about to take shape.  I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason but at the same time, we also have to create the life we want to live.  We have crossed 40 years of our life, came to realize who are really are and figured out a way on how to proceed.  Life changes constantly.  Life is unique in itself and valued in many ways.

We have many stories to tell and I regret not making the time to write down the earlier experiences in our travels as much as I should.  Memories should be shared just like a good meal at the table.  I also regret not taking more pictures along the way earlier in our travels but that has changed.  Technology is now a daily tool to send photos and messages faster than one can imagine.  The means to communicate no matter where you are in the world arrived.  We are connected in that aspect.

I’ve been reading travel essays lately and it’s very enjoyable to say the least specially stories about Asia.  Asian countries captivated our hearts for many reasons.  We enjoyed our travel to Europe but Asia has the chaos, ruggedness, vibrancy and variety we really yearn for.  If I was sitting in a hotel or a  street cafe writing this post, the explosive sights of people walking around and motorbikes honking make it even more exciting compared to the silence in my kitchen.  Most likely, Doug would pull me away from my computer to walk the streets to explore foods to eat.

Today, I leave you with an assignment.  In Dharjeeling, it is tradition to share simple sweets to friends and family whenever there is good news.  There is always good news during the week or even a small accomplishment that deserve a small celebration and should be shared!  Sharing the sweets is sharing the joy of celebration.  I would prefer home made sweets because it’s always more special that way.

Life is a celebration.

Thanks for reading and may you also share your happiness to others.  Peace.