What’s The Question?

Almost five months have gone by since I learned that I missed the 2019 Boston Marathon Cut-off by 1 second.  Enough time has passed for my  bruised feeling to heal.  Even though as I said before, try harder next time, a few questions need to be addressed.

And they are:

  1. What is the qualifying time for age 60?
  2. How much faster do I need to beat the qualifying time (#1) to make the cut-off?
  3. What pace do I need to run to meet the time required from #2?
  4. How should I train to achieve the fitness level for the pace in #3?

My goal remains the same – qualifying fast enough to run in the Boston Marathon.

Before the marathon training starts in two months, an overarching question is  how fast do I need to achieve this year to run the 202 Boston Marathon? The answer to this and other associated questions will determine how I need to train.

Pardon the geek in me, but my approach and the answers are as follows:

  1.  3 hrs 50 min 00 sec (men 60 – 64)
  2. Here is the geeky part.  I took a look at the cut off times since 2012 when BAA started the rolling admission:  2019 (4:52), 2018 (3:23), 2017 (2:09), 2016 (2:28), 2015 (1:02), 2014 (1:38).  In 2013 overflow runners were deferred to 2014.  And in 2012 the cutoff was actually 5 minutes SLOWER than the qualifying times.  And I did a linear regression (or extrapolate) the cutoff for 2020 and got 4 min 40 sec which means I need to run a qualifying marathon under 3 hr 45 min 20 sec (assuming my math is correct).
  3. 8:36 is the pace using the McMillan calculator.
  4.  My training will pretty much mirror the last year’s maybe with a few tweaks.

There you have it.

Which questions do you need to answer to achieve your goals? 


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Sunday – My Favorite Day Of The Week

Friday used to be my favorite day of the week.  Knowing it’s the end of the work week and with a weekend ahead, my feeling was both relief (for the former) and anticipation (for the later).  Excitement galore.

That favorite changed since my retirement, four years ago. Obviously work week and weekend no longer carry the same meanings for me. I have put the hustle and bustle of my commuter life to a thing of the past.  Accordingly, my favorite also changed.

My favorite day of the week shifts to Sunday.  Instead being the day before work and stress city, Sunday has become more relaxed and reflective in my retirement.  And I enjoy composing my “Week In Review” on Sundays much more.

You see, the weekly review is a space for me to pause and ponder about the week passed.  It serves as a mini time capsule of my life and a re-charging opportunity as well.  Since my retirement, I have been able to truly live to that purpose.

For that, Sunday earns my favorite day of the week.

What’s your favorite day of the week?


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How To Avoid Self Sabotage?

Who is there talking behind my back?

Nobody, except my negative self hacks.

Why do they pop-up in the worst of times?

Guarantee that it SHALT happen every time.

What can I do to make them less so?

Pause, Acknowledge, and just Let them go.

 How do you practice your emotional hygiene

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Hope Is A Function Of Struggle, Part 2

Easy to feel negativism is running rampant.  Not only here at home but around the globe: Teachers revolt, Me Too, Brexit . . .  The list goes on. Seems everyone is fighting; no one trusts each other.  Not even the priest!

Why the fighting?  Can’t we all just get along?

Well, that depends.

If getting-along means going along, the answer of “no” as suggested by Jenna Brownson in her Huffington Post piece is a good one.  Why be silenced when your voice is guaranteed, at least in the US. It doesn’t just happen.  One must fight for it.  Remember that freedom is not free.

But if getting-along means collaborating in crafting a win-win solution, the struggle evolves to a higher form in civilized society – namely politics.  Yes, judging from how dysfunctional Washington is, the p-word carries truckload of connotations.

Nevertheless, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.  Our system is set up for struggle. Just because our opinions are divided and the politicians are failing the grade, we should not give up.

Instead of telling people to shut up or go home, cooler head will prevail. Strive to keep our hopes high but seek ways to collaborate.  Try and try again, because hope is a function of struggle.

Part 1, here.

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Week In Review – 17 Feb 2019

Following up to an earlier post, I am reappraising my role as a parent.  Certainly as every parent knows, the job is lifetime but changing as we grow older. It is easy to get trapped in out dated mindsets and not keeping up with our child.

Also took a break from the winter and visited New Orleans, the Big Easy.  What a city and its people.  I was impressed. Imaging its existence preceded our nation, a rich history and culture manifested in its food, music and customs.  This trip epitomized our style as the experiencing-something travelers.

As much as I love the WordPress and its blogsphere, a clear distinction exits between the real and virtual communities.  Real community has members that can be organized and mobilized to support physical changes.  The level of commitment is something that the virtual community has a hard time matching.  Ask how many of your virtual friends can you really count on?

Further, the prevalence of fake news on social media erodes people’s trust, a key ingredient in human relations.  Whom can you really believe?  At least that is how I felt when reading through the news.  Couldn’t help but feel the embellishment by the media.  

Have a nice week!


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Is The Sky Falling?

Next storm Feb 16

The headline reads, “more disruptive storms with snow, ice and rain eye Midwest and Northeast into midweek” with added infographic laying out the impact across the affected areas.

This much I will say, they got my attention.  As a runner, I am a sucker for weather related news.  Probably much more than I should.  Because the report went on with ominous words like “slippery roads,” “school delays and cancellations” and other scary scenarios

What is going on?

I understand it’s better be cautious than sorry.  But maybe, just maybe, it’s also easier to ask forgiveness if the worst case does not materialize, than say the other way around.  In other words: Cover Your Ass(et).

Case in point: last night, a Hypothermia Alert was issued for this morning –  expect the wind chill to be below 32 degrees from 3 a.m. until 1 p.m.  So dutifully I prepared myself for the Hypothermia condition.

But it was closer to 40 degree Fahrenheit when I ran this morning. Yeah a bit windy but much better than the forecast.  However there was very few runners out there.  Maybe I am not the biggest sucker after all.

Is there a media conspiracy on scaring the hell out us?

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Mindless Reading

Caught myself mindlessly reading the news and literally getting nowhere.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s an exiting world out there: the President and Congress averted another government shutdown, disgruntled employee turned active shooter in Illinois was killed by the police after killing five or more people, etc. etc.

Each and every one of these stories has drama and intrigue – story behind the story.  Just that I am not in a receiving mode. Why?  It is Friday after all.

Maybe its the intuitive part of my personality seeking solace from the much fabricated drama, or my allergic self reacting to the pollen from a unusual warm winter day in Washington DC.  In any cases, I am reading without discovery, like mindless eating without satiety.

Luckily, weekend is here.  I shall endeavor to engage activities that rejuvenate my spirit.  Go for a long and meditative run, a chance to clear the cobweb out of my head, or an opportunity to pamper myself by kicking back and be lazy.

What is your weekend plan?

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Is Virtual Community Real?

Virtual community such as online social networks is great for information sharing.  Empowered by internet and digital technology, virtual community is information superhighway that covers a wide spectrum of interests and audiences. 

Speed, agility, and potential unlimited membership make virtual community the darling vehicle for social changes. Great hopes have been predicted. But is it really happening? Lets take a closer look.

In reality, virtual communities and their hundreds, thousands, or even millions followers do not guarantee social change.  Just look at two popular campaigns: the Me-Too movement and  Occupying Wall Street.  Both received roaring attention and media coverage but fail to materialize in real social change.  

[Note: Real change is systemic implementation that lasts.]  

Why do virtual community fall short of expectation?  Or is the expectation unrealistic?  Unlike its physical counterpart, virtual community has no organization to carry the water.  Instead, it attracts “clicktivism” or “slacktivism” which represents the lack of motivation or commitment from its members.

Without the structure of an organization, virtual community like street protests  ‘turns at high speed and produces a lot of political energy. But the engine is not connected to wheels, and so the “movement” doesn’t move.’  This is why in the 2016 US Presidential Election, candidate  Sanders could not run as an independent.  He needed the Democratic Party’s support.

So is virtual community real?  It is great in generating ideas and energy.  But for the purpose of translating those into actionable steps with strategic purpose, virtual community is not it.  At least not alone.  For real social change, the old-fashioned (physical) community organizing is still the way to go.

How involved are you in your virtual community?

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When traveling or vacationing, one of the decisions is whether to keep certain routines from home.  Routines like exercising, checking email, maintaining same diet or whatever your choice.  The balancing act is easier if you know which type of traveler you are.

Well, the decision depends on your definition of travel.  Is it to get away from it all, to experience something specific, or to be in different space and time? How much routines to keep will depend on your chosen style.

The get-away-from-it-all is the least home-like.  After all, one is looking for change however long or short the trip duration may be.  Cruise comes to mind (unless your normal life is on board  a ship).  The amount of food, entertainment, and excursion options whisk any land inhabitants away.

Then there is the different-space-and-time.  Basically, keeping most things the same.  Hotels & resorts love this type of brand marketing.  The same setup, same expectation, and same routine.  No surprises.  Only the location and scenery changes.

And of course, the in between travel is to experience-something.  Meaning a specific purpose for the trip like to visit the Grand Canyon for sightseeing, Paris for honeymoon, or Mardi Gras for fun.  Here, one’s routines are adjusted as necessary to satisfy the intended purpose.

So which type of traveler are you?

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Said good bye to New Orleans and its Big Easy charm.  Fond memories of its food, history, and people gave me an appreciation towards what local identity is all about.  Especially a place as colorful as NOLA.

I was surprised to learn that the city celebrated its 300th birthday (in 2018).  Between the  Natives, French, Spanish, and American, historical interests in New Orleans has to do with its fertile soil by the Mississippi River and near access to the Gulf of Mexico.

The different cultural influences manifest themselves in architectures, languages, and  palates. Particularly the Creole cuisines such as red bean & rice, jambalaya, okra gumbo can trace their roots back in history.  And the result is an unique blend that reflects both the local customs and people.

Of particular interest to me is how the City and its residents recovering from the 2005 Hurricane Katrina.  Granted, vacant buildings still remain, and more works are needed.  But the tenacity of NOLA people in finding reasons to celebrate is most impressive.

laissez les bon temps rouler!

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