A Mindful Run

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This morning was 32 degree Fahrenheit when I started my run, and 34 degrees after I was done with the 10 miles. Not much temperature rise, yup. And I was cold afterwards when I cooled down. But, and here is the big but, in between the start and finish, I had one of my best runs: my body was moving swiftly, legs opened, stride after stride, and not cold.

The part stood out for me was that I consciously relaxed my body and allowed my legs to comfortably extending my strides. Each step was a conscious effort which meant my mind was paying attention to where my foot was landing and the toe off. It was not on the scenery, bystanders, or anything else.  No exerting, just mindfully running.  

Worth noting that my pace was not super fast but my efforts, on the other hand, deliberate and race like.  Maybe it was due to the thick cold air, me out of shape, or I was just pumped up. Whatever the case might be, today’s long run was ideal.

What’s your “perfect” run like?

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Friday After Thanksgiving

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Waking up to the hollering sounds of blistery wind outside my windows. Another chilly day! Anyone braving the cold to take the advantage of the Black Friday sales will not only have to contend with the weather but also the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Speaking of the virus, here is a bad news: A new mutation of the Coronavirus called the Omicron variant from South Africa has been reported.  It is sure to make the pandemic lasting longer and potentially get around the existing vaccines. 

The cold air will undoubtedly keep more people indoor and them susceptible to the virus  transmission.  The combination of the weather and variant is unfortunate and very disturbing to say the least. 

On the bright side, I am thankful that my family and relatives have managed to stay  healthy in the midst of all these.  Our gathering last night was modest but good spirited.  Hope none of them is going to the stores today.

How did you spend your Friday after the Thanksgiving? 

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Thanksgiving 2021

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Peaceful Thanksgiving. New York Time gave a nice summary of this traditional American holiday, and it is not about the pilgrims sitting down with the natives for a happy meal.  Far from it. 

Cultural ignorance leads to cultural war.  And it will continue if we keep on whitewashing stories and choosing not to face up to the truth.  Native Americans have every right to feel betrayed and angry when the Thanksgiving is depicted as the pilgrim-native kumbaya.    

Choose reconciliation and not war. More Americans died of Covid-19 this year than the year before.  Isn’t that enough for us to prioritize understanding over ignorance or collaboration over misinformation?  Can we be really that blind?

On this day, be thankful for being alive, and contemplate in peace if gathering with your family.  

How is your Thanksgiving this year versus in 2020?


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On Pain Management

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Pain is an inevitable part of life. Life is full of it. Starts with birth and ends with death. And lots sprinkled in between. Not saying making pain your friend, but avoiding it is no solution either. Why not learn to leverage the pain to navigate through life?

You see, pain is our body telling us that course correction is needed. Ignoring it does not make it better. Disguising or masking it with drug or alcohol will only temporarily confuse our senses but not change the fact.  Instead, heed the pain.

Putting your hand over a hot stove will be painful and teach you not to do it again. Similarly, hurting others, physically or emotionally, causes them pain. And we all know that is not nice. Either way, pain will provide authentic feedback.

In essence, pain serves as an alarm signal to keep us on the straight and narrow when we pay attention to it. But logical as that may sound, it does not make the pain any easier to accept.  Right, you are.  What should one do when it comes to this touchy subject?

For one, do not avoid the pain.  Rather, acknowledge it as a necessity and learn enough, so not to repeat it.  What is the pain telling me?  If my body is feeling it, it is real. How can I effectively deal with it?  Avoiding pain will not lead to understanding nor enlightenment.

One of the most common mistakes in running is to run through pains.  Ignoring the body’s signal on something is wrong is a recipe for injury.  I will be the first to admit, being there, done that. As my body ages, it is taking me longer to heal.  That’s why I take my pain seriously.

Have you got  any suggestions on dealing with pain?

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What We Don’t Know

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New Coronavirus cases are continuing to rise in 34 of the 50 US States (NBCNews) – an increase from almost two weeks ago and in spite of the mass vaccination efforts. Some say the cold weather is driving people indoor and thus the culprit.  But we had surges in the Summer as well. So what gives?

Knowledge is a great thing. It helps human kind advanced our understanding in  many areas. Particularly with technology, we put human beings in space and rover on Mars. But right here at home, our struggles with the Coronavirus is approaching two years and counting. Clearly, we don’t what has caused the virus and how to prevent its spreading.

I have wondered why with the tracking of the pandemic how come our Big Data Analytics could not lick this challenge?  Why our models can not predict and prevent the spread of the virus? Am I being a fool on omniscient and ignorant of my blind spots or the unknowns? In other words: we don’t know what we don’t know. 

The Big Data sheds light on what we already do and perhaps improves our knowledge in that regard.  But when it comes to the unknowns, it does not chip away what we don’t know.  That is still primarily a human task.  As much as our good grasp on many things, there are much much more to discover and understand.

How much do we really know?

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I Am Waiting

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It is two days to Thanksgiving.

An anxious feeling is inside of me.

What am I waiting for?

– a turkey to be cooked?

– a get together with family or friends?

– a big sale on the Black Friday?

Not quite sure.

What about you? Are you getting ready?


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Week In Review – 21 Nov 2022

As the year rolls on, this period always make me reflective.  After all bulk of the year is already behind me. What else can I desperately hang on or change to make the year more   meaningful? The feeling of melancholy is a pattern I associate with the coming of the winter season.

In terms of taking care of self, what should I do? Escape to a warmer climate? Learn snow skiing? Or simply hibernate? Oh well, this much I do know: get a Covid-19 booster shot.  Yes, I can as the U.S. eligibility has been expanded to all adults (source).  Thanks and a  backhanded compliment to the anti-vaxxers.

Another option is to volunteer.  In this our second Coronavirus Pandemic year, my life is perfect compared to some. Just look at all the migrants who are trying to cross the borders here and elsewhere. Helping others in need in whatever fashion has the benefit of diverting my focus away from the weather and other less important matter.  

Stay safe & have a nice week.

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Spotting Patterns

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I like patterns. They are everywhere.  Much of the Big Data Analytics is to find patterns in seas of observations.  However, one doesn’t have to be gigantesque to spot patterns.  Patterns exist around us, at our finger tips, in everyday life.

Every time we turn on our cell phone or laptop, the device goes through a pattern of starting up.  Maybe asking for our username and password or greeting us with a prompt for our instructions.  And these patterns provide us a level of familiarity and comfort.  We feel safe, knowing what to expect.

Plus, pattern exists beyond individual level.  Weather, traffic, and relationship come to mind. Perhaps a bit more complex than the personal devices, but it wouldn’t take a genius to realize the need for an umbrella when the sky is overcast, to anticipate the extra time required  when traveling in rush hours, or to recognizing a couple in love.

We learn these patterns through experiences. Ultimately we adapt them into our memories and apply them in our decision making processes. What fascinate me though are the choices people make to externalize their patterns.  Be it through the cloth they wear, the job they pick, or the spouse they choose, all part of their patterns.

What are your patterns in your self story?


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It Is About To Get Cold

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Thanksgiving is next Thursday. It is one of the heaviest traveled holidays in the United States. Sure, people want to go home and spend the holiday with family. Unfortunately, the weather forecast has the holiday in the bullseye of a brewing winter storm. Yikes!

To wit, less than a week before Thanksgiving, the cold spill is already foreshadowing here in the Washington DC area. Today’s high temperature is in the mid-40’s and low in the mid-20’s. But, the real chiller is the wind, or more specifically the wind gusts. Which has lasted from dawn to dusk with velocity nearing 30 miles per hour.

The cutting combination of the wind and cold temperature makes the Capital winter miserable.  When I visited Fairbanks, Alaska a month ago, it was cold there – cold but bearable, because of no wind. Imaging if I feel cold now, the winter storm is to bring wind gusts up to 70 mph. Jiminy Christmas! Just the thought of it is making me shiver.

Are you traveling for Thanksgiving?

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Why Volunteer?

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Volunteering should be a positive experience as in giving where one finds satisfaction in his or her own way.  It should not  be an act of sacrifice or obligation as such it will not last. Volunteering should be self-directed as well as rewarding at the same time.

But with all the pressures from the Coronavirus, inflation, and whatever else that are weighing people down, who has the time or energy to give?  You may be thinking. Which is quite understandable.  Time is tough.  Especially with the holidays coming.

Perhaps, just perhaps, by giving yourself in some way, you find your redemption.  It could be forgetting your own trouble for the time being or lending a helping hand to someone truly in need. The experience turns out positive and life affirming. Which we can all use more.

Thanks to the  Parkrun US Blog for this inspiration.

Do you volunteer?

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