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  • Curve Balls

    Posted on January 25th, 2013 Michele Sun No comments

    This Tokyo Marathon is approaching and several unexpected twists have taken place, out of my choice and control.

    First it started with my travel plan; I have booked my flight with ANA back in early Dec. expecting the convenience of the new route flying out of San Jose to Narita Airport (Tokyo), and most importantly the excitement of being on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. While I was researching the flight, Max and I had our eyes on the 787 and we were willing to pay a premier for experience of flying this new air craft, even though we knew it’s at least $ 200 more than flying the usual route which we did last year out of San Francisco. However, the recent news of problem with battery on the air plane  has got the Dreamliner under heated spotlight for days, and eventually got grounded by FAA in less than one week. At first I wasn’t too concerned about the safety, thinking it might be a bug like any new launched hardware, but being grounded by FAA changed the picture because now I am not sure what will happen to my flight.

    787 Dreamliner

    I called ANA three times, and was told that I could wait till the day before my trip, either the 787 would be approved to fly, or I would be put on an alternative plane flying out of San Francisco. But when I questioned whether ANA would refund me the difference if I opt for the alternative route, the answer was “No.” But the thing is, have I had booked the San Francisco route at the first place, I could have saved at least $ 200, and now I am very possibly paying a premier price for a less expensive flight? I don’t think it’s justified. And if I just cancel the flight right now and rebook the San Francisco flight, I still can save $ 100. This question has caused me headache of researching new airfare, and debating if I should wait or just forget about it. However the last phone call was more affirmative, ANA staff told me that “Safety is more important,” and I think that pretty much indicated the Dreamliner would not take off from San Jose anytime soon.

    Then the flu season came and many of my colleagues got sick. I must have got in contact with gazillions of viruses that as healthy as I am eventually got sick, and I was feeling very weak that I skipped both Tue and Thur morning runs which is very rare.  On Sat I felt the need to go outside for a run and some fresh air, so went out for a long run and hoping the endorphins would kick the flu bugs. Also I wanted to help Loi train for Marathon de Paris in April, and I knew she definitely needed a running partner to get her training kicked-off; interesting that I resumed my “mentor” role again but we both have grown up and changed a bit in the last few years. I started at Campbell Park at 6:30am first, and ran toward Meridian@Willow with headlamp. It’s dark, chilly, wet and I was having problem to breathe in the cold air, or maybe I was just having respiratory problem. After 5 miles I came back to where I parked again, and ditched the headlamp and took my first GU Gel. Saw Fernando by the little hut surprisingly and it’s so great to see him,  but told him that I needed to go otherwise my muscle would lock up. I continued another 6 miles toward the Los Gatos High School and body was less stiff now. The trail was wet from previous rainy days,  and it’s really beautiful when sun came out. Reached the high school track at 8:30am as I had planned but Loi was nowhere to be found, so I ran on the frosted track while waiting for her to show up. Somehow it felt more like ice-skating :-p

    13 - 1

    Ended up running 6 laps and she joined me for another 6 miles running back to the Campbell Park. 18.45 miles checked, and today’s run was powered by 3 GU Gel and 1 banana 🙂

    18.45 ml on RunKeeper

    I have learned that Venkat is not going to run Tokyo Marathon for a personal reason, and I totally understand and support his decision!! Meanwhile, I was patiently waiting for Max to tell me that he is getting better with the  knee problem and he would be able to make it to the race. I did not want to push him for favorable decision, however I do need to finalize my travel plan soon, and I truly hope that he is recovered fully and can do this race as THE race for 2013 for him. Despite of his out of training for 4, 5 weeks, I am very confident that he will do well in Tokyo Marathon with his capability and very strong baseline. However,  in the back of my mind, I sensed that I probably would end up going 5400 miles away by myself, standing at the START alone and feeling abandoned…

    I got very stressed over the thought of going to Tokyo alone, even though I do have other running friends would do this event, and I knew that I would have fun hanging out with them and certainly I would not be completely alone.  The entire week I was pondering on how not to lose sight of the goal? How not to lose motivation? I tried o convince myself that despite the 787 drama and missing Venkat and Max, I still can and should continue my training runs and not bail out. It will be very unreasonable and selfish of me expecting Max to accompany me to Tokyo again while he is injured, and I particularly don’t want him to feel any more sucky than what he is dealing with at this phase; injury sucks big time and I completely understand. I did not share my stress with him or anyone and I constantly telling myself to tough it up and “Do your best, Michele!! ”

    This stressful week got me thinking a little deeper and differently about running a race though! Not every race is an automatically PR, and some races are mean to run to build character, to build toughness, to build confidence, to build strength, and I take this race as my opportunity to build my character! No matter how circumstances taking turns, I should follow through with my training and finish this race. I also hope that  Max would not fixate on PR or race result and look at this Tokyo Marathon from different perspective; I actually thought it would make a remarkable race story with his injury and still doing a destination race in Asia. But that was just my viewpoint not his, no matter how much I wanted to see this trip and race take place, it’s still ultimately his decision. It’s a matter of how bad he wants this to happen! It depressed me a great deal to see Max’s injury and not able to enjoy his usual runs because I know how much he loves running, and I remember vividly his facial expression when we were leaving Woodside few weeks ago when he said “oh, I miss running!”  The thought of our not going to Tokyo together truly sucked, and not able to get to the top of Tokyo Sky Tree or go to onsen is quite disappointing. The disturbing thoughts led to insomnia eventually, and I was waking up around 2:30am every nights.

    So when things are not going the way you wanted, when life throws you a curve ball or any other of a dozen things that can happen, what do you do?


    2 responses to “Curve Balls” RSS icon

    • Michele, i am so impressed with your self-awareness and recognition of the value of life’s curveballs. I live near the start line and while I am sure that I will be in K block while you are likely to be elsewhere, lets think about meeting up while you are here for a mutually supporting herbal tea or a GU gel for fun?

      In any event, please come to Tokyo as your experience from last year seemed to be a very good time for you. This is such a wonderful country with so many generous warm people. Gambatte! (Good luck)

      • Thank you so much for the comment!
        We can never predict what will happen the next moment, so the best one can do is to seize every moment we can in life to live without regrets. Having say that, it’s still very disappointing that things are not moving as originally planned 6 months ago, but I am determined to make the best experience out of this race/trip.
        I can always run in honor of my friend who is injured and can’t race!!
        Not sure which block I will be this year, but will post photo soon when I receive my race packet 🙂

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