Pushing the limits

“If you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.” – Bruce Lee

2011 was the year for training throughout the winter, in the snow, ice, and the cold. What can go wrong will go wrong. I sunk knee deep in cold slush, slipped on ice, almost got hit by a car a few times, almost got hit by a bus (whew), some bad shin splints, loose knee joint, stuck in leftover blizzard snow (sooo stupid), almost chased down by a monster dog (stupid girl almost let go of the leash, wtf), nipple chaffing, sweat sweat sweat, pain pain pain, ah good times. No pain no gain, so gimmie more…

The treadmills just isn’t my thing. Once the spring came, I was able to hit 10+ miles. Progress! But now, it was time to put my training to the test, the Half Marathon! The second half of 2011 was my quest for half marathons (NYRR Brooklyn Half, NYRR Queens Half, Grete’s Gallop [2 Central Park loops], and NYRR Staten Island Half).

What a thrill! Running with 10,000 people, amazing! I even whipped out a cartwheel at the finish line. They say if you can run 13 you can run 26, I wasn’t too sure about that. Running 13+ miles will be a brand new experience and challenge. This would require that I’m comfortable running 13 miles. Well, lets try it out.

So I decided to run 13 miles locally; no racing, no mob of runners, just me all over the streets of Queens. Mission accomplished, all by myself; all grown up now. The cool thing about running farther is that you can run different routes every time so that it never gets boring. Its been a year since I’ve started training, and today for the first time, I pushed the limit, 13.5 miles, and still felt like there was some more in me. By next summer, my goal is to hit 20 in about 3-3.5 hrs.

13.5 miles down, time to rest now…

From 13 blocks to 13 miles

If you are not challenged, then you’re half alive.

As I turned 29, I started to think that my physical ability would just go downhill from here on in. Maybe there is still hope to maintain my prime. One night, I watched an inspirational film “Run Fatboy Run”; about a guy who trained from scratch to run the London marathon. My mentality is: if can be done, then surely I can do it too. I watched the NYC marathon on TV for years and thought “how awesome would it be to run in that massive group of people one day”.

I had a doctor’s appointment on a Saturday morning around Halloween; about a 15 minute walk and 15 minute bus ride away. The time has come to actually try this jog thing out and to put myself to the challenge. But I don’t know a thing about jogging. What to wear, what to drink, how fast to jog, etc?

Out I went with my Ipod shuffle, 3 layers of shirts, kungfu pants, backback with a bottle of water. After 2 blocks, I realized the water bottle was bad idea since it kept knocking my back, so I tossed it, dumb idea. Perhaps I went faster than jogging speed and the cold air was hurting my throat. I had no breathing techniques and was out of breath quickly. After 10 blocks, I had to take a break. How could this be? Am I not in shape? I ran for another 5 blocks, another rest, and another and another. I walked a few more blocks and finally made it to my destination. I did 1 mile, whew.

Much harder than I thought. Is 26 miles possible for me? I don’t even enjoy running that much and can barely run a mile. But then again, this is the challenge I was looking for, so bring it on! A few days later, I decided to run to Queens Center Mall from my house (about 3 miles); a night jog, street lights and all. Maybe if I run slower and pace myself , this can be possible without having a heart attack. Behold, improvement already. I lasted a whole mile, but then collapsed, and took a break for 5 minutes. Then, my first major uphill, I took it on, but then another break a few blocks through. Must not rest! Must keep running, and so I did the 5 block run and 1 block walk shuffle all the way to my finish line. I felt great, and smiled as I took the train back home feeling proud of myself but too sweaty to sit down, hehe.

Can I keep this trend going? Can I keep the motivation? How bad do I want this? Will my body break down with pains and injuries? Lets see where this goes…

First Post – Hello World

Well, whats my story? Although born in Miami, I lived in NY all my life. My childhood and teens become more of a blur as I age so lets just fast forward to age 24. I moved out to live on my own in upper Manhattan with 3 roommates while going to college majoring in Engineering. Of course, I knew nothing about the real world and epically sucked at starting a career.

The next 4-5 years were tough; 4-6 hours sleep every night, switched jobs several times, went back to grad school, bad eating habits, etc. Nevertheless, I’m content with the result of my efforts, and have met many interesting people along the way, especially this one girl in particular who I met on MySpace in 2005 and married last year, Karen. I’m such a lucky guy to have found my wife and best friend through a random internet search.

I moved to Queens a few years ago (always wanted to live there). I grew up in the Bronx and never felt like it was for me.

Although I work at a bank (mostly sitting at a desk staring at 2 screens, writing code all day), I would consider myself an active person. I’ve been training kung-fu for years, currently YingJowPai (Eagle Claw): www.yingjowpai.com.

Then the day came, I turned 30. Was this the end of my youth, are the best years behind me? Perhaps my 20s can somehow be extended by doing anything/everything that I’ve ever wanted to do, and to truly take advantage of my time left on Earth. What to do? I tried snowboarding and had a blast (not sure if I would do it again), took break-dancing classes at PMTHouseOfDance (plan to go back soon to master wind-mills and flares once and for all), finished a few Half marathons, competed in a kung-fu tournament advanced division, etc.

I’m making a bucket list; I want to summit a mountain, travel the world, do a back flip without breaking my neck, etc. On the top of this list; running 26.2 miles in the NYC marathon 2012.