Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Louis - Angeles Crest 100 Endurance Run Race Report

In memory of my aunt Julie who passed away on the 7/15 and lay to rest on 7/21

As most of you know, I did not make the cut off at Eagle's Roost (mi 29.98 of the race) but I had a good day. And on a good note, this race report is only 1/3 long =P

The last few months have been very interesting.  I injured myself (I purposely ran beyond my limit with stupid reasons, so I caused the injury... totally my fault for not having a leveled head) at Boney Mountain Trail Race and that had a domino effect on my mind and body... eventually leading to a developing fracture on my left leg. As I wrote on my previous blog, I focused on my recovery and my goal was to make it to the start line.  I spent time to bike and hike.  And when I was finally able to run a few weeks prior the race, I sprained my big toe during the 40 miles weekend.  It hurt to walk!  I asked Coach Jimmy if I should run on it. He said no because he wanted me to be healthy. I listened and did other things to keep my fitness level.

Because of the injury, I spent a lot of time preparing this race mentally.  I know I need to race smart.

Before I go on with the actual race, I want to talk about the preparation for Angeles Crest 100. Unlike Ironman, there are a lot going into an ultra race.  Now that the race is over for this year, I want to take a step back and take you through the experience.

Training Camp
I believe in training at the location that you are going to race.  When I was training for Vineman Full Distance Triathlon, I drove up with the team and literally did the course in 2 days.  We would bike the course on Sat and do 2 of the 3 run loop on Sunday.  That it!  In case of other Ironmans, I drive the bike course for planning purposes.

So training for a 100 miles while recovering from an injury turned out to be a lot of planning. First of you, you can't drive it so you need to either run or walk the course. Because I want to cover more distance (to make the training count because I was in recovery mode) by doing point to point hike, I needed to convince my friends that hiking with me is fun so we can have one car at the start and one car at the end... and some of them will disagree about the 'fun' part shortly after the hike =P While a typical training day is usually 16-30mi long for others, I need to cut them down to 10... 12... 16 mi sections at a time. Consider that I only know about 20 miles of the course, the whole process took a few weeks.  Actually I still haven't lay foot at some places because of my sprained toe, but I am planning to complete all the section within the next few weeks =)

route planning. good thing I am good at reading map

Cassandra - This is a fun hike
I 'forgot' to tell Cassandra about the uphill =P
Training Hike with Eric - get to understand more about life in the Navy.
Then there is the night hike. I did two point to point night hikes as training (would of do more if I have time!) to see how my body react during a night of hiking because we are required to run through out the night. I felt good!

Night Training - around mi 66 of the course
We finished the point to point hike, but we are stuck because the car gate is locked for another 2 hours =P
Night Training: around 3:30am - Jennifer and Sam.

Finding a Crew and meeting with them
For most 100 mile trail races, you are allowed to have a crew to support you at various aid stations.  There are a lot of capable people out there and offered their helps, but I decided to ask a few people based on my own set of criteria.  Each of my crew is there for a specific reasons, but it basically break down to... People that I want to see, people that know how to take care of others, people who can take charge of the crew and act as one, people who knows the course and are capable to pace me, people who I can demand things without them getting mad.  But the most important thing is, I picked them because I want to share this experience with them.  And I didn't want them to just show up and crew me. I want them to get involved with the get go, so I send them a weekly or bi-weekly email telling them about my progress... so I actually made it a 8 months thing.  I sent emails about my training, what did my doctor say about my injury, and a lot of planning information.  We had a few eating... I meant meetings to go over my plan  They all know about my nutrition, how to use my gear, and where I put things in my pack etc.  Since only two of the six crew members actually crew before, it took some planning.  But over all we are very prepared going into the race and I know I am in good hands. We know things are going to fall apart, but I know we can deal with whatever that come up.

One of the first support crew meeting... eating hot pot. a kind of heat training for us
Vitapanda Kevin helps me with some crewing paperwork
Operation Dark Panda - There are so many things against me (injury etc), I am the dark horse!

The Torafuku Team Meeting - nom nom nom
When Stephen was in Japan, he helped me buy 'The Charm of Strong Leg' for my crew members.
Gearing Selection
Coming from the hiking background, I know having the right gear will play a big part of this race.  I know my hiking headlamp wasn't bright enough for running, so I tried a few headlamps and field test them to pick the one that I like.  You can talk about lumen and regulated/non-regulated headlamp all you want, but nothing beat field testing your equipment.  I also try out new shoes and found a light weight shell that I like.

As you can tell I am a petzl fan
lab test
Field Testing headlamp - Idle hour trail at maybe 3:00am
shoe audition
Talking to my coaches and other runners
So you are running a 100 miles with 20,000 feet of climbing. The time limit is 33 hours.  If you break it down by 3 miles stretch, there are 33 sections.  You find yourself talking to a lot of people about the course

I had a few meeting with Coach Jimmy and Coach Kate. I talked to my marathon Coach Kiley and I asked Coach Pete to give me some tips on speed walking since I cannot run until a few weeks before the race.

As I was doing my training run with people I would talk to the people that did the race and they offered a lot of good tips. Ultra running is a small community and the goal of people is to get everyone to the finish line, this is why

One of the things that always came up in a discussion is that you have to keep going on matter what.  You need to ignore the plan and keep going, so I talked to my Team In Training honored teammates Van and Virginia to get some inspiration from them by asking them how they dealt with chemo treatment.

I also talked to Jocelyn Wong, a retired professional triathlete, for some advices because she is one of the toughest chicks I ever known.  She wrote a nice long email to share her experience and how she overcome some of the challenges and proven herself to others while she was in Team TBB.  

Talking to my coaches - Coach Jimmy, Coach Kate, Coach Kiley
Talking to fellow runners during training run
Coach Pete - Team In Training Walking Coach
Team In Training Honored Teammate Van and Virginia

Jocelyn "Quadzilla" Wong aka The Wong Star

Race Week
Days leading to the race
I saw Doctor Zamora the week before and he gave me the final go ahead with the race. I went to three sent off and spend most of the time preparing for the race.

Torafuku - My Send Off for Coach Jimmy, Coach Kate, and Coach Kiley
TNT Sent off with Coach Kiley
Getting my blessing from Godfather Sean
Send Off from the Asian Triathletes... and Lindsey, Marisela, Tara, Veronica
Hong Kong Pride - a sent off for both Roy and I. Roy is doing Vineman Full Distance Triathlon on 7/28
Cupcakes from Lily's Piece of Cake
Being the best crew as she can be, Lindsey accompany me to my check in Friday morning.  We dropped off my gear, had lunch with Kiley, then we drove back to LA so I can attend my aunt's wake. The best way to cope my sudden lost of my aunt is to continue on with the race.  After Lindsey's first curry house experience, we got back to the hotel at around 10:00pm and met with the rest of the crew (Lindsey also acted as a carpool lane buddy).

Race Co Director Uncle Hal. Him and other people make this race possible.  For some odd reason I want to finish the race and tell Uncle Hal that I made it.
 Medical Check at Angeles Crest 100

Lunch at Gizzy Cafe - I jumped when I was looking at the moose... and it moved... LOL
Curry Udon - Lindsey's first Curry House experience
So my crew were actually surprised that I parked next to Saveria's decorated car. They didn't think that I will try to look for her car because we need to put stuff in different cars.  I am extremely surprised because I never have my name written on a car before =P

ah my name is on the car (side window)!
Preparing my stuff at the parking lot!
Race Day
I woke up, prepare for the day ahead and headed to the start line. We got there a little before 4am. I went for a warmup and ALL OF MY CREW told me to just sit down.  I told them to leave me alone and continue on with my warmup.  I wanted to check my shoe and make sure they are tied the way I wanted. I also want to get warm so I can run the flat 1 mile in town before going uphill.  The one time that I didn't warm up, I DNF.

Kevin, Saveria, Kim, Lindsey, Stephen, and I at the start line
I was being anti social so I kind of hided away from people. I didn't spend much talking to the Coyotes (even though I really wanted to) and just try to focus on the task at hand. It was kind of funny to have 5 people following me around wherever I go. I am not used to it =)

At the starting line
People often ask me if I am ready and if I am nervous.  I was as ready as I can be given the situation that I was in.  I was going to drop in May but I glued myself together so I can train.  And I am not nervous. It sounds disrespectful to the course because everyone should be nervous about a 100 miles run.  But honestly, I got out of a stress fracture and I have all these things against me. I know things will go wrong and I will need to fix it. Being nervous really doesn't help the situation. I just need to be smart and fix problems. I don't need to punch my own face by being nervous.

At 5am July 21, 2002. The race start.

The Race (I didn't bring my camera, pictures are from training run or others')
From Start to Inspiration Point
I ran the first mile on road and I feel great. Leg didn't hurt and my toe is holding up.  I know everyone is going to be faster than me so I did not look back to check if anyone is behind me.  Jack Cheng told me he was one of the last few people to leave the earlier aid stations and he finished the race in around 30 hours.  Coach Jimmy also told me to be patience so I follow their advices and go at my own pace.  Because I haven't been hiking/running for a few weeks after I sprained my toe, I just monitor my body and kept going.  I figured a pace that I can go at with a heart rate that I can maintain.  It's nice out. The sun raise is bright red and the view is beautiful.  But the temperature is also hot.  A few people passed me, then I notice Andy Noise (met at training run) was behind me. I know he is very strong hiker and he will pass me eventually but I got to the top before he does =P  Right about the same time I caught up to Summer Wesson (also met at training run) but she pull away on the flat. I know she is way faster than me but I also know that she has been fighting this sinus infection. I didn't give it much thought and continue on.  After the big uphill I know I have a few more miles to go before the Inspiration Point aid station at around mi 9.3.  I am slower than usual on both the flat and the downhill. "It is what it is Louis" as I told myself. I am at mi 5 of the race, if I need to push my way to speed up or make the cut off this early on, I will not finish. I continue on and wait for my leg to open up.  Right then I throw my section time of 2:20 something out of the window. This is the pace that I have right now and I need to work on it. If I want to finish this race, I need to work with what I have, at least for the time being.  As I was getting out of inspiration point, I saw a bunch of people leaving the aid station and that gave me a sign of relieve.

So this is the moment that my crew and I have been talking about forever... crewing.  Because Kevin, Erin, and Kim are sleeping, I only have Stephen, Saveria, and Lindsey... none of them ever crew before. But this is the exact reason why I picked them.  I know they can do the job, and do the job well.  Based on the feedback from Jack Cheng, I want to come up with a check list AND tell my crew my want/feedback before they say anything to me.  I didn't notice at the time but I took it further by telling them just words.  So when I got to the aid station I yell the following words when I was making my way to the aid station - WATER, ICE, SUNSCREEN, BUGSPRAY (I know... I hate bug flying over me, I rather spend the effort on running), HOTSPOT.  I have a nutrition chart with them so they already have that ready.

I set down on a chair and start removing my right shoe to fix my hotspot, I told Stephen I want duct tape because I wasn't sure if the powder will work, and that I usually have no luck with other blister treatment. Stephen was in charge of my need while Saveria and Lindsey worked on me. I figured if duct tape doesn't work I can change something at Vincent Gap. When I was fixing my feet Lindsey spray me with sunscreen and bug spray, then she tie an ice bandana around my neck and ask me if is too tight. All the while Saveria put ice in my hat and got that ready for me.  Within a few minutes I was off, and I continue to drink, pour water over my body and eat the ginger candy that I have. Sometime I will eat the one that I bought, sometime I would eat the one Chandra bought.

Coach Kiley, Virginia
Angeles Crest 100 Starting Line
Picture From Training Run
Looking at Baden Powell on the left (that's the thing we need to go up)
Meanwhile near the starting line
At Inspiration Point
From Inspiration Point to Vincent Gap
My running leg started to get back and I can run a little faster now.  Not much going on, just trying to do what I need to do to get to the next aid station.  When I have like half a mile to go, I passed Summer and I asked her if she is ok. She told me she was having breathing problem because she is still feeling sick from her sinus infection. I offered her some candy took off.

When I got to the Vincent Gap aid station. I yelled my words to my crew and they were busy at work again. It was Lindsey that did the bandana and Saveria that filled the ice. I didn't know it at the time but each of them has a duty, and Lindsey is to tie bandana around my neck and wrist, and that Saveria will worry about the hat and other stuff.  I ate some Hello Panda, got cool off and headed out after a few minutes.  I instruct Steven that no matter what I put in my nutrition chart, I want my nutrition in a pack and two bottle of ice/water when I get to Islip. I know I need to cool myself down after the downhill.

At Vincent Gap
From Vincent Gap to Islip Saddle
After maybe 15 minutes - 20 minutes I caught Summer who left earlier at the Vincent Gap aid station.  I push... I meant encourage her to get to top of Balden Power with me.  I knew she was feeling like sick but we have to get going... somewhere all the line I wanted to vomit, so I told her to go ahead and I would catch up.  I made myself vomit a little and kept going.  Then, I started to feel cold. I know there is a breeze going, but I shouldn't feel cold.  I put my hand over my forehead and it's warm. Something is not right.  I passed by some hikers and one of the guy was wearing a t-shirt. I asked them if they feel cold and they said it was a little breezy.  Well that didn't help! Right about that time I saw Andy Noise behind me, and he will eventually passed me before I get to the top.

When I got to the top I feel much better but my downhill running muscle still hasn't been working well. To be good at downhill, you run downhill.  And I haven't really been doing that for a long time.  But again, it is what it is. I work with what I have and try to find some way to speed up.  I caught up to Andy and found out that he rolled his ankle and that he got in to the aid station 5-10 minutes before the cut off.  That meant I really did lost a lot of time going up to Balden Powell. I have 2 hours to cover 8 miles.  We will leap frog many times because as I pull away from him on the downhill, he will catch up on the uphill. So this leap frog thing went on for an hour and I told myself this isn't working.  I made a decision.  I will not finish the race. In exchange, I will not have to save my leg and I am going to run as fast as I can to Islip Saddle. ALL OUT EFFORT.  It's like putting a quarter into an arcade to continue my game before I run out of quarter (time).

I pulled away and did not look back.  I saw a guy with a hiking pole and I caught him. I asked him if he is doing the run (cause I didn't see a number on him) and he told me he was still trying to, then he pointed his number on his cap. I said keep it up and continue my run, then I tripped something on one of my leg, cramped that leg, but I recovered. I walked it off for a less than a minute and continue.

When I got near the Little Jimmy Spring I said runner coming and flew passed the two hikers that was blocking the trail.  I would do that a few more times before the aid station. At one point this group of people wasn't 'responsive' so I ran up the slope and around them. I felt like the dude that did the same thing at that Western States film.  I was happy because I felt alive.  I was catching a glimpse of me that I haven't seen since Feb. My breathing was holding up, my leg was holding up (but I was trashing it), and I was breaking a sweat.  When my watch hit hour 8:00 and there is still maybe like .2 mi to go I know I missed the cut off.  Or had I? Whatever, I kept running.

When I emerged from the top of the switch back my crew screamed.  I am a few switch back from them.  I continue to run and all of a sudden they said 3 minutes. I know I can get down there in 3 minutes with the pace that I was in, but I didn't care. I just went for it for the heck of it. 100%.  I ALWAYS leave room for safe footing when I run downhill. I just didn't care. I didn't care if I am going to fall (probably face first), I just ran as fast as I can.  I made the cut off.

I went to weight myself at the medical check.  I did not lose any weight... which is a good sign. While weighting Kevin asked me to took off my sunglasses. I told him I was ok and let him check my eyes.  At some point I asked Stephen how much time I have. He said 1hr and 30 minutes. In my head I knew I am not going to make the next cut off based on the previous training run. I know I can get down to Kratka Ridge in around 1:20-1:25 but I need another 15-20 minutes for the one mile that follow.  I was a little disheartened but I did not say anything.  I drunk a lot of water, put on my pack (by the way I never notice Stephen changing my hydration reservoir. good job stephen lol), let Lindsey put ice bandana around my neck and my wrist, and stood up from the chair.  Kim would checked on me to make sure I am ok.  When my crew asked me if I want sunscreen and food, I said no and started heading toward Mount Williamson.

View after Baden Powell
near the Islip Saddle. This is when I realized I didn't make the cut off (I thought it was 8:00. It was 8:05)
Going all out. 100% down to Islip Aid Station

Islip Saddle to Eagle's Roost
A few minutes into the race, I vomited some of the water that I drunk at the aid station. I felt sorry for the bird watchers who are a few feet ahead of me. I saw movement on the side of the mountain that I am trying to get to as I am approaching this u-bend. Then a few minutes later I saw Summer sitting under a tree resting. She saw me and got up. I saw that she fell.  I asked her if she is ok she told me she couldn't get full breath in, and that she told me to go ahead. Before she said any more things I gave her a hug and told her we are going to go up the hill together.  I had her follow me and we continue our way up to Mt Williamson.  As we were hiking up, I found out that she also tripped something and cramped like me =(  We got to the top and we know we will not make the cut off.  Now the decision is, do we hike down or run down.  we picked the first opinion.  Half way down I saw David Campebell underneath us. I told Summer about it so we yelled for him to wait for us. David gave Summer a big hug and The Three Musketeers continue on with the descend.

When we got down to the Kratka Ridge highway crossing, our 3 crews were there waiting for us, screaming and everything.  Summer was in tear, David was getting a Mountain Dew, and I told my crew I am sorry.  While David was preparing to take a ride to the Eagle's Roost check point, I told them that we should all just do the last one mile and finish what we started.  So we did.

When we got to the Eagle's Roost Aid Station, we got a lot of cheering. I gave Summer another hug.  I thank David about the tips he gave me at one of the training run and I told his girlfriend June that I was happy to see her again.  I took pictures with Summer and David, then I took some more with my crew.  I let the aid station volunteer cut my waistband and I moved my way to the shade.

I laid on the ground for a while. I wasn't tired. I could of go on. But since I am not running I may as well just lay on the ground.  I took off my watch, my heartrate monitor, and just chill.  I kind of told the crew what happened and I told them I want to go see Kiley, then I want to get back to town and have dinner because I can't never get all my crew together... and it seems like they are all free for dinner tonight.  I voted to take them to somewhere close and nice so I suggested Ruth Chris.  But since most of them are wearing shorts, sandal and cover with dirt, we didn't think the idea will fly. So we ended up deciding on a pizza place.

Coming down Mt Williamson
At Eagle Roost Aid Station
The not smiling me and the smiling crew

Finding Kiley at Cloudburst Summit
We packed and took off to find Kiley.  I wanted to tell him I did not finish so he can pick it up and finish the race.  I got to Cloudburst Summit and met with Kiley's crew. I told them they can have all my supplies and so they took some ice from my crew. 15 minutes left. The aid station said. 10 minutes. 5 minutes. Everyone was yelling at the canyon telling people to hurry up. Everyone was emotional and stressful.  My crew told me this is how they felt at the aid station, they were running around waiting for me and going crazy. 3 minutes... more runners come in, 2 minutes... more runners come in, the aid station people told these runners they need to get across the highway in the 2 minutes. People were running next to them while they were trying to beat the cut off. I saw Carmela Layson (I know her, but she doesn't know me lol) running across highway so I ran next to her asking her to see if she want ice. I remember her telling her crew that she doesn't want to do this anymore but she pushed on. This left a lasting impression on me because I can related to her.  I had my moments when I was done in my training races. I was done at mi 2... on a 26 mi training run, but I took one step at a time and finished it.  This is the kind of mentally toughness you need to have, you need to keep going even if you are done.  This is what it takes to run a 100 miles.  This is Angeles Crest 100.

Kiley's Coach went looking for him
We both DNF and that's ok!
Crew Dinner
After saying bye to Kiley and his crew, my crew headed back to town and we ate at this pizza place. I told everyone we should go into the restaurant with the panda hat, so we all did.  People were looking at us on the street and we didn't care.  I always know my crew has a little pikachu in them.

While having dinner, people will come up and ask us why we are all Pandas. Then my crew explained to them. It's kind of a funny scene. After dinner, I went home.

Crew Dinner. People keep coming up and ask us why

My Thoughts
There are a few reasons why I decided to run a 100 miles even with the injuries. Reasons that are private.  After I found out about Angeles Crest 2 years back, it became my bucket list. Well I actually don't have a bucket list, but I know right then that Angeles Crest 100 is a race that I want to do. Not because it is a 100 miles race, but because it is in the Angeles Crest.  It is my home.  People often tell me to keep doing what I am doing but go faster.  I figured it is easier for me to go longer distance than improving my time because going faster seem to involve more effort.

When I found out I have a stress fracture, I just want to focus on healing and see what happen. I just want to see if I can get to the Angeles Crest 100 starting line. That was the goal. I just want to run and pull myself out if I feel pain on my leg.  I worked with Coach Jimmy and Dr. Zamora to come up with a recovery plan that still allow me to do cross training to maintain my aerobic fitness.

I got a lot of resistance from others. Some ask me why am I even trying if I know I cannot finish. One told me to respect the distance and don't do something that you are not going to make it. One even told me my body type is not built for ultra marathon.  I tried to explain to them my reasons and I finally gave up. I realized that I do not need to please everyone or need approval from anyone. I just need to follow my heart.  I became more private about my training so I can focus on my recovering/training instead of spending time and replying to people.  The less interaction I have with people, the more focus I can be.  I listened to Coach Jimmy and Kate, I listened to Dr. Zamora, and I kept my crew up to date with my training.

Angeles Crest 100 is one of the tougher local races around and I have great respect for it.  I have my doubt about finishing it after I discovered the stress fracture (heck I have doubt even if I am a 100%), but I also know that I have what it take to finish.  We don't go into a race thinking that we are not going to finish.  We go into a race thinking that we will achieve our goals.

A lot of things fell apart this year. But I guess things won't come together until they are fall apart.  Some did not know why I even want to try Angeles Crest 100 with the injury or didn't think that I deserved to be at the Starting Line.  But when I stood at the starting line, something in my head told me that I belonged there.

I am not a PR driven person, I am a goal driven person. Attempting races like Angeles Crest 100 allow me to be who I am. It allows me to reach for a goal that most think it's too crazy.  It allows me to fail and get back up.  Life is not a report card, I can have DNFs (Did Not Finish). Out of years of events... over 70 to be exact, I DNF for the first time this year and I learn more than if I were to finish the race. Encouragement were pouring in after people found out that I DNF at Angeles Crest 100 but I realized I am already back on my feet. In fact I was already back at my feet while hiking to Eagle Roost.  If I am too afraid to fail at something, then I am too afraid to try it to begin with, thus not standing at the start line. (P.S. I am only saying his for myself... for this year, for all you injured people who did not get to the start line, don't think the other way!!!)

At the end of the day, you need to believe in yourself when no one else believe in you (in my case a lot of people believe in me). Until you can do that, you can not move forward as the way you want it.  People can help you with your goal, but ultimately you need to be the one walking the steps.

Before the race I just want to finish this race and have my life back.  My friends compare me with a solider coming back from a tour where I need time to adjust to normal life (without the kind of exercise that I have been doing).  I too, long for that life.  I often tell people that training always get in the way of what I wanted to do. As my friend Alison De Lucca will agree, my life style does not allow a lot of time to work on my core issues or other things in life.  And for the longest time I agree, and I still do.  But something changed this weekend, or rather... I changed.  Long gone are the day that I am doing endurance events to run away from something.  And I also grew enough (as a person) from doing endurance training.  I think the monk in me gotten enough enlightenments from sitting under the waterfall.  Today I see a new side of me.  I became someone that want to train just because I want to train. No more running away from something, no more enlightenment. From today on, I am training for myself, I am training to become an athlete.

I am not saying I will train every week like the last few years. I am saying my training focus/mentality is going to shift.  I am going to follow my plan and not do anything for a while, but I am going to be back for more.  I want to see where this will take me. Some of you may agree, most will not.  I learned one thing this weekend.  I am the one that know what's best for me, and I am going to do what's best for me.  I need to think hard about my priorities and live the life that I want in the next few years.

Summer Wesson, a fellow runner, hit the nail in her blog. We are the type of person that will regret more about not starting than if I DNF.  And as David said to Summer, this is part of the sport.  People DNF.  The three of us did not make the cut off, but we given everyone that we had given the situation that we were in.  I wouldn't know how to deal with some of the problems if bad didn't go wrong.  I wouldn't know how to get up and continue to move forward.

Thank You
Coach Jimmy and Coach Freeman
First of all, thanks for taking me under your wings.  Beside offering running advices, Jimmy and Kate offered some life coaching lesson that help me setup some of my foundation.  Without their help, I will not finish Ray Miller 50/50. Without their helps, I will not be able to stand at the Angeles Crest 100 start line.

Coach Kiley
My first marathon coach, my friend, my training buddy, and someone that I like to give a hard time. Thanks for doing what you do.  One of the defining moment was when you talked about your dad in one of the training.  I have a positive impact on people, but it was that moment that turned me into someone that influence people in a positive way.

Coach Paul and Coach Rad
It was Paul and Rad that taught me how to swim. It was after my first Ironman that I started applying training lessons to life.  It was Paul that opened the Pandora box and now he cannot close it. I am still finding myself but in my own way.

Power Bar - Rad, Yellow - Paul

Coach Pete
Coach Pete taught me how to speed walk while I was recovering from my injury.  I ended up not using a lot of it during the race.  But the foundation is going to help me reach my athlete goals in the near future
Coach Pete - Team In Training Walking Coach
Dr Zamora
Dr Zamora understand this whole craziness and help me get healthy so I can race in a safe manner.  If it wasn't for him I probably won't be as healthy as I am today.

Chiropractic Bodywork
I started seeing Chris Tosh in Jan and he helps me fix some of the problems I was having by the Active Release Techniques.  It's like a sport massage, but better!

Double as a physical Therapist, my friend Shirley took out time to look at my sprained toe and explained to me how I got that injury and how to fix it. She also taught me how to tape my feet for recovery!

Erin, Cassandra, Chandra, Kam, Christian, Josephine, Henry, Jennifer, Sam, Juan
These friends helped me with my training by hiking with me so I can do my point to point course. Without them, I wouldn't be able to cover the distance that I wanted to cover.

Nina, Emily, Chris, Kelly, Lindsey
You all know why I need to say thank you and why I see you as a dear friend.

The Coyotes and others who came out to cheer
Thank You. I was so focused that I was in my own little world aka Anti Social I didn't say hi.

My Asian Triathlete and the Team In Training People
Thanks for the encourage, thanks for the send off, and thanks for the lobster. Each one of you help me to become who I am today

My Crew
I have high expectation of my crew and they all exceeded my expectation. Without their help, I wouldn't be able to get in and out of an aid station fast.  There are a lot of behind the scene stuff that I will probably never know about.  I cannot ask for a better crew, Thank You.

Stephen - Crew Chief
Ironman, Backpacker, Wilderness Travel Course Graduate, Sierra Club Leader
I asked Stephen because he is a hiking friend of mine and I wanted someone to crew me with hiking experience.  He knows what someone needs during a hike. In this case, someone who runs a 100 miles. He knows the Angeles Crest highway, most of the trail, and know how to read topo maps.  Like me, he knows Wilderness First Aid.  We have been working on the detail for the last few months.  When I told him he will be the crew chief few weeks ago, he stepped up his game and coordinate the crewing effort with the whole team.  After I came up with a route calculator to study runner's pace, he came up with his own version to estimate my time to help with my pacing.

On race day he exceeded my expectation. When I got to the different aid stations things were ready for me. He assigned duties to the different crew members so they each know what they are doing.  He helped out when I was at the aid station but maintain his leadership role to ensure everyone worked as a team. 

Saveria - Crew, Driver
Ironman, Backpacker, Wilderness Travel Course Graduate
I asked Saveria with the same criteria as Stephen.  While I know Stephen know how to take care of a hiker in need, I know Saveria will be better at the actual work of taking care of me.  After all, she is happily married and she knows how to take care of someone!  With multiple Ironman under her belt, she knows what it takes to finish an endurance event and that she can relate to the struggle that I will encounter on race day... and how to resolve these issues.

On race day she did what she set out to do, to be the best support as she can be. She was the one talking to me at aid stations to make sure I am ok.  When I told Stephen I need adjustment at the next aid station, she was the one taking note.  She also did my time tracking amount other things that I didn't know. 

Lindsey - Crew, Carpool Lane Buddy
Marathoner, Team In Training Mentor
Where is this Lindsey girl come from?  When I asked Lindsey if she wants to crew me on Jun 29 she asked me what that means.  "You want me? wouldn't you want like Waymond and Da? I'll do what I can, but aren't they better choices? LOL" This is the actual text that Lindsey replied after I explained a little bit more about crewing.

My crew members are either Ironman or Ultra Marathoner except her.  What she did not realized is that I like the positive energy she radiated when she ran her first marathon.  Back in Oct 2010, Lindsey was running her first Nike Women's Marathon with Team In Training.  I was doing my own thing running as pikachu and I found her at around mi 12. From then on I just started running next to her.  As with most of our first marathon, something usually go wrong. That was no expectation with Lindsey.  But she took it in stride and cheer others on.  That has a lasting impression on me.

She is also one of the people that I shared my injuries with.  She has been very supportive of me and understand my struggle to get back up. she became one of my closed friend.

After she agreed to crew me she worked with Stephen and Saveria to get her up to speed with things. Quickly she became an integrated part of this crew.  She is the one that ran around in search of Panda hat.

On race day her main responsibility while I was at the aid station is to cool me down by putting ice bandana around my neck and wrist. Checking to see if they are too tight...etc  And more importantly, she gave me the positive energy that I need. That energy is coming from within, it's not something you can learn or teach. It is something that is part of her personality.  

Kim - Pacer, Medical Support
Ironman, Ultra Marathoner, Nurse Practitioner
What's more awesome than having your own nurse practitioner in the team?  When I asked Kim I wasn't sure if she can do it because her work schedule always change. Don't worry Louis, I'll take those days off for you.  I know I can count on her.  I was there for her first marathon and Ironman and she was there for my first 50 milers. I figure it only be fair if she is there for my first 100 miles race.

So when she got a traumatic iris a few days before the race, I wasn't sure if she can crew me.  But she show up Friday (under the condition that she will take care of herself) looking as fresh as a pumpkin. 

Because I didn't get to Chilao (52.8), Kim didn't actually pace me.  She was there at Islip Saddle checking on me to make sure I am ok and not going crazy.

She's the one cutting the cake

Erin - Pacer, Resupply
Ultra Marathoner, Boston Marathon Finisher, Triathlete, Ironman In Training, Physical Therapist
Having Erin in my crew is by accident, a good accident. Before I signed up for Angeles Crest 100 I asked Erin if she will be my pacer if I sign up for a 100 miles run.  With people averaging a few years to work up to a 100 miles, she said yes thinking that it will be a few years from now... and thus she fell into my evil plan.

Erin is strong and she is fast.  She crew a few races before and a well qualified candidate that many people are seeking... including one of my coaches.

During my recover Erin has been one of the cyclists that bike with me during my low resistance training.

I know she gotten very busy recently but she shifted her schedule to make sure she is available for me during my race weekend.

Kevin - Pacer, Driver
Ultra Marathoner, Triathlete, VitaPanda
Two thoughts came to my mind after I signed up for Angeles Crest 100. Kevin needs to be my crew and he is going to run the last 25 miles with me.  What started as just random people meeting at the Subaru Meet in 2003 turned to a good friendship. I started running, and then he started running (and got 3rd in his age group in a small local race). I started hiking, then he started triathlon.  I started doing Ironman, and he started Ultra Marathon. We both drive WRX, share a passion of good food (although I am gonna have to start eating healthier like him), and had similar struggle.  He is a good friend.  He has been a big part of my endurance journey and my growth.

I don't think I need to explain much about why I pick him as my pacer. Hello Western States Sub 24 hours finish.

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