Sunday, April 29, 2007

Greetings again,
It's game time this morning with the Diablo 50. The nerves are getting revved up and the stomach quesy. I love race day rituals, the things that always remind you that it's race day. For me, I get sick to my stomach until the first 15 minutes of the race is over. It's not so much that I feel nervous in my head, but my body just anticipates what I'm going to put it through. Usually, I feel a little better after a quick trip to the restroom before the race, which gets rid of last night's dinner. I'll put my clothes on, pray privately, get in my car and go to the race site. Usually at the race site before the race, I pray silently and quietly scan the crowd. It's just hard for me to be that social that early in the morning when most ultramarathons begin. I like to sit in my own world and really take in the journey that I'm going to go on. Today, with everything that's happened with my mom and her friend, I look forward to self-therapy. It sure beats paying a shrink $100 an hour when I can just run and listen to God and my own thoughts. Even when I'm moving during an ultra, the world just seems to stop and fade away. Who needs the ivory towers of man when God's creation awaits. Mt. Diablo is a reminder that even as man tries to create and re-create, perfection is already all around us. Good times, indeed (hehe).

Hopefully, a sub-11 hour race awaits! Stay strong and keep movin’.

God bless, Gundy

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mourning into Running

Greetings again,

Once again, a new week begins. This weekend was a tough one for running, with the bulk of my focus devoted to the funeral service for my mom’s friend. Helping out with the reception, getting things setup, helping my mom with her eulogy, and of course, the service itself, was emotionally overwhelming. My mom’s pastor handled the service in the best way possible, his words providing comfort to those there in a multitude of ways. I don’t think I’ll ever get “used to it”, although I imagine the feelings are somewhat different when you’re a little older than just 29. Relative to those around me, I feel like I’ve been to too many of these services, playing a different role in each of them. As much as I love to run, I hope that when I pass that my life will reflect a richness and an impact that stretches beyond just “what I do”, like my mom’s friend’s life. God rest her soul.

Next weekend is the Diablo 50, a challenging run up, over and around Mt. Diablo in the East Bay Area here in sunny California. Anytime you look at race results and realize that “being elite” in this race means sub-10 hours, you know this isn’t just a run in the park. I’ll try to set a sub-11 hour race plan and we’ll go from there. I’m cautious with my knee inflammation lately, so the first half will be to maintain and the second half to try and let loose. With over 13,000 feet of elevation gain, I’m sure it’ll provide some spectacular views of the East Bay at the summit near 4,000 ft. elevation. I’m sure some people out there from the Sierras or Colorado or the Appalatians will have other spectacular views to talk about, but I think in and of itself, Mt. Diablo is a pretty nice place to run.

My patella tendon seems to be healing up from its inflammation. I took it for a 10 mile hard run (6:45 min/mile), and it held up well. The breeze was very cool and crisp in San Francisco; it’s nice to workout outdoors, especially when the nasty rains can take some workouts into the gym. I like to go out there and explore, but in terms of keeping up fluids and nutrition, going out on the 4.5 mile loop at Lake Merced just makes sense recently. I’ve been trying my darndest to get used to Sustained Energy from Hammer, but that stuff just makes me want to puke sometimes when I really exert myself. If anyone has something they use in the heat that they love, shoot me an email because I’d love to know.

Alright, that’s all from me. Stay strong and keep movin’. If there’s something I’ve learned recently, it’s that even though life is movin’, make sure to take the time to enjoy the blessings around you.

God bless,

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sauna Time

Hello everyone,
Greetings from rainy San Francisco. Yes, it's raining again; I'm hoping it's not a repeat of last year, when it kept raining all through spring. It's almost that time again to begin sauna training. I know what you're thinking.....sauna's aren't always the most sanitary places. Thank goodness it's a dry sauna so I don't have to sit on people's sweat. With people sweating all over the place, that's a good thing. Other than that, let the random conversations begin. I don't know what it about being in a sauna that generates conversation, but I like the fact that this training can lead to interesting conversations again this year about everything and anything in life. This year's target: 180 degrees F for 75 minutes. If I train longer, go farther, and train faster, then the race will be its own reward. Right now? I'll go for 20 minutes tops at 180 degrees F by the end of the month. Onward we go...

Keep movin' and God bless. I'll write more tomorrow.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Hello everyone,

This is my once a week (at least the last couple weeks) update, so not a terrible amount to report. It's been a trying week so far, with my mother's close friend passing away from cancer. I can't say I understand it all, but it's there's little about how this world works that I do understand. Once again, it refocuses my commitment to use the resources and abilities that I have to try and postively impact the world we all live in. I don't want to run aimlessly, but be purposeful in how I do things. The thing that sticks out most about my mother's friend was just how generous she was. Even into my twenties, she has always remembered my brother and I at times like Christmas, always giving above and beyond her means. Too many of us give out of our surplus, but she always gave out of the best of what she had. She did it because to her, that's what Jesus would have done. Her tremendous courage never wavered unto the end, a testament to strength of her convictions. I know that our actions always bear us out, always revealing our hearts. Remember that next time you run a race or go to work or spend time with family or go to church or talk to a friend. Sometimes the wicked live long and the righteous die young, but our races all end at the same finish line.

I've spent the week keeping my runs to around 10 miles each day, to allow the tendonitis in my knee to subside. Moving on the uphills/steps after my workouts has gotten much better since I've been icing my knee down every night. The Mt. Diablo 50 is in 2 weeks, and I want to perform well. On each of my runs, I've kept my pace to sub-7 minute mile, which has been good for my conditioning. I'll try to add on track workouts of sub-2:50 800s to get my speed back in order. I still want to PR at the San Diego Marathon in June, so these workouts are also important for that. My uncle keeps hammering in my head that if I can get my marathon around 3:00 (or sub 3 at some point), it'll help a lot of the 50s, 100s and 135 miles at Badwater. I am looking forward to spending a night at Yosemite this weekend, which should be relaxing. The slower paced hiking should be great for my legs so that I can get a great long run in on Sunday night. Life is always a process, and it's important to peak at the right times. I just need to be patient in that.

My new logo is up, along with a new tab dedicated to my sale of some of these technical shirts. All profits from the sale of the shirts will go to benefit World Harvest Mission. Just to give you a little knowledge about the logo, it's a soccer-style shield that goes on the upper left of the shirt. The banners say Badwater United on top and "Ora et Labora" on bottom, which means "Pray and Work" in Latin. The motto, the Benedictine monks motto, is symbolic of how much both Badwater and other ultras in general are about things that are both in our control and outside of control. It definitely is how I do it, because if it was all just me, I don't know. The top left corner is three crosses, representing our faith. The top right corner is the Rampant Lion, a symbol of my father's heritage as well as heritage of many other nations. It represents family. The bottom left corner is a flaming heart, representing charity. The bottom right is a mountain with the sun rising in the background. It represents new beginnings and the sun rising out of the darkness. The shirts will be white with large orange stripes running from the underarm down the torso on the right and left hand side. The screened logo version will be $29 and the embroidered logo version (very cool, like the European soccer jerseys) will be $39. I've just ordered them, so the screened version will start shipping in 2 weeks and the embroidered logo version in 4 weeks. Graphics are located on The Store page above.I'm contemplating trying to see the fruit of my labors with a trip to Uganda in August (maybe) if we can turn those funds into a well project quickly. Last time I was there, I didn't get a chance to get out to the orphanage that benefits from WHM, so I'll have to do that as well. I can post the video and photos here for you all to see how you've enabled me to do so much in this world. We'll see how the schedule works out, but I'm hopeful. This is just another step in the process of engaging and getting more versed in working to do bigger and better things for others. It's all about doing unto others as Jesus has done for me.

Alright, that's all from me. Stay strong and keep on movin'; the race is long, no matter where it ends. God bless.


Thursday, April 5, 2007

Greetings again,
I hope everyone is well and that the new year is treating you well. As for me, it's a new season for a lot of things. First of all, I have a new job with a new company, so that's exciting. Anytime you go somewhere new, there's always a new challenge, and I'll definitely be challenged with some of the biotech process design and project execution work that I'll be doing. It's not always that exciting, but it's a great chance for me to step outside of the box. Special thanks to everyone at Barry-Wehmiller Design Group, which helped support my run last year at Badwater with a generous donation to help pay personal expenses. Hopefully, I'll be able to leverage that relationship to do some good fundraising this year for World Harvest Mission as part of my 2007 Badwater Ultramarathon adventure. Goal is to raise $4000 dollars this year. Let me know if you want to help; I'm designing some soccer style technical shirts to sell to help meet this goal as well.

I was too late to sign up for the Way To Cool 50k, so I just did the Ruth Anderson 50k on Saturday. What a beautiful day in San Francisco! I am convinced that a low 70s day with a cool breeze is probably as good as it gets at Lake Merced, close to the beach and the Pacific. It'll probably be cold as heck in the summer knowing San Francisco, but for now, it's all good. I ran a respectable 4:16, but was slowed over the last 1/3 of the race with soreness in my right knee. I was definitely picking up the pace at the end and felt good about staying below a sub 7:00 50 mile pace. My patella tendon was irritated and I've been going through a regimen of icing and heat to get it back to normal. I have the Diablo 50m in three weeks and the Silver State 50 in May, so I don't want be out of commission.

I pride myself on keeping my body in excellent physical condition, but I take extra precautions as it relates to my right knee since it was the one surgically operated on 9 years ago to repair a torn ACL. I do not want to tear other ligaments and keeping my muscles/tendons strong is a big part of that. I can still hear the tearing in my knee from that day 9 years ago while playing a stupid intramural flag football game, like tearing the fabric of a blanket in two. As the training ramps up for Western States 100 (in the Sierras) and the Badwater Ultramarathon, the hardest part is to continue to maintain the balance in my life. There is so much other stuff that contributes richly to my life, such as the work for World Harvest Mission, or my work with high schoolers at my church, and I don't want to marginalize it. The most exciting thing I'm looking forward to. I have a friend from Uganda who is visiting here in the States. He's staying in Texas but having problems getting the documentation so he can start working. He's trying to save up money to pay off expenses back in Uganda and help his family out, so if you can say a prayer for him, it would be much appreciated. I'm not quite sure how to help him, except to try to see what procedures were available for him to obtain the visa and work papers he needs to do it legally.

Alright, that's all from me. Stay strong and keep on movin'; the race is long. God bless.