Sunday, May 31, 2015

My Mermaid Run and June Goals

I wish it wasn't so darn humid in Shenzhen.

I'm a morning runner and I don't mind getting up early to beat the heat. No matter what time I run, I can't beat the humidity though.

This morning I ran a route that I had put together in my head as we walked around.

I live in Shenzhen, China. Shekou is the name of our "neighborhood"

I'm calling it the Mermaid Loop because there is a giant mermaid statue of an ancient Chinese goddess where I turned around. I'm pretty sure she's naked 1. because she IS a mermaid and 2. it's so freaking humid, no one WANTS to wear clothes here.

There are great bay views from the mermaid waterfront path. Eventually the waterfront at our apartment will connect to the mermaid waterfront area. It's closed off now because of that new building construction you can see in the mermaid photo (above).

As usual I was a hot, sweaty mess at the end of my run and my pace was much slower than what I had been running in NH. I think it's time to embrace the climate.

So I'm setting some goals for myself for June.

Running: I've got to learn to deal with the humidity in small steps. Besides that, my knee is not the same as it was pre-Meniscectomy. Running, walking, biking, gets cranky a little more often than it used to.

Strength: I completely dropped the ball on this in May. So, it definitely feels like it's time to bring on a 30 day challenge. I'm bringing back a favorite that I pinned a couple of years ago.

Who wants to join me? It's more fun to do it together, right? Let me know if you're in by tagging me on Twitter @runningescapade or Instagram @runningescapades #MeanAbsJune

What are your June goals?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I Found a Bike and A Hiking Group

We do not have a car in Shenzhen. Even though I love my Honda CRV, I don't really miss it. We get along walking and taking public transportation, but over the weekend I found this...

Last summer mrC and I went on a few bike riding adventures and I loved every minute. Since my knee has decided to get old and cranky, I will probably not be running as many miles as I had been (or would like to) and instead will be spending more time riding.

We took the bike out for a 10 mile test ride along the Shenzhen Bay.

When we first arrived in Shenzhen, I was invited to join SWIC, the Shenzhen Women's International Club. This group reminds me of MRTT...everyone is so welcoming and supportive. In addition to great tips and advice, the group also holds weekly coffee "meetings" and offers a variety of activities.

The Hiking Group meets weekly to climb the Nanshan Mountain here in Shekou, and also organizes side trips to other places.

I met up with the Hiking Group for the first time on Monday for the weekly climb.

Then I met up with some members of the group again on Tuesday for a morning trip to Qiushuishan Park where we climbed a replica of the Great Wall.

I really think I'm going to enjoy being a part of the hiking group. They like to explore new places and are not worried about a little rain!

Are you a member of any groups in your area? 
What do you like about it?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

5+ Miles and 21,000 Steps

It's been a busy week.

We finished our residency permit application process and were approved! I'm not sure what that really means except that we do not have to leave China before 30, 60, or 90 days the way some people do.

We are still working on getting settled in to our new life and figuring out where everything is. The best way to do this (for me) is to literally get out and SEE the city. We took the metro to one of the popular malls and we took a bus to Walmart.

I find out a lot by running and walking.

On Tuesday I ran a 5K and found out how to get to the park that eluded me on my last run.

On Wednesday, I walked to a complex near us called Peninsula and watched the Chinese fishing boats.

On Thursday I added another 2.5+ miles to my Mizunos and discovered that we only live one mile from the ferry terminal where we go to get to the Hong Kong airport.

On Friday mrC's friend from work took us on a walking tour through the back city streets and a gem of a park hidden amongst the skyscrapers. Then we climbed up and across the Nanshan Mountain, a much longer hike than the one I did the first week. It was more than 5 miles round trip and 21,043 Fitbit steps.

We have a small wish list of items we would still like to get here and this morning we walked through the muggy rainfall to the QSI International School yard sale where we tried to find a pair of bikes. It was a hot mess in the small cafeteria, but we have a lead on one for mrC in the morning.

What's one thing you could not live without if you moved to a new country?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

3 Runs and 3 Meals

We moved into our new China apartment one week ago and have been busy trying to get settled.

I didn't start to FEEL completely settled until I slipped on my Wave Rider 18s and went for my first run. I got lucky with lower than normal humidity, but any thoughts I had of big breezes coming off the water were quickly erased.

I tried again a couple of days later and even though it was more humid, my run was better.

This morning I ran in a new place hoping to connect with a path to a park, but instead I found everything blocked by new building construction. It's going to take awhile to get comfortable with my new geography.

Speaking of getting comfortable, we finally stocked the apartment with what we need to cook some real meals. Thanks to one of our new ex-pat friends (and stores that import some US foods), I have a crockpot and fixed some Italian chicken for our first dinner.

This morning mrC treated me to his famous cheesy scrambled eggs and PB&J rice cakes. I really missed those eggs.

I've also been missing my cheesy quinoa and tuna (recipe here), so today I decided to make some. We found what we think is quinoa along with the rest of the needed ingredients: tuna, plain Greek yogurt, and parmesan cheese.

Making my way around the kitchen has had obstacles, too. I don't have a measuring cup yet, so I did some guessing. I also bought Greek yogurt that doesn't have a resealable lid.

When I was shopping, I also didn't notice that one can of tuna was in oil. Ick. But it worked.

It feels good to have a favorite meal from home.

What makes you feel settled?
Do you like to plan your run routes?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

6 Days in China and I Climbed a Mountain

It is hard to believe that we've only been in China for 6 days because it feels like so much more.

Here's what we've been up to...

Day 1:
We arrived very early on Saturday morning and proceeded to sleep most of the day after making our way from Hong Kong to Shenzhen via a ferry. Four suitcases, two taxis, and one employee from the company to see us to the hotel. We were quite the spectacle at the ferry terminal.

Day 2:
After sleeping in on Sunday, we explored Shekou, the Shenzhen district that we will be living in, and randomly met an expat from NEW HAMPSHIRE (of all places!) on the sidewalk who generously showed us around and shared a ton of tips with us. We ended up at Happy Hour with her and the wife of mrC's coworker.

Day 3 & 4:
We spent two days apartment hunting and finally found one we can move into this weekend. I attended my first women's group called SWIC, Shenzhen Women's International Club. The energy is a lot like my MRTT group, so I'm really excited to get involved. We also attended a very traditional Chinese dinner hosted by mrC's boss.

Day 5:
I completed my residency permit physical at the Shenzhen Hospital and then we opened a bank account. We explored the grocery scene and took notes on which stores have items we like and the prices.

Day 6:
mrC had to work, so I ventured out for the first time solo and climbed a mountain! The Nanshan Mountain is located just down the road from our hotel and is a very popular daily activity for expats. SWIK actually has a hiking group that climbs it every Monday.

The 363 meter climb is mostly steps all the way to the top. Fortunately for me, there were plenty of places to sit and rest, or to stop and take in the views. The breeze today wasn't the best, but there was some and it felt amazing because at 84 degrees with soupy-doupy humidity, it's HOT!

At the top there is a very interesting two-story viewing tower (failed to get pic of tower, bleh!) with amazing views of Shekou.  It was fun to try to figure out what I was looking out from way up high. I'm pretty sure that's Hong Kong across the bay and one of the buildings on the left side of the small bay of water is our new home.

So, I haven't yet had a chance to go for a run and I'm still trying to figure out how that will look. It is seriously warm and humid here! I'm hoping that once we are in the apartment which is on the water, I will find a breeze there for a nice morning run.

What do you do when you can't run?