Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Best Parts of a Running Group

My last run was not what I expected, so I was feeling optimistic that today's run would go better. The odds were in my favor since most bad runs are followed by good ones.

But I also had my running group on my side.


Running groups are great for many reasons, but here are the best parts (according to me):

1. No planning necessary - regular group meet ups mean I don't have to worry about the when, where, who. I just show up and run!

2. Instant motivation - whether I'm feeling lazy about getting out the door or struggling to keep going during a run, running buddies encourage me to not give up.

3. Free entertainment - some of the funniest things can happen on a group run (right now I'm remembering the time a dog jumped out of a ditch and made all the girls in my group scream as if we just saw an ax murderer instead of a slobbering, friendly pooch). 

4. Product sharing - Not only do I get the best recommendations for all kinds of fitgear, but my running friends also let me try-it-out. I can also get honest reviews of things they've already tried.

5. Emergency saves - I admit that sometimes I walk out the door without my hair tie or gloves. When I run with a group someone almost always has an extra. Plus, when I need a mid-run potty stop, someone in the group knows the closest one and whether it's "a good one" (aka clean).

This morning it was hot and humid again. We ran nearly the same route today as I did Tuesday, but we slowed way down. That makes all the difference for me on humid runs and it's the thing I struggle with on my own.



Are you a member of a run group?
How was your workout today?





Monday, September 28, 2015

Not What I Was Expecting

Ever since getting sick, I've been waking up extra early.

Today, instead of staying in bed (I'd already laid there for 30 minutes), I got up and laced up. My weather app happily reported that it was a mere 80 degrees causing me to nearly dance out the door.

I was greeted by glowing decorations that made it almost seem like Christmas.



Since I was out the door before the sun was officially up, I ran east to catch the sunrise.


I didn't think it would take me long to get to the waterfront for the best view. I've been feeling better and the weather was so nice, but I bonked. Right from the start the run was a struggle. My legs felt heavy. I couldn't find a rhythm. My breathing was off.

It happens. I didn't give up though (although I wanted to...many times). It wasn't easy. I didn't have a partner to pull me along, but I kept going and finished the route that I had planned.

At home I did some planking. My left side is noticeably weaker than my right.


For breakfast I was super excited to try some GF tortillas and make cheesy scrambled eggs with sausage wraps. I used to buy Udi's gluten free bread in the US to make toast sometimes and it was delicious.



It did not turn out the way I expected. I first tried it as an on-the-go wrap (no heating). It basically fell apart when I tried to fold it. So I tried again and heated one in the microwave between a damp paper towel for 20 seconds as per the instructions. Sadly it stuck to the towel in places and still ripped apart.

Sadly, it didn't taste very good either. Maybe it's a bad batch (I did buy it in China after all).


Is one side of your body stronger than the other?
Have you tried Udi's products?




Another Climb Up the Mountain

My head cold is definitely in the final stages of existence. I know this because far fewer tissues are being defiled and my appetite is back.

It felt good to meet up with the SWIC hiking group for another Monday climb up the mountain. There's a lot to think about while climbing the 850ish steps to the top. How lucky I am to be able to do this every week. How blessed we are to have the chance to live this adventure in China. How much I miss my family and friends in the US.


When we get to the top, we always take the obligatory group photo. Some might think of it as just another picture of ourselves, but to me it means more than that. It takes a lot to get to the top. It's a strenuous climb. Sometimes we are attacked by mosquitos. We sweat a lot because it's hot and humid. But, still, we do it. All the way to the top.


Then we rest. We take in the views and enjoy our success. Even though we repeat this every week, it still feels like we crossed some imaginary finish line. After that, everything is just covered in happiness.


We tried a new place for our post-hike cool down and I ordered watermelon juice. It was delicious, but I would have rather had a smoothie. I'm definitely a smoothie person.


Just for fun, here are some random things I saw today:

A merry-go-round - probably part of the Mid Autumn Festival which is a celebration of the moon.


This sign - you might not know this, but there are a boatload of dogs here and many strays. I hope the dogs can read so they know to stay off this one random street.



Do you prefer juice or smoothies (especially after a workout)?
Did you see the super blood moon?




Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Sick Zone

For the past few days our apartment has been a sick zone and it felt like all I could do was empty tissue boxes.


My attempt to rid myself of my cold on Thursday with a run did not work. In fact I ended up losing my voice and taking two more days of mostly rest. Maybe what I needed was an IGP.

I took a walk on Friday morning to test my energy level (so low I decided to skip Pilates), but I did enjoy the sights on the walk.




Beyond daily planking, the only other thing I did was bake. I finally had all the ingredients to make Buffalo Chicken Quinoa (recipe here), one of my all time favorite meals (and gluten free).




Today I woke feeling like my cold had taken a turn and all I could think about was running. All the virtual cheering I did for my ZOOMA friends who ran the Cape Cod race really had me itching to go.


To make sure I didn't do too much, I ran intervals. It was a much better run than my last one:
1. I was feeling better
2. the weather was cooler
3. it was earlier (no sun).

Before I knew it, I had run nearly 4 miles.


I'm going to take it easy the rest of the day and share this little video of an epic sendoff my old school gave to a student (link).

1,200 high school students and staff come together to give a 21-year-old student aging out of the special-ed program an epic, sweet sendoff.
Posted by ABC News on Friday, September 25, 2015


I love GOOD news like this. Let's keep it going. Tell me something you've seen or heard recently!







Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sniffles, Smoothies, and some Running

I came home from my #treadmilltuesday progression run feeling all happy and then went down with a head cold.

SNAP!

Just like that I was drinking Emergen-C, skipping Wednesday yoga, and sipping smoothies because my throat felt like it was on fire!


I literally spent the day sleeping and watching episodes from season 1 of The Good Wife. Good show. I don't know why I didn't watch it before.


I woke up today feeling a bit better, definitely not sick enough to miss SWIC running group. Plus, I thought it would help to sweat a little. I should have looked more closely at the weather app. That feel like temperature is a killer. And the sun...I struggled.


So yes, it was a very tough run. Heat, humidity, and a head cold. And it's good that I went because it was only two of us today. Ironically, two New Englanders running in China :)


Post run and planking, I went for a nice cold smoothie. Main ingredients today: blueberries, raspberries, almond milk, protein, flaxseed, kale and greek yogurt. With a side of GF Rice Chex. I finally got my hands on some. It's only the second time I've seen it sold here, so I bought two boxes. I love munching on them.



I spent the rest of the day using up all the kleenex in the apartment while wish-listing for some new gear.

Loving these long roga shorts...good for running, but great for hiking too.


and these chi extra long tanks...any color would be ok.






How does a cold affect your fitness?
Favorite smoothie ingredients or snack?



Monday, September 21, 2015

Treadmill Tuesday: Progression Run

I saw this on Facebook and it describes exactly how I feel any day that I don't run.


It was even worse yesterday when a red rainfall warning cancelled the weekly SWIC hike and schools too. The warning says that enough rain has fallen to flood the streets making it dangerous to be out, even in cars.

After taking the day off from fitness, I was really looking forward to today's run. Tuesdays mean SWIC coffee at the Hilton. I don't mind chatting with friends and having a snack before heading upstairs to the fitness center.


A lot of runners use progression runs to increase their overall speed. I like them because they help me increase my endurance. I always have a better run when I start off at a comfortable pace in the beginning and slowly increase.

Here's how my progression looked today.


Treadmills make progression runs easy for me and I'm feeling really good about this one.


Other things making me happy today:

Swimming. The best way to cool off.


Very large Fuji apples. My favorite.


SWIC Running Group becomes official.


Finding good ideas for post run snacks.



How do you feel on rest days?
Do you use progression runs in your training?
What's making you happy today?




Sunday, September 20, 2015

Yoga and Running with Friends

Even though I was tired, I stayed busy this weekend.

On Saturday, I was thinking about skipping yoga until my friend texted me that she was going to go too. I took it as a sign that I was meant to go to yoga. Isn't it funny how things work out that way?

It was another Hatha class with the same instructor, but much easier than the first one I took. It was still challenging, for ME, but not as hard. If you've ever been to a yoga class, you probably know what I mean.


Today I met up with two friends for #SundayRunday. There's always a nice view of the marina.


The humidity is back, but we still laced up and got out there for a nice and easy 3.5 miles. It feels really good to finish a tough run.


Keeping the promise to myself, I planked after my run. Some days it is harder to do this than others. Today was one of those days,


I spent the afternoon shopping and came home with a little present for my feet. This brand new pair of Skechers GOwalk2 Super Breathe are like pillows on my feet. I can't wait to try them out on the SWIC hike tomorrow.



How was your weekend?
Have you ever tried Skechers?


Friday, September 18, 2015

Exploring on Foot: Shenzhen International Garden & Flower Expo Park

My trips with the SWIC hiking group lead to a Fitbit party on my arm quickly!


You can tell by my Fitbit stats (which are still sorted by US time) that I was up about 6AM and then walking with the hiking group between 9-12.


Today we explored the Shenzhen International Garden & Flower Expo Park. The park was created for the expo in 2004, but is still open to the public and free. We walked around almost all of it. 


Here's a glimpse of some of the interesting things we saw.




Near the end we spotted these. Not sure what they are called but it looked like the idea was to walk across them. It looked difficult and like it would be a serious leg workout!




What part of the day are you most active? 
What's the strangest piece of fitness equipment you've ever seen in a park?



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