Showing posts with label expat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label expat. Show all posts

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Catching Up: In Pictures

Friday morning I went on a 4 hour hike. The SWIC hiking group explored Phoenix Mountain in Shenzhen.

Later, I dodged some down pours to get in my run. The weather was cool, which was nice, but I was so tired from the hike. I'm happy to see my pace is back to my "normal."

This morning I went to a Health & Wellness Fair. It was in an area of Shenzhen that I had never been to before, but I found my way there. It was small, but nice because it was an English speaking event. I attended an interesting talk on positive energy, browsed the displays, and tried Body Flex fitness (which focused on breathing during exercise). I also came home with a nice gift bag and some goodies that I couldn't resist purchasing.

When my heart is heavy, I run.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

9 Instagram Truths

This post is being written while also trying to pack for our upcoming trip back to the US. mrC has some work stuff to do and I'm tagging along!

If you follow me on Instagram (if not, you can here), you might have already seen these photos, but today you'll get a little more of the true story behind each one.

From left to right starting at the top:

1. Friday morning mrC was on a trip so I headed out for my #runstreak mile. The colors of the sky are beautiful, but I've been noticing more foggy smoggy-ness creeping in and I don't like it.

2. Heart rate monitor shot after taking 60 minute Pilates class. I really want to take pictures during class because my classmates are so strong and flexible, but it seems inappropriate. Calorie burn is the next best thing.

3. mrC was back in town and I ambushed him as soon as he woke up to go for a run with me. He conveniently wore a semi-pinkish shirt that I made work for breast cancer awareness, even though I questioned his choice before we left. 

4. The view from our awesome 14km hike on Sunday in Hong Kong. We were only at the top for about 15 minutes. I wanted to spend more time at the top, but now I'll just have to go back to explore more.

5. Back from our 12 hour hiking trip, I still did my daily run. One night mile along the waterfront. I was nervous about running in the dark (afraid I might step in something left behind by one of the lovely Chinese dog owners), but there were tons of people out and I didn't step in anything :)

6. My newest Fitbit award! I paced around the apartment for about 2 minutes to reach 30,000 when I saw how close I was and it was almost cut-off time.

7. mrC was picked up for his trip at 4:20AM and I tossed and turned after he left. When I finally got up to do my daily mile before meeting the hiking group, I was tired and even a little cranky. 10 minutes in my running shoes changes everything.

8. The we-made-it-to-the-top hiking group picture. The picture is taken by a local Chinese park employee and he likes to take a bunch of pictures. There are 7 different countries represented in the photo.

9. On today's run I practiced using a breathing pattern again. A reader recommended 4:2 exhale/inhale. It works pretty good, but sometimes I like to take deep breaths and it messes up the rhythm. This pic is from the end of my run when I was feeling a little tired. It was a great spot to take a MRTT #runfie and catch a little break.

There you have it. The truth behind my Instagram feed. Not every picture is as perfect as it appears.

See you in the USA!

Have you ever wondered what really happens behind all those Instagram pictures?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

How to Practice Better Running Breathing

I'm pretty sure that running and biking a 10K on Tuesday inspired mrC.

Yesterday, he put on his running shoes and joined me for my #runstreak one miler. 

Before our run, I came across an online article about proper running breathing (here) and it got me thinking. There are times when I run that it feels effortless and other times when I can't seem to do anything except gasp for air. 

Here's the article in a nutshell:

1. Runs are made better when using breathing patterns and patterns can help prevent injury
2. Deep breathing is a powerful tool that delivers much needed oxygen to muscles during a run
3. Breathing is made better through nose and mouth simultaneously
4. Core strength impacts breathing

On my last two runs, I tried it and it's not as easy as it sounds. 

Run #1:
It was a short run and I ran with mrC, so it was hard to maintain a rhythmic pattern. I tried to follow the 2:2 inhale/exhale ratio, but that must work for faster runners. I modified to 4:4 and started to get the hang of it near the end of our mile. I also tried to keep my exhale on my left foot (my weaker leg), but learned my right foot has control issues.

Run #2:
This run was solo and my breathing practice went much better. I still found myself breaking the pattern anytime my mind wandered, but it was easier. The longer run gave me a lot more time to focus on exhaling on my left too. Overall, the 3.5 miles felt easier than my 5K on Tuesday.

I'm optimistic that with more practice it will get easier and my runs will get better.

In other fun news, after wanting to throw-down my bike and stomp it like a pro-wrestler after Tuesday's combined run/bike 10K, mrC offered to take it for a little tune up. Instead he came back with a new bike! Today I took my new luxury bike on a ride around town.

Last night we went to see Chris Botti perform at the the Shenzhen Concert Hall. It was a wonderful show. Not only was the music great, but we were impressed with Chris Botti's interaction with the audience. 

Do you practice rhythmic breathing when you run?
What was the last concert you went to?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Motivation Monday: Seize the Day

I learned today that walking around our tile apartment barefoot might be causing some of my heel pain. I'll just have to spend more time in my Oofos!

That little twinge of heel pain reminded me that injuries are sometimes right around the corner threatening to mess up my fitness plans. As I slipped on my running shoes, I vowed to myself to embrace each moment of my #runstreak. I'm following my doctor's recommendations. I'm running smart. I need to stop worrying.

After my one mile run, I met up with the SWIC hiking group. Today was a great day for climbing the mountain.

Normally after we get to the top and take a group photo we head down to complete the short loop. Today a small group wanted to keep going and do the long loop. I've only done the longer loop once back in May. I didn't have any reason not to join them, so I figured CARPE DIEM!

It was hard. We had already climbed 850 steps and then we kept climbing across the top of the mountain before coming down further away from where we started.

In the end, of course, I had no regrets. Great exercise and great company!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Where I Run: Mermaid Peninsula Loop

No matter where I have lived, I have always had one route that served as my no-planning-just-lace-up-my-shoes-and-go route.

After just 4 months of living in China, I have already found my go-to route. I call it the Mermaid-Peninsula Loop.

My go-to route starts outside the entrance of our apartment complex: Rose Garden.

I follow the sidewalk to the west toward the area of town called Sea World.

Run along the length of the waterfront.

After the quick out and back on the waterfront, I head back toward the street via the garden view.

I pass by the mermaid statue of Goddess Nuwa and run some steps.

I follow the sidewalk again all the way past the starting point.

At the area of town called Peninsula, I head toward the lighthouse.

I loop around Peninsula and follow the sidewalk back to Rose Garden to hop on the waterfront there.

What I like about this route:

1. It's a double out and back so if I need to stop or use my bathroom, it's an easy pitstop.
2. It has loops on each end that can be modified in ways to make the run a little longer or shorter.
3. It's mainly flat, easy running.
4. There are water views from three different locations.

I ran this route this morning. The weather has finally turned (I hope) from tropical to fall, perfect weather for running. I felt good and was happy to see negative splits in my results.

Do you have a go-to route?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Run Streak Update and PF is not my BF

Yesterday I ran a 5K with the SWIC running group. I've heard that it takes a while for new running groups to hit momentum. Thursday there were only two of us and I don't know why.  I'm trying to stay optimistic and hope that it's been the hot, humid weather or the National holiday week of travel in China, but maybe those of you reading this could send a little virtual "good luck" thought my way. Thanks!

Today I ran a mile to put my #runstreak at day 6. I'm feeling good and trying to make good decisions for my knee health so I can keep going as long as possible. For example, this morning the weather was AMAZING and it was so tempting to run longer, but I kept it to one lap around the waterfront.

My Mizuno Wave Rider 18s are creeping up on 300 miles although to me they look brand new. I might be picking up a new pair soon. About two weeks ago I started noticing a pain on the inside of my heel/ankle when I got out of bed in the morning. My chiropractor thinks it might be plantar fasciitis. He recommended more calf stretching and foam rolling. 

Speaking of foam rolling, I try to always start my day with a total body rollout. Now that I am on a #runstreak, it feels even more important that I do it before I run. Rolling my hamstrings is my most challenging. I don't really feel anything and it's such an awkward movement. 

Today I went to Pilates class for the first time in nearly two weeks. I purchased a Yogalife membership at the beginning of September with the goal to attend a class at least once a week. I made it three weeks in a row and was feeling a difference especially with my knee. Then I got sick followed by the yoga center closing for China's National holiday. Today was tough, but good. I'm hoping the yoga will help me stretch my leg muscles and I'll rid myself of any signs of PF. 

I found this great video on the Runner's World website that explains PF and offers tips for treatment.

Happy fitness Friday everyone!!

Ever suffer from plantar fasciitis?
What muscle is your most challenging to foam roll?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Day In The Life: Expat in China

Life in Shenzhen, China is a lot different than New Boston, NH so it seems fitting that I do a little Day in the Life post. I no longer have a job or a car...the two things that used to take up most of my time. Now I spend a lot more of my time on my feet or bike.

We live on the waterfront which is a great place for walking and running. This morning after some coffee and getting caught up on news from home, I went for a one mile run to continue my brand new #runstreak and then joined mrC for a little walk.

We both had a small breakfast: PB&J rice cake for me and bowl of cereal for him. We discussed some ideas for upcoming travel plans, spent some time on social media, and then biked the two mile round trip to the ferry terminal to get mrC's ticket to the airport for his two day trip.

We spent the afternoon watching it rain, catching up on some episodes of The Good Wife, and having lunch (turkey rollups and a salad). After lunch we walked to the ATM. I'm still loving my new Skechers. They're getting quite a few walking miles put on them.

I put mrC in a taxi, had a quick snack, and then tried to figure out what to wear to my first Zumba class. The free class was being held in a neighboring apartment complex gym. I settled on capris and a loose fitting tank. At the last minute I thought to throw on my heart rate monitor to see how many calories I could "dance" off.

After class I walked home, had a shower, and curled up with some popcorn and Amazon Prime TV.

Would you miss your car if you had to give it up?
Ever taken a Zumba class?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Back to Back Runs, Hands Up Planking, and Yoga Mats

There was no way I was going to get stuck on a mountain in the rain this morning. After 90 minutes of flip-flopping between hiking the mountain or running and two good downpours, I chose to run. NBD, right? Except that I ran yesterday and I never run back-to-back days anymore. That little knee surgery in December has really changed things around here.

Since this back-to-back thing was kind of a test, I told mrC that I would run for about 20 minutes and secretly hoped I would hit two miles. Hitting a 10 minute pace has been challenging since we moved to China and began living in this tropical climate. Plus the boardwalk is slippery when wet and the whole knee thing. Turns out I did ok and it only rained a little while I was running.

Even though I was smoking' hot, I planked before getting in the shower to cool off. I was reminded again recently about the palms up position being a better challenge for your core. It really is.

While I love my free yoga mat, it is very stretchy making planking and stretching difficult at times. Today I finally picked up a new one and would you believe it was only $5 USD?? Isn't that crazy?

And just because random things can make me happy:

Do you plank with your hands up, down, or clasped in prayer pose?
How much did you pay for your yoga mat?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Weekend in 5

I've been feeling really good since my last run on Thursday. mrC has been home (dealing with the same cold I had) and other than the weather, it's been pretty quiet around here. 

Friday evening we took a walk to the waterfront near Sea World. The weather was comfortably cool and although it looked like it might rain, it did not. The waterfront was crowded with Chinese enjoying the National holiday break, drinking coconut milk straight from the coconut and taking lots of pictures. Sometimes we were the subject which can be both entertaining and awkward.

Saturday morning we walked to Peninsula in search of my favorite yogurt. In this area of town there are four good international stores all on the same street. It seems to be the Chinese way to line up a bunch of similar stores on one street. While there are plenty of stores selling imported goods, it's hard to remember who sells what. 

Saturday evening we watched the fisherman bring their boats into the harbor one by one. A tropical storm warning had been issued calling for them to do so.  They looked so frail sitting in the water just waiting for the storm to come.

Sunday morning my regular running partner cancelled because of the rain, but I went out anyway. The Rose Garden waterfront where we live is a great place to run when I want to stick closer to home, but is slippery when wet. There were others out walking and running, so I felt safe going for a slow 5K.

How was your weekend?
Any weather alerts in your area?

Tuesday, September 29, 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?