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?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

My Accidental Run Streak

After substituting a run for my weekly hike up the mountain yesterday because of the rainy weather, I wasn't sure if I should do my normal Tuesday run or not. I was feeling good (which really means my knee) and I hate days without fitness unless I have a really, really good reason (sick or trip to some beautiful place with mrC - hint, hint).

Always up for a challenge, I went for it. Well, after waiting out some passing rain, again. Then I waited until I saw another runner out on the waterfront for a final boost of courage to actually get out the door. It was good. I paced better on this run, so the humidity did not get the better of me.

Still feeling good after my three day run streak, I took the time to go through all my post-run stretches. I think my muscles have been much happier since I truly started doing this and by default my knee has been happier.

Planking is still a challenge. I think my body is really missing my weekly SurfSet class. With a tile floor in our tiny apartment, I can't safely do HIIT workouts, so I'm on the lookout for something.

We took a trip out to a bigger international store and I found some new gluten free chips. I admit that I'm a salt freak and love something crunchy. I picked up one of each brand to try out.

Speaking of gluten free...just kidding. I did not buy any of these live crabs. It's just amazing to me to see them all lined up and spread over a table like this. Ok, and a little creepy.

My actual gluten free lunch: turkey and swiss rolls up and a salad with GF ranch dressing. The salad is one of the things that makes our trip today worth it.

Have you ever done a running streak?

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?

Thursday, October 1, 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?