Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Morning Date and Trip to Tuen Mun (Hong Kong)

It is still hard to believe that I wake up to this view everyday.

After admiring my view over a cup of coffee, I had a date with my foam roller. It's my China chiropractor until I find one here to see...meaning one that speaks English. I found this great guide to 5 Foam Rolling Moves You Aren't Doing (But Should) very helpful.

My morning workout was Day 30 of #MeanAbsJune challenge (it feels so good to be done!) and one round of 7 Minute HIIT Workout. I worked up an appetite, so I splurged and made myself some cheesy scrambled eggs with ham. YUM!

Then I put on my walking shoes for my first visit to Tuen Mun, a city in the New Territories, Hong Kong. I was a little nervous about the trip because it was my first time crossing the border and I needed to change money from China RMB to Hong Kong dollar for bus fare and a metro card.

It was awesome of Young and (new friend) Kathy (from San Diego) to show me the ropes and take me to all the practical shopping in the area.

After passing through China immigration (departure) and Hong Kong immigration (arrival), we rode in a double bus to Tuen Mun Town Center.

Tuen Mun is a popular destination because things are cheaper than in China and you can get your hands on a lot more western products at the malls and the supermarkets, like Taste. Great name, right?

One of the malls we went to, Trend Plaza, had an Outback Steakhouse! That's a cheeseburger (no bun) and fries for lunch.

We went on the Hong Kong metro to get my Octopus Card which can be used on buses, metro, and in stores and restaurants. I thought that was pretty cool.

I'm pretty excited to have made my first trip to Hong Kong and look forward to going back with mrC soon.

My best purchase of the day was Bob's Red Mill ground flaxseed. Now I can make gluten free protein pancakes!

Dinner was left over gluten-free spaghetti with the last of the strawberries on the side.

Do you use a foam roller?
How often do you use your passport?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mountain Monday and Happy Hour

I like Mondays because they start with a climb up the Nanshan Mountain with the SWIC hiking group.

Before walking to Sea World for the meet-up, I had one of my usual quick breakfasts: PB&J rice cakes with a side of coffee. They do the trick.

The hiking group has gotten smaller, but I love that whoever is around still joins, even when it is getting hotter and hotter.

Speaking of hot...this is what we were working with today. Fortunately there was a nice little breeze most of the way to the top.

Coming off the mountain, I was a sweaty mess so I stopped by the Hilton for a quick dip in the pool to cool off. It is amazing in the water and it's not usually crowded. 

I had some leftover gluten-free spaghetti for lunch and then FaceTime'd with mrC who is in Singapore. I took this picture without him knowing :)

To end the day I met my friend Young for Happy Hour and dinner. Young is from Boston and has been in Shenzhen for about 4 years. I meant to take a picture of my chicken Caesar salad, but instead here one of us! It's dark because we like to sit outside and the sun sets around 7:30 here.

What do you look forward to each week?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Weekend Wrap - It Was Hot & Quiet

My weekend was full of strawberries and a little fitness. My knee has been a little cranky and it's hot, hot, hot, so I laid low.

After watching the US win the World Cup quarterfinal game on Saturday morning and putting mrC in the car to go on his first multi-day trip, I did what any fitness junkie would do. I rode my bike to the gym. I did a short run to test out my knee (it was ok), did some strength, and then swam some laps.

For lunch, I had turkey rolls ups and some strawberries.

I took a couple of walks after lunch and after dinner. Every time I go out, I find something new that makes me love our little apartment neighborhood even more.

My knee was feeling cranky again (I honestly think it's the swimming) so I spent the evening with Jack Bauer on Amazon Prime.

My knee felt a little better this morning, so I took my morning walk and then tried this HIIT workout from POP SUGAR. I have no idea what "push-up rotations" are and I only did one circuit, but I liked it.

If you don't have an interval timer yet, I highly recommend Gym Boss. I have been using it during my #MeanAbsJune daily workout to help me get through and I can clip it on my shorts to do intervals on my runs. The beeps are LOUD.

After walking to the store to get more yogurt for smoothies, I spent the hottest part of the day inside reading this thriller. I can't wait to see what happens.

A final walk after dinner to end my quiet weekend.

What do you do when the weather gets unbearably hot?
Read any good books lately?

Monday, June 15, 2015

My Monday with Some Favorites

I'm learning that summers in Shenzhen mean lots of traveling for expats. Some return home, others move on to new places, and many go on holiday. The Shenzhen Women's International Club goes on a summer break of sorts, too. The official activities end until late August, but the expats who stay behind keep them going informally.

So, I started my Monday by meeting up with one of my favorite SWIC groups for our weekly hike. Our group was small and we were missing our leader, but we all love being active and outside.

We chatted and climbed, trying not to be distracted by the numbers that let us know how many steps we have climbed...and how many more we have to go!

Almost halfway there!

The mountain climb was hot today and didn't offer much of a breeze at the top, but we still enjoyed the satisfactory summit picture.

At the top. Chris took the photo

After a quick beverage at Pacific Coffee with the group, I walked to the Hilton to make use of my new fitness membership and take a swim. I love that I can lay out my sweaty hiking clothes to dry while I'm in the pool and sit under the umbrella to relax for a bit. Next to running, swimming might be my favorite thing.

Back at the apartment I was super excited to do #MeanAbsJune day 15 because it's the halfway mark!

mrC and I finally picked up a large knife and cutting board, so after having quinoa and tuna for lunch, I treated myself to a very large container of watermelon. Watermelon is easily my favorite fruit. I could eat it all day.

Before dinner I ran some errands. It was so darn hot out, that I just had to make a smoothie when I got back. It tastes even better than the first one I made because I now have spinach and creamy vanilla gluten free whey protein. Smoothies are such a great treat when it's hot.

I'm still looking for some chairs for our balcony so I can enjoy morning coffee and afternoon smoothies sitting with the gorgeous view. But even without them, today was pretty awesome. I enjoyed so many of my favorite things!

Do you travel a lot in the summer?
What are some of your favorite treats?

Friday, June 12, 2015

I Joined a Fitness Center

Even though I haven't had a membership to a gym for about eight years, when my new friends in China told me about the Hilton Fitness Center, I had to see it for myself. It was AMAZING! State of the art equipment, sauna, jacuzzi, indoor and outdoor pools...and a HUGE price tag. Too much even for a little piece of fitness heaven.

Then we learned of a DEEP discounted (like more than 80% off) membership available and mrC decided I should have it. I didn't plan on getting a gym membership, since I've gotten by without one for so long, but the pools, the price...it was meant to be!

When mrC's car arrived to take him to work this afternoon, I hopped on my bike and rode 10 minutes to the HFC to get my membership officially started.

After a quick registration process, I didn't waste any time getting my workout started. I stored my things in the locker room and jumped on one of the ellipticals for a 10 minute warm up. The view of Shenzhen Bay and the outdoor pool below is amazing, but if it bores you the cardio equipment all come with attached TVs.

The place was empty, so after my warmup I had my pick of machines. I took my time getting reacquainted with each piece of equipment: a couple of sets on the leg press, chest press, lat pull, and seated row.

There was plenty of floor space for me to do #MeanAbsJune Day 12 using one of the provided yoga mats.

After the 45 minute indoor workout, I went to the pool and swam around for about 45 minutes.

Yesterday I bought a small blender, so when I got back to the apartment I excitedly made my first smoothie using frozen raspberries and blueberries, some yogurt, and milk. Ahhh! I still need to find some protein and pick up some spinach, but it was a pretty good smoothie.

I'm looking forward to spending more time in the Hilton Fitness Center and testing the equipment and amenities I didn't get a chance to try today.

Do you workout at a fitness center?
What's your favorite thing about fitness centers?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Few Wrong Turns and a New Toy

This morning I laced up my running shoes earlier than I ever have before: 530 AM. mrC had a trip and left before 5 and since I was already awake it seemed like a good time to try to beat the humidity.

I'm pretty sure it was the best decision ever.

The streets were pretty quiet when I started which really amazes me when I look around and see all the surrounding apartment buildings.

The first half of my run went really well. I even found this inspiring message "planted" among the vines growing on a wall.

In my head I knew exactly where I was headed to make a loop back to our apartment. Suddenly I thought I was on the wrong road and made a right turn. And then a left. And then I was lost. 

The thing about China is that all the streets look the same and the names of the roads are very similar. I followed the metro signs until I figured out where I was and finished with my longest run in China. Since I was using my Charity Miles app to support #MaddieStrong, my run mileage wasn't completely lost after I forgot to un-pause my watch at one of my where-am-I? stops.

I'm learning that June is a popular month for expats to make a move (either back to their homelands or on to a new adventure) and have "apartment sales." So after some coffee and a shower, I hopped on my bike and went shopping.  I was hoping to bring home a yoga mat (the seller actually had one that she keeps at her school, so I will get it next week), but instead I found this goodie! 

(and yes, I rode my bike back with that thing sticking out of a bag in the front basket)

When I returned home, I scrambled up some cheesy eggs for myself and then remembered to do #MeanAbsJune day 6. I seriously can't wait to get that yoga mat because the tile floor is hard!

Have you ever had a run go wrong, but turn out right?
Any new fitness toys you want to share?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Donating Miles on National Running Day 2015

Today is National Running Day!!

A few months ago I thought I would be planning a day of events to celebrate with the students and faculty at GHS like we did last year

Instead I laced up my Mizunos in China 12 hours ahead of my running friends and set out on my own.

At 6:30 this morning it was already a feels like 90 degrees thanks to the high humidity. Like many others out early doing their fitness, I tried to escape the heat by running along the waterfront. 

After turning around at the lighthouse, I searched out shade as I ran back through the apartment buildings.

Today I wish more than ever that I was home running with my school community and running friends. About a week ago, I found out that one of my students has cancer and not being there to help rally for her is weighing on my heart. So while Maddie is kicking cancer's ass, I will be donating my miles to StandUp To Cancer through the Charity Miles app to support #MaddieStrong.

If you would like to support Maddie and her family directly by making a donation that will help to defray travel and medical costs so that they can focus on getting her healthy, please go here.

How do you celebrate National Running Day?
Do you donate your miles?