Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Workout Recap, But First

Today I took a well-deserved rest day. I had a good workout week, so today was all about giving my body a break. I'm linking up with Tricia and Holly again for the Weekly Wrap, but first...

First, I want to tell you about the food we had today.

Hello, gluten free pancakes! mrC and I watched playoff hockey and then had brunch. These Bob's Red Mill pancakes were so good. Even though I would love to eat just carbs, we did have eggs too.

mrC had to run to the airport for a bit, and while he was gone I hit up the foam roller. I've been working this into my daily routine and focusing on rolling slowly to make it count. The slower I roll, the more tight spots I find compared to when I roll too fast. There may have been a few shrieks during today's session.

For linner (or whatever you call late lunch/ early dinner), we made homemade pizza. I found Udi's gluten free pizza crust on my last grocery trip and we still had some LaRosa's pizza sauce left over from my BFF's surprise birthday box. In about 10 minutes we had two personal sized yummy cheese pizzas. I like just cheese, but mrC is already planning the toppings on his next pizza ---> pineapple, mushroom and onion.

If you came for the weekly wrap, here you go:

Monday - I'm going to call this an active rest day. I walked to the plaza for groceries and I cleaned and conditioned our wood floors ---> it felt like a full body workout.

Tuesday - Ran a 5K with longer intervals

Wednesday - Po Toi Island tour with the American Women's Association to celebrate a very important birthday.

Thursday - Core strength workout that you might have seen on Instagram and running errands in the rain.

Friday - Burned off a ton of calories in Bodystep class. It was hot. It was tough, I loved it.

Saturday - A double workout with some hills and a little time on the water.

Sunday - rest day

What toppings do you like on your pizza?
How do you spend your rest days?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Two Hills, SUP #2 and A Plank Workout

After a stormy yesterday and more rain in the forecast, I was thrilled to find the streets dry when I headed out for my run this morning. It was early and there weren't many people out, but I felt safe running alone because I was wearing my Wearsafe tag (talked about it in this post).

15% off annual service with code RUNNINGESCAPADES

Unlike my last run, the humidity was really low, so I followed my Discovery Bay loop route. This means that I run two big hills, one in the beginning and one to finish the run. The first hill feels the hardest but the actual elevation gain is 119 feet compared to the slightly longer second hill at the end with a gain of 122 feet. In all honesty, both are HARD!

This was my second run using my new interval set of 2 minutes run and 1 minute recover. Sometimes if I knew that a downhill was up ahead, I lengthened my run time so that I could walk the downhill (sounds crazy right?) and keep my knee happy.

I give this run two thumbs up. 1) My knee felt good. This is always my biggest concern. It will never feel the same as it used to, but each run it feels stronger. 2) The temperature was PERFECT! Low humidity is definitely more fun for running. 3) I ran 4.56 miles, yay! I'm really loving these longer runs. 4) Those hills ---> there's still work to do, but today was a pretty good hill day.

After a shower and breakfast I headed out to meet my friend for some SUP. She also recently brought an iSUP board back from the US with her and is joining the DB Ladies SUP group.

We met at the beach and I was so happy to see my board had survived the 90km winds from yesterday's big thunderstorm. It would have been a bummer to only get to use it once.

It was a little chilly and cloudy (it actually started pouring when we were putting the boards away), so I was even more determined not to fall in the water than I was the last time. I only like to get wet when it's warm and sunny!

We're both a little rusty, so we made perfect partners SUPing around the bay, laughing at each other's wobbles, and getting our SUP confidence back. We ended up getting wet anyway since we had to walk to our apartments in the pouring rain ---> next time I'll pack an umbrella just in case.

Planking. I figure I can't be the only person who is on the fence about holding planks for multiple minutes (my PT told me short spurts are better because our form doesn't collapse). Anyway, I thought I would share this pyramid plank workout I made up and that really tested my core.

How often do you switch up your running route?
How do you push yourself up a big hill?
Do you plank for time or mix it up?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tin Hau Festival - Po Toi Island

After a long day of being very touristy, I naturally came home and used my foam roller. It's a nice substitute for a massage. Just kidding. It absolutely does not feel like a massage. I'm trying to foam roll everyday though. It's good for my muscles.

Let me back up to this morning. I joined an AWA heritage festival tour, aka Tin Hau's Very Chinese Birthday PartyWe traveled by private junk from Aberdeen pier - to the fishermen’s village of Po Toi Island to observe the birthday festivities for the Goddess of the Sea, Tin Hau. 

You may remember Tin Hau from Shenzhen (where we used to live). I ran by her many times on what I called my Mermaid Run.

Back to today. After cruising on the boat for about an hour, we anchored among many fishing boats and other kinds of vessels decorated with colorful flags. In other parts of Hong Kong, the festival includes a parade with lots of drumming and lion/dragon dances. In Po Toi, this happens on the boats.

We went on land to explore the Opera Theatre, which was built on a cliff right in front of the temple and then watched a performance by the Cantonese Opera Club.

Worshiping groups from different villages returned the temple's huge Fa Pau’s which are beautiful towers adorned with paper floral tributes and are unique during the Tin Hau Festival to honor the Goddess of the Sea.

Later they engaged in a scrambling game competing for another Fa Pau which would guarantee the winner good fortune for the year. This tradition is very rare to see as it is banned from most Hong Kong festivals nowadays. Basically a little tube with a number inside is launched from the platform. The number corresponds to one of the Fa Pau and some are more sought after than others.

Professional Chinese photographer Kwok-Leung Paul Lau provided insight in understanding the historical background of this yearly local tradition. He was our awesome guide.

It was a most beautiful day to learn more about Hong Kong culture.

Do you foam roll?
Do you like boats?
Ever been to a culture festival in a country other than your own?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bump Up Day and Running with Wearsafe

I stayed up very late watching the Boston Marathon last night ---> which was ONLY possible thanks to my amazing friend Janine who saved me from the online streaming blackout handed down to anyone not living in the right geographical location or subscribing to cable.

Needless to say, when I woke up at my normal too-early time today, I was feeling a little reluctant to go out for my scheduled run. I was tired, it was foggy, and the humidity was at 92%. Yikes! Then I remembered watching all those runners push themselves in the marathon. They didn't get there by skipping runs. As soon as I put on my running clothes and shoes, I felt better.

Inspiring shoes and shorts

In the elevator (we live on the 20th floor) as I was getting my music and interval app ready, I recalled my running plan. I've been running 90:60 second intervals for about two weeks with good results, so today was another big bump up day ---> increase intervals to 2 minutes run: 1 minute recover x15.

As I started I told myself to keep the pace nice and slow, so that I didn't fizzle in the humidity. Even though I had programmed 15 sets, I figured I would go as long as I could and make up my route as I ran.

I ended up doing a nice 5K around the north part of Discovery Bay - I think it was 11 interval. Instead of doing two full loops, I did one loop with a double out and back along the promenade thrown in. This meant I only had to climb a big hill once.

I was very happy with my run. My knee felt good with the longer run intervals, my pace was mostly comfortable (even going up the hill) and I am one step more confident that I can do a 5K race in the future.

Speaking of confidence, running alone can be scary. We've all read the headlines. Too many stories of runners being attacked. Living abroad with a husband who travels for his job makes going out for solo runs even more unnerving at times. That's why I was excited when Wearsafe reached out to me about joining their Running Ambassador Program.

Wearsafe is wearable safety device that makes it so I'm one click away from a network of people to help me. It works with your smart phone to track your location and even record what's happening once you activate the Tag by clicking three times (you get to choose this setting). That information is sent to your network and your people decide what to do.

Now anytime I head out for a run, I clip the Wearsafe Tag onto my top or shorts. I can run feeling safe and think about things like my pace or my route or the views.

Because I can attach my Wearsafe Tag to just about anything I might carry with me when I leave the apartment, it takes away any fears that I won't be able to get to my phone if I need help. With the click of a button, my family and friends instantly receive an alert.

With the key fob, I can carry my Wearsafe Tag when I'm walking to the fitness center or out running errands. Help is still only a click away.

It's the perfect safety device for runners, hikers, bikers, students, anyone ---> it's versatile!

Wearsafe is similar to your home security system where you pay a monthly fee for the monitoring. Plans start as little as $5.00 USD a month. That's pennies a day to feel safe and confident that help is just a click away every time you leave your home.

Use my discount code RUNNINGESCAPADES for 15% off Wearsafe Annual Service and reclaim your run today.

Were you able to watch the Marathon?
How do you stay safe on our runs/hikes/walks/daily adventures?

Disclosure: As part of the Wearsafe Running Ambassador Program I was provided with a Wearsafe Tag and 1 Year Wearsafe Service in exchange for using and sharing my honest opinions. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Cozy Hong Kong Easter Brunch + Weekly Wrap

I spent my Easter Sunday afternoon with a group of pilot wives.

We were all in the same boat; our husband's were away working. We headed out after church for a lovely Easter Afternoon Tea in the Lobby Lounge at the Kowloon Shangri-la Hotel in Hong Kong.

Brunch dining on the weekend is must-do in Hong Kong and many hotels create themed brunches for special occasions and holidays. When we entered the lobby of the hotel, we were instantly greeted with the fragrance of orchids and this beautiful bunny display.

We did not know there was a protocol for booking tables by the windows with views overlooking Victoria Harbour, but our seating for four was very cozy and intimate.

The buffet seemed like an endless choice of delicious delights such as smoked salmon, filet mignon, glazed ham, baked snapper, deep-fried shrimp, sushi, dim sum, salad, fruit and more and more and more (and so good I forgot to take a picture)! There was also a bottle of white wine and lots of desserts! Oh, coffee and tea were served at the end.

We had the best time chatting and nibbling our way through the afternoon. On our way out of the hotel, we saw the cute themed smart car that is very typical in Hong Kong.

So that is how I spent my Sunday. This morning I spoke to my parents on Skype and thought about all the fun times I had with my grandparents on Easter when I was little.

Here's my week of workouts ---> Linking up with Tricia and Holly for the Weekly Wrap!

Monday - I did a yoga session and then went to Bodystep for the usual kickass workout (I love it so much!)

Tuesday - A quick yoga session and then a run with mrC

Wednesday- A nice long yoga session before my extra long and extremely dull hair appointment. I get it colored and keratin treated at the same time and every time I say I'm never doing it together again.

Thursday - An easy yoga stretch session because I couldn't wash my hair for 24 hours, so I avoid getting sweaty.

Friday - Yay! Bodystep twice this week! That hardly ever happens.

Saturday - Running and SUP-ing

Sunday - A little yoga to get the day started. But not goat yoga. Would you?

Now, I'm gearing up to watch the Boston Marathon online. Here's a list of ways you can watch too.

If you celebrate Easter, did you do something special?
Do you workout on holidays?
Do you have a connection to the Boston Marathon? I have several friends running and others volunteering.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sweaty Saturday: 4.15 for Boston and SUP time

I jumped right into the day today.

It's the holiday weekend, so instead of doing the pre-run coffee routine I decided to beat the sidewalk rush and get an early start. I was reminded that running before 7AM has more perks than just extra elbow room. It's peaceful. Instead of worrying about how to avoid crashing into commuters and dog walkers, I was able to just listen to my music and enjoy the scenery.

Speaking of music ---> I downloaded this Nike Run Club playlist and found a few new favorites in the lineup. Everyone is loving Ed Sheeran's Shape of You (me too!), but I also like Let's Go (Calvin Harris) Action! (De La Soul), 24K Magic (Bruno Mars) and This Is What You Came For (Calvin Harris).

I finished my run at 4.15 miles. 4.15 miles for Boston on #OneBostonDay. No runner will ever forget the events of 2013 (whether you were there, watching on TV, or heard about it later) and every year I donate my miles to my running community.

After a quick shower and some scrambled eggs, I returned to the beach with my SUP paddle to meet a member of the DB Ladies SUP group for the first time.

My board! My board has been stored on the rack at the Lantau Boat Club for about a week now. As soon as mrC and I got it inflated (I mentioned it here) and stored the weather turned rainy and then he had a trip (figures, right?).

I couldn't wait any longer and luckily Sue was willing to be my paddle buddy and help me break in both my board and my confidence. It felt really good to finally get my board in the water, but I was SUPER nervous because the last time I was on a board was last summer at the Cape. It is a lot like riding a bike and it all comes back to you. As we paddled around and out and back, I was getting a little braver and more confident, but my legs and feet were in nervous clench mode for the whole hour!

The picture I took after our paddle makes the water look deserted, but there were a few outrigger canoes going and at least one row team out practicing. Every 25 minutes or so the ferries to Central would come and go. Plus there was this whole Easter egg hunt on the beach thing going on.

My sweaty Saturday was pretty much perfect (except that mrC is away on a trip). I love that I can walk out my door and go for a run or walk down to the beach for a little SUP time or a ton of other active options.

Do you prefer to run with people around or while everyone is still sleeping?
What songs are on your favorites list lately?
Do you like to SUP?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

5 Things to Love About Spring Running

We've been living in China and now Hong Kong for about two years. Winter here is like a very mild winter back home in New Hampshire: cold, but not cold enough for snow. The temperature hovers in my favorite place of 45-50 degrees on average. Sometimes it's colder, but rarely.

Now it's Spring in Hong Kong and the temperature is slowly reaching into the high 70s. The humidity is also on the rise. The days of running in dry air are receding from the calendar. I might still be struggling with running in the tropical climate, but there is A LOT to love about running here (and anywhere) in the Spring.

THE COLOR - Spring arrives and suddenly colors start popping out all over the place. Flowers, shrubs and trees are blooming, what was brown is transforming into green and the world just seems to be shining brighter. In my neighborhood, the birds are chirping more loudly, the grass is being cut, and hanging flower baskets are dotting the walkways around our apartment building.

MORE RUNNERS/PEOPLE OUT - When the temperatures start to warm up many people start to come out of hiding. Lately I have noticed many more runners out. Whether they are runners or not, it is nice to see more people out enjoying the day. It's even better when they offer a smile or word of encouragement as I trudge up the hills.

TANK TOPS AND SHORTS - Even though I prefer to run in cooler temps, I still like wearing tank tops and shorts better. Ditching the capris and long sleeves for lighter gear makes my run feel easier before I've even started. I love feeling the sun on my arms and legs. I'm especially loving these new shorts from Lululemon and I've got my eye on this tank from the North Face.

IT'S NOT TOO HOT, YET - It's warm enough to wear the lighter clothing, but not so much that I need to jump in the water and cool off after (although some humid runs can definitely make that thought cross my mind). There's a strong chance that I'll get a nice breeze to keep me cool on my run, but not so much that I need another layer.

THE VIEWS - Everything just looks better in the Spring. I mean, it's the same water, the same, beach, the same mountains...but now colors are popping and the mornings are coming earlier.  For me, everything just seems more scenic when Spring arrives.

What do you like about running in the Spring?

I'm linking up with Lacey and Meranda and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

It's Shoesday! Mizuno Wave Horizon

I admit that I've been Mizuno fan for a few years now and I've worn several different styles: (not in order - Wave ParadoxWave SayonaraWave Creation 14Wave Inspire 8Wave Rider 16Wave Rider 17Wave Rider 18, and Wave Rider 19).

My current obsession is my new pair of Mizuno Wave Horizons.

I'm confident that I needed to get back into a stability shoe and I'm happy that Mizuno asked me to expand my horizons. This shoe provides the support and cushion that I wanted without weighing me down and feeling stiff.

It feels most similar to me to the Wave Inspire, as both are support shoes, but the Horizon have more cushion. This makes it about .5 oz heavier, but I think that's pretty insignificant. They are also more snug fitting than the Inspires I wore, but I like that feeling right now.

The Wave Horizon is offered in a nice mix of bold and neutral color options and are loaded with all the standard Mizuno bells and whistles and more: full length and articulated U4icX midsole, new Mizuno cloudwave technology, new U4ic midsole compound, DynamotionFit and new triple zone engineered mesh (get more details on Mizuno's website).

Besides the mix of gray and turquoise coloring with the pop of pink, I'm loving the design on the back of the shoes. I think it looks like the pattern on a soccer ball.

I've already put more than a few good miles on my Wave Horizons and I'm very happy with their performance. My muscle imbalances cause knee pain but the stability in this shoe seems to be helping (along with these 5 essential stretches for happy legs).

What are you wearing these days?