Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Biking in Hong Kong: Tai Wai to Tai Mei Tuk

I love a good bike ride (like this and this), but it's even better on a gorgeous day with a gorgeous group of fellow expats from the American Women's Association. 

I joined a group of 15 women for a 21 km bike tour on the outskirts of Hong Kong. When I say outskirts, I mean just a 30 minute ride on the MTR from Central, but it feels like your a million miles away from the city.

I started my day with a couple of scrambled eggs ---> needed that protein for a bike ride! I also packed some light snacks and plenty of water for the trip. It's best to be prepared, even when lunch is planned at the end.

We picked up our bikes in Tai Wai. Only $60HKD to rent the bikes! There are lots of bike shops, but this was one that we could pick up and drop off at different locations. I wasn't expecting a mountain bike, but it worked fine. Our AWA coordinator, Regine, recommended that we take the bike for a spin near the shop before leaving to make sure everything worked.

Trekkie joggers and a linen tank were perfect for this bike ride

Our bike tour was not the Tour de France, but an enjoyable ride along the Tolo Harbour. It was simply lovely riding along the water, seeing the mountains rise behind the apartment buildings, and soak up the sunshine. 

At Science Park we made a water stop and took in the views of Wong Leng and the Pat Sin Leng mountain range across the harbour and where we would end our bike ride. A week ago I had been on top of that range looking down at the Guan Yin Statue.  

In Tai Po, we stopped to see the Tai Wong Yeh Temple located basically right on the bike path. It was a pretty place for another water stop.

In some places the path veered away from the water, but offered a very pleasant bit of shade. It was so peaceful riding along under the trees.

Eventually we arrived in the village of Tai Mei Tuk. This part of the ride was much busier with cars and pedestrians on a much narrower path, but we reached our destination without harm to anyone. You know you have arrived when you see all the bikes lining the path and an assortment of restaurants lining the parallel side street.

After returning our bikes, we walked a little way to a very friendly Italian restaurant, Jack's Terrazza, that offered an affordable set lunches menu. Clearly, I was at the party table. Tall glasses of Carlsberg for (almost) everyone. I'm not a beer drinker.

It was a long, but fun day.

Today I had another meeting in Central, but this time mrC came along so we could run some errands after. 

Like, getting acai bowls from Be-Juiced on Peel Street. What's in my bowl? peanut butter, apple granola, and kiwi. SO GOOD! mrC had blueberries, banana, and honey. He loved it.

After our light lunch, we hit up A&M (the US groceries store) and J Crew (where I snagged this awesomely soft long sleeve tee) before heading back on the ferry. We had a 30 minute wait, so it was a good thing I brought the YPPs with me.

It was an early Taco Tuesday for dinner at our house. How about you?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Simple Sunday and Workout Recap

I feel like I waited all day for the big rain that never came. The rain that I was text alerted to last night. The alert that made me anxious about getting my run in. Anxious because of the whole knee situation and the last thing I needed was to slip and fall.

No worries. I ran while the street lights were still on. It started to drizzle right as I was finishing my first loop and over-cautious me went left to my building instead of right to start another loop. I was thinking, keep it nice and simple.

Even though the drizzle never turned into a down pour and I wanted to repeat what we did on Thursday (see below), I feel good about my decision. Better safe than sorry! On another positive note, I changed up my intervals: run 90 seconds (increased +30) recover 60. I set the timer to do 15 intervals, but after the 10th one I kept going another minute to finish at our building. Total 2.24 miles.

OOTD: shorts (Athleta) similar here / tank (Athleta) exact here /
hat (Athleta) similar here / shoes (Mizuno) exact here

I also did my five favorite stretches (post coming soon) and some planks.

It's all good, I ran today! ---> I'm so happy to be wearing this shirt again (I picked it up the first time I ran ZOOMA Cape Cod and met Dimity and Sarah from Another Mother Runner). When I wasn't running, it didn't feel right to wear it. Kind of like wearing a race shirt for a race you didn't run. Am I right?

For lunch I made some buffalo chicken quinoa which I have been craving and let's be honest I will have it for dinner too. It's one of my favorite quinoa recipes and so easy.

Here's what the rest of my week looked like:

Monday - I went on a REALLY BIG hike with my friends from Shenzhen and mrC came along too. I recapped it here.

Tuesday - We recovered from Monday's hike. Smoothies were involved.

Wednesday - I would have gone for a run, but I had a meeting in Central for a committee I'm going to be working on.

Thursday - mrC and I went for an interval run: 23 x 1 minute run with 1 minute recovery. The number 23 was based on the 2 loop route we did last time. It was just as good this time plus we added the promenade for a grand total of 4.65 miles! Another long run PB for year. And I played around some more with our GoPro.

Friday - Last Friday's class was cancelled because the instructor was sick and Monday I hiked, so I was really looking forward to Bodystep. It was a crowded class but that didn't stop me from burning over 600 calories!

I love this drawstring bag because of the pockets on the outside - really comes in handy!

Saturday - I was feeling a little under-motivated. I thought I would go to the Fitness Center but instead I went for a walk. It's nice to see the flowers popping color again, but it's been gray and overcast most days around here. I'm over it the way the Northeast is over snow in the US.

Speaking of the Northeast...the Boston Marathon is just three weeks away and I saw this floating around social media. I hope there is a way to see it online.

Do you run in the rain? 
What do you do after you run?
Do you plan to see BOSTON?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wilson Trail: Sections 9 and 10

I missed a few hard core hikes while mrC and I were in the US (thankfully there will be make-ups!), but I was happy to be able to join my SWIC hiking friends for the final stages of the Wilson Trail in Hong Kong and mrC decided to come with me, bonus.

Friendly warning: It was a long hike, so this is a long post.

From the MTR, we took a bus and then walked a couple of kilometers to the reservoir. Stage 9 of the Wilson Trail starts on the summit of Cloudy Hill, which the group had already done. We started where they finished, at the Hok Tau Reservoir, about 3.5 km into stage 9. After walking around the reservoir, we immediately began climbing up into the mountain range of Pat Seng Lin Country Park.

It's a good thing I ate those egg muffins I pre-made yesterday for breakfast because we had to climb and climb and climb! The rocky trail and stone steps pushed up into the low clouds that hung over the mountain range.

By the time we reached the top, we had stopped to refill water bottles, enjoyed some snacks, spotted carnivorous flowers and the clouds started clearing for us. 

I highly recommend carrying a mini water filtration system when hiking.

Snack time

These plants eat mosquitoes - love them!

Once on the ridge, the trek high above the tree tops began. This is where a lot of us started shedding layers. We had to follow the trail over several peaks, such as Ping Fung Shan, Lai Pek Shan, and Wong Leng, before reaching the most challenging and final part of section 9 ---> Pat Sin Leng range.

Loving the GoPro and chest strap just wish the battery lasted longer

At Wong Leng, the highest peak of the day at 639 meters and about midway on the ridge, we could look back and see how far we had come and look ahead to how much more hiking we had to do. Plus the panoramas over Plover Cove and the Guan Yin Statue at Tsz Shan Monastery were stunning.

Hill after gut-wrenching hill, we had to climb the eight peaks of Pat Sin Leng, known as The Eight Immortals named for ancient spirits in Chinese mythology. At the final peak, Hsien Ku Fung, 7.1 km from the reservoir, we reached the end of section 9.

My Eddie Bauer backpack was perfect for this all day hike

One more peak to go!

The start of section 10 with views over to mainland China into Shenzhen (our old expat home) was all downhill. The slow wooded descent past rock pools, streams, and abandoned villages was a welcome escape from the beating sun. At a small stream crossing we stopped for water refilling and lunch before making our way to the end of the Wilson Trail at Nam Chung Village.

Hello, Shenzhen!

The water filtration assemble line

Tired and sun burned

We made it!

The terrain of section 10 was rocky and sometimes slippery from the rain the day before (three of us took spills, me included), but the 6.8km went by much faster than the 7.1km of section 9. I was very relieved when we arrived at the bus stop for a ride to the MTR.

This was a looonnnng hike. Long distance, long day, long travel time. And it was totally worth it!

I am now more than halfway done with the Wilson Trail. You can read my previous posts by clicking a link below:

Hiking: Wilson Trail Stages 1 & 2
Hiking: Wilson Trail Stages 3 & 4

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Workout Recap: Two Week Edition

I'm not sure why I skipped a weekly workout recap (traveling through 12 time zones makes my sense of time get out of whack), so this week I'm doing a doubler. Some workouts I've already shared on the blog or Instagram, so I thought I'd include other random tidbits from the past two weeks. This post is sponsored by Naked Nutrition.

Two weeks ago...

Monday - I had an awesome run in Delaware

Tuesday - I did a little multi-tasking on our last day in Delaware. It involved laundry and the elliptical.

Wednesday - We had an early flight to Denver to visit the middle child at college. One thing I miss when we are living out of suitcases is my smoothies. Meanwhile, I try to eat healthy despite being on the road. Check out my breakfast courtesy of United Airlines.

Thursday - We spent the day hiking and then had dinner at the Sink with the college boy. I loved how customers were encouraged to leave their mark on the ceiling! Fun facts ---> Robert Redford worked at the Sink when he was a University of Colorado student and it's been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

Friday - Enjoyed my first run in Boulder. Even though it was cold, I would have loved a post-run smoothie. Naked Nutrition products are available at Vitamin Shoppe stores nationwide, but we did not have a blender in our hotel room.

Saturday - Campus tour. Isn't CU a beautiful campus?

Sunday - I was obsessed with hiking the Flatirons again and these cute tees from Snooze where we had breakfast. Too bad they were sold out in my size.

Last week...

Monday - It's hard to run when you have a cold, but we do it anyway, right? Had to cut mine short, but it was still awesome at this lake.

Tuesday - Another super early flight to start our journey back to Hong Kong.

Wednesday - Completely lost this day to travel, but excited that my iSUP (inflatable stand up paddleboard) made it to Hong Kong unscathed. Can't wait to inflate it and put it in the water.

Thursday - Doctor doctor. Not sure why I thought making appointments the day after getting back was a good idea, especially when I was awake at 3:30AM! Mammogram and a chiro adjustment ---> which do you think was more fun?

Friday - Another jet-lagged-early-morning did not keep me from lacing up my new Wave Horizons from Mizuno (blogger perk) for the first time in Discovery Bay. mrC joined me as I set out to repeat my interval plan: 15 x 1 minute run with 1 minute recovery, but we ended up doing more than that. After one loop around our normal route, we still had a few intervals left so we started another loop. In the end we did 23 intervals, two loops, and my longest run (4.38 miles) since 2015!

Saturday - It was kind of dreary out but we felt like doing the quick Lookout Loop hike in our neighborhood. You can see what it looked like start to finish from our GoPro here. It was really easy using the chest strap to get photos while we hiked.

Sunday - Rest. Sadly we woke to news that our beloved Booney was gone. He blessed us with 14 years of love and smiles. He loved running, so he made many appearances on the blog.

Booney's first 5K in 2011

It was a rainy and gray day in DB, kind of perfect for tending to a sad heart and for baking. I did some food prep for a big hike tomorrow and it was an effective distraction. First I made some egg bites to grab-n-go in the morning and then I baked some protein bars. You can find a lot of good protein recipes on the Naked Nutrition website.

Here's my recipe for banana protein bars:

2 cups quick cooking gluten free oats
1 cup protein powder (I like vanilla less naked whey)
1/4 cup organic buckwheat flour
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup sunbutter/peanut/almond butter
1/4 cup honey
 2+ mashed ripe bananas 

Mix together. I like to mix dry and wet ingredients separately and then combine into one bowl. Just seems easier to mix it all together if you're doing it by hand (like me).

Spread about 1/2" inch thick onto cookie sheet lined with cooking-sprayed wax paper. 

Bake 350 degrees 15 min. 
Remove from wax paper. Let cool and cut. I put them in to-go baggies and store in the refrigerator.

What's your eating like when you're traveling?
Do you SUP? Ever use an inflatable board?
I'd love a good canine fitness buddy story if you have one.