Tuesday, January 23, 2018

All My Favorite Shoes | Tuesdays on the Run

Today I'm linking-up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run! (This post has affiliate links)

mrC is always laughing at my shoe dilemmas. I never seem to know what shoe to wear or have the right shoes for the occasion socially. I swear if I could wear flip-flops for every event, I'd be in heaven! On the other hand, I always know which shoe is right for my fitness needs. I feel like I talk about my footwear a lot on this blog, but today I'm getting specific and sharing my favorite shoes for every fitness category: running, cross training, recovery and athleisure.


Running Shoes



I have logged most of my miles this last year in my Mizuno Wave Sky and have been very happy with how they feel. This was a brand new shoe from Mizuno that is neutral but with more cushion than ever before. They have definitely worked for me.

I also have a pair of Mizuno Wave Horizon that still have plenty of life in them. They are one of the few stability shoes I have ever worn for running. They were my go-to shoe when I started slowly making my running come-back.

Cross Training


This summer I bought a pair of Nike Air Zoom Pegasus just for indoor workouts. When I started taking classes like GRIT and Bodystep, I realized I needed a shoe with better traction than my running shoes. Even though these Nikes are running shoes, they have great traction. I wear them for walking tours and hiking too.

Recovery


I started wearing Oofos in 2013 and now I practically live in them (and I have more than one pair). These are the best shoes to make your legs and feet feel better after a long workout or a long day on your feet. When I put them on, I feel like I'm bouncing. I wear them all the time in our apartment to keep my feet happy from walking on the wood floors. I like them so much I've started buying them for my family as gifts!

Athleisure



Most of my time is spent in casual shoes like my Keds Chillax Slip-On Sneaker. I wear these on short errands or out to lunch. These shoes are great with a pair of casual pants or jeans. Slip-on shoes are my favorite and if I can get away with not wearing socks, I'm a happy girl.

Another pair that I wear that are more sporty-athleisure are my Skechers Go Walk Sport Rush. These are perfect for a longer walk or when I'm wearing athleisure to get my nails done (like today), but I don't want to mess with socks.

Hopefully you've enjoyed the tour of my fitness shoes.

Do you wear shoes for different fitness reasons too? I'd love to know what you're wearing these days.



Sunday, January 21, 2018

Weekly Wrap - Blah, I Need Sunshine

I really am a sunshine person. A bright, sunny day kind of person. Nearly a full week of gray ugly skies and bad air has me feeling kind of pissy-pants. Do you ever get that way?

What I'm wearing: top, shorts (similar), shoes, headband, bag

Other than the dreary weather, the week wasn't bad. I had a couple of fun social events (Bunco night and listening to classic rock bands) and spent a lot of time with mrC before his trip. I don't know why it feels like I'm complaining.

I worked out every day. I got to one strength class and I did a bunch of yoga and other cardio at home. I even ran two 5Ks ---> this alone should have me feeling head over heels.

The only explanation I can come up with for my Scrooge-like attitude is that I need sunshine.

My workouts for the week:

Monday - Yoga

mrC and I had interview appointments to get our Global Entry passes and a bunch of other errands to run, so it was morning yoga for me. Plus I don't get my hair wet or sweaty for two days after a keratin treatment, which I got on Sunday.

Tuesday - Rest

I went mrC to his doctor appointment and then we went on a hunt for winter boots for me to wear on our trip to the Ice Festival in Harbin, China. It's a pain to have to buy things like this that we have in storage in Massachusetts, but what can we do? It's really cold in Harbin (windchill of -20s) so I will be getting a taste of winter for real this year!

Wednesday - Run

With a morning finally free, mrC and I went for a run. The air quality was horrible (you could see it when you looked out the window), so we ran on the treadmills at the fitness center. It's not my first choice since the temperatures are perfect in the winter for running, but we're glad that we have the option to go indoors when the air is bad.

Thursday - Bodypump

Finally made it to The HIT Room for some strength training. I'm still trying to figure out the weights thing. I have trouble finding the happy weight for biceps, triceps and shoulders (although I am getting better on this one). Since form is pivotal, I worry about being too heavy but then I don't get the same post-workout soreness that I get on the leg tracks (even though I push to failure). I need to figure out a better weight selection strategy asap.

Friday - HIIT workout

I had to go to Central again for a lunch meeting with other AWA volunteers, so I did an uncharacteristic afternoon workout. I haven't been doing the SWEATADAY challenge recently, but after writing about it I looked it up. I chose six exercises from the 20+ days and made up my own HIIT workout. 8 rounds of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest: curl & kick burpees, runner's crunch, superman pull (tough), plank to pike, reverse table crunch (really tough), foam roller side plank (modified because I don't have TRX). I felt good about putting this workout together, but dang it was hard! Harder than I thought it would be. PS - you can see the moves on Instagram.

Saturday - Run

I was disappointed to wake up to ugly gray skies, but I did my run outdoors anyway. It was humid and it has warmed back up to the high 60s which put me on the struggle bus especially for the second half of the run. That's also when all the dog walkers came out in force to clog up the sidewalks! Dodging dogs and leashes while running up a big hill is not really my idea of fun.

Sunday - Yoga

I was out late with some friends, so I slept in for the first time in forever. That usually only happens when I have jet lag. I did a nice session of video yoga and a couple cardio SWEATADAY exercises. It was another gray day and I was happy to spend it indoors.

As you can see, I'm not lacking workout motivation or dealing with an injury, but I'm still feeling a bit underwhelmed at the moment. The forecast for tomorrow looks good and hopefully the effects of my sunshine withdrawal will come to an end. I'll keep you posted.

Does prolonged cloudy/gray weather affect your mood?

I’m linking up with Holly and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap!



Friday, January 19, 2018

Winter Fitness Challenges

Overcome the winter blues with these great ideas.

Working out in the winter can be hard. Finding the right challenge can help you find your motivation.


Full disclosure, living in Hong Kong means that I don't have to worry about snow storms or below freezing temperatures. I also won't be burning calories anytime soon doing cool things like having a snowball fight, cross country skiing or just shoveling the driveway. But I do have to deal with seasonal issues like shorter days, gray skies and colder temperatures.  All things that can zap my motivation.

There are many ways to stay motivated in the winter and keep moving.

Here are five of my favorite fitness challenges to help when I'm struggling with motivation.

1. Winter Warrior Challenge

The goal is simple: run as many miles as you can during a set amount of time. Many of the online challenges start in December or the first of the year, but you can still do a winter warrior challenge on your own or with friends. Check your local running store. Many have on-going challenges that work on a points system for showing up. You can even win prizes.

2. FAB ABS February Challenge

FAB AB February is one of my all-time favorite monthly challenges. A 30-day challenge is perfect for people who have trouble getting started and staying committed. It also helps that you can literally cross the days off the calendar. Just about anything can be turned into a 30-day challenge (or even 21 days if your prefer). At the end of the month, you can start a brand-new challenge that focuses on something else.

3. Yoga with Adriene

Yoga with Adrine is perfect for people who want to work out at home - whether it's because you don't want to pay the high price of a yoga studio or your just prefer the privacy of your own home. With a large selection of videos and 30-day collections, Yoga with Adriene lets you stay out of the cold and in your comfy clothes.

4. Instagram Challenges

Need visual motivation? Participating in an Instagram challenge lets you easily be motivated by others doing the same challenge - just search the # (hashtag). Saucony has one going right now. These challenges can pop up at any time, so be sure to check out what hashtags your sweaty friends are using.

5. Sweat A Day Challenge

A perfect all around full body fitness challenge that will push your limits DAILY is the SWEATADAY challenge with Shauna Harrison. This Instagram challenge began in 2013 and continues to go strong because it is that good.

I hope these challenges inspire you to keep moving (not only in the winter, but all year long) the way they inspire me. If they do, help your friends and share this post ;)

What challenges are you doing (or have done) that you want to share?

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




Thursday, January 18, 2018

TOL - One Random Hong Kong Day

I thought it would be fun to document a random day in my life with my random thoughts for Thinking Out Loud. This is what my Wednesday looked like.

I really wish I could sleep in later than 6am. Maybe my body is just super thirsty because I always guzzle at least one bottle of water before I have my morning coffee.


The air quality in Hong Kong can be really bad sometimes. I'm glad that I can run on the treadmill at the fitness center to avoid the pollution.


After lunch I went to the plaza to buy a couple of dresses from a lady selling them through a local wardrobe swap group (one fit, one did not). I also found a fun Hong Kong memory card game at the stationary store to send to my BFF's little girl.


I spent the rest of my day in Central for an appointment and an AWA activity. Sometimes when I'm there it feels like I'm standing in the middle of chaos. It's crazy but I kind of love it.

Picture taken by mrC on previous trip to Central

Bunco Happy Hour is sooo fun! I have only played twice, but I absolutely LOVE it. Last night I tied for most wins, but then lost in the roll-off.


The ferry is one of my favorite times to listen to podcasts. I'm currently listening to Accused about a newspaper's investigation into a 40-year-old unsolved murder. If you listened to and liked Serial, you'll like this one.


Do you have a treadmill backup plan too?
Do you play Bunco?
What podcast are you listening to?

Today I'm Thinking Out Loud with Running with Spoons - join the link up 
or head over for some great reading.



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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

TOTR: My 2018 Fitness Predictions

I kind of already wrote a post about my goals for 2018 and about how they are non-specific because that's kind of where I'm at right now. If I had a more reliable knee, I would happily make all kinds of plans. But after thinking about this week's Tuesdays on the Run topic, I realize that I can be hopeful and make some predictions for myself without getting super crazy specific like I used to.


Here's what I came up with:

1) Run more ---> miles/races/places: This is my most hopeful prediction. By lumping them all together, I’m acknowledging that I don’t know how many running days I actually have left, but I’m being hopeful. 2017 was definitely my comeback year for running. I hope to run at least one more mile overall so that I can say it was a better year. If I can run in one more race and one more new place, that would be icing on the cake.

2) Mix it up every week: I’d love more than anything to have perfect weeks all the time or predict that I will run/hike/SUP once a week. The truth is, besides a knee that gets cranky every once in awhile, life also gets in the way. Some weeks are busier than others, sometimes I get a Keratin treatment. As long as I can do a variety of things, I think my mind and body will be happy.

3) Get a sports massage every 3 months: I used to do this consistently in the US when I was running all the time. I need to bring this back and make it a priority again. I'm pretty sure this will help me achieve my goals and it will just feel darn good too!

Today I'm doing the link-up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run! 


What predictions are you making for yourself in 2018?


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Weekly Wrap - This Is What You Came For

It was really kind of the perfect week. I made it to two strength training classes, ran, hiked, and did some yoga. On Friday when I was able to book a Bodystep class (after more than a month of conflicts), it was my 5th workout of the week and my body was starting to feel it.

It was a tough class. My muscles were already sore from Bodypump. Our instructor challenged us with a couple of tough one minute circuits and I really had to dig deep. During one move (bench jump squat with a snatch) she came over to me and said, “I think you need this” and handed me a medicine ball. I did not want that medicine ball. At all. I was dying. I wanted the circuit to be over.

During the quick break, I realized that my instructor did me a favor. She pushed me when she knew that I could handle it. I survived the circuit and even did it a second time with a different mind set. Yes, it was hard. Harder even than the first time. But pushing myself, not quitting, that’s what I came for.

This is what you came for is my mantra for 2018. It will help me stay focused on my goal to keep moving. Whenever it feels like I‘m thinking about giving up or looking for an excuse to stop/skip a workout, I will repeat my mantra.


Here's how my week shaped up:

Monday - Rainy day spent in Central - lunch and Escape Room fun

Tuesday - Bodypump

Wednesday - 5K run and hike

Thursday - Bodypump

Friday - Bodystep

Saturday - Took littleC to the airport then yoga - I had planned on run #2, but my legs were tired. With a very bad knee, I can’t afford to take chances.

Sunday - Rest day: with a big chunk spent sitting in a salon chair enduring my routine Keratin treatment (only worth it because it makes my life easier for the next three months!)


And just like that another week of 2018 is over and done. Not only that, it was time to put littleC on a plane back to the US. She was happy to spend her final week with us moving at a slower pace, which I appreciated because it gave me (and her) plenty of time for workouts.

Do you have a mantra or word for 2018?


I'm linking up with Holly  and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap!



Friday, January 12, 2018

Hong Kong Stay Warm Running Tips

After running my way through more than one winter in New Hampshire, I considered myself a Winter Warrior. It took some practice though. I had to learn how to embrace the frigid temps, wicked winds and foot after foot of snow. There were actually piles of snow everywhere on my last run before we moved to China. Eventually I could layer up with all my favorite gear (like Polartec tights - affiliate) and run in the middle of a snow storm if I wanted to.


My idea of cold has changed a lot in the last 2 1/2 years. Cold for me now is anything under 60F degrees, ha! At it's coldest, the temperatures in Hong Kong can dip between 30F and 40F but they don't stay there very long. No matter what your cold feels like, I think it's important to think about how to stay warm.

Here's how I keep warm on cold weather runs in Hong Kong ---> remember it's all relative:

1. Long sleeve tee or capris - when the temperature drops, the first thing I change is my running outfit. My first go-to change is to try a long sleeve tee with shorts because once I get used to running in shorts I don't want to give them up. If it's too cold for the shorts, I'll dig out my running capris.

2. A hat - I usually hate wearing hats, but they really do work for keeping warm. Since I don't have to worry about my ears freezing, I can usually throw on any old ball cap to do the trick.

3. Heavy duty layers - on the rare really cold day (like my recent feels like 47F 5K), I pull out the winter training gear and layer up. This year I have a new favorite warm top (affiliate) from Athleta. I actually have a ton of gear in storage in Massachusetts, but I didn't think I would need any of it here.

4. Arm warmers/compression socks - sometimes it's only feeling chilly at the beginning of the workout and that's when arm warmers come in handy because you can roll them down once you warm up. Compression socks are great for those in-between shorts and capris temps (or for those of us hanging onto our shorts a little longer). I actually don't remember to wear either of these often enough.

5. The treadmill - when all else fails and I reach my cold weather tolerance limit, there is always the trusty treadmill at the fitness center. I'm pretty sure that only a cold wintery rainy day will force me to run indoors while I'm living here.


How do you stay warm on cold weather runs/days where you live?


I'm linking up with Lacey and Meranda and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0 and Nicole for Fit & Fashionable Friday 



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Three Running Guilty Pleasures

Sometimes I think running is my guilty pleasure since none of the friends I've made in my Hong Kong neighborhood are into running or have stopped running because of a bad knee, ankle, hip. Being able to run and get that "me time" definitely feels like it should be a guilty pleasure because it makes me so happy.

When I think about it, my running guilty pleasures (the things that I like that maybe not everyone else does) not only make me happy, but also motivate me. 

1. New Running Gear

Spending money on new running clothes that I absolutely do not really need but find a way to justify is definitely a guilty pleasure. Fortunately mrC does not give me a hard time about this. I only feel guilty until I actually go for a run in the new gear though. Like today - it was really cold and I almost gave in to my body's desire to stay in and stay warm, but then I remembered that I had a new top from Athleta (affiliate) to wear along with a new pair of Lululemon tights. Since they both kept me warm and cozy, I can now justify the purchase.


2. Reality TV

One thing I loved about running on the treadmill (which could be my least favorite thing at times) was watching trashy TV. There's nothing like a good reality tv show to make the miles fly by. Since I used to have the basement TV (or laptop) to myself, I never felt bad for watching multiple episodes in a row. Especially Real Housewives of ANYWHERE. I love the ridiculousness of these shows because they are real, but not really real. If I could get the Bravo app to work without a cable subscription, I would still be watching whenever I run on the treadmill.

3. The Runfie

This is sort of my way of saying, hey look how far I ran today! Or look where I got to run today! I'm 100% a visual person and I love taking pictures, so I love my selfie run pics. It's fun to scroll through my Instagram and reminisce about runs at the Cape or with littleC in Budapest. It's totally a walk down memory lane. I also love looking at other people's pics too. Seeing their photos can motivate me to get out there if I'm in a run rut.


Every runner has guilty pleasures right? Music, food, pricey race photos, bubble baths...it can be anything. You can check out the Tuesdays on the Run link-up with PattyErika, and Marcia  for a bunch of us sharing ours this week.

What is one of your running guilty pleasures?


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Hiking: Discovery Bay to Mui Wo via Tiger's Head

Just two days after hiking Dragon's Back, the kids decided that they wanted to tackle Tiger's Head ---> a peak that looms over us here in Discovery Bay. The name Tiger's Head comes from how the peak looks from the top - what do you think? Does it look like a tiger is watching over DB?


The best way to describe our hike from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo via Tiger's Head, is to break the 9km into three parts:

The first 3km was all climbing and I mean serious climbing right up to Tiger's Head peak at about 460 meters. It is hard work (made easier than our first time by the cooler weather) and in some places it feels like you are going straight up. But if you take breaks, it is completely manageable.






Lucky for us, we had a beautiful day to hike. The reward for the climb is the amazing views, especially once you push past Tiger's Head up to the ridge of Lo Fu Tau Country Trail.




For the next 3km we followed the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail across the ridge to its beginning. This part of the hike was pretty easy since the trail was mostly flat. We soaked up the views and the sun and didn't even let the crazy trail runners bother us ;)



Along this part of the trail we found the famous rock formations: turtle rock, sword sharpening rock and peach rock. According to online articles, none of these are man-made although they look like it.


The final 3+km began around the junction of Lo Fu Tau Country Trail and Olympic Trail. We took a short snack break at the pavilion before starting our descent into Mui Wo.


On this part of the hike there is lots of shade, at times it felt like we were walking through a forest. We spent a few minutes at Silvermine Cave and Silvermine Waterfall Garden before finishing up in Mui Wo.




We celebrated our hard core hiking skills with lunch at our favorite spot in Mui Wo, The Kitchen.

Other Discovery Bay area hikes:




Sunday, January 7, 2018

Weekly Wrap - Pile on the Miles

We spent the better part of the two week holiday packing in all kinds of touristy activities while both middleC and littleC were here together. Now that middleC has returned to the US, things have slowed down a bit. Fortunately, littleC also has a passion for all things fitness.

I'm super excited to be kicking off 2018 with a couple of good runs after taking an unintentional break (my last run was the Santa Night Run). Without setting any specific goals, I do hope to continue my healthy running streak. If that means I end up logging more miles than last year, great. If not, also great. As long as I'm running I'll be happy.

And being able to run with littleC while she is here definitely makes me happy! On Wednesday I took her on my favorite 5K loop along the water and through the park. It was a tough run for me. I had trouble getting a comfortable breathing rhythm and ended up with a very painful side stitch.


On Friday, I ran that same route but stopped at the fitness center to meet mrC and littleC for an hour of fun tennis. This run was much, much better. I have a couple of ideas for why that is: 1) I ran faster (true), so I had less time to think about how hard it was (ha), 2) it was cooler (66F versus 72F), 3) I got about 3 inches of hair cut off so I was lighter on my feet (haha) 4) (and probably the most likely reason) it was just one of those good run days.


The rest of the week looked like this:

Monday - Sightseeing with the kids: Big Buddha and Tai O fishing village

Tuesday - More sightseeing: ding ding tram to a rooftop lunch and a spin in the Observation Wheel

Wednesday - Took middleC to the airport and family 5K

Thursday - GRIT class

Friday - Two mile run and one hour of tennis

Saturday - rainy day bowling

Sunday - Rest day


Most of the weekend was rainy and a winter monsoon (strong winds) is causing Hong Kong temperatures to drop rapidly starting today. It might actually get below 50 degrees!

How was your week?
Did you have guests over the holidays?


I'm linking up with Holly  and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap!



Friday, January 5, 2018

3 Accomplishments and 2 Goals

Happy Friday! I'm jumping into the Friday Five 2.0 Linkup with Lacey and Meranda and Rachel and talking goals and resolutions today.

Before I can set goals for a new year (which I do not always do), I like to reflect on the previous year ---> what did I do? what did I achieve?

1. I ran over 200 miles! Almost all of them on my Wave Sky (affiliate). For someone who had a meniscectomy and has very little cartilage remaining in one knee, this is a BIG deal. And when I see that the previous year (which I will now call the year of the cranky knee) I only ran 29.25 miles, I'm so happy that I figured out a way to bring running back into my life.


2. I ran THREE races (recaps here, here and here)! As soon as I was able to run 5Ks on my own and after joining a night running group, I started seriously looking for races. Finding 5Ks in Hong Kong with a relatively flat, road course was harder than I expected ---> many are on trails with rocky downhill terrain.

I love seeing the smile on my face!

3. I tried new things: SUP racing, archery, GRIT ---> loved them all! Archery was a fun group activity to do. SUP racing was the most exciting and seriously hard work to go just 500 meters out and back. I'd love to do it again. GRIT has become my favorite workout class. I love the cardio and strength combo.


EXTRA:  I'm pretty proud of the variety I kept in my workouts. Running, hiking, yoga, SUP, Bodypump, Bodystep, GRIT, strength training, HIIT workouts, sprints. I have my favorites, but I was open to doing any and all types of workouts in 2017.

So, my goals for 2018 are pretty simple.

4. Be happy where I am. I'm going to continue to do what feels right and good on any given day. I'm going to run when I feel like it, not to meet a schedule. I will accept what I can do today, not worry about what I did in the past.


5. Keep moving. No matter what, I want to stay active. I love getting out and doing things. I will keep doing the things I love, but I will also keep trying new things. Anything that comes my way.


What accomplishment are you most proud of from 2017?
What are your goals and/or resolutions for the new year?


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Hiking: Dragon's Back (Family Edition)

I've hiked Dragon's Back, aka Hong Kong Trail stage 8, a few times and it never gets old. This time was my favorite though because it was a family affair. It's been so fun having middleC and littleC in Hong Kong hiking with us. I think I'm going to feel a bit lost when they leave.

Super windy on the top!

Since they have been enjoying the hiking (see previous hikes here and here), we wanted to make sure that they did the most popular hike in Hong Kong. This was my first time acting as hike leader on a big hike. All the other times I tagged along and followed the group. With the kids in town, my knowledge of Hong Kong has really been put to the test and I'm happy to say that I'm doing pretty good so far.

To give you an idea, here's what it took to get to the start of the trail:

We took the ferry from Discovery Bay ( on Lantau Island where we live) to Central (on Hong Kong Island) ---> took the MTR to Shau Kei Wan ---> caught bus #9 toward Shek O to the To Tei Wan stop.


Once we hit the trail head, all we had to do was follow the signs. This meant I had a break from leading until lunch at the end.

This hike was the perfect choice to increase both length and difficulty for our visiting hikers. It has the great views of the trails rated difficult, but with a much more moderate climb. A lot of the hike was on dirt trail which was kind on the legs and feet.


Reaching the 284 meter peak was semi-quick. We did climb a section of pretty steep steps, but with a few breaks they were quite manageable.


And after every section of climbing, we were greeted with amazing views over the Shek O Bay area. These were great spots to take a rest ---> and lots of people had the same idea. The trail was very crowded the day we hiked.


After reaching Shek O Peak, the undulating ridge top that is the trail's namesake begins. Steps have been built in to make the descents as easy as possible.


It felt really good to make it to the end of the trail. This hike was about 8km long and took us just over 2.25 hours to get to Big Wave Bay. The Hong Kong Enjoy Hiking website, rates Dragon's Back as very difficult, but we think that is a bit harsh. Using their own grading reference system, we think it should be labeled moderate. It's definitely a great choice for people who are ready to take on a little more challenging hike.


We checked out the beach at Big Wave Bay and used the convenient facilities there before hopping on the bus to Shek O for lunch.



What activity does your family like to do together?


I'm linking up with Deb for the Wednesday Word - CHOICE!



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