Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Rush

This Sunday is fairly busy for us so I set my alarm (yes, on a Sunday, runners are crazy that way!) and headed out in a beautiful chilly morning. I wanted to do 15k to see where my endurance level was after my little break from training. It was much tougher than I expected but I'm pretty satisfied with the results (1h20m).
It was nice to use the trans Canada trail for part of the run. I should take advantage of our good weather before the snow starts to be a problem. My pace profile was all over the place as I was trying to find my new comfortable level for longer distances.
I felt really good this morning. It was nice to feel the endorphin rushing in my blood. It had been a while since I got such a good "fix" ;)

The beats were pounding from my headphones with Transient 5 in the mix.

I decided to follow the lead of Marlene and Mel and get in the spirit of giving to those less fortunate and participate in cans for comments as well for every Friday in December. I don't have such a huge following as they have so I'll put myself out there and risk having to go to Costco to get all the required cans and pledge to donate a can for every individual that comments on my posts on Fridays.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Friendly Lunch

I was lucky enough to have company for today's lunch run. It was fun to run at a conversational pace. We went by the canal and turned back at Bank street. Yes we stopped for a bit to catch our breath and walk for about a minute.
For a total of 8.3 km, 45m47s isn't that bad, especially since my friend thinks of himself as a swimmer, not a runner!

Thanks to the encouragement of my readers, including a tiara wearing and wand holding one, I will enter the resolution run and not worry about my time at all. There will be a whole new year around the corner to improve my speed :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm back!

It felt good today to be able to run and breathe deeply without worrying about air pollution :) After spending 5 weeks in China where I tried to train as much as possible, it just wasn't the same as training at home. I would constantly stop during my runs to admire the sights and take some pictures and on the polluted days I had to slow down or stop early because I developped breathing problems. For the last 2 weeks, I don't even think I trained at all.

Getting back on the training routine after breaking for so long was also a bit hard. I couldn't find the motivation, let alone the time. But today, on this otherwise uneventful Monday, I decided to put on my new Chinese running outfit and go for it.

I was a bit anxious to see what my level of fitness was and while it felt good to run, I was much slower than I used to be. Three months ago, a 50 minute 10km would have been easy. Today I struggled and got a time of 53 minutes, even though I have to admit that I threw in a difficult stair workout at the end so I can probably cut 2 minutes and still be honest about my performance.
While I was running, I realised that I don't have a short term goal beside working my way up to the first week of my marathon training schedule so I decided to try to fit in the running room's resolution run if I can manage it in my holiday schedule. Three months ago, my goal would have been to break 45 minutes. I'm not quite sure I can get back up to speed that quickly but I'm willing to put in the effort and see what happens.

In the mix today was the always kicking even if it's 10 years old compilation Digitale.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I climbed the wall!

Today, I climbed the wall!! I'm not talking about the marathon wall that runners hit around km 30 but rather the Great Wall of China. Does it count as a stair workout?
For more pictures and descriptions, head on over to my more travel-y blog, BuzzingInShanghai.

This concludes my divertion of your attention while I am visiting China. I swear my next post will be training related when I am back in Canada ;)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beijing Olympic Park

After much debate between my inner coach and my inner eager beaver runner, it was decided that I shouldn't run in Beijing. The humid and hazy air is impossible to breathe and the on and off cough that I had in Shanghai is now pretty much a constant fixture here in Beijing.

I was still able to do some athlete related activities by visiting the Olympic Park! The famous bird's nest
The building where gymnasts plied their trade
The water cube, which was closed, so no swimming in the same waters as Ryan Cochrane and Michael Phelps
I had seen these lights on TV, but let me tell you they are massive and impressive. The speakers were looping the theme song non stop. I used to think it was a great song and loved it, now I don't want to come near it!
I think this is the entrance where marathoners came to the stadium.
The bird's nest was open for visit (for a hefty 50 yuan, about 8 dollars). It looks like it was hosting a car racing event not too long ago, they were busy taking down the asphalt laid over the tracks.
The architecture of the building is impressive to say the least
This is probably the kind of seat I could have afforded if I went to the events :)
This tower is familiar for anyone who watched the games on TV.
The market and sunken garden were sadly empty and looked completely abandoned.
Because of the haze, we didn't visit the forest park or other installations outside the core buildings.

Hopefully when I am back in Canada in about a week, I won't have any lasting long term effect of the respiratory difficulties I am experiencing in China and can get back to my training schedule quickly.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The walls of Xi'an

I'm in a new city called Xi'an now. We have crisper (and cold!) air and it makes a big difference while running.

I got up a the crack of dawn since we had an organised tour planned for 9am and covered myself in lots of layers since it was only 3 degrees celsius.
The first thing I noticed is how friendly Xi'an is for runners. There's wide paths everywhere (no doubt they get crowded later in the day, but this early they were pretty empty!) and there also these really cool underground underpass at busy intersections so you don't have to wait for traffic to let up before crossing!
Xi'an has a wall surrounding the downtown touristic core. My hotel is smack in the center near one of the landmarks called the Bell Tower. I proceeded to run towards the wall, wanting to check it out.
The wall is pretty impressive (I haven't seen the great wall yet so bear with my newbie wall gazing impressions) and from my calculation is about 15-20km long. I wanted to run the whole thing but quickly realised it was bigger than my original estimate of 5km long. Every now and then there's a cute structure built on the wall itself.
There's stairs to go up the wall but they were all fenced off. I'm not sure if it's because it was silly o'clock or if it is not open to the public. I will check it out later if there's time.

I ran a pretty good pace considering I would stop every now and then to have a slower look around and snap some pictures.
I wasn't the only runner on the road :)
There were a bunch of folks in a park doing some aerobics to chinese techno music
I also came across a temple
And of course some parks
Being rewarded by a beautiful sunrise over the wall was truly amazing. If I had to choose only one thing to do for the day, that would have been it.
Overall, my 10 or so km run went pretty well. Even with an average pace of 5:46m/km I was really satisfied.
There's even some parts where I put in really decent speeds (4:20m/km) which is the fastest I have been able to run in China so far... And I got back to the hotel with time to spare before the tour started!