Thursday, October 29, 2009

Back to reality!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After five weeks in Asia, it`s back to reality and a training program. Even though I was on holiday, I managed to keep running five to six days a week, 45 minutes to 90 minutes at a time. Just steady running, no fast stuff. (Like I could run fast anyway!)

It was a great time, and very interesting running. Although my balance was forced to improve thanks to the rough seas, I still prefer running on land. Here's the skivvy:

Japanese like to run with very minimal arm swing; their arms hang down by their hips and pretty much stay there. (I run with massive and erratic arm swing. Very odd looking, which you will agree with if you have seen me run!) I did see many runners and most were friendly. It was difficult to run, bow, and say konnichiwa all at the same time. I know this level of friendliness, or any friendliness at all, is very different for some Canadian runners I know to comprehend. You know the ones, they never say hello and purposely try to look mean (but look constipated instead). You know who you are; Metamucil may offer some relief.

My run in Naha, Okinawa was exceptionally interesting. The temperature was around 28c, but the humidity was off the scale! At the halfway point, the monsoon started. Then, I got lost. My last minute sprint to the ship earned me dirty looks...again. I enjoyed running in the rain though, it was beautifully warm. (See the picture of me below. I am drenched; it took my shoes two days to dry!)

It was nice.

What an entirely different experience. The pollution is beyond imagination (see the photo above). It smelled as bad as it looks! My goal was to run in every city we visited, so away I went.

The problems run deeper than pollution. The sidewalks, if they exist at all, are rough. Mostly it`s running on the side of the road or broken concrete. This is best case scenario. In Beijing, or especially Shanghai, the sheer amount of people, bikes, scooters, and cars make running almost impossible. I am amazed I survived. Seriously.

Some highlights: Climbing the Great Wall. That was something. The grade is steeper than I expected and is freakin' high up. (See photo above.) I also ran the Olympic marathon course in Beijing. Again, see photo. Right down the blue line for at least three metres. "He`s pulling away from the pack. Can he do it?" ....Nah, I had a beer instead. Tsingtao - Mao`s favorite!

Anyway, I had a run today with a friend who is an "elite" athlete. It was the first time I've run with someone else in five weeks. I prefer running alone.....

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Japanese think I run funny

Well, it`s been a while since I`ve posted and a lot has happened.

Friends have run marathon`s all over the world and I have been running my way around a typhoon in the far-east.
My running is going really well. I thought I was going to get really lazy and just gain weight. I was half right! I am actually running really consistently and since we left Vancouver September 23rd, I have only taken two days off. It`s really great when you can run and then relax afterwards and nap, etc. Not possible when I am workin for the man.

It`s interesting. I have run in three different Japanese cities and I have noticed something. They seem to run like the famous female Japanese who runs with minimal or non-existent arm swing. It`s strange to see, I must say. And I run by swinging my arms like a bad baseball player swinging away at thin air. (That was me as a kid)

Also, relating to Basil`s post about antique shoes, check out these twenty year old Saucony`s I spotted. I should have bought them off the guy! (I took the photo without his knowledge, was that stealing?)

Tomorrow I am in South Korea. I wonder if I might get shot while I am running? Or taken prisoner by the crazy North Korean dictator? If I do, will the two people besides my wife write letters on my behalf to have me released?

Thanks in advance.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Making the best of an imperfect running situation

I`ve been at sea for seven days and it`s been a pretty rough crossing so far. Gale force winds across the deck and twelve foot waves don't make for ideal running conditions so, with the exception of a couple of days, I've had to take my workouts indoors. Most runners I know have a hate-hate relationship with the dreaded treadmill. Surprisingly though, my running is going pretty good; I am getting in my long runs, easy runs, and interval workouts. Not surprisingly though, I am the only one on the ship doing any of this. Everyone else is 75 years old, and if they are on a treadmill, they're walking in jeans and dress shirts. They clearly do not know what to make of me. I amuse them, I think. A form of unpaid entertainment.....

As I mentioned in my last post, I have to run on a small deck on the top of the ship. There is a wonderful deck down below that circles the entire ship, but I am forbidden from using it. Check out the damn serious warning in the photo. On a more serious note, it is always important to hydrate, even at sea (see photo).

My next entry will in just over a week. It appears the Japan Ministry of Communications doesn't allow foreign ships to use Internet while in Japanese waters. Interesting...