some kind of update

I survived, somehow, an entire month, thirty consecutive days of work, in China. I have been back in Melbourne for fewer than 10 days and am only just starting to feel human, only to find out this morning that I’m heading back to China in 4 days from now. I wrote a really long post on the plane the other night, after watching Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon for the second time ever (the first time was in 2000, in French, let’s say my experience was a little different this time around, watching it in Mandarin and getting all the historical/geographical/cultural references). I’ll spare my heartache review, let’s just say: urgh, China.

I’m even more frustrated because my repeated trips to China are pushing back the date I can apply for citizenship and a student loan. But on the positive side, my gross month in China got me back into running!

I can tell my body isn’t crazy about a return to this running thing but it’s so far putting up with it enough that I’m going to keep going. I’m even running a marathon (only I have a month to run the total distance, which is nice and safe). I’m alternating with Bikram, initially because I hoped stretching every other day would help with the running. So far, the running is making me very tight and making me extra-inflexible in Bikram, so there’s definitely something happening.

We’re entering the final countdown! less than 2 months until James comes home from Afghanistan and then immediately turns around for us to fly to England! Followed by Iceland! Followed by Denmark-land! Followed by Finland! Followed by flying back to Australia and collapsing in complete exhaustion before going back to work.

I just realised this is a quintessentially Rosie post: Work too much; China; Running; Travel with James.

fun

So I think, think, that I am registered for a 10km fun run this Sunday. I have promised myself to take it super super slow and just jog at a pace that is comfortable for me. The last time I ran 10km was around Madrid with James, 3 months ago (!), but it’s not a distance that I fear, so as long as I take it easy it should be fine.

I have a niggling tightness in my right calf and thigh, but this morning I did weights with Ronard-the-trainer and we stretched it out pretty well. He does physiotherapy as well, so I will go back on Saturday for some pre-race FUN RUN prepping, and again on Sunday after I’m done if I need it. I’m planning to run a really slow 8km tonight and see how that feels. Then no more running till Sunday, I guess, so that I have fresh legs (listen to me! I read way too many running blogs written by people who can actually run).

Training with Ronard is a bit confusing sometimes, although I’m adapting. When he tells me “Sleep!” he doesn’t mean take a nap, he means lay down on the mat. And when he asks “Are abs vibrating?” he means, are they shaking yet (muscle fatigue, I’d forgotten about you…). I really love having a trainer again. Plus this guy is very shy and nothing like Kane the Bogan, my last trainer, and he goes off and looks after other people whilst I do my sets, so there is no awkward conversation or him watching me whilst I huff and puff and make embarrassing noises. BONUS.

training club

This morning I awoke to sunshine yet again, and had a pity party about not running yet again. Then I reminded myself that there was plenty of Chinese to work on still… I did reading drills for two hours, which was good, apart from how much I always kick myself for not doing it more often and specially before exams. Still, let’s not take anything away from that achievement.

I considered going for a swim, but as I was flicking though my iPad apps saw Nike Training Club which I downloaded the other day. I had initially thought it was something like miCoach (by adidas) but in fact it is exactly like a personal trainer — better than my old PT, in fact, because it doesn’t make racist or homophobic comments.

I am worried about my knees, and there were a lot of lunges involved in the workout I did, but I think/hope that the lunges will strengthen my legs which will take pressure off them.

Me, full of grim determination prior to starting the 45-minute “Stress Slammer” workout:

Stress was sucessfully slammed. I was planning to show me post-workout, but I forgot in my eagerness to get in the shower — just picture bright red, soaked in sweat, having got rid of the t-shirt because I was over-heating. That was HARD WORK. I haven’t done any strength training for ages, definitely over a year. Yoga does help somewhat but I have been inactive for over 2 weeks so I really felt the burn!

I have dutifully stretched and massaged my knees with the medicated gel. I don’t know if I can think of running again before I leave; the half-marathon at Shuangxi is in exactly a month and only an idiot would believe they can go from injured to 21km in a month. Right?

I want to believe. Despite my tendency to overthink, some things I have successfully gone years and years without thinking about (been many years and I still have never calculated how old those jellybeans would have been if they hadn’t been aborted). Until now I have refused to ponder whether I should forget about running Shuangxi. Let’s keep it that way.

rambling

Thanks to my darling mama’s unexpected gift of a £25 voucher, I get to spend Christmas morning poring over Amazon’s (really disorganised) lists of books, trying to compile my own wishlist. In order to get maximum value for my pennies, I want the books to be long, and interesting, and preferably no more than £5 or so, so I can get at least 4 or 5 of them… reminds me of the good old days perusing La Redoute making lists of all the clothes I could buy with my Christmas vouchers. It makes me so happy, because I haven’t been book-shopping in so long, so thank you Mummy for such a thoughtful present! (and feel free to make recommendations!)

Yesterday was packed full of business: shopping for sports bras (fail — I will have to order some from Australia) and for vegetarian/vegan sources of protein (semi-success — I haven’t been able to find protein powder but I will be enjoying my horrendously expensive imported Greek yoghurt and various hippy grains). I also purchased halloumi, and made onion jam which I served up together (after frying the halloumi into a golden salty explosion of delicious) as my contribution to Catherine’s party last night.

Seeing as I was stuck by the stove caramelising onions for hours, I also made a batch of dhal, complete with cumin and goodness this time, which I have frozen in portions for the rest of the week. I am surprised at my own domesticity, but rest assured, my room still looks like a bomb hit it.

I’d been instructed to run a brisk 6km yesterday, and was pleased to see it took me exactly 32:00 — 2 months ago I ran 5km in the same time, and almost died afterwards. I have now signed up for both the Shuangxi half-marathon and the Wan Jin Shir half-marathon (they are within 2 weeks of each other), a decision which probably makes little sense, but I really wanted to run Shuangxi originally and by the time I found out they would accept my application after all, I had already signed up for WJS. So I will run the first one very, very slowly (they have a 3:30:00 finishing time, and I know I can walk 20km in 4 hours, so surely, surely, I can hope to run/walk Shuangxi in that time?).

Today I am running the Christmas Hash, which is a rare city run and will involve wearing a Santa hat. I have mixed feelings about this, but I always run the Hash so I will go. After the run I’m heading to Shida for a Hanukkah party. And then it’s back to school on Monday (I really should do some more homework this morning but ICK!).

young at heart and weak in the head

In a fit of insanity last night, following a long conversation with Coach Arthur, I have signed up for a half-marathon on the 4th of March. I wanted to do the Taipei Marathon at Shuangxi, which a lot of the hashers are running, but unfortunately they are no longer accepting applications. So Arthur suggested this one, the Wan Jin Shir International Marathon. Let’s do it. Had I known that there will be 4199 other people running the half-marathon around me, I might not have been quite so enthusiastic, because I hate crowds with a passion, but it’s done now.


I have never been a fast runner of course, so my only goal is to finish it within the 2 hours 50 minutes limit so that I can get a finishers medal (I WANT A MEDAL. I HAVE NEVER HAD A MEDAL FOR ANYTHING. I WANT A MEDAL). I will therefore have to maintain a pace above 7km/h for 21km. So Arthur is preparing a training plan for me. I’m psyched.

After my one and only attempt at racing earlier this year, I didn’t think that these kind of events were really my thing. I still don’t think that I will ever be a big racing person, but I would like to leave Taiwan with this memory and this additional challenge (now that I have my scholarship, I feel like I need something new to exhaust myself earning). Additionally I need to restart my push-ups challenge (apparently I wasn’t going low enough…), so I will have a nicely packed schedule this winter! Sadly yoga ends in a couple of weeks though. I’ve grown to really love the teacher I didn’t like at first, I will miss her.

Oh and last night I also bought my NEW tickets to Korea — I will be staying with Stef from the 5th to the 10th of January. I’m also applying for jobs in Hong Kong, as my new plan is (sorry Melbourne, be patient with me) to go to HK for the summer and then probably head back to the Southern Hemisphere in time for spring. I just cannot face two winters in a row!

sweaty mcsweatpants

At yoga tonight I was sweating rivers and torrents of sweat (yus, gross, but also fun). Occasionally I would feel huge great pearls go rushing down my back and arms and wonder if it was in fact a small gerbil crawling about on me. But I was hardly shaking at all. And (God you’re pathetic Rosie) not only did the teacher say “very good!” to me THREE TIMES (and I didn’t notice her saying anything to anyone else) she then came to speak to me at the end of the class to say that I had progressed since the last time (which was 2 weeks ago) and that I had very good form today.

Please excuse me whilst I pee myself with joy — not that it will be noticeable as I am already soaked in sweat anyway — because we all know that I live and thrive for one thing only: praise from my teachers. The other day in class we had to discuss whose approval we sought the most, and whilst everyone else mentioned their parents, I had to admit that my mother’s approval is unconditional and my father’s approval is inobtainable, but what really gets me going is my teacher’s smile… Laaaaaame. Ah well, that’s just the way I am.

I then sweated a whole lot more as I struggled to walk home with heavy books, backpack full of too many clothes, yoga mat and bags of bananas, bread and CARROTS, and now I’m hoping to peel myself off the couch and get some grating action on with Karine’s grater… Although my dinner of papaya, guava, apple, pear and cherry tomatoes (which is a fruit here) seems to have filled me up nicely already.

I have these really vague plans to go to uni on Saturday and run track for a couple of kilometres followed by a swim, but now that I have mentioned it on here it probably won’t happen. Still, I’m interested to see how fast I can be on the track, as Rebecca has suggested an all-girl team for a relay marathon (5km each) and seems to think that sub-5-minute kilometres are achievable (actually she mentioned 4-minute kms but I really can’t see that happening). This sounds outrageous to me, but I guess I won’t know unless I try!

red dress pictures

I should be revising for the exam tomorrow — or at the very least, setting up my presentation for the oral — but my brain has become impermeable to Chinese and so now I will divert myself by showing you a selection of photos from last night’s Red Dress Run. These are all “before and after” shots, as far as I can see nobody has put up any “during” pictures of the run itself that actually feature me (though I know they are out there). 

Rebecca and I are ready to rumble!

Group picture:

After the run, with Carrier, the Hash Godfather and Hare for last night’s trail:

With Rebecca again, suited up in my new t-shirt and accessorizing with Taiwan Beer:

Posing in Lina’s cowboy hat:

Can anyone tell how happy I am these days?