A Just Walk (run, hike, etc…)

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Picking up the run in Shenyang

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I just read my friend Jeff’s latest post on his blog, A Run to Remember about running where he talks about trying to train through a funk of dysmotivation. I can identify with that. I just moved to a new place, in a foreign country, where the air is notoriously polluted (Shenyang has made top “10 lists” of most polluted cities in China), where the temperature is often in single or negative digits. I live in the center of town, and there aren’t exactly sport-friendly greenways here. Plus, I had just left a great community of runners who would meet together no and wonder where I was if I didn’t show up.

The first few days after arrival, I had zero desire to get out. Although I was up in plenty of time to run, I just wanted to stay in bed and rest. Fair enough. But the jet-lag was getting old and I wanted to get over it. I thought, “if I’m up and not sleeping, I might as well run“. So I did. And it felt good. Besides, there is nothing like running through a city to get to know your way around!

Even so, I was just getting out the door, and that is half the battle. No running computer or heartrate monitor – just run. Besides, I didn’t want to get depressed if I was slow. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I HATE the cold, but anyone can adjust to any environment. I was going to keep running, and I can’t wait for the spring! No “dreadmill” (thanks, Denise, for that term) to fall back on!

So, I just pull on my tights, jacket, two pairs of gloves, and my ninja mask, and make a go of it. One has to learn how to dress – how to keep warm enough without overheating with too many clothes. Which is possible, even when the windchill is -17F. I also need a defroster for my eyelashes, but I’m otherwise pretty well equipped.

I went for a long run this morning and so I brought along some water. I stopped to take a drink 45 minutes into my run but I had to shake up the ice first. The first sip froze my esophagus and it had become an ice cube on my butt so I pitched it. My nose runs faster than my legs, but the worst is wiping your nose with ice-crusted gloves. ouch!

The amazing thing is that there are many other exercisers out – even runners! And they aren’t wearing the technical gear that I’m blessed to have! I’m gradually finding my way around and I even have a couple of routes picked out, and found a couple of parks. Beiling Park

This morning I ran I was thinking about my running group, PR Training, and wishing they were with me in China. In some part I wish I could have some company on the run, but also so that they could see the things that I see, the things that make you go hmm at 5:30 in the morning in a Chinese city. So I just  imagined they were with me as I thought about what to write.

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3 thoughts on “Picking up the run in Shenyang

  1. ok..no more excuses for me! I am out and running today! Thanks Katherine..what a visual of a city far away.

  2. We are with you Katherine…you just can’t see us or quite hear our footsteps, clicking along with yours, but we are there. Know that a lot of folks keep you in their thoughts and prayers…

    “Sometimes we run alone and sometimes we run together…, but the goal is to move the flame forward, to illuminate the darkness, to allow the next generation to start just a little closer to the goal.” – N.W. Hale, Manager of the NASA Space Shuttle Program

  3. Katherine, I HATE the cold, too!!!!! And, I’ve run with the temps at -17 below as well — you are right about the frozen eye lashes… and for me, a mouth that doesn’t work in temps below zero… which could be a good thing (ask Jeff)! (my nick-name is How-FM) Ha!

    So, with motivation from you so very far away, I will head out into the frozen wilderness of Northeast Indiana… dodging the predatory autos that frequent the asphalt trails we travel. : )

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