I used to live in Mainland China and while there were many things that I enjoyed about living there unfortunately running was not one of them. Since I am tall and have white skin, it’s almost certain that I would attract attention from people. I remember having to avoid certain hours when the students were getting out of classes or they were on a break because those little kids are the worst at giving out a big fake ‘hello!’ or trying out other phrases that they know. To them it was the most hilarious thing that happened all day but for me it was just annoying. Other people would just stare. I guess I’m a fairly low key person and don’t like that kind of attention. Of course there were other obstacles to running in China, especially in bigger cities like Shenzhen where it’s not always easy to find good routes.
Anyways, here in Hong Kong nobody looks twice at me and it’s great. There are also many places to run, especially up here in the New Territories where there is generally more space. There is a strong running culture here and it seems like there is always somebody out there running. I find it motivating to be part of a community, even if I don’t talk to the people as I pass by. There are also races every weekend during the fall and winter months and it’s great to have lots of options.
Over the summer when I was back in Canada I felt like I was running in heaven. The long empty roads, the twisting trails through open forest. The pristine and crisp air. Hard to beat. But I have to say that here in Hong Kong there is more to look at. It’s interesting to observe the people of all ages just doing their thing. I saw a lady today doing some kind of weird Chinese opera walking, where she put on this super serious face and turned her head to both sides as she paced down the Tai Po promenade. I’ve seen her before, but it struck me today that what I’m doing — out on a 20 miler and trying to hold 7:20 pace — is not exactly normal. To each his own! I saw some old men running today with tattered old singlets. I saw a blind runner accompanied by a lady volunteer — their hands joined together by a rope. They were going pretty fast. There were also lots of younger runners of both genders out there giving it their best or just plugging along at a slower pace.
So.. training wise. Ten weeks to go until Macau Marathon. This week I felt myself getting stronger. I ran 66 miles and managed to get in a few short yoga and kettlebell sessions. The tempo run on Thursday did not go as expected (I couldn’t hit half marathon pace), but I’m not too worried about it. I’m starting to feel confident that I’ll be able to run another sub-3 hour marathon, but I’ll need to stay diligent and keep logging the miles.