Running in China

It’s been a couple months since I returned from my trip to China, but I wanted to write a post about running while I was over there. I’ve written about running while on vacation before, but I’d like to expand a little more on the subject about why I love to bring my running shoes with me when I travel.

First of all, I heard that exercise helps get over jet lag, and since China is 13 hours ahead of Texas (during daylight savings) any opportunity to beat the tiredness is one worth trying. And speaking of tiredness, whenever I run in the morning, I find that I have a ton of energy throughout the day, all the way up until bedtime. This proved to be the case on the China trip as well – I had so much energy that I didn’t need to nap at all, and was even up at the lounge dancing until 11 pm. Which is kind of crazy for an introvert like myself. 😌

Another fun thing about running while on vacation, and running first thing in the morning in particular, is that there’s the anticipation and excitement of exploring new neighborhoods. I’d kind of check out what’s nearby in Google Maps, then just head out. On the other hand, on my run in Beijing, I just started running towards a park, not knowing what was there, and stumbled upon the Temple of the Sun, which apparently is a popular spot for runners. It was so fun to see this park, and stop to take photos, then run a bit more, then stop for photos again. It’s discoveries like these that just fuel the excitement for the next run in a new city.

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And a little bonus discovery – I found the nearby shopping center which had two of my favorite stores, Muji and Uniqlo, and made a note to return later when we had free time. Score!

When I was in Stockholm, I went for runs after work, around 5 pm, but for the China trip, I’d head out at around 6 am, with plans on being back at the hotel for breakfast at around 7 am or so. Running early in the morning has a couple bonuses. Firstly, there was pretty much no traffic on the streets. And I mean this literally. Even in the Beijing business district, I could run down the center of the boulevard if I wanted to! It was surreal. But by 6:45, the traffic had picked up and it was a completely different city.

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Secondly, the early morning running gave me a chance to see the sunrise. The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an is pretty spectacular, but seeing the sun rise over it was epic. Something I’ll never forget!

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And speaking of epicness, my morning run along The Bund in Shanghai was amazing. The sunrise over the skyscrapers, the kites taking off, and the taichi was so perfect, it was like living in a dream.

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I think that even an early morning walk would be good, but elevating that walk into a run (or even a jog) will allow you to cover a lot more distance. It’s kind of surprising how far you’ll be able to get in a short amount of time and how much you’ll be able to see, especially in the city. Another thing I that I thought was really cool and convenient is that as a runner, you have an excuse to be pretty much anywhere, and no one will question your presence. If you are just walking along down some back alley at 6 am, it could look a little weird. But as a runner, you become kind of invisible. Plus, you stop standing out as a tourist, even if it’s only for an hour.

Another huge bonus, at least to me, is that the morning run means you’ll be hungry a lot. I actually enjoy feeling hungry… it makes me feel alive.* But what is nice is that you’ll have a good appetite for tasting all the new and interesting foods that come with vacation. On the China trip, I tried to avoid food that I could easily eat at home. So, instead of eating a breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon, and toast, I’d have rice porridge, pickled vegetables, kimchee, and dumplings. And my mindset shifted from eating to get full, to eating to taste everything. (Spicy frog, anyone?) That meant not needing to go back for seconds of the same item, but try to eat new things with each plate. Of course, if I found something that was particularly delicious, I’d have extra! But that was the exception, not the rule. And eating less has the benefit of being less tired since your body doesn’t have to expend as much energy digesting enormous amounts of food.

I truly believe running on vacation is something everyone should do. But before you think that running on vacation is only for hardcore exercise nuts, I can tell you that I am far from being super-fit. I am carrying a few extra pounds and my pace is more of a jog than a run. But for vacation, this is enough. Being able to jog for an hour is sufficient to reap the benefits of seeing new cities in a completely new way, and separate yourself from the tourist crowds. So, if you have a vacation coming up, it’s time to start running! Just get your cardio in shape, muscles in condition, and have your shoes/running kit ready to go. I know that you’ll take your vacation to the next level just by getting off the beaten path with your running shoes.

And the final bonus to running is that you’ll generally be in good enough shape to be able to participate in the more strenuous excursions and activities without feeling exhausted later. Climbing the 99 steps of the pagoda in Shibaozhai was cake, and I was able to recover from the steep portions of the Great Wall quickly. It felt so good! 😄

I hope you give running a try on your next vacation!

またね~

******************

Beijing Run at Strava:

Xi’an Run 1 at Strava:

Xi’an Run 2 at Strava:

Shanghai Run at Strava:

*I think the mindset of thinking that hunger should be avoided at all costs is terrible and something pushed by the food industry. And the fact that hunger is different than starvation is an important point.

Oceanside Run

I LOVE to go running while on vacation, even a short weekender like this one. This morning it was a beautiful beachside jog up the Pacific coast. 🌞🌴🏖

If you are also on Strava, why don’t we connect?

"Oceanside Run" Oceanside, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/1200 sec, ISO50
“Oceanside Run” Oceanside, 2018
"Cool Down" Oceanside, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/530 sec, ISO50
“Cool Down” Oceanside, 2018

Farmers Market Sunday

"Fresh Veggies" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/640 sec, ISO200
“Fresh Veggies” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today was a day, which started off with a trip to two different Farmers Markets. The first one was one we hadn’t been to, but it was very small – just a few different vendors selling crafts and honey. So, we decided to head to our normal Farmers Market over by Lakeline Mall. Not only do they have fresh veggies and meats, but also a wide variety of homemade pastries, coffee, and other prepared foods.

"Pasta Flavors" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/1600 sec, ISO200
“Pasta Flavors” Cedar Park, 2018

We tried some gyoza and soup dumplings. They were yummy but not exceptional. I guess the wrappers were a little too thick than what we are used to.

"Soup Dumplings" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/180 sec, ISO200
“Soup Dumplings” Cedar Park, 2018

After the market, we had some free time in the middle of the day, so we spent it doing household stuff like laundry, watched a little tv, and I went for a nice afternoon run around the neighborhood. Gotta keep in a little bit of shape!

For dinner, Mariko made a delicious stir-fry with chicken, jalapeños, and greens. おいしかった!

"Spicy Stir Fry" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/45 sec, ISO3200
“Spicy Stir Fry” Cedar Park, 2018

In the evening I volunteered at the high school band fundraiser event at the stadium. The Marching Festival is a huge event, and I spent three hours working at the concession stand as a cashier, which was a challenge for me because my math skills are sub-optimal. 🤣 Since there was no register, all calculations had to be done mentally and it wore me out. Haha. But I enjoyed it and helping out the kids was fun.

"Amazing Cloud" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/15 sec, ISO1000
“Amazing Cloud” Cedar Park, 2018

My shift ended at 11 pm, and then it was shower-time, relax-time, and reading-time. A long but fun day! And you know what? The afternoon run gave me energy to carry me through the evening. Yay for exercise! 💪

I hope you had a nice Saturday!

おやすみなさい

Running Shoes for Traveling

"New Clouds" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/200 sec, ISO50
“New Clouds” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today I ran for the first time in my new On Cloud shoes. I want to make sure they are broken in for my upcoming China trip because I think we might be doing a lot of walking and I’d hate to get blisters because of new shoes. I’m not too worried, though, because these are the same size and model of my old running shoes, and they feel pretty much identical.

But besides breaking them in, I want to improve my stamina for the trip. Before Bay and I went to New York, I started running again in preparation for lots of walking around the city, and it really paid off. I was able to keep up with Bay for pretty much the whole trip! 💪

I have to say though that it was tough on my feet the first two days when I was wearing the Converse High-tops. Once I switched over to the running shoes, it was so much easier! That change, plus leaving the messenger bag at the Airbnb and just taking a small shopping bag, were real eye-openers – travel even lighter than usual and the day is much more enjoyable.

With that in mind, I think I will be taking my lightweight packable backpack which I used on our Disney trip last year for our daily excursions. It weighs almost nothing, but I will be able to throw in my power bank, extra camera batteries, and a water bottle.

Since we are going on a cruise and tour, I am not sure how much walking we will be doing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. One scenario that I can imagine though, is getting tired on the Great Wall excursion.

When I visited China back in 1990(?), our tour group visited a section of the Great Wall, and we really wanted to reach one of the checkpoints to get a souvenir stamp. But dang, the wall was so steep and the steps were pretty big. And we were keeping an eye on the time since we had to be back at the bus soon. Wow, what a workout that was! But we made it to the checkpoint and got our stamps, then jogged back down to the bus. I haven’t thought about that in years, but it is truly a great memory.

Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if that same scenario plays itself out once again. So I ran today with that in mind. 😀

I hope you had a nice day!

またね~

Soreness

"Running Shoes" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/7 sec, ISO3200
“Running Shoes” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

I started running again, and today I ran for the third time in a week and a half. I hadn’t run for a year or so, so my legs were so sore!

But it’s a good soreness… not painful, but the type of soreness that shows that you made a good effort.

Usually, when I start running again, I can begin increasing my distance after about 3 or 4 runs and recovery, so I anticipate getting back on track this week. But, since I am almost 50, it’s only natural that it could take longer. (I can’t believe I am getting close to 50!)

If you are on Strava, let’s connect so we can see each other’s exercise activity! My Strava is here: https://www.strava.com/athletes/2721791

I hope you had a nice day!

Coins to coffee

"Coins to Coffee" Cedar Park, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/8, 1/20 sec, ISO3200
“Coins to Coffee” Cedar Park, 2016

こんばんは! Hello, how are you doing?

Sunday was a funday for us. We enjoyed relaxing, grocery shopping, making smoothies, and watching tv. Koa and I did something new, which is converting all of our collected coins into a Starbucks gift card at the supermarket. It was pretty fun! And exciting too, watching the screen as the machine sorted all the coins and translated that into a total amount. I was impressed that the machine actually weeded out some Japanese coins that snuck into the jar. Pretty smart! Check out the video below for some of the action.

Later in the day I put on my running shoes and went for an easy run/walk around the neighborhood. It’s been a long time since I went running so I took it extra-easy today. It was a lot of fun to get some sun and fresh air. My legs felt great, and after the run, I spend a while on the exercise bike. I guess the smoothie we made earlier gave me a lot of energy. 😄

Tomorrow is Memorial Day here in the States. We’ll be at home again, spending the day together as a family.

Take care!

おやすみなさい!

– B Barron Fujimoto

New exercise bike

Cedar Park, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/100 sec, ISO1250
Cedar Park, 2016

こんばんは!Greetings humans! 👽

As you can see from today’s photo, I’m “enjoying” the new exercise bike. It’s actually pretty good, although my legs are so weak. I get tired after only 10 minutes! I guess the energy drink I had wasn’t conducive to burning calories but I thought it was delicious. 🍺

I mentioned in my previous post that I wanted to try to wake up early and exercise before getting ready for work. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I am taking advantage of the fact that I don’t need to wake up the kids (Spring Break) and make breakfast for them. So I can sleep in! I will enjoy this week as well. 😜

But seriously, we read that if you can exercise more in your 40’s, you’ll have a much healthier brain in your 60’s. I don’t know if it is true or not, but it is good motivation to get active, which has other benefits. Plus, it’s fun to exercise. And then I can also enjoy yummy foods more, right?

Well, I am going to try to sleep early to counteract the daylight savings adjustment. Talk to you again!

おやすみなさい!

-B Barron Fujimoto