On running

Friends, I suppose I could tell you stories about my adventures in lovely melbourne, but for some reason a topic popped to my mind that has not been a part of my life for a year (or much ever for that matter), running. I was training for half marathon a bit over a year ago, and the experience taught me a lot. I have not run once after one or two poor attempts in Bali, and I have no intention whatsoever to get on track. However, those more or less miserable (though sometimes far from miserable) times I did run, I now want to go back to.

Strength in group. Adidas Heimo (Adidas Tribe), was the supportive group of people who were all in the shit together – some less than others, having several marathons under their belt already. I must admit, going to group trainings was the reason I kept on pushing myself, the reason why I did not stop and the reason why I wanted to not finish last. I might have been a shit of a runner, but I wanted to feel like I was doing something, and getting better at it, which I was.

Having some fun in our uniforms.
Having some fun in our uniforms.

Getting over yourself. In Finland, the harsh truth is that (from February until April and September onwards) the running conditions are not the best. Still, if you have a goal in mind, you need to have certain steps to achieve that goal. Running in the rain/snow/hail/deep deep darkness isn’t the most ideal way of spending a monday morning/Friday evening, but as soon as you get your feet back indoors, it’s all worth it. Some days, in a deep dark and twisted way, you’ll even notice enjoying it.

Setting goals, and following up. In the past 3 years I have learned about goal setting and their measurability. Unfortunately I confess to being a rather vague person, more likely to go with the gut rather than setting important milestones. In running to a certain achievement, you must have a certain plan to achieve what you aim to reach for. Even if you fail, it is important to know that you had a path to guide you. So yes, spiderman stretches, I get your point.

Running in a sponsored group allows one to have a professional photographer. Thanks Pasi Salminen.
Running in a sponsored group allows one to have a professional photographer. Thanks Pasi Salminen.

Know when enough is enough. Why have I not run after last summer? Well, during the training months I kept on having different injuries in both of my legs. Having had troubles with my feet growing up, I still tried to push myself and not admit that maybe I hate (yes, I could say I hate) running for a reason, and am just not cut out for it. In the end, I was not able to attend Helsinki Half marathon, nor the other shorter race the team did, but I eventually ran 10k midnight Run, which I highly enjoyed. Now I enjoy other sports that make me push my limits, reach higher and feel like I’m accomplishing something. Win!

Hill running drills. Ah how I miss those wobbly feet afterwards.
Hill running interval drills. Ah how I miss those wobbly feet afterwards.

me and a friend decided to write something every day from now on until further notice, so hopefully I’ll be venting myself here more often. Too bad my computer is so utterly shit (sorry, but Apple is not nearly eternal) that it definitely doesn’t make posting easy.

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Satur-trail and Dragon Boats

I am definitely not an athlete, nor a trail runner, but I do prefer to spend my weekends with some activities rather than lying half dead in a dark room, cursing the world and trying to remember what happened the previous night. Having the chance to take a nice hike and then trying out dragon boat racing, of course I said yes. Well, I have to admit that half way through the 10km hike, and halfway up the over 1000 stair, I definitely questioned myself.

Up and down these mountains, no biggie
Up and down these mountains, no biggie

Our trail started from Wan Chai gap, sweet and easy 1km uphill, followed by a nice 4km run to the end of the first leg. That’s when the fun part started – first  up was the Violet Hill mountain, followed by the “Twins”, pictured. The mountain part of the hike included some stunning views of Repulse Bay and Deep Water Bay (with some clear blue water), but I was mostly concentrating on putting my feet in front of another and not to trip.

Hong Kong nature, Wong Nai Chung reservoir
Hong Kong nature, Wong Nai Chung reservoir

It made a big difference to be on the trail with a couple of hard core athletes, one of which just did a sweet 86km run in mt. Fuji last week. By myself, I would have had much harder time to keep on going and not stop in the steps – although when you start going, there is no escape.

 

Warm up before the Dragon Boat
Dragon Boaters warming up

After the trail, we made it to Stanley just in time for some coconut water and Dragon Boat training! Some balance for the leg workout, this 2 hr session was great exercise for the arms and upper body (though the legs weren’t lazy, either). The boats fit 20 paddlers (our team had only 10; more work for each person!), plus one person who is steering, and another that pounds a drum to give tact. Key words in this sport are “rotate”, meaning you have to twist your upper body when thrusting the paddle to the water, and “reach”, meaning that you mush reach the paddle far in front of you. I bet I’ll be hearing the coach screaming these two words when I go to sleep.

Ready to roll
Ready to roll

 

On June 12th there is a big Dragon Boat race, where different companies, societies etc. that have formed teams race against each other and have a huge party afterwards. Too bad I’m not going to be able to attend, although maybe this kind of adventuring on a weekly basis would be a bit too much for me. I really liked being in the water, I can’t remember when is the last time I’ve had salt water on my lips and skin! Unfortunately there was no sun anywhere to be seen the whole day (except in the far distance in the mountain), but somehow I still managed to burn my cheeks.

Happy and not knowing what lies ahead
Happy and not knowing what lies ahead

 

These little Saturday morning and afternoon activities made me appreciate the trail/ultra runners even more; the more athletes I meet, the better I understand them and their motives. However, I still prefer intervals to 50km, and pilates to running. To balance out the “hard work” of the day, I rewarded myself with yoga and sauna.

If you are interested in hiking/trekking in Hong Kong, hkwalkers.net is the go-to source. It still amazes me, how much nature and outdoor sports possibilities this place has to offer!