Wednesday, July 30, 2008


A few things I need to get off my chest:

I've been all over the net (trying to catch up and) telling people, don't be too hard on yourself, you're just coming back.
I recently told one of my favoritest, most persistent and in my eyes, most successful RBF's that chaotic, even traumatic personal times can be helped if you keep the running up. I'm trying to take my own advice. I have had an amazing summer of travel and my own chaos and trauma, but I won't make apologies. But, running has taken a further back seat than I am comfortable with. Truth is, I've averaged just 4.2 miles per week for the last 6 or 7. It won't be easy coming back, but that is what I intend to do.

Saturday - 2.35 miles
Sunday - 2.75 miles
Wednesday - 2.81 miles
Some of the slowest miles evah but I'm out there. Also some of the hottest miles evah, holy cow.

There are TONS of MEN in the neighborhood in the morning. Roofing, mowing, blowing, trimming, picking up garbage, fed exing, fixing asphalt, riding bikes, etc. Quite the array from 12 years old helping dad to way too country club for this job but my parents are making me do hard labor for the summer to lifers. Very interesting... I saw two women, one was a faster runner (that's pretty much any woman that runs!) and one almost hit me as she ran a red light.

My weight has mercifully stayed down since taking 3rd (I think it was 3rd) in the famous Vivalicious challenge. I must keep going. 150 is great, but 140 would be greater. :D SLB has just the ticket.

My baby told me in very big boy terms yesterday that he no longer needs rocked and he would like the rocking chair removed from his room. WHAAAAAA!

The oldest is reading and ready for kindergarten. Thank God we got him plain underwear so he isn't worried about kids making fun of him. Crap. When did he grow up? He's 5 and he's reading the box scores.

Did I mention I have some official Olympic stuff for our virtual race??? Nothing big, but I thought it would be fun. I've got to get a logo up soon. Put 8 on the 8th on your calendars!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

China in Review - The Empress Has Returned


Arrived and decided to JUMP.RIGHT.IN.

We walked along the backroads and alleys of the hutongs. I was already pumped as I was hoping we would see these very old little communities that are old Beijing. Grabbed some beers out of this alley shop (cooler behind us, for the US equivalent of 25 cents) and tried to teach some Chinese guys how to take our picture. I start to realize just how damn hot it is going to be here... and then went to Dali Courtyard for a traditional chinese dinner (within a hutong). Then off to Houhai for drinks and a fruity icy dessert (a lake area filled with bars and restaurants that was quite busy and bopping).

Hopped on the subway to Tian Tan (Temple of Heaven) -- where there were a bunch of performers singing peking opera, playing instruments, paddling balls, playing hacky sack. Many senior citizens hang out here and we enjoyed watching them. Lunch at a Yunnan restaurant (big bowls of soup noodles). On to the Llama Temple with lots of incense and a really really big 5 story buddah. I decide make up is pretty much a lost cause as it is so incredibly hot! Cold drink at another hutong restaurant, The Vineyard Cafe. Then went to Rumi Grill (persian food) for dinner with friends. Out for a drink at Face Bar (cool asian decorated place where I tested my newly acquired scotch drinking). Foot massages followed somewhere around 11:30pm!! (the very relaxed photo!)

The smog cleared to a beautiful day and we headed to the Great Wall (mutianyu portion). It was spectacular!!! Can't say enough about this unbelievable feat at the top of mountains. Pics with some sort of Chinese warrior. Also some funny Chinese guys were posing all over the wall. One time they gave us the Olympic rings - very cute! Late lunch at the School House outdoors. You can sketch on the placemats, I tried to sketch the view above the roof of the Wall. Nails done later at Yashow - great 6 story shopping center where bargaining is expected. Sushi at Hatsune for dinner--YUM! Then to a friend's house for rooftop drinks.


Panjiayuan (the outdoor dirt market) for shopping and bargains. Drove by the olympic venues (Bird's Nest (national stadium for opening ceremonies and track), water cube for swimming, saw the marathon route, soccer stadium, etc), and went to the Summer Palace. Then we went to Yashow again to shop. Korean BBQ for dinner--cook your own meat on a grill in the middle of the table.

The Big Shorts


Flew from Beijing to Shanghai for brunch at M on the Bund (took in the skyline). We were quite the hit with several Chinese men who wanted their picture with foreigners -- this happened quite a bit actually! Hopped on an afternoon flight to Hong Kong via Shenzhen. Went to an Italian dinner around central/soho on Hong Kong Island. We grabbed some late night drinks at Lan Kwai Fong and rode out a thunderstorm.

Ate delicious bolobaos (pineapple buns) for breakfast from a local bakery. Walked around the outdoor market of meat, fish, veggies and fruit. Took the tram up to Victoria Peak and spectacular views of Hong Kong Island. We had a dim sum lunch (small portions in baskets--like tapas) and gelato while on the peak. We decided to do a last minute trip via ferry to Macau - an island off Hong Kong that is the Vegas of the Orient. Saw the remains of St. Paul's Cathedral and the fort next door called Forataleza do Monte. We had to have a McDonald's cheeseburger to see if tasted like home - yep! Walked around the Venetian -- looks just like Vegas! Headed back to HK island where we went to Peak Cafe for drinks and snacks.

Waited for a fresh batch of bolobaos from our favorite little bakery. Went to Stanley Market to shop/lunch with our host's Auntie Elizabeth at the Stonehouse and enjoyed the beach side of town. Auntie is an absolute doll. Caught our flight back to Beijing and headed straight to another midnight massage! free snacks and drinks :) And yes, they are tres cheap. (mani/pedi was around $18; 1.5hr foot/leg massage around $12; 2hr deep tissue full body around $17; facial with massage around $12 - although these are from memory...)


Big white girl causing a scene while she ran and took pictures!! Brunch at Alameda in the hutongs (some sort of fusion). Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and then Jinshan Park (which overlooks the entire city). Took the empress photos here :D. Went to the acrobatic show...then facials for 1.5 hours that somehow involve your entire body...then dim sum somewhere around midnight!!


Peking duck for lunch. Went down Wangujing (pedestrian street) where the flagship Olympics store is (ginormous)...and food street. Michele and Derek ate a scorpion or two, Nancy could not bring herself to the task. Last minute shopping then dinner at Serve The People --thai food. Then we decided to give it one last hurrah and do a pub crawl--Cocomo (the rooftop bar where the table next to us offered us cake), Black Sun Bar, Block 8 (very fancy mirror hallway, tres upscale - I felt totally ancient!).


Ate at Xiao Wang's (chinese food) in Ritan Park. Off to the airport and back to the real world!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Do You Have Olympic Fever Yet??

Lolo, Y.O.U. R.O.C.K.

Bring it home, Shawn.

Just a couple gals from Iowa.

I can't wait to see the Olympic venues. I'm getting so excited. I'm thinking we may need a virtual race to celebrate. Anybody else excited for 08/08/08 and the Olympics to start? How about another 8 on the 8th: Virtual Olympics. Anyone game?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

On the road China!

So the running has been a little rough lately. I looked through my logs and decided that I just haven't run enough to expect very much. I was on my feet and walking several hours a day in Scotland, but running was spotty before we went, did one nice long one there but I was gone like 11 days, people. That's not enough running for me to maintain. And I've paid. Oh I've paid.

I've struggled through a couple rough ones trying to get some semblance of order and comfort back. I finally decided I was trying to go way too far, crashing at 3 or 3.5 or 2.5 for that matter. Since I changed my eating pretty drastically ( AHEM, 3rd in the big Vivalicious Independence Day Challenge, thank you very much) my energy and stamina have been a little whack too. I finally just did a 2.6 at a nice rip to get some confidence back and followed it with 3 yesterday. I have a long way to go but things seem like they might be coming back to me. Just when I am ready to take off for China....

Oh well, I'll either run while I'm there or not, it will be here when I get back. :D I'm definitely going to run some on the wall, and plan to do at least a couple runs, but we'll see, maybe it will be more!

So here's the lowdown of how the trip unfolded. Basically the friends that we have traveled with some lately mentioned to me last weekend that she had the opportunity to go see her son and daughter in law (whom I have met and adore!) in Beijing but her husband (who happens to be my work partner) couldn't make it work on such short notice. He didn't really want her traveling on her own. That's where I entered the picture. :D YIPPEE.
I have a passport and a slightly less stringent schedule, and a very supportive Hub who thought it sounded like one of those once in a lifetime how could I not encourage you to go thingys. How can I pass up built in tour guides who have lived there a couple years and at the height of their clean up for the Olympics???(by the way, he's going to have the kids for 11 days, he's at the casino right now having a little boy time before this whole thing kicks into gear!)

Some United miles and a few phone calls for a visa later, I'm going!! And I'm totally pumped. And it was only 9 days away at the time. Now, it's WEDNESDAY!!!! How many thousand years of history can you cram into a weekend to get ready for a trip? Ha ha. I'll do my best.

We're going to see all the big stuff and hopefully have lots of time for other interesting activities. I've heard you can get an hour and a half massage for $10. ( I'm also very interested in the shopping. There's a possibility of a side trip to Hong Kong with a stop in Shanghai. I can't even believe this is me talking! So....I'll take lots of notes and lots of pics and likely catch you on the flip side. I'll be gone 9th - 19th. I can't wait to share the details with you when I get back!!