Drinking and Running: My First 5K!

On Tuesday I ran my very first 5K, the Firecracker 5000 5K!! As the only midnight run in Seattle to celebrate the 4th of July, the Seattle Center run seemed like an awesome way to kick off the “Seattle Summer” (locals say summer never starts until July 5th, ever). The Independence Day themed run will began at 11:55 p.m., when an over 1700 runners ran around the streets of Seattle Center in 4th of July spirit!

Oh, did I mention I went to the bar first?

Are you surprised?

I signed up for the race with my friend Lisa (who runs marathons and the like) and had our own cheering crew comprised of Kip, Casey, Ang, and Chris. Since the race didn’t start until 5 minutes before midnight, we figured we had plenty of time to pregame (prerace?) for the event!

What a great experience! Now I have the runner’s itch (no not the kind of itch in your shorts)… I want to run another race!!! I may just sign up for the Warrior Dash, or maybe even the Tough Mudder now. Did much better than I thought I would (I wasn’t even 100% sure I would finish it) but I did a 7:53 mile!

Yu Live, Yu Drink and Run

Photo from here.

30 Days to Hawaii: The AMT Workout

I recently tweaked my knee running around the steep hills of Queen Anne, and after consulting with dear old Dr. Google, apparently the best thing (and possibly only thing) I can do is just rest my newly bum knee and keep off of it for a while. Unfortunately, Dr. Google doesn’t know that I am on a strict Hawaii-bound schedule, and to me, being inactive before heading to the beach is as big of a faux pas has a surgeon getting high before a surgery.

So dealing with my aging body, I’ve decided to try something new for a change. I hopped one of the new AMT machines, or the Adaptive Motion Trainers, at my gym and gave it a go.  It’s like a weird hybrid stairmaster/treadmill/elliptical that lets you switch from short to long strides or move in to deep lunges pretty ergonomically. It helps you mimic a running motion without the impact of a treadmill/sidewalk, but still gives you the flexibility of adjusting your strides, unlike an elliptical. You also can shift from walking to running and it will automatically adjust to your movements. It also has two dual action arms for a total-body workout. In addition, I’m lucky enough to have one with a personal TV right on it, so any workout is a breeze.

The AMT, or Adaptive Motion Trainer

Armed with my new machine pal, I decided to challenge myself to adding an hour of this machine workout in addition to any workout I would normally do. I found that the calorie calculator (though I’m not sure how accurate they are) actually noted that I would burn more calories than I normally would on another machine within an hour, typically within the 680-750 cal/hr range. And since it only takes 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat, I decided it would be cool to see if I could shape up a bit before going on my trip. Besides, having packed on the winter weight, it was time to get a little more active anyway.

Some Notes

  • Since deciding about Hawaii 25 days ago, I’ve used this machine 18 times.
  • In total, I have done 19.5 hours on the AMT, typically in 1 or 1.5 hour increments.

In the Meantime… Multitasking.

  • I read 14 magazines
  • I watched 8 March Madness Basketball games
  • I read 2 books (1/2 Catching Fire, Mockingjay and 1/2 The Dogs of Babel)
  • Watched ~10-15 episodes of How I Met Your Mother, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report

Measurable Results

  • Burned 14318 calories
  • Traveled 114.12 miles

Having done this on top of my typical workout, whether it be boot camp, yoga, or weight training, I can honestly say I was able to drop ~4 pounds just because of this machine alone. My knee doesn’t hurt nearly as much, I got a lot of reading done, and most importantly, it doesn’t feel like I spent a ridiculous amount of time working out. Part of it was having reading material or TV to watch, since for me it makes the time go by quicker and I feel twice as accomplished versus just working out. For anyone looking for a low-impact, measurable, and steady machine to add to your workouts, the AMT should be it.

Yu Live, Yu Learn

Photo from here.

A Runner’s Guide to Hong Kong

I woke up one morning on the other side of the world, wide-eyed and ready to go. When on vacation, I always become one of two people: the very efficient go getter, and the lazy slob found halfway between the beach and the beach bar, too imbibed or immobile to move and pleasantly happy with my sloth-like state. Unfortunately, there aren’t white sandy beaches and tiki huts filled with rum and cokes in Hong Kong, so I opted to go on a lengthy run to kick start my two weeks here.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming to be an expert runner… in fact, I don’t know if I would even call myself a runner. I ran track for a hot second in high school before realizing it was an utter waste of time (and subsequently became my school’s Student Union President, a even bigger waste of my time). Since then, I’ve always enjoyed the occasional half-mile run since I’m incredibly fast (yes, in case you’re wondering, I’ve already brushed my shoulder’s off), but anything more than a couple of miles takes a lot of mental determination and ample amount of time to be wasted in order to get me out of the house. That, and taking the dog out of the house is helpful for both Roddick and me, so I try and do it as often as possible.

So out I went. In the middle of Kowloon, I went out with my running shoes and iPod. The first thing I realized? People stare at a runner on the street in Hong Kong like you would stare a naked black guy in spandex on a unicycle in America (yes, naked black guy in spandex on a unicycle in Ann Arbor, I AM TALKING TO YOU!). No one runs in Hong Kong. No one. Partially because the streets area already congested with school children, street vendors, and the eldery. Also because there are literally no streets without a thousand people sharing a 10 foot sidewalk with you. In fact, Hong Kong is home of one of the the world’s busiest intersections! Weaving in and out of foot traffic and startling people becomes a game, sort of like pedestrian Frogger. That is, until you start to cross streets.

…Which is when you start to remember that traffic runs the opposite direction. Yes. Let this be your one and only warning. Look out both ways! Luckily, when the British colonized Hong Kong, they realized that Americans are dumb, so they made these handy directions on every intersection:

So after overcoming the “being a freak running on the street” and mastering the traffic system, the next issue is finding a good place to run. New Yorkers have Central Park and Riverside Park. Michiganders never even encounter such issues. But those from Hong Kong? They really have to find places to run. I checked a couple of running blogging sites, and it appears that the only places to run are all 20 to 30 minutes away from where our flat is, which is in the middle of the city. Luckily, we live by some really nice houses, so I was able to run a loop around some of the upper class homes, while all their house keepers were washing cars and yet again, staring at that freak running on the street.

Finally, as if there was a final obstacle, the pollution in Hong Kong is terrible. There are double-decker buses on every street, crazy amounts of traffic, and what I’m guessing are sub-par pollution standards. After two or three miles, I could hardly breathe, and had to crawl my way back home 13 floors up just to get some fresh air.

So. Chances are no one who actually reads my blog will ever end up in Hong Kong, let alone go for a run, here are a couple of places you can try (I never got a chance to do so). Otherwise, let this be a lesson for all of us, we shouldn’t take anything for granted. Things like clean air, open streets, and vast parks are gifts, so make sure you enjoy your next run outdoors!

Yu Live, Yu Learn

Photo from here.