Monday, April 28, 2008

Thinking About Running

This little island, which is situated almost in the middle of this huge lake, is a great place to relax, to concentrate and to recuperate from arduous training.

With several of my friends busy preparing for and competing in triathlons, I have been thinking about doing some running again, although living in a big city with a lot of pollution, I have not been too keen on running amongst smoke belching motor-scooters and increasing my chances of being hit by one.

This morning, being my day off from swimming, I went out to check a possible run venue. I set off from home on my trusty bike at 5:32 am, and 13 minutes later I reached the entrance to a scenic lake and surrounding trails - the famous Cheng Ching Hu (澄清湖) in Kaohsiung County. After realizing that cycling was not allowed within the grounds, I set off on foot and walked a good half hour on fairly hilly roads or else those kinds of "crazy-paving" type paths, where it is fairly easy to put a foot wrong. Eventually, I reached a little island that is connected to the main trail by a suspension bridge, as shown in the top photo. I found this a good place to review some work I had brought with me. After all I did not want to feel bad by not getting any work done.

Seeing something like this gives me some incentive to get back into running!

Continuing from there, I suddenly discovered that there was a smooth concrete road hugging the edge of the lake for at least a kilometer, and reasonably flat, too. This surely would be a good place to train, and so I will one of these days actually have a go at it. To increase distance, I could just go back and forth along this one km route, or do sets as in swimming.

Even this bird has plenty of room to wander round undisturbed.

Being able to run here is conditional upon certain rules being followed. To avoid having to pay about US$3 just to get into the facility (this is a hot tourist spot), I need to enter the gate before 6:00am to get in free. So my plan for the days I do this and on which I wish to swim also is to leave home about 5:35 am and first bike the 3 miles or so to get here as a warm up, then run for, say, 30 minutes, or so, and then bike another 3 miles or so to the pool and then swim for about one hour. That would be an easy workout that I could finish at 8:00 am or so when the pool closes. Or else, I could occasionally skip swimming (or go to the lake to run when the pool is closed anyway), and concentrate a bit more on running. I think my running sucks, so I would have to start slowly and carefully.

Today was very overcast when I took these photos. It was also pleasantly cool. Occasionally the sky is blue, which makes for a nice photo, but it is also very hot. For training, I would prefer to be a little cooler.

Turning to the professional races, Bree got 9th at the St. Anthony's Triathlon in Florida. She would have probably finished higher if she had not been stopped by a marshall on the bike and forced to "stand down" for a time penalty based on technicalities that she was not aware of. I guess it happens to everyone once in a while. Anyway, it was a great performance for her, and she is slowly (maybe not so slowly) creeping up on the best in the sport.

Next week, the races to follow are the Wildflower 1/2 Ironman in California and the St. Croix 1/2 Ironman in the Caribbean. Go, James! Go, Bree!

I still feel good today, not so much because I did not really train, but because those divers (that I wrote about in the previous blog) got rescued.

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