Friday, September 28, 2007

Top 6 things I miss in the USA -- 8 days til Marathon Sunday

Top 6 things I miss in the USA while working in China:

1. Fast, reliable internet connections
2. Starbucks
3. Drivers that yield to pedestrians and practice some degree of road safety
4. Being understood while speaking English
5. Running in humidity less than 90%

6. Just a quick sandwich for lunch, please?

It has been an adventurous, action-packed week here in China. I have toured several factories, had numerous culturally enlightening lunches and fired back countless shots of bajou (Chinese white spirit). I have met a great number of honorable Chinese business associates and learned a lot about Chinese culture.

Rabbit, pigeon, fish head, eel and my personal fav, fresh larynx of ox, are all on the menu here on a daily basis. And the Chinese business culture, God bless it, is that you cannot get out of lunch to save your life. Wonderful…

Most notably, I have hit all of my taper workouts. At last post, I was gearing up for last weekend’s runs. I did an exploratory 5-mile recovery run through the city of Chengdu. On Sunday, I nailed a 17-mile run through the city.

That’s right, I put in a run through this 11 million person city on a Sunday morning at 7:26 average, including a final three-mile stretch right on marathon pace. I completed last week week with 46 miles. The best thing about it is that you don't even need to carry water. Just grab about 6-7 RMB cash ($0.80 to 0.90 USD) to take with for convenience stores. This will buy you about 2 bottled waters and a Gatorade whenever you need to stop.

This week, my goal is to put in just about 39-40, for which I am on track. I haven’t dipped below the 40-mile mark in a week in four months. Hardest workout of the week was simulating the 3x1600m repeat workout that normally would be done on a track. I found a reasonably un-congested stretch of pavement in the outer Chengdu area, on which I ran 5k pace (or as close as I could) through 95+% humidity on Thursday AM. It was rough - the humidity killed me.

The diet has been the “X” factor. I’ve never eaten all the “stuff” I have been eating now.

It’s 10:10 PM here on Friday night and I’m going to bed. I have to go to work AGAIN tomorrow on Saturday. Before doing so, however, I have a 5-mile recovery planned. I will then run 13 on Sunday morning early.

After my Sunday AM run, I will then be heading to the airport. I fly home on Sunday. I can’t wait to get home. I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed and being in Chicago for the last several days leading up to the marathon.

I have also purchased tickets to the world premier of The Spirit of the Marathon for Friday. Awesome pre-race inspiration!

8 days and counting…


yumke said...

Wow, what an adventure. Have you learned any words in Chinese yet? Hope the final week of the taper goes well and I hope to see a review of the marathon doc..

Firefly's Running said...

Wow! Sounds like fun!

jen said...

"Rabbit, pigeon, fish head, eel and my personal fav, fresh larynx of ox, are all on the menu here on a daily basis."


Ryan you are doing SO great maintaining your running schedule and still enjoying the culture and experience. Especially good job on that 17 miler, awesome. I bet you're looking forward to coming home though- Starbucks misses you! haha. Keep up the great work and have a safe trip home. :)

Fran said...

hmmm, you're making my mouth water...

Seriously, I hope you're at least having a good time. Is it bad that with the exception of the pigeon, I've actually tried all of those foods at one time or another?