Monthly Archives: April 2011

First Run in Manila!

I wish I could say it was exciting, and that I got to take pictures…  No such luck.

Since the area around me is deserted on one side and super-busy-can-barely-walk-through on the other side, I can’t do a lot of outdoor running until I move to Makati.  Or maybe I’ll start taking cabs over to nice places to run in — we’ll see if it’s worth the almost hour in traffic to get a run in.  But for now, until I’m feeling more adventurous, the treadmill it is.

If you’ve been reading a while you KNOW how I feel about the treadmill.  I haven’t stepped in one in over a year since I hate it so much.  But one’s gotta do, what one’s gotta do.

So I grabbed my Walkman, put on my running clothes, and off I went.  It was only 3 miles, right, it couldn’t be THAT bad.

Hahahaha. Yeah.  Famous last words.

Does anyone likes staring at their face the whole time they run?  Am I the only one who hates that crap where a gym will put the treadmill lined up in front of mirrors?  All I keep thinking is “oh my god, my face looks red.  Damn, I look sweaty.  I look like I should be really tired.  Maybe I AM tired.  Maybe I should stop now?” 

So the treadmill is boring enough without me staring at my sweaty, red, tired face for 30 minutes.

But of course, I was doing really good.  I set the incline to 1.0, started playing around with the paces, slowing increasing from super-slow to slow, and I was really on a groove.  “Hmmmm…  this is not so bad…”  

A few minutes later my thoughts changed to “OH MY GOD WHY IS THIS SO BORING?  CAN I STOP NOW?  I’M SO TIRED.  SO BORED.  IT MUST HAVE BEEN AN HOUR ALREADY!  AAAACK!!!  ONLY 12 MINUTES?!?  WTF?  Ok, ok, hang in there for 3 miles…  You can run 3 miles…”

Needless to say 2 minutes later it was “The mileage thing MUST be broken.  I run, I run, I run, and stupid thing barely moves.  Ok, hang in there for 2 miles.  2 miles and you can do something else…”

When the counter hit 1.75, I decided to sprint the last 0.25 miles, but ended up stopping the machine completely.  Instead of taking this as a sign, I just quickly hopped off, drank some water, wiped the sweat off my face, and went back in.  “Ok, 1.25 miles and you’ll have your 3 miles in.  It’s really not that bad.  Go!”

Of course, it really WAS that bad.  Half a mile later, I decided to do intervals until the end to keep myself entertained.  Keeping the incline in 1.0, I decided to walk at a 15 min/mile for 0.1 miles, run for 0.1 miles at a 10 min/mile pace, then sprint another 1.0 miles at a 7:30 min/mile pace.  On my last sprint, not only I hung out for 0.15 miles (nothing, I KNOW, but I tell you, it was grueling, it felt like forever), but I changed the pace to a 7 min/mile.

With 3 miles in the bag, and my heart racing fast, I slowly walked a quarter mile as a cool down(Which I never do.)  I thought that the mile marker was moving slow when I was running?  HA!  That quarter of a mile felt like I was there all afternoon.

My plan was to take a quick rinse at home and go swim laps.  As soon as I stepped outside the gym, my head started burning, it felt like it was on fire.  I walked into the cool apartment quickly, and felt faint.  I was seeing spots in front of my eyes.

You see *someone* completely underestimated the humidity and the heat in Manila.  Sure, the gym had AC, but as the mirrors showed, it didn’t do much as I was dripping in sweat within a couple of minutes.

Turns out, I probably should have kept it at a 2 mile run, even though I don’t remember the last time I only ran for 2 miles.  Or even 3 for that matter…  My body is not yet used to this.

So I ditched the swimming idea (as cooling as it would have felt at first, you DO sweat while swimming, and I definitely didn’t want to end up dehydrated today), I jumped in the shower instead and called it a day.

I think until I get used to this weather (which will probably take a couple of weeks), I will be running every other day and swimming every other day.  Not doing both…

Wish me luck that I can find a way to keep myself better entertained at the treadmill…

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Filed under Treadmill Run

4 full days in Manila

I cannot believe we got to Manila 4 days ago.  And if you’re wondering, no, it still hasn’t hit me that I have MOVED here.  That I won’t see my wonderful DC friends for two years (unless they get their butt in gear and visit me, of course).

Saturday, Sarah and her husband came to pick me up and take me to our future home in Makati.  The place is gorgeous!!!  Tall buildings, clean streets, everything brand new.  Imagine a few blocks of lower Manhattan.  Then make everything just a few years old, brand new buildings and everything (sidewalks, roads…) just CLEAN.  That’s Makati.

Sarah is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met.  Here she was dragging around a stranger, making her feel welcomed!

While there, we bumped into Michelle, who I had spoken with through Facebook, after our friend, Tessa, introduced us.  What are the odds?  So I got to see her apartment, that’s supposedly the same floor plan as ours, in the building we’ll be living in, and I about died.  Now knowing what I’m missing here on compound living, makes it much much harder to wait in temporary housing.  The Embassy had told us 3 weeks, and as soon as we arrived, that quickly changed to a month.  I don’t think I can’t wait a month.

Michelle tagged along for a tour around Makati (she arrived here just 2 weeks ago, so everything is still new to her).  And the tour included a Shiatsu Massage at The Spa.  Probably the nicest place I ever got a rubdown at.  And for those of you runners out there?  Shiatsu is the PERFECT post-workout massage.  Not only it’s deep pressure but they twist you like a spaghetti, in a way my marathon legs were craving for last year.  Stretching AND massage?  I can get used to this life…

Sunday, Karl and I ventured over to the Mall of Asia (the 4th largest mall in the WORLD), and after eating a very cheap lunch (it came out to about 2 bucks), we finally bought ourselves cellphones so we can again feel connected to the world.  We also bought groceries, which means now we have FOOD!

I’m not going to lie, and say life is great and dandy.  After the weekend was over and Monday dawned on us, Karl went to work and I was faced with a full day in compound-living with nothing to do.  A workout was out of the question as my body just wasn’t up for it (my stomach was not doing too good, I wasn’t going to be the one to test out its limits).  So here I was.  Alone.  In the middle of nowhere.  Knowing where I’m supposed to be living.  Knowing I’ll have to keep myself busy in this place for a month.  A MONTH!  And don’t get me wrong, I know we’ll move to countries where compound living is the only option.  Some, where we won’t even be allowed to leave the compound.  I’ll deal with that then.  But now it’s not the case — there’s a whole world to explore around me, and I just don’t know how to get there.

Last night we explored a bit of Pasay City, where we are, and I saw a glimpse of the Manila everyone warned me about:  ridiculous traffic of cars, jeepneys, buses, bikes, motorcycles, tuktuks (or whatever it’s called here)…  Seeing mothers on motorcycles, holding their toddler with one arm.  Sidewalks packed with people, garbage, stray dogs and cats.  It was terrifying, but a bit awesome to know that just a block from me, there’s all this life going on.  And I’m definitely going to wonder and explore around me…  Maybe even take my camera around, since images will portray this much better than words can.

Today?  I’m hoping to hop on the treadmill for a bit (nothing too crazy, probably just a half hour or so), and swim a few laps — I got a half mile in on Saturday morning, while I was sleep deprived and jetlagged, so want to take it easy and not burn myself out until my body gets used to the time difference, the humidity and the heat (but boy, I love the heat!).

Maybe boredom will be the best cure for those 10+ pounds I put in since December, while nursing my running injuries…

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Filed under Foreign Service, Manila

A quick house tour…

As I mentioned before, we are staying in temporary housing at the US Embassy compound.  Definitely not as exciting as our permanent housing in Makati – the financial district where you can find everything just steps from your door.

We were told we got assigned a one bedroom apartment, only to come in and see that it was a 3 bedroom + office.  The place is HUGE…  We are completely isolated from the rest of the world – of course it doesn’t help that we arrived smack in the middle of a 4 day weekend for the Easter Holiday, and EVERYTHING was closed.  Hungry much?  We barely ate anything on Friday…

So this is our temporary housing!  (Please ignore our mess, we had just arrived!)

You walk in from the front door, and face the living room (with the wonderful embassy issued furniture – gosh I wish I brought our couches…)

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On one side you find a hallway with two bedrooms, a bathroom and a small laundry room…

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The rooms have a lot of storage…

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Then you have the spacious dining room (recognize the picture frame?)

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The kitchen…

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The office right off the master bedroom…

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Master bedroom…

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The master bath…

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Main closets (there are lights inside that go on when you open the doors!)

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The outside is not very exciting – it’s like living in a military compound, which I have when I grew up in Brazil, except this is much much smaller…

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But the best part?

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And this morning?  I did this (I removed the goggles for the picture…  Next time, I’ll keep it on since I have no shame!)

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No running yet – it’s super hot here, as I expected (my kind of weather!), but no where to run where we’re staying, but I might have to suck it up and become friends with the treadmill for now.  Even the pool was very warm (great for hanging out, not so much for swimming!  I was hot!).

I can’t wait to have a routine back in order…  For now, I have a feeling that a few laps in the pool will be it!

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Filed under Foreign Service, Manila, Pictures

Pictures of my last Wednesday Run

As I sit in the Delta business lounge of the San Francisco airport (seriously, using 25000 miles each to upgrade our tickets was TOTALLY worth it.  And we’re not even in the plane yet!), I figured I should post about my last Wednesday run in DC.  (Editor’s note:  they had an issue with their wireless, so now this is being posted as I sit in the Delta business lounge of Narita airport, in Japan.)

It was exactly a week ago, only two days after arriving from Rio, but we were already mid-move, so we were both sleep deprived.  I couldn’t skip the run, even if I was feeling crappy.  Plus, I had to take pictures!

It was a gorgeous spring day in DC, and we took a route we hadn’t done since the days got shorter!  We started out in Crystal City, hopping on the Mt. Vernon Trail, and instead of running north, towards DC, we now had enough daylight that it was safe to run south.  (At nighttime, going south is darker, wooded, and much more isolated than running north, where you see bike commuters, have the light from the airport, and there is not as many trees to hide your view of things.)

My run wasn’t good, but I was enjoying the day, and taking it in that it would be two years before I saw this trail again.  This is where we run on Wednesdays in the summer:  the trees provide a nice shelter from the sun…  I ran with Nina, Jen and Ben, but still got a few pictures of other runners from the group on their turnaround point (I decided to wait until I saw them before turning around – I wanted pictures!), who were much speedier than we were.

The Potomac River was on our left at the start, and the George Washington Parkway to our right.  We ran towards Old Town Alexandria (but since it was a short run, we didn’t get that far). 

No more words needed – take in my last Wednesday run in pictures…

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I’m going to miss this place…

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Filed under Pictures, Runs