Showing posts with label Jogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jogging. Show all posts

Getting Back To Normal...

Rice in Bloom

Things seem to be returning to normal here in the Rai.  I got up late this morning and after some breakfast, coffee and checking the internet, Cookie and I went out to the pond so she could swim for roughly an hour.  Throwing out small handfuls of fish food keeps Cookie entertained with the fish breaking the surface all around her as she tries desperately but in vain to catch them.  Helped my wife give her a shampoo and a blow-dry, which takes nearly another hour, before calling my father to check on things in Hawaii.

Some village friends up from Chonburi stopped by briefly on their way to Doi Tung with visitors they brought up from down south.  They dropped off some chocolate they purchased in Malaysia and my wife shared a bag of chocolate chip cookies she made yesterday with a young friend who came over to the house.  The whole art of gift giving is something that I have yet to master or even fully appreciate.  Perhaps they will stop by again this evening and we will get a chance to actually talk.  With all the water in and around Bangkok it is probably not a bad idea for them to be up here for a while.

Yesterday I took my much neglected Trek out for a long overdue perusal of the trails.  Even midday the temperature was tolerable as we ease into winter, but some of the normally well groomed trails showed signs of being under water during the rainy season.  After all, that water that is now threatening Bangkok started up here in the North.  Our rivers are still reasonably full but not overflowing like before.
Water level in the river has gone down a lot and the banks are still quite steep.

I traversed a fair distance so encountered a range of trail conditions, from very good to very rough.  The material used to repair some damaged areas had fist-sized rocks and hard baked clay which had me out of my seat as I tried to protect my own undercarriage from the bone-jarring effects.

Still in good condition.

In the forest.

Looking back.
By far not the worst I encountered but didn't get a shot of the bad stuff.

Getting ready to rough up the trail.

Rice was everywhere along the trail, at varying stages of development.  One small area had already be harvested while others were bent under the weight of their ripening grain.  My favorite plants, are in some areas head high and ramrod straight, with the rice looking more like flowers than grain.  Soon enough they too will droop and sag from their burden, as all turns yellow before the harvest.  For now though, things are still very green with golden accents.

The raised mounds between fields are now more like tunnels or trenches.

My health suffered a bit upon returning from Hawaii and it wasn’t until this last Tuesday that I seemed to turn the corner.  It was a day that reminded us that winter is just around the corner.  The temperature remained in the low twenties all day.  It was grey and though it did not rain properly there was an almost constant mist in the air.  A drive to town had filled our morning and early afternoon, with us returning in time for me to consider a run.  I was uncertain if I was ready but couldn’t pass up the chance to run in such cool temperatures.  Turned out to be a very good run.  It is amazing what a difference a few degrees can make when you are running down the trail.

Recovering from that run, the next day I took the Ninja out to charge the battery.  Even after laying idle for more than a month the engine turned over and caught with the first press of the ignition button.  Not wanting to venture too far, I ended up at Starbucks for a coffee and then took a different route home.  It will be interesting to see if I get back into riding this winter as so far this year my level of interest has dwindled to almost nothing.

I have other things weighing on my mind but perhaps this is enough for today.  Always need to leave something for tomorrow.

Wearing a Smile ...

The temperature hung in the mid twenties this morning.  The clouds hung low and heavy in the sky as etherial wisps hung even lower than seemed possible, like fingers gently caressing the slopes and treetops.  A light rain texturized the surface of the pond as Cookie slipped excitedly into the water sending a torrent of ripples to the far bank.  Adding to the spectacle was a flock of swallows flying low over the water both observing and participating in this dance of life.  The only players I truly missed were the Pied Harriers that I love so much but this is their time of year to be elsewhere.

A freshly brewed cup of coffee in my hand, I settled into a comfortable chair sheltered from the rain in our pond-side sala, while Cookie tried in vain to catch the monstrous fish that swarmed around her.  Our catfish resemble my lower leg in girth and length, and their six inch whiskers and gaping mouths torment our four legged daughter, disappearing just as she lunges at them.  Her antics are something between that of an otter and a bear, swimming, splashing and diving with total abandon.  Her childlike joy is catching and fills the air, warming the heart.

She has grown from a naughty child into a more respectful young woman who loves her mommy and daddy to walk with her and sit with her while she swims.  These days she refuses to wander off and do things on her own when she is off leash.  While she enjoys interacting briefly with other dogs, and her young son the cat, we are clearly the focus of her attention.  As long as she can see us or sense our presence in the room contentment reigns.

This is a lovely time of year.  The weather is always changing.  The fields are greening up nicely.  The trees are lushly decked out in their formal forest colors, dark and rich and varied.  The trails are sometimes a bit muddy but not enough to deter my running.  Thirteen weeks into this new phase of my life and I have settled into a consistent five kilometer run with an occasional seven kilometer run, all the way to the dam and back.  The 5k can be done even when I don’t feel at my best while the 7k leaves me limp and lifeless but awash with endorphins and a sense of accomplishment.

To avoid injury I try to stick to an every other day schedule but recently weather, darkness and illness have added a few extra down days.  Probably not a bad idea to have a little extra recovery time occasionally, considering that I am no longer a youngster.  I have even started to lose a few kilos though building my strength and endurance has been the main focus.

Travel plans are shaping up for next month so I am determined to do as much training as I can before then.  A break of a couple weeks from my routine should not be a problem and may imbue me with renewed determination when I hit the trails again.  I hate being away from my wife for even a day so this separation, however short, will be far from joyous.  The long hours in transit from here to there become more tedious as I grow older.  Filial obligation beckons me away from my home to the far off shores from whence I came, with a call that cannot be ignored.  A time for introspection, and examining the push and pull of different emotions.

Perhaps I have spent enough time with you today and I should return to the real world for the remaining hours.  Now where did I place that smile and inner glow I was wearing this morning?

Running and The Red Sky ...

Last week I began my run looking at an ominous dark sky hoping to get a run in before the heavens opened.  Approaching the first hill, the game was up as the rain began.  The front edge of the storm was a mere tease, promising much more if I didn’t turn around and head home, so home it was.  With my distance having been cut short I took the challenge to race the dark wall of water that threatened to overtake me.  Sure enough half a kilometer from home I was engulfed in a torrent of water that left me sloshing my way home in what felt like buckets of water strapped to my feet.

To make up for the short but fast run, the next day I added a couple of kilometers and went all the way to the dam and back.  I suffered a bit after that and broke my running routine with a bike ride the other day.

Yesterday the scene was set for a repeat performance but luck was with me.  The villagers were all heading home from their fields and orchards, passing me plodding along in the opposite direction into a dark and foreboding sky.  This having become a common scene no one was offering me a ride home this time.  Keeping a close eye on the dark low hanging storm front, it was with relief I watched as it passed just one village to the north of us.

As the storm backed up against the mountains to the East dropping its heave load, we were blessed with a spectacular show.  Assuming that was it for the day and feeling a bit hungry I sat down for a light fish dinner in the dinning area.  The longer I sat the more spectacular the colors in the sky became.  My wife suggested that I should perhaps take a picture but I assured her the best had surely passed.  Finally I could take it no longer, grabbed the camera and stepped out the patio door.  Without a tripod, I braced against the low fence for stability in the very low light.  The light may have been fading but the colors were peeking and absolutely spectacular.  This is what I captured.

Continued ...

Six weeks into my new running routine and it is anything but routine.  I’m all over the place with good days and bad.  Two days on and one day off, two days and two days, one day and one day, even tried three days on but it did more harm than good.  Moved up from three kilometers to five in the first four weeks but for now seem stuck at five kilometers and still have to walk up the steep hill about half way out.

When I run varies with the cloud cover and the setting of the sun.  The temperature has been inconsistent at best.  Some days are incredibly hot and still, while sometimes there is a refreshing breeze.  I have even run in the rain a few times.  You would expect to be stronger after a day off but some of my ugliest and most painful runs were after a rest day.

Of course there are other things going on like visitors from Hawaii, my birthday, our anniversary, parties, shopping, driving here and there, vehicle registrations, 90 day notification of residence, and more visitors coming next month from Bangkok.

The other day as we were heading out in a light rain to visit some friends, I noticed our neighbors field being planted.  Cool and overcast it was a perfect day for working in the fields and everyone was starting to break for lunch.  As I snapped pictures they asked if we had any spare papaya.  “Sure, and help yourself to some chillies while you are at it” was my reply.   By the time we returned they had finished for the day.  That wonderful planting day was followed by two days of rain which submerged the rice plants, however.  Fortunately today the water has gone down enough that the rice should survive.

Also noticed that with this post #28, I have matched what I did for the whole of last year.  That is not my reason for not posting recently, though.  I have written several pages of late, which I have not posted for various reasons.  As one might expect, inspiration often comes from local sources.  I try to keep things hypothetical but I have found that some individuals are a bit sensitive and read in more than is intended, so I find myself censoring my work before it gets to you.

No doubt my need to write will soon supersede my specious attempts to be nice and I will be back to my old tricks regardless of what others may read into my words.  With little to say today, I thought I might add a few pictures.  Another of my novel ideas ;-)
Mae Suai Dam

Mae Suai Reservoir

Mae Suai from the dam
Planting Rice

Lunch Time

Planting Rice in our Front Yard
Birthday Brunch at Favola

Meridien Pool and Grounds

Visitors from Hawaii
Running past the fields

Running Home

Running Pond Side and into the Sunset

No More Excuses ...

There once was a man who sat at his favorite table enjoying high-tea in a posh hotel lobby, often accompanied by friends.  He would eventually wander upstairs to the health club for a bit of weight training, stretching and drills on the squash court before being joined by others eager to play.  A couple of hours later, both exhausted and exhilarated from the effort, it was time for a sauna, jacuzzi, cold-plunge and a shower before heading out.  Next was a massage, usually followed by sex and a late dinner.  As others were bringing down the curtain on the day, he was gearing up for a night of hotspots and notorious places one did not speak of with your daytime friends.

He was heard to boast that his worst days were often better than most people’s best days and the majority took him to be much younger than his actual years.  I used to know this guy but we have lost touch with the passage of time.  Age, injury, overindulgence, changes in lifestyle and location, laziness of mind and body, have all contributed to him being little more than a memory.  This last year he was particularly indulgent and whether in the mirror or in candid ten megapixel photos from unflattering angles, he is all but unrecognizable.

His last few years have been focused on outward things.  Building things, social networks, exploring the roads and trails, preparing for the future but forgetting something more important.  If you treat life’s achievements like trophies to be displayed upon a shelf, they soon become weathered and tarnished.  Life is not what you dream about or once did but what you do on a daily basis.  No matter what your age, life is to be lived to the best of ones ability and not just talked of or dreamed about.  It must be reaffirmed each day to keep it alive and healthy.  We begin each day on the lower slopes, not on the top of the mountain and only by our struggles to get to the top do we delay the inevitable decline into the valley.

To this end my old friend is trying to make a comeback.  A little over four weeks ago there was a small ripple in the force or perhaps a tiny rift in the fabric of space-time which caused a reboot of his system.  Gone were the memories and expectations of the past that blocked forward progress.  There was just the present and a desire to see what he could do.  With no measure of time or distance he set off down the trail at a slow jog, to find the limits of his new reality.  The pain and suffering that was to follow until this day, have been a test of character.

At four weeks there was the first sign of a breakthrough.  Usually he does two days on and a day off, with the distance being ever increased by the smallest of increments.  Then one day at the top of a hill, only recently added to take in the view before returning home, he instead headed down the other side intent on taking a longer circular route.  Arriving at home covered in sweat as usual, he sat in his chair on the drive surrounded by his canine entourage.

Even with the added distance he felt different, almost good, and less a puddle of melting flesh.  This his favorite time of day seemed even more wonderful than usual.  He was not hunched over in agony and gasping for breath but head up enjoying his favorite time of day.  Here he sat awash with endorphins, feeling also a light breeze caressing and cooling his wet body, with eyes lifted to the heavens drinking in the colors and shapes that adorn the evening sky just after the sun sets and before it becomes too dark to see.  This he could see as a routine that someone could look forward to and not dread.  Exertion and discipline followed by beauty and relaxation.

Hikes and bike rides are all good but are time consuming and best undertaken in the early morning hours.  Even after years of trying, mornings are more of a one-off for me having never been able to make them routine.  I suffer as a slow starter and it is only in the late afternoon, preferably around sunset, that I feel invigorated and pain free enough to exercise.  So instead of fighting my nature or making excuses, I have simply reclaimed the evening as my time of exercise.  Don’t really know why it has taken so long.

I never thought I would end up being this person but sure enough here I am.  So now I am paying the price of trying to find that guy I once was and thought I would always be.  In the short term I will probably have more empathy for the excuse makers and understand the pain involved in starting over but I could become more obnoxious than ever if I am indeed successful in my quest to be reunited with that guy I used to know so well.  Anyway for now there will be no more excuses and my fifty-seventh year will be dedicated to a new me or reclaiming what I can of the old me.