Friday, February 20, 2015

Best Places to Visit in Hong Kong: Flower Market Road (Fa Yuen Kai)

I love this street, not just during this festive season, but all year around.  It's a heady, chaotic combustion of colours, scents, chatter, wonder, inspiration, beauty, awe, culture, texture, variety and, well, life. 


So, in the spirit of the Chinese New Year, this is my tribute post to all my readers. 

Kong Hei Fatt Choy, and I wish you only good health, prosperity and happiness in this Year of the Goat / Sheep / Ram.













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Monday, February 9, 2015

My Marathon Year: The Re-run

So I did it.

I completed at least one quarter or half marathon per month in 2014 (and in the case of August, three races in three consecutive weeks in three countries to which I can only attribute to delirium brought on by the hottest year on record.)

I've dutifully chronicled all the races on this blog, and in the spirit of the current awards season, I've hand-picked some winning highlights from my self-created categories to share with my entire lot of faithful readers.

A Fistful of Medals
We will start off with the Most Scenic Course winner: Sussex Coastal Marathon.
For its 360-degree gorgeous, eye-popping, jaw-dropping dramatic vistas that might distract you from the occasional cow poop on the ground.


Most Scenic Course (Close Runner Up): Angkor Empire Marathon
Inspirational and spiritual, every step of the way.

Hippy-Dippiest Race: Eco-Inba Slow Half Marathon.  Where racers are encouraged to take photos, pick up litter, shop at a farmers market, browse at private home garage sales, ogle at a gigantic and ancient sakura tree, and best of all, get penalized for finishing "too early."

Most Grueling Course Which I Will Never Ever Repeat: Lantau Vertical
Don't let that smile fool you. This was the first race I've ever considered quitting midway: a totally spirit-sucking, soul-draining, dignity-shredding humbling ordeal every painful step up and down that mountain on Lantau Island, Hong Kong.
Most Boring 10K Course: Okinawa Marathon
It was bad enough to run past blocks and blocks of gray industrial factories along the waterfront dock area, but to do it twice due to an uninspiring U-turn route is mind-numbing.  Thank goodness for the cosplay runners for some entertaining visual respite along the way.

Best Race Refreshments: Eco-Inba Slow Half Marathon.
For freshly picked strawberries and rice cakes from adorable costume-clad supporters.

Best Post-Race SnacksLaguna Phuket International Marathon.
Can't beat the masses of rambutans and Thai fried rice at the finish line. 

Most Awesome Medal: Cebu Half Marathon.  Totally rock and roll.
Bonus Category - Most Awesome Running Costume: Check out my photo companion with his fabulous feathers and faux full-body tattoo.


Most Inspirational Sign Along The Route: BMO Vancouver Marathon.
They should have it displayed at every race around the world

Strangest Post-Race Swag: Organically grown veggies at Heifer Race To Feed Run

Best En-Route Entertainment: Cebu Half Marathon.
Trust the residents of Cebu to put on a good show, rain or shine.  This was just one of many spirited performances throughout the mostly damp course.

Best Racing Buddies Ever: Weng (Phuket, Tokyo, Hong Kong,) Evelyn (Adelaide,) Vic (Vancouver,) E and E (Okinawa,) Betty (Cebu, Angkor, Sussex,) and Charles (Angkor, Singapore) and Marlene (Angkor.)  Thanks for the sweat, support and carbo-loads, guys.

So that's the year in recap - see the chart below for the full race calendar. It's been quite a challenge to keep to the one-per-month schedule but I made it through with the support from friends and family, a steady pre-race diet of Red Bull and bananas, new New Balance kicks, and just the minimum hours of training to get across the finish lines; in return, I got a handful of medals, a bloody toe blister or three, some cool passport stamps, and helluva lot of fun along the way.  That's a pretty fair trade-off.

See you at the races sometime, somewhere.

Date (2014)
Marathon
 Distance
January 12
21km
February 16
10km
March 22
10km
April 13
21km
May 4
8km
June 8
10.5km
July 27
10km
August 17
10km
August 23
21km
August 31
10km
September 21
11km
October 18
8km
November 2
10km
December 14
15km


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