Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Suzhou at its best
Our visitors might have gone home but I am still far behind with work/school and feel stressed 24-7. Normally when I have a lot of things to do I cut down on all the things that I like, but don’t need as much as catching up with my duties, such as social obligations and exercise. Then I had a conversation with a friend who asked how my running was going, and heard myself say: “Well, right now I don’t really have time to exercise” and as soon as those words had left my mouth I realized how stupid it sounded.
Excuses, excuses, of course I have time! It’s just about priorities. So, guess who’s been setting her alarm at 5.30am these last 2 morning and been out running at 5.40-6.15am?! Yeah, moi!
Being out that early in the morning in Suzhou has been wonderful! There are just a few cars. No honking! A limited amount of electric bikes/bikes, and you can even hear birds singing. I absolutely love it!
The best part, however, is the people. You would think that there would only be a few of them too, that early in the morning, but nope… instead, I bump into fellow morning joggers (we greet each other with a smile as from today), as well as seniors out walking/doing their tai qi. But the atmosphere amongst these early birds is the best: there is no starring, no pointing, no laughing, no cars following me around and no…. ‘monkey feeling.’ Nobody gives a s*** about me running about. I am just as ordinary as them, and oh lord, is that a nice change or what?!
Also, I discover things I had little clue about up until yesterday. Such as a HUGE breakfast market for construction workers next to Suzhou’s JinJi Hu (the big lake that I live next to). They are all sitting on the ground eating and chatting, while the market is in its full spin. Gosh, and I thought I was an early riser?! I am wondering at what time in the morning they actually get there?!
This morning I also met what I assume must be Suzhou’s roller skating association: a bunch of seniors on roller skates (wearing helmets –thumbs up!) that were having the time of their lives by going back and forth on the flat ground next to the lake. Except for one woman who almost crashed into me it was all smiles and happy faces.
As for the run itself –unfortunately it is not quite as wonderful as all the rest. My unfit body is not liking getting up so early, and it definitely doesn’t like being forced to run for 30-35 minutes on an empty stomach (I’ve never been able to do this, although I have tried many times. This is yet another attempt). The legs are heavy and slow-started. The movements are a bit odd, and the last 10 minutes of each run has been awful! But, I refuse to give up straight awau. I am going to give it 2 weeks. Two weeks of early morning runs and if I cannot get used to it by then I will give up. Because the best thing about this whole thing is the fact that by getting your run done early in the morning is that you don’t have to feel so guilty if you don’t make it to the gym later that day. And it is quite nice to be able to run outdoors without stumbling over people. Maybe some day I will bring my camera (just the small one) and shoot a beautiful, quiet Suzhou, that’s only available at that time of the day.