Category Archives: essay

2013 Hangzhou Marathon

Where should I begin? I don’t want to directly touch the topic without any anecdote. Let’s start from the beginning.

Long long ago, there was a man named… Oh, I’m sorry. When I say beginning, I cannot help myself starting from the beginning…

  •  ON THE TRAIN

I bought the cheapest train ticket to Hangzhou, 57 RMB for a round trip and I left Shanghai at 2nd Nov. I could leave at 1st Nov, because I didn’t have class last Saturday, thus I could spend one more day in Hangzhou, which I’m very willingly to do so. But none of my colleagues told me that I would be free last Saturday until I booked my tickets, so my schedule was then fixed.

Shanghai and Hangzhou are really close, though I suppose I took the slowest train, it only takes two hours to get to my destination. And on that train, I could tell that so many people go to Hangzhou with the same purpose like mine, to take part in the marathon. You can easily detect them, because they all wear running shoes, professional watches (which seemed like those devices that can record your heartbeat rate), tight pant, slim figure and so on. I guess I partly understand why they come all the way to Hangzhou to take the marathon, it because 2013 Shanghai Marathon is god damn crazy! You just cannot get the number to put yourself onto that road. I don’t know why, marathon in Shanghai is like a fever of the city, people are suddenly all enthusiastic to join it. I strongly hope the marathon in Shanghai next year will not be so hysterical.

  •  MEET A TWITTER ACQUAINTANCE

I asked a twitter acquaintance (@tualatrix) to help me get the marathon equipments. So when I got off the train, I headed directly to him. With the help of Google Map, I never worry about finding my way to an address. When we met each other, we casually found a place to sit down and had a nice talk (except the F***king mosquitoes), we talk about the air pollution, ubuntu, marathon and so on. I remembered that he worked as a independent program developer, wish him good luck. It’s a hard way, but it’s also a way that I’m much admired.

  • Hangzhou Touran Backpack Hostel
From blog photos

This is where I lived, a youth hotel. Until now, I’ve stayed in two youth hotels, not too many, but neither of them let me down. I’m sure that whenever there’s a chance I’ll still try to stay in the youth hotel. Cheap in not its only advantage (though I really value that), its atmosphere is the most attractive thing to me. At the first glance of Touran Backpack Hostel, I thought it might be an expensive hotel, because its style is quite unique, reminds you those dynasties long time ago, very impressive. But then I push the door and went in, it turned out that this was really the hotel I booked online for only 35 yuan per night.

The receptionists are very kind and pretty pretty, :-). They showed me the room, a 8-beds mixed room, clean and tide, I felt it quite worth the money, though the sheet felt a little bit damp. Of course you shouldn’t expect the room which costs only 35 yuan per night would be luxurious decorated and served you as a king/queen. They have two little cats and a big dog, they named the two kittens “crazy” and “dumb”, for one is rather energetic and the other is quite timid. I like the “dumb” more, because it’s so weak, always put itself on the recharge to keep warm, that rouses my sense of protection. You can see it below:

And one thing you may not believe, the dog would feed the kittens. I don’t think it actually feeding them, but by doing so it provides the sense of security to the kittens, I’ll give you another clip of video below:

I met a lot of people there, one American was doing business here, his business is related to architecture of Chinese garden art. He lived in the hotel for more than one month, the staff members were all very familiar with him. Though some of the staff members are very poor at English, but they still talked to the man. I found they all focused on their own topic, they cannot form an efficient communication, though they talked with each other with the eye contact. That’s so interesting, I never thought such communication could possibly happen, but if you don’t afraid to share your own story, even your interlocutor cannot totally understand you, you two could have some conversations.

I also met a guy who would run the full marathon, he came from Xiamen and worked for a coffee bar. This is the first man who runs a full marathon that I meet in person. He can finish a semi-marathon in about 1.5 hour, a record I suppose I can never hit. He looked thin and not very strong, like a student, quiet and very polite. All in all, he’s not like an athlete, how come could he finish a marathon? We talked casually for a long time, then he wish me good luck and I said so to him too, after that he went up stairs to sleep at about 21:00, because tomorrow would be a tough day.

I acknowledged my roommates when I was ready to go to bed. And Three of us would run the next day. One of us didn’t even get the qualification, but he would run anyway. Then a girl told him that she got a number of semi-marathon for someone, but for some reason this number wouldn’t be used the next day, so she was willingly to give the number to him for free. The only thing the girl wants is that she need the certificate of Hangzhou marathon, with that certificate she will take part in the next marathon more easily.

The next day, the three of us got up early, we tried to take the bus to get to Huanglong stadium,the start place of Hangzhou marathon, but waited for 20mins in vain. So we four (the fourth guy is the one I mentioned above who would take a full marathon) took a taxi there, then we went apart.

  • 2013 HANGZHOU MARATHON

The AQI in Hangzhou that day was horrible, so I decided to put on my 3M respirator, that would make the long run more uncomfortable, but I cannot figure out a better way to keep the balance between finishing the game and being kind to my health. It rained the last night, and the first 1km was a little slippery, I kept my pace in a low speed. When you run with so many people, you’ll certainly be motivated, but I told myself don’t be too excited, it’s not the speed but finish line that I wanted. 5km is easy for me, I can both jogging and viewing the beautiful scenes of Xihu, actually that’s part of the reasons why I come all the way here to run. At about 10km we encounter a tunnel, I heard this marathon is on a plain road all the way, so I was afraid that it will be difficult to run up to the slope. Luckily, it’s only a down hill slope. When I hit 16km, I began to feel tired, and then one post held by a girl impress me, “It’s not a jogging, it’s life.” (这不是跑步,这是人生). I didn’t’ try to get any water this time, and because of the respirator it was hard for me to get the fresh air, I felt a bit thirsty and cannot keep my breath steadily. What even worse was wait ahead, three or four tunnels, both up and down, I can tell that when I run up to the slope, my pace was almost as fast as walking, and when finally I set my feet on the plain road, I had an impulse to stop immediately and take a rest, but I knew by doing so, the game would be more difficult, so I kept jogging with the help of my strong will. The last 3km was the toughest, especially you saw some people was charging, but even your brain issued the order you hadn’t the strength to carry it. The finish line is what I want to complain about, because I didn’t see it! The road near the final was jammed, I had to stop, I didn’t even know when my recorder was recorded. The final part was the most wonderful part I believe all the runners dreamed about, so you just should keep it in mind and don’t ever mess it up.

About my respirator, I heard many people who stand on the sideways talked about it:

–“Oh, he took the standard equipment from Beijing.”

–“No, I’m not, I’m just a guy who care about my own health.”

–“You see, the guy with the respirator!”

–“Yeah, it’s strange, I should admit it.”

–“It’s a breathing machine, to provide oxygen.”

–“Thousands no! You totally misunderstand it. It’s a particle respirator, it’s actually prevent me from getting more oxygen! I’m f**king want a breathing machine now!”

When I finished my game, I went to print my record. What I want to say is the girl who sorted the participants’ number paper in another line different from mine was a quite pretty girl, I kinda had the thought to go to that line, and to exchange some words with her. But that was a long queue,  I thought it through and finally gave it up. I didn’t take my phone with me, so don’t blame on me for not posting a photo here.

When I waited there to print my recorder, some people handed out leaflets of 2014 Yangzhou marathon. I think it’s a good way for me to travel around the country and meanwhile to take part in the marathons. So I made up my mind instantly that I’ll go there.

There was something to complain about the Hangzhou marathon, the 2/3G network at the destination was terrible, maybe it was because so many people were using it or maybe the network sucks at the first place. I cannot use my Google Map, thus I cannot find my way to the hotel, I can only randomly take a bus to get away from the place and got my app work, only after that I can return my hotel.

I made a mistake this time, I didn’t cut my feet nails. I don’t think it would be a problem, but it is… When in the process of running I can tell that one of my toes hurt, I just put it aside, but when I back home I find its bleeding…

From blog photos
  • WALKING AROUND THE LAKE OF XIHU

When I left my hotel it was only 15:30, and my train is 19:14, thus I decided to walk to the train station. And on my way I would pass Xihu. I like Hangzhou very much, for the beautiful scenes of the city, especially the lake of Xihu. Every time I walk around it, I feel relax and… though it sound ridiculous…I feel the inner peace. Because I walk on my feet, whenever I found some place attracted me, I can simply draw myself near the scene and take a close look about it. There were so many famous scenes I passed by, but I don’t know their officially English names, so I’ll not list them here, but I think I am ready to pay a second or third visit of these places.

From blog photos
From blog photos

Farewell, Hangzhou, you left me a wonderful memory this time and I’ll cherish it for my lifetime.

Farewell, Google Reader!

I’ve never felt so sorry for a web service be offline. I love Google Reader! It the first and very reason why I loved Google so much. Reader broaden my horizon when I was a naive young student. I never imagine that I could read the useful articles without wasting time to open the original websites and dealing with the harasses of the ads. With Google Reader, I can acquire information which I need more rapidly and focus on the subject. Though I don’t regard it as a good habit, if I didn’t open Google Reader someday, I would feel stressed. For me Google Reader is both my friend and teacher, now if he has to be gone, all I could and wish to do give him a big hug and embed the memories which he has brought to me in my heart.

You will be missed, I promise.

From Drop Box

p.s.1: Some other words for Google. Though I know they have the right and their reasons to shut down their own services, this decision has definitely hurt the users who usually the loyalest to Google. I still cannot agree that this was or will be a wise decision.

p.s.2: The only services that won’t fail us are the ones build by our hands from the scratch, so I would try this project, and I suggest if anyone who has happened to read this post to try project like this too.

Jogging in my way

A very inspiring post has just impressed me. I cannot help thinking of myself, my own experience about jogging.

When I was a little boy in junior high school, I quite regarded myself as a born runner, a natural. The memory of my first 1k still serves me vividly. I ran rather causally, not expected to sweat my cloth, so I was almost the last one in the group. And in the final lap, my teacher yelled at me for my poor performance. I was not so happy about that, so I tried my best to catch up the team, and it turned out that I was the top 3 to finished the long run. When I gave my teacher a wick smile, I felt I made a wonderful revenge. And my confidence about my running ability was built ever since.

But at that age I didn’t realize that a gift without practice is doomed to be wasted. When I entered senior high school, I boldly took part in a 1.5k match and encountered a miserable failure. I was downcast and didn’t want to touch the game again. Like a self-fulfill prophecy, I did worse and worse in running. After I graduated from college, I didn’t know whether I could finish 1k without both of my hands touch the ground and opened my mouth widely struggling for fresh air. That was the totally dark medieval of my running experience.

Not until I played a basketball game with some young students about 3 or 4 years ago, did I realize that I have to make a change. In that game, I cannot keep pace with other players for merely five minutes, I didn’t have speed, I didn’t have staying power, I am like an idiot wandering the playground doing nothing but idling around. I don’t like myself to be that kind of person.

So I started jogging. At that time, I didn’t check the basic knowledge about jogging, I just started. I suppose that was good. There’s no better tutorial than a true running heart. At first, it was hard to finish the 1k, but I sustained. Day by day, with the hope to bring my strength back, I can run 5k steadily. But after that and without any special reason, I cease jogging about one year later. Maybe I felt tired, maybe I thought I’ve reached my goal.

A blank period of my jogging life has followed since then.

One and half year ago I began jogging again. My intention was to form a habit, I never cultivate a habit spontaneously. And if a habit is good for me, why cannot I force my brain to attain that? Anyway, I am the master of my brain, not vice versa. This time I wanted to be a little bit professional, so I surfed the internet to get some information about jogging equipment and knowledge. And I knew if I want to keep healthy and jogging for the rest of my life, I must protect my knees well which means a pair of good shoes cannot be ignored. But I rather worried that I would fall into the same routine, jogging for a while and quit again. For that  reason I didn’t buy myself a pair of shoes at first, I told myself that that would be a present if I could sustain for half a year. It was not that easy, I tried really hard to again jogging steadily for 5k per day, I changed  the route for 2 or 3 times in case I bored myself.

Half year finally passed, I bought myself a pair of mizuno rider 14 and a pair of asics cumulus 13, and usually I ran with the former. Summer quickly followed after I bought my shoes, I did hesitate whether go out under the torrid sun, but to make jogging as a routine, I forced myself to run on these hot miserable days. Sweat is awesome liquid, it really a delight time when I finished jogging, went home and took a bath. After suffering from those joyful pain, every time I had the slightest idea to quit jogging for one single day, I would chide myself, if you could sustain such pain, what else could stop you from jogging?

When the time went by, I jogging for longer and longer time, for most of the time I ran 8.4k in 45 min, the average speed fell between 10-11km/h. In September, I try to run my first 20km. Though I failed, I still glad to be acknowledged that my limitation has reached 15km. At that time, I seriously thought about the possibility to finish a marathon in the future. I hope I could reach that goal in a year. (In retrospect I shouldn’t regard a marathon as such an easy task, I definitely cannot do it in a year. But anyway, I am still working on it, and I am quite sure I could do it in the near future.) Every two weeks, I would try my 20km on weekend, I cannot finish it in the following two months, but without doubt, I was making progress.

In December, I took part in the Shanghai marathon as a semi-marathon runner. It was very impressive, I’ve never jogging with so many people surround me. And jogging with so many people I seemed to drain strength from them. I surpassed those runners one by one, those experience like rewards, they encouraged me to run ever faster. I finished my race without a stop, that was beyond my calculation, as you already know, in common days I never finished a 20km. When I pass the final line, I kinda felt I am refreshed, transcended, it was…terrific, even better than sex.

After that marathon I kept jogging as usual, but something unexpected has happened. Since then I got myself hurt several times, sometimes it was the ankle, sometimes it was the knee. Usually it took me one or two weeks to reappearance to the road where I often jogging. I suppose that because I was to eager to finish a marathon in a short time and jogging for too long time. As the old saying, “more haste, less speed”, I decided to slow my pace. The most important thing is keep jogging, if you jogging slowly, it’s OK; if you jogging for a short distance, it’s also OK. Don’t to pushy to yourself, listen to your body. Now I jogging 7km every day, if I can keep jogging for 5 days and my feet feel absolutely comfortable, then I add 0.8km, no more, no less. There’s no need to rush, I can see I’m making progress continually and I am quite happy about that.

If I can run a marathon someday, I’d very glad to come back here and share my experience. Hope that day will come soon~

From Drop Box

p.s: I have heard some people say, the most noticeable feature of the amateur is that their equipments are very professional. It sounded like a joke, but I suppose it’s quite true. No equipment can improve your performance better than get out immediately and jogging for sometime. If you cannot keep jogging, there’s no difference between throw you money to the garbage and buy any kind of equipments.

No title

Human body and mind are the most incredible things that we can hardly understand in our lifetime, yet the majority of us don’t have the slightest idea how to use them wisely. You know they’re like computers, full of potential to do many amazing things. While in reality, they idle away in most of the time waiting for the stupid human beings to enter some simple commands and instructions. You can use the computer to shoot rocket into the space or play mine. Though entertainments are the basic need of human, we just enjoy it way too often.

We do make things, we create the industry era. But compare to our body and mind, do you dare to think these steel craps can be superior to them? We cannot build a single cell, not to mention the complicate blood circular system or respiration system. We can only cultivate cell, not build it. To build it, I mean build it from scratch, like we build a automobile. Before we could achieve that, we should keep awing to the nature, it is much more powerful than which we can imagine of. And what pathetic is, we hold these magic parts which are the nature’s masterpieces,  but many of us don’t even realize it. We take it for granted, that we can look and see, walk and run, and never feel content from these. That’s just not right, these though seems nature abilities, to be born with, are actually beyond our capacity to acquire from our own hands.

What’s my opinion? Use your body and mind extensively, they’re gifts for you. If you don’t use them as much as you can, you simply waste them. Beside, always be gratitude for the God or someone we don’t know whom who give these precious presents for you.