For many years I have been an avid runner spending most of my weekends either participating in local even marathons or running for practice. I am a member of a local running club and it not only keeps me fit and healthy but it also has a great social atmosphere. Check out the picture below to see me and a couple of my regular running partners.
I grew up in southern England (Sussex to be exact) and as a family we spent a lot of time working on our fitness. Growing up there was awesome as the Southern region is basically one massive country area with so many different places to run you could never ever get bored! The only downside was the weather, this made it unpleasant to run throughout winter and there are patches of the year when you just can’t get outdoors at all. Our whole family was into walking and running when I was small and that was something special I will never forget, there are not too many families that enjoy the same activities and can partake together.
As I got older I married a business who traveled a lot and I had the opportunity to travel throughout the world running in many different countries and regions. I guess I have been blessed in that regard as not many people I know get the opportunity to see different places and cultures. One of my favorite places to go is Cape Town where the weather is mostly perfect for running during the year and there are so many trails and mountains with the most spectacular views. I really hope one day our family might be able to move there for around 6 months of the year! The winter can be a bit windy with rain but compared to the UK it is still fine to get out and about the whole year around.
I have had some mixed success in with my best finish around 78th in the London Marathon. That was quite some years ago and I had always hoped to beat it but as I get older the chances are less and less. This one of the problems of life, getting older as you see your dreams slowly slipping away! I do plan to compete but I guess you just have to set more realistic goals as time goes on. Often you find there are special categories in marathons for different age groups which does help to keep it competitive.
One of the best experiences of my life was to get the opportunity to run the full length of the great wall of China, it’s not something many people get a chance to do, but, it has to be the highlight of all the places I have experienced. The sheer scale of it is just so impressive but you have to feel sorry for the poor slaves who worked on it all those years ago! Even if you are not a seasoned runner I would rate this as one of the most interesting places in the world to visit!
I plan for this blog to showcase some of the events I take part in as well as some interesting pics from around the world of the places we visit.
I often wonder how I find myself traveling into all these wonderful place, I must be one of the luckiest people around I guess as I don’t have to work and I also get plenty of time to pursue my hobbies. As you know, if you have read my blog, I really do enjoy running and spending time away from the UK gives me the opportunity to keep in shape and explore different cities around the world on foot. If you are a tourist, or a traveler, then you will probably love to check out new places and see some of the culture of different people living throughout the world. If that is you then I would like to make a recommendation – trying visiting a new city either by walking, running or cycling and you will amazed at the extra feel and detail you will get to enjoy! For some reason you miss so much when using a tour bus or other modes of transport, just make sure you take precautions and you know your route before you set off. It is obviously important that you don’t find yourself stuck in a bad area in a strange city which could result in a dangerous situation.
As I said previously, I am currently spending two months in Jakarta, Indonesia and I am having a really good time. To give you an idea of what the city looks like check out the video below.
One of the beneficial reasons for taking your holiday here is the relatively low cost of living. Compared to the US it is dirt cheap to live and eat so you can take some time here in the sun and it won’t cost you an arm or a leg. Eating is also very cheap, similar to Thailand, so you can make the most of your holiday sampling various local foods. Transport is also cheap and if you want to keep costs down then you can easily hire a motorbike for less than a 10 dollars per day.
As with any country like this you will have to be a little bit careful – ensure you know where you are going when spending time in the city as there are areas to avoid. There have been the usual problems with muggings but the biggest is kidnapping for ransoms, especially for westerners. I ensure that I stay within the main city and if I want to explore further then I would always go in a group.
On the health side my ankle is finally starting to show some sign of improvement so I am happy to say that although I cannot enter serious competitions I am starting to get out and about. It has been a long hard road to recover and although I have really enjoyed some down time and some serious gaming I am starting to get cabin fever and I really need to spend some time outdoors. I am hoping that by early next year my ankle will be strong to try out some marathons and other competitive events.
I will try and squeeze in another update before the end of the year and post some pictures from around this amazing and diverse city.
It has been a little while since I updated but I am glad to say I am slowly on the mend and feeling a lot better. I have been making some changes around the house and invested in a new computer gaming desk so I can play some games to help pass the time (you can only watch so much TV!) and keep my brain active. I haven’t really played any games for quite some time and I have found that it is actually a lot of fun and something I may keep on doing! I bought myself the desk you can see here which matches up with the general theme of the house while having a nice and modern look.
Deciding which desk to buy can be a nightmare as there are hundreds of models to choose from but I must say I am very happy with my final decision. If you are every in the market for a new desk then my advice would be to stay away from a glass top as those always look dirty and covered with finger prints! My initial plan was to work out my running timetable for 2015 and my existing desk was just too small – I think I made a great decision and for the low cost it was well worth it.
I am glad to say my ankle is finally getting a little bit better and I am hoping I can get back to my running schedule as soon as possible. I know with any sport that is taken seriously it is critical to keep at it or you lose your edge. I am fairly certain my fitness levels will have made a significant drop and I will have to work really hard to get back on top of things.
I have been spending time playing World of Warcraft and although I am not really very good at it I must confess I am thoroughly enjoying it! I never thought gaming would captivate me in that way and I may just end up sticking with it even when I am totally recovered!
After finishing up in KL our next destination was Durban, South Africa. We have been here before a couple of times but it is a country I have mixed feelings about. While the weather is superb and the scenery is amazing (especially the game parks) it has become a very dangerous part of the world. I actually have a few friends who live in Durban and so I know a lot about the place even without spending that much time here. One of my friends, Gordon De Beer, runs a small law firm in Hillcrest and it is always great to spend some time with them. Gordon specializes in Commercial Law, Property Law, Divorce and solving disputes which keeps him very busy! You can visit his website through the links I have posted if you live in the area and need any legal advice.
During my first trip around 20 years ago the country was much safer. Now, I do not want to get into a whole debate about the white versus black government but since they have taken over the crime has literally gone through the roof. As with most African countries the level of greed and corruption at government levels is staggering. I find this such a shame as the country really could be one of the top destinations for holiday makers in the world. The currency is weak right now making it a really affordable holiday for people in Europe and the states. I do not think they have any idea how much they are losing out on due to high crime rates. This is especially sad for a country that has such high unemployment and needs to take advantage of every opportunity out there.
In a way my damaged ankle is not really getting in the way as I will generally not run alone in SA due to the reasons mentioned above. Sometimes I will take myself off to the beach front (where you will find lots of other runners on the weekends) as they have a 20 kilometer paved section that runs from one end of Durban (near the port) to the other. This tends to be full of families out walking, running and spending time on their cycles so you don’t feel too intimidated – there are plenty of golfers around as well if you enjoy playing or working on your swing in your free time. You also get to enjoy the view, fresh air and see some of the city. We are staying about 30 minutes by car outside of the city in the suburbs so it does require the morning to get down there for a decent run. Check out this quick video to see what it looks like!
I guess I will just take it easy while I am here – there are a couple of great shopping centers close by which are comparative to any elsewhere in the world and eating out is fairly cheap in global standards. The food here is actually excellent and there are lots of great restaurants to try out.
Whenever we make it out here I do try and get up to Sun City. This is one of the best destinations in Africa to spend some time at as it has everything you need in one place. I can also try and get a bit of exercise while I am there as the complex is huge and it has plenty of security. You can spend time at the pools, playing golf , relaxing and you have the Pilansberg game reserve right next door which features the big 5. The place has almost everything you could ever wish for in a holiday. The only negative is that it is winter over here at the moment so it can get really cold at night – also, the pools are just a little bit too cold to enjoy but it is still the best place to eat, drink and generally relax.
I anticipate will be here for another couple of months and then we will be heading off to the UK for the rest of the Summer.
This month saw us spending around a month in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia as my husband has a small project there to complete. I cannot remember if I mentioned it before but he works in the telecoms business and is directly involved with setting up call centers for the banking industry. His career has afforded us the opportunity to travel so much and I am very lucky I get the opportunity to travel along with him.
This is not my favorite part of the world as it is a Muslim country and I often find the lack of respect for women slightly disturbing. Fortunately, KL is not that bad when (certainly not like Dubai where I would never go for any reason) and in general I get left alone. Due to their culture I still feel a little bit vulnerable and so I am extra careful about where and when I go running. Generally, it is perfectly safe during the day but I make sure I am back at my apartment long before it starts to get dark. This is a photo I took the other day of the twin towers, there is actually a shopping center underneath all that lot – well worth a visit if you every get the chance to visit.
So, of all the places in the world for this to happen, I badly sprained my ankle courtesy of a loose stone in the pavement. I was casually running and as my foot hit the stone I lost balance and ended up sort of doing the splits with all my weight on the one leg – so much for my running practice as I am now confined to my room for at least a couple of weeks.
I decided this would be a good opportunity to totally relax and get some rest – my training schedule has been rather hectic recently and it probably won’t do me any harm! As I write this I am sipping a nice glass of chardonnay from our wine fridge and I thought I would update my blog with a quick post – (yes, they do allow alcohol in KL). I like nothing better than a decent glass of wine but I really don’t want to drink much alcohol when I am in full training mode as it does tend to make me lazy.
I am also going to do some shopping as well as a bit of touring around the city. The shopping is actually pretty cool here as their is a Chinese market down the road – most of the stuff is ripped off but sometimes you find some real bargins – and the place is busy and full of life. I was quite surprised to see that the city is still alive late at night which is the best time to hit the market and find something to eat.
Well, that’s it for this update, I am going to enjoy my glass of wine and watch some TV.