I had a coffee discussion with Mr Zhang last Saturday morning and I ran through with him some of my current projects.
As usual, I am to get a eager listening ear from him, but more importantly I can see the difference in how different we think through issues. Zhang is able to listen and immediate cut through the gist of the matter to identify what is key and what are not. On the other hand, I am not able to do this. Zhang’s background in Mathematics and statistics contribute to his ability look at issues very objectively and his management skills and experiences further helped him in his judgement and decisions.
For me, I have always attribute my weakness to not able to think through ideas widely, deeply and clearly enough. I think I hate the entire thinking process itself and maybe due to my nature, prefer to get things moving and done and leave thinking to later or to someone else.
This has got to change.
I love and hate this evening light. When I was in elementary and secondary schools, this light means I have so much homework and not enough time, or there is a test tomorrow and I have not covered enough. Now, I love the tranquility and warmth this light gives me. This is my 15 minutes of fear and comfort.
Completed 15km on thread mill in gym in 93min. Running on thread mill is relatively more difficult than on the road outdoor for some unknown reasons. Maybe it is the lack of wind, or the different muscles used. I stopped to do walking and slow jogging 3 times to recover. I do not feel tired but just too bored to do that same motion over and over.
I was sitting in a cab when another car from my right side was turning right and cutting into our lane abruptly. In normal circumstance, turning car must give way to cars moving straight.
The cab driver swore at this driver loudly and I was angered by this incident. The immediate thoughts that entered my mind are:
Beijing is full of reckless drivers
This is one inconsiderate driver
This driver must have paid his way to his driving license
However I momentarily stopped this though process and ask the question:
Am I stereotyping or over generalizing again?
Ran Shanghai outdoor for 15km. Pace unknown.
This is the first week of my planned serious training for HK100 and UTMF in Jan and Apr 2014 respectively. I hope that by penning down my training I am able to appreciate my plan, my effort and my achievement more, more important, I am able to appreciate following through.
Today is a about 5degC at 7 am and I ran the 15km loop along the bund. As I have not been running for more than 2 weeks, my legs are eager to restart some of the pounding and I started out pretty fast and at time reaching 4:45 without knowing more than a slightly heavier breathing.
At km7.5 where I am closer to the turn around, I felt psychologically tired and still managed to run despite being slower. however I restart running at comfortable and good pace until Km12.5 where I suffer from stomach ache. I staggered and jogged back home.
My legs are fine and I think about the Shanghai marathon this weekend. I planned for a 50km this weekend and I guess 42km will come from my Sunday race. I sort of decided to run slowly this weekend because I should treat this as my training run and not a race.
I watch a Chinese news report today regarding the retirement of academicians from both the Academy of Science and Academy of Social Sciences. The problem presented is that there is no legislated retirement for these academicians and several academicians who would like to retire find it difficult to obtain consent from their University or the Academy.
The title of an academician is a lifetime honor and such honor comes with added responsibilities over and above what they have already been doing. The average age of these academicians is over 70 years which means that most of the recent academicians are already in their 60s and the rest of the academicians lived a long life beyond their 70s. Many of the Professors retire at the age of 60. Such phenomena implies that the awarding of this title of academician is either accompanied by an assumption of an honorary retirement, or an expectation that they return from or postpone their retirement to contribute as long as they are capable.
The current status is probably more of the later.
Academicians are already well recognized professors who has achieved a lot in their respective fields and I believe that most enjoyed what they are doing. Therefore the issue of retirement only surface if they no longer enjoy what they are doing or have found something more interesting and fulfilling elsewhere. This might be the reason why this problem of retirement surfaced only recently despite the fact that such policies have been in place for so long. In the current world where many in China is questioning our own educational system, our research quality and integrity and the politics within the tertiary institutions. Faculty members are finding it difficult to appreciate what they are doing and some were disillusioned. My guess is that some academicians and professors do not agree with these university cultures and are looking elsewhere for comfort.
The application for academician status is a lifelong and tough pursuit for educators and researchers. It is a status symbol awarded to both the individual and the institutions and both will want to capitalize on this as much as possible. While some may retire into obscurity immediately after being awarded, many will want to do more from such honor to the benefit of oneself, institution and the society as a whole.
It is only when we are unwell physically that we are more aware of our body. When i am in pain, i tend to stay still more and then use such time to ’ listen ’ to the pain. The listening and focusing of such pain allow me to search internally for a solution to my distress and also hopefully it will ease a little.
I have been avoiding my running community these days. I am a member of the Snail Runner group whose members are mainly runners in Beijing. These are runners like me, who have been actively running marathons for a few years and are moderate paced runners who used to champion slow, long and happy running instead of aiming for speed and prizes. The community supported each other a lot in terms of helping in registering, accommodation and travel to events across China.
I benefited a lot from this group over the last couple of years and was happy to be in their companion especially when traveling to events. They are selfless lot and are most willing to help in any ways they can. I have also tried to blend in and offer my help as much as possible. But recently, I felt that I am more stressed in the group than I would like to, and I am contemplating of temporarily disappearing from this group.
There are a few reasons why I no longer feel comfortable.
1. Almost all of the runners are single. The lifestyle and time availability of a single is very much different from that of a married person. They can spend their free time training without family commitments. There is a founding member, Yu meng Meng who is in her mid 50s. She is very active and have the time as her son is already married.
2. They are living in Beijing. I have to go back to Shanghai during weekdays and this means that I could not join them in their activities during the weekends.
3. They are relentless in joining and participating in different marathons or ultra marathons. They registered and participated in almost all available marathons in China and encourage members to join in. At times, they can even run a marathon every weekend. For me, i am not willing to do more than 2 marathons a month because I value family time during weekends. I am already not seeing my family during weekdays, so weekends is almost sacred to me.
I felt an increasing misfit within the group because they were talking of training and running events which I would not be participating voluntarily or involuntarily. The competitiveness in me made me uneasy to hear them talking about how hard they trained, how they prepared for a race, and the upcoming events - most of which I am just an observer. I am not comfortable as i felt hopeless. I wanted to be more active but it seems that I am just drifting further away as family and work commitments keep piling up. I felt that I need to have time to relook at that my own running lifestyle and appreciate and enjoy the current lifestyle I have instead of feeling unhappy reading all the wechat messages from the community. I need to switch off from reading these messages and look at my own schedule and plan my running schedule and races based on what I am comfortable and happy with. I cannot let there incompatibility between their group and myself ruin life.
Besides the scheduling issue, there are also issues regarding ideology and peer pressure that cornered me to be very selective in the groups I will be attending in the future. The founding member of this group was no longer very active in this group because she has now moved on to promote other running ideologies like barefoot running, vegetarian running, and now maybe in the midst of promoting fasting running. In my opinion, everyone has a limit on what they can accept and long far they can take their running interest to. I am always a believer of running for the sake of benefiting oneself first and one is so free to adopt any running habit or preference. But I am starting to feel a sort of stress coming from the current group or such new groups that set an expectation on someone, and blindly brainwash the members on the benefit of such practices. E.g., I can never in mind wildest mind imagine there are benefits in prolonged fasting while training for marathon, or even running barefoot extensively during long distance running. But these evangelistic founding members naively touted all the benefits and let the members to brain wash each other through peer pressure. I do not approve of this.