Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December is done

It's time to look back what I have done this month. I walked/jogged 20 mornings in total that was 51km. In November I walked/jogged for only 13 mornings of total 30km.

I have tried new route this month, back and forth from my place to a nearby school, with a distance of 3.6km.

I don't have a coach from what I have read the FAQ is always about what is better for you between jogging and brisk walking. From my own experience I agree with this article that walking fast is a lot stressful for the muscles due to the efficiency of your body for the same speed as jogging. Some said running/jogging, which is a high intensity workout, will burn mostly stored carbohydrates for fuel. Walking as low-intensity workout will burn fat. I really don't know what is correct as I don't see any change when standing on a bath room scale after 2 months.

If you like punching your calculator to reassure yourself that you are doing the right thing perhaps this reference could help. If you like to hear from the pros and researchers you could also read this.

I still don't have a clue as to what is best for me perhaps there isn't an absolute good-for-all solution. A more academic argument such as this suggests that if you are overweight or have a cardiovascular condition walking is better especially for those who aren't used to high intensity exercise because your body has to take few times more stress when running.

My conclusion from reading all these is that

  • if your doctor says you are fit to run (go for a treadmill test measure your heart rate ...etc), running will give you better satisfaction

  • if you aren't fit enough and are absolute beginners like me, try walking first then improve your speed to brisk walking

  • at more than 8kph (5mph) brisk walking is harder than running. So far I could walk at 6.4kph which I felt harder than jogging at low speed

  • keep good record of your speed, mileage done and heart rate by something like this so you'll know when to promote yourself to do something harder

  • listen carefully to complains from your leg muscles, joints and even heart

My plan for January will therefore be alternating between jogging and walking.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Somewhere in Time

This is a must see if you like old photos. You don't like old photos? Congratulations you are too young and you can skip this blog of mine!

This year I am lucky to have grabbed a desktop calendar with old photos donated by Hedda Morrison (1908 - 1991).

Let's look at Hong Kong 70 years ago when even your dad/mom were young kids.

Monday, December 22, 2008

What are your golf balls?

Friend of mine just forwarded me one of those circular emails, this one is meaningful requiring deep thoughts.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.

The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed..

'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else---the small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter.

Set your priorities.

The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented.

The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.'

The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

I do go out with friends once in a while but not for a couple of beers for me instead I take Coke or lemon water. I don't play golf at all so I started to learn jogging due to the findings from routine medical checkups. The philosophy behind an analogy like the above can be easily understood but the trouble is that when it comes to choosing your golf balls for life most people have a misconception that his mayonnaise jar is infinitely large and couldn't tell sand from golf ball.

There is however one dimension that the above analogy has omitted, i.e. time. The Jar doesn't last forever don't believe that you may have a second chance to replace the pebbles or sand with golf balls you like later on.

The ability to pick between golf balls, pebbles and sand depends largely on one's value system and life experience. If the above was really taught in philosophy class (we don't have this in our education system) students will still be putting the wrong stuff into their jar believing that they could always turn his/her jar upside down and start again.

How many times you could turn your life upside down and start again?

Friday, December 19, 2008

I could nearly run

In the loop I walk there is an uphill section. When I first started I reached the peak in 13 minutes. In the last 2 days I finished that section in less than 10.

I can only do brisk walk and may be I'll be able to jog for the second half of this steep uphill section later. My performance for the last one and a half month is plotted below.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

English is fun

The winter 2008-9 forecast on UK Met Office won the annual award of the Plain English Campaign, more on Telegraph UK. We do forecast at work for business so let me try

Quarterly forecasts indicate how slowly-varying large-scale economic climate influences make particular Quarterly conditions more likely than others. Random, unpredictable factors ('chaos') also partly determine year-to-year variations, and these will sometimes override large-scale influences. Such uncertainty makes a probabilistic format, as used here, advisable for Quarterly forecasts.

Changed a few words and this is ready to deploy.

I'll be fired certainly and would have to learn to be a freelance writer if I put the above in the remark of my forecast.

Isn't it enjoyable writing something like this, bad taste if you disapprove!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Work Life Balance

I attended HKQAA's Symposium 2008 yesterday. It was about Corporate Social Responsibility and the forthcoming ISO 26000 for CSR. There was also an interesting topic about a survey on Work-life balance in Hong Kong by Ms Shalini Mahtani of Community Business.

One of the findings is that biggest WLB challenges for men is the well being of wealth and that for women is leader's attitude. For me the finding for the women is very interesting.

This is quite the opposite to common sense. I know of many western bosses who are gentlemen and respect the needs of a women especially those working women with kids. I have not heard of a female boss who does the same on their female subordinates. Why, couldn't the female boss see the needs of a female who works for her?

I'm not a professional to analyze this. I could only apply an analogy, i.e. mom-in-law relationship with the wife. A mom-in-law should understand what it's like in managing the relationship with her husband's mother because she has served her time. Why is she still be harsh on the young generation instead of being understanding. The mom-in-law said ".... I endured the hardship when situations were a lot worse than what it's now, why couldn't you do what I'm expecting of you .... you are simply just not good enough for my son who deserves someone better like me ....".

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Paper money

I don't believe this myself I brought this book 25 years ago. It was $3.75 at today's exchange rate.

It was written by George J W Goodman. Why am I picking this book up again? Simple, while every nation in the World is cranking the money printing machine I need to know what will be happening to my wealth, which I don't have much, and to my boy who will certainly be suffering in years to come.


Monday, December 8, 2008

I'll be running

Now I got a pair of running shoes, I'll need to learn how to run.

May be another book like 'running for dummies'? [edited: this book does exist, it's here]

There are good web resources such as this, this, this, this and my recommendation for someone like me who isn't used to regular physical exercise for many years. Due to the constraints of time and location I'm sure most people won't be able to follow exactly what are recommended. I consider myself lucky because I have uphill, downhill, a flat section to either walk or run in my loop. My goal now would be doing the same for at least 6 months before I find a track suitable to try real running.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Peugeot to retire

It's going to be 10 years old in few weeks. It broke down at the top of the hill recently and had to be towed, it has served us well in the last ten years.

Looking back I have driven a lot of brands Mazda 626, Honda Civic, Saab 9000, Saab 9000 turbo, Saab Griffin, BMW, Toyota Corona, Peugeot, Honda HRV ..... etc. I was lucky enough as I didn't have to pay for most of these.


Before X'mas I'll be getting a replacement.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I need running shoes

I started jogging a bit the flat section of the loop, now I could do that in 3.5 minutes instead of 5.

I don't like shopping and shoe is probably the most difficult shopping item ever since I was a kid. I still have a few pairs of sport shoes which I seldom use may be they belong to the bin by now.

What I have been using is a just a cheap slip on which isn't meant for running. I'll need to shop for a pair of suitable shoes the coming weekend.