Sunday, February 18, 2018


(Quick note: is banned in China as a result, the blogs I write here are "wired" in by a less than ideal method. I believe it went awry last night so I've reposted this in the belief the first one didn't "get out". If there are two copies or a blank in the previous post of the same name, many apologies.)

 I type this from a sofa sitting next to my 94 year old grandfather-in-law. I've mentioned him before on this blog and I must say it's one of the most special things about our return to be able to sit next to him, who I call A-Gung.

He made it through a very turbulent time with a Japanese invasion, civil war, the Cultural Revolution and modernization. He's pretty sharp too even at his age, still discussing and inquiring deeply, still having an active life raising the family's chickens. In his late 80s he had a fall but the fact he bounced back is a tribute to his good habits and general resilience.

He restricts his own diet, wakes early, tries new things (he took up coffee when I started bringing it and had been a coffee drinker ever since). He talks about every speck of news with an NZ tie-in. He's probably more aware than our whole student body...

I'm not sure how long my genes have me likely departing this mortal coil, but I've probably increased the predicted time of death in the last couple of years, running, quitting sugar and adopting a few random habits. I've been pleasantly surprised that my immune system has withstood a series of very stern tests in the last two years. In fact having only one day of sick leave in the last two years is a source of pride. In China I had periods of rather poor health.

One habit with a Chinese tie-in is my consumption of LSA. Though sounding like a drug, this poorly marketed product is just ground Linseed, Sunflower seeds and Almonds, which happens to have omega oils, minerals and protein. I add a tablespoon of it to any cereal I eat in the morning. Chinese people have many habits that influence their health for better or worse, but one of their more obvious habits is eating sunflower seeds. They buy them unhulled but learn the process of hulling them with their teeth at a young age. The whole seed goes in the mouth and only the shell comes out in a simple action. Any traveler on the trains or office reception areas will be familiar with the files if sunflower seed shells. It is certainly a nutritious snack.

Other positives are their preference of fruit, whole food habits and love of tea. Their elderly are also far more active than those in NZ. (There are of course negative habits that are generally held but let's not talk about those.)

On the fitness front, I'm glad to say I'm back running. After my worries after New Year, I had an MRI and X-ray on my knee. The result? No problem with bone or cartilage. Just a strained tendon. Phew! It all happened just days before leaving for China and I got the one piece of advice I needed to hear: Don't stop running! Niggles get so much in your head that sometimes you think it's the end. This problem almost had disappeared for a time last year despite my regular running. It's come back was in spite of my training too. It might have been caused by the level and intensity of the training but training was still the best way out. I've done two gentle runs in China, while doing daily exercise and my knee feels so much better for it. Tomorrow will be another run.

I've taken advantage of this lull by donating blood. I initially intended to donate in Auckland but got turned back until my MRI result came back. But that meant I'd be in China. So I donated in China instead and got a transport card for my contribution.

With that out of the way, I'll build up my running hopefully to run 10km+ on consecutive days. I have a half marathon 2 weeks after returning to NZ, and a marathon 6 weeks after that.

Running will be the way to burn off all the goose and chicken I've been eating and get me back down from the 68kg I'm now.

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