spinning away jet-lag

Maybe a really difficult spin class wasn’t the smartest way to deal with jet-lag (and a 3am wake-up) but I’m none the worse for it and my son loved being back at the Y childcare.  I realized a few days ago that I’ve strayed far from my initial purpose of sharing specific workouts so here’s a good one, thanks to the Monday morning Presidio YMCA spin instructor:

The class was taught based on aerobic (60% HR), anaerobic threshold (75% HR) and anaerobic can’t sustain effort (90% HR).  I didn’t have a HR monitor but our instructor used RPMs to help us gage effort and told us that if we were able to spin with our mouths closed in the top two effort levels, we weren’t working hard enough.

the workout:  1 hr spin class, 20.8 miles, 847 calories

5 min warm up then drop wheel back to 0 resistance and add 3 turns to begin workout

3 x 1:00 intervals-  :30 @ 75 RPM, resistance up half turn :30 @ 85 RPM

1 min recovery

large pyramid: resistance at 3 1/2 turns

6 min aerobic, alternating seated & standing, 70-75 RPM

3 min anaerobic threshold, seated, 85-90 RPM

1 min anaerobic all out, as hard as you can go

1 min recovery

1 min anaerobic all out, as hard as you can go

3 min anaerobic threshold, seated, 85-90 RPM

6 min aerobic, alternating seated & standing, 70-75 RPM

2 min recovery

small pyramid: repeat above with 2min, 2 min, 1 min etc

flat road w/ headwind: no idea what we did- guess I’m tired

short effort uphill intervals:  3 X :15 aerobic (75 RPM), 1/2 -1 turn higher resistance :15 all out, :30 RI

last push uphill: resistance to 4-5 turns, 1 min anaerobic (85 RPM)

5 min cool down then stretching 



The “rule” here in hummus restaurants is that you’re supposed to eat your entire bowl of hummus using just one pita. My problem is that when the basket in front of me is full of delicious warm pitas I can’t possibly eat just one. I can feel my waistband expanding and I’ve only been here for 10 days. What’s a girl to do? Run, run, and run some more. And throw in a swim. And bike to class. Sounds like tons of exercise when I write it but I’m not going long distances or moving particularly fast so I am still out-eating my exercise. Good thing I’m only here a couple more weeks!

This morning I actually ran with my husband for the first time in forever. He was busy hacking portals (if you use a Nexus phone you might know what I’m talking about) and I was busy yelling at him for constantly taking his phone out. Despite that, we thoroughly enjoyed the time together and our run was the perfect start to the day!

On Friday (my birthday!) I treated myself to a swim at Gordon pool. I’m somewhat obsessed by this gorgeous unheated 50 meter salt water pool with deck views of the Mediterranean. I swam next to a team of speedo-clad men. The ones you actually want to see in speedos. I managed to survive a kilometer then exited the pool freezing (I forgot it’s bring-your-own-towel) and joined my husband at the marina cafe for a hot chocolate.

the workouts: 1 km swim, 3.7 mile run


new routine


Jet-lag is subsiding and we all slept until 6am when the garbage trucks woke us this morning. My philosophy is, if I have to be up at that hour I might as well start the day with a little exercise followed by a tasty breakfast. When renting a crib I’d inquired about a running stroller and the guy actually said, “you mean for sport? We don’t have those here.” So my husband and I traded off running and chasing Baby A around the playground.

The dust cloud that has been sitting over Tel Aviv the past couple of days is finally clearing. Blue sky was beginning to peek through during my run and the temperature was perfect. My legs felt heavy even though I’ve biked short distances each day and also ran two days ago. My focus for the past five weeks has been solely on violin and audition prep, so although I’ve been mentally and physically exhausted each night, the feeling was different from my usual training regime. I’m excited to get into a routine of regular runs along the namal and through Ha Yarkon Park, biking to hebrew lessons and swimming at Gordon pool!

For breakfast we tried a cafe which had attracted me with tempting aromas during my run. It was the most delicious meal I’ve eaten since our arrival last Thursday- and I love the food here! In the middle of breakfast I got a call that my placement exam at the Ulpan had been moved up an hour so I finished quickly and raced to the nearest Green Bike station. I can pick up a bike wherever I am and drop it off wherever I’m going. It’s a brilliant system and beside the severe lack of bike lanes & abundance of scary drivers, it’s the easiest way to get around here.

The picture below is from my ride to the audition. I quite enjoyed looking stylish and commuting by bike like at home ;)


the workout: 2.86 miles, 9:38 min/mi, 267 calories

I love this first resolution from unofficial Goldman Sachs guide to New Years Resolutions but I’m not about to follow it.

1. Take a vow of silence. Join CrossFit. Do P90X. Detox in January. Become a vegan. Sell your TV.  Train for a marathon. Start the Paleo diet. Go for any or all of these, but please shut the f–k up about it.

“No one would run a marathon if they had to sign a confidentiality agreement first.”


It may be true that if I were sworn to silence before running a marathon I might not bother running it at all.  At the same time, I actually do do these things for myself.  I like to get faster and stronger and fitter and healthier and all those other cliches.  These are
very real results.  I’m mostly pleased when I look in the mirror and I’ve got another race time from this morning to prove that I’m getting faster.  I was only a few seconds away from a new 5K PR, and would have nailed it if I hadn’t arrived at the last minute and started at the back of the pack.  The only real goal of the morning was to be finished in time to do a baby pass-off before my husband began his 15K.  Go Honey!  The other goal of the morning was to come home and eat fresh, warm cinnamon rolls…  I indulged in two since I gave my chocolate to the kid.

I’m feeling that full-body soreness which occurs after several great workouts.  Now that’s what I call a good week.  It’s the simple things in life…  

I lived with one of my sisters for several years in Cleveland and New York City before moving to San Francisco on my own.  One of the things I miss most is no longer having an insta- workout buddy.  We did everything together, from early morning swims to killer anaerobic fitness classes, which left us temporarily incapacitated.  These days, despite the miles between us, we still manage a fair amount of running and racing together, but I’m always thrilled to find new partners in crime.

Most frequently I do a swim trade with a friend who also has a toddler.  Although we’re not in the pool together since one of us has to watch the kids, it’s still a set time to get to there.  (And anybody who has ever tried to leave the house with toddler in tow knows that giving oneself a goal time of arrival is quite important.)  I’m weirdly self-motivated in the ways of workout, but the swim trade means free childcare and encourages a more organized use of time.  This morning when I started swimming my arms were instantly tired so I kept returning my focus to technique and survived a quick half mile.

the workout: 900 yds: 100 free, 100 alt back, breast, back, breast, 100 free,  3X, RI:30, each final freestyle quicker than the previous so the final is full out sprint

I suspect my arms are tired from yesterday’s run.  A friend drove me home from work, mentioning how he’d planned to run after rehearsal but had just polished off a huge piece of pecan pie a la mode.  I’d briefly entertained the idea of running with Baby A to complete a few errands.  Half hour later we three were running from the dry cleaner to the bow rehair guy and then into the park.  We hit the trails, my bow securely in it’s case attached to the stroller underside.  Baby A bounced around humming as he zoned out.  We stopped for RO to do some pull-ups then it was my turn.  I managed only one alone then four more assisted.  Need to work on that.  We came out near the track and started back up the dirt.  Pushing 60 lbs of combined kid and stroller up the trail was no easy task but my competitive side took over and I wasn’t about to be shown up by RO.  As we both gasped for breath, we confirmed that neither of us would be running at top speed up a hill if the other wasn’t doing the same.  And that right there is why I love running with a friend!  Our run concluded at the playground, where I stretched and Baby A did his laps between steps and slides. 

the workout:  4.47 miles, mostly dirt, 10:41 min/mi ave including walk breaks, 428 kCal, 5 pull-ups 

getting those abs

While practicing violin is certainly not going to get me abs like this, I appreciate that I might be burning some calories while learning notes.  Gotta love multi-tasking.

I just finished washing dishes, which is apparently an activity that utilizes abdominal muscles.  Who knew?  I am aware of every little muscle in my body today after my introduction to Pop Physique yesterday.  I may not end up with those abs from playing violin, but this class is sure to give results.  The abdominal exercises were the only sequence that I successfully completed without resting (several times) in the middle and not surprisingly, my abs are the sorest part of me. Pop Physique is another barre-based class but the website looks more like an American Apparel underwear add.  The website also specifies “Even though our promotional images feature super hot shorts and tiny leotards that zip…we recommend long slim exercise pants that cover your knees and fitted tanks or t-shirts.”

Before the holidays I was on a roll  getting back into cycling shape.  Then I stopped riding my bike and stopped attending spin classes.  Back to square one.  I’ve got a babysitter booked for upcoming Wednesday rides but today I did a spin at the gym.  A quick web search found a couple 30 minute classes from my favorite YouTube fitness channel, eFit30.  The highlight of today’s workout was during my first climb when the instructor told me in her charming Australian accent “your butt should flirt with the nose of the seat”.  I wonder if that was scripted or if she threw it in because she was bored?

I love off-season because I have the chance to fall into a great workout routine!  During the past two weeks I’ve made good use of the gym daycare and hired a sitter on Wednesdays so I can ride outside with a friend.   She’s way faster than me but is encouraging me to be more efficient with my energy output and I’m moving faster!  In a couple of days we will tackle Paradise Loop, which is almost 40 miles and used to be my regular ride.  The last time I did Paradise was before I was pregnant- and I never completed it in 3 hours, which will be our goal this week.  Wish me luck…

Happily, my newfound speed is translating into other workouts also.  I’m no longer doing lazy swims just to say I got in the IMG_0236water, but I’m working on 100 and 200 yd splits, making each faster than the previous.  I’ve added a second spin class into my week and am doing my best to follow all given instructions for RPMs and watts on the spin bike computer.  Finally,I’m back to running again.  I did a short loop around the Presidio this morning, choosing music with a quick beat to inspire quick foot speed.  I recommend 2Pac and Cypress Hill if you’re into that stuff.  My foot has been relatively pain free for over a week, since my manual therapist released my left ankle joint.  I’ve got renewed flexibility, which felt weird even when walking the first couple of days, and I’m consciously working to keep the joint from compressing again.  My physical therapist showed me several balance exercises to stabilize and strengthen all the little muscles in my foot.  My favorite is standing on one foot on an upside down Bosu ball and asking my husband to toss me a medicine ball.  He throws it at me, not to me which makes the exercise somewhat tricker (and more entertaining).

Some days I’m still pressed for time so I’ve become more creative with my multitasking.  After this week’s ride, I dove right into violin practicing, doing calf stretches with my scales and balancing over a Beethoven Trio.  Ironically, practicing on one foot helped me feel more grounded and be more expressive in my playing.

We leave town soon so my goal for this holiday season is to gracefully let go of my current routine and embrace another, enjoying  swims and runs with my family in a warmer climate.  Hawaii…. here I come!!

weekly totals:  1900 yds swimming, 48 miles biking, 4.3 miles running


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