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don’t text and walk

I almost stepped in two fresh piles of doggy poo while walking as I checked my phone to determine which bus to take to the pool today. Why is it so difficult to clean up after one’s pet?!

I found my bus, then, thanks to directions from my cousin (given in Hebrew!), I found an indoor heated pool at Jimmy’s Health Club on the fourth floor of the enormous Dizengoff Center mall.

I figured out where to pay and how much (my 3rd Hebrew interaction of the day!) then found the changing room and stuffed myself into a hot pink maternity swimsuit. I felt like a big bright balloon. I’ve been wearing a bikini plus sun shirt for my outdoor swims but this seemed easier today. If you too are pregnant and want to look like a hot pink balloon gliding across the pool you can find the suit and my review here

My swim (in a narrow lane by myself) went extremely quickly but I found it annoying to switch directions every 20 meters instead of 50, like at Gordon Pool.

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I also really missed the saltwater and, surprisingly, sharing a lane with others who are constantly either in my way or trying to pass me. The warmer temperature, as compared to the cold saltwater, was a welcome change to me today but if I’d been moving faster than my pregnant paddle I would have been too warm.

If you’re in the area and want to find this pool, enter the Dizengoff Center near the huge guitars shop then take the glass elevator to the right up to the fourth floor. Follow the signs that look like this

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then pay in the office to the left. 70nis as of today. The bottom word, starting with the second letter, means pool.

If the lanes are full you should add your name to the waitlist on the dry erase board.

Overall, I recommend Gordon Pool over this one. It’s only slightly more expensive for a much more interesting experience!

morning yoga

I love mornings in Tel Aviv. After the early garbage trucks make their rounds, there is a short quiet period before the city wakes up. My boys were sleeping soundly this morning when my alarm went off so I tiptoed into the office and put down my yoga mat. I found the most wonderful prenatal yoga practice on YouTube and enjoy doing it every few days while I’m away from my regular class. It’s the best combination of static and movement I’ve found online, doesn’t cater to the annoying “you’re pregnant so you can’t do…” mentality and is completely appropriate for all stages of pregnancy. It’s taught by a beautiful pregnant woman beside a peaceful blue pool and it’s the perfect start or end to my day.

This morning as I was nearing the close of my practice, I heard a little voice yell, “Ima, are you in there?”. I opened the door and invited my fire truck pajama-clad two year old in for the final few minutes. He jumped onto my mat and joined me for deep breathing squats, a few standing poses and a final downward dog. He has perfected down dog with just his feet and head on the ground, arms flying in the air behind him. What fascinated him the most however was the woman on the screen doing yoga on top of the water. Try as I might, I couldn’t convince him she was next to the pool, not on top of it.

I asked him if he’d like to do shivasana with me and he obediently lay down on his back and closed his eyes. In less than 30 seconds he informed me we were all done so we sat up and did namaste ohmms. If you’ve never seen a two year old put his hands together, scrunch his eyes closed and chant ohmm, I highly recommend it. Tops my cuteness list for sure!

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25 week belly

I gave myself a serious pep-talk before plunging into the icy water today. A late afternoon haze already covered the sun and the wind was picking up. Today was my coldest swim yet but I knew after the initial shock I would enjoy it.

These days I often feel short of breath when I’m standing or laying down but when I’m actually moving, I feel great. I think the baby loves our swims also. The rocking motion must put him to sleep because I never feel movement when I’m in the water. I also suspect that my big belly, in combination with the salt water is making me more buoyant.

A few notable moments from my past swims:
1. Woman in tiny bikini, high heals & big headphones prances onto the pool deck. Puts her bag down then sashays to the edge of the pool and, butt toward lap lanes, shimmies in the sunlight. Men swimming are gulping for air & forgetting to swim.
2. I pass slow guy in front of me who refuses to let me pass at wall. He immediately sprints past me then pulls in front of me and resumes annoyingly slow pace. Sorta like the drivers here.
3. All the women in the locker room love to walk around naked, chatting with one another and on their phones. All (no matter age) wear sexy underthings.
4. Although I’m pregnant I’m still moving faster and swimming with better technique than most everyone around me. Bragging? Who, me?

the workout:
1 kilometer freestyle every time, no drills

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wiggle your ears

I’d never heard those words used as a cue in spin class before tonight but the moment I wiggled my ears I felt my jaw slacken and shoulders drop.  Try it, it works!

Today’s substitute spin instructor began class by informing us we were not going to push hard in the work intervals and the rest intervals would be true rest.  Sure, but what’s the point?  Rejuvenation!  In a country full of folks who live extravagantly through December then begin the new year with resolutions for cleaner living on January 1st, our spin instructor had decided to begin early and encouraged us to join her.

So for my final spin class of 2014, I took it easy.  Despite being mildly irritated by the need to sit almost upright to avoid knees bumping my growing belly, I spun 2/3 the distance of my usual Monday ride and still worked up a light sweat.  Our final working set was inspired by power = force x velocity.  We performed three sets, increasing weight on the wheel until it was necessary to stand, sprinted standing for :15 then returned to the seat for the final :30 heavy climb.  It was tough.

Honestly, I felt a little slighted by the lack of intensity but it’s good to be reminded occasionally to relax and wiggle your ears.

Happy Rejuvenating!

Maybe a breakfast burrito, monkey bread & dirty chai is slight overkill but let me lay out the facts:

1. I started my day with a big bowl of steel cut oatmeal. It’s one of the few healthy breakfasts my toddler loves so whenever I think of it, I toss ingredients into the rice cooker at night and set the timer for breakfast. My point being, at least I began my day in a healthy fashion.

2. I biked to the farmers market then, laden with my fresh treasures, climbed into the Presidio. I had a triumphant moment as I pedaled up the steep block and saw the four guys who’d just zipped by me walking their bikes up the sidewalk. I may have smirked. Just a little.

3. I made it to the pool in record time and swam my half mile in the fast lane. To be fair, our fast lane was more of a medium-slow lane today but that suited me fine because I still needed to bike up and out of the Presidio to Hayes Valley.

4. In an hour we have our third La Boheme performance of the weekend. It’s short but takes focus and energy.

5. Technically I’m now eating for two. I actually looked it up before writing this and according to Fit Pregnancy I need 340 extra calories. They suggest some high protein, healthy snacks but I prefer my monkey bread.

the workout:
10 mile bike (by the time I get home this evening)
1/2 mile swim – 6 X 150 yd, 100 free /25 back/ 25 breaststroke

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quick fix

My plan was to swear off running for a couple of weeks while I’m in San Luis Obispo performing with Festival Mozaic. I didn’t have space in the car for our running stroller and thought a couple weeks off would provide a good opportunity for my foot to rest. However, without biking and swimming at my disposal I only lasted four days.
Today while my son was napping and I should have been practicing I finally gave in to my craving and changed into running shoes. My reasoning was simple; my hand was aching too much to play more and my internet cut out as I was trying to listen & study my orchestra parts. I figured getting some blood pumping would help my hand and hoped I’d have enough cell service to stream my music. Plus I was curious where the bike path behind my house led.

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The results? My hand actually feels somewhat better, I rocked out to two movements of a Schumann symphony on repeat (I know, I’m totally cool) and the bike path turns into a street which winds its way around Moro Bay. Overall, I feel 110% better than when I began so I’d call this one a success!

the workout: easy 2.5 mile jog with a sprint up final hill, forward & backward lunges, planks, stretching

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Last week I was in the kitchen with my sister, making cinnamon rolls that were actually rising (a rare occurrence), and she told me that I’m one of those people who’s just good at life.  After initially laughing at this comment, I thought quite a bit about what being good at life means and decided that if I look competent most of the time it’s because I’m putting time and energy into things I want to be doing.  It’s easy to look good when you’re happy!  I have Mom to thank for my cheerful attitude toward life.  And the confidence I bring to most activities.  And a whole slew of other skills that allow me to ease instead of bumble my way through most days.  Thanks, Mom.  I love you!

 

In honor of mother’s day, I wanted to share a few things that make me smile…

 

my new find- the GCN 35 minute spin workout

stopping the clock- refraining from counting laps or miles & exercising just for the fun of it

fresh mint from the farmers market in a glass on the counter- it’s pretty, smells great and IMG_4087tastes delicious in salad or tea

chop salad- chop a couple of celery stalks, a couple of carrots, a handful of greens, a few cherry tomatoes and plenty of fresh herbs- for dressing mix together lemon juice, olive oil, fresh ground cumin, salt and pepper

two easy (but time consuming) show-stopper desserts:  Pavlova – I recommend topping it with lemon curd, fresh cream and fruit  &  Chocolate Coffee Whiskey Spice Cake – skip the frosting and use a layer of brandied cherries plus jam as icing, also works great with gluten free flower in cupcake form

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