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strong like mommy

A while back Aviv told me he was eating a ton of food so he could be strong like me. My instant reaction was to lecture about quality vs. quantity – it matters more that he eats “strong foods” (like the snap peas he loves and the peppers he hates). Then I stepped back and digested what he’d just said. My 5 year old thinks I’m strong and that makes me proud. In his own 5 year old way, he’s understanding the example I’m trying to set for my boys – of living a strong, healthy lifestyle. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me the same.

 

Last week in spin class my favorite instructor said she’d been using me as an example in her other classes. Though I’m small, I can sustain a high wattage on the bike while keeping good form, which must mean I have a strong core. There’s the s – word again!

Today in the pool I was admiring the strength and speed of the woman next to me. She raced by me on her kickboard while I was moving my quickest with swim fins. I asked her what she does besides swim. Nothing. She grew up in the pool. I watched a few more laps and was still contemplating her extremely powerful kick as I walked directly into the men’s locker room. Oops.

I’ve been trying to follow my own advice to Aviv and eat more “strong foods”. For me this not only means more veggies, but fewer refined sugars and a better balance toward lean proteins. I’m in the middle of week 6 training for a half ironman at the end of January and nutrition matters! Toward the end of a recent long ride I pulled an energy bar from my pocket and as I tore off the wrapper the bar flew into the middle of the street. 10 second rule! I wasn’t about to let a little dirt and grease get between me and the energy I need to climb out of Sausalito.

So, what about strength? Obviously it’s been on my mind lately. While I can’t squeeze in any more weekly gym time dedicated to strength training, my mutu program core exercises have done wonders for core strength. I’ve also safely rehabilitated my DR (the gap between the 2 sections of the Rectus Abdominis [or 6 pack] abdominal muscle), which was a couple finger widths after two pregnancies. Various other exercises I’ve learned through the years in PT round out my TV-watching / Opera intermission strength training routine. Since this blog is about having a virtual training buddy, please join me! Tonight we’re doing wall-sits, squats, grand plies, clamshells, crab walk (is there a seafood theme to my exercise??), and side planks.

Be strong!

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a punch in the face

Did you know that if you forget to wear your fitness smartwatch when you exercise, the workout doesn’t count? I repeated the beginning of a cardio dance workout today so it would “count” – and then I forgot to stop my watch at the end. At least I didn’t punch myself in the face during the repeat.

Seriously, I punched myself in the face during the first round of the punching bag drill in the kick-boxing set. I really should be more coordinated than I am.

This workout is perfect for doing in the living room during your kid’s nap time or in a hotel room where you don’t care if noise bothers the downstairs neighbors. It alternates between cardio (tons of bouncing up and down like a cheerleader) and separate sets of arms (you need 3-5 lb weights or water bottles), glutes (I barely managed to stand after these) and core (I never want to hear the term “perfect plank” again). A mirror is a plus for checking your form but a window works in a pinch!

I may not be able to move tomorrow but fortunately my lip isn’t swollen!

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iwannaseea HeKaPa!!

The morning began with the promise of rain and a tantrum. Still, we had an agenda – to spend Ariel’s birthday morning riding with the kids to Frisco and back. As I pried Eitan’s hands off the skuut bike he’d commandeered at the shop and forced my kicking, screaming two year old into the weehoo seat, I promised him he’d have way more fun riding fast behind my bike than riding alone. He wasn’t convinced until we found distraction in the garbage trucks collecting trash from a nearby parking lot. The skuut was soon forgotten and we raced down the bike path, Aviv and Ariel close behind.

IMG_9598 The ride from Breckenridge to Frisco was gorgeous and relatively easy until the final couple hilly miles, when I really felt that I was riding a cruiser, pulling an extra 50 pounds. Eitan sang to me from the backseat – one song looped because he couldn’t find the ending, but sweet nevertheless. At one point Ariel and Aviv blew by us, Aviv’s inside-out raincoat flapping in the wind, his little legs pedaling furiously backward. Later, Ariel reported that he’d been a huge help – on the downhills.

We made it 10 miles to Frisco feeling victorious and full of energy for the ride back. There was a coffee shop waiting for me and Ariel, and grandparents waiting to take the boys to the nearby museum for a model train viewing. I’m certain this was the highlight of their morning adventure. The sky grew darker as we drank our lattes and lounged. I told Ariel it was exactly how I’d wanted to spend his birthday. He agreed and suggested we move so that we didn’t get stuck in a downpour.

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After organizing snacks and kids, we began our return trip. A mile in we passed the hospital with a parked helicopter. I stupidly pointed it out and somehow Eitan missed it, so for the rest of the ride home (not exaggerating) he yelled/chanted/sang IWANNASEEA HE KA TO! (I wanna see a helicopter). There was a brief respite when I realized he was not only yelling but trying to shimmy his way out of the seat and I remember the trail mix hidden in the pannier bag. I handed him the entire bag and he dug out chocolate chips for the next mile, forgetting about the helicopter he hadn’t seen. As the sky opened up about 5 miles from home, he recommenced his chanting/whining. I was struggling to keep my bike moving forward, exhausted from pulling my annoying cargo uphill with minimal oxygen at 9,600 feet. Ariel and Aviv were riding behind us in case any more escape attempts were made. I wished I’d ingested a few more espresso shots. Ruling the world was not within my realm of possibility.

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Those final few miles were hard. Really hard. I repeatedly asked Eitan to sing instead of yell and offered my own rendition of Wheels on the Bike at the top of my lungs, improvising a verse about “the baby in the backseat goes whine, whine, whine”. Ariel suggesting a few times we “move a little faster” because it was raining harder. Yeah, right. Luckily the boys didn’t seem bothered by the fact they were getting wet. Aviv was still “helping” Ariel pedal and Eitan was still yelling IWANNASEEA HE KA PO!

We finally made it back to the bike shop, exhausted and wet but (mostly) in good spirits and ready for a tasty lunch. I’d riden 20 miles in the mountains, pulling a bike trailer! And I’d do it again in a second.

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sand intervals 

We are finally settled into our apartment in Tel Aviv and I’ve begun my Alcatraz training again. It’s been almost a month since I’ve done anything, between sickness and travel, and I’m not sure I can get myself where I need to be before the race in June. Since this isn’t a race in which I can just “get by” there is the possibility that I may not be able to participate. However, I am going about my training as if I’m still preparing for the race.

I’ve managed three short workouts in the four days that we’ve been here. Thursday morning I ran just over a mile pushing the stroller along the beach path. It was a glorious welcome back to this beautiful Mediterranean location. On Friday, while everyone else lounged over coffee and brunch on the beach, I slowly inching my way into the cold water and submerged myself in the Mediterranean Sea. I swam back-and-forth parallel to the shoreline, relearning the currents and waves and narrowly missing an enormous white jellyfish. Yesterday evening we put both kids on their scooters and attempted to go for a run. Total fail. Ariel completed some semblance of a mile with Aviv while I headed straight to playground with a kicking, screaming Eitan. He wanted only to ride back-and-forth across the path where the bikes zipped by at a furious speed. Nobody rides cautiously here and the chaos was at a higher level than usual, it being a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Once the big boys returned I took off across the beach to do one loop of what will become my regular sand training; across the sand, up the steps to gan hatzmaut, across the vista-point, back down the hill to the beach path, sprint the pavement to the ritz carlton restaurant and back through the sand to the playground. Hopefully this combination of sand and steps will not only prepare me for the sand & steps I’ll tackle at Baker Beach but also strengthen small muscles in my feet to prevent injury. 

Saturday’s stats: 1 loop – 1.22 miles, 11:55, 9’46” pace

the trouble with vanity

The trouble with vanity is sometimes your phone lands in dog poop. 

My mom signed me up for a fantastic program through the Suzuki Association called Parents as Partners. I’ve begun watching videos to expand both my teaching and parenting skills. One thing that sticks in my mind is saying “no” unless I truly want or need to be doing something. Of course we’ve all heard that a million times but this woman made an astute observation: nobody ever posts what they don’t do on Facebook. How true. And how many things do we take pictures of just so we can post them on social media sites?

Fast forward to Thursday’s run: Eitan & I were moving through the park at a good clip, I was feeling good in my new paisley leggings (thanks, Mom!) and I decided to get an action shot of us while he was still smiling. (Eitan doesn’t think much of these extended stroller sits. He spends most of the time telling me “I’m all done”.)  I rigged my phone up to a lamp post, set the timer and pulled the stroller backward so we could run toward my phone looking happy. It took a few attempts but we both played our roles well and the result is this picture which I’m now posting.


Later, I realized that when my phone had fallen off the lamppost it had landed in dog poop. Gross gross and more gross. Eitan chatted with the ducks while I scrubbed my phone clean with  wipes found under the stroller.

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Yesterday I ran home from the matinee show and though I felt my phone buzzing and I saw gorgeous trees in bloom, I decided to refrain from checking messages and taking photos. The result was no icky phone and a much faster run. Maybe I’ll try this more often. And then again …

the workouts: I’ve increased the volume and intensity of my workouts over the past two weeks am more tired but my body is slowly regulating itself. I’m choosing to eat better (most of the time) and attempting to get more sleep. After struggling to keep an 11 minute mile pace climbing from Clement to Fulton on Thursday, yesterday’s 1st mile  (which didn’t include a stroller but a run up Hayes Valley Hill) clocked in at 9:38. Woohoo!

So…  A few months ago I put my name into the lottery for the famous Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.  I won a spot (!!!!), thought about it for 20 seconds then payed a large sum of money for the “opportunity” to swim from Alcatraz, bike around the Presidio hills and run up the Baker Beach sand steps with 1,999 other crazy people this June. A few days later when my exhilaration wore off I decided to check out the details. I learned important details like, the 1.5 mile swim has a 1 hr. cut-off time (which would currently be difficult for me in a swimming pool without a current). There’s also a half mile “warm-up” run from the swim exit to the bike transition area. Then after the 18 mile bike ride, we run 8 miles, not the usual 6 like most International distance triathlons. Looking on the bright side, even if I’m not finished, the race course closes at 1pm so I can still make it to my 2pm Don Giovanni!

What have I gotten myself into?  And exactly when am I planning on training for this race?? That second question came from my husband.  It hadn’t even occurred to me until he brought it up. 1 hour at the gym several times a week is certainly not going to prepare me for this race so I’ve been brainstorming about how I can use my time most efficiently and which parts of this race will be trickiest.

Let’s evaluate: Currently I can comfortably swim half mile, less comfortably a full mile. I can run 3 miles pushing a stroller and I haven’t been for a training ride on my bike since before I was pregnant with Eitan (he’s now 20 months old). Most of my bike training will need to occur in spin classes, which are excellent and utilize the Y’s free childcare. Most of my runs will be done pushing a growing Eitan in the running stroller, so probably not as hilly as the course but difficult nonetheless. In a few months I’ll start walking the Baker Beach sand steps with Eitan in a backpack. Again, not like running them but probably by that point in the race I won’t be running anyway and they’ll feel easy without a baby on my back. Right?? My major concern is fitting in open water swims and a few outdoor bike rides. I’ll either need to pay a babysitter or do them on the weekends when we usually enjoy family time. Oh, and then there’s the 7 weeks of travel time smack in the middle of training season. Back to my first question; What have I gotten myself into???

the workout: I pushed myself to do two consecutive days of spin classes Sunday & Monday. Just to see if I could. (No problem!) I threw in a short run before yesterday’s class (doing a reverse brick) and instead of feeling extra exhausting, I was energized throughout my spin.  My heart rate monitor did report that I was at the top of my workout zone through most of the class. We’ve got these new alien-looking bikes that I’m still not comfortable on but my favorite drills have to do with watts.  A few to try in your next spin workout:

:20 @ watts = body weight -10, :10 recovery x 8

:30 @ watts = body weight, :30 recovery x 4

1:00 @watts = body weight, 1:00 recovery x 4

1:30 @watts = body weight, :30 @watts = body weight +10, 1:00 recovery X 2

dance dance 

What do you do when your mini -person wakes you up at 6am on a windy, rainy morning? My normal answer would be to push my husband out of bed and burrow under the covers for another couple hours of sleep. However, today I figured it was my turn to do morning duty and I wanted to go for a run. That was before I looked outside and noticed it was windy and wet. Once upon a time I would’ve bundled us up and gone out anyway but I just didn’t have it in me today so I set Eitan up with a banana and found myself a dance cardio workout. Don’t know where the inspiration for this came from but maybe I was channeling a little Dance Dance revolution. Yes, I love that game. Anyhow, Eitan joined me for some triceps, creatively using a ball after I refused to share my hand weights. By the time I reached the floor work portion, Aviv was also awake and the boys vied for space  underneath me as I did leg presses. Nothing like a little person poking my bellybutton to distract me from aching glutes. We did some stretches together and then moved on to breakfast…finished with my workout before I’d even hoped to be awake this morning!

Warning: don’t do this workout if you live upstairs. Your downstairs neighbors will hate you. 

If the gym is more your thing, here’s my rainy day 30 on machines:

This 20 minute GCN cycling workout followed by 10 minutes of hill repeats on the treadmill.  Don’t forget to stretch after!

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