wading & waiting

My exercise of the day was carrying my luggage through the airport and now alternately sitting and standing in the space of my window seat while the plane receives a new part (1 1/2 hr delay so far). Charming. Our drive into Atlanta this morning took almost three hours and the drive to Estes from DIA should take less than two. Too much sitting today but I’m staying conscious of my posture to keep my back happy!
Yesterday we explored a couple of famous area waterfalls then found a swimming hole in the river. We hung out, treading water against the strong current until we started getting tired then headed back to town for more music.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, half of the passengers on our plane just trooped up to the front, accepting an invitation to visit the cockpit while we kill time. Ughhh…
And now we can get off the plane for food. I already ate so I’m using the time for core exercises in the terminal.

The workouts:

Treading water 15 min, alternate between using both hands, just hands & just feet

Stretching in terminal, followed by backward in place lunges, squats, & plank

wedding dress & a hike

I have been asked more than once during this week if I think I’ll still fit into my wedding dress after this week of good eating.  It’s not a thought that has occurred to me over the entire year since I bought the dress but now I’m just a tad bit paranoid.   Not really, but logically, I have been eating quite a bit and exercising quite a little bit.  I don’t suppose one week will make much of  a difference in the big scheme of things but the week before my wedding is probably not the smartest time to be consistently over-stuffing myself!

This morning I met my sisters for a hike.  It was rather un-strenuous but the combination of sunscreen slathered all over my arms and face, and humidity encouraging my clothes stick to me made it uncomfortable.  Sweating aside, we hiked the Whiteside Trail loop , unknowingly choosing the more difficult side for the hike up.  Our hike was part steps, part trail and part granite rock.  We were rewarded with spectacular views on the top plateau and afterward cooled down with another short swim in the orange pond near my house.  Only J joined me today and we made it out with only small-fish-sightings.  Post-morning excursions, we were welcomed back to B’s host family’s home with a very Southern lunch of tomato sandwiches.

thick air

I decided to get up this morning and run before for the heat set in.  The air was already thick and wore me out quickly.  The roads around my house here don’t go very far in any direction, so I went to the end of each, half running, half walking, then arrived home just in time for blueberry pancakes, made by my host mom!

The workout:

15 minute run/walk   I actually felt tired by the end- but maybe it’s just the feeling of not yet being warmed up or actually giving myself time to get into it.  I walked most of the hills but decided at one point to pump my arms more to propel myself up the hill.  It worked beautifully but I was winded and still had to walk at the top!  I think humidity is harder for me than altitude was.   Maybe I’ll stick to swimming in the orange pond for the rest of my time here.

orange pond

The girls and I are having a great time in Highlands, NC.  We played our first concert tonight and have three more.  I wanted to go running and swimming this afternoon between rehearsal and concert, but it was way too hot for me so I dragged the girls out to the pond in front of my host parent’s house.  We traipsed down the street in our bathing suits, towels in hand, to investigate.  I had warned them that I did see a couple of big fish yesterday but also told them that the water was super clean and refreshing.   I didn’t mention that the visibility was zero and they’d have to wade through mud then launch themselves into the water when they could no longer see their feet (just in case there was something else lurking down below).  I plunged in first, as I am always their “fearless leader” in such situations.  The water was bath tub temperature for about the first foot then much colder since the lake is deep.   In the first few minutes I kicked each of them several times since they were swimming so close together and right behind me.  I warned them that broken fingers would not go over well in tonight’s performance so they spread out but still stayed behind me so I could scare away big fish.  On our second lap across the lake, I decided to cry wolf.  I turned around and yelled, scaring one but not the other.  I paid for it later when I had a crick in my neck from the quick turn!  We paddled our way across and back twice then waded out.  One sister said the water was amazing and she’d gotten used to it.  The other asked if we’d noticed the orange tinge our bodies took on under water.  Hmmm….

On the go

The past few days have been a whirlwind of biking, practicing, driving and on-site wedding prep. Now I’m on the shuttle which will take me to the bus which will take me to my sister in Vail. After her final concert tonight, we’ll head down the mountain to catch a three hour “red-eye” to Atlanta, and after that, drive three hours into the mountains. We have four trio concerts in GA & NC over the weekend and I’m feeling truely “on the go” again. I’m hoping to fit in a few runs and, of course, my swim suit is in my (very small!) suitcase.
Yesterday there was no time for anything un-wedding related but Monday before I returned my bike, I did one last ride. My goal was Frisco but I felt so good I pushed on to Copper Mountain. The ride is incredibly gorgeous & follows a river most of the way. Best of all, the first several miles on the way back are downhill! I was worn out by the end but not sore.
This morning I woke up completely stiff from lack of activity yesterday (my body was in the groove of biking daily!) so I went to the pool outside my condo. It’s shaped like a large jellybean with a good circumference for swimming. Since the sky was grey, I had it completely to myself. The stretcing out felt good but my arms were tired and my violin was calling, so I made it a quick dip.

The Workout:
day 1- bike 34ish miles at 9,000 feet, I took it easy, as I was in no rush to get home to laundry & practice
day 2- stretching & core at night before bed
day 3- six swimming circles in the jellybean pool then two “laps” back stroke, my only intention was to stretch my body out & relieve soreness

Nikken Wellness:
Greenzymes- in handy travel packs!

Hoosier Pass

I didn’t make it all the way to Alma, as was my original plan today because as soon as I began my ride, my goal changed to “make it to the top”.  I did get to the top of Hoosier pass and from Breckenridge, gained 2,000 feet in elevation, mostly in the last 4 miles of switchbacks.  I tried to enjoy the views along the way and a couple of times highway 9 was even peacefully silent, void of SUVs and big trucks.  I also reminisced about the few other times I’d been on the same road.

1. A mutual friend hooked me up with a young, almost pro triathlete to do a “training ride”.  He’d been at altitude for 3 weeks already and it was my second morning in Breck.  I made it to the top and I attributed it then to sheer good luck and the beer & burger I’d eaten the night before.

2. A week after the first attempt, I rode it again myself.  It felt just as difficult as the first time and the ride back down was slower because I didn’t have anyone to draft off of.

3. Another friend took me along Hwy 9 on mountain bikes, which was way harder, just to get to the start of our trail.  We rode up a fire road off the highway one day and did a single track trail, which was part of the Colorado trail another day.  I had almost no experience mountain biking and the fire road day was one of only two times I’ve cried out of frustration on a bike.  Nonetheless, I have memories of loving the challenge.

The Workout:

22 miles, 2,000 feet elevation gain.  The entire way there was uphill, which left me with a quick, fun descent.  On the way up, I focused on lifting my knees to “pull” and use hamstrings instead of attempting only to muscle my way up the mountain.  The highway was crowded with cars so on the descent I made a point of taking up the whole lane on the switchbacks so nobody would try to pass me.

Nikken Wellness:

my nutritional cocktail of greenzymes, immunity and omegas

bungee swimming and a metronome

So, the metronome doesn’t exactly have anything to do with working out except my arms are sore from practicing today.  I don’t know why I think I can just plow through a three hour day out of nowhere.  I would never dream of running for three hours without building up to it.  Back to the metronome…   I needed it to do some wood shedding on Dohnanyi but couldn’t find it.  Then I remember it had gone off on the train in the very early morning while everyone else in my car was still sleeping.  I was rummaging around in the top of my case looking for a pencil and it started beeping.  I subtly turned it off and hoped I didn’t wake too many people around me.  Oops!

The practicing came after the “swimming” today.  I did more bungee swimming, like I’d done with Mom in Hawaii, only this time I didn’t have the high tech device to strap around my waist and attach to the ladder.  This time I had my blue resistance band, given to me by my PT so long ago and completely forgotten about.  Forgotten about, that is, until I was packing for my trip and thought it might work as a swimming bungee.  I tied one end to the ladder and the other around my ankle than swam for 20 minutes- and got nowhere.  It felt good but for the goal oriented, like myself, I find it difficult to not have an end distance.  Certainly better than nothing!

After my practice and a relaxing afternoon near the river, I hopped on my bike to see how my legs felt before I thought more about attempting Hoosier pass tomorrow.  (Anybody want to join my one-woman Team Diva??)  They felt tired but I did a leisurely ride on the bike path as the sun was  making gorgeous colors against the clouds.  Then I stopped by Clint’s and treated myself to a waffle cone with s’mores icecream.  It’s a brilliant flavor and I thoroughly enjoyed it while I listened to the beginning of an NRO concert.  It brought back fun memories of my summer playing with them… 10 years ago.  Wow!

The workout:

20 min swim, it’s not easy kicking when your ankle is attached to an exercise band that keeps coming untied!

10 mile easy bike, the way out is slightly down and the way back slightly uphill- good training to have to push a little at the end

Nikken wellness:

jade greenzymes before my swim

mushroom immunity to support the body’s natural defenses and extra altitude care

omega green for cardiovascular health

magnetic sports bracelet for tired wrists on the bike

two rides

I rode 48 miles in the past two days.  That’s approximately 48 miles more than I’ve ridden outdoors in a very long time!  Yesterday I rode through Glenwood Canyon with my sister… a ride I’ve wanted to do for many years.  I decided on the “comfort bike” over the mountain bike with full shocks and a bigger rental price.  It turned out to roll quite easily but was anything but comfortable because I picked out a size too small (something that rarely happens to me!) and was sitting far back on the seat in order to keep my knees in the right place over the pedals.  My sister spent a good deal of time laughing at me- and waiting for me, but we enjoyed a gorgeous, 28 mile ride, up and back through the canyon.  

Today I was on my own again and picked up my road bike rental first thing in the morning.  I’ve got myself a Specialized Dolce for the next week.  I love that in mountain towns, bike rental stores are abundant.  There’s no way I could have traveled with my own bike, like I used to do and when I factor in shipping costs or airplane over-sized luggage prices, I’m not actually spending more money.

This morning I decided to take it easy, as I’d gained 4,000 feet of elevation since yesterday.  I did my standard 20 mile round trip between Breck and Frisco.  I tried to be conscious of not letting my pace get too slow when I felt tired.  I wore my heart rate monitor to keep me honest and as I look at it now, I’m realizing that even though I felt like I was pushing hard, I never moved above zone 4.  I’m giving myself a congratulatory pat on the back!  I’ll try something a little harder tomorrow and see how I feel.  During the next week, I look forward to taking in scenery as I climb passes and enjoying miles of paved bike paths between towns!

water activities

We began our morning with a discussion of when to kayak, when to bike and when to go to the pool.  Rough day.  We decided to fit the kayak into the morning and the swim into the evening.  We were part of a white water rafting/kayaking crew so we got a free ride through the rapids first before they dropped us in our indestructible two man blow-up kayak.  For the most part, we floated the final 10 miles without paddling much because we had to keep pace with the rafts and they were moving slowly.  Every so often we’d start paddling and I would somehow manage to send our boat spinning the wrong way.  We crashed through the final drop, ending up totally soaked but still in our boat.  The next three kayakers weren’t so lucky and the final raft had to chase both them and their kayaks further down the river.  The low point of the day was realizing my new mineral sunscreen hadn’t worked on either of us.  We both have weird burn lines on legs and arms, which I hope I have enough time to get rid of before I wear my wedding dress!  Vanity aside, my main goal of all this time spent in the mountains was to thoroughly protect my skin and not get burnt.  So much for that!

We ate a late lunch then decided to stay inside until the sun went away.  Around 7:30 we trekked across the bridge to the hot springs pool and swam a few laps.  1/2 mile felt easy to me today and exercising in the warm water is easier to deal with when the sun is down.  We closed out the pool and would have been closed out of our choice restaurant also if we hadn’t been rescued by two others who’d just been seated for last call.  We joined their table and made new friends!

The workout:

10 miles of easy paddling- I actually do feel sore muscles in my chest from the unfamiliar movement pattern

1/2 mile swim, mixed strokes

Nikken wellness:

mushroom immunity I just realized that the first ingredient in the mushroom complex I take regularly is cordyceps *, which I always take when I spend time at a higher altitude

omega green for cardiovascular support

*Recent research has confirmed that Cordyceps usage increase both the cellular ATP level (Guowei, 2001) and the oxygen utilization (Jia-Shi Zhu, 2004). ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) is the molecule that actually releases energy in the cell. We talk about consuming fats, and proteins and starches to gain energy, but what it all boils down to at the cellular level is ATP. ATP releases energy in the cell by losing a phosphate and converting from a three-phosphate form of adenosine to a two-phosphate form, called ADP (adenosine di-phosphate). When the ATP loses a phosphate, the breaking of that bondreleases energy that is then available for the cell to use. An increase in cellular ATP means a real increase in actual energy, energy that is available for use.      -excerpted from Aloha Medicinals

10 reason to take the train

1.  There’s no internet so you have plenty of time to finish your latest novel, sleep, watch the scenery, listen to war stories told by the old gentleman across the room or make new friends

2.  Train security doesn’t exist.  You and all of your bags hop on and off the train.  There are no long lines and toiletries don’t need to be under 4 oz.  (bonus- you can finish your morning coffee and yogurt leisurely on the train, not in the security line with luggage in tow, scrambling to find your ID and ticket)

3.  You can enjoy the scenery through floor to ceiling windows in a lounge car.

4.  You’re not vacuum-packed onto the train and actually get fresh air breaks every few hours.

5.  Walk, sit, sleep, eat (at a table with other people!)… your choice at any time

6.  Cut your CO2 emissions up to 90% by taking the train.  My trip was 1,215 miles by train versus 950 by airplane then 157 miles by car.

7.  The food is way better

8.  You can check two bags at no fee and carry on two bags plus a personal item.

9.  It’s much cheaper if you buy tickets in advance and there’s even a AAA discount.

10.  It’s fun and a great way to slow down!

The workout:

Try something new and don’t be bashful!  I spent each fresh air break on the station platform lunging, squatting, jogging, doing planks and yoga.  I moved about the train, stretching frequently and did most of my reading/trio CD listening standing.  When I arrived at the hot springs pool on the other end, I eased into the evening with a 1/2 km swim in the warm water.  Between altitude, lack of sleep last night and temperature of water, I felt as if I were in slow motion but my body sure enjoyed the stretch!