motivation from a friend

Yesterday morning I spoke with a friend who told me of his trouble finding motivation to go to the gym.  Then he informed me that he read my blog and was hoping he’d lose weight by doing so.  I laughed and asked that he let me know how it goes- that if he actually lost pounds by reading my blog, I’d be pleased to recommend it to others as a weight loss aid.  I encouraged him to check out the gym in his building and said I’d check on him later to find out if he’d actually worked out (he did).  After the conversation I realized that I’d better practice what I preach and committed to 1/2 hour on the spin bike even though I had no desire to work out.

This morning time flew by as I prepared for my trip tomorrow, ate breakfast and did a little yoga.  Before I knew it, I had an hour before I needed to leave for my concert and I had yet to visit the gym.  My husband and I rushed over and I did a hill repeat workout on the treadmill then a fun but short routine to work the rest of my body.  I’m glad we fit it in before the concert because I sure didn’t feel like doing anything by the time I got home this evening!

the workouts:

Saturday spin: 30 minutes spin bike at gym with purpose of keeping my RPM high because that’s what I have the most difficulty with outside

15 minute warm-up, increasing cadence every 5 minutes, light resistance on wheel

10 X  :30 sprint / :3o RI slower spin, medium resistance on wheel

5 minute cool down, light resistance on wheel


Sunday run: hill repeats on the treadmill, bonus- no downhill- better on my knees!

5 minute walk to gym

5 minute easy jog to continue warm-up

10 X  :30 @ 5% incline / :30 @ 0% incline, same speed

cool down- walking forward and backward lunges, squats, grand plié (2nd position), functional reaches

bridges and  balanced leg lifts on foam roller, plank w/ knee tucks, side plank


off and running…

I awoke before my alarm this morning and took advantage of my bonus time by going for a short run in the park.  As I hurried outside, I realized that my hair was still a straggly mess and I’d left my rubber band somewhere.  I ran back inside for another then took off.  In my scramble to get dressed in the dark, I’d grabbed socks that were too big and they chafed at my heals as I began my walking warm up, but luckily I forgot about them shortly.  I stopped by my friend’s house but she was enjoying one of her infrequent sleep-past-7 mornings so I continued on by myself.  The park was bursting with pink and white blooms and comparatively, the poor roses looked gothic and lonely, all cut back to stalks, black and colorless.  Joggers had taken over the park and one dad biked by, followed by his swarm of brightly clad children on little bikes.

I did a short loop, keeping mostly to the trails and noticed that my hamstring pulled only going downhill.  Only one runner looked up and smiled back at me and when I actually said,”good morning”, another woman glanced around first to be sure I was speaking to her (nobody else on the street) before responding.  On my walk back home, I appreciated the red outline of the GG bridge in the distance and the layered hills of the gorgeous, green headlands.

I rushed into the bathroom and was met by the lingering stench of nail polish remover.  I scrubbed down the tub, where I’d been balancing my foot for yesterday’s lengthy old-pedicure excavation and noticed my missing rubber band- wrapped safely around my wrist.

I’m off and running…

the workout:

5 minute warm up

20 minute easy jog, varied hills

5 minute cool down

ad-hoc roll out while writing this


I finally rode with the girls again!  The weather is in the low 60s and I was almost overdressed for the ride in my coat.  We got a late start and were dreading the bridge crossing but the tourist contingent still must have been sleeping because we didn’t end up dodging too many I Love San Francisco sweatshirt-clad people staring up at the bridge, oblivious to all else.  I was nearly knocked off my bike from the strong wind coming around the first tower and braced myself before hitting the second.  Smooth sailing all the way down to Sausalito then out to the end of the bike path, but my excessive tea drinking pre-ride left me uncomfortable on the way back, so we stopped at a public restroom.  I walked in first and was greeting by a shaggy little dog running around in circles.  I was startled but amused.

Two of us had the time for a coffee break at Cibo before attacking the hill back up to the bridge.  We ordered our coffee then chose a table in the sun.  Ahhh… I love San Francisco!  RC and I got into a discussion about how people are so tuned into electronic devices, we’ve forgotten how to communicate in person.  We made a pact that we would greet or smile at one random person on the street each day.  I’m heading to the South soon so that shouldn’t be difficult.  We soaked in the sun for an hour then she pulled me out of Sausalito and after another stressfully windy ride across the bridge we yelled our goodbyes and went our separate ways.  On my ride home, I passed a construction worked and shouted a “good morning”.  He looked up, startled then said the same back.  Hmmm…. not so difficult!

the workout:

22 mile ride, 2 climbs in steady, low gear,  back tired by the end but leg feeling good

another day

My left hamstring in pulling a little again.  Don’t know if it’s from yesterday’s run or long walk, or if I went back into my workouts too hard last week.  I am fully focused on not letting it flare back up and I’m scheduling a visit with my massage guy as soon as I return from the next trip!

Today I felt as though I wasted a day running errands and not really getting anything done, and my only exercise was biking the four miles to and from my doctor appointment.  The upside?  I’m well rested and the ride felt super smooth.  My legs are ready to ride with the Divas again tomorrow morning!

spirituals & hebrew

I’m specializing in multi-tasking this week.  I set my alarm early so I’d have time for a short run in the park before my rehearsal.  I love days like today, when the sun is warm but the air is still a little crisp.  It almost feels more like fall than spring, except everything is already in bloom!  The park was swarming with dog walkers, cyclist commuting to work, weighed down with laptops and supplies, and runners, avoiding the yappy little dogs and meditative walkers.

I entered the park near the rose garden, but I was so focused on my music I forgot to notice if there were any roses or if the bushes were fully trimmed in preparation for summer blooming.  My initial soundtrack of the day was the spirituals I would soon be rehearsing for our upcoming Gold Coast concerts.   I switched to a Hebrew podcast as I neared Stow Lake and repeated today’s vocabulary back to voices in my headphones.  The short hill up to the running path around the lake left me winded and I slowed my pace slightly to bring my heart rate back down.  Basically, I zoned out for the rest of the run, checking in with my HRM now and then, and smiling, thrilled to be out in the sunshine.  Once out of the park, I walked it home from the top of my hill and did some toe/heel walks to stretch and strengthen calves and shins.  I did a few quick stretches in the shower then grabbed a bite to eat and poured Electro Mix into my water bottle as I ran to catch the bus.

the workout:

5 min walking warm up

25 min run, easy but constant pace, ave HR 80% (although my monitor says I went up to 210% last week, which technically means I’d be dead, so I guess I need to refigure my max HR!)

5 min walking cool down, toe heel walks

elliptical studying

Today was gorgeous and warm again but I wanted a quick, low impact work-out and also needed to study my Mozart recording, so I opted for running in the clouds at the Y.  I put the program to cross training and prepared to “run” up and down two hills, forward and backward.  My intention was to keep it light but I found that I wanted to move quickly and was enjoying the music as I ran.  I tried to listen with a critical ear to my trio’s recording of the Mozart divertimento, (that will soon come out on our debut CD!) so that next time I perform it, I will have more ideas.  I kept getting caught up in changing my direction from forward to backward per the machine’s instructions and reminded myself to move quickly so I would still have the same mileage as a real run.  My heart rate settled into a steady high ZN 3, perfect for light aerobic work but as I continued, my heart rate crept up and I was nearing 80%.  I always find it harder to balance on the machine as I run backward but it felt better on my back when I made a point of not relying too much on the handlebars and focusing on my core.  You can get way more out of these machines if you use the handlebars simply for occasional balance, not as a crutch.  I never get why people waste their time draped over a machine, reading a book, gasping for air but not paying any attention to what they’re actually doing!  It’s way more fun to be present and appreciate the workout.  I raced my Mozart to the end but it won (the divertimento is a long piece!), then I immediately switched to some Hadag Nahash for my core work.

the workout:

30 minutes elliptical “running in the clouds”, level 1 but fast-paced, just over 3 miles, almost 300 calories

core exercises, focusing on bridging, lunges and functional reaches to concentrate on hamstring strength and core mobility in every-day activities


a good week

I’m taking a rest day today and after pushing myself for the past four days.  Yesterday we did an afternoon ride up the headlands, which are newly opened all the way to the top!   They put in a weird roundabout halfway up.  Biking round and round proved to be an entertaining way to rest mid-way and wait for our third friend to catch up!  We concluded our Friday afternoon ride with happy hour.  That’s my kind of exercise!

the workout:

15ish miles, mostly uphill, no wind, very little traffic on bridge

spring in January

I sat in the hot tub warming up before my swim and anticipated how freezing the water would be and also how good my body would feel once I got moving.  I also noticed something peculiar that had never happened before.  Out of 17 people in and around the pool, I was the only female.  I instantly wondered if I’d stumbled into a YMCA men’s day (which they don’t actually have), then I laughed as I thought back to my sister’s last swim on a women’s day at the JCC in New York.  She was about to join a lane when a splash fight broke out over who wasn’t letting who pass properly.  The fight was between two grown women and the lifeguard had to break it up!

I found myself a lane to share in the sunshine and jumped into the cold pool.  I didn’t have a goal or workout in mind so I came up with one as I swam.  Afterward I went back to the hot tub to stretch and my left hamstring immediately cramped up.  Note to self:  More potassium & lower intensity as I get back into the workouts!  I choked down a chocolate cliff shot, which was the only potassium- rich “food” in my swim bag and reminded myself to re-stash some electrolyte packs and cliff bars for next time!  As I write this, I am soaking up my Vitamin D and enjoying a sandwich outside the Crissy Field Cafe.  Enjoy the view!

The workout: 1800 yd swim/ 1 mile,  45 minutes

300 yd warm up, mixed strokes

2 X   150 yd kicking drills, 100 yd pull, RI:10, concentrating on a neutral pilates-type spine during the pull so as not to over-arch my back

700 yd high intensity ladder, L7- as high of intensity as I could sustain

50 yd RI: 10

75 yd RI: 20

100 yd RI: 30

125 yd RI: 30

125 yd RI: 30

100 yd RI:20

75 yd RI: 10

50 yd      RI: 30

200 yd cool down, mostly back stroke to open up chest

hill repeats

I did my first actual 15th Avenue hill repeats today!  Usually I call it a repeat and run it once, but I decided to try and live up to the title today.  I was thinking earlier to get on my bike again (finally) but as the afternoon wore on, practicing was a bigger priority and I knew I’d get a better workout in less time running.  Plus, I am still on a high from yesterday’s amazing run with tons of oxygen and my body is finally clearing itself of all unwanted germs.

I strapped on my heart rate monitor just to see where things are at and did a 10 minute warm up of walking and easy jogging to get to the hill.  I started up at an easy pace and was able to get to the top without too much difficulty.  I concentrated on pumping my arms to help my momentum and leading each step with the balls of my foot.  The only thing I don’t like about this particular run is that it’s mostly on concrete, so I was trying to counteract the pounding with better form.  I reached the top in 6 minutes then turned around and came partway back.  I did two repeats from the midway point then rewarded myself by running just a bit further to the gorgeous lookout point.  The air was moist and heavy with the scent of Eucalyptus, and the view was, as always, stunning.  I turned back and made my way down the hill, walking on the steepest parts to save my knees, then jogged the rest of the way to my block.  I concluded with my usual toe-heel walks to strengthen calves and prevent shin splints.

Once home, I rescued my yoga mat from where it was drying in the backyard and prepared to do today’s YJ core video.  Two problems:  Although the mat smelled much better than before it’s shower, it was still damp, and the video wouldn’t stream.  I opted to use our cloth mat instead and choose a couple of poses my body was asking for.  I did some twists, hip openers, back bends and balancing poses, then a few core exercises and other stretches.  I’m feeling great now!

the workout:

45 minute run- warm up, 6 min hill, 2X 1:30 hill repeats, run, cool down

HR was high at the top of the hill each time but recovered back to low ZN 4/ top of ZN 3 quickly

missing the gate & busting a move

I discovered four important things in the past few days:

1.  I LOVE breathing air full of oxygen at sea level

2.  My body has gotten stronger and more flexible in just one week of committed yoga practice

3.  My yoga mat was REALLY dirty (It had to take a shower with me yesterday!)

4.  Salsa music makes me run faster!

I spent most of our long weekend in Colorado sick and the altitude didn’t help matters!  I was mostly better by Sunday and thoroughly enjoyed the weekend anyway but it’s nice to be back at sea level, done with the nose bleeds, bad night’s sleep and cold air!  The skiing was good but windy and it took all of my concentration to relax and sink into each run.  That said, I felt easy on the slopes and am looking forward to next time!  My proudest moment came when we were waiting in the lift line and up next for loading.  I was giggling at the ski instructor in front of us who’d somehow managed to slide off the chair while loading- and when our gate opened and closed to let us through to the chairs, I found myself still on the other side of the gate while my husband and the others sharing the chair loaded up and took off without me.  I felt like a total idiot as I waited for the gate to open again, then took my own chair up the mountain.  My husband entertained himself the rest of the weekend by saying “ready, go” to me each time we loaded onto a lift.  Good times…

Yesterday was one of those busy “first day home in a while” days and I didn’t manage to get to the gym.  The yoga video from the 21 day challenge was a repeat of Day 1.  The circle sequence was really fun this time and my body actually felt good moving in and out of each pose.  The only problem was, my yoga mat was so dirty that my feet kept sticking and I couldn’t move fast enough to keep up.  Yuck!!!   I took it into the shower with me right after practice and turned my shower blue as the mat’s color washed out along with the dirt.  It’s now hanging on the clothes line outside, still blue and much fresher!

Today we did a repeat of last week’s morning sequence and I think I’m adding this one to my daily routine (at least sometimes!).  I did it mid- morning when my body was already warm but it was super energizing and I finished it ready for my workout!  I’ll post the link for the practice on my yoga page in case anybody wants to try it.

The highlight of today was my amazing run to the beach.  I cranked up my salsa music and ran fast, totally wearing myself out, and taking little dance breaks along the way.  When I got to the beach I decided to pretend I was that happy person in the movie who breaks into song and dance in the middle of the run because he/she is in such a good mood and life is going so well (Fame, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun…. anyone??).  Me and myself did a little salsa dancing while we watched the waves crash and enjoyed the sunshine!  Then it was time to turn around and make my way home.  I danced for the buffalo, then again for my neighbors as I was getting my house keys out.  What a fun way to fit in my run and practice a few moves!