commitment to masters swim

My birthday is a week from today and I decided during my swim this morning that I am going to “treat myself” to a master swim workout.  It’s really more like “force myself to go” after being scared of it for a few years and making excuses as to why I should not go.  I talked to the coach today and voiced my fears of not being fast enough and not being able to swim far enough and he simple said, “Come anyway.  If you don’t like it, you can leave in the middle.”  He’s a slightly scary Russian dude and I can’t really picture him being sympathetic mid-workout, but I’m going to try it anyway.  The best way to get faster is to work out with people who are faster and push me!  Plus, I might get some tips on my swim form for free!

the workout: 1700 yd swim

200 swim EZ

4×25 kick, L4, RI :05

4×25 swim, L7, RI :05

8×25 drills, RI :10

600 swim, L7, RI 1:00

50 kick EZ

300 swim, L5, RI 1:00

50 kick EZ

100 swim EZ

weekend training

It was supposed to snow here Friday night (it didn’t, despite what the NY times said) but I decided to do gym workouts & stay warm anyway.

I woke up too early and couldn’t get back too sleep. I briefly contemplated running to the beach but that thought didn’t motivate me to get out of bed so I pulled on my sweats & walked to the gym. Armed with Car Talk playing through my public radio app, I stepped onto the treadmill & started running. By the half hour point, I was ready for more. The key to my successful, feel good run? Pacing!
45 minute run
2 min 10min mile/ :30 12mm
repeat until finished

I didn’t even contemplate riding my bike outside today. I rolled out of bed & went directly to the Presidio Y, knowing the Sunday morning class would be good. I was not disappointed! The instructor help me set up my bike, explaining that road bikers often set up spin bikes with low handlebars like we ride outdoors, but this didn’t work for “climbing” on a spin bike. We moved my handlebars higher and for the first time in two years, my back was completely pain- free during & after a spin class. The music was great, even including a track from my friend’s afro-funk album. The class was a nice mixture of hills & sprints, and the bikes now have computers to monitor energy output, rpm, distance, HR & calories. I could tell I was pushing myself way harder than I do cycling outside & I felt great. After the class I recorded both the measurements of my bike (to remember for next time) and the bike computer info with my favorite note-taking app from
50 min spin class
20miles, kcal 1050, ave HR 85%

rapping lifeguard

I swam at the embarcadero pool this morning on my way to the east bay and not only fit in a great workout, but was thoroughly entertained during each rest interval.
I stepped onto the pool deck and techno music blasted. It gave me energy for my swim then I quickly remembered I hate techno music. Luckily I couldn’t hear it underwater. When the lifeguards switched, so did the music. I swam to the sounds of R&B while watching the new lifeguard scarf down something from a McDonalds bag and shoot a can of Red Bull. He then jumped off his lifeguard perch and strutted over to switch on some rap. He began rapping to a girl in the small pool, using his walkie-talkie as a microphone. I couldn’t see her reaction but am guessing it was good! By the time I finished my workout, he was back in his chair, biting his nails and looking bored.

the workout: 1350 meter
100 ez swim
4 x 25 swim, L7, RI: 10
4 x 25 kick, L4, RI: 10
6 x 25 drill, RI: 10
6 x 100 swim, increase intensity, RI: 20
50 ez swim
3 x 50 kick, L6, RI: 10
100 ez swim

tired legs

I rode the entire headlands loop this morning for the first time in several months.  The entire back side has been repaved and I’m sure it’s steeper than it was! (is that possible!?) The Divas met at the GG bridge, as usual and we enjoyed a minimally windy and empty ride across the bridge.  I pushed myself on the climb, trying to keep pace with AC, and distract from my efforts by carrying on a conversation.  We summited then took off down the very steep back side.  I took it slowly, as one curve loomed after another, threatening to send me off the cliffs into the ocean far below.  By the time the road flattened out again, I could barely uncurl my fingers from the brakes and my hands & forearms were cramped.  I used to be able to release the brakes every now and then on the descent but it didn’t feel safe today, so I held on for dear life.  RC and I opted for the tunnel to the bridge route as AC climbed back up and over.  The road around back felt uphill the entire way, as always, but at least it wasn’t windy.  We pushed the bike in tunnel button to let cars know we were coming through but somehow didn’t get the usual 5 minute window to ride through the dark, murky tunnel so we had to move into the bike lane to avoid oncoming traffic.  We continued over the bridge and stopped for a brief chat on the other side, just in time to watch AC zip through on her way home.  We said our goodbyes and I felt strong riding the rest of the way home!

the workout:

headlands loop, 1:32, 17 miles

stretching & core work at home

total weekly bike mileage: 25 miles

1st brick of the season

It’s still pouring here so I decided to find myself a spin class.  Fortunately there was a 10am class at the Y around the corner.  Unfortunately I arrived late because I always think I can get to this Y in -5 minutes.  I jogged over in the rain and set up my bike as the class began.  I didn’t have a chance to ask the instructor what type of class she’d be leading and if I had, I probably would have skipped the class in favor of spinning on my own.  For 30 minutes we did repetitions of standing up straight and with hips over the saddle, still standing.  These were supposed represent a hill workout but there was nothing resembling any technique I’d ever actually use outdoor.  Plus, I like to do spin classes for sprint work, not hill work because when I ride outside, it’s mostly hills!  I mostly kept the weight light and did my own speed workout, not following the instructor, because both out of the saddle and heavy wheel weight spinning irritate my low back.  I cut out early and went down to the treadmill for a short run.  I set the machine to a 10mm and started running.  It felt extremely easy after a half hour cycling warmup and I barely noticed that I was running faster than yesterday with much less effort!

the workout: brick workout (the two sports in quick succession)

30 min spin class

15 min treadmill run

core work

centered at home

Wow, the week flew by with far too few workouts.  I took it easy because of travel, rehearsals and plain just not feeling the urge to exercise.  However, by last night, my body was sore and I knew it was because I hadn’t done anything active in three days.  Since I returned home on Wednesday morning, I’ve been paying close attention to how my body reacts to things and what it needs, particularly in the areas of food, sleep and exercise.  The non-stop travel since December has taken more of a toll on me than usual and I’m feeling the need to hibernate and cleanse.  I looked into a few different types of cleanses and decided that, with this being the beginning of race training season, my body needs energy for exercise, so I’ve settled on a plan that will allow me to both feel healthier and maximize my workouts.

I had the pleasure of working out with both sisters in the past week.  We did a beautiful but foggy run on Land’s End over the weekend (shortly after BA put her name in the NYC marathon lottery!), and two of us did an early morning elliptical run on Tuesday at the Springhill Suites in Irvine.  They have a nice gym and serve by far the best breakfast I’ve ever eaten at a hotel!

Once home, I gave myself two days (actually gave myself one day of rest then never got around to working out yesterday!) and hit the gym today.  My YMCA now has NIA classes.  I used to love attending these in NYC and was thrilled to see it at my gym.  This grounding movement class was just what I needed today to reconnect with my body and as I followed the class with a run on the treadmill, I attempted to maintain the elasticity and fluidity I’d found in my muscles and joints.  The run still felt difficult at times but I was still loose and centered by the end.  I finished my gym time with several core exercises and a good roll-out.

the workout:

Nia class

25 min treadmill run, random hills, 10:30 mm pace, ave HR 151 but up to 90%

running in Carmel

I love early morning runs that involve sunshine, the ocean and my sister!   We spent the night in Carmel between school and retirement center outreach performances and were fortunate to have the morning free to go for a run.  Once we both woke up, we opened the doors to our adjoining rooms as we got ready to run, then walked down to the beach.   We began running on the beach, then up the steps back to the beach path and were both exhausted within the first five minutes!  Once on the beach path, our pace steadied and we got caught up in chatting about upcoming races and life.  (She’s about to put her name into the NYC marathon lottery!)  We ran to the next beach and turned around just before running down the big hill.   Once back to the other end, we enjoyed the beach view for a few more minutes then walked back up to our hotel.  What a great way to begin the day… now off to brunch!

the workout:

30 min steady pace run

core exercises

express swim

I had five million things to do this morning and my shoulders were pretty tired after practicing all day yesterday.  Plus, I’m definitely bruising from my very deep massage on Monday.  I decided to do a short, easy swim before running errands and of course enjoyed a soak in the hot tub.

The big news of the day is, I just registered for Boulder 70.3 Ironman!  I’ll be creating a training plan in the next few weeks which will also involve an Olympic distance do-it-yourself triathlon open to all Divas everywhere.  Check back soon for more information!

the workout:

450 yd easy, mixed strokes, purely to stretch out my body and not tire our my arms

tree branches in the wind

When I get up earlier than usual, I expect the rest of the world to also just be waking up, not on their way to work already, but it was rush hour in the park today!  I had to keep turning up my podcasts (NY times book review & Planet Money) in order to hear the words and I saw way more cars than runners, unlike my past few morning runs in the park.

While drinking my morning hot water over lemon & honey, I had read an article about pacing the run portion of a triathlon.  This obviously didn’t apply to me today but the “tip from the pro” said “smile when you run”.  It loosens facial muscles, which trigger the release of neck and shoulders.

I smiled away, as my legs felt tired and my lungs begged me to stop but my upper body stayed loose as I fought my way through the wind.  I kept my sweatshirt zipped the entire run because, although it wasn’t a cold wind and I could have used a little more air to regulate my temperature, I wanted to keep my neck insulated.  My throat is still dry and I have an occasional hacking cough.

On the way down to the beach I took a new route and found myself running through fallen branches, full of little pink flowers.  I decided I needed to stop through there on my way home and pick up one to decorate my entryway.

The beach was magnificent and expansive- and WINDY!  I walked for a few minutes to rest while I took in the view then turned back, squinting in the sunshine and allowed the wind to propel me back up through the park.

The branch was larger than I had realized but those flowers are sturdy and despite bumping and scraping it through the entryway, the flowers remain intact.  I had to protect my new tree when my husband carried his bike out of the house, and soon I’ll find it a more out-of-the-way home,  but I’m sure enjoying it and giggling a little each time I walk by.

the workout:

4 mile easy run, felt difficult even though my pace was slow, no pain anywhere after yesterday’s massage

running the bridges

JA & I agreed to meet at 8 for a morning run. When our alarms went off we both first checked our phones, hoping for a text that the other had bailed. No luck. I bundled up in my one sweatshirt, knowing I’d be cold and not caring that the sweatshirt would get sweaty since I’m going home to laundry soon. (I didn’t pack enough warm clothes because I didn’t believe it would actually be cold in FL!)
We began our run, planning to run at least one of the bridges spanning the river near our hotel. We couldn’t figure out how to get at the one nearest the path, so we ended up sticking to the business park waterfront path, which was nicely paved and eerily deserted, but pretty. The run back flew by and soon we found ourselves wandering through the grassy underbelly of the blue bridge in search of the on-ramp. We made it, only to realize we’d missed the entrance to the footpath. We decided to call it a day and find some breakfast! So much for running the bridges…

the workout:

30ish minute jog, quick pace (for me) but felt easy & no hamstring pain

stretching & core