California sunshine

The fabled California sunshine has descended upon us and with it, warm weather and spring-time energy!  It seems a pity to do anything besides be outside when I don’t have work, so I’ve done the logical thing and spent the past two days outside.

Yesterday I woke up early and dragged my husband out of bed to ride the Headlands.  By the time he had his coffee and we got to the bridge, it was already after 9, but fortunately nobody else had gotten the memo that it was a gorgeous day and the bridge was still fairly empty.  We passed a few bicycle cops on the bridge then pushed our way through the construction noise at the bottom of the Headlands.  As we ascended, the stillness took over and the top was gloriously calm.  We enjoyed the peaceful morning for a few minutes then raced back down so I could get to the farmers market before all the good produce was gone! We were amused to see the same bicycle cops we’d passed on the bridge, riding up the headlands, chatting easily, pant legs rolled up.  Guess they wanted a change of scenery!

Climbing on my SuperSix is getting easier and I’m now totally comfortable descending at a good clip in the drop bars.  My back is still getting used to the new position but luckily my massage yesterday afternoon helped iron out the kinks!

the workout: 12ish mile ride

Today I awoke early again, but this time because it sounded as though a loud chopper were hovering outside my window.  Helicopters out here are never a good sign- usually they’re out to rescue a surfer in trouble.  I haven’t heard yet what happened this morning.

I sent out a few texts to see if anyone was free to ride and I heard back from a new friend.  We met at the bridge and rode leisurely to Sausalito while we chatted and got to know each other better.  We waited for a third friend at Mike’s Bikes then I accompanied them to the end of the bike path.  We said our goodbyes and I sped home, realizing I would be late to meet GC for a run.  I made it back to my house in record time (SuperSix is FAST and my legs are getting stronger by the day!), choked back a chocolate cliff shot, changed my shoes, carried my Bianchi downstairs then rode across the park.  I was late meeting GC and as I locked up my bike and started walking toward the beach, she asked if I intended to run with my bike helmet on.  Oops!  We ran to the end of the beach path, then walked/ran back up the beach and turned around again on the path.  There are very few days a year when I can wear at tank top on Ocean beach without freezing.  I took full advantage of the temperature and enjoyed running in one of my Nuu-Muu exercise dresses!

I was absolutely starving by the end of our run so GC treated me to a delicious lunch at Outerlands before I biked home.  There really is nothing better than exercising with friends in perfect weather with beautiful scenery!

the workout: 25 mile bike, 1 hr run/walk

crunches in hebrew

After running on the beach with my sisters and swimming laps in the outdoor pool the past few days, I found the exercise room in my latest hotel mildly depressing. We’re back to cold, drizzly weather in Macon, GA and after a late arrival last night, we all opted for sleep rather than exercise this morning. I decided to try for a wake-me-up workout between rehearsal and masterclass this afternoon but one obstacle after another prevented me from doing much. I began on the elliptical since I was still too full from lunch to run. The shaky foot pads meant I had to stabilize myself by placing my feet wider than hip distance. Try walking that way and you’ll see why that doesn’t work! So I stepped onto the treadmill, thinking to at least walk or jog, but the machine was so old, stiff and noisy, I didn’t think my body could take the pounding today. Next idea: upper body weights. Oh yeah, my arms are tired and I have a concert tonight. So, maybe lunges and squats? That right knee, which I thought was only externally bruised this morning during yoga seems to actually hurt. So, I finally found myself on the floor doing core exercises, mostly different varieties of crunches, leg lifts and bridges. Responding back to my podcast in Hebrew was no easy task as breathed out for each motion. I did a thorough core workout then as I stretched backward over an exercise ball, I realized that upside down I had no ability to roll my Rs the correct way. Oh well. I get an A for effort today!

with my sisters

A chorus of birdsong woke us earlier than we were ready to be awake this morning but by the time we were out running, the humidity already felt uncomfortably heavy. Nevertheless, I loved my short run with both sisters! We were instructed by our host to always stay to the right so we’d eventually loop back through the neighborhood to his house. We somehow still managed to take a few wrong turns but did end up back where we began half hour later. We stretched, showered and started rehearsing.

Many hours later, when our arms and brains had had enough, we packed up our instruments and walked to the pool. I taught JA how to do flip turns, attempted more abs exercises on the side of the pool then entertained both sisters with a “synchronized swimming routine”. Luckily that was filmed for our future entertainment.

Water therapy

I sat on airplanes for most of the day yesterday so when I finally arrived at my hotel and saw the gorgeous outdoor pool below my room, I didn’t waste any time changing into my swimsuit. Unfortunately, everyone else at the Sarasota Hyatt had the same idea so I couldn’t really swim for fear of being taken out by a flying football or kicked in the head by an enthusiastic kid. I did a few laps then settled myself under a waterfall, enjoying the massage as water pummeled my back and shoulders. Later in the evening I joined friends for a pre-dinner stroll on the beach. I love walking on a warm beach barefoot- such a change from home!

This morning I was the first person in the pool and had it to myself for a good fifteen minutes, although most of the lounge chairs were already being saved by towels while other guests finished breakfast. I had no desire to bake in the sun and hadn’t bothered with sunscreen so I kept my workout short. I swam several luxurious laps around the squiggly perimeter of the pool then tread water, alternately using arms and legs individually. I finished up with a little water running and jumping jacks.

Before dinner this evening I took another dip and used the side of the pool for support as I did single leg lifts to the side (butt), double leg lifts to the front (abs) and full body raises with both arms for leverage on the pool deck (lats & upper back). I miss swim team but am loving the outdoor pools and Florida weather!

motivation through friends

The last few days I’ve been particularly unmotivated to exercise. The weather has been unpredictable and mostly unpleasant with grey skies and rain most conducive to drinking tea at home! Luckily I had three motivated workout buddies to help me get out the door.
On Sunday night my sister & I made plans with GC to do a Monday morning run to the beach. Of course I was the last to wake up and still groggy by the time we met at the park. All of the paths were muddy, littered with fallen branches. Exposed slick tree roots made it necessary to look down constantly and after a short time we decided to stick to the road.
We chatted on the easy run down to the beach and were rewarded with a stunning view of the expansive beach and grey, tumultuous waves. After a brief walking break, we turned around and started toward home. We kept a good pace on the steady climb, encouraging ourselves and discussing how much easier it was to run with friends. Still, I was thoroughly exhausted by the time we left the park. Our altered course was slightly longer and harder than the usual trails!
the workout: 4+ mile run

Yesterday, I had hoped to ride my bike after bringing my sister to the airport but the rain had already begun by the time I returned home. The afternoon of cleaning, packing and general pre-trip organization got away from me and before I knew it, my husband was on his way home from work. Instead of skipping my workout completely, I made us a fresh juice for energy and invited him to the gym. He was happy to accompany me and we found ourselves side by side elliptical trainers. I punched in a half hour cross training program and set a fast pace with no resistance. I realized a while back that resistance on the elliptical irritated my back but I could cover the same distance as I would running if I treated my workouts as low impact run replacements. I pay constant attention to my form, only holding on lightly for balance when I’m “running” backward and I follow my pacing on the machine to be sure I’m not getting slower. The half hour flew by as my husband and I discussed our days and pizza toppings for dinner. (We ended up making one with fresh pesto, tomato and mozzarella; the other with marinara, leek & mushroom, and gruyere.) I concluded my time at the gym with stretching and core exercises. I added back in a couple I really dislike but I think are necessary for the continued balancing and healing of my back. I’ll post them on my Core page next week.
the workout:
30 min elliptical, 3 miles, HR ZN 2-3 fat burning

running for food

I’m not one of those people who exercises purely so I can eat whatever I like, but many of my workouts do somehow revolve around food.  Yesterday I went to a YMCA in the south bay to kill time between a gig and meeting my husband for dinner.  Since I’d taken it really easy with just a short swim on Friday I wanted to fit in a good treadmill workout.  I tuned my ipod to a Hebrew podcast and set the treadmill to an interval workout.  I started out slowly and it felt horrible but I upped the speed and knew I’d get into it soon.  I was wrong.  My treadmill was set to slow down every time the incline went up so it put me back to a walk pace just as I noticed the food channel playing on the treadmill next to me.  Cupcake Wars.  I’d seen the show once before and I don’t even particularly love cupcakes but it’s so much fun to watch people freak out while they make edible works of art!  I decided to find the channel on my own TV and make the most of the walk/run intervals my treadmill offered me.  I was feeling much too lazy to bother coming up with my own workout.  I increased my speed for both the walking and running portions and did my best not to get motion sick while I ran and watched cupcakes fill the screen!   The show ended just as my half hour concluded so I did an extra long stretch and core work while I glanced back at what the Iron Chefs were creating with maple syrup.

This morning my sister and I did another run/walk across the park to the farmers market.  Apparently because of the impending rain, half the farmers hadn’t shown up and half were still setting up.  We picked up strawberries to top the bread pudding I’d made yesterday from leftover challah (a new recipe from Friday night- which was delicious but reminded me more of my grandma’s cream cheese pound cake than light & fluffy challah).  The apple lady recognized me from the Wednesday market and gave me the cheaper Wednesday market prices, plus pulled out the 50 cent/lb juicing apples from their hiding place.  For juicing, we bought carrots and beets, which were topped with the most gorgeous greens.  We’ll saute those to go with soup tomorrow afternoon!   On the way back across the park, it started raining again and we tried jogging but decided we were already soaked and the bags were too awkward to run with, so we enjoyed a brisk walk home, then warmed up with bread pudding and green tea.

I love running for food!

cycling and thoughts on radiation

I claim temporary insanity when I decided to bike across the bridge at noon today.  Every tourist in San Francisco had the same idea on this beautiful sunny day.  I almost turned around when I saw the madness but stuck to my route and meandered across the bridge, then turned off for the headlands instead of staying in the bike train down into Sausalito.  The beginning of the headlands felt just as difficult as last time but the rest of the climb began to feel reasonable and, perhaps, even easier than it used to be on my Bianchi.  By the time I reached the top, I was huffing and puffing so I stopped to take in the view.  It never gets any less gorgeous, no matter how often I ride up there!  

I went back down the front instead of the steep backside since I was riding solo, and was able to do my entire descent in drop bars, like AC had taught me to do last time.  It actually felt easy and I was in complete control at all times!  As I neared the bridge, I attached myself to the wheel of a dude in a red jersey.  He looked hard-core and was riding without a helmet (stupid, I think) but generally that means two things around here: pro or wanna-be pro.  Either way, he was a sure bet for an easy bridge crossing so I made it my business not to lose him.  Part way across we picked up two other cyclists and rode as a pack the rest of the way.  We were so close together that I couldn’t see anything in front of the leader and we almost collided accordion-style when he abruptly stopped.  One biking tourist got stuck in the middle of our pack and general confusion ensued as two tried to go one way, two tried to go the other and he wove his way in and out.  Oops!

Once off the bridge, we four continued on the same route and as we climbed the last little hill, I felt as though I could have zipped by all of them (SuperSix is sooo fast!) but out of respect for not wanting the boys to feel bad, I stayed behind :).

As I stretched and did my core exercises I read some news and looked at different nutritional e-mails waiting in my Inbox.  All of the talk and worry is about radiation and preventative measures we can take.  After a bit more research, I’m pumping up the things I already eat/take.  I put in a new order of Jade Greenzymes and Mushroom Immunity from Nikken in case they run out.  Also, I like the list she’s put together on Edible Goddess.

1. Barley greens and green tea are both know for high antioxidant content and protection against cancer and radiation therapy.  2. Kelp (seaweed) is a food source with very high levels of iodine.  3. Mushrooms (particularly Reishi) help protect the body against radiation damage.