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Archive for May, 2011

loops around the park

I finally rode my new bike again yesterday!  (The fact that I’ve had it for two months and I’m still calling it “new” means I haven’t taken it out enough).  I was determined to enjoy the sunshine and go for a short, easy-ish ride, familiarizing myself more with the gearing and not pushing hard enough that my back would hurt.  I was successful in both goals and my legs even got a mini workout.  Yesterday morning I’d come across an article on Active.com about leg exercises for cyclists so I incorporated the single-leg pedaling on a couple of laps near the beach, then did lunges after my ride down the hallway.

the workout: 6 mile easy spin, focusing on shifting smoothly and using hamstrings

This morning I walked to yoga, then after and intense, balancing pose-filled class, walked the rest of the way to the beach.  I enjoyed the sparkly view of water and heavy clouds over the headlands for a few minutes then looped my way back up intothe park and started my run home.  Not sure if my legs are out of practice on hills, I was low on energy because I didn’t eat much before yoga, or if I was just feeling lazy , but I ended up mixing in quite a bit of walking with my run home.  It gave me an opportunity to snap a few photos of interesting plants and catch my breath before pushing on.  I switched to toe-heel walking for my last few blocks and arrived home ravenously hungry!

the workout: 4 1/2 mile walk/run, run part mostly uphill

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city living

My alarm went off too early this morning in order that I could catch the last express bus downtown for my physical therapy appointment. I missed the bus because I had a panic moment that maybe my car was parked in a Monday street cleaning spot. I sprinted to where I thought the car was (it wasn’t there) then raced back as the bus passed me and I saw my car right around the corner from the bus stop (on a Tuesday street). Luckily I had time to spare so I walked to Geary hoping to catch an express or limited stop bus there. The L pulled up just as I arrived and I searched my wallet but couldn’t find my bus pass and didn’t have $2. Second bus of the morning missed. My favorite scones in the city are made at the Irish bakery next to the bus stop so as I waited for the girl to break my $20 on a raisin scone I watched the final Geary express bus of the morning pass by. Armed with a yummy scone and $2, I waited for my fourth bus of the morning and after a 45 minute ride downtown, miraculously arrived at PT only a few minutes late.

For the first time in months, my hips were barely out of whack and it took almost no time to finish the bodywork and move me on to exercises. I showed off my balance by fixing my hair while standing on one leg on a squishy foam cushion and had no trouble with the usually loathsome sumo squat exercise.

After my appointment I decided to skip the gym and go for a walk on the embarcadero. The wind had mellowed out and I hadn’t explored the ferry building in a while so I wandered in that direction. I made a few fun purchases (muffin tins for cupcakes and huitlacoche mushrooms for a fancy Mexican dish I’m bringing to tonight’s Dining for Women meeting) then walked back in the sunshine toward the bus stop. My fifth bus of the day pulled up right as I arrived and it will even get me home in time to practice before I bike to quartet rehearsal!

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commute brick

I’ve fallen into a great routine of leaving my house an hour early each morning and biking directly to the Presidio YMCA, which happens to be around the corner from our current rehearsal space. In biking to the gym then jumping directly on the treadmill, I’m back into brick workouts! They are mini but feel great and my legs are always slightly tired when I hop back on my bike to pedal the few blocks to work. After two days of treadmill intervals, I switched to running outside. The weather was too gorgeous to pass up a run on Crissy Field this morning.
Both treadmill days have been followed by lunging forward & backward down the hallway to the stretching room, then 10 minutes of core work. I’ve been doing handstands again since I love inversions and have been told to avoid headstands & final compression. On Thursday I kicked up against the wall, thought of lifting out of my shoulders and actually found myself balancing with both feet away from the wall!

This morning after locking my bags and bike at the gym, I ran directly to the Crissy Field Cafe to put in a sandwich order, doing squats and lunges while I waited in line. I then continued toward the promenade and ran into a wall of people beginning a Cystic Fibrosis walk, accompanied by bagpipes. Rather than weave my way through the crowd, I pulled off my shoes & socks and took off down the beach. East Beach is too steep to run for a long time but was fine for my intervals and my feet welcomed the cool sand. I returned to the cafe to pick up my sandwich, ran back to the gym and had 5 minutes left for glute and oblique exercises.

the workouts:

1. Treadmill intervals
:30 walk, 3:00 easy jog
:20 walk, 2:00 run
:10 walk, 1 min faster run
:30 walk, :30 sprint
repeat 3 or more times

2. Treadmill intervals- all speeds quicker than previous workout and each run interval faster than previous
:30 walk, 3:30 run
:30 walk, 2:30 run
:30 walk, 1:30 run
:30 walk, :30 sprint
repeat 3 or more time

3. Outdoor run
4 X 6-7 minute intervals, mix up speed, wind and sand

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Sitting in the sauna has become my favorite workout.  Seriously, I sweat more than I do exercising outside in San Francisco and it only takes 15 minutes.  Sauna followed by a cold plunge (or shower) is one of the few habits I’m keeping from the cleanse I did at the beginning of the month.  Most everything gradually went out window, but there are a few tidbits that work well for me in “normal life”.  Firstly, I realized that week just how much I ate out of habit instead of hunger and I’m now eating much smaller portions.  I’m trying to stay aware of how much and when I eat, and pay attention to each bite.  At home this is easy; out or at work less easy but still do-able.  I’m also trying to keep the 12 hour window between dinner and breakfast so my stomach has time to fully digest then rest.  This can be a challenge because eating dinner before 8 or 9 is unusual for us because it’s often late by the time we’re home making dinner or out with friends.  However, I’m not as hungry first thing in the morning as I used to be since I still begin every morning with a short yoga sequence and drink plenty of water before I take my barley green.  Breakfast happens eventually.  I’ve eliminated bread in the morning and mostly enjoy yogurt with chia seeds, fruit, eggs or a Japanese style breakfast with rice, fish and veggies.  My workouts have not gotten back to the level they were at before I began the cleanse, partly from lack of time but mostly because my back is feeling pretty good and I know that jumping back into things won’t be helpful.  My new yoga studio offers a great variety of classes and I’m finding more flexibility and fluidity in my back each day.  Last Friday I even sat through a double rehearsal day free of pain.  That was a massive milestone, which had as much to do with all of my new habits as a new hyper-awareness when I play.  I realized finally that each time I took a breath and lifted my right arm, I was readying myself to play by tensing my left lower back and glute.  Not helpful.  In just over a week back to work I’ve trained myself to automatically check in with those muscles before each new start and I’m getting wonderful results!

In the non-Wagnerian workout department, I’m gradually adding physical training back into my daily regime.  I’m keeping it short and sweet (12 laps in the pool, 2 minute running intervals, 15 minutes of stairs, etc).  I’ve become totally addicted to biking to work and the climb out of the Presidio after a long day is a fun way to sweat out any remaining tension from the last black-note passage.  I’m sad to have given up the June half-ironman I was hoping to do and the next race on August 7th is not looking promising either, but keeping my body healthy and playing (most of) the correct notes in Wagner is a bigger priority this summer.  There will be time for racing later!

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Day 7

I went to another great yoga class this morning and, once again, enjoyed a sunny bike ride to and from the studio.  I noticed the rest of the day when going up and down stairs that my legs are really sore from the past few day’s yoga classes!  My morning was carefully planned to accommodate practicing so I could spend the afternoon downtown for appointments and enjoy a little free shopping time.  I ate a very early, light lunch in preparation for my first cleanse-related appointment and somehow that sustained me until I was on the bus home at 7pm, at which time I became ravenous and started not feeling too well.  The idea of going home to make another smoothy or come up with ingredients for a soup was so unappealing that when a friend suggested Shabu, I jumped at the idea.  I figured, I could stay pretty on track with how I’m eating (beside the fact that dinner is supposed to be liquid).  I held the tofu on my veggie platter, left all of the udon and ate only a few spoonfuls of the white rice.   Normally I finish every last bite but when I found myself full halfway through, I ate a few more bits of lettuce, spinach and the last portabella mushroom, then called it quits.  I’m still feeling uncomfortably full and my stomach isn’t thrilled.  Perhaps it shrunk this week or maybe the ingredients in either the sesame sauce or miso broth didn’t agree with me.  Either way, dinner was delicious!

breakfast- coconut water & mango green smoothy, lunch- brown rice, lettuce w/ sprouts, pesto, dinner- Shabu

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Day 6

I’m not all that inspired to write tonight.  I got through another day feeling really good but antsy to begin eating other foods.  My only exercise was a few short walks and the sun was hotter than usual- quite a treat around here!  I ran into my neighbor leaving the house on his bike with a beach towel as I came home this afternoon to begin my practicing.  I sure hope this weather holds up for me to do a beach run later in the week!

breakfast- watermelon juice with cucumber & chia seeds, lunch– buckwheat noodles with sesame sauce and veggies (recipe coming soon on my recipe page!), snack-fudge coconut “ice cream” bar (snacking is discouraged but every ingredient in this delicious treat fits the cleanse!), dinner- almond base, mango & cherry smoothy

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Day 5

This evening’s yoga class taught me that I’m not ready for too many forward bends or twists but that my body is able to do more than I thought!  I also found a spinal release and lengthening in handstand, which I haven’t done in quite a while.  The class was a fusion class, sans yoga mats, with many rapid movements following our breath.  I left it with a deep sense of calm and enjoyed my slow walk home.  As I told my husband about my day, emphasizing my good feelings and realizations in the past few days, he commented that I seem to be having a “hippy” week.  Call it whatever… I like it!

I started my morning with a ride to KM’s house so that we could take her dog out.  We walked and ran through Sutro Park and Land’s End, pausing as Birch marked his territory, commenting on the sheer beauty of our surroundings.  I was low on energy by the end of the run and had planned to bike across town to Rainbow, so I helped myself to a Lara bar, discovering too late that I’d grabbed my favorite flavor- pb&j (peanut butter is on the “no” list).  I thoroughly enjoyed it then took off on my ride.  At the end of the park, I detoured to Whole Foods instead.  They didn’t have everything I wanted but in consideration of afternoon practice time, it was an efficient shopping trip.  My favorite purchase was the organic watermelon (on sale and from Mexico- I’m not doing well with shopping locally this week!).  As a special treat, we juiced it, including the white part of the skin.  It was totally delicious and after being so extravagant as to eat soup AND juice tonight, I treated myself to a spoonful of almond butter with cacao nibs and agave nectar.  Yum!

breakfast- pineapple smoothy, lunch- chicken wings w/ brown rice & salad w/ sprouts, sauerkraut & pesto (yes, weird combo), dinner- cauliflower garlic soup, watermelon juice

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