sprints and hills and bears, oh my

“Don’t even think about jumping your bikes.  They are way too heavy and they don’t have shocks!”  Our perky spin instructor with the cool accent and crazy muscular legs was leading us through a ride she’d enjoyed during a recent biking “holiday” in Yosemite.  We were on road bikes for most of the ride as she described the scenery, encouraged us up a 7 mile climb and urged us to pedal faster on the descent.  Then suddenly we were single tracking on mountain bikes.  This is when she instructed us not to jump our bikes. (I’ve only riden a real mountain bike once, on my second day in Breckenridge at 9,000 feet.  I remember sobbing as I hyper-ventilated on the climb, then getting off my bike to walk through each switchback on the way down.  For some reason I have a fond memory of mountain biking.)  Anyhow, during yesterday’s mountain bike portion we landed on a fire road with fresh bear tracks.  Then we spotted the bear and took off at breakneck speed.  I’m quite certain, had I been on an actual bike, I would have wiped out and been somebody’s dinner.  As it was, in the spin class I only nearly reached the point of puking.  I haven’t pushed myself that hard in a long, long time!

Throughout the class, beside the fabulous narration, our instructor reminded us to use core muscles, opening chest and back, relax shoulders and breathe, and alternately dangle toes or feel weight in heels, depending on if we were seated or standing, climbing or sprinting.  I was sorry to leave early (child watch closed 15 minutes before class ended!) but look forward to next Monday’s ride.  We’re racing in the Olympics!

the workout:

35 min spin, 10 miles, 225 calories

weekend food… i mean exercise

New and creative ways to exercise are popping up.  For instance, when I take Baby A to the pool now I alternate between playing with him and using him as a barbell.  The warm pool is shallow and offers just the right amount of support for my aching knees and weak abs.  I do lunges forward and backward across the pool, plié squats and parallel squats while lifting him above my head.  Then I hold a boat pose on the steps with Baby A balanced on my bent knees.  In between each set I help him kick and float and blow bubbles in his face.  He still doesn’t react to the bubbles but one of these days I know I’ll get a smile!

On Saturday my husband took baby duty while I swam laps.  We were looking forward to dim sum for lunch so when I stopped swimming after 600 yards and proclaimed I was too tired to swim more, my husband told me I couldn’t have any dim sum unless I swam 200 more.  I figured if I was swimming 200, I might as well do a few more and make it an even 1/2 mile.  Nothing like food to motivate!

On Sunday, I woke up cheerful after a good night’s sleep and decided I’d whisk Baby A out of the house and let Dad sleep a bit more.  I was excited to go running but dismayed to find the park swarming with runners from the SF marathon.  Seeing so many of them looking exhausted and satisfied made me nostalgic for the days when I too woke up before the sun to race.  I still wake when it’s dark, but to feed a hungry baby, not groggily pull on my sneakers!   Anyhow, I decided to push upstream as best I could with my monster stroller until I couldn’t go any further, then turned back to run across the park and visit the farmers market. (there’s that food thing again!)  My knee was bothering me by the time I arrived, so I leisurely admired the colorful produce, made my selections and ambled home.  By the time we entered the house, Baby A was deep into his morning nap and I enjoyed a blissfully, long shower… while anticipating what I’d eat for brunch.

running with bebe

I’m mildly obsessed with several ideas from the book Bringing up Bebe. The author (who’s American) mentions more than once that French women appear to effortlessly shrink back to pre-pregnancy size soon after they give birth just by “paying attention” to what they eat. She never mentions these women exercising so I had to look for other guidance when it came to working out with Baby A.
I started by looking into running with him- something I’d read on the Bob stroller website I’d need to wait 8 months to start. Every online baby & running forum I found lead me to believe Baby A would be fine and probably even enjoy a run already, so on Wednesday we tried it. Then on Thursday we ran again. We kept it short the first time and he didn’t complain a bit. The next day as soon as we started moving he did his excited baby dance then promptly fell asleep. My knee felt better than usual so I ran a nice loop around Stow lake then took the hill crossover to the Sunset district to run an errand. For my entertainment we jogged back through the alleyway where tourists learn to ride segways, then headed home.
I’m planning on running at least twice a week as I prepare for my sprint triathlon so I’m thrilled Baby A will be joining me!

the workout:
5 min warmup, 16 min jog, 5 min cool down with toe-heel walks

3.4 mile run, averaging just under 11 min mile pace, including walk breaks!

I want to be a ninja warrior

I spent the better part of our flight home yesterday watching the finals for the American Ninja Warrior– and I want to be one.  Those men are tremendous athletes and watching them train and compete was a huge inspiration. Obviously I’m not going to become ninja warrior but I did sign up for my first post-baby triathlon.  And I started training again! 

Last week, for the first time since Baby A was born, I looked at myself in the mirror and liked what I saw.  While we were on the road Baby A gained pounds and inches, all of which seem to have come directly off of me.  I’m not back to where I want to be, but I know a change in my eating habits and adding regular exercise will do the trick.  I began a 10 week training program last week with a couple of swims and a long afternoon of walking in NYC.  That’s not what my plan said to do but it was something.  This morning I brought Baby A to the childcare at my YMCA and did a 45 minute spinning workout.  I was a little nervous about leaving him for the first time, but I was just in the next room and after an hour I returned to find him asleep in the arms of one of the women.  Success!  $5 an hour doesn’t break the bank and the gym is a nice walk from our house.

the workout:

1.6 mile walk, to and from the gym

45 minute spin bike workout-

10 min warm-up, easy spin, spin-ups (accelerate then decelerate over 30 second intervals), pedal with one leg at a time (keep the other attached to the pedal but just along for the ride)

5x 6 min pacing intervals- 4:30 min quick pace (100-110 rpm), 1:30 min recovery

4x 1:30 min climbing intervals- begin by increasing weight on wheel from previous sets, pedal out of seat for 1:15, sit for :15 without adjusting the wheel weight, turn 1/4 turn and repeat

5 min cool-down

Stretching and a few core exercises with Baby A later or while he takes an afternoon nap!