ask a bike messenger

Jury duty.  Fortunately I slipped through the cracks last year when Baby A was a newborn, but I’ve now reported for duty three times in the past five years!  Yesterday I hired a sitter and left the house late on my bike.  I raced toward the civic center area then glanced at my summons to confirm the address as I stopped for a red light.  Surprise!  I was supposed to be heading toward the Hall of Justice in a different part of the city.  The same part of the city where I walked to recover my towed car less than a week ago!  I’m pretty good with bike lanes around the city but this was one trafficky route I wasn’t familiar with.  I didn’t have time to stop and call my husband or look up a route so I did the next best thing.  I asked a bike messenger.  He thought about it then told me the best route for sticking to bike lanes and avoiding wrong way one-way streets.  I cruised through the traffic and made it to the courthouse right on time but found the streets blocked by firetrucks and mobs of people outside.  Fire drill or fire?  I’m guessing it wasn’t anything too serious because they had us lining up to go back inside within half hour.  The best part of this (beside extra time on my bike) was that because of the delay, several cases didn’t proceed and I was let go.  Fingers crossed for next year.  IMG_7261

I’m back on a roll with my city riding.  On Sunday, we did our first family ride across the city.  We wiggled our way to Dolores park for asunny afternoon playdate.  My husband’s chain kept slipping and the ride home in low gear was cold and foggy.  We also stayed at the park too long and Baby A was ready to be done.  Better planning next time.

My body is craving a run but when I attempted it yesterday morning I found that my neck was still hurting from last Tuesday’s fall.  My half hour massage over the weekend helped a little but I’m sure the full hour I had to cancel when my car was towed would have been even better!  Although impatient to get moving, I’m being gentle with myself and I even tried a POP pilates for beginners video this morning.  It focused on abs, legs and arms.  I could have done without the instructor’s extra commentary but I learned something about form and enjoyed the 28 minute workout.  And nap time is great for finding quick, free workouts on YouTube!

the workouts:  20 miles of city riding over two days, 28 min beginner pilates video


My first thought this morning was, “It’s saturday. I can sleep in!”. Then I realized it is Tuesday. And I remembered I have a baby so we don’t sleep in anymore. Oh well. I haven’t run since the Dish run Friday. I sorta lost motivation after my race was cancelled, so I IMG_7197thought running with others might get me going again. The Y has a running club that meets two mornings a week so I reserved a space in childcare ahead of time then dropped Baby A off this morning at 9. Six of us ran a loop near Crissy Field and all was going well until I went around a blockade and forgot to watch my step. Down I went flat onto the gravel. Road rash stings and so does digging dirt out of skin. One hand, both knees, an elbow, a leg and a broken water bottle… ugh! The new running outfit is covered in dirt but the material held up against the road. The ladies kindly helped me clean up and bandage as best I could, then we continued back toward the Y. I did enjoying meeting some interesting runners and I hope to join them for another run soon.

My neck started hurting a bit and I’ve now spent a good part of Baby A’s nap time to coordinate a massage with a baby sitter to no avail. Finding stillness in my days is wonderful but I’d better focus on remaining present while I’m in motion!

the workout: 4.9 mile run

motion & stillness

I enjoyed a nostalgic calm moment yesterday in baby yoga class. We were singing the savasana song and maybe one out of ten kids was relaxed beside a parent. Most of us were partially lying down, eyes half open, watching our munchkin steal a water bottle, settle onto another person’s mat, climb the curtains, anything beside being still. I sang a particular note and was transported to another time in my life when yoga classes, meditation and wholistic retreats were more the norm. I’ve been thinking lately that Baby A seems especially active and uninterested in ever sitting calmly. It occurred to me that he never sees me enjoying a still moment so how would he know to do it himself? I’ve added in three yoga breaths each day as I hold him before nap time. Some days he is instantly in tune with my breathing and relaxes, other days he make it through two breaths then can’t possible contain himself and bursts out of my arms back to his books.

I’ve committed to observing a few moments of stillness whenever possible. Yesterday it came in the form of lying in bed, eyes closed for a few late afternoon minutes while Baby A tweaked my nose and banged my arm up and down. Today I did my own version of a chakra meditation then fell into a deep relaxation while Baby A napped. I woke up and felt a delicious calm pulsing through my limbs. I stretched my legs and was reminded of the soreness setting in from yesterday’s (really) difficult run.

After our packed morning of playground, non- silence in yoga and a delightful lunch date with new friends, I drove to the south bay during nap time. I made my way to an entrance of the Stanford Dish and parked in the shade while Baby A finished his nap. The second he woke I changed into running clothes, unloaded the running stroller & slathered sunscreen all over both of us. He wasn’t pleased to move from carseat to stroller but I crossed my fingers and starting walking toward the first of the crazy hills. As I climbed, I peered over my shoulder at the burnt orange rooftops dotting the university and was transported back to Boulder’s Flatirons overlooking CU. I miss Colorado but felt an adrenalin rush as I realized I was doing something I pictured a hard core Colorado mountain mom doing; Running while pushing a jogging stroller up and down the hills. The heat and the hills did me in but I ran as much of the loop as possible and was thoroughly satisfied with myself by the end. Baby A, on the other hand was decidedly unsatisfied with his predicament and we listened to loud children’s music for the second half of the run. So much for communing with nature. But also much better than listening to a screaming baby.

Run complete, we set off to find a park before my little bundle of energy exploded. It’s a constant challenge to find balance in our days and anyone who knows me will agree that I err on the side of over-active, but being in motion makes me happy. And happy mama means happy baby!

the workout: 3.68 mile run/walk, hot & challenging



boston-marathon-finsih-lineThere are no words to express the shock and horror I felt when I saw the NYtimes alert pop onto my screen Monday morning. My thoughts and prayers go out to the runners, families and supporters of the Boston Marathon. Today I ran because I could and tomorrow I will do the same. My upcoming half marathon has been cancelled but I will find another and I will run in solidarity with the runners of America and the runners of the world.

fashion dilema

I take my workout outfits seriously. You’d never know it from the rest of my wardrobe. So, imagine my dismay when I walked into Lululemon yesterday and found that their spring colors are similar to the other hideous pastel-ish neon shades I’ve been seeing everywhere. I almost turned around and walked out but I really wanted a new running shirt like the other one I purchased shortly after Baby A was born. I wear it several times a week and I don’t do wash several times a week. Enough said. My mission was to find a shirt of the same design one size smaller in a nice blue or green. Nope, the least offensive of the offensive colors offered was a peachy thing. I grabbed a few pairs of running shorts (it’s too warm for my usual tights these days) and found a dressing room. I had only 15 minutes before swim class and hadn’t bothered to put Baby A in his stroller so the second I plopped him on the floor beside me, he made a quick escape under the door and delighted the salesgirls with his surprise appearance. The man in the dressing room next to me was less excited to see a baby head appear under his door. Luckily I had enough clothes on to swoop in and grab Baby A before he completely disappeared into this man’s dressing room. I’m sure I’ve never made such quick decisions to spend so much money on workout clothes before. Not sure I even looked at the prices. I took a shirt, a pair of shorts and the pretty pink long sleeve pullover the salesgirl brought me. I figured if the clothes didn’t work, I could bring them back.

Fast forward to another gloriously sunny day today. I donned my new bright running outfit and realized I’d forgotten all about the slippery material rule. If two items are made from slippery materials and they rub together, they will not stay in place. I spent my entire run yanking my shirt down as it rode up and exposed my belly. Too late to bring it back.

IMG_7132Baby A refused all napping attempts today until finally, after he’d crawled up and down a hill in the meadow and showed off some new IMG_7133ballet moves, he was ready for his nap and I was ready for a run. Unfortunately I’d forgotten after Monday’s run that the stroller tires were going flat. Ugh. Must remember to pump up tires first thing tomorrow morning. I made it to the beach and back before he woke, then he opened his eyes just in time for me to strap him into the car and race to the Y. My favorite Pilates class is Wednesday afternoons and I almost never go. Today’s class was a perfect combination of work and stretch. I tried for the entire class to remember the order of the exercises so I could do them again on my own. I retured to childcare and found Baby A screaming and one of the caregivers trying to wipe his nose (probably the reason he was screaming). I smiled, picked him up and gave him a hug. All better.

the workout: 5.69 miles, too many stops to keep track of pace

pilates class: back- warm up, hundred, neck pull, teaser, alternating crunch, jackknife, one leg circle + stretching, seated- twist, saw, bridge, belly- superman, plank, one leg kick, birddog + hip stretch

mommy guilt

I remember my mom saying that if she didn’t get me to the park a few times a day when I was a baby, she felt guilty.  Until I became a mom myself, I thought it was silly to worry about such a thing since, as far as I can tell, it didn’t have a lasting impact on me.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important for kids to spend as much time playing outside as possible, but this morning I finally understood the mommy guilt.  My plan was to run half my long run with Baby A, stop for a good romp at the playground, feed him a snack, then finish my run.  However, I didn’t even get into a groove until mile 3 and the thought of stopping then having to do more after a break sounded horrible, so I kept running.  Around mile 5 Baby A started fussing so we headed toward the playground but again I decided to add another loop and try to stretch it to 7 miles before stopping so I could simply enjoy my walk home.  At mile 6 I looked down and he had fallen asleep.  Before we even got to the playground.  Poor baby.

In the end, it all works out okay.  I completed my long run, he is still sleeping peacefully in his stroller and we’ll have plenty of time for playing outside later.

the workout: 7 mile run, 9:35 min/mi average, 664 calories

hangover cure

Back in the days before mommy-hood, I liked to sweat out the occasional hangover with a good run.  Last night we went out on an impromptu double date (after trying 5 sitters I found one who was available at the last minute!) and polished off a few bottles of sake.  Since my drinking consists of an occasional glass of wine these days, after several glasses of sake I was feeling pretty good.  I drank a big glass of water at the post- dinner bar then slept a solid six hours.  Morning came too soon and I think I was hungover.  It’s been so long that I barely remember the feeling.  Getting up for a run sounded like the worst idea in the world, so I passed Baby A off to my husband and went back to sleep.  Yay for Daddy time!  Once Baby A went down for his morning nap it was either time for me to take another nap or hit the trails.  I knew that if I didn’t do my long run today, it would need to be done pushing the running stroller tomorrow.  I had three goals: run at least 6 miles, see the beach, and stay on trails.  Check, check and check.

I made my way toward the trail to beach loop I used to run before I was pregnant.  I passed the disc golf course, the slimy green model yacht club pond, the buffalo grazing in their huge pen, and many cherry trees in bloom.  I hit the beach at just under three miles, so I ran along the beach path for a ways then climbed back up the park on the Sunset side.  I took one walk break when I didn’t think I could run uphill any longer, then cut across the park in a homeward direction.  I’m tired and need a good stretch, but any remnants of alcohol have left my system.  Now I’m going to enjoy a huge plate of chicken fried rice freshly made by my husband!

the workout: 6.20 miles, 58:23, 9:25 min/mi ave

the best plans… almost

I planned ahead and booked Baby A into YMCA childcare so I could attend a spinning class this morning.  Then I went to bed at 9:30 last night and slept 10 hours!  I actually woke up before he did this morning and we rushed through breakfast so I could get to my class.  I arrived at 8:30, 15 minutes early to class, right as childcare opened.  I asked for a spinning class pass and was told the class was full.  I missed the last pass by a minute!  Wearing flip flops with only my biking shoes in my bag, my only option was to do my own spin workout on one of the bikes in the cardio area.  Luckily the other 5 people who were also turned away from the class didn’t decide to spin on their own also, so there was a free bike.  My workout would have been better had I attended class and I really just wanted to zone out and do what somebody instructed me to do today.   I managed to complete a respectable 30 minute spin workout, then round out my gym hour with some core strengthening exercises and stretches.

the workout: 30 min spin, warmup, (10:00 sprint intervals- 1:00 min sprint, :30 rest ), (10:0o min climb- :30 seated, :30 standing, increase resistance each set), (10:00 speed drills- each minute increase rpm), cool down,  exercise ball push-ups, cardio ball knee tuck, plank

Yesterday, before the hour of 10am, Baby A and I had completed a run, attended a hilarious and chaotic baby yoga class and eaten breakfast.  I laugh as I look back to my past 11 years of late night opera schedule and think that during some of those years my days regularly began at 10 when I woke up and rushed to rehearsal.  Then I look back even further to my days in college, when my sister and I would bike to the swimming pool for an early workout and still be at school by 7:30 when the doors opened so we could nab practice rooms.  And even before that, all through high school, I was up at 5am practicing violin before school so I could do swim team, soccer, dance classes and theater after school.  Sleeping until 7:30 then packing my morning seems to be pretty par for the course in my life!

the workout: 3.31 mile run, 9:08 min/mi ave, 3 mile afternoon walk

Thursday morning I almost swam an entire mile.  I hadn’t done this since…  okay, I can’t actually remember the last time.  This particular morning I decided Baby A would be happier at YMCA daycare than in the pool and I would be happier in the big pool than the baby pee pool.  It was an inspired decision and a plan I will repeat again soon!  My only error was forgetting the lap count in a mile.  1800 yards, not 1600.  I didn’t swim fast enough to fit in the final 200. I swam Thursday because I ran Wednesday night.  Haven’t done that in a while either.

the workout: 1600 yd swim

My Wednesday evening run was a last minute workout decision.  I’d planned to swim before heading to my recording session but alas,IMG_6960 Baby A didn’t wake up early enough for me to feed him then fit in a swim.  And I wasn’t about to wake him!  After the session, I stopped by REI to purchase a hiking backpack so that Baby A and I can start training for summer hikes in Jackson Hole WY.  By the time I made it home, my husband was heading toward Hot Sauce and Panko, a local wings joint.  Instead of skipping it since I’d already eaten lunch, I tried chicken katsu on a waffle.  Delicious but not great pre-run food.  A few hours later as we prepared Baby A for bed, I decided I really did crave that run.  It was cold and almost dark but I opted for a run outside instead of wasting time driving to the gym.  I passed several other runners and a swarm of people attending an event at the Conservatory of Flower.  The greenhouse was beautifully lit and I did a couple sets of stairs near there so I could watch the crowd before running on.

the workout: 1.87 mile run, 9:35 min/mi ave

Tuesday was another gym day.  I forgot my phone, hence had no entertainment and didn’t think I’d make it through a long half hour on a machine.  So I mixed it up.  5 minutes cardio, 10 minutes strength training, x 3

the workout: 5 min elliptical, arm, chest and shoulder work, 5 min bike, arm, chest and shoulder work, 5 min elliptical, core

On Monday, the wonderful world of trail running reopened itself to me.  I’d tried it briefly on Saturday when Baby A started fussing and he calmed down immediately.  I tried it for a longer period of time during Monday’s run and my knees thanked me.  I checked with our pediatrician just to be certain all the bumps wouldn’t harm Baby A in any way and he said something to the effect of my child being indestructible because he’s so big.  At 1, his weight is 80th percentile, height 75th and head size still in the 90s!

the workout: 3:24 mile run, 9:49 min/mi ave, 3.21 mile afternoon walk