beer abs

I heard the sound of a duck quacking on my morning run and instantly looked to see if my husband was calling.  Um no… just a regular old duck quacking.  When my son hears the quack quack coming from my phone he yells “Abba!” (dad), already identifying the ring.  That said, he quacks whenever he sees ducks, birds, or other small animals also.  Our run was weirdly humid but still IMG_8637cold.  Baby A was dressed in his new bear suit, looking cuter than ever and he was content playing with his unopened banana for most of the run.  We ran a short distance since I’m still tired and sore from the past couple of days.  Rewind…

Last night I was wandering around drinking a beer, not really helping my husband prepare dinner when I realized I hadn’t done my ab work yet.  I started the 30-day Ab Challenge  a few days ago and am determined not to miss a day.  I had already worked hard at my PT appointment so with fatigued muscles and half a beer in my belly, my ab exercises were a little sketchy.  I don’t recommend it.

On Tuesday I went nuts on the treadmill.  I wanted to see how 5 miles felt so I pushed the Bob to gym, checked Baby A into childcare then jumped onto the treadmill and dialed up the speed.  Keeping a higher average speed outside is way easier than a fast constant speed without change of grade on the treadmill.  Plus my body doesn’t like the constant pounding.  Toward the end, the treadmill started doing it’s annoying automatic cool down and I kept pressing the buttons back up to the speed I wanted.  I was annoyed and full of adrenaline so I started sprinting and finished my workout that way.  Exhausted, I stretched then found a pull-up bar.  I can’t do full pull-ups without assistance but the bar is near a wall so the trainer showed me how to run up the wall and use my legs only as much as needed.  Much harder than the weight assisted pull-up machine.

Monday was a 4 mile run day.  I can’t remember anything about it other than I was wishing it was still Sunday and I was soaking happily at the bathhouse.  My Sunday afternoon hour at Kabuki was entirely rejuvenating and brought back some funny memories from our honeymoon in Japan.  In one little mountain town after a day of cycling, our host brought us to a local bathhouse.  One woman spoke English and she complimented me on my knowledge of bathing etiquette.  Then, less than a week later we were in Kyoto at a huge fancy onsen and as I was walking into the stadium-like sauna I tripped over one woman and dropped my small head towel on another woman’s head.  Did I ever feel like the dumb American!

miles add up

Running never felt so good as it did yesterday afternoon. Funny how a few days off from something can keep it fresh and IMG_8603desirable. I was running solo so I took to the trails near my house and discovered a new three-miler that felt good on my knees, took me through small groves of Redwoods and over the top of a waterfall. Feeling nostalgic and missing my sisters, I ran by the white pillars that were part of a disastrous Albers Trio photo shoot. There was a blue heron perched atop, soaking up the sunshine. I could have kept running but knew better than to push myself too hard after a week off.

My week away from running wasn’t exactly because I didn’t want to run but because my foot was hurting again and I didn’t have much free time. I could have run on a couple of lunch breaks but I chose to spend them wandering lazily around Hayes Valley, enjoying the sunshine. My left foot is now hurting in a new place and my physical therapist said she hopes it’s not a stress fracture. Doesn’t sound like it from what she described but I’m paying close attention to what causes pain. Ironically, it doesn’t seem to be running, but unclipping the foot from my bike pedal is questionable. For a couple of days my foot was totally stuck to the pedal each time I tried to unclip for a red light so I had to get used to unclipping my right foot instead. This is no easy task- after doing left foot first for the past 13 years, getting used to the opposite side feels as awkward as when I attempt to play my violin right-handed. I did finally fix the problem but my foot still hurts and I’m still totally clumsy with the right foot.

On the bright side, now that I’m fully commuting by bike, I’m getting plenty of right foot unclipping practice and the miles are adding up. In the first two weeks of work I biked 67 miles, which means during opera season I’ll bike around 120 miles every month. Which is approximately 120 more miles per month than I was biking before opera season began. I remembered to turn on my Charity Miles app each day and rode for GirlUp, an organization striving toward a world where all girls, no matter where they live, have the opportunity to become educated, healthy, safe, counted and positioned to be the next generation of leaders.

Now I’m taking a rest day and while Baby A naps, I’m heading to Kabuki bath house for a soak with a friend!

questionable bike routes

I’d like to file a complaint with the Google maps app bike directions team. Or maybe with the folks who decide which city streets are decorated with cute bike decals labeling the most appropriate bike routes through the city. And while I’m at it, I propose a law prohibiting trucks with sickening exhaust from using these routes. Rant closed.

It was obviously my choice which route to take biking from the Presidio Y pool to the opera house. And it was also my choice to swim then do water running sprints before I chose which way to climb out of the Marina. I haven’t done a real workout in so long that I’ve forgotten what it feels like to have sore muscles.

My arms ached a few laps into my swim, both from being out of swim shape and from carrying a heavy toddler around. Luckily they felt better as I swam more so I pushed through 900 yds. Not far, but a good amount for me these days. Then I snapped on a water belt and did five minutes of water running, sprinting the final 20 seconds of each minute. When I hopped back onto my bike after being in the pool my legs were sludgy. The first few blocks left me wondering if I might not make it to work at all, then when I turned right toward my climb I actually started laughing. As if I’d make it up that hill! Those four hills. I switched to granny gear on the first block, stood on the second, turned onto the side street to catch my breath after the third, then congratulated myself for not walking my bike up the fourth. The rest of the ride was easy except for inhaling fumes from the truck I couldn’t lose. Not the best route ever but a great morning workout!



I turned today’s short run into a hill repeat workout. As I passed an older lady walking her dog on my first sprint up the hill, she yelled “show-off”! Um, not exactly my intention but sorta hilarious and why not… look at me, I’m not just running this hill once, but five times! Okay, enough of that. The hill was the length of a short city block and by the third repeat my legs were aching. After my fifth sprint (more slug than sprint-like) I took the sandy path back toward the grove. The soft surface was a delightful rest for my joints and worked the stabilizer muscles in my feet. At the end of the path I did several quick step repeats on and off the curb then ski jumps(and discovered this fantastic running blog while looking for a picture), sideways on and off the curb.
I jogged back to the concert stage slowly and am now shoveling in my lunch before changing for the Opera at Stern Grove. Highlight of the day (beside being called show-off)? It’s sunny!!


charity miles

My husband’s company makes a charitable donations because commutes to work by bike.  My company doesn’t but thanks to my daily dose of Pure Wow I recently learned about Charity Miles.  I downloaded the app onto my iPhone yesterday and chose to raise money this week for Girl Up, an organization that envisions a world where all girls, no matter where they live, have the opportunity to become educated, healthy, safe, counted and positioned to be the next generation of leaders.  I loved my daily ride before but now it has even more purpose!