running wherever we go

Yesterday’s sixteen hour travel day took us from one fabulous vacation spot to another. Beside the travel taking twice as long as it should have between Wyoming and Hawaii and Baby A’s readiness to wake up at 4:20 this morning, I can’t complain.

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What did I do pre-dawn with an energetic baby? The same thing I always do when my husband isn't around to take morning duty: I went running. We didn't even have a running stroller but the lightweight pop-up my mom keeps at her house worked in a pinch.
At 5am, the air was already heavy and warm, and Ala Moana park was full of hardcore locals and sleepy tourists. Three miles felt fairly easy after training at 6,000 feet the past two weeks and I had the energy for a short swim later in the morning.

Our week of pure vacation has just begun but even though I was working in the Tetons for two weeks before this, I found plenty of time for running and hiking. I even did a tandem paraglide Saturday morning! We ran off the side of the mountain and flew down to where my husband and Baby A were eagerly waiting my arrival, snapping pictures and munching on grass. What fun!

August 4th marks the official start to my half marathon training. In the mean time, I'm keeping my weekly mileage up and taking my physical therapy seriously to prevent imbalances which could lead to injury!

the workouts: 3-5 mile runs, totaling 15+ miles/ week

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holiday exercise

Yesterday my husband and I both thought a morning swim would be a fantastic idea, so after Bill (the turkey) went into the oven, we drove to the pool.  We had hoped we’d be late enough that the crowds would already be doing meal preparation but we were wrong.  We filled out a lane with four people swimming different speeds.  Luckily we were all conscientious and noticed when someone wanted to pass.  I didn’t take any rest periods between sets but did stop frequently on the wall to let another swimmer go by.  I was thrilled when the sun came out at the beginning of my workout, as I was positioned in the perfect lane to catch some rays from the high pool windows.  I got out of the pool feeling energized and ready to tackle a Thanksgiving meal!

Today, post-traditional turkey dinner (and oxtail soup and chicken caccitore and the most beautiful salad I’ve ever seen and three desserts), I’m making oatmeal to begin the day in a healthy fashion, then we will meet family members for a hike.  I’ve never been to Point Lobos before and am excited to spend some time in nature!

Colomitos

We’re on our flight home from Mexico and the pilot just informed us that it’s 60 degrees in SF. I’m already dreaming of the warm water and heat we left just a few hours ago! We opted to stay close to home and spend the past couple of days at Colomitos beach again. We found that if we arrived before noon we had the lagoon to ourselves. Yesterday we borrowed sea kayaks and paddled down the river to the bay. We were greeted by two dolphins shortly after leaving our home beach where river meets bay. We watched them for a few minutes then continued into open water. We reached the lagoon in about 15 minutes of easy paddling. I was surprised at the nearness since hiking over had taken a while. I was relieved to step out of the kayak and onto shore because my back felt a little strained from the lack of support, but the ache quickly subsided. I used to be able to sit comfortably with legs extended straight in front of me, so in retrospect, doing it again yesterday, after my back challenges of the past few years, means I’ve come a long way in regaining strength & flexibility! After a few hours of swimming & reading on the beach, I was feeling the heat so we decided to call it a day and go rest before dinner. The trip back took much longer because of currents and mid-day heat. I reached our dock totally exhausted and was so grateful for a cool shower and to lay down with my feet up!
This morning we decided to spend our last few hours hiking and swimming. I was energetic despite lack of sleep (wild dogs & confused roosters) and my husband seemed mostly recovered after a long night of upset stomach. Ironically, we’d gone to a nice restaurant to celebrate his birthday and after that meal was the only time either of us felt unwell from the food in Boca. As a side note, the best food we ate was from the local woman who opens her porch to business on the weekends. Posole & tortes Saturday, enchiladas Sunday. Yumm!!! Anyway, back at the lagoon… we bobbed in the water and splashed around for an hour before (right on cue at noon) The America and a couple other tour boats dumped orange life vest-clad passengers into the water. The small beach became crowded and that was our cue to pack up and hike home. The hiking today was more slippery today and the air super heavy after last night’s downpour. We arrived back at our room dripping, once again, arguing over who got the first cold shower!

the workouts:
3 mile kayak
1 1/2 hr hike

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Boca

Yesterday, our morning began with tea & coffee, left outside our door by the wonderful host at Casa la Ventana. We went upstairs to the open-air common area to eat fresh tamales as the sun rose over the lush green mountains. Boca de Tomatlan is in a valley, cut in half by a river that runs into the Bay of Banderas. The village feels remote, though it’s only an hour south of Puerta Vallarta. Casa la Ventana is a gorgeous B&B built up the mountain on the south side, which means you need to walk across the skinny bridge and down a path littered with chickens to reach it.
After breakfast we began our first day’s exploration by continuing along the footpath toward the bay. We passed unfinished vacation homes, massive, deserted lodges and the occasional home still in use. The path soon wound it’s way through the dense mountain jungle with stunning views of the ocean below. Tropical fruits were plentiful but all unfortunately unripe, still hanging green in the branches. It’s rainy season so we just missed the mangos and the passion fruit won’t be ready for another couple of weeks! Black & yellow crabs scurried into holes and lizards of every color ran across the path. After about an hour we hit Colomitos beach, our own private lagoon with crisp river water rushing to meet the warm green ocean. We swam out to the far rocks and sunned ourselves with the pelicans for a brief period before diving back in and swimming to shore. After swimming nearly every day last week in chlorine at 8,000 feet, swimming in the ocean felt wonderfully easy!
When tour boats began taking over our lagoon we packed up and continued along the trail. We wandered slowly, entertaining ourselves by taking photos, exploring ruins & spelling words in Hebrew (I’m slowly improving!). The heat and humidity were oppressive so every chance we had, we walked through the water, cooling off. When we finally reaches las Animas, we were exhausted and hungry, but found the place quite touristy and food less than satisfying. We rested a while then made the decision the walk back instead of taking the water taxi. The walk back was beautiful but uneventful until my husband (who was hiking in flip-flops) stubbed his toe. It’s extremely bruised and possibly broken but I’m betting I won’t hear another word about it since he’s not the complainer between us! He’s two for two with flip flop hiking- in the middle of our last hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, the flip flop toe divider came out of its hole and we used string to hold it in place so he could get down the mountain.
Anyway, we made it back to the house dripping with sweat and exhausted but completely exhilarated! Today we’re taking a bus to the botanical gardens and bringing out suits for a dip in the river. Hopefully the rain will hold!

the workout:
600ish yd ocean swim
5 hr jungle hike

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sunshine!

Everyone woke up before me this morning and the girls already had a hiking plan in the works by the time I saw the messages on my phone.  With just enough time to fill my water bottle and eat an apricot,  I grabbed my  sunscreen and raced out the front door to wait for KM and Birch.  Two stops later we were heading over the GG bridge to find a trail not too far away.  GC flipped through the hiking book while RJ and I soothed Birch, who was overwhelmed by the excitement of so much company in the car.

We settled on a trail just outside Sausalito which connected with miles of Marin headlands trails and stripped off sweatshirts to enjoy the heat of the sunshine (finally!).   As we climbed, a couple mountain bikers passed us, then a couple cyclists with skinny tires zipped by on their descent (crazy riding road bikes on a trail!). We followed whomever was in the lead (usually Birch) and wandered along the dirt roads and trails until we reached the top of our hill, boasting incredible views from all sides.  The way down could have turned into an adventure if KM hadn’t spotted the horse before Birch saw him and taken control of the situation.  The beautiful tan horse’s rider exchanged pleasantries as they passed us and we snapped a few shots before making our way back down to the car.

A day with the girls wouldn’t be complete without a stop for coffee!  However, it was already lunch time so iced coffee was enjoyed with panini and salads under the orange umbrella outside Cibo.   What a fabulous morning!

Dipsea hike

I just read that the Dipsea trail begins with 688 steps, split into three staircases.  Today’s hike took us up all of those steps, then a couple miles further.  Hiking was a really nice change from the triathlon-specific training I’ve been doing lately and I loved catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time.  We hiked for an hour in, then turned around and walked back through Mill Valley, both of

us surprised to have sore legs after such a short walk.  Guess it was the steps!  We ate a delicious lunch in Mill Valley at Avatar’s Punjabi Burritos.

summer hike

I meant to switch yesterday’s workout with today’s since I did my long run yesterday. However, I arrived to find the pool closed for it’s yearly deep clean and was planning to meet a friend for a hike so my short run was skipped entirely.
I drove north and met my friend at Tutti Melon for a pre-hike treat. The key lime flavor was tart and delicious with pieces of graham cracker. Yum!
After icecream we drove just ten minutes farther north and found ourselves in hot, dry summer heat… the kind I love!
The hike was dusty and trail tricky to find in places. It smelled like late summer and blackberries. There was a tiny trickle of a stream and we crossed back and forth over the mostly dry streambed. We moved quickly and sweated in the heat, winding our way up until the trail became too dusty and there was a dangerous lack of footholds.
We reluctantly turned around and headed back to the car and regular life of picking kids up from school and fog on the bridge.
It was a lovely hike and I will happily trade more 45 minute runs for hikes! My last short race before the marathon is, after all, a 10k trail run!

honeymoon on the go

I am somewhere between San Francisco and Kyoto, returning from my eleven-day honeymoon in Japan. The sun is rising quickly and night was very short. Plus, we left at 5pm and will arrive home at 11am- still on Tuesday! I have basically been away from home for a month and am ready to sleep in my own bed. I also can’t wait to swim again. I enjoyed some sort of bath or onsen every day in Japan and will be going through “water withdrawl” shortly. Swimming laps in chlorinated water isn’t exactly the same but getting a little exercise and stretching my body out after this long trip will feel great.

The bookends of our vacation were three days each in Tokyo & Kyoto. We did as much walking as we could bear in the zillion degree heat and humidity. The metro system in Tokyo was easy to use and the city is too big to get everywhere on foot. I spent time each afternoon back at our ryokan with my feet up the wall in an attempt to alleviate the pain from my feet swelling. I had comfortable sandals for walking but nonetheless, my body is not used to that kind of temperature. Kyoto was much the same, only smaller & more accessible. We stayed at a temple on the west side of the city and used both trains & bikes to get around. Again, it was uncomfortably hot for any sort of exertion. Biking was most enjoyable after dark and on the final evening of the O-Ban festival, we found ourselves pushing the bikes through mobs of people as everyone watched the bonfires up the mountains. Spectacular!

After Tokyo, we made a one night stopover in Matsumoto on our way up to Kamikochi. I was thrilled to be back in Matsumoto after having spent a month there 25 years ago! I didn’t remember anything except the statue of Dr. Suzuki outside the Talent Education school. Matsumoto is a beautiful town surrounded by mountains and I indulged in an early morning run up the river. Running is quite popular in Japan and I was amazed at how many runners dressed in layers with tights, despite the heat! My 45 minute run/walk felt difficult and my legs were actually sore the next day even though I stretched.
We spent most of our time in Matsumoto roaming around on the free bikes from our boarding house. We were charmed by the small streets of old homes and enjoyed being part of the strong bike culture.

Kamikochi offered a respite from the heat.  In fact, it poured the entire time. We purchased rain ponchos and made good use of them as we attempted but never finished a hike. I didn’t mind much drinking tea and watching the rain and falling asleep to the sounds of the rushing river each night. We also experienced here traditional kaiseki meals, served old style, privately to our room. I’d booked one of the cheaper mountain lodges but between the food, an onsen with views of the mountain range and a room with a balcony, the place felt anything but budget.

We dropped back into the valley to meet our bike guide, Paul, of Freeride Adventures Japan.  He planned our rides, booked our accommodations at an awesome pension and fancy ryokan, and knew the food scene. Because of weather and our current fitness levels, our itinerary changed from the original four mountain passes plan, but I loved being back on a road bike and cranking out the miles. The first day we rode through the countryside of farms and rolling hills. We stopped for lunch at a tiny soba restaurant and ate a delicious lunch of cold soba. We were instructed to drink the soba cooking water for our afternoon fuel.

The second day we parked the van, hopped on our bikes and started climbing. It was a gentle grade but lasted 14 km. I popped a tire near the top as I carelessly rode through a grate. The descent was fast and fun and we earned our okonomiyaki lunch that day.

That about sums up the fitness part of the trip. Nice variety of everything and tons of great food to fuel our way. I’m ready to go back to work, get back into my home routine (as a married woman!) and get started training for the Honolulu marathon!

wedding dress & a hike

I have been asked more than once during this week if I think I’ll still fit into my wedding dress after this week of good eating.  It’s not a thought that has occurred to me over the entire year since I bought the dress but now I’m just a tad bit paranoid.   Not really, but logically, I have been eating quite a bit and exercising quite a little bit.  I don’t suppose one week will make much of  a difference in the big scheme of things but the week before my wedding is probably not the smartest time to be consistently over-stuffing myself!

This morning I met my sisters for a hike.  It was rather un-strenuous but the combination of sunscreen slathered all over my arms and face, and humidity encouraging my clothes stick to me made it uncomfortable.  Sweating aside, we hiked the Whiteside Trail loop , unknowingly choosing the more difficult side for the hike up.  Our hike was part steps, part trail and part granite rock.  We were rewarded with spectacular views on the top plateau and afterward cooled down with another short swim in the orange pond near my house.  Only J joined me today and we made it out with only small-fish-sightings.  Post-morning excursions, we were welcomed back to B’s host family’s home with a very Southern lunch of tomato sandwiches.

the best mother’s day ever

I am so addicted to this sport!   It’s definitely my new favorite way to start the day… especially when it’s followed by shave ice, like it was today! The picture to the left is Mom’s club- the Keala Canoe Club.  Most of them are regulars and they paddle four times a week.  They’re nice enough to let random main-landers join in and even offer tips as we go.  Today we took two 6-mans out because there were so many of us.   My canoe decided it would be fun, once we got way out in the middle of the ocean, to each do 5 minutes alone.  I opted to paddle solo for 1 minute and was tired out.  A few of them were even able to move the boat alone!   The ride wasn’t choppy like yesterday so we went a bit further and came back for “yard clean-up” then shave ice.  I was advised to get shave ice with ice cream and and adzuki beans.  I added mochi to this and ordered coffee flavor.  Ironically, I have to make another Italian comparison and bring up my favorite mid-ride indulgence when I do Paradise loop.   Around mile 25, I love to stop at a cafe in Tiburon and order an affogato.   Literally, “drowned”.  Espresso with a scoop of ice cream.   Anyway, back to today’s shave ice… It was the perfect breakfast after the paddling workout.

We then headed up to Manoa falls for a quick hike before Mother’s day brunch.  The last time I went up there was over a year ago, with several friends.  It was pouring and we were soaked by mid-way but we never got to the top because the trail had become a gushing river and it was impossible to go any higher.  The trail was muddy and slick today but we saw the falls and enjoyed the gorgeous greenery and flowers during our walk.

After digesting our massive brunch and sobering up from the prosecco, we slathered on sunscreen (for the third time today) and went for a swim.  The jellyfish had evacuated and there were only tourists to dodge.  We swam parallel to the beach and I finally figured out how not to get seasick in the waves.  Usually my breathing pattern alternates sides, sighting my destination every other breath, but I discovered that if I breathed every other stroke on the same side (away from the waves so I didn’t swallow salt water) I kept my equilibrium in tact.

Sadly, I am now getting packed to leave the island.  I hear it’s rainy at home so I guess I’ll be heading to the gym tomorrow morning!

The workout: 8 mile (?) paddle- leaning forward to use back instead of arm strength on each stroke, power comes from stable legs and core

gentle 1.6 mile hike

2/3 mile swim