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noise regulation

Any orchestral player who complains about the volume of their brass section has clearly never taken a spinning class in Tel Aviv. Three trumpets pale in decibel to the stereo system in Gordon Pool’s spin studio. That was my first observation at 7am this morning. My second observation was that our tiny but mighty instructor had an ear splitting whistle, which she sounded throughout the class (through her headset microphone) to cue each position change.  There were eight of us in the studio, including our class cheerleader, a plump middle-aged man with a perm and muscle shirt who spent most of the hour standing on the pedals waving his arms to the music. Two of us wore earplugs. All of us clapped and cheered enthusiastically on cue. The hour flew by and in spite of the noise, I enjoyed my workout.

I spent nearly twice as much for a one month membership here as I pay at my home YMCA and they don’t even supply towels. I forgot to bring a hand towel and had to use my shirt to mop sweat during class. Then I had to wear it to breakfast. Gross. The spin bikes are old and without computers. I’ve grown accustomed to training with wattage and rpm’s so without these numbers it’s tricky to train smart.

The upside: I have a one month membership to Gordon Pool!!! Anyone who’s known me since we’ve been coming to Israel has surely grown sick of hearing me talk about this spectacular 50 meter saltwater pool overlooking the Mediterranean. Usually when we’re here I run outside and buy a swim pass but this year I splurged on the whole shebang, which includes many classes and the use of a Japanese-style bathhouse spa. I was tickled to realize I’m now comfortable enough with my Israeli-ish-ness to walk into a gym, request a tour, then attend a spin class. Of course everyone speaks English, but I can read the signs posted in Hebrew and I’m trying to begin conversations in Hebrew.

The Israman half ironman is in 23 days. While my training hasn’t exactly been thorough, I’m enjoying the process and doing the best I can at this moment in my life.

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new year’s day sunrise run

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strong like mommy

A while back Aviv told me he was eating a ton of food so he could be strong like me. My instant reaction was to lecture about quality vs. quantity – it matters more that he eats “strong foods” (like the snap peas he loves and the peppers he hates). Then I stepped back and digested what he’d just said. My 5 year old thinks I’m strong and that makes me proud. In his own 5 year old way, he’s understanding the example I’m trying to set for my boys – of living a strong, healthy lifestyle. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me the same.

 

Last week in spin class my favorite instructor said she’d been using me as an example in her other classes. Though I’m small, I can sustain a high wattage on the bike while keeping good form, which must mean I have a strong core. There’s the s – word again!

Today in the pool I was admiring the strength and speed of the woman next to me. She raced by me on her kickboard while I was moving my quickest with swim fins. I asked her what she does besides swim. Nothing. She grew up in the pool. I watched a few more laps and was still contemplating her extremely powerful kick as I walked directly into the men’s locker room. Oops.

I’ve been trying to follow my own advice to Aviv and eat more “strong foods”. For me this not only means more veggies, but fewer refined sugars and a better balance toward lean proteins. I’m in the middle of week 6 training for a half ironman at the end of January and nutrition matters! Toward the end of a recent long ride I pulled an energy bar from my pocket and as I tore off the wrapper the bar flew into the middle of the street. 10 second rule! I wasn’t about to let a little dirt and grease get between me and the energy I need to climb out of Sausalito.

So, what about strength? Obviously it’s been on my mind lately. While I can’t squeeze in any more weekly gym time dedicated to strength training, my mutu program core exercises have done wonders for core strength. I’ve also safely rehabilitated my DR (the gap between the 2 sections of the Rectus Abdominis [or 6 pack] abdominal muscle), which was a couple finger widths after two pregnancies. Various other exercises I’ve learned through the years in PT round out my TV-watching / Opera intermission strength training routine. Since this blog is about having a virtual training buddy, please join me! Tonight we’re doing wall-sits, squats, grand plies, clamshells, crab walk (is there a seafood theme to my exercise??), and side planks.

Be strong!

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a punch in the face

Did you know that if you forget to wear your fitness smartwatch when you exercise, the workout doesn’t count? I repeated the beginning of a cardio dance workout today so it would “count” – and then I forgot to stop my watch at the end. At least I didn’t punch myself in the face during the repeat.

Seriously, I punched myself in the face during the first round of the punching bag drill in the kick-boxing set. I really should be more coordinated than I am.

This workout is perfect for doing in the living room during your kid’s nap time or in a hotel room where you don’t care if noise bothers the downstairs neighbors. It alternates between cardio (tons of bouncing up and down like a cheerleader) and separate sets of arms (you need 3-5 lb weights or water bottles), glutes (I barely managed to stand after these) and core (I never want to hear the term “perfect plank” again). A mirror is a plus for checking your form but a window works in a pinch!

I may not be able to move tomorrow but fortunately my lip isn’t swollen!

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The trouble with vanity is sometimes your phone lands in dog poop. 

My mom signed me up for a fantastic program through the Suzuki Association called Parents as Partners. I’ve begun watching videos to expand both my teaching and parenting skills. One thing that sticks in my mind is saying “no” unless I truly want or need to be doing something. Of course we’ve all heard that a million times but this woman made an astute observation: nobody ever posts what they don’t do on Facebook. How true. And how many things do we take pictures of just so we can post them on social media sites?

Fast forward to Thursday’s run: Eitan & I were moving through the park at a good clip, I was feeling good in my new paisley leggings (thanks, Mom!) and I decided to get an action shot of us while he was still smiling. (Eitan doesn’t think much of these extended stroller sits. He spends most of the time telling me “I’m all done”.)  I rigged my phone up to a lamp post, set the timer and pulled the stroller backward so we could run toward my phone looking happy. It took a few attempts but we both played our roles well and the result is this picture which I’m now posting.


Later, I realized that when my phone had fallen off the lamppost it had landed in dog poop. Gross gross and more gross. Eitan chatted with the ducks while I scrubbed my phone clean with  wipes found under the stroller.

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Yesterday I ran home from the matinee show and though I felt my phone buzzing and I saw gorgeous trees in bloom, I decided to refrain from checking messages and taking photos. The result was no icky phone and a much faster run. Maybe I’ll try this more often. And then again …

the workouts: I’ve increased the volume and intensity of my workouts over the past two weeks am more tired but my body is slowly regulating itself. I’m choosing to eat better (most of the time) and attempting to get more sleep. After struggling to keep an 11 minute mile pace climbing from Clement to Fulton on Thursday, yesterday’s 1st mile  (which didn’t include a stroller but a run up Hayes Valley Hill) clocked in at 9:38. Woohoo!

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dance dance 

What do you do when your mini -person wakes you up at 6am on a windy, rainy morning? My normal answer would be to push my husband out of bed and burrow under the covers for another couple hours of sleep. However, today I figured it was my turn to do morning duty and I wanted to go for a run. That was before I looked outside and noticed it was windy and wet. Once upon a time I would’ve bundled us up and gone out anyway but I just didn’t have it in me today so I set Eitan up with a banana and found myself a dance cardio workout. Don’t know where the inspiration for this came from but maybe I was channeling a little Dance Dance revolution. Yes, I love that game. Anyhow, Eitan joined me for some triceps, creatively using a ball after I refused to share my hand weights. By the time I reached the floor work portion, Aviv was also awake and the boys vied for space  underneath me as I did leg presses. Nothing like a little person poking my bellybutton to distract me from aching glutes. We did some stretches together and then moved on to breakfast…finished with my workout before I’d even hoped to be awake this morning!

Warning: don’t do this workout if you live upstairs. Your downstairs neighbors will hate you. 

If the gym is more your thing, here’s my rainy day 30 on machines:

This 20 minute GCN cycling workout followed by 10 minutes of hill repeats on the treadmill.  Don’t forget to stretch after!

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#onelonghillrepeat

I looked it up and that hashtag doesn’t exist. Guess the rest of the world just calls it an uphill. I was trying to make my morning run sound fancier than it really was but basically I just ran along a dirt road in the rain. And it was hilly. Yeah, did I mention the hills? 

I took a selfie break in the middle so I’d have a better chance at running, not trudging up the long road home. By “long” I mean over a mile. I haven’t been running much lately so this was no easy task. The drizzle turned to rain and I enjoyed the gorgeous green scenery as I puffed along. 


Once back, I completed my new favorite upper body workout in the yard, using rocks as hand weights. 

The workout: 2.7 mile run, 2×10 walking squats, 2 sets upper body

 

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I did it for the t-shirt

Monday morning, to get out of the rain while I was waiting to meet a friend, I wandered into the Tel Aviv Marathon expo tent.  An hour later I wandered back out, carrying a screaming Eitan who was having a major hunger meltdown.  I had also missed the coffee date with my friend.  However, I had two Tel Aviv Marathon 10k registrations in hand and the pink t-shirts to prove we were to be race participants.

Now, about the training leading up to the race…  oh yeah, there wasn’t any.  I’d only intended to sign Ariel up, because he’s been running regularly, but when he suggested I join him, I didn’t give it a second thought.  As I reflected on my hasty decision afterward, I figured running 10k couldn’t be much more difficult than my daily miles of pushing/pulling/carrying two kids around here.  So this week I did a little race prep.  I cut my toenails, I drank plenty of water, I mentally prepared myself for the possibility that I might not be able to finish and I debated whether or not I should go for a short training run.  I decided I might as well see how it felt to run without pushing a stroller so I did 2 km on Wednesday morning and felt great.

This morning Ariel’s dad showed up early to watch the kids and of course Eitan chose this one morning to not wake up at his usual sunrise time slot.  I actually had to wake him to feed him before we took off in search of some green bikes to ride to the race.  I was startled to be directed toward bike parking by a soldier with a machine gun; then a metal detector wand was waved across my body as I entered the race area.  I never feel unsafe here but was reassured by the extra safety precautions in a crowd of 40,000.


We were together in the second heat of 10k runners and as we slowly got moving, Ariel commented on how, when you run a race you only see people’s butts, not faces.  And a few bald heads.  True but not at all troubling to me unless those butts and bald heads are moving slower than I want to move. I actually said to Ariel at one point “these people seem to be pacing as if they’re running a much longer race”. Then I realized that I didn’t even have a pace. And I felt mildly bad about making snarky comments when I hadn’t even trained.

Races are notoriously not environmentally friendly, although many are trying to be better.  I was dismayed to see at the first water stop volunteers handing out small bottles of water, caps already removed. People took a sip then tossed the entire bottle to the side of the road. I attempted to keep mine because I couldn’t bear sipping and tossing but I just ended up splashing water everywhere. Giving up and tossing my bottle, I vowed to find one with a cap at the next stop so I wouldn’t throw away more water & more plastic. I saw Gatorade 3 km later and dove for a cup but was waved away with the explanation that water was on the other side. Apparently the Gatorade was only for the people running longer races.  I scrambled to find a bottle with a lid and got lucky.

For the past four years here I’ve seen the marathoners run by our apartment and every year I’ve wished to be one of them.  Today by kilometer 6, I was very pleased to have only 4 more kilometers to go, not 36!  My foot and everything else on me had begun to ache and I’d developed a stitch in my side.  I made the decision to push forward and started breathing out with more force to get rid of the side pain.  (turns out that’s not really what you’re supposed to do, but it worked for me.)  As we hit the 8 km mark, I was feeling pretty confident I’d  make it to the end so I encouraged Ariel to go ahead and pick up his pace. I also attempted to push through to the finish line and managed to pass a few people but I was thoroughly exhausted & simply happy to be done.

I teared up as I neared the finish – a mixture of relief that my body had held up, pure joy to be running again and satisfaction to have finally participated in this race.  Ariel was waiting for me and we snapped the mandatory selfie-in-front-of-finish-line before grabbing snacks and retrieving our green bikes for the return trip home.
 I sleepily pedaled my way home to grab a swim suit then we met the kids at the beach to give our muscles an ice bath. Twelve hours later, I’m still tired but not extremely sore. I feel fabulous about running today’s race and I’ve got the pink shirt to prove it!

the workout:

10 km ride, to & from race

10 km run, negative splits, 1:02

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