Sunday, August 01, 2021

Back from Hawaii and Going Strong!

I'm wrapping up Weeks 8 & 9 after a week in Maui and just pinching myself. I feel amazing. I've lost 10 pounds and gained muscle and energy. My mood has been boosted. I'm finally able to start working on speed. I'm feeling stronger, and the workouts are becoming fun again. I'm a bit sad that summer vacation is ending; I'll be returning to the classroom for year 11 in a week. My goal is to continue my fitness journey while balancing the stresses of a crazy-busy job. I may not be able to work out with the same intensity that I have been, but I know I can keep up my exercise and diet if I focus. My peroneal tendonitis is feeling better but still nagging me. I'm seeing the podiatrist this Friday for advice. Luckily, I've still been able to run. Oddly, it's hiking that seems to trigger it (that's when I always roll my ankles).

Here's how the rest of Week 7 finished up:
Wednesday, July 14th: I biked up King's and added the rest of the Portola Valley Loop for a total of 33 miles. My (left) ankle was acting up after the previous day's run, and I found that climbing aggravated it. 
Thursday, July 15th: Rest Day
Friday, July 16th: open water swim at Gull Park (1.2 miles). This was an out-and-back swim, and the return was challenging. The wind picks up in the afternoon, and there's always significant chop to fight through on the way back. In some perverse way, I enjoy it because it makes me focus, and I can't think about anything else.
Saturday, July 17th: Alan and I rode the tandem on Foothill (20 miles) for a mellow bike. I followed this up with weights. 
Sunday, July 18th: Juneau and I ran to Holbrook-Palmer Park for a loop and back for a conservative, 3-mile test run. My ankle felt better. Flat runs on the road definitely are not exacerbating my injury. I then did a pool swim at Burgess. 2200 yards (45 minutes). The main set was 10x100s with 20-30 seconds rest. It's the first time I've worked on pace in a long time, and it was fun. My best time was 2:03 min/100. My goal is to hit a consistent 2:00 min/100.

This week finished up well. I hit my quota except for missing 1 run due to the ankle. 

Week 8: 
No quota this week due to vacation in Maui! However, I wanted to stay active with hiking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. This trip was my first time in Hawaii, and it was everything I hoped for!

Monday, July 19th: I biked the loop on Torch (tri bike) and felt fast! 21 miles and averaged 16 mph (fast for me anyway).
Tuesday, July 20th: I snuck in an early morning run (5 miles) with Juneau around the neighborhood before hopping on the plane and flying to Maui. When we arrived at the condo, the view of the ocean was so spectacular, I couldn't resist jumping in the ocean and going for a swim (about 0.5 miles)! The ocean is much rougher than Gull Park! I swallowed a lot of saltwater but got to see lots of fish. The water was so nice and warm, about 78 degrees Farenheit.
Wednesday, July 21st: We did a 10 mile hike with ~1700 feet of climbing on the Mahana Ridge Trail. Spectacular views, lots of tropical plants and flowers, including pineapples and guava! I made sure to jump in the ocean for a little swim back at the condo too.
Thursday, July 22nd: We snorkeled at Airport Beach and Black's Rock. I wore a skin to keep the sun off and keep me from getting too cold since I was just floating and staring at the fish and turtles a lot. I didn't want to get out of the water. After 3 hours, it was time to get out and eat lunch.
Friday-Sunday, July 23rd-25th: Scuba diving (2 dives per day)! We used Dive Maui and did a refresher dive at Airport Beach with Simon. Visibility was poor and the current was STRONG, even at 35 feet down. The peacock flounder was my favorite critter. Afterwards, we went to Mala Pier, which was my favorite dive site. So many critters, including a white-tipped reef shark, eels, and tons of turtles. On the next day, we took a boat to Lanai Cathedrals and dove with Jeff. I got super seasick after the 2nd dive and learned you can throw up through the regulator underwater without any problems. Good to know. The final day of diving was Mala Pier and Honolua Bay with Will. Mala Pier was my favorite site. So many turtles! Turtles everywhere! They should call this dive, "Turtles All the Way Down". 
At the top of the Mahana Ridge Trail

Week 9: 
Monday, July 26th: Our last day on Maui. We did a 6 mile hike in the Makawao Forest, which was nice but not as impressive as Mahala. We followed this up with another marathon snorkeling session at Onolua Beach (Mile Marker 14). Again, about 3 hours in the water. Alan couldn't get me out! So many turtles!
Tuesday, July 27th: Rest day. We spent most of the day flying home, and I was exhausted and in bed by 8 pm (5 pm Maui time).
Wednesday, July 28th: I ran 5.5 miles with Juneau around the park and neighborhoods. My ankle felt okay, but it was definitely achy at times. I followed this up with weights. 
Thursday, July 29th: I biked on Torch down the Bay Trail (south) and back on Middlefield. Headwind on the return and lots of traffic. This was not a pretty bike but it is flat and windy. I probably won't do this route again. 
Friday, July 30th: Pool swim at Burgess (~2,000+ yds). Main set was a descending ladder starting at 500. I felt strong and could have swum farther. My pace is the same as a week ago. I did try a 50 just to see and was pleased I could manage a lap in less than a minute. I cannot make it across the length of the pool on one breath though; something I need to work on. I ran later that afternoon (school loop), knocking out 4.5 miles. I wore the GPS for the first time in years to check my pace. I was faster than I thought (9:45 min/miles average)! This is on flat roads. 
Saturday, July 31st: Awesome bike on Pandora (road bike) up Old La Honda, down Woodside, right on Portola to finish the loop, then up a steep shortcut to Alpine and to the top and back down for a total of 35 miles and about 3,000+ feet of climbing. I had to refill water at the top of Skyline by Alice's. It was a bit hot (I went through 3 water bottles). I also ate a bar and Cliff Blocks to prevent bonking. It was a solid ride, and I felt proud of myself. Took about 3 hours. 
Sunday, August 1st: What great workouts today! I started with a 1.2 mile swim at Gull Park and met some other triathletes from the Silicon Valley Tri Club. Looking forward to training more with this club and gaining some workout buddies. I practiced in my wetsuit (ugh) and chafed a little. I will wear a rashguard for the race. Until then, back to swimming in just my speedo! After a meal and a nap, I did a 6-mile run in Huddart Park. Slow and hilly but my ankle felt okay. It's so good to be back on trails!

All in all, I'm feeling strong and beginning to work on speed. I'm enjoying myself and reaping the health benefits of the workouts. I'm excited for the races coming up! 

Race Schedule:
  • Sunday, August 22nd: Sandman Triathlon, Aptos
  • Saturday, September 4th: China Camp 1/2 Marathon, San Rafael 
  • Sunday, September 26th: Santa Cruz Triathlon (Olympic)
  • Sunday, October 3rd: San Jose Rock'n Roll Half Marathon

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Already Week 7?

 Just got back from a trip to Portland to see my sister. Proud to say, the trip did not derail my weight loss or fitness goals. After the weight gain hiccup last week (which was due to bloat, yay PMS), I have now lost a total of 8 pounds! Feeling proud. Long story short--keep sticking with it, no matter what the scale says. It will all even out in the end. I also met my workout quota last week! Double yay!

Friday, July 9th--This was the day I flew to Portland. Luckily, it was in the afternoon so I had time for weights and a 5.5 mile neighborhood run with Juneau. It went very smoothly.

Saturday was a rest day in Portland.

Sunday, July 11--I woke up early and put on my running shoes for a Portland run along the Columbia River. It was cool, gorgeous and lined with wildflowers. I ran about 4.5 miles. My left ankle has been feeling sore. I think it started when I rolled it on a hike (which I due often). It's starting to get worse.

Monday was the day I flew back to SFO. I took a rest day. Felt jet-lagged even though I didn't cross any time zone. 

Tuesday, July 13--felt groggy all day. Finally went out for a 5.5 mile neighborhood run in the late afternoon. I felt groggy and slow. My left outer ankle hurt. I got it done and followed it up with a solid weight session. Juneau helped on the run. Run route linked here.

I finally did a google search on my ankle. Pretty sure it's peroneal tendonitis. Fits perfectly with the symptoms and my anatomy. I have weak ankles. I roll them all the time. I'm going to need to do some strengthening exercises to tackle this. I think I can still run through it since I'm only doing 3 days a week of about 5 miles. I won't be able to add mileage for awhile. I will need to avoid slanted surfaces and be careful of not rolling it when I trail run. 

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Happy Thursday!

 I've been trying to do 2 bikes, 2 swims, 2 weights, and 3 runs each week. Because I'm on summer vacation, it's actually been very doable. I was a little stressed about this week (Week 6) because I'm going to Portland for the weekend. I wanted to front load my workouts so as not to need to worry about my weekend trip. However, I felt very fatigued. I've been working out like crazy, without a rest day, which I actually think I like better (I can always take easy days when I'm tired, instead of a rest day). Long story short, I think I'm going to make quota this week!

Thursday, July 8th: Swim & Bike. Today, I swam in the local Burgess pool. I didn't have to make a reservation! I just dropped in! It was so much fun to swim in the pool for however long I wanted and just play around. I was pretty sore from the swim in Gull Park the previous day. Even though I had to split a lane, it was so nice to swim in a pool, with a pace clock. I did a long warm-up (about 1,000 yds) focusing on my stroke, mixing in back stroke and breast stroke. I find that back stroke really helps stretch out my sore, overused muscles from freestyle. I then did a descending pyramid, trying to increase speed with each new set. I'm slow but steady and can do a base pace all day long. I did about 2,1000 yds. I 

After lunch and a nap, I headed out on my trip bike (Torch) for a little ride. Something easy, short, and fast--I was feeling tired but needed to get on the bike. I knocked out 20 miles with lots of flats and some short hills. It was perfect. I went up Alpine, headed back on Arastredero and then home on Middlefield. Next time, I'll take Foothill home. Too many stoplights and stupid drivers on Middlefield, including 2 teenage boys in a black Audi SUV (LP# P3OUOUO) who squirted water in my face at a stoplight. 

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Gaining Weight and other Mundane Frustrations

 I overate one day--4th of July. I planned on it. I had been cutting calories and would still have a net deficit. How is that I am 5 lbs heavier?! Makes no sense. Despite this confusing setback, I'm pushing through. Continuing to count calories and work out. I'm hoping that over time, things will get easier and the weight will go down. 

The workouts continue! My legs have been really sore but I found that working through it actually makes them feel better faster. I haven't had a rest day in awhile but I'm beginning to prefer it that way. Rest days seem to become rest weeks for me. I'm enjoying the consistency and structure of my daily workouts. I feel like my body can always do something

I have been more tired though--taking lots of naps. My workouts are in the evenings, when I have the most energy. I'm fortunate to be able to have the freedom to plan my schedule with such flexibility. 

Tuesday, July 6: After Monday's bike ride (which I feel really good about--climbing Old La Honda), I was really supposed to swim, but it didn't happen. Juneau and went for a 5.5 mile run in Holbrook-Palmer Park and Lindenwood. Flat and fast. I felt zippy. I followed it up with a weights session.

Wednesday, July 7: Solid 1.5 mile swim in Gull Park. I'm beginning to play in the water and linger a bit more. I'm just having so much fun. I do a warm-up and cool-down in the cove by the beach. Then I headed out to Marlin Park with the current. Had a blast powering through the current and chop fighting me on the return. Very therapeutic. 

Monday, July 05, 2021

Going Strong--onto Week 6!

 The workouts are feeling so much easier and fun lately. I'm definitely getting stronger and faster! I'm proud that I've been consistent at working out and counting calories. Onto Week 6!

Recap of the rest of Week 5:

Friday, July 2nd: I biked up Old La Honda to Skyline and took Woodside Road back down. This was a challenging ride, about 27 miles and 2,000 feet of climbing. I did great, until about 4 miles from the house, where I bonked. My muscles were shaking, and I had to stop to eat a bar. If I had taken in some calories earlier, I would have done much better. 

Saturday, July 3rd: First, I took Juneau for a 4-mile run. I just wanted to get in a 3rd run for the week. It went great, until about 0.5 miles from the house, when my stomach protested. It had been awhile since I had woken up early and run without breakfast. My GI system is just not trained for that yet. Fortunately, I made it home uneventfully.

Afterwards, Alan and I went for an 8 mile hike in Pescadero State Park, near Tarwater Creek. It was hilly but fun. Very remote. Not that many people. Lots of beautiful redwoods. A few lizards, lots of butterflies. The land is very dry right now due to the drought. My legs were so sore the next day!

Sunday, July 4th: I needed to do one more bike to meet my quota for the week. Even though my legs were sore, I decided to do an easier ride. I took Torch up Alameda de las Pulgas, turned west on Edgewood for a brisk rigorous, two-hill climb, and then returned on Canada. It was a great ride with a few rollers, something new, and 19 miles. Plus, I got to burn some calories before the big feast of July 4th (cheeseburgers, potatoes, corn on the cob, watermelon, champagne, pie, etc, etc. I cooked!).

Monday, July 5th: Started off Week 6 right with a repeat of Friday's ride. I started off with Alan, before he headed off to do the Pescadero Coast Loop. Even though my legs were sore, I warmed up out of it and had a great ride. The pancake and egg breakfast helped. So did the granola bar at the top of Skyline. I finally feel like I could out to the coast and back (climbing Skyline twice). My next ride, I'm going to see if I can climb both King's and Old La Honda as a test. Should be challenging!

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Week 5-Trying to be Patient

 I need to try to appreciate all my health and fitness gains lately. I've been fixated on the static number on the scale. However, I'm getting faster. I'm getting stronger. I'm seeing more muscle tone. There have been positive changes to celebrate. Despite feeling a little "meh", I've pushed through and continued to workout this week as well as count calories. I am loving summer vacation because I get to focus on getting myself back into shape and getting healthier. Looking forward to some fall races!

Tuesday, 6/29/2021: did solid set of weights in the morning. 

Rode 9 mile recovery ride with dad in the afternoon.

Wednesday, 6/30/2021: rode Old La Honda to top of Skyline and back on 84. 27 miles, 2500 feet of climbing. Felt great, until I bonked, 4 miles from the house. Ate a protein bar and was fine. Tip: put a 3rd bottle of ice water in the back of your jersey for a cool treat and extra water!

Thursday, 7/1/2021: Ran 6.5 miles with Juneau to school and back to check on the fish. It was mid-70s and sunny. We ran through the Lindenwood neighborhood which was cool and shady. I relished in the ease of our pace. I feel like I've finally found my base pace again, where I can float along effortlessly forever. Time to sign up for a half marathon! 

Did weights after a nap. Felt good. Finished with some extra lunges.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Week 5 Up and At 'Em!

 I did a double today. Very similar to last Monday, except I didn't feel as exhausted. I started with a 6 mile run in Rancho San Antonio. Slow but strong. I was lucky it wasn't too hot. I did wish for water by the end. Beautiful views of the Bay. I spotted an acorn woodpecker, black-and-white flashing as he flew into the trees. Several dragonflies and butterflies--some small, orange-and-black and others yellow and black (swallowtails). Great run. Only regret was that it was over too soon. 

After a smoothie and a rest, I headed out to Gull Park. I had a new swimsuit and bright pink cap to test out. I did the same swim as last week--turned right and headed to the Hillview Bridge and back. It was about 2000 yds or so. Felt great!

Weekend Workouts

 Now that I'm not training for an Ironman, weekends don't have to be marathon sessions. I'm focusing on working out consistently every day instead. It's so nice to be able to workout and have enough time and energy to enjoy the rest of the day!

Saturday, 6/26/21: Pool swim. Burgess is still requiring a reservation: $10 for 35 minutes. It sucks but I do crave the pool now and then. I used it as a time trial. I got in 1800 yards, including a little cool-down at the end! Felt great. I can't wait until there is no time limit.

Sunday 6/27/21: I was grumpy all day and almost did nothing. Finally, at 5 pm I got on my bike (Pandora) and headed out to the Portola Valley Loop. It was only 20 miles of rolling hills but it felt wonderful. And, I felt fast. Finally, a bike ride that didn't kill me. 

After 4 solid weeks, the workouts are finally not beating me up so much. 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

It takes 4 weeks for the runner's high!

 It has been 4 weeks since working out regularly again and 1 week of counting calories and minding my nutrition. I have lost 3 pounds (15 more to go). I'm trying to focus on the positives and not beat myself up about the negatives. I feel so slow, and the workouts are kicking my ass. I keep forgetting that I'm not training for an Ironman and can relax and just enjoy the workouts. When I start trying to meet a workout "quota" (like 3 swims, runs, and bikes a week), I bite off more than I can chew and get discouraged. Instead, I'm trying to focus on working out 6 days a week with 1 recovery day (just walking that day). After feeling beat up from workouts that felt waayy  harder than they should have been for the last few days, I've decided to just swim today. I tried to get into the pool but the stupid lane reservation-COVID precaution thing is ridiculous. So, I'll be off to Gull Park today to turn an open water workout into more of a pool workout (swimming laps in the cove instead of a long, out-and-back swim). 

Friday, 6/25/2021: Runner's High! I almost didn't work out today. This evening, feeling guilty, I did weights after dinner. Then, I took Juneau for a run. I wanted to do at least 3 miles. I soon as I took my first step, I knew it was going to be a good run. I felt that familiar spring in my step, which had been absent for the past few months. Finally! Maybe it was the cool evening breeze, or maybe it was 4 weeks of consistent running, but it didn't matter. From the very first step, I felt like I was in love all over again for the first time. My feet floated along the road; my ankles were like springs. I easily found my old pace, like an old friend. My mind floated above as my legs independently carried me along. The pace was effortless and fast. I had intended to just do 3 miles but found myself adding on extra loops. I ran through a new neighborhood, marveling at the large houses. I ran 5.5 miles and definitely could have gone farther. Looking forward to my next run. Here's the route.

Thursday, 6/24/2021: 28-mile bike on Torch. I totally underestimated this ride. Either it was much hillier than I realized, or I'm much more out of climbing shape than I realized. Probably both. I rode North on Alameda de las Pulgas, cut west on Ralston, and then came back on Canada Rd. Route can be found here: I think I did this one time before, only took Edgewood (after) instead of Ralston. (I remember that ride also being harder than anticipated.) Ralston was very dangerous--no shoulder or bike lane, speeding cars, very discourteous. I almost got run off the road twice. Not sure if intentional or just not paying attention, but terrifying, nonetheless. I felt completely worn out after this ride. My muscles were weak and tired. Route

Wednesday, 6/23/2021: My brain is in summer vacation mode. I had forgotten about my goldfish at school.* I decided to run with Juneau to school and run home. I could modify the run as I chose--anywhere from 3-5 miles. Despite my rest day, my body felt tired and my muscles felt weak. I planned on running to the park and doing a loop before continuing on to school (Route here). That way, if I chose to run home along Middlefield, it would cover my minimum goal mileage for the day. This ended up being a solid 4.2-mile run. Here's the route. Oh, I also did weights!

Tuesday, 6/22/2021: Rest Day--I felt completely sore from head-to-toe, weak, and exhausted. My body was telling me to rest. I walked the dog. Does that count?

Do you care about my goldfish at school? No? Skip the following paragraphs! 

*I have a 40-gallon "rescue tank"** at school. It currently houses 4** goldfish and 2 minnows. The tank is accessorized with a filter, aerator, and automatic feeder. During the school year, I check on them and feed them daily. Over breaks less than 2 weeks, the tank is on an automatic feeder that is, unfortunately, quite finicky. Otherwise, I check on them once every ten days to change their water and check the feeder.  

**I inherited the goldfish from a colleague at the beginning of summer break after my 2nd year of teaching. He didn't anticipate they would live through the students' "Eco-Column" projects. They cost 15 cents each. The 4 that survived are now 8-9 years old. The tank is a bit small but I fear they wouldn't survive in a pond (one has cataracts, and they no longer seem to mind if I touch them). My favorite, Carrot Top, is actually 9 years old. I actually purchased him as a pet when I moved back to the Bay Area. Originally, he was white with an orange patch on his head. Oddly, over the past year, the orange has receded to just a ring around his eyes. I don't have names for the other ones, which is very unlike me. Maybe Cat (-aracts), Goldie (for obvious reasons), Ghostie (again, obvious). 

***The tank had 5 goldfish but Shrimpy finally passed during quarantine, despite the automatic feeder (set too conservatively to preserve water quality). Born blind, he had always been smaller than the other fish. He didn't thrive, and I always feared he'd be the first to go. Still, I felt horrible when I came to change the water one week and found his little skeleton, picked clean, at the bottom of the tank. 

You're welcome!

Monday, June 21, 2021

Week 4 Off to a Great Start!

 I lost 2 pounds! I've also gained some muscle; my arms and legs are more toned. Now, if I can lose this bowling ball I'm hauling around in my gut. I've been feeling much better about the workouts. They are still challenging, sure, but I'm doing much better considering I haven't been working out consistently in a long time. Lately, it feels like I'm back in training but I don't know for what. I think it may be time to sign up for some races. However, I want to focus on getting the workouts done, having fun, and just enjoying them. Anytime I focus on speed, I feel so dejected. I'm in no shape to go fast right now. 

Summary of Latest Workouts:

Monday (today!) 6/21/21

I did a double session today! First, I ran 5 mile on trails in Wunderlich Park, one of my favorites. The weather was pleasant, and the trail offered lots of shade. Interestingly, the run was way harder than running on streets around my neighborhood, but I enjoyed it much more. I don't have to struggle to make my mind go blank. Instead, I'm constantly entertained by changing terrain, sticks and stones I have to leap over, and beautiful scenery. I love the smell of eucalyptus and treasure the redwoods. The first 2.5 miles was straight uphill and very challenging but I did it and was rewarded with a wonderful, long relaxing downhill on the return. The views from the Meadows were stunning as always. It was hard, but not too hard. 

Afterwards, I stopped for a quick lunch at Robert's Market before heading to Gull Park for a swim. I don't know what got into me but I was just itching to jump in the water and go for a swim. I swam a new route that started off against the current (what little current there was) and then enjoyed a free push on the return. Because it was Monday, I had the entire lagoon to myself. I felt rhythmic in the water and thoroughly enjoyed the flow. I swam this much in a long time. I swam about 1.2 miles. 

Sunday (Father's Day) 6/20/21

I rode Torch to Los Gatos, which was just under 30 miles. It was fairly flat with a tailwind but felt much more challenging than it should have been. I did try to push the pace and was cruising on Foothill around 18 mph for much of the way, which was blissful. The end got tough but that may in part have been due to the rising heat. Saratoga and Los Gatos are about 10 degrees hotter than Menlo Park, and it was 90 when I arrived at my dad's red-faced, dripping and panting. He was quite alarmed but help me cool off and made me lunch. Happy Father's Day! I did bring him a hand-painted card that I carefully wrapped in waxed paper and slipped into my jersey. It's fun pretending to be a bike messenger.


I started with a challenging weights session. Because it was my first workout of the day, I felt fresh and hit the weights hard, doing a mix of machine and free weights. I followed this with a 4.5 mile neighborhood run with Juneau. We went around the school and back. It definitely felt easier than lat time but was a bit hot. I didn't realize how hot it actually was until I finished. It was 84 degrees. 


Weights on the machine and a 1.2 mile swim in Gull Park. I'm just loving these open water swims! (Especially when it's hot!)


Rest day. I hate rest days but it was about 100 degrees outside. I could have gone for an evening run but I wimped out. I guess I should be taking 1 rest day a week.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Hot Bike

 Today, I biked and did weights. I felt energetic and strong. I knew it was hot, but I decided to go at noon, rather than wait and risk losing motivation. I did the Portola Valley Loop clockwise, which is about 20 miles, peppered with long, slow climbs. I focused on finding a steady pace and spinning evenly. I felt the power from my hips as they rotated in a repetitive, circular motion. I was impressed by all the other cyclists and runners braving the heat like me. I did not bereave my slow pace. Instead, I made sure I was getting a good workout. Sweating? Check. Breathing hard? Check. Legs burning? Check. It felt good. When I returned, I finished up with weights, just in case I wasn't going to be sore enough tomorrow. Apparently, it's 93 degrees out there. I thought it was mid-80s. I had no idea. Feeling proud that I braved the heat!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Week 3 Workouts

 I was disheartened to learn I hadn't lost ANY weight when I got on the scale this morning. I'm only weighing myself once a week. I couldn't believe it. I've been cutting calories, eating more fruits and veggies, and working out every day. So frustrating. I have about 20 pounds to lose, and they are NOT coming off. I'm trying to just focus on getting into shape and being healthy, even if I have to do this with the extra weight. I'm still slow as shit too but I have to admit, the workouts feel easier, and I even see some muscle definition starting to pop out. Trying so hard to focus on the positives but internally, I'm feeling very meh. 

Saturday, June 12: 4.4 mile run (thought it was 5 so this was disappointing to realize my "long" run is still so short. I used to run marathons, after all. Ugh.)

Sunday, June 13: 26 mile bike up King's Mountain to Skyline and back. About 2500 feet of climbing. My first ride with significant climbing since I started working out again. Despite everyone and their little sister spinning past me uphill and making me feel like a snail, I felt strong and steady. I never had any doubt I could reach the top. 

Monday, June 14: 1.2 mile open-water swim in the bay (more like a pea-soup, saltwater lagoon--Gull Park in Foster City). This was fantastic. My first open water swim since the fall, and it went, well, swimmingly!  I felt great the whole time, despite the current on the way back, kicked up by the afternoon winds. My back and shoulders were very sore the next day. Best part? I didn't need a wetsuit! The water was upper 60s. This was a great workout. 

Tuesday, June 15: 4.5 mile run. I got it done. Juneau helped. It was a bit hot (70s--I know, I'm a wimp). I could find a steady pace to maintain indefinitely (finally) but I'm SO slow. Oh, well. It was a good workout.

I don't know why I feel so blah. I've been doing a great job and am getting stronger. I just wish I was faster and weighed less. Working on it, but it's not easy.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Getting Better

 My last couple of runs have been getting easier. I'm so glad because running is my favorite. It's disheartening when your favorite sport becomes your weakest. We've started adding extra quarter miles. Tonight, we did about 4, and I finally found my old groove. I'm still slower than I want, but at least I can find a base pace where my mind can drift now. I followed up my run with some weights. My goal right now is just to work out consistently most days until the workouts feel less challenging. Then, I'll add distance and speed. I've been looking at races coming up later this summer. I've been looking at workout groups. I need to get my base up and my confidence too. 

This week's workouts:

Monday (6/7): weights and 1 mile swim (I had 35 minutes so I swam as fast as I could and as much as I could in the time given).

Tuesday (6/8): 20 mile bike

Wednesday (6/9): 3.5 mile run

Thursday (6/10): rest day

Friday (6/11): 3.75 mile run and weights

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Windy Bike

 I took the tri bike (Torch) out for a little workout today. Just down Foothill and back. Supposed to be an easy ride. Afterall, this used to be my taper ride. It was nothing but. Challenging and humbling. I'm out of shape. It's hard to tell how far I've fallen but I remember workouts being easy. Now, there's no such thing. It was also very windy, though I didn't realize how much until I turned around and was hit in the face with a wind tunnel. I'm not doing this for speed. I had to keep reminding myself that I'm doing this for health and for fun. I got it done, and I'm glad I did. Can't wait for the workouts to start feeling easier! Keep on, keeping on

Monday, June 07, 2021

Summer is here!

 Apparently, I haven't posted since last July. The school year was tough, really tough. Hopefully, it will go down in the books as the toughest ever. Somehow, I made it through, and, based on the crowds, the pandemic seems to be over in the Bay Area. Now that I'm vaccinated and school is out, it's time to work on myself and get back into shape.

I definitely gained the "Covid 15" but I'm in no worse shape than I was a year ago. Okay, I'm a little bit (a lot) more out of shape than my last post. I'm excited to be able to sign up for races again to stay motivated.  Logging my workouts seems to motivate me too, which is why I'm here. 

I've had my ups and downs this past year, but I've never given up on working on myself and fitting in the odd swim, run, or bike here and there. Travis passed in December. That was the biggest low of 2020. I still miss him every day. Luckily, I still have Juneau, and she is a faithful running partner. So I'm keeping on keeping on.

One of the highlights was being able to swim in the school pool with a new friend (water polo coach, ultra swimmer and fellow Bio teacher). We swam at 6:30 am 2x a week for 6 weeks! This past week, I swam 3x. I loved it and can't wait to resume next year. It certainly makes me look forward to getting to school. In the meantime, the ocean is open (although very cold--upper 50s), and I have a 35 minute slot at the local pool this afternoon ($10--grrrr--can't wait til the COVID restrictions are lifted).

Here are this past week's workouts (first time I was consistent and had something worth writing about for awhile):

Monday (5/31): 8-mile hike up Montara Mountain in Half Moon Bay with doggo and bf. Hard and hilly the first 4 miles but we made it! (see pics below)

Tuesday (6/1): 45 minute pool swim

Wednesday (6/2): 3 mile run with Juneau to the park and back (I'm out of shape; it was harder than it should have been).

Thursday (6/3): 45 minute pool swim

Friday (6/4): 45 minute pool swim

Saturday (6/5): 20 mile bike--rolling hills on "the Loop" in Woodside/Portola Valley. Gorgeous. I pushed it and was really sore the next day.

Sunday (6/6): 3 mile run with Juneau (same as Wednesday). Again, harder than it should have been. I was sore from the previous day's bike.

Monday (6/7): weights and a swim soon. can't wait!!!

Keep the momentum going!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Bike Hut Ride

 On Saturday, August 2nd, a week after my "Double Skyline" Ride, I accomplished my goal of riding to the Bike Hut and back. The ride requires climbing 2500 feet to Skyline twice, and I had a lot of anxiety about being able to do it. I wasn't sure my fitness was there. The weekend before, I climbed it once, bailed on going over to Half Moon Bay, and turned around. At the bottom, I had climbed to Skyline again on the same side of the hill. This time, I did the whole, originally planned route with no problems. I had been worried about climbing Tunitas, a brutal but beautiful 6 mile climb back to Skyline. Once I was on Tunitas, I paced myself well and actually enjoyed myself. I felt exuberant at the end of the ride. 

School began this week on August 17th. My goal now is to maintain the fitness I've built but I'm not putting my pressure on myself to go farther and farther. I would like to consistently work out several times a week and just maintain. I'm teaching virtually, and it's just as hard as my first year of teaching. I'm having to create new curriculum for each class every day...from scratch. I'm often working late until the night. I'm exhausted. Exercise is going to be critical for me to maintain balance and sanity. I ran and did weights on Monday after school. My run felt great. I actually was able to pick up the pace. I felt light and zippy on my feet. It's taken me a long time to get back to the point where I can just meditate and allow my mind to float away blissfully on my runs. I want desperately to maintain this because the first 4-6 weeks of starting to exercise again were miserable. Right now, the air quality is shit because of all the fires in the Bay Area. It smells like campfire, and there is ash on the car. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the wind blows in our favor at some point today so I can get a window of fresh air to go for a much-needed run. Here's to hoping.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Double Skyline Ride

On Saturday, I decided to try an old ride I used to do to challenge myself. Up to Skyline on King's Mountain Road, down Tunitas, out to the coast, and back. It's about 50 miles and 5,000 feet of climbing. I was nervous. I hadn't done it in a long time, and I wasn't sure I physically was able.

After a nice breakfast (toast and eggs), I headed out on Pandora. I warmed up nicely and felt solid. I began climbing King's, trying to stay positive. Very quickly, I realized I had underestimated this climb. It was much harder and steeper than I anticipated. Sweat poured down my face, and I downed water. I tried to prevent the anxiety of the second climb from creeping it to no avail.

According to our plan, Alan left the house 20 minutes after me to see how long it would take to catch me. He caught me about a mile from the top, near the archery range in Huddart Park. Even though I knew that this would happen (he's a much stronger cyclist), it took all the wind out of my sails. It didn't help that he caught me during the steepest section at the top, where it took all my concentration to turn the pedals over. Meanwhile, he cruised along easily, trying to have a conversation. I just couldn't. I felt so insignificant next to him obviously struggling as he seemed to be having a walk in the park. He wanted to know what the plan was for the rest of the ride, but I couldn't think straight. Instead of planning on reconvening at the top, I waved him off. Basically, I told him to leave me alone and go ride on his own. So he did.

After he left, instead of feeling better, I felt abandoned. Frustrated. Defeated. What the hell was I doing? Why was I doing this? I didn't want to climb Tunitas on top of King's. This was enough. I reached the top of King's and turned around. On the descent, I beat myself up about how not worthy I was to be riding my bike. I told myself I sucked and thought about how I was going to mope around the house the rest of the day. I also realized, my legs had begun to recover, and I still had gas in the tank. I started thinking. What if...? Maybe I could still salvage this ride. I saw a doe and her fawn on the side of the road. I took it as a sign. I wasn't going to climb Tunitas today but I could something else.

At the bottom, instead of turning left to go home, I turned right. I decided to try to climb Old La Honda and ascend to Skyline again on a different road. It wouldn't be quite as challenging as Tunitas, but it would be a good challenge. Plus, I could always bail and just turn around and go home. I started feeling optimistic and excited as I neared the second climb.

Old La Honda was hot and steep, riddled with narrow switchbacks, but my legs kept turning the pedals over. I knew I was going to make it. I felt good. It didn't matter how slow I was; I was doing this. Eventually, I reached the top, just as I emptied my final water bottle. I felt immensely proud.

As I rode home, I could feel the fatigue set into my legs. My butt, hands and neck ached. But it didn't matter. I had salvaged the ride and proved to myself that my setback was all in my head. Next week--Tunitas!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Six Weeks Later...

It's now been about 6 weeks since I've started working out consistently again. I have good days and bad days, good stretches and bad ones. But overall, I've been gaining strength and fitness. According to Strava (where I've been logging my workouts), I've worked out 35 times since the beginning of June. I've only lost 4 pounds (I would like to lose about 20), and I still feel slow as molasses but there  are other positives I'm focusing on. 

Here are some positives I've noticed after 6 weeks of consistent work outs:
1. My mood is better when I workout, and I have more energy. 
Sometimes, reflecting on this helps get me out the door. When I have the choice between moping on the couch all day and just going for a run and feeling better for myself, I will often choose the latter. I HATE when I take rest days because they often turn into 3 or 4. Lately, I've been trying to workout EVERY day, even if it means weights or an easy swim or ride. Being on summer break, there are just no excuses. I have the energy, and my body always feels better afterwards. 

2. The workouts are getting easier and more enjoyable.
When I first started, it was a slog. Especially running, which was unfortunate, because that's my go-to favorite. Now, I'm finding my rhythm again where the miles float by unnoticed and I just zen out. It wasn't like that at the beginning. I had to push through. Running fitness is always the first to go and the hardest to get back. I still have a ways to go but I'm now looking forward to my runs and running a bit farther each week. I can't wait to hit the trails again. 

3. I have more strength and muscle.
I've been hitting the weights 2-3 times a week, and it makes a huge difference. I can climb more on the bike, and swim faster in the bay. I don't get tired as easily. It's been a bit frustrating as far as weight loss goes since muscle weighs more than fat, but my clothes are fitting better, and I feel better when I look in the mirror. 

4. I've been eating better.
When I know I have a workout coming up, I plan ahead. I have to fuel myself properly. I end up naturally avoiding junk food more and going for whole grains and fruit more. I also have been splitting up my meals into smaller portions and then eating more frequently throughout the day. I've also noticed my cravings for junk food have gotten less. I would like to cut back on drinking wine since we've been having about 2 glasses/night. It really adds up.

So, overall, even though I wish I had lost more weight, I'm on the right track. I'm feeling positive and motivated. During these next 6 weeks, I'd like to begin running on trails again and building up the mileage a bit. I would also like to increase my climbing strength on the bike. I used to be able to bike up to Skyline, down to Half Moon Bay and back. I think I can get back there these next 6 weeks. 

Not a workout pic but a cute pic of Rango, helping me recover.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Still Trying...

What a crazy world we live in. The last time I posted, it was before the pandemic, and I was consumed by school and the hectic business of life. I used that as an excuse to avoid workouts. March 13th was the last time I saw my kids this year. My whole world changed forever. It's been an adjustment, but I'm luckier than most. I have a stable job, partner, family, and we are all healthy.

I also ended up having a lot of free time on my hands. For the first two weeks, I slept a lot, which is normal for me--teaching makes me so exhausted. Then, anxiety set in. And guilt for not being able to enjoy my free time. I entered the next phase: the Inertia Phase. This mainly consists of me not wanting to do anything, but my mind races. I end up cranky and laying on the couch.

After a few weeks of this, I got sick of it and decided to make some changes. First, I started sticking to a routine. Having dogs helps with this. Then, I took control of my diet and started working out again. I have begun gaining unwanted weight and my self confidence has plummeted. Now, I keep a food journal and have been keeping track of calories. I've also been working out again. It's been 3 weeks.

I feel like a broken record. I keep starting, then stopping, starting, then stopping. It's embarrassing, but at least I keep trying. Right now, I'm just trying to make it a habit. I remember when I used to look forward to my workouts and would itch to do them. I also remember the workouts feeling much easier. That's my goal right now--do consistent workouts and get to the point where I can enjoy them.

I've been trying to workout 6 days a week at the most, or at the very least, avoid 2 nonconsecutive rest days (this sets me up for a bad pattern). So far, so good. The hardest part is getting out the door. The runs have finally started getting easier (except I'm still only running 4 miles at an embarrassing 11 min/mile pace). So are the weights. The bike is hard but at least I'm doing it (only 20-30 miles right now). I'm trying. I'm not giving up. I think that's what matters.

My favorite running partner, Juneau.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

New Decade, Better Me.

The fall semester killed me. I allowed the school to swallow me up, and forgot to take care of myself. After a full semester of nothing but working and sleeping, I was granted holiday break (2 weeks). The first week is always spent sleeping and recovering. I finally feel my energy returning. My New Year's Resolution is to take better care of myself. Here's to a new year of health, peace, and happiness!

At least I've been walking the dogs twice a day (1 mile each) and going for the occasional hike. I finally ventured out for a 20 mile, rolling ride on the road bike the other day. Felt amazing. I feel fresh, recharged, and motivated. Today, I took my dogs (13 and 11 years old) for a 3-mile run. We had so much fun. I'm so amazed at how much these old guys motivate me. They did awesome. I was also amazed at how great I felt. I was worried running would suck after not doing it for so long. But it's always been my favorite, and the easiest for me to fall back on.

Oh, I also did weights! Makes such a difference in my strength, energy, and injury-prevention, especially now that I'm not a spring chicken. Anyway, my focus is on exercising for health and happiness. I don't care so much about speed or how I look. I want to exercise in a way that's sustainable and that means being consistent and disciplined but also making it fun so it's something I look forward to. Excited for my new challenge! Bring it on 2020!!!