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!