Sunday, August 29, 2021

Getting Ready for a Half-Marathon

 I'm about to start Week 4 of school. School is exhausting. I had forgotten. It seems I can workout most mornings before school but after school is a crap shoot. I've never been able to get up early before. All of a sudden, I'm an early bird? I'll go with it. I've also lost 17 pounds and am maintaining it so far. 3 more to go to reach my goal! Feeling strong, feeling proud. 

Week 13: Training Continues

Monday (8/23)-weights in the am. swam about 2300 yds at Burgess after school. Did a descending ladder starting at 500.

Tuesday (8/24)-ran about 5 miles with Juneau before school

Wednesday (8/25)-swam with my friend at the M-A pool early in the am. She said I looked faster! Made me so happy. Did about 2300 yds. Main set was 3x200 and 4x100s at race pace with 20 seconds rest. I was so tired after school, I went home and went to bed at 4pm!

Thursday (8/26)-rest day. Tired and felt out of sorts. 

Friday (8/27)-ran 6 miles with Juneau. Pooped my pants. It happens. Had a massage after work and went home and went straight to bed. I've been TIRED lately. 

Saturday (8/28)-rest day. bad air quality and really hot (95 degrees). I could have done weights. I did lots of school work. And napped. Feel much more rested.

Sunday (8/29)-ran at least 13 miles at China Camp to preview the course for next weekend. I got very lost and kept running in circles. It was like the Bermuda Triangle. I'm very glad the course will be marked for next weekend. I still had a great time and am glad I have a bit more knowledge about the course. I was out on the trail for 4 hours!

Week 12: Sandman Triathlon

The second week of school kicked my butt even more than the first. I still got my runs and weights in but that was about it. However, it worked out since I had the Sandman Triathlon on Sunday. It ended up being the perfect taper. I had a great race too! Very chilly (54 degrees) ocean swim with some nauseating swells (750 yards). I was surprisingly slow. Maybe because I was against the current? Anyway, it took me over 20 minutes! The bike was only 13 miles but very hilly. I took my road bike and ended up just riding my regular wheels, which was definitely slower. However, it rained, making the roads very slippery. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. The bike took me 53 minutes. The run was 4 miles in sand. Lots of holes and seaweed to dodge. My shoes got soaking wet. I felt strong but definitely not fast. I think the trail running helped. Overall, I came in just under 2 hours. It was a fun workout. I had a great time and will definitely do that again. 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Still Going Strong. No excuses!

 Despite the first week of school kicking my butt, I still managed to do all my workouts! It wasn't easy but I'm very proud. The trick was not to focus on distance or speed but just doing a workout. I told myself if I didn't feel good after 5 minutes, I could quit. I never did! Plus, I managed to lose 2 more pounds!

Here's how the rest of Week 11 panned out:

Wednesday, August 11, 2021: First Day of School!

I woke up early and did weights! Who is this person? School was hectic and exhausting but so great. I'm so glad we are back in person. After school I was exhausted. By the time I got on the bike, it was 5:30. But the key was that I got on the bike. After a slow warm-up, I felt peppy and killed it for 20 miles on the trip bike! I even included some little hills with Alpine and Arastradero before coming back on Foothill, where I was going 18-20 mph. Smokin'!

Thursday, August 12: I took a nap. I didn't think I was going to work out. Around 8:30, I put on my headlamp, got Juneau and went out for a 5-mile run. It was so much fun! I love night runs!

Friday, August 13: After school, I went to the pool for a swim before my massage. Knowing I was getting a massage right after was great motivation. I did a back-free-breast warm-up, then a 500 free, followed by 3x200, 3x100,  and 4x50 to try to work on speed. I'm definitely not faster but felt strong and managed 2100 yds. 

Saturday, August 14: Let the hard training weekends begin! I ran in Huddart Park again but this time did 10.4 miles. It was HILLY (1800 feet--all in the first 6 miles) but the return descent was heaven. It was hot too! I drank my entire Camelback, plus 2 salt tabs and 5 orange Cliff Blocks. I think I'm training for a half marathon! The ice bath was heaven. 

Sunday, August 15: We did the Coast Loop (51 miles, 4,000 feet of climbing, up to Skyline twice). I basically did the same ride as last weekend but with more added to the middle. I killed it on Tunitas! I'm so proud of myself right now. Just very sore. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

School Starts Tomorrow!

 I am all ready for year 9! Everything is prepped and ready to go. I'm very excited, after a year-and-a-half of distance learning. I'm also motivated to keep up with exercise and healthy eating. I've loaded my classroom with healthy lunches and snacks and am going to bring my workout clothes with me to school and exercise immediately afterwards, instead of going home first.

Here's how the week has been going:

Sunday, 8/8/21:

After my very challenging Huddart Park run, we rode a 40 mile out-and-back ride to Half Moon Bay. The Bike Hut was our midway point. I was nervous. This is a very challenging, 4,000 foot ride with two trips up to the top of Skyline. Yes, my legs were tired. And, yes, I nailed it. I was enormously proud of myself. I felt strong (slow, but strong) the whole way and could have even gone farther! Link to Bike Hut Ride.

Monday, 8/9/21:

This was my first day back, and the endless meetings usually do me in. I forced myself to swim at Burgess and was so happy I did. The warm up sucked. My body was tired and sore. I put no pressure on myself and just kept swimming. Then, my body loosened up, and I found a good solid pace. I ended up swimming about 2300 yds. After a 450 warm-up (free-breast-back), I did a descending ladder (500-400-300-200-100). I ended with some 50s and a cool-down.

Tuesday, 8/10/21:

I was going to take a rest day, but I'm worried about skipping a day. I was exhausted after school so I took a nap. Juneau got me up and convince me to run. We did 4.75 miles around the neighborhood. I actually felt peppy!

Saturday, August 07, 2021

End of Summer, Finishing Strong

 I've had some great workouts this week. When I look back at where I was 10 weeks ago, I'm very proud of myself. My heart rate is 55, and I've lost fat and gained muscle. I feel stronger when I swim, bike, and run. I've also begun increasing the weights during my weight routine. School starts next week. I know I won't be able to work out at the same intensity that I am right now, but my goal is maintain consistency of workouts. Over the summer, I've been working out once or twice a day most days. I really enjoy it. During the school year, my goal is to maintain 5 workouts a week. In the past, I dive into school and abandon everything else in my life. I'd like to be more balanced this year. 

Here's how the rest of Week 10 panned out:

Friday, August 6

6-mile neighborhood run with Juneau

I ran with Juneau to school. I left the GPS at home. After my last run, I began beating myself up for being slower than normal. It sucked all the fun out of that run. I'm doing these workouts for fun and my health. I decided if focusing on speed wasn't making me happy, I'd just focus on enjoying the run instead. It was a bit more hot and humid than normal. I allowed myself to find any pace that was comfortable. And Juneau always helpful on runs. She is always so happy and eager to run; she helps me keep a consistent pace and motivates me to pick up the speed. If I'm hurting on the run, I just look down at her and see her smiling face and light, rhythmic gait, and I can't help but feel good. She's the best running partner.

At school, Juneau followed me around the classroom as a rearranged desks, climbed ladders to replace old ladders with new ones, and organized drawers. I scrubbed down the desks and wiped down the counters. I even tested out the new SmartBoard. When I sat down at the computer to print out masters, Juneau laid down beside me. Travis used to do that. Afterwards, Juneau and ran home. It was short and fast. We both felt sprightly after our active break at school. In total, I ran 6 miles. 

Fun Gull Park Swim

I then decided to jump in the inlet at Gull Park in Foster City and do a relaxing mile. The water felt silky and cool against my skin, refreshing after a hot run. The cool temperature (about 65-68 degrees F) soothed the joints and muscles in my legs. It was the perfect recovery. My stroke felt easy and rhythmic, allowing my mind to drift. I swam out to the bridge, against a mild current due to the afternoon wind coming off the San Francisco Bay. There was no one else in the water. I had the entire inlet to myself. The bubbles from my breathing and the sound of my hands slipping through the water was calming. On the return, the current picked up, pushing me forward, like a tailwind. The waves picked up; sometimes I would turn my head and discover no pocket of air and have to skip a breath. At times, it felt a bit like bodysurfing. It was actually quite fun. 

Saturday, August 7:

9-mile hilly Huddart Park run

I have a trail half marathon coming up in a month. I use Trailstompers to help plan my runs (this run is linked in the Title). It's been an amazing resource for me. Last week, I ran the shorter, 6-mile run (1100 feet) in Huddart to begin training. It went well so this week, I decided to do the entire 8.7-mile loop (1600 feet) feet this week. It was very hot and humid at the bottom; at least more than I'm used to. It was a long, slow run, so my goal was to run at any pace that felt comfortable. One rule: just keep running. 

There was a lot of climbing in this run. The first half is uphill and pretty steep at times, especially at the beginning on Richards and Skyline, which surprised me. Those hills came late and were super steep. I somehow kept my knees and feet bouncing me up the hill, even if my steps didn't take me far. I know I could walk them, but I wanted to practice running them because I know it will help me get up those hills more easily in the future. So I pushed myself. I wore a Camelback packed with some orange Cliff Blocks. I had only eaten a light breakfast; I was glad I had brought something with me to keep me from bonking. I sipped on my water every few minutes, especially at the beginning, where it was hot and I was already climbing. Somehow, I made it to the top. I was glad I had done the shorter version the previous weekend; that one had been tough too but at least I knew what to expect. 

The new section to get to the top of Skyline was just as much uphill with some really steep stuff on the top. I felt like someone was playing a prank on me. C'mon, really? Another hill? Finally, finally the trail that would begin the descent back into the park appeared. I had maintained my pace and run up the entire hill. The downhill would be my reward. I found renewed energy as my feet flew down the single-track trail and around the switchbacks. I focused on keeping my feet under me and landing light on my toes. I use my quads to pick up my knees and keep a high cadence. This is where the cycling helps. It really protects my knees and allows me to be a decent downhill runner. I had an awesome runner's high for the last 3 miles as I zipped downhill. I felt like the old me again. 

At the end, my legs were pretty tired and my muscles (especially my lower back!) were also fairly sore. I know we want to do a challenging bike ride tomorrow so I decided to take a 15 minute ice bath to help recover. Hope it helps!

Post note: I saw 5 lizards and 30 hikers. It was pretty busy. On the way home, I saw a doe with two fawns, grazing in a grassy field along the side of the road. 

Thursday, August 05, 2021

Week 10-Keeping on keeping on

 I've been tired this week. Not sleeping well. Feeling blue about returning to school and work next week, which is normal this time of year. I know as soon as school begins, I will feel better. I've been slower in my workouts and beating myself up about it. As the week finishes, I've been shifting my focus to just getting the workouts done, enjoying them and focusing on my health. 

Monday, 8/2/21: Rest day. I felt tired and sore after a weekend of solid workouts. However, taking a rest day was hard for me. It felt awful.

Tuesday, 8/3/21: Run (4.5 miles with Juneau) and weights. I was slow and beat myself up about it. Time to  leave the GPS at home for awhile and just enjoy running.

Wednesday, 8/4/21: 2300 yd pool swim, including an 800 free and 10x100. Again, slow. My best time was 2:08 and it only got worse from there. I was so sore afterwards.

Thursday, 8/5/21: 27 mile bike ride (Edgewood/Canada/Whiskey/Loop). I actually felt pretty good. This was a solid ride. Followed it up with weights. 

Looking forward to the rest of this week's workouts!

View from the top of Edgewood. Always makes the climb worthwhile.

Gull Park in Foster City where I do my open water swims.

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