Month: March 2015

Manning the Bananas at the SF Rock and Roll Half

City Hall pre-race at dawn

City Hall pre-race at dawn

I wanted to run the San Francisco Rock & Roll Half, but it wasn’t happening this year. I decided to volunteer instead. Since the race ends at SF City Hall, about 4 blocks or so from my apartment building, I signed up for there.

Call time was 5:30am. We were served cold Noah’s breakfast sandwiches and warm coffee. They placed me and a couple other people at the bananas and bagels station. The race crew had bags and bags of small plain bagels and many boxes of bananas for the runners.

It was fun to smile at each runner and hand out bananas. They are the perfect food for runners. Carbs, potassium, it all helps a runner either before or after a hard race. I have never, ever seen so many bananas in my life!

So. Many. Bananas.

So. Many. Bananas.

So many people go into putting a large event like this together. The paid race crew was running around, talking on radios, making sure everything was in shape for the runners.

I remember the course last year. It’s really hard, especially at the beginning. It starts at Ocean Beach and goes about 4 miles straight uphill until it gets to the Golden Gate Bridge. Then it’s uphill over the bridge to the other side and back uphill over the bridge to SF. The course cruises down through the Presidio, along the water and then flat through the Marina, then a little uphill on Polk Street and just when you think you got it made, the course planners threw a wrench in and give you a little left turn back up a steep hill. Welcome to San Francisco! But that’s the last one and you’re nearly home free now.

It was warm too today, so with the warmer weather, the many uphill miles and the distance, the medical crew was very busy. I talked to a couple of the team and they said they had their hands full. Unfortunately, so many think they can just wing it, but not on this course.

Afterwards, I went home and after a bit of food and rest, got a decent 4-mile run in. My leg felt good, so I think all the work I’m doing strengthening is helping. I will do this race next year.

Cheers!

Setting up before the race.

Setting up before the race.

REOCCURING THEME…

Or maybe I could have titled this Reoccurring Annoyance, which is probably more accurate.

As most of you already know, I’ve had problems with my right leg, namely, my IT band and knee. It hasn’t gone away, but it’s gotten better than it was. It still bothers me at times, usually after a hard hill run or tough weight workout, but it is livable.

I credit this to a couple different actions I have taken.

FOAM ROLLER:

Although I sometimes forget, I do try to roll out my legs twice a day. This helps a lot.

I also use a ROLLER BALL that I take nearly everywhere with me. I love this little gem.

My Roller Ball

My Roller Ball

After reading about how band work can help strengthen leg muscles, I use bands to do a few different exercises. I do these at least three times a week. There are four different ones I do.

STRETCH BAND:

I do four different exercises with elastic bands. Here are pictures for two of the four and I’ll describe the other two.

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This first one, start with the band around the ankles and slowly bring the top leg up, hold for a second and bring it back down. Do three sets of ten, each leg.

The second exercise is the Clamshell. Still laying on one side, have the legs bent, with the band around the legs, just above the knees. Bring the top leg up, with the bottom leg still, as a clam shell, holding for a second. Do three sets of ten each, both sides.

The last two are standing and are more difficult than they sound. The first, as pictured below, with the band around the ankles.

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With the band around your ankles walk sideways in small steps ten steps, three sets each way, being careful not to fall. After three sets, it will feel hard, trust me.

The last band exercise I do is standing with the band around the legs, above the knees. Walk sideways the same way as before, ten steps, three sets each side.

I do these 3-4 times a week. It helps making the area around my IT band muscles stronger.

Cheers!

FOOD & SENSIBILITY

A friend of mine asked on Facebook how to stop her from getting up at night and eating. And when she does eat in the middle of the night, it’s not anything healthy. This led to a big discussion about healthy eating, artificial sweeteners and a whole host of other issues.

Although I’m not a clean eating purist, I do try to limit the pre-packaged foods I eat and I try to not eat anything artificial. On the rare occasion I have soda, it’s usually at a bar atmosphere and I’ll stick to the sugared variety. But this is maybe, three, four times a year. I enjoy real, whole foods and I don’t have much of a taste for junk foods, with the exception of blue corn tortilla chips…

Wow, she wrote, this is not going to be easy….

And there is the realization that it takes work to eat well. But, it’s so worthwhile! It’s like doing a good job, getting good grades or treating others around you with kindness. The rewards from healthy eating are so great. The food is superior and delicious! The payoffs will be felt nearly immediately; you’ll look and feel better. And if you plan wisely, and cook for yourself, your finances won’t suffer.

Sensible eating makes so much more “sense” than dieting. I’ve yoyo’d more times than I’ll ever admit to in my life and I don’t want to do it again. I’ve been underweight and I’ve been overweight. I’ve been obsessed with eating and I’ve not cared. But now I’m in a point in my life when I want to feel as good as I can. I have some pounds to lose myself, so why not lose them while still enjoying meals and eating and, life?

I’ll keep writing about how it’s going as the weeks move along. So far, so good.

These days I’ve been super busy working out a lot.

Last week, I had two runs with two clients, and they went really well, my first kickboxing class, yoga, a couple weight training sessions at the Y, a group run and a solo hill run. Monday forced me to take a rest day with the only chance to do laundry and this week looks just as busy. I’ll give you a rundown on my workouts this weekend.

Cheers!

Purple kale from the Farmers Market

Purple kale from the Farmers Market

Cross Train for Better Running

One of the many reasons why triathlons have become so popular is that it forces the athletes to cross train. We runners can be very narrow-minded when it comes to training and that can really hurt us in the long run. It did me. Switching it up has helped me with my ongoing IT band problems.

This week was crazy busy. I had a running session with a client, kickboxing, yoga, gym visits and managed to get in a couple runs of my own.

This was my first experience with kickboxing and I love it! It was quite the workout too. It worked all the muscles in my body, including many of the leg and core muscles I needed to get stronger and the instructor made it really fun. It was outside along the bay with beautiful weather. I’ll take pictures next time. It was a small group, three students with the one instructor. The course focused on how to kick and punch and then how to do them in sequence. There were also warm-up exercises and cool down ones. In between we had a group of round robin ones that were really fun. As soon as I got home, I signed up for next week’s session. I can’t wait.

After work last night, I ran a couple miles of hills. I’m up of practice and struggled. It was hard and I remembered back when running up Hyde Street wasn’t so difficult. It will take some time for my lungs and legs not to scream at me to stop.

This morning, I woke up early and went to the YMCA. I focused on upper body weight work and leg weight work, doing a bit of stretching but saving most of that for my yoga session later.

On my way to yoga, I stopped for coffee and could feel my muscles tightening from this week’s workouts. I do enjoy that feeling! My yoga session was one-on-one with the instructor. I really liked that because we worked on the group of muscles that I need to get stronger. The Yogi gave me many good poses, altering some of them due to my lack of flexibility. We practiced in Golden Gate Park near the Conservatory of Flowers. It was warm and sunny out, feeling more like summer than winter.  Like my kickboxing class, as soon as was able to, I signed up for next weekend’s class. This is so good for me!

Tomorrow is the Vint group run, which is always fun!

Cheers!

I HEART NEW YORK

This morning, I went out for my first run in over a week. It felt good to get out in the warm San Francisco air and get in a little over 2 miles. Even though I had been away and couldn’t get any running in, my legs felt strong and I wasn’t too tired out running up and down a few hills.

And even in the warm morning air, I missed New York City.

I had would could be considered one of the best vacations of my life. Everything went really well. I ate, I walked, I laughed, I met fantastic people, I ate some more, I walked and walked, I saw spectacular Rangers hockey, I awed over beautiful sites, I ate some more, and I walked.

It was incredibly cold in NYC during my stay. The temperature fluctuated a few degrees, but it never got above 35 degrees. On Sunday afternoon, it snowed, and the city couldn’t have looked more beautiful with that fresh coat of white.

Because I’m a city girl and very familiar with public transportation, I had no problem figuring out the subway system. It’s much easier than MUNI. The signs are everywhere and the trains run much more often. You can get nearly anywhere you want to on the subways. And because they’re old, there are few escalators, so you’ll be walking up and down A LOT of stairs. I have to say this about New Yorkers; they have strong leg muscles to walk up and down those stairs every day! It’s what probably helped with me gaining no weight.

That’s right! Even with all the bagels, pizza, pastrami, Junior’s cheesecake (THE BEST!!!!), and everything else I had, I didn’t gain an ounce. So. Much. Food….

But so many beautiful places to walk and run. The next time I go, I will stay closer to Central park so I can run. It just wasn’t practical where I stayed to get a run in.

But now I’m back home, ready to get going and tackle my 2015 goals. They are: To lose weight, tone up, and run the California International Marathon in December.

Here are some pictures from my trip. If there was any way for me to move to New York and work there, I would in a NY minute….

Bryant Park

Bryant Park

Rangers hockey at Madison Square Garden

Rangers hockey at Madison Square Garden

The Mall - Central Park

The Mall – Central Park

The High Line

The High Line

1 World Trade Center

1 World Trade Center