gym

WE WILL RETURN TO OUR STORY IN A MOMENT…

After posting diligently about the San Francisco hills, I’ve taken a quick break and will get back to them later this week.

Things have been busy; my workouts have been great and I’ve been running well. My downfall comes with eating. I eat healthy, just as I always have, but losing weight is difficult. Combine that with the rare occasion when I have a cheat meal and I gain all my weight back. I’ve realized that I need to cut my portions back from what I used to eat. Even with all the workouts and running, I simply cannot eat as much as I used to eat. Such are the ways of getting older.

But giving up is not an option and if I continue to MOVE FORWARD, I will lose the weight I desire and reach my goals.

Have great workouts and continue MOVING FOWARD!!

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Part of the trail in Golden Gate Park

 

DISAPPOINTMENT

Sunday mornings are usually my favorite time of the week. I set my alarm early; sometimes as early as 4:00am, go to bed extra early on Saturday night while my neighbors are heading out to have fun and wake up in the darkness looking forward to that week’s long run.

Everything changes with an injury. My IT band problems are keeping my from running for at least a month if not longer.

Sunday, I woke up late. I didn’t set the alarm as there was no morning run. In fact, my leg ached a bit, so I woke, did my morning stretches and figured out what else to do besides my long run. Unfortunately, I didn’t choose the smart and sensible thing. I ate a large breakfast and watched Netflix.

I’m not used to being side-lined. I’m not used to not having my favorite activity to plan. What to do, what to do…..the responsible person would get their fast spreading butt to the gym to get a decent workout in. At least I could clock in some stretching and cardio, but not this Sunday. I couldn’t get myself out of a funk.

This sorry state has lingered longer than I would like, but learning to cope with delay and disappointment is part of life, so I’m working my way through it. Sometimes, getting through a rough spot means just putting one foot in front of the other, so I will do that….

Keep moving forward…..

….AND I’M INJURED

I didn’t expect to be injured. Who does? The setback I suffered from hasn’t gotten better. Weeks ago, I felt a small but irritating pain, sort of a nagging cramp in my right quad muscle. For a long time, I thought it was just tight muscles, so I worked at making the muscles, as well as my core stronger, but it never got any better. I then took a couple weeks off running to rest it, icing and heating and propping it up as much as I could, hoping it would heal.

After walking some this past weekend, I was still in pain.

One of the most difficult things for runners to admit is to succumb to injury. Being injured means races get cancelled, training schedules go out the window and our favorite activity stops. Completely. I have been looking forward to the Chinese New Year’s Race this Sunday, sponsored by the Chinatown YMCA as their biggest fundraising event of the year. I like doing the 10K. It’s a great course, going a double loop through Chinatown, Northbeach and along the Embarcadero, but I had to reduce my race to the 5K. I can always walk it if it starts hurting.

Not being able to run creates all sorts of negative side effects. I’ve started putting on a few pounds, especially over this past weekend. It was kind of a shock how fast I gained. I’ve since started being careful about my eating, but until I get back into running, the weight won’t be coming off very soon. And my mood….I’m working real hard on being optimistic.

Next week is my birthday and my stepmom is visiting me for the week. I’m taking a few vacation days, so we’ll have a great time. But, I’m still bummed out I can’t go run on a few of these days.

Tomorrow I will go to the gym for the first time in over a week and I’ll work mostly upper body and core, and try out the treadmill just to see how my leg feels. Wish my luck.

Keep Moving!

DON’T HATE RUNNING

In a fitness instructor group I belong to, someone posted an article stating why lifting is the new running for women over 40. Many of the trainers chimed in how they hated running and how they were so happy when they stopped running.

Well…. I of course, had to add my voice asking why does it have to be one or the other? Why can’t those of us who enjoy being fit like both? I love to run, obviously, but I also really enjoy my time spent at the gym. Maybe I’m not a “serious lifter” like some, but I do plenty of tough work with dumbbells, kettle bells and barbells.

Ever since I can remember there has been this invisible and sometimes not-so-invisible divide between lifters and runners. Fortunately, stereotypes have been shed and more people on either side are agreeing that each has its merits. So when I saw this today and the agreements of how running is supposedly bad, it brought me back to the bad old days when lifters routinely discounted running.

I also saw this divide while studying for my trainer’s cert. Somehow, running has gotten a bad rap by the gym crew a while back and it’s still there.

I am all for adding strength training into one’s regular workouts. It has helped with my weight, my endurance, my strength and my lack of injuries. Frankly, I can’t imagine I would be running at all had I not added in strength training. But I also suggest that lifters stop their prejudice against running. Some seem to have an all-out dislike of cardio all together. Maybe because it’s difficult when one starts. But, like anything worthwhile, it takes time to master.

I only hope one day we lifters and runners can join together and understand we are both on the same side.

I have been away from my writing. Many things have been going on and not all good but I won’t bore anyone with all the torrid details. Except to say that stress sucks and I’ve had plenty of that. I have stress so bad right now that I grit my teeth at night (even with a mouth guard) that I have constant jaw pain. I take Advil for it and am trying to find solutions like meditation and changing my profession to ease out of it. I know will find a way and as most everything in my life, I know it won’t be easy.

But I’m still running, still getting out there and doing it. I am now more determined than ever to lose the weight I need, get the part-time personal trainer’s position I want and run like the wind!

Cheers!

SNAGS AND SETBACKS

I’ve been reading this book “The Untethered Soul”, by Michael A Singer about reclaiming your life and true Inner Growth. It’s an interesting read, one that can help me quite a bit, as I tend to worry a lot about things out of my control. I’ll write a complete review of it in here when I finish it.

Stress is the big killer. Combine stress with unhappiness and it can lead to many things, none of them good. And it has been getting to me lately. I simply must find a way to let go the stress I’m experiencing these days.

It is a work in progress. I’m including meditation in my evening routine, as well as getting back into eating healthy and striving to reach my fitness goals. This will take three things: 1) time, 2) patience and 3) money. And I need to do a better job at all three.

But it’s OK. I will do them all. My first goal is to not be so hard on myself. The greatest damage we can do is to be our harshest critic. So, I’m going to smile back at myself in the mirror more and carry on!

I ran six miles last night through Downtown and along the Bay. It was wonderful! The weather was mild, absolutely no wind and I felt so free. Tonight, I hit the gym, ready to work out my trouble spots: Core, Glutes, Shoulders, Arms.

And tomorrow as Scarlett said, is another day.

Cheers!

 

PS: I’ve revamped my blog/website. It’s now much simpler to reach and it will have a lot more content, including exercise instruction, recipes and reviews. Let’s just say that it will be a great place to check back often!

THE SWEET SPOT

Some runs start out hard; I forget my Garmin (I know, but it happens) and I have to go back and get it, I run the first mile too fast, forget to roll, run too close to eating, and then I know the rest of the run is going to be so, so hard. Sometimes, the run doesn’t turn out to be as bad as I imagine and I wind up pleasantly surprised. Other times it’s agony for miles.

But then there are those runs when everything feels RIGHT. All cylinders clicking perfectly. The weather is wonderful, drivers are mindful and yes, pedestrians are courteous. At some point on one of these runs I’ll feel good, really good, as if I could run 25 more miles just like I’m doing. I may smile, I may turn up my music a little more and maybe I’ll check out the scenery I’m passing a bit more carefully.

On my last run I felt this, it’s called a Runner’s High, and what a great feeling! Many times I get my “high” after I run and am filled with adrenaline, but that sheer joy of finding comfort spot during running is a bliss I truly appreciate and enjoy. I kept going on this run, moving past the point I had planned, because it felt so good. My body embraced the steps, this is True Freedom. If I had allowed myself, I could have probably gone a couple more miles out of happiness alone.

But then a cyclist nearly ran into me and jolted me back into reality. Even with all the happy thoughts, I still have to remember that it’s a dangerous world for us runners; need to constantly be on guard.

In between my runs I’ve been spending a lot of time at the YMCA. I’ve learned to enjoy core and weight work. It’s a different kind of appreciation and workout. It’s more tightly controlled and inside. And it’s around others, most of the time. But without all the strength training and stretching I do, I couldn’t run, so it’s necessary.

My longest run in decades is coming up this Sunday. I’ll go for 20 or 21 miles, which will be the only 20+ mile run I get in before my marathon in December. I wanted to do more, but because of all the happened with Dad, it didn’t happen. I hope it’s enough.

Tomorrow night is a 9-miler, so I’m looking forward to hitting that sweet spot once more.

Cheers!

This is MY Gym!

Great trail in the Presidio

Great trail in the Presidio

Four days a week, I get to run outdoors. I consider it a privilege. I do go the gym two to three days a week, but for four days, I’m outdoors.

There are a couple reasons why I have never, and will never run on a treadmill. For some reason the treadmill triggers my vertigo. Horrible spins usually start happening the second I step off (or try to step off) the machine, making it hard not to fall to the floor. That alone is enough for me to stay off them. On a lesser note, I find running on a treadmill the second most boring workout ever. First being the elliptical machine. It’s a personal preference, but I can’t handle more than a few minutes on one of those.

Path in Golden Gate Park

Path in Golden Gate Park

Happily, i’m a outdoors-type of gal, so being out in the elements is no biggie. Even if I lived in a snow area, or in the tropics, I’d be outside. I would find a way to run.

If all of my workouts were inside, I probably wouldn’t enjoy them as much. I love exploring different parts of San Francisco. I do wish I could afford a vehicle, because I would love to be able to drive to different parts of the bay Area and discover new places to run, but for now, that’s not possible. Until I can, I’ll just enjoy this big workout room called San Francisco!

Cheers!

View of SF Skyline near Coit Tower

View of SF Skyline near Coit Tower

Busy, But Good Days….

To be able to run the distances I want, I’m finding that I have to spend a lot of time at the gym. Which isn’t a problem; I love spending time at the gym. It isn’t always easy; I have to fit it into my schedule and with the NHL Playoffs and my running clients and my NASM studies, my personal time is getting crowded.

Tomorrow will be INSANE!!! I need to wake up at 5:00am, get an 8-mile run in, then get home, take my NASM mid-term and afterwards, watch the Rangers defeat the Washington Capitals!

I’m excited and nervous about my day. I want things to go well. I’ve worked hard to prepare to my run and for my test. And of course, I don’t want the Rangers’ season to be over.

I’ve been working on some recipes that I should be posting in the next week along with pictures.

Enjoy your weekend! Cheers!

I Took The Plunge….

I turned 56 this past February. It was momentous only because I knew it was now or never that I make big changes in my life’s path. I haven’t been happy with the way my “career” – or whatever my day job is, has been going. I haven’t been happy with my work for a very long time and unlike how the many negative people around me feel, I can change the direction of my life, even at my age, and do something that makes me happy, that fulfills me.

Instead of working endlessly in an office where I do nothing that matters to anyone without getting any credit for anything, I want to work in physical fitness. I want to be a Personal Trainer. And I don’t just want to work in a gym somewhere. I would like to work with seniors and help them live better lives. I would really like to help seniors have healthier and happier lives by becoming more active, move more, and be show them how much better their lives can be.

But it’s a scary thing, this whole life change deal…. I’m very afraid. I’m in decent shape myself, I do need to lose a few pounds, so I don’t look like much of a trainer. There is a live group session next weekend and I know I’ll be the oldest one there and probably the only one who doesn’t look like an athlete. HAHA! I’ll just have to amaze them by showing that I’m in better shape than they think. (And I am.)

And when I get my Personal Trainers Certificate? What then? How do I get a job? I have no clue. I have sent an email to a volunteer organization in San Francisco to see if I can work with seniors once a week. That can help me get a foot in the door and maybe make some contacts.

I’m excited, nervous, scared and freaked out. But I guess that’s normal…. yoga today helped calm me down a bit. I’m going to need that, a lot in the upcoming weeks.

Cheers!

The box from NASM

The box from NASM

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!