Ballona Creek Bike Path & Back into TRI Shape

I have probably mentioned this bike path before–maybe not by name, but I’m on it at least twice a week (more in the summer). It’s about a 6-7 mile stretch that goes from Culver City to the beach. The amazing thing about this bike path is that there are NO LIGHTS, NO TRAFFIC. It goes under freeways/streets, so there is no stop and go. I am so used to it, I often forget how rare this is in ANY city. If I’m on my bike around 8am on the weekend, I see maybe 2 dozen people total–which means not much slowing down & it’s wide enough so that it’s easy to pass people.

So every weekend, I get to ride 8 minutes until I’m on the path, head to the beach, ride along the Pacific Coast Highway. I can’t even believe the views half the time. I tried to take pictures with my phone yesterday, so you would know what I’m talking about–but it was acting up. After I hit the PCH for a few miles, I head up to the airport & ride on Westchester. Again, here’s a 7 mile out and back road with wide bike lanes & almost no cars (and pretty flat, which I’m a fan of). Plus, you get to see planes taking off. Total, it’s about a 27 mile ride & my absolute favorite. I will be adding mileage soon, so then it gets a little bit iffy–traveling up and down hills, in and out of residential areas–not as quiet, but as we go on and on about how non-bike friendly L.A. is (and it’s not when you talk about the actual city center), for a weekend cyclist like myself–I’m so happy to have great access to these quiet rides. It feels like a great secret. If you are in L.A. and have a bike, meet me at my place. I’ll take you on the best bike tour ever!

Enough gushing. I had a great week of workouts last week. Well, let me be honest & say: it was tough getting in those swims!!! I put them off til the very end of the week, but I DID them. I had a great 27 mile ride yesterday & will be doing 35 milers soon! I’ve been very slowly building my runs, working on my form & all that to keep me injury free. I missed my trainer so much, I went back to him on Friday & thought I was having some kind of appendix rupture when I tried to sit up this morning–my abs hurt so much from the workout. I took a long nap yesterday as the week of working out got to me, and then I remembered how much I LOVE the feeling that comes from the work. I was tired again! After months of pretty low key fitness activities, it is fun to challenge myself again. What is even better is knowing that I still have a few more months to build before my first race.

I went back to my sports massage guy–have 2 more sessions with him & OUCH! It hurts! “In the good way” I guess–but my skin/muscles must be more sensitive than most. He has to give me a rubber ducky to hold while he beats up my leg. I like him, though, because he answers all my questions & seems just as curious as me to resolve my knee issue for good. It is tons better now–I can lunge!–so he has me test it by taking a huge step up onto his massage table, where I still feel a little twinge of pain at the top of the step. Years ago, I wouldn’t have thought twice about this. I would’ve slowed down my running or just ignored it. But something about working my full body with my trainer & the 3 sports of triathlon has me much more interested in moving my body efficiently. If my running form is terrible, I want to fix it! If I’m putting too much pressure on my knees, I want to stop! He now thinks it could actually be a shin splint because of the tenderness below my knee. I’m wearing very attractive black tape all over my shin right now–super cute!

Speaking of all this triathlon/working out business, it’s time to head out for a bike/run! I love this workout because, unlike my long bike ride–it doesn’t last very long. It’s just as tiring, though. Have a great week–watch some football today (I sure won’t be).

3 Day Weekends

This weekend feels so good. First off, temperatures in the high-70s (in January)! Thank you, Los Angeles. And it’s a 3 day weekend, thanks MLK, Jr.–for the 3 day holiday & a few other things you did and said. I am feeling well again. Since I am such an outdoor and active person, when I lose the desire to be outside and moving–my mood just plummets. I can’t tell you how amazing my Saturday AND Sunday morning bike rides were. I see views that people would travel here to see, and it’s literally outside my backyard. There are the other hardcore cyclists like me–in our jerseys, our aero bikes, in racing position. There are the beach cruisers, cruising along…there are the kids on their fixies, a fad I’m super stoked about (but the adult in me is saying, “please put on a helmet”). Sometimes I’m impatient with this traffic, but today–it was fun to see everyone out enjoying the morning. Even the bird lady that insists on feeding 20+ birds right in the middle of the bike path. Lady, I love your heart–but I fear for the birds’ lives when I head straight towards them at 19mph.
The work-week had been a long one. Friday, I wake up at 4am–wide awake. Ahhh, fun insomnia! I figured I could get back to sleep, but after awhile of tossing and turning–the watch says 4:45am. I know I need to swim at 6am, so I go ahead & get up, have some breakfast & coffee…and head out to the pool. The whole time, I KNOW I’m in for a crash later on in the day. I’m not known for a streak of 12 hour energy. I’m more like the 3 hour energy girl. I go into work early, prep for my first class with a new group of students–and groan thinking about how much energy I’m going to have to have.
My job is different from most others–I teach a new group of students every 7 weeks. The students come during their school day, and for them–it is a “field trip”–they come usually 14 times or so to see you (twice a week). This is the majority–there are also kids I see everyday, after-school kids, etc–but the majority I will only know for a short time. Their first week was this week–and this first Friday class was a group of kindergardeners. They walk off the bus and are in awe of our site–filled with gardens, strange sculptures, paintings, studios. And this Friday morning, everything I said was gold to them. They “oohed” and “awwed” and the LAUGHTER, it was out of control. My second class–it is a group of 13 or so called an intervention class because they are labeled “low performing” students. And let me tell you, they are the most amazing little high-performing actors you have ever seen. Their ability to collaborate, to participate, to cheer each other on–it’s what you only hope for in a class. One student, on the way out tells me, “You are the greatest thing ever!” At lunchtime, I was totally blissful. How egotistical for me to assume that my energy was going to be drained by these kids, when instead, they completely boosted me up and reminded me how really great the work can be. The job, not always. But the work itself–always challenging, fulfilling, and yes–sometimes it can get you through a long day.
I started putting up flyers for my new business ( this weekend. It was a semi-failure, as most of the parks and rec centers I went to didn’t have a place for such things or didn’t allow it. But when I did come across a “community board,” I got all giddy as I put my stuff up. Yes, it was up right next to a 12 yr old advertising babysitting, and it’s probably no big deal…but to me it feels like I’m shuffling another step towards something that will one day be bigger than I can imagine. I should be afraid of failing probably, but I’m not at all. If it’s my life’s dream, then hey–I’m OK with a slow beginning.
Back to the workout world! This week I stopped going to my trainer and started going to a new ART guy (active release technique) that my trainer recommended for my knee. He is completely amazing, and I’m so excited about it! This is a kind of heavy duty message–that involves moving around as the therapist is putting pressure on key muscle points, breaking up scar tissue, etc. He was the first to really investigate the cause of the pain, and after awhile, we found the tightest area in the quad. After a little bit of work, he would have me take a huge step up onto the massage table–to see if there was still pain. It was a great way to see myself actually responding right then and there to the treatment. I am feeling loads better, but I’m still continuing with 3 more treatments. I have been super patient lately–building up my workouts little by little, and the frustration is tremendous. I was doing 3 hour weekend workouts in August, and now I limit myself to 20 minute running sessions (and try not to let myself go too fast). It turns out I love off season & I love being at the height of fitness–but I’m not so good with the in between.
Speaking of fitness, I’m about to head to the pool–so happy to get one of my 2 pool workouts done on my Monday off–10:30am is much more fun than 6am. And warmer! Hooray! Hope you are enjoying a 3 day weekend as well.

Now that the New Year is over, can I retreat to my bed?

I had higher hopes for the first week of 2011. Instead, I had returning knee issues, sore-throat, feeling of exhaustion, boredom run rampant, sadness upon my return to work– and lack of desire to leave my bedroom. Oh, and also a general dislike of people. Where is my positive attitude? Certainly not waiting for me in these “icy syrup center” Halls I’m sucking on right now.

I guess your life doesn’t like to be jump-started like that. Maybe it likes to ease into things. In good news, I decided to take a break from my Trainer. Most people would probably think of this is bad news. I have been working out with him regularly for 2 1/2 years, and he’s awesome. But he’s always challenging me. That is the point, right? Well, when it comes to building muscles, it has left me consistently sore. At least 2 out of 7 days of the week, I am sore. And that is a sign of progress, but it’s also painful. I also have a tendency to push through any sort of pain, which has only brought me injury. My knee is not terrible. I can do almost all my workouts without a bit of complaint. But when I start in on deep lunges, squats, Olympic lifts, etc–a soreness returns. And I KNOW that I will be better if I take a break from this stuff; I’m not going to spend my year of workouts and triathlons continually trying to get over what started out as a mild injury. So goodbye to the heavy weight training for now. I’m already worrying about what to do on my Mon/Wed evenings & wondering if my legs are going to shrink to little toothpicks (highly unlikely).

I’m going to get some Active Release Technique therapy on my knee Tuesday with a new guy–and hopeful. And I DID make it to the community pool twice this week, and both times felt great. I went to the doctor about my sore throat, and it turns out (thank goodness) it’s not strep. Hey it’s the new pro-active me! Who just wasted $20 at the Dr’s office! 🙂 I just feel a general *blah* feeling–the kind that keeps me from getting outdoors on my bike in the sunshine. Instead, I want to nap, and read, read, read.

Hopefully my general laziness (are my clean clothes lying on my floor right now, waiting to one day be hung up?) will subside soon & I can hit the ground running (or at least jogging). It’s probably coming back from holiday that’s so hard. Is anyone else feeling it?

Happy 2011! Let’s Reflect! And look forward! And that stuff…

Happy New Year my large fan base! It feels like I know each and every one of you. Wait, Mom, Dad, cousins…I do! Thank you for your endless supports of this site (by this I mean those one or two comments you’ve left this past year). Now let’s review 2010!

2010: L.A. Marathon with my parents, start of a new business, Texas with family this summer, spider bite (ouch!), 8 or so triathlons (2nd at the L.A. tri!), my best friend moving back in as my roommate, summer camp at work, San Francisco Xmas, little bro is engaged, working out with the UCLA crew–testing my perceived limits, a week in Denver with my niece/nephew, amazing bike rides at the beach, in the mountains, in wine country, Seinfeld in Vegas with Tom and Linda, funniest year of online/offline dating EVER, short hair again!

There is more, I’m sure–but my memory is very selective. It started out very challenging at work–more hours, after-school programs, etc, but this school year has been quite a relief & my teaching is of a much higher quality because of it. Everything else this year seemed pretty relaxed & smooth…just what I remember asking of the year last January. And–the starting of my business has been the biggest leap I’ve taken in awhile, and it feels amazing. I’m ready for the time, struggle, success, learning, challenge that is to come this next year as I put more energy into it. I’m ready to be less of a newbie triathlete & more of an experienced one–with hopefully my best season to date!

My resolution: to hit the pool two mornings a week. I have a list of all the workouts to do during a week, but these are always the first to go…mostly because of the time/effort involved of GETTING THERE–the swimsuit, the gym bag packed for the day, the early wake up call…sure, it would be tons easier if I had a lap pool in my backyard (maybe 2012?)–but I’m lucky to have this great lap pool 2 miles away from my house.

I don’t have a big list of goals. They are there all the time; my life is a resolution. But I thought a smaller, more tangible goal couldn’t hurt. I am mostly just thankful to be here–to have my health, to have amazing people in my life, to find joy in so much…to strive to be better is a necessary part of life, but in the back of my mind, I don’t let go of the knowledge that *right now* I have been given more than enough. And the biggest goal for myself is always striving to not get stuck in my head, stuck in the past, stuck in old beliefs about myself. For the past 11 years, I’ve been a runner. I never would’ve thought I’d be a cyclist–or if I did, it would just be a method of staying injury-free. But the beauty I’ve found outside on the bike has brought me so much joy! I get to really see things–while I’m running, my focus is on breath, moving forward, keeping pace, i see the scenery but it’s hard to take time to really look–on the bike, it’s much easier to slow down, to take it easy & take in the views. In those moments, I really feel *this is all I need right now*–which are moments I love in life. I had a pretty quiet New Year’s Eve last night, but I spent it with 3 of my best friends just being silly. Even though we mocked ourselves for having a 4 person party, I didn’t want to be anywhere else. And as I grow up, I’m more able to ‘get’ these moments as they happen. So, here’s to 2011, where I am able to appreciate life as it happens–or if not that, I can force myself out of bed to hit the pool a couple of mornings a week.