Category Archives: My life

my first spin class

I went to my first ever spin class this morning.  I was a little nervous, as I am pretty much at the outset of pretty much any kind of group activity in which I don’t know the other people.  I was also a little worried about the technical details – how do you set up the bike?  Do I need to bring bike shoes?  Do I need a ticket?  And so on.  I was also a little worried about being able to complete the workout.  However, I imagined it would be low-key, and it was.  I went to a 9:30 class while B was at preschool, and as a result the class featured a disproportionate number of old people and also about half women.  (I have noticed that the Y is dominantly filled with men before 7:30 am, and dominantly filled with old people and women after 8:30 am.  I haven’t had to time to fully flesh out conclusions based on this.)

Anyway, we did 4 by 8 “Tabatas.”  That is 20 seconds hard, 10 seconds easy a total of 32 times.  The instructor generally told us how to set the resistance, saying either seated hill climb, or standing high hill, or whatever.  People were definitely working hard.  I don’t really take a lot of gym classes, so maybe that’s true in all classes, but there wasn’t much chatter and there was a lot of sweat.  I began to feel like I was in a torture chamber with the music blaring and people immersed in sweat and discomfort around me.

After the Tabatas, she had us do three sets of 6 minutes.  She advised starting at resistance 13 or so, and we were to maintain 90 rpm.  Then, we should increase resistance by one at 3 minutes, and then again by one at 5 minutes.  I decided to start at resistance 11 rather than 13, and otherwise followed instructions and maintained 90+ throughout the exercise.  Then, she had us do it again.

I had forgotten to check the duration of the class and kept thinking it would be over and then having to do another exercise.

The class was called spin / core, so after 45 minutes of spinning, she led us in about 10 minutes of core exercises and then some stretching.  I’m not sure if it’s because I was exhausted from spinning or because I just have a weak core, but the core stuff was so hard.  She started out with a basic plank and then you sort of rocked from side to side.  I basically couldn’t really do it.  I was toast.  But maybe if I persist, I’ll get better at it.  I’m not sure once a week is a high enough frequency for 10 minutes of core exercises to make any difference whatsoever, though.  I’d hoped my pushups were working my core, and there’s no doubt they are, but perhaps I should add some type of plank exercise to my thrice weekly strength exercises.  I think core strength is not only good for cycling and running but also for preventing back pain.  Ever since having the kids, I’ve dealt with on and off minor back issues, no big deal, but something that could potentially become worse with age.

best of 2017 in running

Since it seems all I blog about these days is running, it probably makes sense to do an end-of-year summary.

Best Race Experience

Cosmo Girl 7K, bar none.  I didn’t go into the race with any particular expectations, but I came in 2nd of about 500 runners.  That’s my best race performance, well, ever, I think.  It’s mostly because the race wasn’t particularly competitive, but it was kind of awesome running down the main drag in West Seattle with only one woman and the cycling guide in front of me.  It was also my second-fastest paced race of the year, at 7:11 mpm with a 22:07 5K in the middle.

Best New Piece of Running Gear

This is a hard one, but I think I have to go with my GPS watch.  I avoided getting a watch for the longest time, but I finally gave in and got a Garmin 735XT, and I have to admit that I love it.  I don’t really look at it much when I’m running, but I like having it beep at the mile markers.   What I really like is reviewing the data afterwards.  I’ve loved using Strava and sharing my runs with the rest of my family and a few friends.  I love that the watch has a wrist heart rate monitor.  It doesn’t always work, but it usually does.  In addition, I definitely recommend Strava to anyone looking for a little motivation.  My entire family is using Strava at this point, including both my parents, and it’s been great following along with each other’s workouts.

Best Inspiration

There are so many options here.  I enjoyed re-reading Running With the Buffaloes and listening to Running: A Love Story as an audiobook.   How Bad Do you Want It? was great the night before the Seattle Half Marathon.

I’ve also enjoyed following athletes on Letsrun and Instagram.  My long-time favorite runner is Jordan Hasay; she displaced Shalane Flanagan, my former favorite runner.  However, at the end of the day, it’s impossible to beat Shalane’s amazing run at the New York City marathon.  So awesome!

Best Race Picture

I suppose it’s fitting that the best race picture of the year was from the one race I didn’t really race but ran as a training run.  I look horrible when I’m racing (see the above picture) and going all out, but I liked this one.  That is not the look of someone going 100%!

Most Fun Race

I loved doing the Lake Meri.dian Triathlon with several of my co-workers.  My co-worker and I won the men’s and women’s 35 to 39 age group for the (very uncompetitive) super sprint tri, which was just so fun.   If I ever do another tri, though, I am definitely getting a BLACK tri top.

Toughest Race

OMG, my first ever multisport race was BRUTAL.  The pouring rain left me shaking with cold for literally hours afterwards, despite running the heater in my car full blast during the 40-minute drive home.  I’m surprised I ever did another du/tri after that!  I learned that sometimes it really does make sense to forfeit your race entry and just go home.  When the weather is moderately bad and you’re prepared for it, it feels good to soldier through the rain.  But this was driving rain and I was not dressed for it.  The picture below does not begin to capture the extent of my misery, mostly because the misery didn’t truly being until the bike part of the race.

Running and a Turkish fir

So, my original plan had been to run easy last week,  then maybe do some speed work and have a go at the 12ks of Christmas.  (Yes, that’s a 12k.)  However, I’ve been continuing to feel lousy and haven’t been doing exercise of any kind.  I’d planned to take two weeks off running at the end of the year, but I guess I’m going to take it off now instead.   That means no running this week and only other exercise as the mood strikes me for one more week.  I’ve had two very lousy nights of lots and lots of coughing,  so the mood to exercise hasn’t been striking me, and I’m ok with that.

After not getting into the half I’d wanted to run, I registered for all the races I had planned for the rest of the year, including the 12k.  I could transfer my registration to the 5k, an option I’d told myself I’d take if I pr’d the Seattle half.  That’s what I’m leaning towards now.  If I hadn’t pre-registered, I think I might skip it altogether.

I’m also thinking about my first goal race for 2018.  I’m leaning towards a half marathon in March, the Lake Sammamish Half.  It’s flat, and so I think I can better my time at the Seattle Half if conditions are decent, and I’m healthy, and, and, etc.

I did pull myself together sufficiently to get our tree yesterday.  We had a very pleasant outing.  It’s so much better with no baby!  Or rain.  We got a Turkish fir.

holiday cards

I ordered our Christmas and holiday cards this morning.  I don’t want to send a “holiday” card to my parents and brother (they’d actually be offended if I did, I think), and obviously sending a Christmas card to H’s Jewish and atheist relations is a non-starter, and definitely rude, so I always do two cards.  If you’re on the Christmas list and would rather be on the holiday list, or vice versa, let me know.  I plan to send out 43 cards this year, and if past performance is any guide, I’ll get fewer than half that number in return.  It doesn’t bother me, though, to not receive cards back.  I do enjoy the ones I do get, and I like the decorate our mantel with them.  I received the first card of the season almost a week ago, from a friend that is probably the most on top of things and organized of all my friends.  She puts me to shame, and it was no surprise to receive her card first.

After a ridiculously healthy fall, H and I have finally gotten sick.  He got sick while he was in New Mexico on business, and I got sick at the same time, neither situation ideal, obviously.  Fortunately, I didn’t start feeling truly lousy until yesterday, after his return.  I spent most of the day lying on the couch, letting B tear the house apart.  Our house is basically a disaster area today as a result.  Oh well!  This is actually the first time I’ve gotten sick since L start school.  L herself hasn’t missed a single day of school so far, and I think the worst she’s had was a bit of the sniffles one day.  So far, the oft-warned sickness for non-daycare kids upon starting school has not come to pass, but I guess we’ll have to see how the winter goes.

My legs are still hurting so much from Sunday.  I can’t remember the last time I pushed myself hard enough to put myself in this amount of pain. It’s been a while.  H is out of town which means there’s no one else to climb the stairs when it needs to be done.  OMG.  Thankfully, I’m feeling a bit better today than yesterday, so I’m optimistic about tomorrow.

I have been thinking about the race a lot.  I think about what it means I can accomplish if I keep working and race a flat course.  Sub-1:45 definitely.  How much faster?  Who knows.  I think about the value of spending hour after hour trying to be a faster runner when I’m not talented enough to ever truly be “fast,” whatever that means.  Is it a waste of my time? I have a friend who ran a hilly half marathon in the 1:40s with little or no training.  My sister runs about a third as much as I do and ran 1:30 or so recently.  But that logic is pointless.  There’s always someone faster.  For most of us, there are A LOT of people faster.  So it’s really a personal thing.  And I know that running 1:47 felt great, and I want to run faster.

I probably averaged 30 miles a week or so over the last two and a half months, so the obvious next step would be to bump that up a little bit, and try to run maybe 35 miles a week, perhaps a bit more.  My next race is 12/17, the 12Ks of Christmas, which I’ve run twice, and I’m not putting any pressure on myself for that race.  I’m not sure I’ll be recovered.  I plan to do maybe a little running this week (perhaps 10 mi total), then low mileage with some speed the following, and low mileage the next week.  Then the race, and then no running for the rest of the year.

Next year, I don’t have any planned races before the end of April, but there’s a number of options I’m considering.  There’s a 5K race series I’ve done in past, so I could try and go for a new PR at that distance.  There’s a half marathon in early March which should be relatively flat.  In addition, I’d like to start cycling at least once a week, weather permitting, next year, indoors or out, but preferably out.  I’m strongly considering doing the 200 mile Seattle to Portland ride, and I’d like to improve my cycling.

Anyway, we’ll see.


Last week, I traveled to Virginia and spent a few days with my brother and his six-week old baby.  Then I came home, and H went on a business trip.  He’s getting back tonight.  No anxiety.  No panic.  OK, there was a moment when we were socked in in fog on a Bombadier heading to DC from Richmond and the flight was going on and on longer than the pilot had said it would and I feared a repeat of the tri-cities incident.  But, it was fine.  Honestly, I feel like I used to feel before this panic problem started, more or less.  I can’t understand why a three-day business trip used to induce panic and why it doesn’t now.  But I’m just trying to embrace the feeling of having my life back  and not worry the tides will turn again.

Running is going well.  I hit 34 miles a couple weeks ago, and ran 25 miles the week I was on vacation.  My hip has been a little sore, and my feet continue to hurt, but overall, I feel good.  I didn’t end up doing the half marathon I’d planned a few weeks ago due to various logistical reasons.  there are no more flat half marathons this year, so I’m considering doing a hilly one the weekend after next.  Weather permitting, I’ll do it.  (No half marathons in pouring rain.)

And life goes on.  Loving my kids, working, what else is there?