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Hiking Mount Tamalpais

20 Mar


Just north of San Fran’s Golden Gate Bridge is beautiful Mount Tamalpais.  The views are simply spectacular capturing Marin County hills, San Fran Bay, the east bay, Mount Diablo and the Farrallon Islands 25 miles out to sea depending on where you are viewing from.  There are 50+ miles of trails in the Mount Tamalpais State Park system.  On the various trails, a hiker may come across all sorts of animal life (even bobcats/ mountain lions although you hope NOT to have a run in with those guys), the tall and majestic Redwood trees, and all sorts of plant and fauna life.  It’s so vast and the beauty just sucks you in.  That is probably why it was so easy to get lost when I hiked this with one of my oldest friends (who now lives in Sacramento and attends McGeorge Law School of the University of the Pacific).

Ohhhh yeah did we ever get lost.  Becca put me in charge of navigating the map which had suggested trail routes  that the ranger had outlined for us.  I know people will just say this plenty of the time, but truthfully I generally have a great sense of direction.  Somehow we just got sucked into the beautiful scenery and lost our way.   See the photo below.  The yellow indicates the route we were supposed to embark upon.  The purple shows where and how early in (about 1/2 mile) we started heading the wrong way.  The “You Are Here” indicates where we ended up.  We were about 2 miles off route.  We realized this around 5:45 pm and while the days have gotten longer, the sunlight is not on your side for several more hours by that time.  We hoofed it back up hill- pretty steep up hill to boot.  Somehow we got back in an hour or less even in spite of the incline. 

  mt tamalpais map

Even this directionally challenged incident did not ruin our time.  It was pretty entertaining actually.  We also got much more of an awesome workout than we thought we would.  Here are few more photos of this beautiful hike in Cali.  Go check it out if you visit the San Fran area anytime soon!  My only caution is to pay BETTER attention to your map 🙂




Playing My Small Part to End Blood Cancer

27 Feb


Back to running regularly this month for the first time since the Army 10-miler back in late October.  I like to do a charity race each year, particularly through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training (TNT) program  which trains beginner to advanced athletes for endurance events like running races, bike races, and triathlons in exchange for raising funds for the fight against blood cancers.  To date, this is my 5th season with TNT.  I have started training for the Inaugural DC Nike Half Marathon (13.1 miles) in late April and have been simultaneously involved with a number of efforts to fundraise (Here is my page.  I’d love your support! such as an indoor cycling class at Revolve, a % of sales day at my favorite local smoothie and wrap spot South Block, a volunteer day at my local IHOP for National Pancake Day, and ad hoc awareness raising via email and social media.  I’ve got about $500 more to raise (my page does not reflect all monies raised presently), but I’m confident I’ll get there! 

I really enjoy TNT for the cause, camaraderie, and ability to combine two passions- community service and a workout challenge.  Running is perhaps the toughest workout for me.  I don’t get that runners’ high thing and it just doesn’t come easy for me.  But man oh man when I finish do I ever feel accomplished.  In the month ahead, I will be climbing from 4 all the way to a 10 mile run in my training plan.  Thank goodness I just bought these super sexy new running shoes and fun new gear!  Also, I have made some new TNT friends who will be here for me and I for them on these long runs where you can really use a little extra encouragement to get it done.  Wish me luck!

UXF Burn at Washington Sports Club

14 Jan
Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

One of my goals this year is to up my strength training days from 2 to 3 times per week.  A class that I have really enjoyed and that helps me reach that goal is called UXF Burn.  It was designed by Town Sports International which many of you may know better as your local Washington, New York, Philadelphia, or Boston Sports Club.  It is a cross-training class where you can expect to burn between 450 and 600 calories in 55 minutes.  It incorporates interval strength training and cardio training (greater emphasis on the strength training.) 

Essentially, the class goes through about 8 exercises at one minute each with no breaks.  Then, you do cardio for 90 seconds followed by around a minute break.  Subsequently, you cycle through that same sequence at 45 seconds each exercise, then 30 seconds, and then a Tabata round if time allows.  The Tabata round features the exercises cycle at 20 seconds each with a 10 second breather in between each.  You get pretty fatigued and exhausted from this class, but you burn soooo good!  One thing I love is that most of the strength moves are hitting more than one muscle group so 8 exercises becomes like 16 exercises.  For instance, you might do an alternating back lunge with bicep curl. 

I encourage you to try new classes at your gym and show your body a new challenge.  Even if you don’t have this class at your gym, perhaps try your next strength workout following this technique to change it up.  Happy to share more about the class- just drop me a line!  Have a great week.

Magic Bean?

12 Dec


Move over Channing Tatum (as Magic Mike)!  My friend and I bought a LivingSocial to Jordin’s Paradise,  a dance and fitness-studio in DC that offers a wide variety of workout and dance combination classes.  One of said classes is Pole Intro- thus the Magic Mike reference.  Yup, we decided to channel our inner sexy dancer and learn some moves on the pole.  Talk about a new fitness experience!  The class setting was small and intimate- us and 4 others including Rania, the instructor and founder of Jordin’s Paradise.  In an hour’s time we warmed up/ cooled down and learned a complete routine in between.

My favorite was learning this spin move called a Fireman.  If you have been to a strip club or seen pole dancing scenes in movies, you’ve probably seen that move.  I wouldn’t say my friend and I did it with so much grace.  Bruises on my legs and arms for the next week reflect that.  The rest of the class included learning other very basic techniques like how to strike certain poses, booty pop (exactly what it sounds like), and other generally racey slow gyrating moves you’d associate with this sort of dancing.  It was one of those really in touch with how you move type experiences.  You certainly use strength a lot and I can see where toning comes in.

Jordin’s Paradise also offers classes like Zumba, Flirty Chair Dance, Tango, Cardio Kickboxing, Pole-yoga-lates, Pole Dance Aerobics,  N.B.A. (Nothing But Abs) and more.  Good thing we have 2 more classes to go on our LivingSocial deal because there are definitely some of these I want to test drive- namely the Flirty Chair Dance and perhaps more expansion on my pole dancing move arsenal.  HA! Because I’m such a pro with one class under my belt and all…

What new fitness experiences have you all been taking on?

Army 10-Miler: A Success!

22 Oct

Finisher Coin Side 1.

Finisher Coin Side 2.

Yesterday was the Army 10-Miler race in DC which began and ended at the Pentagon.  Everything about the race was smooth and perfect.  The temperature was low to mid 50s and sunny with a gentle breeze towards the end.  The race course was awesome and had variety I was seeking as I’d been noting that a number of my races were hitting the same parts of another course I’ve done.  The race was so well-organized from a great garment check to the waves/corrals to a longer finishing chute to avoid bottle necking at the conclusion of the race.  The only slight aggravation was crowding getting onto metro to and fro but that is to be expected and it didn’t take away from the experience.

Perhaps the biggest joy of all was getting to run this at all.  One week ago, I sprained my ankle hiking.  I did the same hike I had done back in late May at Old Rag.  I even wore the same shoes.  Of course shoulda woulda coulda but I had even considered going to buy hiking shoes realizing the risks of not having stable shoes for this kind of terrain.  Bryan and our friends Dan and Emily were off to an amazing start.  We tackled the uphill and rock scrambles portion and enjoyed lunch at the Summit.  The weather was lovely for a hike and all was going well.  While on the way down the mountain,  I turned my ankle on a trail with lots of acorns, loose pebbles, and medium rocks that required a lot of watching your footing.  I had to sit down a while and the pain left me helpless- did I cry, scream, throw up, or whatttt to make this go away?  The blow lessened after resting it a bit and I started to walk on it.  My confidence walking was shot but I was taking it very easy as we were about 5 of 9 miles in.  Right as I was gaining some pep in my step again, I turned the SAME ankle again (about 15-20 minutes later).  This time it was worse.  Some way somehow I walked the rest of the hike, but when I got home it was really red and more than double the size of the other ankle.  It was time to R.I.C.E. it (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).  The 9 mile final training run I had planned for the next day was not happening and frankly the race was not looking promising.  I laid off the working out nearly entirely all week with the exception of an upper body toning day and walk/gentle recumbent bike ride.  I was pretty freaking bummed.  Across the week it was feeling better, but better enough to run 10 miles?  I was not so sure.

My life for a week after the hike :-/

On Saturday, I did a test 3 mile run.  If it hurt at all I was not going to push it with 10 the following day.  To my surprise I killed it on the 3 miler.  I pushed out sub 9 minute miles.  Still, 10 miles would be a whole different ballgame I recognized.  I went into yesterday with the same game plan…try it and if I felt any pain bow out knowing I gave it my best.  I was really hoping to complete it given all the training though.  That and the fact that Bryan bought me a Good Luck Edible Arrangements.  I wanted to kill it that much more like he said I would on the card.

Mmm Edible Arrangements!

This story has a happy ending per the title of this post and all that I have already said about the race day.  I ran all 10 miles at an average of 9:41 min/mile pace and I felt great the whole time.  Even after the race I was feeling great with only the soreness indicative of just running a long, long way (achy knees and tired legs).  Claire was a fabulous running buddy!  So glad to have had her by my side.   The only thing I’d change about this one was to have had Heather run it too.  She got really sick in the past few days so no 10 miles for her.  No matter though because we’re committed to the Inaugural DC Nike Women’s Half in late April 2013 through Team In Training.  To date, that race is still my favorite- even in spite of the ridiculous San Francisco hills.   Nike just knows what’s up.   Stay tuned for more deets to that end 🙂  Have a great start to the week!

Claire and I after the race.

Running Update

29 Sep

Less than one month until the Army 10 miler!  I’ve run up to a 10k (6.2 miles) in distance so far.  In the beginning I was doing quite well with my two weekday and one weekend long run schedule. Admittedly I’ve been a bit lax with that routine in the past few weeks choosing extra snoozing time to morning runs.  Still, I’ve done just fine with a couple 6 milers so far.

I’m particularly excited for my run this weekend.  Bryan and I are en route to NYC as I write this (this work week and social schedule precluded my normal Friday post).  To take in Central Park, we’re running 5 or so miles.  This beats the carriage rides that I don’t support anyway since the
treatment of the animals is often questionable.  I’ll let ya know how that run goes.  Also, upon my return expect a post about my NYC eats highlights.  It’s going to be a sinner weekend for sure 🙂 

Lucky Number 3

14 Sep

Back in July, I had taken my first LA Boxing class.  Does this jog your memory?  As you may recall, I liked it from the standpoint of being generally into kicking and punching as a workout option.  However, I mentioned I couldn’t see myself justifying this establishment as my central workout membership.  I also was a little dismantled with the whole sub teacher and class quickly thrown together vibe. 

When a Groupon came around for 10 classes for $39 (including hand wraps and glove rental), I was admittedly on the fence.  Reason being that while I did get a good workout in, I was not jazzed by the lack of coordination at the front desk and lack of a solid instructor.  *In walks “practice what you preach.”*  I am an advocate for needing to try a workout a few times before making the decision that it is not for you.  This Groupon also came at a time when I was feeling the need for a change-it-up activity in my workout regiment that was becoming too standardized.  As the photo of gloves might suggest, I ultimately bought the deal. 

So what’s with the title of this post “Lucky Number 3”?  Well, you know how I was not a fan of the awol instructor scenario? I go on Monday to initiate my 10 classes and take class one.  I was going for Kickboxing per the schedule.  The class saw no kicking however.  Instead, the format was Boxing.  This is fine assuming you wanted to do Boxing.  They also did not have hand wraps available and my knuckles were not happy with the short wraps I had.  Again, it was a good workout, but LA Boxing once again showed me their uncoordinated side.  That’s enough of a rant.  On Wednesday, I went with high hopes of my third class being as awesome as friends and Bryan had told me it can be.  I’m happy to report that I really enjoyed this class.  The instructor had a great energy and teaching style and incorporated different sets to the class like a relay race where we split into teams and proceeded bag to bag completing certain punching/kicking combos.  Thus, lucky (class) number 3! This is my perfect example of trying something a few times before you give up on because you just may find you are actually about it.  Who else supports this mentality?