Archive for the ‘cross training’ Category

Okay, so, remember how I can’t swim?

Well, on Tuesday while at the gym, flailing about in the pool, I noticed that in the lane next to us appeared to be an adult couple taking a swimming lesson. I was kind of jealous, because 1) I want to be a better swimmer, and 2) their instructor was super nice and patient with them. Husband Saign noticed the lesson as well, and I talked to him about how someday I’d like to take a lesson too, and I wondered how much they cost and how I could request their nice instructor. (I was planning to ask for, “The guy with the anchor tattoo and the pink earring,” though I was a bit afraid I’d sound like a super-creeper).

Then, last night Husband Saign and I were talking about the best time to go to the pool to swim laps. We looked at the pool schedule and saw when the kids swimming lessons took place, so that we could avoid the pool at that time. I thought it would be good to go about 45 minutes after the lessons ended to give families time to clear out of the pool. But as I looked at the schedule, I noticed something else. “Oh no! There’s Masters Swim at 7:00! I wonder what that is? How many lanes does it take up?” And then I realized, “Hey, wait! This says that Masters Swim happened on Tuesday while we were swimming too. I don’t remember them taking up space.”

What does Masters Swim mean?

Then the lightbulb! “Oh! I think that couple in the lane next to us must have been doing Masters Swim! It’s adult swimming lessons!” I got a little excited about this, because it meant that I could probably get a swimming lesson with the nice instructor without being a super-creeper and requesting him.

I asked Husband Saign to call the gym to ask how much Master Swim costs. He called for me, since he’s nice.

And guess what????

It’s free!

I can have free adult swimming lessons with the nice instructor without being a super-creeper! This is amazing!

I’m so excited!!! I’ll be a Master Swimmer/rhythmic breather in no time!!!

Would you be embarrassed to take an adult swim class?


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When I was little, I took swimming lessons. I’m not sure that I was forced, but I do believe that the lessons were highly encouraged by my mother. As far as I remember, I didn’t particularly enjoy them, but I don’t think I minded them much either.

Until I reached the glass ceiling of swimming lessons.

What’s the glass ceiling, you ask?

Rhythmic breathing. You know, putting your face in the water, and taking it out to breathe every once in awhile? That?

Yep. Couldn’t do it. It was the glass ceiling of my swimming career.

I remember sitting on the side of the pool next to my swimming instructor catching my breath after my failed attempts to rhythmic breathe.

I failed the same swimming class twice (due to my inability to rhythmic breathe) before my mother finally let me quit lessons. I guess she realized that I just wasn’t moving on up in the swimming world.

This swimming glass ceiling hasn’t bothered me much in my adult life. While in Minnesota I still managed to waterski, and while in Southern California I still managed to surf. So though I’m not a strong swimmer, I was comfortable enough in the water to survive watersports when living in places where watersports are important.

Who knew that my lack of swimming skills would become particularly problematic in Washington State…the only place I’ve ever lived where watersports are not a somewhat large part of the culture? Weird.

Because of my shin injury, I’m trying to swim laps. (Since it’s exercise that doesn’t hurt my shins). Perfect. Well, you know, except for the fact that I can’t breathe when I swim, and I can’t live if I don’t breathe. It’s somewhat of a cyclical problem.

Our first day at the gym, equipped with goggles and a willing attitude, I asked Husband Saign to teach me.

He got me so that I could go underwater without using my hand to plug my nose, which is a noticeable improvement.

And, I can swim about 1/3 of the (1/2 Olympic size) pool doing the breaststroke before I must stop to catch up on my breathing. Impressed yet?

Thankfully there’s a section of the pool blocked off for slow people who might stop-and-start, so I don’t have to swim legitimate laps. I just have to make sure that I never go to the pool during water aerobics, since then the slow-and-erratic lane will be in use and I’ll have to share the lanes with the big boys!

Here’s looking at you, Michael Phelps. Soon enough I might be able to swim a whole lap without stopping!

Do you swim? How do you choose how many laps to do and what stroke to do for your workout? Any swimming tips for me?

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Ada the Dog and I took a trip to Gifford Pinchot National Forest this weekend. It was tragic. But adventurous.

We decided to go for a hike. I wanted to go to an amazing place called High Rock that was supposed to have a breathtaking view of Mount Rainier.

On the way there we got lost. So I decided to take what my guide book called the “hard way” to the trailhead. I thought “hard way” would mean that it went a little way out of the way. However, I soon realized that it was hard because of this:

That’s right. We were essentially off-roading on a road.

Anyway, after approximately 30 minutes of that craziness, we reached this:

snow covering the road.

So. I am not afraid of driving in the snow. (I’m from Minnesota). However, I am afraid of getting stuck in the snow when all alone in a National Forest with no cell phone service. So I wasn’t about to drive this. We couldn’t get to the trailhead to do the hike that we wanted without dominating the snow, so I decided to take another road that supposedly let to another hike.

Till I reached this:

More snow blocking the road.

I decided at this point that we should just “hike” the road since I couldn’t find a trail. I decided to make the best of it. It really wasn’t what I had hoped for, but Ada the Dog looked adorable in the snow:

So we walked along. And then…unexpectedly….we found a trailhead!!

I was excited to see that there were no fresh tracks in the snow, which made me happy since I knew that no one would be mad that Ada the Dog was off the leash. Then I thought about how it was just the right time of year for sleepy bears to wake from hibernation and be hungry for gray dogs. Or peach girls. I was a little frightened about that.

But we continued on till we reached an amazing waterfall. It was gorgeous!

I tried to get a photo of Ada and I with the waterfall using the timer. It didn’t work so well.

I couldn’t figure out where the trail went after the waterfall. (The snow made it a little tricky to figure out where the trail was). And then I saw it:

Oh. There’s the trail! Just beyond the rapids!

Yep. There’s the trail! On the other side of the water.

I took off my shoes to go across. But then reconsidered after dipping a toe in.

Oh. Water that came from melting snow is ice cold? How odd.

So, we turned around and went back to the car.

We hiked more on the road than we did on the trail. Pretty disappointing.

We still had fun though!

On the way home we stopped in a little town with a tiny German church.

And a beautiful lake with mountains behind it.

Ada refused to cooperate with the picture. Look at her tantrumming.

Here Ada is cooperating…a little…

And Ada the Dog nearly got hit by a train!

Oh no!!! Who will save Ada the Dog???

I rescued her at the last second!

I saved the day, of course.

What an adventure!

What adventures did you have this weekend?

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My First Spin Class

Have you ever been to a spin class before?

Well…the first time I heard of it, I thought it sounded kinda stupid. A stationary bike? C’mon, isn’t that how people worked out in 1993?

Then as I heard more about it, I became a little afraid…people told me terrible stories about how badly it hurts their butts and how unfortunate it is for the pathetic little guys who don’t have the fancy bike shoes that clip into the pedals.

So when I went to my first spin class, I was a little nervous, and I didn’t know what to expect.

Here’s how it all went down:

Ada the Dog and I went up to Vancouver, B.C. this past weekend and stayed at my friend Rachel’s house. (Thanks Rachel!) Rachel told me about a spin class that we could go to in which the proceeds benefited cancer research or something of that sort. I wanted to try spinning, and it sounded like a good cause, so I agreed to go. It was to be a 45-minute spin class. That sounded reasonable enough to me.

The 45-minute break down:

Minute 0:00 Oh yay! Everything is great! Hey nice instructor lady, can you help me figure out the right height for my bike? Oh thank you! This is going to be fun. Let’s take pictures!

Minute 1:00 (Warm-up). Ugh. This is not fun. How many more minutes? What? 44 more minutes? Ugh!

Minute 5:00 Drip drip, drop, drop. Oh. I seem to be sweating profusely.

Minute 10:00 Hmm…this guy next to me is a legitimate biker. I wonder what his tension is set at. I’ll try to look….Uh oh! He saw me trying to look. Now he thinks I’m a creeper! Back to pedaling furiously!

More of the spin class. I stole these pics from facebook. Sorry guy-who-took-the-pics. I don’t know how to credit you through facebook!

Minute 15:00 Am I having fun yet? This is just painful. Is this how non-runners feel when they run? This is awful.

Minute 20:00 O.M.G. I want to quit. I really want to quit. Dang it! I’m in public. I can’t quit. If I quit everyone will see me. That would be embarrassing. I better finish. Hmm. Maybe that’s the whole point of exercise classes…embarrassment pushes you farther.

Minute 25:00 Okay, so maybe quitting will be embarrassing, but I can cheat! When she says to increase the tension by two, I’ll increase it by only one! Oh yeah! I’m sneaky. This is perfect!

Minute 30:00 Cheating.is.not.working. Must blatantly sit and pedal along while the rest of the class does up-downs. Can’t.move.up. Sorry instructor lady.

Here I am (in the pink) sitting while the rest of the class is standing. That’s why I’m smiling so big. I’m trying to compensate for my bad behavior by charming the instructor.

Minute 35:00 Oh goodness. I reallyreallyreallyreallyreallyreallyreally hope that there’s a 5 minute cool-down. I might only have 5 minutes left! I hope I don’t die before then. Please, instructor lady, give us 5 minutes for cool-down!

Minute 40:00 Still no cool-down? Really? And she’s telling me to go faster? I can’t go faster until you tell me what’s next lady….what if you’re tricking me and the next thing is even harder? Oh! Increase the tension you say? I knew you were tricking me! You sneaky instructor, I don’t trust you.

Minute 42:00 Please? Cool-down? Pretty please?

Minute 43:00 Cool-down starts! Oh yeah!

Minute 44:00 That was my cool-down? That 60 seconds? And now you want me off my bike to stretch? Okay…Uh, whoa. My legs seem to have lost their bones and turned to jello. I will do my best to stand up.

Minute 45:00 Done! I did my first spin class. That was awful. Do people like that or do they just like to push themselves? I can understand why people do it, because its good for you, but it is not pleasant!

Spin class is not fun, people. It’s not like yoga or zumba where it honestly is enjoyable during the workout. It’s mostly painful. BUT there is something very nice and useful about a class that pushes you beyond where you’d try to go on your own…so maybe I should keep doing spin till I don’t feel like I have to cheat at it!

Do you like spin? What’s your favorite group exercise class?

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Do you know what is SO FUN?

Going to the gym!

I’m serious, I had forgotten how great gyms are! I don’t like paying a lot to workout, since I’m happiest running outside, so it’s been rare in my life that I actually had a membership. But, I had a Groupon for a 6 week membership at a local gym, and figured that I should probably use it to get some low-impact cardio in while I’m resting up my shins. (I know, seriously, what a lame way to use a gym membership…)

Exciting picture for you today! I hope you aren’t too overwhelmed by its artistic quality!

I started out with a badditude, and I wrote this WHILE I was working out…


So, if I can blog while completing my workout, does that mean I’m not actually working out?

I suspect that it does. But here I am, typing this as I complete my cardio.


But better than not working out at all, right?

It just struck me how I must look to other people, as if I’m texting while working out. I’d judge me if I could see me. But I was forced into this activity by shin splints! Don’t judge me!


I then put my phone away, and once I put the phone away I realized that I could actually get my heart rate up and make the time worthwhile if I worked at it instead of playing with my phone. So I did. And it was fun. And I even got my heart rate up and sweated.

And that’s when I remembered how much I love gyms. The last time I had a gym membership I was 27 years old. And freaking ripped. Okay, not that ripped, but super ripped for me. It was the best shape I’ve ever been in, because once I added strength on top of my already good cardio, suddenly I just toned up everywhere.

I then lost my gym membership card and didn’t want to pay the replacement fee, so I just quit the gym. Welcome to my spaztastic life. Doing something like that is completely typical of me

So…back to my great time at the gym. Here’s what’s great about the gym: Yeah, it’s fun working out, and yeah, the classes are great, but what I love love love about the gym is the energy. The music playing, people sweating, pushing themselves, being uncomfortable. People bettering themselves is the best energy ever!

Hate the gym? Love the gym? What’s good/bad about gyms?

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Sunday was an absolutely amazing day of cross training. We took a family hike to a place called Lower Lena Lake. It was so beautiful.

It was about 6 miles round trip, and my shins started feeling tingly (that’s how they feel lately when they hurt…like pins and needles-ish) after about 2 miles. Argh. I am committed to fixing this problem!

But really, what can you do when your shins start hurting and you think, “Hmm, maybe I should have rested them today,” but you’re hiking and your car is 2 miles away, and you haven’t even gotten to the pretty part of the hike? Well, you finish the hike and go home and ice and hope for the best.

So here, I am icing, and hoping for the best!

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