Saturday, December 5, 2020


This one deserves a real post, though I've mostly abandoned blogging - I log exercise in my coach's spreadsheet (we are on day 2384 of working together, isn't that amazing?) and also in a Facebook PT accountability group, this is surplus to requirements.  I've also always had qualms about it (same with Light Reading) that when I am having a hard time staying on top of work, I don't want students and colleagues to be thinking "how come she hasn't graded our papers, she had time to read two novels yesterday and have an hour run and an hour yoga!"

I haven't been riding since I did the Princeton 70.3 in 2015 or so, and when my back got really bad over winter 2016-2017 it turned out that spinning was really painful - the sciatica through glute and along back of leg was acutely triggered by it.  And I ended up giving up my Chelsea Piers membership because if I couldn't ride my bike comfortably down to spin/lift/do yoga there, it was too much of a pain getting there on public transit during a teaching semester.  (An hour each way basically if things went smoothly, sometimes longer.)

So in fall 2019 I was chugging away with very painful running with walk intervals (it wasn't till February 2020 that I realized I needed a lift in the left shoe as well as orthotics in both) and swimming a couple times a week when I could.  Swim logistics for me as for many are always much much tougher than other things, and when NYC pools all shut down in March, that was it for a while.

So my back was really getting better from February or so, still problems and still needs walk intervals or tension builds up painfully, and I started doing minimum of about four yoga classes/week once I realized I could stream sessions with Susanne (I met Susanne during my time at Oxford in 2016, she taught at YogaVenue Oxford.  And yoga is a good substitute for swimming, it stretches you out rather than compressing everything.  And in the summer I really did finally get the 2x week upper body lifting going - got the adjustable dumbbells and am really enjoying it, sharing a Monday 7am Zoom with Lauren and a Thursday 8am Zoom with Brent.  So I've got 5x run, 4-5x yoga (mix of flow and yin) and 2 strength.

But it's dawning on me that I really probably am not going to be able to run a lot more than I am now - I mean, I wouldn't rule out a tactical build for some event, and when the pandemic recedes I hope my Saturday long run will be longer than it is now, but for the medium and long term I need the other forms of aerobic exercise to supplement.  And who knows when the Columbia pool is going to open again.  (Chelsea Piers pool is calling to me again - they have 30 minute individual slots and it's also an extremely well-ventilated space, whereas the Columbia pool is in the basement of an underground gym that is probably the single worst-ventilated university building I have ever set foot in).

I took the plunge on ordering the bike in September, my only pair of spin shoes are in Cayman and I had to get shoes and cleats and literally the shoes and cleats have sat there waiting for me to deal with them for 2 months.

But my old original favorite spin teacher, the person who got me to really like spin classes at Chelsea Piers c. 2010, is starting a winter training session! Joanna did the first session this morning at 9:30 as a trial to see if there's interest, I think it will be regular and I am really excited about that.  And it turns out our Cayman friend Jerome is streaming classes at Revolutions.


(I need to take my road bike for a tuneup and to have clipless pedals replaced with double-platform ones, flat on one side and clip on the other.  I'm never going to be riding a lot as I think riding in traffic in NYC is unacceptably dangerous, I don't have the nerve for it, but it's a good option for riding down the west side path to meet up perhaps with friends outside.)

2020 has been a very rough year for me as for almost everybody else, but it has been a strangely good year of exercise.  I should write a yoga post soon too - I have extraordinarily enjoyed doing yoga very very consistently over a sustained period and do not intend to let that go when the pandemic is no longer affecting us in such extreme ways.