Work Outs: January 31 – February 6, 2021 (The Beach is that way!)

A few weeks ago the main road we usually take to get home was closed while repair crews were dealing with all of the fallen trees and power poles (especially the latter) from the previous period of winds and rain that moved through the Santa Cruz area. So we took a back way to get home from some grocery shopping and such, which took us along the California State Route 1 coastal road, by lots of beaches. We stopped at one, that wasn’t too busy, for about ten minutes and had a look around before continuing on our way.

A bit of California State Route 1 not far from Santa Cruz.

Sun, January 31st

  • Recumbent Bike: 65 Minutes, Level 10, 70 – 80 rpm’s. I listened to the first half of Accept – Live At Wacken 2017 and varied the speed I pedaled to how I felt and the tempo of the music. I liked it when they brought in the orchestra complete with conductor.
  • I stretched a little then did the “Half Roundhouse Kick” Taekwondo lesson from Global Martial Arts University. Finished with three quick exercises, doing each for 20 seconds with a 10 second rest between each: Elbow Plank, Leg Switching, Hindu Squats. Then I stretched for ten minutes.

Calories: 2642, Protein: 152 g.

Mon, February 1st

Morning Walk: 3.18 miles. Calories: 2193, Protein: 120 g.

I see these plants everywhere and in goodly quantities around the coastal areas near where we live. The consensus of the various locals I asked about these succulents was that they are Ice Plants. They are apparently an invasive species that might have come in with ships hundreds of years ago, but according to Wikipedia was brought in for erosion control though “it actually exacerbates and speeds up coastal erosion.”

Rebecca wrote, “Also known as ‘Dead Man’s Finger’ because it resembles a hand reaching up from the grave.” 🙂

Too bad if that is true because I think ice plants are kind of pretty, especially when they flower. Also, according to Wikipedia and my local sources, the plant is reportedly edible and has a lot of different uses. One of my local contacts said that the plant is high in Vitamin C. So if I’m ever marooned on a desert island and see this stuff then I’ll try eating it to stave off the scurvy!*

Tues, February 2nd

Morning Workout

  • Recumbent Bike: 31 Minutes, Steady State Training, Level 10, 70+ rpm’s.
  • White Belt Drill #1: Side Kick Stretch, Elbow Plank (one minute hold), Front Kick Stretch, Jab, Leg Switching, Cross Punch, Front Snap Kick, Low Block, Half Roundhouse Kick Exercise, High Block
    • Do the ten movements moving from one to the next, resting only as needed to keep good form, since I am working on skills. (Do ten repetitions each side or for a 2-count.)

Captains of Crush Gripper (T):

Mid-morning I worked on the grippers while waiting at the Toyota dealership while our car was being serviced. I warmed up using a gripping egg and then the Guide and Sport level Grippers before moving on to the Trainer gripper. I also did a little finger extension work at the end.

  • (Set 1): Right = 8mm x 7 reps, Left = 12mm x 7 reps
  • (Set 2): Right = 8mm x 9 reps, Left = 12mm x 7 reps
  • (Set 3): Right = 6mm x 5 reps, Left = 10mm x 6 reps
  • (Set 4): Right = 6mm x 5 reps, Left = 10mm x 5 reps
  • (Set 5): Right = 4mm x 3 +2 reps, Left = 8mm x 3 + 2 reps
  • (Set 6): I did a final set with the Guide gripper where I moved my arm around in circles, down to my feet, behind my head, all over the place while working the gripper. I lost count of repetitions but I think it was in the 35 – 40 range with each hand. According to John Brookfield, in his book Mastery of Hand Strength, this “dynamic training” is to build hand strength “that can be applied to your particular sport or profession (21).

Afternoon Hike: 3.42 miles. Calories: 1995, Protein: 140 g.

The Pacific Ocean rolling in toward a sandy part of the beach.

Wed, February 3rd

  • Morning Walk: 4.07 miles.
  • Afternoon Run: 3.2 miles over mostly flat terrain on both trails and pavement. After the run, I strolled back for about a mile and once I found a likely spot off the trail I did White Belt Drill #1 in the park but substituted 20 four-count jumping jacks for the planks because I didn’t fancy getting down in the mud and then probably getting the inside of my car all dirty. Afterwards, I made my way to the car and did some quick incline side star planks on the fence before calling it a day.
  • Stretched for about 35 minutes in the evening.

Calories: 1994, Protein: 146 g.

Notice all of the ice plants!

I found this to be an interesting little scene near the beach. I thought the surf board was fun with the “bite” taken out of it. A cursory search didn’t reveal too much about the board or who Anne Frances Smith was. Perhaps once one can go to museums and such again, I’ll go by the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum and ask them about the board. I’ve never been so it might be good to go in any case.

Thur, February 4th

Morning Walk: 2.51 miles.

  • Afternoon Workout: Warmed up using indian clubs doing the exercises in this video and this one.
  • Standing Cable Rows (Hog Bar): 70 lbs. x 12 reps, 80 lbs. x 3 sets x 8 reps
  • Cable Lat Pull Downs (Hog Bar): 70 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Pilates DB Biceps Curls (alternating sets of I & II): 5 lbs. x 4 sets x 15 reps
    • My biceps felt like they could use something a bit lighter and different today than the usual curls I’ve been doing, so I dusted off a Pilates book a friend gave me for Christmas some years ago.
  • Incline Push-ups with Scapular Mobilization (3rd Stair): 4 sets x 10 reps
  • Seated DB Cleans: 12 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps, 15 lbs. x 2 sets x 8 reps
  • DB Shrugs: 50 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • (Exercise Complex) Shoulder Internal Rotation with Abduction (orange band) 13 reps, KB Sumo Dead Lift 35 lbs. x 15 reps, Face Pulls 15 lbs. x 12 reps, Shrimping, Z-Shrimping, Table Makers 8 reps, Snap Kick Exercise (each leg) 20 reps
  • Bridging: Worked on increasing flexibility with the eventual goal of touching my nose to the floor. I used to bridge a lot years ago with good success but got away from doing it. I’m not sure why I ever stopped.
  • I worked the “White Belt – Solo Drill 1” and “Solo Drill 2” Taekwondo lessons on the Global Martial Arts University website.
  • I finished the session by following along (as best I could — I find Yoga pretty challenging!) with “Day 1 – Ease Into It – 30 Days of Yoga” by Yoga With Adriene. If you are looking for some free, online yoga I’d suggest giving Adriene’s channel a try. I find her videos to be excellent.

Calories: 1984, Protein: 154 g.

An interesting set of (mostly) stone steps leading down to the beach. They were kind of steep but that made them more fun to scuttle down and then back up again. As usual, no general shortage of ice plants.

Live Long and Prosper!

Fri, February 5th

  • I did a morning stretch before starting the day. (I’m going to start doing this every morning, when I get up, because it felt really good and it instantly cleared away the wake up fog.) Then we walked 3.54 miles.
  • I worked with the indian clubs a bit, not for exercise but to learn some new swings.
  • Visited the chiropractor later in the day.

Calories: 1831, Protein: 158 g.

An interesting bit of rock art on the beach. I was highly tempted to add a small rock to the top of the pile but decided I didn’t want to risk bringing the stone tower crashing down so I contented myself with this picture.

Sat, February 6th

Coc Trainer Gripper (100 lbs.)

  • (Set 1): Right = Closed x 2 reps + 6mm x 5 reps, Left = 10 mm x 8 reps
  • (Set 2): Right = Closed x 2 reps + 4mm x 5 reps, Left = 10 mm x 6 reps
  • (Set 3): Right = Closed x 1 rep + 4mm x 6 reps , Left = 10 mm x 9 reps
  • (Set 4): Right = Closed x 1 rep + 4mm x 4 reps, Left = 8 mm x 6 reps
  • (Set 5): Dynamic Training with the Sport gripper. I did 20 reps with each hand. I couldn’t close it all the way with my right hand after 17 reps and after 13 reps with my left. (Not as strong in the dynamic aspect as the other day.) I ended with some finger extension work and some thumb training using the gripping egg.

I achieved a sub-goal, that I posted back in November, of wanting to be able to close the Trainer gripper to 10mm for four sets of five reps with my left hand. The eventual goal is to be able to close that gripper for five reps with either hand. My new sub-goal, again with my weaker, left hand, is closing the Trainer gripper to 4mm for four sets of five reps.

Calories: 2013, Protein: 90 g. (I lost 1 pound this week, so my total loss is 24 lbs.)

We’ll close the book (for now at least) on ice plants with this short video someone shared with me about ice plants burning during the August CZU Lightning Complex fires that hit our area in August: “Just like trying to light a watermelon on fire.”

Next week I’m going to get started on the roundup post for the “First of the Year” painting challenge. In the meantime, I’m going to try and produce something for Alex’s yearly “Fembruary” and Dave Stone’s “Paint What You Got” painting challenges.


* I think some of the locals I asked about ice plants were worried I wanted to plant some and as I understand you can buy them at some local nurseries, but I just wanted to know what it is. If I ever plant anything it is more likely to be things like squash, potatoes, cucumbers and the like.

Work Outs: January 24 – 30, 2021 (Storms Over Santa Cruz and Chickpea Tagine Meal)

I’ve made a chickpea tagine dish for dinner a couple of times in our instant pot and we quite liked it. According to Shinta Simon, who wrote the article, tagine is “a flavorful stew made with spices, veggies and occasionally, meat, with origins in North-African cuisine.” I found the recipe on the Caramel Tinted Life website and paired the tagine with basmati rice. The next time I might serve it with naan.

I made the stew this past Friday and changed a few things this time around.

I used a full 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes instead of the called for 5 ounces because I didn’t want a bunch of left over canned tomatoes. Also, my husband greatly favors those lovely, red fruits as do I. I used low sodium vegetable stock in place of the water from the canned chickpeas and I added a big dollop of Harissa paste instead of the teaspoon the recipe called for.

It was good with the changes, but it wasn’t really any better than Shinta’s original recipe. Just different.

Also, the stew wasn’t hard to prepare. Just cutting up some stuff, sautéing the ingredients in my trusty, thrift store wok and then dumping everything into the instant pot.*

Although the recipe is pitched at non-carnivores, I do think it would also be good with chicken, pork or lamb if you are so inclined.

(Photo by Shinta Simon, used with permission.)

Sun, January 24th

We went for an afternoon walk of 2.81 miles. In the evening I stretched for about 35 minutes while watching television and then did some restorative work with the foam roller, Thera Cane, and so on.

I set a new goal for myself of being able to hook the tips of my fingers together behind my back à la mode de Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana) like the woman in this article is doing. I’ll work on the whole pose during my stretching sessions, but for now I’m mainly going to focus on the arms portion.

Calories: 1834, Protein: 162 g.

Mon, January 25th

Morning Run: 3.2 miles (5 km). Five kilometers is the longest distance I’m going to run for now. I will continue to improve by decreasing the amount of time it takes me to run this distance with an eye toward participating in local 5K “fun runs” again someday. In the evening I stretched for 30 minutes and then did some restorative foam rolling, etc.

We’ve been having quite a bit of stormy weather here lately in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Last week, when I was out jogging, I ran across a lot of tree limbs and other debris on the trails and the fallen tree below. I took it as a sort of minor, functional fitness challenge and went through it as quickly as I could, contorting myself in as effective (but probably comic and ungainly too) manner as I could muster at the time.

Note the sawn trunk to the middle right from where a tree had fallen some time in the past.

We had a few days off from inclement weather but apparently the trees didn’t get the memo because today, when I was out running again, I ran across this scene below. This time, keeping with my previous attempts at semi-functional fitness, I duck walked under the trees and continued on my way. I thought about bear crawling but I didn’t want to get my hands muddy. One has to draw the line somewhere.

From the cut marks it looks like someone ameliorated the situation a bit so people could still easily use the trail.

Calories: 1904, Protein: 142 g.

Tues, January 26th

  • Morning Walk: 3.10 miles.
  • I spent most of the day deep cleaning and then rearranging our living room. I kept not liking how I had arranged things and doing it all over again. Finally I was happy but by the end of the day I felt like I had gotten in a full workout indeed. No weights needed!
  • Stretched for 30 minutes in the evening.

Calories: 1981, Protein: 154 g.

Wed, January 27th

Today I worked with indian clubs using this video and this one. I’ve been interested in learning more about the clubs for a long time in a “keep forgetting about it” kind of way, but I stumbled across some light, plastic clubs at the second hand store, that were cheap, so I grabbed them.**

Don’t know how far I’ll get into training with them but I can see right off that they’d be a fun way to warm up for my workouts. Also, they introduce more circular movements into my training, which is probably a good thing. One take-away from the session is the clubs don’t have to be heavy to get a good workout with them. A good thing I don’t have delusions of following in the footsteps of the mighty Iron Sheik!

I also found an interesting “fitness mace,” for cheap that I grabbed at the same time. More on that when I get around to using it, which will be when the weather clears up and I can use it outside so I don’t take out the pipes in our basement with an errant, overhead swing. In the meantime, I can always keep it handy in the living room for home defense in case we’re invaded by hordes of Dendra-clad Mycenaeans or perhaps Landsknechts.

I stretched for 30 minutes in the evening. Calories: 1890, Protein: 139 g.

Thur, January 28th

  • Recumbent Bike: 33 Minutes, Steady State Training, Level 10, 70+ rpm’s. I listened to some of Agnes Obel’s music to make the time go by faster while I pedaled. Her music is good for stretching or doing Yoga too, I think.
  • While my legs were still warm I did some stretching with an eye toward maintaining my ability to do a side-lunge stretch with my shod plant foot flat on the floor.
  • I finished off the morning session by working the “Stances,” “High Block,” and “Switching” Taekwondo lessons on the Global Martial Arts University website.
Those cut trees are new casualties from the recent and current storms. Note the tracked vehicle marks.
  • Warmed up using indian clubs doing the exercises in this video. The little head nod thing made me chuckle.
  • Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 2 sets x 9, 8 reps, [(30 lbs. x 6 reps + 25 lbs. x 3 reps) x 2 sets]
  • Incline Push ups with scapular mobilization (3rd stair): 4 sets x 9, 9, 8, 8 reps
    • I have noticed that doing these often makes my lats sore. I asked the chiropractor about it and he said it is a sign that I’m keeping my shoulder blades properly retracted during the movement so “it is a good thing.” Glad to clear up that mystery!
  • DB Bench Press: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 9, 10, 10, 9 reps
  • DB Lateral Raises: (15 lbs. x 5 reps + 12 lbs. x 5 reps), 12 lbs. x 3 sets x 10, 10, 9 reps
  • DB Front Raises: 10 lbs. x 2 sets x 12, 13 reps, 12 lbs. x 2 sets x 8 reps
  • Tricep Push Downs: 50 lbs. x 12 reps, 55 lbs. x 2 sets x 8, 7 reps, 50 lbs. x 10 reps
  • DB Hammer Curls: 25 lbs. x 2 sets x 8 reps, (25 lbs. x 5 reps + 20 lbs. x 3 reps), 20 lbs. x 8 reps
  • (Exercise Complex) FOUR ROUNDS: [Indian Club Chest Flies with head turn: 12 reps, DB Bent-Over Rear Delt Row: 15 lbs. x 8 reps, DB Wrist Curls with finger roll 25 lbs. x 12 reps, Side Kick Stretch (ea. leg) 10 reps, DB Reverse Wrist Curls 8 lbs. x 12 reps, Front Kick Stretch (ea. leg) 10 reps] Allow for a short rest only at the end of each round.
  • (Super Set) One-Handed Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdowns (d-handle, ea. arm): 12.5 lbs. x 13 reps, 15 lbs. x 3 sets x 8 reps +
    • (Set #1) Shoulder Abduction with External Rotation Exercise (orange band): 12 reps
    • (Set #2) Full Squats: 20 reps
    • (Set #3) Wrist Circles with indian clubs: 20 revolutions each way
    • (Set #4) Dead Bugs (2-ct): 26 reps
  • Stretched for 35 minutes in the evening and performed some restorative work.

Calories: 1878, Protein: 152 g.

The wind storms last week really did a number on our yard, in addition to knocking out the power and internet for most of the week. At least our area didn’t see anything like three years ago when the hills came alive and a tree came to visit. Our property was littered with all manner of redwood-based (and other culprits too) fragments and flotsam, from little needles up to branches some ten or twelve feet long, that when they fell could have dented in a car roof or done an injury to some hapless walker in the wind.***

The pictures above are from the end of one of the aforementioned twelve foot branches. This one missed our car by only a couple of feet. It interests me to think that huge trees like redwoods have such tiny, delicate-looking cones. Reminds me of the old saw about acorns and oak trees.

Fri, January 29th

  • Recumbent Bike: 33 Minutes, Steady State Training, Level 10, 70+ rpm’s.
  • Did a little stretching and worked the “Front Snap Kick (Instep)” Taekwondo lesson on the Global Martial Arts University website.
  • Finished off with a few quick exercises: Dead Bugs (2-ct) x 20 reps, Hindu Squats x 20 reps, Standing One Legged Calf Raises (each leg) x 8 reps, Bend & Reach x 12 reps, Alternating One-Handed Russian KB Swings (2-ct) x 15 lbs. x 12 reps
  • Visited the chiropractor later in the day.

Calories: 2151, Protein: 140 g.

I was impressed with some of those larger redwood branches in my driveway when I was sawing them up into manageable pieces. I suspect a couple of them had been up there minding their own business for a long time indeed before finally letting go. At least the greater organism — the redwoods themselves still live on. Nothing lives forever, at least not without bringing metaphysics into it, but redwoods do have the potential to live for thousands of years and that ain’t bad.****

Interesting to look at the rings and observe the yearly growth variations of the limb.

Sat, January 30th

I followed along on “Day 1 – Invite | BREATH – A 30 Day Yoga Journey,” a video by Yoga With Adriene. I noticed that I’m weak for doing planks so following my philosophy of paying extra attention to my weaknesses rather than just focusing on my strengths, I’m going to start introducing some plank work back into my regime. I was a little surprised because I used to be good at planks, but I haven’t done them in quite awhile. Use it or lose it!

We went for a nice, afternoon walk a little later for 3.28 miles. I noticed a couple more lumberjack’s log marks that I added to my growing collection. I like the one on the right. It reminds me of something you’d see in a Euclidean proof or in the context of sacred geometry or in a Freemasonry setting.

In addition to the wind storms last week we had some more storms this week, this time with a lot more rain. There was talk of evacuating some areas near burns scars, caused by the CZU Lightning Complex Fires this past August. Fortunately that never materialized and amazingly, we didn’t even lose power or internet at our house during the second round of storms.

We did come across two good-sized tree falls blocking the trail within maybe a hundred yards of each other as you can see in the picture below. I would have hated to have been wandering around the general area when these trees let loose!

Calories: 2075, Protein: 149 g. (I lost 2 pounds this week, so my total loss is 23 lbs.)

Next week I’m going to get started on the roundup post for the “First of the Year” painting challenge. The challenge ends on January 31st, but it’ll be fine if you get me your pictures over the next few days. In the meantime, I’m going to try and produce something for Alex’s yearly “Fembruary” and Dave Stone’s “Paint What You Got” painting challenges.


* Trusty and also slightly rusty!

** I suppose if I had been on fire to learn about the clubs I could have just used a couple of empty Pellegrino bottles or a couple of appropriately-sized sticks or something else to get started with some makeshift clubs.

*** I developed a great love of walking all over town in bad weather, lost in my own thoughts, from the earliest memories of when I was allowed to wander off by myself. Snug in my yellow raincoat, immune to puddles (no matter how deep) in my rubber boots and having to share the sidewalks with hardly anyone because the only people out where those who had to be, and strange children like myself who enjoyed rescuing worms from a watery doom during their alone time and still do even to this day.

**** One of these days I’ll have to put up some pictures from a display at the park we walk in a lot of a tree that while it is said to have met its end by falling and not via human hands, managed to do pretty well for itself nonetheless.