Saturday, December 11, 2010

Whose mom are you?

For the first time since the age of two, I have short hair.  I got this haircut in July while we were in Germany.  At the same time, I got my hair lifted.  A lot.  Its took a great amount of time to get used to the idea of cutting my hair that short.  Then, it took a great deal of time to get used to the idea of lifting my hair white.  I little bit of bravery on my part.  But, I fell in love with the cut and the color instantly. 

I've been a slave to the color bottle since I was fourteen.  My natural hair color includes a majority of blonde and a little bit of red.  So, in high school, I embraced the blonde side just as all of my girlfriends were doing too.  At age nineteen, I decided to shake things up and embrace the red side.  I sported practically every possible shade of red over the next fifteen years.  A factor in this dye addiction can be attributed to early grey hairs.  My mother talks about not being able to determine what my infant hair color was going to be because my tufts were filled with every possible strand variety, including grey.  And, at age nineteen, the grey factor increased.  At age twenty-two, a new (single) mom, my grey hairs increased dramtically.  At age twenty-seven, having had a violent near-death incident, my grey hairs suddenly turned into patches. 

I have tried multiple attempts at going natural only to have boyfriends react with quivering lip, "Yeah baby, that looks nice."  Or, my stylists would tell me that I really should consider color.  By age thirty-five, the grey was so dominate that my usual red dye no longer looked appealing so much as clown-like.  I went back to embracing my blonde side because when the color grew out the line was not as harsh as it was on grown-out red hair.  I have been a cheap bleach box blonde for the past six years until the lift in Germany. 

Since Germany, the lift has slowly grown out.  Multiple cuts later and no more color, there is only about 1/8th inch left of some blonde on my longer layers that will most certainly no longer be there after my next cut in the next couple of weeks.  What is there is good old fashioned blah dishwater dirty blonde sprinkled with white greys throughout with large white patches at my temples framing my face.  It is so soft that I can't seem to keep my own hands out of it.  Other people touch it and rub it.  Its kinda cool (smirk). 

But lets talk a little more about that bravery thing.  A number of months before my German haircut, a girlfriend of mine took a clippers to her sexy long mousy brown hair.  I saw this as inspiration and it got me to thinking.  I viewed her as very brave.  I still do.  So many women don't have even the slightest balls to do such a thing and never will that her act of bravery is to be commended, in my view.  I recalled one of the very first issues of Jane that featured an expose by one of its feature editors that detailed that very act of deciding to shave her head, shaving her head and the social reaction to it - what it did to her mental processes and how it crept into her self esteem no matter how convicted she felt about the entire ordeal.  My friend is still rocking her short cut.  And now I am too.

All this bravery and boldness.  I'd been feeling real good about my cut and was marveling at the daily changes in color when strange things started to happen.  Although my friends were telling me that the cut had me looking ten years younger, other public reactions were happening to fuck with my pride.  When we are working out consistently, my husband works out in evenings and I work out in mornings, both at the same box.  One evening, while Garrett was finishing a workout, I was hanging out waiting for him while leaning against one of the GHD machines.  There was also a couple working out.  I saw this couple a few times before but had never had the opportunity to properly introduce myself.  To me, the man appeared to be my same age...40ish.  He was average height (like me), carrying too much weight (like me) and had short dishwater blonde hair with patches and sparkles of grey hair (like me).  His wife looked younger and more fit (like my husband).  This day, Garrett was working out with the man, his wife and maybe one other person.  They were finishing up the work-out when the man approached the grouping of GHD machines and, as he was mounting one, smiled at me while asking "So, whose Mom are you?"


deep breath

Is he talking to me?

"Whose Mom am I?"
"Yeah, whose Mom are you?"
Nervous laugh, "I'm his."  I reply as I point to husband.
"Oh, ok."
"He's my husband."
"Really?  Oh, ok."

I realize he wasn't playing with me.  He was dead serious.  I left him to define his ass via GHD so I could go sit on the stairs and process while Garrett finished up.  The fourth wheel in the workout was long gone by now and after this guy finished up his ass workout he walked over to his wife.  Shortly after he walked directly to me extending his hand for a shake.  He shook my hand while expressing that he did not have his glasses on and that he sees now that he was clearly wrong for thinking that I was my husbands Mom.  He apologized.  I accepted.

Clearly, he didn't mean anything by it.  But what messed with me most was that he absolutely thought that I was that much older than my husband.  Now, the fact that my hair was almost totally naturally grey combined with his perception messed with my ego and sat with me for many days.  The next week, I told my stylist because I thought maybe I should lift my hair again.  Surprisingly, she told me not to.  She assured me the natural color was gorgeous. 

So then my mind reverted to body image.  I know that my husband loves me as I am.  I was a much more robust weight than I currently am when he proposed to me.  We have been married one and half years.  In that time, I have spent a great deal of attention to dropping pounds and regaining my feminine figure.  While still large, I often times forget how far I've come - like four pants sizes in that year and a half.  Garrett continues to be encouraging and loving. 

I have had my ups and downs this year in regard to motivation and commitment to my fitness needs.  I consistency has definite spikes and valleys.  Yet the desire is always there.  Twice I got sick and took longer than I should have getting back to it.  This includes right now.

At a recent social event, a woman older than me was beyond surprised to learn that my both my daughter and my husband weren't my children.  Of course my college-age daughter was my kid but my husband was my kid too, right?  She continued on about wanting a younger lover for herself and then stopped and looked me dead in the eyes and said "For real?  He's your husband?  Well, good for you!"  After repeating over and over how fortunate I was to have such a husband, she explicated further about how good it is for 50-year-old women to have younger men. 


What saved me (aside from my pleasant disposition in situations such as these) was my girlfriend (who witnessed the entire fiasco and who even attempted to sway the focus of conversation off of me) confiding in me that she just doesn't see it.  I love her for this move.  I love her for a lot of things but this sure did help. 

Last week, I went to view a new CrossFit box that is opening.  During introductions, my friend told the owners (all four of them) that "We all are from Paradiso CrossFit."  The guy standing closest to me shook his head in agreeance, then his face washed in realization when he turned to me and muttered, "You too?  Really?"  I felt both humiliated and inspired.  Humiliated that it seemed as though he assumed that just because I am a big girl that I haven't come along way.  Inspired to get more fully immersed in fitness.  Worried that I am a poor representation for my box.

Again, I believe this happened completely innocently.  But, my effing ego took note.

My ego has been getting the ol' one-two punch and I haven't done well to defend it.

I've been cranky lately. 

I would say I am depressed. 

However, I am not giving up.  I know myself well enough that I will make it through this.  I have made it through a whole hell of a lot in my life and I refuse to let body image be the jackhole that takes me under.  I suspect that many people at my box and in my life struggle with the drive toward their goals because we get run down.  And, if you are like me in that you are not a life long athlete, the struggle can be even more challenging.  You feel ashamed.  This leads to hopelessness.  This leads to a lot of other internal demons.  And that is why I am sharing my story - in hopes that someone else will find inspiration in it. 

As much as I shamefully hang my head in the presence of the trainers from my box, the truth is that they aren't judging me to the degree that my mind makes it up.  I know that they see the struggle and they always welcome me back.  Once there, I receive a great deal of encouragment from them.  And this helps me not to quit this life long battle.

I'm still going strong in my own little ways.  I hope you will too.  If you've paused your regime just get back on.  They will only be happy to see you in whatever environment you workout in.  It happens to the best of athletes so it definitely happens to us.  Don't go around thinking its just you.  Its us.  Lets do this!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Disbursing Thunderclouds in My Ego

Today I got back into the box and made a renewed commitment.  Lets see how this rolls.

This time we were there during open gym so, after a wonderful walk n' talk with Mr. Paradiso to set a smart plan for my fitness goals, I DROM'd then rowed a set of four 500m sprints with three minute breaks in between, without inhaler.  My time improved each row with stressed gasping toward the end of the second row.  I broke a sexy little sweat as the thunder clouds in my ego disbursed.  Aside from the disappointment felt when I noticed the black shoe strap marks from the rower on my brand new bright white New Balance trainers (a nice accent to the taco grease from Saturdays tailgate), I experienced a good feeling accompanied by low-oxygen headache and sore rib cage muscles (my rib bones connected to my know the tune).  But, most notable was the happiness that enveloped me.  

I've been battling some major demons throughout August and September and am glad to be back.  I've been so out of it that I am on-ramping again.  This, finally, is ok with me.  Four hours ago it wasn't ok.  Now it is.  

Alrighty then.  See you at the box.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Time! --> 30 Days Give-or-Take the Last 10

For the past month (from April 19th through May 19th), we have been participating in a 30-day Paleo Challenge with our CrossFit box people.  And while I usually would not participate in an all-or-nothing challenge, this time I did.  Well, we did.  Garrett and I decided to attempt it.  We started one day late and gave it our best effort.  We broke about the time Mothers Day came around when I decided to order a chocolate ganash soufflĂ© for dessert.  I'll call this a gateway dessert because other things clearly followed.  While we do not view this as a total failure in nutrition, we did technically fail the all-or-nothing challenge because either you did it or you didn't.  Either you got an A+ or an F.  There was nothing in between.  And, that is ok.

What the Paleo challenge did for us was to reveal a way of nutrition that we would like to follow closely but not, at this particular moment in time, strictly.  This is not to say that we will go all nutty and drown ourselves in grain, sugar and dairy products (isn't that a lovely bathtub style vision?).  But, we are not going to beat ourselves up if we decide that maybe today we will go ahead and have a smidgen of raw sugar in our espresso.  We will not feel worthless if a bit of blue cheese would just really make this salad perfect today.  And, in the world of Paleo nutrition, we will not fret over choosing the lesser of two evils when deciding to use either cow's milk or soy milk in our espresso as well.  

We have, in fact, changed our dietary intake drastically this year by no longer buying cereals or potatoes or rice. We've brought home a hell of a lot less cheese and milk and butter.  No more are the days of buttered toast and sugar drenched espresso for breakfast followed by a dinner that included either a potato or a rice each and every time.  We have made a tremendous start and that is good enough for us for now.  We will continue to strive for better as we always do.  Right now, right here, this is good enough.  

Aside from just knowing that this is a better way to eat, how do we feel?  We feel lighter, faster and more agile.  We feel less lethargic when we CrossFit.  There is more gumption and less panting.  My asthma, while still a pain in the ol' gluteous maximus, feels less threatening.  I can tell a difference in my total energy between when I eat Paleo and when I don't.  And, I'm talking about the next day or two from when I ate.  It carries over and carries on for a period of a couple days.  

Here is a sampling of various meals that have happened for us over the latter half of our challenge (please note that ketchup, cheese, creamy dressings and added sodium are are not Paleo):

But, clarity came for me during this challenge when I began to receive comments about my appearance and how good or different my appearance was from the past.  Things like, "I can see it in your face." or "I see a change in your shoulders, your posture and across your back." and "I just have to tell you how good you look, Dione."  I'd say it is the Paleo but I would also say it is the CrossFit and the hiking.  There is a happiness that all of this brings to both me and Garrett.  And, lastly, I would say that it's the folks at my particular box, Paradiso CrossFit, that bring us smiles.  I love this group.  I appreciate how they challenge us and how they inspire us.  They live the example that we are now living and through this example we rise to the challenge.  There is a lot of laughing that goes on with this group and I look forward to spending many many years with them.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Ignorant Hiker

I am not a hiking expert.  I am training for a six-day hike in the Austrian Alps.  To prepare, I have had many conversations with experienced hikers who have offered useful information for my local hikes.  I hope that this information will translate to what I need to know for the Alps.

As it turns out, some of you out there are actually reading my blog and watching me on Facebook.  I like this.  Thank you.  You are telling me that you want to hike or you want to CrossFit or you want to know more about this Paleo thing.  You don't really understand everything that I am doing but you want to know more and want to know how.  Again, I am not an expert.  What I will offer you here is a compilation of basics that I follow for myself.

A Quick List of Hiking Basics for Dione

Don't be ignorant.  Our first hike was actually the Na Pali Coast in Kauai, Hawaii.  We were not prepared in the least.  That, my friends, will be an entirely different blog entry.  Let's just say that we didn't do anything on this list.  Not one thing. You are already one step ahead of us because you are here reading this.  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  Question asking is good.

Know your hike.  Research your hike and know your trail.  Know your elevation.  Go to your local hiking store (like Adventure 16 or R.E.I.) and pick up a map that details the route and the elevation of your intended hike.  Bring this map with you on the hike.  While the map will be general, it will help you to be familiar with the layout and distance of the trail as well as how quickly the elevation changes.  Sometimes the trail head will have a kiosk where you can pick-up a more detailed map for you specific hike.  

Eat before you even think about stepping on the trail.  You will need the energy.  Then eat again while you are on the trail.  Eat goods things that give you good energy like meats, veggies, fruits, hard boiled eggs, nuts.  We usually eat something on the way then plan a lunch destination as part of the hike.  This spot is usually the highest point on the trail.

Hydrate.  Hydrate.  Hydrate!  I personally bring 100 oz of water on my hike (thanks, CamelBak!) and have found that I tend to run out at about 4 1/2 hours.  You will find your own personal level of hydration.  But, if you wait until you are thirsty to drink your water then you are already too late.  Keep drinking it down.  Your hydration is key in cooling your body so that you don't overheat.  It runs through you and it cleanses your pours.  It also help flush out toxins that would impede your joints.  Non-impeded joints are a good thing when hiking.

Stretch.  Stretch your hamstrings and whatever ails you before you hit the trail.  I don't do this part very well.  

Be aware.  Take it upon yourself to become familiar with what you should be aware of while you are hiking.  These things could be rattle snakes, mountain lions, ticks and poison ivy/oak.  Be able to identify these things when you see them.  This is important and is your responsibility to yourself.  Do not rely on others to convey this information to you.  

Don't go off the trail.  Since you are new to hiking, you will want to stay on the trail.  Do not venture off of it.  People get lost and/or hurt this way.  It's real simple.  Don't be that person.

Leave no trace.  You come out to nature to get away from the city.  If you didn't want to enjoy the beauty of it then you would hike Figueroa through downtown Los Angeles.  So, please, leave no trace of yourself out here.  Any litter that you create should be tucked away into your backpack to go home with you for disposal at a later time.  There should not be a trace of your plastic bottles, energy bar wrappers or broken shoe laces anywhere on the trail.

Let go and Enjoy.  Afford yourself the opportunity to breath deeply and enjoy your organic environment while you are out here.  Fully immerse yourself in your senses.  Let go of all those daily things that grind you down.  Practice letting go by sucking up what nature has to offer.  Love it.  Respect it.  And it will be there for you the next time you need it.

    I average about two hikes per week.  At least one of those is with my loving husband, Garrett.  The others are usually with a good friend like Heather or Lizzie.  Sometime soon I hope to get my beagle out there on the trails on which she would be allowed.  I also look forward to including many other persons on our hikes who are open to the challenge.  I have included everything that I can think of for me at this point in my training.  If you think of anything else please post it here.  Your comments are welcome!

    Monday, May 3, 2010

    Who are these Super Humans?

    Todays W.O.D.

    New England Sectional Event 1

    Run 800 meters

    30 Snatches (115/75)

    Run 800 meters

    I guess it is my turn to suck.  I ran the first 800m, kind of.  I'm not running four days per week like I used to so my running stamina (i.e., lung endurance) is down.  So yeah, that took me way too long.  Then, I snatched 45# for 30 reps.  Well, I don't know how many actually were a snatch but I think I'm beginning to feel the form.  That's the thing with me and forms...I have to feel them instead of over think them.  My lungs were f-ing with me, as usual, so I rowed the second 800m.  I started at like a 2:06 pace and ended somewhere between 2:25 and 2:30.  This felt good but I beat myself up so immediately embraced the guilt of not running the second 800m.  However, when I stopped by the grocery store on the way home and noticed my still beat red face and ears, I was thankful that I didn't hurt myself with the run.  I have this fear of experiencing an asthma attack when I'm not near my trainer or others that I am working out with.  I guess I need to work on that.

    The results:  16 minutes and 13 seconds at 45# snatches and running the first 800m while rowing the last 800m.  

    I feel really slow and inadequate right now.

    Saturday, May 1, 2010

    Paradiso CrossFit 101

    Saturday, May 1st, 2010

    Todays W.O.D.
    Run 5k.
    But we didn't do that because we worked out in CrossFit 101.  

    CrossFit 101 W.O.D.
    Run 200m
    Run 200m

    Results:  Deadlifting 95# and doing girl push-ups improperly, I finished this in 11:06.

    Garrett joined me in this group setting.  We came because it is a new thing Paradiso is doing so we wanted to support it.  Also, my girl Jamie Kwak came to the class, so we wanted to support her as well.  David says (there I go again) that she is good. 

    I say that Zeb and David rocked the class.  Excellent idea, guys!

    Thursday, April 29, 2010

    This Little Piggy Went to CrossFit

    Wednesday, 04/28/2010 W.O.D.

    Front Squat 3-3-3-3-3

    My Loads: 115 - 125 - 135 - 145 - 155 (2) BASELINE
    (What does "baseline" mean again?)

    David suggested I start at 115 because I had absolutely no clue where I should begin.  The idea is that you do a front squat lifting an amount of weight three times in a row.  Then, you re-rack the bar and increase the weight bit by bit continuing through 5 rounds of 3 lifts.  David said, "You might want to try this without your shoes."  So, sock footed, 115 felt fine.  125 was cool.  135 immediately felt like, "Oh shit, how am I ever going to lift this?!"  145 drew some deep grunting noises out of me.  155 was a challenge and on the third/last attempt I failed.  David said I would have had it if I weren't gripping the bar so tight but had let it rest on my fingers/fingertips.  Dang it.  Really cool was the two or three times David told me how well I did with this WOD.  Still cooler was my ignorance over exactly how well.  Coolest of all cools - *beating Rob.

    *Disclaimer:  This gloat will be short lived.  Personal comparison to Rob's performance in any category, be it English literature analysis, CrossFit training or ale consuming, will be in vain.  One must gloat where one can for one may never see it in this lifetime [or the next] again.

    My family now rolls their eyes when I start a sentence with "David said..."  They say it reminds them of "Rob said..."  I roll my eyes back and say, "Whatever."  This morning, I said, "Look at my cool lifting bruises on my shoulders!"

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    I'm Hike-a-licious.

    If I haven't mentioned it before, my husband and I are preparing to hike for a mere six days straight in the Austrian Alps.  This hike is to occur in July of this year.  On July 10th-ish we will join our friends Rob and Petra on the 21st day of their hike in the Alps which will have covered points in Germany, Austria and Italy.  As a group, we will finish up the hike in six days as we head northwesterly back toward Germany.

    To say the least, Garret and I are greatly concerned that we will hold the group back.  In order to minimize the amount of backholding that may occur, he and I have been training.  We have been CrossFitting and we have been hiking.  I am fully immersed (though I always feel as though I could be participating more) in CrossFit while he has dabbled in the on-ramp program at our box.  We have developed a habit of hiking together on Saturday mornings while I have also developed a habit of hiking at least one other time through the week (thank you, Lizzie and Heather!).  For me personally, this makes four to five days per week where I am kicking my ass in some sort of physical challenge.

    Combine all this physicality together with our participation in our box's 30-day paleo diet challenge and these three things seem to make for a fulltime job in themselves.  Every day is consumed with thoughts of "How am I going to challenge myself physically today?  What am I going to eat today?  What am I not going to eat today?  How often am I going to eat today?"  We are ever referencing the Paradiso CrossFit website and Nutrition Blog and those blogs and Facebook pages of our PCF cohort.  In fact, I feel like a food-ophile carefully scanning images of everyones breakfast, dinner and snacks - having food envy and moaning in delight over things like sauteed cauliflower in place of rice. 

    Garrett and I have faced obstacles because neither one of us considers ourselves very good cooks really.  He can throw down on some fish or stirfry and I get requests for fried chicken or banana bread, but to say we feel competitive as chefs in this Paleo challenge is not going to happen.  So, as I've said before, we do the best we can.

    Things that I have discovered about myself this week:
    1) I can't sautee asparagus to save my life.  There is a fine line between delightfully tasty and just damn soggy.
    2) I have attempted twice to hard boil a dozen eggs and both times, though hugely varied in approach, I managed to pop, clank, explode and otherwise abuse the shells of my unsuspecting protien delights.
    3) Salt is just damn necessary in some recipes.
    4) Espresso requires either a smidge of milk (soy or the moo kind) or a smattering of raw sugar.  We have both declared that we will give up one or the other but not both.
    5) No matter how hard I work or how disciplined I consume, Garrett (who is doing far less than me physically) has already reached his high school weight and is concerned that he may lose too much.

    And, on a more positive note:
    6) Meat rocks!
    7) Avocados are a welcome flavor (this one is for you, Rob) in most dishes.
    8) Tuesday morning Farm Fresh To You produce deliveries are one of the highlights of my week.
    9) I surprisingly don't really miss my breads, rices or potatoes.  I certainly don't miss the way they make me feel.  And, when I think I want them, I simply remind myself how they bog me down and interfere with my CrossFit performance well into the next day (Funny, I used this same psychological trick on myself to stop smoking nine years ago). 
    10) Breathing is awesome!  Achieving proper breathe is what plagues me the most in my workouts.  I have increased my lung capacity greatly in the last year and am still way behind the curve.  I am excited to ultimately work my asthma away.  When that day comes, trust me, you will know of it!

    The days and days of Paleo menus have begun to blur for me.  There have been moments where Paleo was near impossible but, more so, Paleo is more accessible than you might believe.

    Friday night Truxton's Gilly Burger of sin.  Notice the dark looming atmosphere.  Dione was a bad bad girl.

    I'm not sure when this happened but it came compliments of Garrett (as do most of our Paleo creations) and it was dreamy!  That's apples, avocado, walnuts, butter lettuce, baby romaine, grilled chicken, etc. in that there bowl.  Mmmm...

    Garrett's plate of wild atlantic salmon on a bed of fresh spinach with grilled zucchini. 

    Breakfast for two days in a row of leftover browned turkey with onions and bellpeppers cooked in an omelet. 

    My plate of salmon and zucchini minus the bed of fresh spinach because I simply could not fathom another mouthful of spinach goodness yesterday.

    So, we eat, we drink, we crossfit and we hike.  Most importantly, we live.  We are not idle and we are not complacent.  Certainly, we are no longer ignorant of the possibilities out there for us.  And, sometimes, we rest.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Day 2 and Day 3. Not as pale as Monday.

    I was speaking to a friend of mine a couple days ago when he informed me that I need to step it up now.  I'm out of the on-ramp program at PCF and I'm familiar with hiking local Los Angeles area hikes.  Now, in preparation for our hike in the Austrian Alps in July, I need to lengthen my hikes and increase the frequency.  I need to CrossFit more.  Considering my box is committed to a 30 day Paleo challenge, I need to also step-up my nutrition.

    People, this is hard work. 

    Day 2 of the Paleo Challenge

    Ok kids, I'm doing the best I can here.  Tuesday morning I worked with what I had.  It wasn't until late Monday night that Garrett and I actually decided to pursue the challenge.  This meant that we didn't yet get the opportunity to buy the necessary groceries.  My answer to that?  Leftovers!  Breakfast consisted of some leftover TJ bacon (I know, sodium) with two eggs prepared in a tiny bit of olive oil.  On the side were strawberries.  My beverage was a double espresso - NO sugar, NO milk (I religiously drink a cappucino).  This breakfast made me very happy.  And, yes, I missed my buttered toast.

    I don't remember what I had for lunch but I think it included one of these and some hard boiled eggs and maybe some walnuts. 

    Dinner was the ultimate challenge for me (us).  We went out for a family dinner with Garrett's family.  We went to Salt Creek.  When the bread was set on the table, I moved it away.  I ordered a salad but didn't even realize it had a little bit of feta cheese on it.  Oops.

    For the main course, I substituted farm fresh veggies in place of the fries that would go with my baby back ribs.  Ok, I think I screwed up here too because the ribs have sauce which I'm sure included sugar and some other stuff non-Paleo.  Oops again.  Oh, and I didn't follow it with creme brulee.  I actually believe that skipping the creme brulee is illegal in some states.

    Day 3

    W.O.D. (Work-out of the Day, if I haven't explained this already.)
    "Ontario Sectional Day 1, Event 2"
    As many rounds and reps as possible in 12 minutes of:
    5 Deadlifts (235/150 lbs)
    10 Pull ups
    5 Ring dips

    On Monday, Diso helped me through my last on-ramp/first main W.O.D. (this was my fault...I didn't realize I was officially non-on-ramp now).  Because I was the only on-ramper that morning, we made the best of things and I ended up getting to have a personal session to full W.O.D. strength.  See previous blog post for details on this.  This means Wednesday was truly my first mainstream W.O.D. where I got to work-out with the big kids under the direction of Zeb

    I came to Wednesday's W.O.D. fully recharged and ready to go.  I think I did alright.  I made it through four rounds with the assistance of some of the largest rubber bands I have ever seen in my life.  The workout was great!  Oh and I officially put my name and my weight on the Paleo Challenge sign-up sheet at my box.  It is a really big effing deal for me to put my weight out there for people to see.  Look at me!  I don't even know who I am anymore.

    For breakfast - two hardboiled eggs, two raw carrots, one orange and a double espresso.

    For lunch - another challenge because I was working at a friends home, we went to In-n-Out.  I had a double burger (NO cheese) with grilled onions (NO sauce or ketchup or anything sugary like that) in a lettuce wrap.  NO fries and NO shake.  My friend took amazement in this spectacular display of discipline.

    For dinner - the PCF potluck would have been awesome if I weren't entirely exhausted and covered in cat hair.  Garrett actually prepared something for us to take to the event but I was just too tired to attend.  We stayed home and ate ground turkey with fire roasted onions and peppers topped with avocado.  A nice end to a long day after which I promptly went to bed to rest before an early morning hike.

    Nobody ever said healthy was easy.

    Monday, April 19, 2010

    Day 1 - Paleo Dinner

    For dinner we had Trader Joe's marinated Maui style beef shortribs and avocado wrapped in butter lettuce together with a side of sauteed asparagus.   Mmmmm good!

    The Paleo Challenge calls for absolutely no alcohol.  Garrett didn't seem too concerned about this tonight when he grabbed his Gargoyle IPA.  So, there you have it.  Anyone else challenged by the no beer aspect of this?

    Going forward I will combine the food journal into a one-day summary.  Goodnight. 

    Day 1 - Paleo Snack?

    Peppered Genoa Salami, Strawberries and Walnuts. 
    I gotta go shopping.

    Take it to the Limit

    Today my box (Paradiso CrossFit) is taking on a Thirty Day Paleo Challenge. This challenge requires a 100% commitment to the Paleo Nutrition plan. The plan is that if you are taking on the challenge, to go into the box and work through "Fran." Better still, take a cold hard image of yourself before embarking on this grand endeavor, weigh yourself and then throw away the scale. At the end of the 30 days, it would be ideal to do "Fran" again and compare outcomes for improved athletic ability. I'm guessing you would have to dig your scale out of the trash can as well for a bit more comparison. What's cool about doing this with an entire box of people (I just got a crayon box visual, sorry) is that you are not the only one researching how to go about this. Everybody is searching and asking questions and shopping and cooking and submitting their own ideas on how to best go about the challenge.

    My husband and I are a day short. We had a crazy and strange week/weekend that didn't allow us enough prep time for this challenge. So, we have not officially committed to the group challenge. Yet, we are following from afar. Over the last week, we have followed closely all the PCF blogs including the vast amounts of comments. I call this "the conversation." And, a quick overview late Sunday night brought new inspiration for us to ingest.

    This challenge is coming at a pivotal time for me, personally, as I have officially completed the On Ramp Program portion of my CrossFit training. I will no longer be coddled though certainly the support is always there but it is time for me to truly step-up my CrossFit game. Yeah, I'm a little scared. Now I get to play with the big kids. And let me tell you, those kids are incredible! They are incredibly talented and they work incredibly hard. I have tremendous respect for each and every one of them.

    I'm not going to do Fran. And, I'm not signing up for the challenge at the box. But I am going to face the challenge as best I can. You'll see evidence of that here. You'll also see my WOD's and my response to "Regularly learn and play new sports." Oh yeah, and some insight on my (and Garrett's) training for six days in the Austrian Alps. That trip happens in July 2010.

    Ok, todays W.O.D. -->

    3 rounds for time of:

    Walking lunge, 100 ft
    50 Squats
    25 Back extensions

    I was on my 3rd round at squat 20 when an asthma incident began to rear its ugly head. Well, it had already started to gnaw at my throat and lungs, but now it was threatening a full assault. That was when I told Diso that I had to stop (or this would get real ugly real fast). So, I didn't get my time to that point but I'm pretty sure it was around 1/2 hour and that's a pretty long time. My body ached and my lungs hurt and my throat was dry and I felt the pangs of vomit a-brewin' together with the onset of the asthma monster. However, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. These workouts are tough but I am anxious to see an improvement in my breathing. I am challenged to the max of my physical and mental abilities. And, I love it.

    I came home and did something terrible. Well, the espresso wasn't bad but the two slices of buttered toast were far from Paleo. After a rest to gain a sense of normality, I countered the days events with a beautiful Paleo lunch - 2 eggs scrambled, 5 pieces of bacon seasoned with Mrs. Dash Original on a bed of romaine and butter lettuce. A quick consultation with Assassin revealed that I neglected to include a proper carb and my answer to that was a fresh apple. I am feeling better now but my head still hurts from the lack of oxygen during my workout.

    I am preparing my grocery list this afternoon for my Paleo shopping spree. We shall see how this one goes. Feelings? I am both terrified and excited. What a great opportunity!

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    My Rooftop Garden; or, The Lone Pepper Pot

    Have you ever met a chili pepper plant you didn't like?  I have three -- Fresno Chile, Chile D'Arbol and Shishito.  These three plants comprise the vastness of my new rooftop garden.

    I recently posted links on my Facebook page regarding produce that I have delivered to my door because it is local, certified organic and it relieves me of the responsibility of weekly treks to the farmers market.  This post sparked a conversation from my Midwestern friend, Deb, regarding the winter weather and hopeful gardening.  As I live in a condo with no lawn and two balconies, I was soon dreaming about my own planter possibilities.  However, it did not take too long before I was reminded that my two balconies are on the north side of our home so mostly shaded throughout the day.  This is not good for plants which require direct sunlight for most of the day.  Dang.

    Another conversation with my Denver friend, Rob, moved quickly from me expressing frustration with my gardening possibilities to the idea of planter gardening on the roof of my five story building.  A garden comprised of a layer of protective liner, dirt and rows of plants would have been the ideal.  However, for me, the red tape would be far too much to force my way through.  And, being a fan of instant gratification, I opted for the more simple container option.  I didn't ask for anyone's permission.  I went for it!  Ha!  Towanda!  Hence, the one pot with three variety pepper plants.  Yes!  It's a start, right?   I figure, this is a good way to gain exposure to the idea of rooftop gardening.  This one pot is something I can build upon.  I have dreams of tomatoes, radishes and garlic.  Maybe onions?  But this is where I have begun.

    Whilst still contemplating the idea, I found myself pulling into my local Armstrong nursery.  There I found vast varieties of pepper plants, tomatoes, etc.  And, I decided upon my three.  I considered the tomatoes, but figured it might be best to start slowly.  I wouldn't want to overwhelm myself to the point of complete abandon of the entire idea.

    For not much money at all, I brought home the three plants and a bit of potting soil and set to gardening on my kitchen floor.

    I placed the plants into one large container and added enough soil to nourish them both now in their infancy and later when they are larger with more root space needs.

    Then, I climbed the three stories (from our second floor unit) to the roof with my pot and camera in hand.  After forcing my way through the unfrequented door, I found a space that I hope will support my plants solar and wind protection needs.  After walking around and testing the breeze, I chose this space against the southern wall of the northern stair well.  Can you see it?  It's like a game of Where's Waldo?.  Here's a hint: it is not an air conditioning unit.  See it now?

    You may notice, however, a certain tilt to the right (or East, in this case).  My concern for my plants is the on shore flow (ocean breeze).  The kind Armstrong lady who assisted me in realizing my gardening dream insisted that I wouldn't need to support my plants with a trelice like you would need for tomato plants.  Yet, my farmer instincts tell me that perhaps a tad of support from a stick and small amount of twine would be of harmless benefit.  I'll let you know what comes of this idea.

    So, here we are.  Rooftop Container Gardening 101, Day 1.   Currently, Google Weather for my zip code says:
    59°F | °C

    Current: Partly Cloudy
    Wind: W at 17 mph
    Humidity: 55%

    I sure hope my plants like this.

    Thank you to Deb and to Rob for planting the seeds.  Ya'll come back and check on my garden real soon.  Ya hear?