October 24, 2011

Hike This: Granite Mountain

Hiking Granite is always a good time, always a push. I generally do this hike once a year and last weekend was my time to hit the mountain again. It's a popular area and there are several alpine lake trails that start from the this same trail head, making this easily accessible trail a freeway on most nice summer days. Beatrix and I suite up in the parking lot and hit the trail. As expected, we quickly start passing people up the trail, dropping them one by one. My back is a little achy, but nothing to stop me from speed hiking. 


Beatrix enjoying the view

September 19, 2011

Vegans vs. Vegetarians: who will win?

Here's a random question for all of you:
Are vegans actually "better" than vegetarians because they avoid dairy?

I understand some of you are more on the primal side rather than the Paleo side and may argue that a little dairy doesn't hurt as long as you're not allergic. Just see Mark Sisson for thoughts on eating dairy on a primal diet. However, I've met my fair share of dairy-etarians that disguise themselves as vegetarians. It's almost like being "vegetarian" gives them an excuse to eat as much cheese as possible! "It's a good source of protein." I can hear the excuses/explainations from here! I can't really tolerate dairy so I stay awa from the stuff.

Whatever your answer for whatever reason, I want to hear it!

Isn't it amazing and quite humerous how many people promote vegetarianism/veganism as being a healthy lifestyle and yet there seems to be as many over weight, over-stuffed veg-heads as there are people eating the standard American diet? Or, there are the few emaciated vegans that have negative muscle mass. And don't forget about the skinny-fat people (and I know you know what I'm talking about!)! There are as many frankin-food, highly processed, allergenic vegetarian food items that are made for your convenience as there are meat-filled. So, forget the healthy angle and forget the animal rights point of view. If you eat humainly raised animals that live happy foraging lives, then the argument is a mute point.

In the end, who should we be making fun of more? Vegetarians or vegans?

August 14, 2011

Blanca Lake

I set out for a hike to Blanca Lake with my trusty trail companion, Beatrix, and was amazed at the trail condition. I did this hike toward the end of July and there was still massive amounts of snow on the trail. The first half of the hike was a steady climb in relatively hot weather. It quickly became obvious that I wasn't used to the heat. Since we've had such ridiculously lousy summer, there hasn't been any time to adjust to warm weather. I was trudging up the switchbacks, it became painfully obvious that I had cut my carbohydrate intake a little too low. I was trying to climb up the mountain at a feverish pace, but wasn't having it. I asked myself, "why the hell are you so tired!? Why do your legs feel heavy?" Then I realized I had inadvertently been eating a pretty minimal amount of carbohydrates lately. As soon as I realized this I started chomping on the apple that I brought and thought to myself that I should have planned better and should have smartly prepared for expending some serious effort. And when I say prepare I mean I should have eaten some nice healthy carbohydrates the night before or at least the morning of the hike. It's all a learning lesson, right? Right. So, I ate half my apple and started feeling a little more lively. Phew! Go go gadget-carbs!

Run, run, run, snow, snow

About half way through the ascent, Beatrix found her first patch of snow. She was ECSTATIC! I mean, I can't explain how hilarious she gets when she finds snow.  It's the greatest thing I've ever seen.
We continued up the trail where we hit the snow line and left the dirt behind. It was a welcomed relief for Beatrix; she doesn't do well in heat. With the abundance of snow, all of a sudden SUPER B arrived and we were off to take on the lake.

It's obvious we're products of the Northwest,  it's either too cold or too hot when in reality it's neither. We Northwesties are pansies when it comes to weather. Anyway, this hike was overall pretty strange because it was warm the entire route, even when we were walking on several feet of snow. I've never experience this before. Normally, temperatures drop and you have to layer up, but as we walked atop the snow a warm breeze would blow by. I was glad for this too because I wasn't all that prepared for cold weather. I was in workout shorts and tanktop with possibly a long sleeve shirt in my running pack. Not so prepared, lesson learned.
July 24, 2011 - still so much snow

The trail was nicely marked with blue ribbon so it was relatively easy to find the trail. Blue is NOT a good color for trail markings. Really? Only dark green or brown would have been a worse color. Seriously, why not hunter orange or red? Something that actually stands out against trees, rock and snow. Anyway, once you get near Virgin Lake, which was completely covered in snow, the markers disappear and your left to navigate on your own down to Blanca Lake. Since I'd never been on the trail before, every once in a while I'd check my GPS to make sure I was on track. Little clothing, little food for me or Beatrix, and in an unfamiliar area... Not somewhere I'd like to get lost.

I tagged along with a few fellow hikers and all four of us made our way down to the lake. Beatrix and her far superior agility had no problems navigating the rest of the trail. It seemed to take forever to drop the last half mile to the lake. Every once in a while the trail would pop out amidst 3-5 feet of snow and we were reassured that we were at least in the right area. Once we arrived at the lake we sat for a quick snack and a little rest. Quickly, I packed up and turned around to head on out. Not really being confident in the trail, I wanted to make sure I had people following my tracks so if I could always hook up with them if need be. Thankfully, it wasn't necessary and I made it out just fine (of course).

Due to all the snow and route finding, the 7.5 mile trail took about twice as long as it normally would. When I arrived back at my car it felt like at least a 13 mile jaunt. Not that it's a bad thing, just unexpected. The trail was great and I can't wait to get back there a little later in the season to see the lake in all it's splendor. Lessons learned from this hike: never underestimate basic layers, even if it seems warm (especially with the cold summer we've had), always fuel up in order to throw down! I never want to feel "BLAH" when I'm on the trail. I love the outside too much to make it a negative experience. Next time I'll remember to eat my sweet potatoes!
Blanca Lake w/o snow (WTA)

July 30, 2011

Paleo breakfast & watching CrossFit Games

Eating breakfast while watching the CrossFit games 2011... Not a bad morning!

Watching some ladies competition right now. The strength that these women bring both physically and mentally is inspiring. Hats off to those at the games and to those at home or in the gym pushing their limits.

July 21, 2011


Over the last couple of weeks I've been trying to spice up my CrippleFit WODs. As the the weeks pass and I creep further and further down the recovery road, I attempt to gain a little bit of normalcy in my workouts each day. It's been good lately, exciting really, but I still get nervous sometimes. At times I still battle with whether I'm pushing too much too soon, is it good pain or bad, am I just being lazy or should I push it harder... But like I said, over the last couple of weeks I've added skipping, turkish getups (love these!), and even attempted a little forefoot running on the treadmill (very slow and on a major incline. For whatever reason this doesn't cause my S1 nerve to hurt). I'm testing a lot and really trying to pay attention to how I feel versus just being hard headed and pushing myself a little too far. I'm still in the critical phase of healing so I need to be extra kind to my body and mind. For instance, yesterday I put together a WOD that involved wall balls and on my last round I felt a little nagging pain in my glut. This is a moment where I ask myself whether it's "good pain" or "bad pain". I decided bad so I stopped wall balls and finished the rest of the WOD and called it good. I didn't feel guilty about not finishing the reps, I actually felt a little proud of myself for realizing that I needed to stop a certain exercise and then actually did stop. Yay me! It can be difficult sometimes because any given day a different exercise might bother me. I've noticed it's all related to how much sleep I've been getting, the amount of stress I'm under, my mood, how much I've been sitting, and I'm sure my nutrition and hydration. It's amazing out interrelated these things are when you really start paying attention to your body and it's signals.

Today I was feeling a little uninspired when it came to nailing down a workout. Earlier in the day I perused the CrossFit main site ideas without much luck. I got somewhat discouraged because it seemed like every WOD involved a lot of things that I still can't do yet -weighted over head squats, double-unders, sprinting, weighted... well, anything. Then later as I was warming up on the stair machine, my workout partner looked at my phone and said, "What about 800m speed walking, 100 pushups, 100 situps, 800 speed walking?" I thought to myself, "Dang! I could SO do that!" In fact, it was like the WOD was made for me. Done deal, I had a WOD for the day. He mentioned it was from CrossFit Sparta and realized I totally forgot about checking their site. They typically have great WODs, so THANK YOU CrossFit Sparta for posting a WOD that even I can do in my slightly less than awesome state!

Another thing to note is the "for time" piece. Ever since surgery, I haven't done much of anything for time. There have been little to no AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) or "for time" WODs in my recent past. It's just not practical or a good idea at this point for most exercises. I'm focusing on just doing right now, I'm not worried about nailing 20 rounds of Annie (for now ;). You must perfect form before you add speed. This is an especially critical time for me to live by these words. However, I must say although I've put down the watch, lately I have been trying to go through exercises as quickly as I can. It's generally a far cry from what I was doing, but none the less I'm working on adding speed and pushing through the "good pain". Just when I think that I'll never run again because jogging down that hall hurt, I jump on the treadmill, modify my posture and the ramp, FOCUS and my hope is restored. I have to say that I really do miss thrusters, snatches, burbees (I think) and back squats, but speed walking is going to join my rotation for sure!







I dare you to try this. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how hard it is to seriously speed walk this far. My shins were in a bit of pain during this WOD. It would have been easier to run.

I Love Meat! A note from a reformed vegan.

These days you would never (thank goodness) know that I was once a card-carrying strict vegetarian or vegan. I mean, "What about the animals?"... Don't get me wrong, I love the little, tasty furry animals and appreciate every little bit of nutrition they provide me. I try my hardest to buy responsibly, to make sure my protein comes from happy cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, bison, etc. that are free to roam and be healthy. It's not only that I want to buy grass fed beef because the omega-6 to -3 ratio is drastically better than grain fed, feed-lot cows, but I also truly want my protein choice to reflect my ethics. So basically, I want happy, healthy animals served up on my plate so I can grow stronger, build muscle, not be vitamin and mineral deficient, have healthy digestion, and enjoy a stable mental state. Seems simple...
Enough of that hippie love for animals... The other night after dinner as I was cleaning dishes and it dawned on me how freakin hilarious and strange it must be to those who have known me for more than a few years that I eat meat, let alone the amount of meat I eat. My dad is simple ecstatic at this fact. I mean I wasn't completely militant vegan in the sense that I was a "Vegan Nazi", but I was definitely strict and let you know my opinions about it if given the opportunity.

The evening meal I'm referring to above consisted of two sausages, one mild Italian turkey and one mild Italian pork. I'm generally a fan of the leaner meats, so I tend to ask for advice when looking to try something new or in the mood for fattier cut. Staring at the meat case at Whole Foods being indecisive as usual, I decided to venture out of my norm and buy some fresh sausage. The gentlemen behind the counter said the spices were the same between the different styles and it was merely a difference in meat. I had my eye on the Italian style because it seems to be the one that never has nightshades or has a small amount. I was informed that the turkey was a bit dry and the pork was awesome. What's a girl to do? Well, get one of each of course! I told the guy that I wanted to do a side by side comparison and he seemed to get a chuckle out of it. While I was eating dinner I was also baking meatloaf to take to work for the week. By the time I got to dishes it was cooling on the stove and I was still craving protein. So I snacked on some meatloaf while I did the dishes. It was a meat fest for sure and it was fantastic. Thinking of all the legume-based "healthy" meals of my vegan passed, I chuckled to myself as I became satiated from my delicious meat protein.
Survive or thrive???
Vegans are wrong... I know because I used to be one.

Paleo info-graphic timeline

Found this nifty infographic while trolling the web while, you guessed it, looking for more paleo nutrition and exercise information. Shocking!  Thought this was pretty cool and worth sharing.

Paleolithic Diet Explained
Learn more about the Paleo Diet.