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.

July 16, 2011

Robb Wolf turns the dial up to 11

So first let me say that I think Robb Wolf is worth his weight (and I'm referring to his normal weight) in bacon plus a pork chop or two! Wolf is a bit lighter these days from an experiment that he still can't quite legally talk about. If you read his post on being off the grid for a while, you already know that he's 16 pounds lighter than normal. He didn't say much, but did confess to taking part in an 8 day fast and that we'll all learn about his adventures soon enough and it will be epic. How exciting!

Seriously though, the man has passion and energy that is both inspiring and infectious. As you may have read on his website, the Vancouver, BC seminar was Robb's second to last and Boston, MA being his last. I'm glad I was able to attend this seminar and didn't miss out on meeting him and seeing him speak. He and his paleo army are a force to be reckoned with. I'm not one for idolizing people, it's just not my nature. I don't collect autographs or paraphernalia because I'm just to damn practical and logical, things must have a functional purpose for me to own. I mean what would I use an autograph for? Yes, it may sound extreme, but I'm the type that if a joke isn't logical/plausible it just couldn't possibly be funny except in the case of irony. Anyway,  for those of you who collect things or acquire autographs, more power to you, it's just not my thing. With that being said, I do hold the utmost respect and admiration for certain people and value their influence on me and others. I put Robb Wolf in this category. I'm very grateful for the work he and other paleo superheros are doing. They are my equivalent to rockstars and I was a little star struck (which seems pretty ridiculous I know) when I met him. I mean "OMG it's Robb Wolf!"

In the beginning of his seminar Robb admitted that although he loves doing these events, it's time to move on. He explained that his paleo powers (my words, not his) are needed elsewhere. I agree with Robb that it's time for him to take it to the next level, to turn the dial to 11. It's just that time. There needs to be legitimate nutrition curriculum for pre-med, nursing, naturopathy, diatetic, etc. students, as well as continuing education curriculum for our current medical professionals. We all need to be enlightened, but it's absolutely critical that our medical professionals are well educated in this arena. We rely on them (a little too much) to have the answers or at the very least, the right suggestions for our health and wellness. If there is anyone who can truly make a dent in this arena it's him. He has the ability to explain the science behind paleo without being overly academic, pretentious, annoying, or with too much jargon. He seems to know how to target his audience and get them motivated. Although there are other great paleo leaders such as Devany and  Cordain who conduct amazing research and others like Sissan and Fragoso who make the paleo lifestyle accessible and realistic, Robb has the ability to connect with people, tell their story, and persuade the medical community to listen to our biological needs. There is a reason that Robb's book, The Paleo Solution, became a New York Times best seller. If you haven't read this book already, you NEED to. It's funny, informative, and great guide to getting started with paleo.

For a detail summary of Robb's seminar see the blog post The Paleo Solution Seminar: A Day with Robb Wolf by Dai Manuel. I had the pleasure of meeting this guy at the seminar. Dai is an obvious CrossFiter and has a passion for fitness and health. His post provides a great recap of the presentation with all sorts of links to Robb's handy paleo tools. His blog is a new favorite of mine so check him out!

July 13, 2011

Vancouver and back

All smiles outside of Stanley Park
Well, I made to and from Vancouver, BC on my motorcycle in one piece! This was the first long ride I've taken since last September due to my herniated disc and then from recovering from back surgery. Yes, I love my motor and it's been a while since I've been able to put some miles on it, so I'm definitely stoked that I made it to and from BC with relatively little difficulty.

The mighty VFR in the hostel parking lot, ready to head home.
The ride was beautiful even though it rained on me nearly the entire way to Canada. Really, since I have the gear, a little rain is nothing to stop me from taking a nice ride. Also, now I fully trust my motor skills again despite the lack in riding I've done in the last 10 months. I took the long, scenic route north (as you always should on a motor) on Highway 9 through Arlington, Sedro-Woolley, crossed the U.S./Canadian border in Sumas, on to North Vancouver and then dropped down into Vancouver via Stanley Park and ended at the HI Jericho Hostel. Check out my route below

View Vancouver Ride in a larger map

Riding always gives me time to think. It's a time I don't read, check my phone, talk to anyone, or listen to music. It is a time for clarity, peacefulness, unwinding, and problem solving, which is exactly what I get from trail running. Since I still can't trail run (which I know will be a matter of time dammit!), at least I can now ride my motor and for that I am grateful. Even though it's easy to get frustrated with the things I still can't do, every time I am able to reintroduce the things I love back into my life, I'm left with HUGE grin and a sense of accomplishment. It's been a rough road these past several months, but I grow stronger mentally and physically as time moves on. I appreciate of those of you who have been a source of encouragement.

Don't worry, I didn't forget my promise to divulge my in person Robb Wolf/Paleo Solution experience. My recap and a few hilarious quotes will be in my next post. Believe me, he's as nerdy and awesome as you think he would be!

Also, quick note... Since the hostel was a few hundred feet from the beach, I managed to squeeze in a little beach CrippleFit work out!

5 rounds of:
42 lunges (this is how many lunges it takes me to go back in forth in the Fire House Bay that I normally workout in)
10 full push ups (back allows full now :)
25 squats
10 on each side A-frame plank pass throughs (no idea what to really call these, but it's a part of my PT)

This got my energy up for the ride home!

July 7, 2011

Paleo Solution: Is Robb Wolf everything you expected and more?

It's been a while and I apologize. I promise to be better about posting. Just think of the break in posting as a mini-hiatus, a break to ponder some of my oh-so-insightful and inspiring words. Enough about me (well, for now) and on to the exciting news... I'm heading to Vancouver BC tomorrow to put Robb Wolf to the test. Yes, I am seizing the opportunity of having the paleo poster boy up north and heading out to get my paleo learn-on. Robb is conducting a seminar in downtown Vancouver and I'm stoked! I like to think I'm a geek about nutrition and food, but RW has me beat by a long shot. I totally nerd out on his podcasts and absolutely adore his rants, so I can't wait to listen to him in person and be in a room of like-minded folk. And, it's a great excuse to visit Vancouver!

The seminar is sponsored by:
Level 4: CrossFit Seattle 
CrossFit Vancouver
CrossFit Optimum Performance

Check out more info about the seminar here!

I'll let you know what I think of the seminar and share any awesome information I gather. Most importantly, I'll report back whether I think Robb Wolf is really worth his weight in bacon! Mmmm... bacon....

June 2, 2011

Take'n it to the trail & street

Lake Serene during summer
Good news all around! There is hope to getting back to my normal self again!  This weekend I went on a maiden bike voyage around Seattle neighborhoods, went on my first real hike of the season, and rode all the way home from work! Woohoo! Yes, OUTSIDE! Yes, cool breeze in my face and bugs in my teeth. It was grand.

Up until last weekend, I'd been playing it safe by sticking to the urban trails near Seattle - Soaring Eagle Park, Cougar Mountain, Discovery Park... All fantastic. Seattlites are blessed to have such amazing places so close, but I've been itching to get out on a "real" trail. With the initial plans to do a ridge hike out of the question due to lingering snow levels, Lake Serene was a no-brainer alternative. Let me be honest, I hate going to Lake Serene unless it's first thing in the morning. Due to the ridiculous number of people on the trail, you end up having to battle passing several hordes of foreigners and/or newbie hikers. These are people that don't know or acknowledge proper trail etiquette. Yuk.  I generally play outside to get away from people, clear my head, enjoy nature, and to be grounded by spectacular views. Lake Serene is not my idea of serene, but it's easy to get to, relatively close, and can be tough if you kick up the speed.

Unfortunately, the lake was covered in snow and the fog was
thick so we couldn't see a damn thing. Avalanches were a
plenty falling from Mt. Index though. Great sounds!
Unfortunately, the night before I'm afraid I may have eaten something tainted with an un-Leigh Ann-friendly ingredient. My stomach hurt and I mean like old school hurt. Boooooo! And, I was tired from two weeks of insomnia. We arrived at the trail head sometime in the early afternoon and sure enough my mood immediately tanked. Great. PEOPLE. Even though I was prepared for there to be a lot of people, I didn't think there would be THIS MANY! I mean there were cars and cars, more than I'd ever seen before. Ahhh! I wanted to crawl back in the car and pout, but I decided to be a big girl and not let others ruin my big day outside nor let my grumpy attitude ruin the day for my hiking partner. We headed out on on the trail at a medium pace hoping to wake up a bit and let my stomach calm itself. By the time the trail really started increasing in elevation I started feeling really good. I had my new Black Diamond Distance Trekking Poles, which I love, and took off up the trail. We passed the biggest group of foreigners I have ever seen on a trail. They just kept coming, it was creepy. I try to be civil and say, "Hi, how are you? Have a nice hike" etc., but sometimes I feel like the world is out to test me.

With the help of the poles I was able to relieve some pressure off my back and keep a pretty darn good pace. By the time we were back down the trail I knew I was going to be sore and it felt great. My quads and knees are not used to going down hill (why isn't there a stair machine that mimics going up and down stairs? I guess I could use real stairs). When we arrived back at the car I was stoked and had a huge grin on my face. In the end, no one ruined my day outside and there's hope after all. I will trail run again, I know it.

I had an ergonomic bike fitting with my physical therapist yesterday. The good news? I'm not completely discunctionl when I ride or how I had my bike set up. Hooray for me! A few minor adjustments here and there and a few tips on how to ride more efficiently and I was out the door. Okay, well about two hours later I was out the door. But none the less, I rode on my merry way and felt more confident in hoping back on the saddle, literally.

My bikes had gathered a lot of dust over the last several months, so about four weeks ago I cleaned them up and did a little maintenance in preparation for my maiden voyage. Saturday was my first time back on a bike and let me tell you, my back was utterly confused by the situation. Faced with a 20 mile ride home, I debated a bus-bike combo and identified key points along my route to dismount. At a little over 1/3 of the way home my back was talking to me and I decided that at one the upcoming opportunities, I would grab a bus. Instead, I pulled over about 1/2 way home and gave myself a few minutes to stretch, hoped back on the bike and told myself that I had a little longer to ride before I had made it to my minimum riding goal. However, by the time I arrived my back was actually feeling better and I decided to keep on keep'n on. I was super excited when I finally rolled up to my apartment building. I had made it. It was a big goal for me at 3.5 months post two back surgeries. I was happy and proud of myself. I didn't feel like I pushed myself too much. I rode at a leisurely pace to keep pressure off my back and I think it worked. This meant allowing people to pass me. Yes, pass ME. Now, I'm not really that fast of a cyclist, but I'm stubborn to boot and damn competitive. I don't like to be passed. Maybe I've grown up a little ;)

May 31, 2011

Get Up and Move!

I just started reading Art De Vany's new book, The New Evolution Diet. Good stuff so far. After reading Taubes' book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, it's a bit refreshing to read a paleo book that reads more like s novel than a text book. Don't get me wrong, I love the amazing amount of scientific references in Taubes' book, but it's refreshing to have a relaxing read and not want to strangle the USDA for all the lies they've been telling everyone about "healthy" eating.

I want to share a favorite quote from page 7. It's a quote about exercise. It's something that resonates with me since through this healing process I've learned that being "fit" does wonders for the recovery process and is vital to staying healthy once the healing is well underway and you're ready to start challenging your body again, in a non-surgical/injury sort of way.

"You exercise because the length and quality of your life depend on it."

To those of you who are running yourself into the ground, over training and under resting... Ask yourself, what are the reason(s) for your actions? Are you chasing a goal? Trying to escape your thoughts? Comparing yourself to someone else? To those who train and play hard, but find time to enjoy watching the sunset or to read a book. Nice work. To those of you who don't carve out a little time for exercise because it's (fill in the blank) too tough or you don't have enough time, or don't think it needs to be a priority... Buck up and stop with the excuses. Do it for yourself. Do it for your partner, kids, or grandkids. Just get up and move, love and enjoy your body.

Good luck and no more excuses because you deserve to live healthy.

May 16, 2011

Choose your obsession

I'd like to take a moment to comment on an article that was posted on the CrossFit Games site. This article is where I pulled these lovely pictures from. These women are beautiful, strong, and determined. The article discusses one woman's experience with turning an unhealthy obsession with food and eating to a functional relationship with food thanks to CrossFit.

Over coming an unhealthy obsession for a healthy one is no easy task. However, I can't help but pose the "healthy" obsession question. Is there truly a healthy obsession? Seriously? Be honest. I really don't know if I can say there is. Yes, of course, there are less or more "healthy" obsessions but the root of the issue is still present unless you've dealt with the obsessive tendencies. An obsession is something that occupies one's thoughts and is all consuming, a shade away from addition. The article also talks about addiction and addictive personalities. Now trading in needles for kettle bells is a healthy decision. I'd say kettle bells are a hell of lot healthier than pumping drugs into your vein, but lets be honest, exercise addiction is not healthy either and can have detrimental affects as well.

I'm ecstatic that an article on disorder eating managed to find it's way to the CrossFit Games site. I can empathize with the obsessive thoughts and difficulties of just feeding one's self, so I'm beyond proud and excited when someone makes the scary leap to turn the ED voice down and takes ownership of their thoughts and body again. It is inspiring.

The thing that kind of makes me a little uneasy, a little sick to my stomach is all the ridiculous banter I see on so many CrossFit Affiliate sites when it comes to food. So everyone in the CrossFit community goes through some sort of 30 day challenge or eats Zone or Paleo. And, I'm one of them! I began with the Paleo challenge and I felt so damn good I decided to incorporate into my life. Hell, I would say it's one of the many reasons I've bounced back from surgery so quickly. Basically, you're reading the opinions of a meat eating, vegetable loving lady and I'm totally okay with that. With that being said, I can't believe how many people out there think the 30 days is a nightmare. Did I actually hear someone say "30 days of suck!"? And the whole "cheat" foods/meals just baffles me. I really don't get it. You're fueling your body. Priming it for living, playing, and training. It's amazing to me how many people out there try to find "work arounds" even when it comes to CrossFit, the Zone, or Paleo. "Is this paleo?" "How many blocks is that?" "OMG, my cheat meal is _______!" How odd.

For those of you that have traded one obsession for another, do you feel stronger, better off, more in control than you did with the other? Are you happy with where you are or are you still anxiously trying to get someone better (fitter, stronger, or leaner)? I ask myself these questions as well. The real CrossFit community (whether you attend an affiliate gym, work out of your garage, or hurf weights in a fire station) are determined, obsessive freaks. Yes, freaks and I love everyone of us. We're already primed with the push it until you break mentality. Maybe the real strength we should start focusing on is how to be measured. Learn how to put the weights down at the end of a WOD and be done for the day. To talk about something other than CrossFit, PRs, or Paleo/Zone... Just a thought...

Check out this great post by Primitive Stimulus on the topic of body image. And, thanks to Robb Wolf for today's tweets.

May 6, 2011

Iron Woman!

Go little iron, go!
Unfortunately, I'm not referring to an Iron athlete competition. That's so far from my capabilities right now. Maybe some day... For now, I have to stick to an iron infusion. Along recovering from surgery and taking some time off from training, I'm dealing with fatigue, lack of concentration, irritability (more than usual :) and mood swings. How fun! Based on previous blood tests and reading Robb Wolf's book, Paleo Solution, I got another round of tests to see where I was at. Turns out that my ferritin (iron stores) keeps decreasing, my thyroid is low and white count is low.

For some unknown reason my body doesn't like to store the vital little ferritin. It's been a little over a year since my last infusion, but I was hoping my first would be my last. The idea is to pump the body full of iron in hope that it will kick start production and storing. Well, over the last year my body has slowly been decreasing its stores and now I'm tired, annoyed, and frustrated. It's frustrating being tired and irritable. It's frustrating not knowing why this keeps reoccuring. No one seems to be worried about it, so even though it's not something serious like cancer, I still find it disturbing. It still affects how I feel on a day to day basis, how I heal, I hard I can train, my tolerance for situations and people, etc.

My blood counts have been a bit wacky for several years now. A little over two years ago I did a food intolerance test and it turned out I reacted to many, many things. I eliminated several things from my diet including cow milk and gluten and had to rotate so many other foods. It was tough but I started feeling so damn good it was all worth it. My Naturopathic Dr. at the time suggested I introduce meat into my diet as a way to get vital B vitamins and iron. It was a slooooooooow process of getting me to eat more meat. Seriously, I would just stare at the meat in the grocery store slightly disgusted and completely confused. Fast forward a bit and I warmed up to the idea and tried to buy meat that I could eat in good conscience. Fast forward even more and I've read Robb Wolf's book and get Mark's Daily Apple's e-mails and I'm eating meat 3x a day (at least). I'm hoping that since I have a history of gut irritation and only went grain/legume free about four months ago, I just need more time to heal, more time for my body to catch up after all the years of gluten, rice, and soy. I'm sticking with the 100% paleo lifestyle and going to follow up with another doctor about these issues to see if I can help things along a little quicker. These last few years of iron supplements and injections of iron & B complex, eating meat, and infusion doesn't seem to be getting me completely over the hump. I must be missing something. I mean, I enjoy taking a day off work, but for F*sake, do I really have to waste it going to appointments like these? I'd much rather be playing outside!

May 1, 2011

CrippleFit vs. CrossFit

Several months ago I had to start modifying my CrossFit workouts to try and alleviate any undue strain on my herniated disc. This meant limited squats, definintly no weighted squats of any kind, no overhead weights, limited abdominal work and nothing that would increase any leg/glut/back pain. Yeah, I know! How the hell do you CrossFit without squats, overhead work, or regular sit ups?!?! Believe me, it can be a challenge... but it can also be done! Oh, and one other thing... depending on the day, I might be able toss in pull ups with a band. Some days strick pull ups w/ a band would be awesome and other days just hanging from the bar was sheer agony. Forget any form of kipping. One thing I've learned over the months of healing is to be damn creative with my workouts.

One day I was describing one of my modified CrossFit workouts to my best friend. We were having fun with it and trying to make light of the situation when he turns to me and says, "CrippleFit!" It was the most brilliantly hilarious thing I had heard in a long time. I know there are several heroic people out there that are partially or fully paralyzed or missing limbs that are some of the most extreme CrossFitters out there. Whether these incredible athletes were born with this challenge, a product of war, injured in the line of duty, or injured by some other unfortunate event, I don't take their struggle and sheer strength lightly. These are the people that keep me motivated. However.... I'm not PC and I do take the piss out of a difficult situation to add levity and humor to a situation. It's one of the best ways I know how to deal with stress. I would rather laugh than cry or laugh while crying than just cry from frustration. So, while nursing a back injury and recovering from surgery, I welcome CrippleFit. It makes me laugh and keeps me kicking ass. I love it. To my best friend, thank you for making my abs hurt from laughter when I couldn't make them hurt from GHD sit ups.

One of my CrippleFit WODs:
Not so much for time these days because I want to keep what I have left of my disc in place.

Olympic bar bench presses
Bosu ball squats

April 27, 2011

Paleo on the run!

Or... Oh crap! I'm gonna miss my bus and I'm hungry!

I looked up at the clock on my computer and realized I'm merely minutes away from needing to catch my bus home and I haven't even started gathering my stuff to hit the door. With at least an hour bus commute to and from work, I'm usually ready to hit the door with exactly enough time to get to the busstop on time. I try not to be one that gets so wrapped up that i work more than i have to. I take public transit (I hate traffic and am single handedly saving the earth from CO2 overload), have an awesome dog that needs my attention, I cook -a lot, and simply like my own time, so i dont have time to waste at working more than i'm paid. Now when the weather is less than ideal, like this rainy evening, the commute can stretch out a bit. Thus, it's usually even more of a priority to get the hell out of work on time.

Today I lost track of time while i was drownding in project management administration (you as excited about it as me? Thought so.). Oh no, it's time to go and it's raining outside and I don't have any of my stuff together. I'm hungry and thirsty to boot. Dammit! *Shaking fist* Objective: get something edible and thirst quenching, for time!
I swiftly packed up by throwing my belongings into my bag and walked briskly to the kitchen. Keep in mind I still haven't been given the okay to run/jog or anything of the like so I can really only shuffle QUICKLY. I opened the fridge and looked in my drawer. "hmmm..." grab, grab, go! My paleo snack on the "run" ended up being a square of meatloaf that I had in my hand already being munched on before I could leave the building, celery sticks, and toasted coconut flakes. I managed to get my protein, veggies and fat in one fail swoop! Hooray for being at least slightly prepared. All I have to say is that I'm thankful I prep food ahead of time. I try to minimize the hungry, grumpy girl on the his as much as possible. This helps a little. Now I just have to try and not let the disgruntled girl on the bus come out while being flabbergasted at Seattleites not being able to drive in the rain.

April 25, 2011

Broke Back Betty

The shoulda coulda woulda of healing from back surgery.

It's tough going from feeling your fittest, your fastest, and your strongest to feeling weak, tired, and exhausted. Well, I think it's tough anyway. I think it's tough knowing that you're going to have to start over again, that you have to give up for a while. Sure, life shouldn't revolve around trying to be fit or get fitter, and it's not, it's so much more than that. For anyone who has suffered from body issues, from fat days to eating disorders, you understand it's a really big goddamn accomplishment to be happy with your appearance. More over, you know the absolute mental fortitude that got you there. Body image has truly little to do with actual appearance. I'm sure I'm not saying anything profound, but feel it needs to be stated. The reason why this so called "journey"of a back injury has been so mentally crushing at times is because I was (AM) so absolutely proud of how far I have pushed my body and mind to grow healthy and strong. Being confronted with such a physical set back has made me question so many things about where I thought I was and where I want to go. Not to say reflection is bad, in fact it's necessary to move forward, but it can be awkward, uncomfortable, frustrating, and scary at times. I start wondering if I truly came as far as I thought I had. Knowing that I had no choice but to take some kind of step or leap backward was and has been a difficult thing for me to process.

It kind of goes like this... You stare at yourself knowing that you have so much more to give, but your body needs to recover and your mind needs to rest. It's a mental game you play with yourself. It's just plain tough as f* to know that you are about to become less fit (mind you, only in the short term) and have to give up the things that you love for a little while (once a gain, I refuse to listen to "can't" or "won't" statements). You have no choice but to sit on the sidelines and watch the other kids have fun. It's not like you just stopped making time for training or started eating donuts and stopped caring. No, that is what so many other people do. They become less fit because they made a choice to stop pushing themselves, because they "didn't have time", because it was no longer a priority or important, because eating cupcakes and heavy drinking is more important. You're not like that, like the others. 

Any injury produces a little frustration. And sometimes there is a lot of frustration and that's ok. It's a part of healing in my eyes. I try to turn my frustration, anger, and fear into something useful. These are the things that get me motivated to fight back, to come back faster, stronger, and even more badass than I could ever imagine! I wish I didn't have to deal with the back injury. I wish all of us could be injury-free and just train hard because being broken just sucks. But without the broken bones, torn muscles, scars, or blood we'd miss out on a whole different kind of endurance. These are the moments that allow us to bounce back and crank the volume up to 11!

This broke back betty won't be broken forever!

April 21, 2011

Asian Style Broiled Salmon

This was a quick and dirty recipe I pulled together to spice up some salmon I pulled from the freezer the day before. It was a perfect way to make an otherwise unexciting piece of salmon absolutely delicious! Awesome for a weeknight because it's wicked fast and ridiculously good.

The marinade makes enough for about 2-3# of fish, depending on how thick you like it. I'm all about sauces, so I piled it on. I only had about 1#, so I put the rest in the fridge to be used up soon (maybe mixed up with a can of salmon over some greens?!). You could also drizzle it over the cooked salmon if you truly like sauce. I let the fish marinade while I pressure cooked some squash and threw together a raw kale salad, probably about 15 minutes.

Broiled Asian Salmon:
1-3 lbs. Salmon (thawed if previously frozen)

2 small cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. wheat-free tamari soy sauce
2 Tbs. virgin olive oil
1 tsp. sesame oil
fresh cracked pepper to taste

Approximately 2 Tbs. sesame seeds (used to sprinkle over fish before broiling)

Place all marinade ingredients into a medium sized bowl and combine with a whisk. Place salmon on a plate and drizzle marinate over flesh. Note, if the salmon has skin, only marinate the flesh side. Spread marinade over salmon surface and then sprinkle with desired amount of sesame seeds, flip and do the same to the other side.Go make your veggies! After you give it a 15 minute or so rest, transfer fish to your broiling pan/rack. Turn on the broiler and place the pan/rack inside the oven, closest rack to the heating element (I used a toaster oven on the broiling setting). Broil for 5 minutes. Flip and broil another 5 minutes or until done. Time will vary depending on the thickness and size of the pieces. When done, pull from the broiler and allow to rest for about 10 minutes (time to get your plat together). Enjoy!

I will be making this again, so I will update with photos. I didn't document the process because I didn't expect it to be so delicious! Mmm mmm!

April 17, 2011

PT at the bus stop

One annoying thing about battling leg/back pain for so long before finally getting relief is the associated aches and pains from muscle overcompensation. Not only does the original injury make you wanna scream, throw things, pout, and rage, but now certain muscles are been taxed to do extra work or different work to make up for the slackers that aren't working or can't keep up with the demand.

Now that I'm coming up on 9 weeks post second surgery, I can really start trying to get those muscles that shut down back into fight'n shape. This means I return to physical therapy this week and get back to the physical punishment(fun) that I'm used to! How exciting! According to my surgeon, 8 weeks is one of the magical milestones in the healing process when you can step up the exercise a notch. Ok, my surgeon didn't say "magical" but wouldn't it have been grand if he did? Eitherway, 4 weeks and 8 weeks post surgery are mini milestones. I was only allowed to walk for the first four weeks, then I could add light elliptical (oh... goody.) and really light bench presses. He said, "you know, light weight, high reps." I'm like, "oh hell yeah, I know all about that!" Which then translated into 300 benchpresses with an 20-25# curl bar. Come on, he said high reps. So for the last 5 weeks I've been able to remind my arm and chest muscles that they could push something off or away from me if they had to. Additionally, last week I added the stair machine to nowhere to my routine. Its actually been a welcomed change as well as a reminder that muscles quickly forget. Thankfully, they also quickly remember... 

Due to the overcompensation, I'm back to dealing with knee pain and clicking that I was previously able to rid myself of by growing up big and strong, as well as added various aches and pains. However, even though this is round two, I intend to win this one again! I've got the experience and knowledge that'll knock the ancillary pain out of the ring no doubt. However, with that being said this means working on PT OT. I'll need to seize my opportunities to do all the leg stretches and kicks that'll get me back to fighting shape. I'll be just like Molly Shannon's SNL character, Sally O'Malley (And I kick, stretch, and kick!) what this really means is that I will be performing my various moves for the public while waiting to cross the street, at the busstop, or contemplating a cut of meat in butcher's case. Its true, I'll be one of those weirdos standing on the corner of the street performing high kicks and leg stretches not merely to entertain you or give you something the laugh about, but so I can kick ass in my next WOD or trail race... Watch out Seattle, you're about to encounter someone who cares far more about healing and being fit than the latest color of stretch pants or f'd up hip haircut.

April 13, 2011

Boo for Back Surgery, Yay for Sweat, Blood & Blisters!

For reals son. I understand enduring injuries is to be expected when you're an athlete, when you push yourself to brink of sheer exhaustion, when you over analyze micro-movements in hopes that it'll help your PR...  Sometimes injuries give you pause and make you be creative with your training, to train a body part that you otherwise ignore. Other times they level you, mentally and physically. Now I don't want to sound like a whiner, but dealing with a back injury for 9 months is getting a little old. Its completely taken me out of my normal game, out of the mountains, off the pavement, and made me put the olympic bar in the rack to collect some dust. And honestly I'm really & truly pissed about it the whole thing. By far there are many 'a people out there suffering from much worse that have much less and far worse health insurance than I do. I am thankful for what I can do, for my creativity (and insanity) when it comes to training, for my strength and tough freak'n mutha of an attitude, and I'm especially thankful for the encouragement I get from the people around me. I am truly grateful. With that said, I still get PISSED now and again that I have to deal with it. I get pissed and frustrated that I can't brush off the daily minutia by hitting the pavement or trail, throw weights around to calm my nerves, or simply chase a bus down the street... Perspective is great, but sweat, blood and blisters are better. 

My family demanded proof that I was
actually resting as much as doctor's orders. 
After 6 agonizing months trying to rid myself of severe glut & leg pain with every conservative method imaginable, I came to the decision of going in for my first ever (and second*) surgery, a microdisectomy on my L5/S1 disc. Now in the grand scheme of back surgery a MD is no big deal, in fact it's all the rage these days it seems (just start talking to people about back surgery... It's like 1 or 2 degrees of separation). Surgery just weirds me out. Your bones, joints, organs, and muscles should just happily reside in the space in which they developed. Your body should take care of itself. I've spent so much of my time thinking and practicing "proper nutrition" and "fitness" and for what?! Apparently so I can recover faster and exercise more in recovery than most "healthy" Americans do on a daily average. People will tell you that they woke up from surgery pain free other than a back ache from the surgery itself. Assholes. My response should let you know that I didn't have such a lovely experience. No, I couldn't possibly just be satisfied with one surgery. Oh no, not me. If I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do it right! Three lovely weeks after my first surgery I was back on the operating table going in for my second. The damn disc popped right out again. But that lovely story is for another day... 

Before surgery I did a lot of research. I mean a lot. I read and read and watched animated videos, and then real videos of the procedure. I don't like to be surprised when it comes to my body and sharp instruments. This is the one time I don't want surprises. I have a tendency to get obsessive and this my friend was no exception. Now, I can take pain. When you push & challenge your body on a regular basis, you understand pain. It's about making a decision about how you're going to handle that pain. I was not prepared for the pain aftermath from surgery. I never thought scooting around in bed could be so painful. I have never needed to start a timer to ensure timely doses of narcotics only to stare at the timer willing time to go faster so I could take more. Thankfully this dreadful period only lasted a few days. I truly hate taking these things. I like to be in control. I like to feel my body and listen to its cues. Apparently, at the time it was telling me to give up the tough chick bullshit and take some damn pills. 

Before surgery and during my initial recovery phase, I read several support forums for people recovering from back surgery. I had to stop. Reading other people's stories was paralyzing. I was turning an already anxious situation into one that was not healthy or conducive to a glorious & triumphant recovery (would you really want it anything less than glorious or triumphant? Oh hell noh!). I decided that it wasn't a healthy activity to occupy my newfound sedentary lifestyle with horror stories or stories about how they'll never do <insert activity here> ever again. I have enough demons in my head, I don't need more. I had to be positive and realize the amazing challenges (opportunities) ahead of me. Now, not all that I read was depressing, scary, and down right upsetting. I found solace in a few people's experiences and especially appreciated the smile I got every time I read the unapologetic posts of Patagonia sponsored climber, Kelly Cordes. Now this man is absolutely hilarious and just refuses to quit. I love that about him. He is a climber, he doesn't do climbing. It's a part of him, so it's unacceptable to him to think that after each one of his injuries that he wont be back out in the mountains some day. There is no if, just when. This is how I feel. I refuse to allow anyone to tell me that I can't do something. I know it's going to be a lot of hard work. Hell, it's already a lot of work.... I look forward to the new challenges ahead of me. Bring it on!

I'm grateful that I can tie my shoes again, that I can walk my dog & bend down and pet or feed her, that I can walk as far as I want, that I can sit for longer than 30 minutes, that I can pick something up off the floor, that I can walk to the grocery store and carry more than 10# of food home... I look forward to lifting heavy again, doing pull ups, sit ups, squats, & burpees(?!??!), to going hiking & trail running, to riding my motorcycle, to picking up my 60#+ dog and giving her a big hug...

To be continued...

April 9, 2011

Coconut Yogurt! Mmmm...

Do you really need to find a reason to eat more coconut milk?!? Of course you do! I tried my first attempt at making coconut yogurt. How fun! It gave me an excuse to use my food dehydrator while fulfilling my hankering for a tart, creamy treat.
Oh coconut, I think you're swell.
The fat content of coconut milk used to deter me from even looking at a can of coconut milk let alone cook, bake, or straight up spoon it into my mouth. I'm now (mostly) over my fear of fat, a struggle I endured for many 'a years with much failed results. Note, abstaining from fat doesn't make you a strong, lean, fighting machine. In fact, it does quite the opposite. Fat is at the very core of your existence, it holds your little cells together! Without good cell health, you can repair! If you can't repair, you can't get stronger! See, good quality fat is GOOD for you! Yes, FAT is GOOD. 
I want to take a moment to thank the USDA, FDA, AMA, American advertising, etc. for filling my head with a bunch of nonsense about the dangers of fat and the promotion of a low-fat diet. Nonsense. I'm currently reading Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories to gather more information on how we turned from a fat-eating society to a grain-based, higher carb diet. It's time to hear the other side of the story. 
On to the delicious coconut yogurt! This is based on a recipe from Mark's Daily Apple cookbook, The Primal Blueprint. Now this cookbook is full of relatively easy recipes but I have to say the pictures are absolutely atrocious. I love cookbooks. There are really two requirements for them. They need to have great recipes (a given), and if it has pictures they need to be damn gorgeous. This cookbook, not so much. However, if you pick it up don't be deterred by the pictures. Buy it and give a try. I think you'll be pleased. I also consulted Small Footprint Family . This is a cute little blog I just stumbled upon. The auther suggests making your own coconut milk, but at this stage in my life (commute, schedule, obligations, new to Paleo), I'm taking it as a sheer miracle that I'm making homemade yogurt in the first place. If you have the time or inkling to make it from scratch, go on with your bad self! 
Coconut Yogurt:
2 14-oz. cans full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup non-dairy/coconut yogurt (from previous batch or store bought. I actually used coconut kefir for this first attempt)
1 Tbsp honey, agave, or natural maple syrup
Candy or other thermometer.
Place the coconut milk in a small pot and affix the thermometer to the side. Bring the coconut milk to approximately 125 degrees over low-med heat, stirring often. Pull off the burner and allow the milk to cool to approximately 105/100 degrees. Place 1/4 cup of already made coconut yogurt in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the slightly cooled coconut milk and stir. Stir in the sweetener and return to the rest of the cooled coconut milk and stir. Please note that you need a little bit of sugar in order for the good bacteria to grow. The sugar, like in kombucha, should be mostly eaten by the bacteria leaving a deliciously tart yogurt. Place coconut mixture into sterile glass jars and place in the dehydrator between 105 - 115 degrees and leave alone for at least 24 hrs. I left mine in for approximately 29 hrs because it was still a bit sweet for me at 24. This could have been due to the kefir I used or the temperature. Basically, if you taste if and like the taste, it's ready!
Please note that both MDA and SFF suggested using GIProStart yogurt culture starter from GI ProHealth if you're looking for a non-dairy based culture. I may give this a shot next time. 
Off to enjoy some homemade coconut yogurt/kefir over apple chunks and cinnamon! 

March 29, 2011

"Real food Mutha F***er's, do you eat it?"

Funniest line I'v hear in a while and 100% appropriate for what it was in response to... The Scene: In the kitchen at the office I was compiling my lunch and set an avocado on the counter. Now picture this "kitchen/lunchroom" is microscopic and is somehow supposed to accommodate an entire building and where the most prized item is the microwave. Some of us call it the lunchroom shuffle as we attempt to make food while others state how healthy we eat, some of us just get angry and leave, others completely resolve themselves from dealing with it by only eating take out, and  others occasionally dart in & out to load up on awful coffee that they dilute with sugar and powdered "cream". In the end, we make our food around those darting in and out to microwave their non-food food-items or those getting bad coffee refills as if it were a real life video game. We're lucky no one's been stabbed with a fork.

Back to the lovely thing that is called an avocado. Oh avocado, I how I do think you are lovely and some people don't really even know what you are!?

As I was standing pressed up against the wall waiting to get back to my food prep and as my avocado lay on the counter awaiting my return, I became engaged in a conversation about my food (shocking... I eat healthy and it's like a disfunction). 

Bad coffee refiller: "What is THAT?" 
Me:  "[pause]... It's an avocado." (Truly confused by the question)
Non-Food Food-Like microwaver: "That's what they make guacamole out of, right?"
Me: "[pause]... Yes, guacamole is mostly avocados..."
NFFLM: "I've had that once, I don't like avocados." 

Now there was a little more to the conversation, but nothing more than "it's green and slimy" kind of thing. Other than that folks, this is truly the conversation that was had. The exotic item of the lunchroom today was an avocado. The delicious, subtle, creamy, healthy-fat filled, wondrous avocado from California. 

March 24, 2011

The Gym Rat or You know you're a gym rat when... & CrossFit Anyone?

A little history... So I used to do the gym thing where the elliptical, stair machine to nowhere, and a variety of weights were the norm. Don't get me wrong, even at this point I didn't really enjoy the hamster wheels at the gym, but I had something to prove and started there. Now please understand that I didn't just have a favorite cardio machine or certain muscle groups assigned to specific days. I ran (outside. The treadmill makes me want to poke my eyes out), tried to beat the eliptical into submission, ran the stair machine into the ground, lifted weights while grunting and flinging sweat on my neighbors, attended yoga classes contorting my body into positions that I'm sure aren't natural & cycled my heart out while listening to a Beyonce-Joan Jett-ish mixed CD while starring at my form and sweat drench cloths in the mirror in front of me, oh and I musn't forget the brief stent I added swimming to the repertoire. Like I said, I had something to prove or work through I guess. It wasn't really physical even though I've had my share of body issues (another story for another time), it was more that I had some demons that needed to be dealt with, worked through, beaten down, however you want to look at it, it needed to happen and there is just something so ultimately satisfying about pushing your body, exhausting your physical self so you can make sense of the world. However, there is a point when you need to assess your relationship with your workout regiment when you look forward to Friday nights at the gym because it means that there is more equipment available for your enjoyment. "I had a hot Friday night at the gym!" You know you're turning(?) into a gym rat when...

I like variety. I like to push myself. I like to feel blown out at the end of a workout. I like to come out on the other side having solved an internal struggle or at least be at peace with myself or the world for a brief moment. The world is a better place because of it. I get bored easily and have a short attention span, the gym is no exception. It wasn't until I was getting blown out/dizzy/nauseous relatively easily that I switched up my training (forced really by my body). For those of you who can empathize with the paragraph above, you understand. For those of you who think I was over training... Explain overtraining to the professional athlete or the ultra runner, cyclist, triathlete, or... Don't get me wrong, lots of training needs to accompany recovery time, proper nutrition and adequate sleep. These were the areas I probably allowed to slip. It wasn't until I had a gamete of blood work done through a Naturopath that I found out that my blood was all out of whack. Most importantly, my iron chemistry was not good. Everyone was shocked to hear that I was even performing at the level I was with my chemistry at the levels they were. Like I said, I like to push myself and may ignore signs of slowing down. At this point my endurance was shot. I was exhausted from running 25-30 minutes and my strength was dwindling. 

This is still pretty amusing to me, but since I could no longer run intervals on stairs for 45 minutes, I turned to CrossFit. Yeah, because CrossFit is easy... Oh hell no it 'aint! Well, there will always be people that can reduce any intense activity into a "stretching-fest" and say they're working out. These people will give any and every excuse to reduce intensity or weight. These are the same people that say, "... but I eat healthy", and somehow this magically includes ultra-processed food-like products that don't have an expiration date, but DO come in a 100 calorie pack! Another day, another rant. Even though CrossFit is absolutely the opposite of easy if you're doing it right, it was exactly what I needed. At this point, I couldn't handle anything that required much endurance, but I could handle short bouts of intense activity, whether it was running, rowing, or weights. And, no, I'm not going to get into the geeky aspects of how when your iron levels are low your body cannot function properly due to lack of circulating oxygen blah blah blah. There will be plenty of geeky posts to come so just sit tight and enjoy. Don't get me wrong, CrossFit is a huge fad. People freakin LOVE this stuff! (Rightly so) And being that I generally don't like going along w/ fads, I fought the elitist attitude that is often associated with CrossFit. I poked fun at the Main Site and some of the WODs (don't be dirty now...). But, when it came down to not being able to do anything else, I had to give cred where cred was deserved. Through the help of a very special friend, I discovered the wonders of CrossFit. Needless to say, it's changed my perspective of working out. I've always found functional fitness extremely important. Especially since I hike and trail run, I've always said that I should be able to pull myself off a ledge. I'm glad I've found a workout regiment that's ultimate goal is to ensure you can do things like this... to run, jump, leap, pull, push, lift. Now, just do 5x for time.