Friday, October 29, 2010

All Smiles

It is amazing how one workout can change your life.

Let's say for example: You feel you are having a rough week. You blog about it. You get really nice comments. You continue to go about your routine. You go to CrossFit. The posted WOD is hard, something you know is not your best.

6 toes to bar:

6 medicine ball cleans:

repeat as many times as possible in 15 minute time period.

But you do it, and you do it better then you expected. You give it 110% You see how far you have come, and that gives you a sense of accomplishment like no other. The car ride home you are floating on puppies, rainbows, and butterflies. Your boyfriend makes you the best dinner you've had in a month, some how he knew exactly what you and your body was craving. You sleep great.

And the next day, you wake up still feeling residual goodness from the workout before. Coffee tastes great. The sun is shining, and then you get a phone call...OFFERING YOU A NEW JOB!

All smiles. Can't wait to go workout today and see what tomorrow brings!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Looking For Those Bootstraps

I've been having sort of a rough week. Not really anything tangible, or anything that you would be able to see on the outside, just a bunch of introspective shit. I can pretty much pinpoint the start of the suck to last Saturday, when I ran that mile. Let me try to explain.

There is a sort of disconnect between what is good for me, and what is good in general. Like most people, I want to be good. I don't want excuses made for myself, I just want to do things that the people I choose to surround myself with can do. Now that I have 2 months of CrossFit under my belt, I see a familiar pattern. I'm not performing at the same level as the other girls. I know I have to get more weight off of me in order to be performing at a level I would truly feel good about.

I know all the people at the gym are sincere when they say "good job" but what they really mean is "good job for a fat chick." Its not a look I'm unfamiliar with! I've been getting it my whole life. It makes me wonder why I constantly put myself in this position? Why do I choose to do things that are obviously easier for people in shape, and then beat myself up when I can't do it as well as them? It is like the most common feeling I've had in my life, that in order for me to do the things I want to do, I need to lose weight.

So on top of feeling sorry for myself for not being an instant CrossFit star, I'm still mulling over the job interview I had last week...waiting for them to call and tell me SOMETHING. And then there is the Condominium Board stress. We had a meeting this week, and meeting weeks are always stressful. I have partaken in several very non-paleo meals, and I feel it. Believe me, I feel it.

If I have learned anything in the past 10 months, it is that I have a choice. Always. I can choose to rise above, keep on the good path that makes me feel awesome, or I can choose to feel sorry for myself and be self-destructive. Only time will tell which I end up choosing. However, last night as I was getting ready to head out to a comedy show, I had to grab a shirt from the dryer. As I walked through the kitchen, I saw this:

Anyone care to guess why I was excited about this? Hint: (blog title).

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Today, I ran one mile in 9:09. I am very happy about this. I believe the last time I was running sub 9-minute miles was in college, when I was running everyday, and a good 30 pounds less then I am now. Considering that 10 months ago I was 41+ pounds heavier, I'm very excited to see what the future has in store for me as I continue my path down the scale, and do more CrossFit.

The sad thing that I'm choosing to be a motivator instead? I needed to run a mile in under 9 minutes to check it off my level one sheet that I've mentioned a few times. I know I can do it. I need leg to be back to 100%, and maybe some coffee first.

Hopefully in the next week or so, I'll get to try again, and I'll have a new one mile time. Oh, and the fastest guys today? They had 5:45 mile times. WOW.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Imagine Life With No Beds, No Toilets...

I got real lucky yesterday. I showed up at Crossfit at my normal time, 6pm, which is usually pretty busy. No one else showed up. I've been at a few workouts before where I'm the only one, and it doesn't bother me but I prefer a group because then my competitiveness kicks in. I mentioned to the trainer before the workout that my leg is still not 100%, but I have been doing the workouts since Monday, and it is improving.

After the workout, he asked me what was hurting. I told him I thought it was my right hip flexor, and told him about Stanky Leg over the weekend. For the next 30 minutes, he proceeded to fill my brain with TONS of information and showed me numerous physical therapy style exercises I should be doing everyday, especially since I sit at work.

If you remember from last week, I touched on some stuff in my barefoot running post. That was merely scratching the surface of information that got spewed my way yesterday. I will tell the story he told me:

"Cultures that do not use toilets and do not sleep in beds don't have nearly the rates of back, hip, and knee problems that seem to constantly plague Americans. I cannot get over my hatred of running shoes and what they do to us (staring at my bright turquoise Nikes). If I have to sum it up, think of it this way: anything that is soft, is bad.

I recently got called by the president of a large grocery chain here (Fred Meyer, for those of you familiar to the NW) and he asked me to come in a do a presentation for the workers on proper lifting techniques, etc. He told me that they recently gave all their employees those "Shape-Ups" which, for the record are 1,000,000 times worse than running shoes. They also give their employees back supports, and unknowingly teach them improper lifting techniques.

Remember when I said that supporting your arch is just giving your arch an excuse not to work? (yes) Well, same thing with your back. Back braces used improperly will make you weaker. Olympic lifters that are using them know that the brace is not to give them more support, it is to support what they have already built. Now, have gone through the on-ramp program, what is the number one thing you see wrong with those? (they put weight on your mid-sole/toe, and we are taught from day one to have our weight on our heels) Exactly. Also, they are supposed to work and shape your calves, but calves are genetic! Sorry!

I interjected- perhaps company wide, they thought by giving all the employees those shoes, it would result in weight loss, and therefore lower health care costs for them?

I'm so happy you said that. Nothing bugs me more then thinking that weight loss=health. It does not. I much rather see an overweight person have good, strong functional movements then a skinny person who can't even do a proper squat! (now he is speaking my language) To take a metaphor to its death, really consider a Paleo life in EVERYTHING you do."

Me being silly- ok, so I'll stop wearing shoes, sleep on the floor, and start using my backyard as a bathroom?

All joking aside though, it makes sense to practice functional movements and not rely on the "crutches" of soft things that we so readily use. Just as I decided to ignore the agricultural revolution and processed foods, I can begin to ignore all but the most important creature comforts (but I'm not giving up a toilet or bed).

I woke up today and began doing the exercises he taught me for hip flexibility. 10 minutes a day, that is my commitment.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

If It Was Meant To Be...

Last night was my face to face interview for a new job, following up the phone interview I had over a week ago. I'm pretty excited when I get an interview, because I have seen over the last two years how infrequent they really are. I feel like I have applied for at least 100 jobs, and this is my second in-person interview in that time.

I remember applying for this job, and thought just like many other applications, I would never hear anything after the automated e-mail confirming my application. I was pleasantly surprised when I got a call back for a phone interview. I was even more pleasantly surprised when I learned that a lot of people applied for this spot, and they only called a few back for phone interviews. Then I got the call for a real interview, meaning I had beat out 95% of the competition.

Its so easy to say things like "I'm interviewing them as well" and "I have a job, so I don't need to be desperate." These things are true, however with the lack of interviews coming my way, and my apathy for my current job, its hard for me to not get worked up. Who knows when the next lifeboat out of this Titanic job will come by? But what if I take the plunge into the freezing water only to find that the lifeboat is not really a means of survival either?

This is the point where I'm supposed to take confidence in the ole' "if it was meant to be..." and I do. Really. The interview I had in California back in February is still rather fresh in my mind, and I remember a much more desperate feeling to flee this place at that time. This time around I am more calm. Now that I am months removed from the internal conflict of turning down the California job, it has become apparent on more than one occasion that everything ended up working out just fine. I know that I put my best foot forward yesterday, and if I am seen as a good fit, I will be offered the job.

If I am not offered the job, another something is in the cards for me. That's the best thing about life. You never know what is in store for you, but when you look back its as if there was a perfect map guiding you the whole way. I'll keep you posted on the result. I'm off to write my interview thank-you note so I can get it into today's mail.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Matter of Perspective

Yesterday I witnessed something interesting at Crossfit. I was not participating in the regular WOD (workout of the day), as I had one last introductory workout to finish as part of my 3 week "on-ramp" program. I started my on-ramp workout at the same time as the rest of the group starting the regular WOD. I finished before any of them, and took a seat to observe the rest of their workout. They were doing an intense benchmark workout named "DT" which is a series of 3 Olympic weight lifts, all using the same weight.

Because crossfit has to gear the workouts to all different types of bodies and fitness, within the WOD, there are varying levels. The level everyone aims to achieve, and the super fit perform at is known as Rx (prescribed). This means there is a suggested (prescribed) weight for males and females to perform the workout. I have only seen a few girls at my gym perform Rx on a regular basis. One of whom, is amazing. She has an incredibly body, great attitude, and there is no doubt upon first laying eyes on her that she is fit.

Yesterday, as I watched her perform the last bits of her workout, I could see her getting more and more frustrated. Throwing the bar down, grunting, it was becoming increasingly clear she was not happy. I've been there. I know the feeling of knowing you can do more, yet your body just doesn't seem to cooperate. I've had workouts that are hard even though I'd done the same thing with ease many times before.

I know how impossible it is to get out of your own head when you are feeling like that. But ironically, its your head that is making it worse! To me looking at her from the outside, I was nothing short of amazed. I had no idea she was having a bad workout (besides the angry bar throws). Here was this woman repeatedly throwing 105 lbs over her head with perfect form, and she was unable to see just how amazing she is. She finished the workout last, which is unheard of her, and she was PISSED. I guarantee no one thought anything less of her. I guarantee she was harder on herself then anyone could ever be.

It got me to thinking. What am I going to do the next time I find myself wrapped up in my own head, and consequently making things worse? Will I even realize when it is happening to me? I decided I never want to be so out of touch with where I am today, and how far I've come that I will beat myself up like that. I never want to be so unaware of how I could possibly be inspiring someone at the very moment I think I'm sucking my worst. After all, everything is just a matter of perspective.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stanky Leg, I Gotsa Stanky Leg

The title may be lost on you if you are over the age of 16.

Anyway...for the past 4 days I have been fighting the urge to saw my right leg off. I'm not sure what happened, pulled muscle, sore muscle, over-use, I don't know. It doesn't matter really. All I know is that I haven't been able to move normally, and my leg hurts All. The. Time. I would do anything for it to feel normal again, for me to be able to go on doing what I normally do.

Well, it seems that times like this make me realize how I have taken my hard working, never pained legs for granted. How about that 7K two weeks ago? Or last week, when I back-squatted 185 pounds. It seems like a if I was a semi-good high school quarter-back reminiscing about that one play-off game where I threw for an 87 yard touchdown.

I know I will be back to normal eventually. In the mean time, I'm going to relive my "glory days" (2 weeks ago, ha!) with the Bridge to Bridge Race re-cap:

I committed to running the Bridge to Bridge 12K in June. My good friend from high school wanted to celebrate her birthday by running it, and have friends run in it as well. The race took place in San Francisco, so it would be my first travelling race! I told my favorite running buddy (who happens to live in SF) that I would be running that race, and she committed herself and her boyfriend to run in it as well.

As per a re-occurring theme in my life, about a month or so before the race I realized I hadn't really been training as much as I had hoped/envisioned. This also coincided with me joining Crossfit. I didn't really think that one month of Crossfit would make up for, or prepare me for a 12K on nearly zero preparation. However, Crossfit is more of a long-term plan of mine, so I focused more on getting into Crossfit then stressing about a 7.435 mile race. I knew I could run 3 miles, so if I had to walk the rest of the way, that is what I would do.

Two weeks before the race (and with only 7 Crossfit sessions under my belt) I decided to head out for a run at my old faithful Greenlake. I had a great run that I wrote about here. Long story short...I not only ran the whole 3.1 mile outer loop with no trouble, I ran it over 2 minutes faster then my previous standard time 4 months prior! That run gave me so much confidence, and a whole new appreciation for Crossfit. My high school friend e-mailed me informing me she had pulled her groin muscle and wouldn't be running.

I arrived in SF on Saturday, the race was on Sunday. I got to running buddies fogged in apartment, and we spent the day catching up and resting. Running buddy and boyfriend, and me went to dinner where we made an executive decision. Eff the 12K, let's do the 7K. Fine by me! I definitely knew I had a better chance at a 7K then a 12K! We were in bed before 10pm, and up shortly after 6am for the big morning. It was raining. Cold. Typical SF weather. After breakfast, coffee, and a lot of whinning, we headed for the Muni. Running buddy had it all planned out to get us there at the right time, with minimal waiting in the rain, yet enough time for sweat check.

With 30 minutes before the start, and 13 minutes left on the train, we receive word that there is a de-railment in front of us. I follow my local tourguides off the train, as they start to run. RUN!? Before the race? WTF. However, we weren't running fast, and I think it was all downhill, I don't know, it was so easy. We arrived at another transit type stop, and caught a surface street car that would eventually take us where we needed to go. Time was ticking down. Running buddy was stressing. Its cute when she stresses. We got off the street car a few stops early and again ran towards the start. Got the sweats checked...quick bathroom stop...line up...and picture taken:

The sun was breaking through the clouds, and it was actually nice out. We had our cell phones, and my dad was picking us up at the finish. The crowd started moving at a slow crawl. People would break into a run, only to run into the person in front of them. Over and over. The race was a sea of people until after the first mile, then there was some room. I looked at my watch after mile 1: 10:12. WOW. Then my coffee kicked in...had to take a short detour at Pier 39.

I felt good and strong the whole way. There was one short super steep section that I walked up, and then enjoyed the long winding downhill as I reached mile 3. I spotted my dad on his bike, looking for me. He proceeded to ride alongside me for the remained of the race, chatting with me, encouraging me. It was funny. The last .2 miles of the race were uphill. Poor planning in my opinion, but I did it! I even had enough left in me for a burst of speed at the end.

I looked at my watch, 52 minutes. Sub-tract a 4 minute break, and I ran a 7K in 48 minutes. I felt great. More importantly, I felt like I could have gone on for longer. Suddenly, my leg feels better.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Running; I've Been Doing it Wrong

I've been meaning to post on this topic for two days now, since I learned two days ago that I have been horribly mistaken on my shoe choices for activities. Greta over at Big-Bottom Blogger beat me to it today, with her post on barefoot running.

During Monday's Crossfit workout, I was to be finding my "max rep" for three movements: back squat, dead-lift, and military press. Before going over the movements with me, the trainer asked me to remove my shoes (I was wearing new running shoes). Not a problem, I love being barefoot. He then proceeded to tell me how running shoes are basically the devil when it comes to form, and go against the natural motion that thousands of years of evolution worked so hard to produce.

He took a section of PVC pipe, and held it upright. He said, "ok, imagine this pipe is your heel/knee/hip all in alignment." He let the pipe hit the floor at a slight angle, as if the bottom of the pipe was a heel hitting the ground. He was placing the pipe down in a forward motion, as most runners do with their legs. When the pipe struck the floor, where did all the energy go? Backwards. Essentially, all these years I thought I had good running form, but instead, with each strike of my heel, I was throwing the brakes on.

I asked what shoes I should be wearing for Crossfit/running. He recommended anything flat; Adidas Sambas, Nike Free's, Puma H-streets, and of course, those ridiculous looking Vibram Five Fingers. I mentioned that I have a high arch, and don't I need support? He then said to me, "what would happen if you walked around all day with a back brace on? Then after years you decided to take it off? What do you think would happen?" So, instead of supporting my arches I have been making them weaker by giving them a crutch. Interesting.

So, I will soon be one of those ridiculous fools wearing those crazy shoes where each toe is defined. Hopefully only in the confines of the gym as to not look like too much of a slave to trends. Apparently not everything new that comes out is a gimmick.

Further reading on this topic, from NPR:

Oh, and I got called up for a face to face interview from Monday's phone interview...Top 2 Baby! Top 2!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Food Addiction: A Challenge

Many of you know I can not resist a challenge. Apparently my post yesterday struck a cord with someone in blogland, and now they want to have a healthy discussion with me on my "mainstream" view of the term "food addict."

Back in February, I wrote this post about my feelings on the phrase Food Addiction. Upon going back and reading it today, my feelings haven't changed.

Taking a look at the post Michael wrote on his blog today in response to my feelings on Food Addiction, it appears we arguing the semantics of the term, and not the real issue I brought up in my original post.

From today's post Michael writes:
"I acknowledge her position, which is essentially the mainstream view. But it's wrong. I also acknowledge that "food addiction" is a lousy term. Obviously, no one has a blanket "all-food" addiction, because, obviously, those people died out long ago. But "sugar addiction," which I would restate as "refined-sugar" addiction, IS a food addiction. For some people, chocolate is addictive, and that's a food addiction. Some people can't tolerate flour, for biological reasons very similar to refined sugar, and that's a food addiction. For many, including me, volume of food is a food addiction."

I understand that the clip from yesterday's interview with my mom can be taken out of context. However, the real issue I want to bring to the forefront is using the blanket term Food Addiction as an excuse to do nothing about issues one's body may have with certain foods/volume/etc., which fall into the "Food Addiction" category.

Am I/was I a Food Addict by my definition? No. I was/am addicted to refined products. Am I/Was I a Food Addict by Michael's definition? Yes. Because refined sugar and grains are food, therefore I was a Food Addict. Now, I could be making the same mistake Michael did and taking his view out of context. Perhaps if I read his book, he would delve into the greater issue of hiding behind the term Food Addiction as an excuse to do nothing.

I welcome any comments on this matter. I can only write from my experiences, and what I have seen. I am very flattered that someone who has a book coming out on Food Addiction would comment on my blog, and challenge me to a discussion.

Let the fun begin!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Paleo Interview

After spending 13 hours in the cab of a moving truck with my mom, followed by 2.5 days of her visiting my home in Seattle, complete with her tagging along with me at my Crossfit mom got many questions answered. If I mush together questions and my responses from the 13 hours + 2.5 days, a nice little interview is born:

(Some questions are paraphrased/recalled from memory, so they may not be entirely acurate)

Mom: How did you hear about this Paleo thing?
Me: Oh, you know, the internet, various sources. I saw a blog post by a girl who crossfit's and began eating Paleo, and I was inspired. (I left out the information about me starting a blog in January, and through the blogging community stumbled upon that one particular post, and Paleo)

Mom: So how much weight have you lost since beginning to eat Paleo?
Me: I really didn't remember, so I think I said "about 20 lbs" After yesterdays weigh in, I see that it is 25lbs.

Mom: Does it bother you when Dave eats food that you can't in front of you?
Me: Nope! That's one of the biggest differences between my behaviors on Paleo and my behaviors on previous attempts at weight loss. On previous attempts, I would be going crazy inside. Jealous, and in near physical pain because I was "being good." Now, its like those foods don't even exist.

Mom: Have you noticed any changes in the way that you think as a result of your different way of eating?
Me: Yes. Absolutely. I have this new clarity around everything...Its hard to explain, but everything that I'm supposed to be doing just got laid out in front of me, like a perfectly paved road. Its as if I got a brain tune-up.

Mom: You must be starving. You haven't eaten in hours.
Me: Eh, not really. I don't get the low-blood sugar grumpiness anymore. Eventually, I will need to eat, yes, but I'm fine for right now.

Mom: Maybe someday you can start incorporating some beans into your diet for some variety.
Me: Maybe. But, I really think that too much variety is another problem all in itself. Sometimes we have too much choice, and that leads to indecision. I'm ok with having less options available to me.

Mom: Do you ever crave stuff?
Me: Not like before I went Paleo. Before Paleo I would crave stuff and HAVE to have it. Sometimes I could put it off for a few days, but I would think about it until I got it. It was nuts.

Mom: Yeah, that's food addiction.
Me: I really have a problem with that term. Its used so frequently and so loosely. Not everyone that is overweight has a food addiction. You need food to live, so its not like drugs or alcohol in which you can give those up and still live. Sugar addiction? Sure. I can believe that one. But the blanket term "food addiction" is really where I have an issue.

Mom: Did you take before pictures of yourself? You should have done that.
Me: No. (lying)

Mom: (Asked on separate occasions throughout the trip) Can you eat oatmeal? Corn? Yogurt?
Me: No. (to each)

Mom: What happens when you do eat something that is off your list?
Me: Within a few hours my allergies (cat and dust) return. A feeling I had become immune to, just thinking it was 'normal.' Now that I am allergy free, when they return, they are incredibly annoying. Enough so that I seriously have to think before eating something with excess sugar or anything with grains.

There you have it. A nice little summary of my Paleo experience coaxed out of me question by question by my mom. It was quite a contrast to my experience home in June, when I was only 10 days into my Paleo experiment, and I was met with skepticism, doubt, and numerous comments about what I should be eating. My mom is so much nicer to me when I'm smaller.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Vacation Over

I didn't necessarily mean for my vacation from work to be a vacation from blogging, but it just sort of turned out that way. As a result, I have so much stuff swimming in my head. It feels like I took more than a week break, based on how much stuff happened.

Mega Victories:
Running a 7K in 48 minutes.


Remaining 100% Paleo while out of town (away from my kitchen)
Convincing my stubborn mom that Paleo is a) sustainable and b) good for me
Losing 3 pounds! Plateau over!
Today I Back-squatted 185 pounds, and was told I was "smoking the other girls at the gym" (in back squat)

Driving a 16' moving truck from San Francisco to Seattle in 13 hours sans accidents/tickets
Making delicious birthday cupcakes for my boyfriend and only eating 2
Making it to 4 Crossfit sessions while on vacation (it should be noted that the gym is next to my work)
Seeing the huge Paleo success my brother in law is having...he and my sister cooked this Paleo meal for my mom and I:

Playing 2 hours of football with my friends and not being sore one bit the next day
Successful first meeting of my mom and boyfriends parents
Ate at many restaurants when my mom was in town visiting...remained mostly Paleo.
Had a phone interview for a job today, I was one of 8 people out of 40 that applied that got a phone interview. We'll see if I get selected for an in-person interview.
Visiting new locations in Washington:

I have so much blog reading to catch up on!