Okay so I must admit I get all hot and bothered when the conversation turns to surfing and surfers. See, I grew up in San Diego just blocks from the beach. Until the day I turned 20 and moved north, I basically spent every day of my life on the beach. Yep, I was a “surfer chick,” or wanabe. I never did get the hang of surfing but I was excellent at posing on the beach with my long, sun-bleached hair waiting for my yummy, bronzed surfer-boyfriend to come in. Oh…those were the days.
So, when my friend Cindy sent an email asking for volunteers to try paddleboarding at the famed Mavericks (Mavericks is surfer HQ here on the NorCal coast), I jumped at the opportunity like a shark after a hunk of meat.
Rather than rambling on about our adventure I’ll simply let you see for yourself how the day transpired. It’s pretty tame, there were no massive waves and no surfer boys (aside from the world-renowned Jeff Clark!) but there were lots of really nice people and we had a fantastic time.
Rule #1 if you don’t want your shades to sink when you fall off the board, put them on a leash. I was too cheap to buy a leash so I did a little MacGyver work.
Ever try to squeeze into one of these things? Kind of gross if you ask me.
At this point we’re done with our paddle. That’s Cindy on the left, me, Cassandra our fantastic teacher and Diana in the sexy little top.
You get extra points if you can do a downward dog sans falling in the drink.
So there you have it. A nice relaxing way to spend a sunny day. We saw stingrays and a few harbor seals popped their heads up to have a little chuckle (do you think seals can laugh? Seriously, can they?) I can’t say that I got a workout paddleboarding but that’s mostly because I was too focused on staying on the board. According to Cassandra there are things you can to do work a little harder. Next time I’ll be braver and head for where the big waves and the surfer boys are (yea right!).
As they say at the beach… It was pretty bitchen! Thanks gals for an awesome day.
Yesterday I read an article about how to keep people interested in your writing. It said that it’s important to let your readers know that you aren’t perfect. Nobody wants to be read about perfect people or people who presume to be perfect. Being perfect doesn’t inspire. It also said to be genuine and let your personality shine through. Thank goodness I thought, lord knows I’m not perfect and trying to hide my personality is like trying to hide my big nose.
After reading the article I did a little self-check. Do I pretend to be a know-it-all? Do I practice what I preach or am I full of shit? I decided that I actually do make an effort to follow my own advice and I think I’m pretty genuine. Last week I encouraged folks to try chia seeds even thought I hadn’t tried them myself, and in truth, I wasn’t in any hurry to do so. After my little self-check I decided I’d better get some chia seeds and have a taste. I’m happy to report that they’re pretty unobtrusive as far as taste goes and they really do expand in liquid so don’t let ‘em sit around in a smoothie or something. You’ll be sorry.
If you follow along, I tend to spout off exercise challenges and routines for you to try. Those I do try before I write them, but in some cases I don’t actually keep them up. Take Kelley’s Ab Challenge from a few months back where I published a photo of my very own abs. My abs looked pretty good at that point and I was working to make them look even better. At the time of the challenge I did keep up my end of the bargain, however since then I’ve slacked off so badly that I had to loosen my belt a notch last night. Can you imagine, a trainer letting such a simple thing as her abs go to chub? It’s beyond shameful!
As for my pushing you to try different things, get out of your comfort zone; I do try to keep up that end of things but here again, not always. Most recently my trainer friend Dawn challenged me to push my running pace by taking a minute off my average mile. I did make an effort to reach this goal but it was half-assed and now I’m ashamed of myself.
I once had a friend who I was absolutely crazy about but he had a habit of saying “I want to but…” In his case, “I want to but…” meant he’d rather be with someone other than me. To this day those words continue to haunt me. When you say “I want to but… “ You don’t get credit for saying or thinking that you want to do something. You only get credit when you actually make the effort to do it. Remember, actions speak louder than words in everything you do.
So, I wanted us all to try chia seeds, I got on it and I tried them. I want us to step outside of our comfort zones so this weekend I’m taking a paddleboard lesson at the famed Mavericks. No, I am not perfect nor am I that interesting really, which is why I try new things like chia seeds and potentially make a fool out of my self on a paddleboard, in a wet suit that’s sure to emphasize my currently less than impressive abdominal zone.
In the end, I am not a perfect know-it-all, the only difference between some, and me is that I make the effort. “I want to but…” is not in my phrase book.
See you Monday; if I survive I should have an amusing paddleboard report that’s sure to reek of personality.
Do your hands swell up while you’re on a long walk, a run or working out? Mine do if I walk for an hour or so. The first time I noticed it I kinda freaked out. Yea, it looks bad and one always worries when things start puffing up for seemingly no reason.
Well, there is a reason and it’s not a bad one. It’s actually pretty obvious once you think about it.
When your hands swing at your sides for long periods of time gravity causes the blood to pool in the veins of your fingers. All you have to do to correct this (if it bothers you) is to do things that will help keep the blood circulating. Try raising your arms over your head, rotating your wrists, or bump your fists. Stuff like that. If you still puff up, don’t fret. You should de puff within an hour or so after the activity.
While I am busy trying to motivate you to get off your butts, MObama (aka Michelle Obama, The First Lady) is working hard to get America to exercise and eat right. Her latest plan of action: Get 24,025 people to do 1 minute of jumping jacks in a 24-hour period.
Starting yesterday, Tuesday 10/11 at 3 pm, the First Lady began trying to break the world record (Guinness-style) for the most people doing one minute of jumping jacks in a twenty-four hour period. To break the World Record, over 24,000 jumpers must be documented between 3PM EST yesterday and 3PM EST today, Wednesday. As we speak, thousands of kids and adults are gathering on the White House lawn to help Michelle realize her dream.
From what I can tell this stunt is technically aimed at children. But so what? We’re all young at heart and everyone can use a few extra jumping jacks. You know I’m right! If you want to get in on the official action here’s the Lets Jump website. There are rules but it’s not a big deal. You still have time.
If you can’t be bothered to get in on the official action (like me) then consider taking Kelley’s Just Jump Challenge.
Here’s how it works:
Get up from your computer, push in your chair, take five steps back and start jumping. Do 65 jacks. That should take you about a minute. If it takes you longer than do it again tomorrow and pick up your pace. Got it?
What do you say? Lets all do our part and start jumping!
When you’re a kid in school you get a report card that tells you (and your parents) how you’re doing in class. Report cards are also good for the teacher because they tell us how well we’re getting through to our students. Remember, whether you’re a good student or a challenging one, it is the teachers’ job to insure that you succeed.
It’s the same with trainers. It’s our job to make sure that you reach your goal. It’s not so easy sometimes to motivate people and keep them on the track to success, but nun-the-less; it’s our duty and commitment to you when we take you on as clients. It’s too bad that trainers don’t give report cards, I wish we could. It might help with some folks, but then again it might piss some off.
Anyway, I’ve decided to give props to two of my clients today. This doesn’t mean that the rest of you don’t deserve props. It just means that these two get gold stars (remember those?).
First, Diana; Diana has been working out two days a week with me consistently for 10 months. As of last month Diana has lost 17 pounds, gained a ton of definition and ran her first 5K foot race in July. Diana’s race time was just over 24 minutes (an excellent time). My favorite part of all this is remembering that when Diana first came to me she refused to do more than about 10 crunches and after 5 minutes of running she’d stop, bend over and gasp to catch her breath. Now, Diana asks me to push her harder and actually asked me to bring out her nemesis, The Jump Rope. Diana has surpassed her weight loss goal and is motivated by her quick 5k time. With that, her new goal is to compete in the Warrior Dash Obstacle Race in a few weeks, something that has astounded her friends and family. According to Diana, “The best part of all this is that I now love to get dressed. Getting dressed is fun because everything fits, or is too big.”
Now, Nick; I met Nick years ago but he and I just started working together in June. Nick lives in The Napa Valley so we don’t see each other more than once a week at best. However, Nick and I chat almost daily about his training and the workouts I send him via email. Nick is about to run his first half marathon at the end of this month. Nick came to me for guidance because, years ago he registered to run a full marathon but never made it past the first few weeks of training do to an injury brought on by training too hard before his body was ready. Nick is a 45+ single father who works on his feet, around 5 star Napa food all day long. It’s a physically exhausting life that promotes poor eating, sleeping and fitness habits. Since June Nick has lost 24 pounds and is more than ready to run his half marathon. Nicks goal is to run the race in under 2 hours and I’m absolutely certain he can do that. When I asked Nick if he felt that his training had been hard to manage, he said, “Actually, it’s been pretty painless. All I have to do is focus on what you have me do and that’s simple.”
As I write this I can’t help but feel extremely proud. When I started this life as a trainer I never thought about how I would feel when my people reached their goals and did well. It never occurred to me. I was too concerned with what to do with them, how to get them to do what I said and most of all, how to keep them from getting injured. Watching Diana and Nick and GP-2011 and all the others that leave my workouts feeling great I feel truly blessed and thankful to be able to work with these people. People who were not so dedicated at first, and now look where they are…
I’m sitting here at my desk, it’s in the window overlooking my garden. I sit here for a spell every day socializing and working. It’s a beautiful place, today I’m reflecting on how incredibly simple my life has become, simply because of my MacBook Pro, my iPhone, my Shuffle and the changes the creative geniuses behind those items have made our world.
The Blue Angels are buzzing by my window on this beautiful San Francisco day as I think about how fortunate I truly am. My life if not perfect, nor is it complete, yet I have faith that one day it shall be. Until that day, I vow to take the words of Steve Jobs to heart. Every day.
“Sometimes life’s gonna hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”
Mr. Jobs said a lot of inspirational and wise things, but this statement is my favorite.
With that, I meagerly say; Thank you sir, for everything you gave to us in life, and for the inspiration you leave us with. The world is undoubtably a better place because of you.
This is going to be a short lesson today because I can’t really type. It’s a long story but basically I burned the top of my hand really badly (second degree style). Then, I went hunting for Banana Slugs with my nephew and let a couple of slugs crawl on my charred hand, getting really dirty and slimy. The next day I went swimming in the kinda gunky Russian River and, lo and behold I woke up this morning with a hand so swollen it’s close to twice the size of the other one. Not a pretty sight as you can imagine. With that, I’ve spent much of today freaking out in one way or another while watching doctors marvel at the mess I made of myself.
Anyway, looking back at the events of the last few days it seems pretty clear where I went wrong, but at the time I was having too much fun to worry about something that “might happen.” The lesson for today is don’t be a dumbass like me, be respectful of your body when you wound it. You can really mess yourself up. Take my word for it, or if you like I’ll send you a photo of my oozing elephant hand (that may never be the same again because of my stupidity).
Have a good weekend! I’ll be back Monday with something more chipper (unless my hand explodes).
If you know me, you know that I’m an absolute snob when it comes to bicycle handling skills and simple road etiquette. Having been somewhat of a damn good cyclist in a former life, I’ve seen the good and the bad side of folks on bikes. In fact, my nickname used to be The Bike Nazi. Why? Because I have zero patience or respect for folks exhibiting poor, or unsafe bike handling skills or simple etiquette.
While bicycle handling and etiquette are each very large issues, one of the most concerning is the lack of respect for the common stop sign. Declining to stop when required is not only a safety issue but an unfortunate missed opportunity to practice ones handling skills (trackstand, getting in and out of pedals…) and the building of fast twitch muscle fibers (they help you sprint & move quickly).
Rather than going any further, I suggest that you read the article below. I’ve lifted it from Katie Kelly at MillValleyPatch.com. Katie has captured my personal thoughts re: the stop sign issue perfectly. We ask that you read it and spread the word.
Stop! Braking news! How the coolest thing to hit two wheels is likely already at your fingertips.
It’s a growing cycling fashion statement, a training tool, and an indicator of riding prowess. No, it’s not the latest GPS device or power meter. It’s stopping for red lights and stop signs.
It’s all the rage, and all the cool kids are doing it, from national championship winning bike racers to downhillers to commuters. What may have started as a countywide crackdown against red light runners is evolving into a habit that quickly differentiates between Marin locals and those passing through, the experienced and those trying to show off. The difference? The experienced, skilled crowd stops for stop signs.
And it’s not just cops sending the message.
“I confess, I used to do it,” says Sean Fekete, of San Rafael, of yesterday’s trend of rolling through stop signs. “I’m cruising along, don’t want to stop and then start again.”
Today, whether riding after work on a fixed gear or blazing down a mountain on his downhill bike, stopping for stop signs has become part of Fekete’s regular riding style.
Why the change?
“I was riding a lot with a bike racer, and she was stopping at all the signs, so I just did it because she was,” says Fekete. “Later, I was working with a local coach, and his rule was that if you ran stop signs or red lights, he wouldn’t work with you.”
Fekete is just one of a growing number of Marin locals who feel intense annoyance at those who don’t stop.
“It’s lazy and disrespectful,” he says. “If you want to ride without having to stop, enter a race. Why give pedestrians and motorists even more reason to hate us?”
“I see people blowing stops signs so often now,” says multi-masters track national champion Pete Billington, also of San Rafael. “It is really frustrating when the same people complain about cars not respecting bicyclists.”
What sign running cyclists don’t realize is that not only do they stand out to the crowd as either inexperienced or dangerous, they’re missing out on a valuable muscle defining training tool.
“Stopping at stop signs really is a good opportunity to develop strong core muscles and even sprinting technique,” says Billington. “The tendency to swing the bike from side to side during a sprint is just wasted energy and practicing hip drive and forward acceleration is critical to developing top speed.”
Throw that at the next newbie who screams “On your left!” at the next stop sign.
How to Stop for Stop Signs
We asked Officer Paul Stromoski of the Ross Police Department what exactly cops are looking for when it comes to stopping for stop signs. You may find yourself surprised at how easy it is.
1. You don’t have to put a foot down. Come to a complete stop, yes, but it’s okay to stop for a split second, and then continue on. “Nowhere in the California Vehicle Code does it say cyclists have to put a foot down,” says Stromoski. But if you’re unable to maintain a track stand (balancing your bike at a complete stop), then obviously, you should, especially in a situation as described in Tip #2.
2. Give motorists and pedestrians who were at the intersection before you the right of way. This is Driver’s Ed 101, and yes, it applies to cyclists. Yield the right of way to those who rightfully have it and you may suddenly find your self within an intersection of allies. Who wouldn’t want that?
3. Cops want to see you physically turning your head to look in all directions. “You might think a peripheral look from the corner of an eye is enough,” says Officer Stromoski. “But we’re looking to see your helmet actually moving. It’s the only way we know you’re really looking.”
These are three tips that can spare you from expensive traffic fines or from drawing attention to yourself as an absolute novice. They could even save your life. And who knows? They may even help you get to the podium.
P.s. Thanks Mo, for bringing this article to my attention. P.s.s. Thanks Katie, for sharing your words.
Did you hear about the woman who attempted to swim 103 miles from Cuba to Florida this week? Her name is Diana Nyada, she’s 61. The swim was expected to take about 60 hours but she was pulled from the water after 29. It’s too bad she didn’t reach her goal but they said, “Her will was stronger than her body.” Can you imagine? Regardless, you must respect the massive effort and acknowledge her success, short of her goal or not.
Last weekend Penny and I went for a trail run in The Marin Headlands. As we trundled off I noticed that there was an organized race going on. When we crested the summit of our first climb I spied a fellow staggering toward me. It was his race number that gave away the fact that he was participating in the event. Normally I would never bother someone during a race but this chap looked like he could use some love so I asked him how far he was racing. He said “100 miles.” After gasping I asked, how far along are you? “Mile 98” (although he was wrong, I knew the finish was at least 5 miles away. I kept my mouth shut though). Thank God he was almost done, he looked like he was about to fall on his face. Poor thing!
A few seconds later a couple more 100-mile racers trotted toward us. They were behind the other fellow, but seemed like they were having a better time of it. At that point Penny said something to me that I can’t completely remember but it was to the effect of “don’t you feel insignificant?” She was referring to the fact that they were “running” 100 miles and the most we’ve ever managed is 13, plus a few yards. For a second I kind of did feel small. I had only panted my way through 3 miles of a 6-mile run and those folks had been running since 7:30 am Saturday morning (it was now 9am Sunday morning, they’d been running for over 25 hours sans sleep, and had at least an hour still to go).
It only took me a split second to snap out of feeling insignificant, I thought to myself: NO, I don’t feel lesser than those folks, those people are nuts! Why would you run for that long? Or, why would you face shark-invested water and insane current like Diana Nayda did for days? I’d be so bored doing the same thing for that long that I could never invest in the physical part. I did feel bad for not understanding.
My solace came as I realized that most likely not one of those 100 mile racers or The Swimmer Lady would think that racing a bike in a pack of 60 at high-speed around tight corners or riding as fast you can up the side of a mountain is at all sane. They have their way and I have mine. That’s what makes the world go around and it seems to work pretty well in most respects.
With that I say: A very impressive job to all of you Ultra Endurance Athletes, I admire your patience and drive. To those of us who dance to a different beat, let us also celebrate our efforts. We’re all different and one of us is not better than the other, just different.
Last month my friend Dawn participated in her first Warrior Dash. What’s a Warrior Dash? According to their website it’s a, mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme run from hell. It’s a fierce running series held on the most challenging and rugged terrain across the globe. Warriors conquer extreme obstacles, push their limits and then celebrate (with beer and “gargantuan” roasted turkey legs). Sounds like hella fun if you ask me! Dawn thought so too, which is why she and her friend Tiffany donned their old running shoes (you did wear old shoes right Dawn?) and bucked up for what sounds like a death deifying challenge.
Rather than foolishly attempting to explain Dawns’ race I ask you watch the short video above. It’s taken via a GoPro video camera that her husband Mark Brent strapped to her chest. Thanks to Mark (and Dawn) you get to experience the whole event at high speed. It looks really fun!
In the end Dawn had a great time. She says, “It was a little scary leaping over roaring fire, but EMT’s were close by, just incase…” She adds “The most challenging part was trying to untie our mud-caked shoe laces afterwards, all in all, what better way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon – got a great workout, caught up with an old friend, and got to share it with you all! Oh, and the bonus – free body mud!”
Watch Dawns’ video! After that, you might actually consider signing up for an event like this yourself. They’re held all over the country. There’s one scheduled for the Bay Area in late October, which I’ll be participating in (can’t let Dawn have all the fun!). Let me know if you want to join the fun, we’ll be training for this event in all my classes starting next week!
P.s. Thanks for sharing your experience with us Dawn! You’re an inspiration! Wish you were here…
P.s.s. If you live in Seattle, check Dawn out. She’s at The Exercise Space. I can vouch for her, she has great taste in friends.