runner’s feet is closing!

July 30, 2008

Our beloved local running store, Runner’s Feet located at 1024 Oak Grove Ave in Burlingame is closing. ;-(

Their closing sale will start tomorrow Thursday 07.31.08 at 10am. So be sure to drop by and support them by getting your paws on new shoes, socks, accesories, and apparel.


07.28.08 zone challenge w/update

July 24, 2008

UPDATE 07.25.08 – Added more documents to the list of materials. Remember you can have little cheats here and there. Gotta live life! I’m picking one cheat day a week. By cheating I don’t mean have 3 gallons of ice cream but a source of carbs you don’t regularly consume (for me that is sweet potato oven ‘fries’), your favorite indulgence, a beer, a SMALL plate of pasta, whatever floats your boat… As long as you follow the diet 80% of the time you are good.


So yesterday we were checking out Suisen’s ass and legs. In a good positive way people…geez you are all such perverts!

We’ve been doing this for a while (cool it with the choice comments ya hear me?, cough***gutter minds***cough), since she started having Zone meals delivered to her doorstep a bit longer than a month ago, and weight started to drop off her frame like buttah. What did the rest of us do? We showered her with compliments while making empty promises of starting the diet at some point.

Well that point is here! Enough with making excuses, myself included. It is always “I have a trip coming up,” or “I got invited to a wedding,” or “I’m so busy I don’t have time to eat right,” or “the cat ate my apples.” Pish posh square. Life happens. We need to start making choices now. Every choice we make affects us later (reflecting on our well being or our asses).

On that note I’m throwing down the gauntlet. The diet challenge starts Monday 07.28.08 and will run until the end of the cycle. Everyone is invited to participate. You can choose any diet you want (I can only help with the Zone or Paleo diets though). Did I mention I am now certified in CrossFit Nutrition Fundamentals Level I? Booyah baby!


  1. Weigh yourself every week at the start of class on Friday (I will bring the scale of record)
  2. Keep a food log and turn it in at the end of the week (email is fine). No excuses. You get one day grace to turn it in or your ass is toast! (or toasty? as it will be punishable by 20 burpees warmup at the start of the next class)
  3. Take a start and ending picture of yourself with as little clothes as you feel comfortable showing publicly (I probably just opened a big can of worms he he)
  4. Do “Annie are you ok?” on Tuesday 07.29.08 and 08.29.08. This is going to be our benchmark workout (you don’t need to know yet what it is because you are always ready to bring it, right? right!)

1 point for each pound loss and 1 point for seconds/5 time differential on “Annie are you ok?” For example: If you lose 5 pounds and your workout time is 65 seconds faster, your total score is 18.

1st place – Cycle 6 is free!
2nd place – ½ off Cycle 6

Food Log Sample (note how you feel and how much sleep you got)
CrossFit’s Zone Diet (e.g. Suisen & I are at 11 blocks=1500 calories)
The Zone Simplified (if you don’t want to count food blocks)
Zone Recipes
7 Day Easy Women’s Food Planner (approx. equivalent to 11 blocks)
CrossFit Shopping List (from the guru who taught my nutrition cert.)
Zone Delivery Service (The one Suisen uses, talk to Kevin)

what about recovery?

July 22, 2008

Up until recently I thought “rest day” meant actively plop down on the couch, prop your feet up on the coffee table, and proceed to watch all day reruns of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Alas, I was wrong.

Turns out there’s a whole methodology behind recovery and it doesn’t resemble my protocol at all. 😉 This is something that athletes know and take seriously. In fact, many experts will tell you that proper recovery is a big part of being a successful athlete. Recovery takes more planning and discipline than the exercise program itself.

The recovery process is a very active one inside the body. Picture the efforts to rebuild a city after a bomb has been dropped. It takes a lot of energy to rebuild a city and within the body most of that energy will come from stored fat. Bonus!

Now in order to help your body regenerate itself you must step into the equation and lend it a hand. Your tools will be: nutrition, sleep, stretching, cold/heat hydrotherapy, massage, chiropractic adjustments, meditation, acupuncture, laughing, stress relief, and many others. 

It really doesn’t matter that you are not a world class athlete. Her needs and yours differ by degree not kind. Maybe it’s not practical or cost effective to get massages every week but it would be highly beneficial to get them once a month.

And here’s an array of free ones:

  1. Hydrotherapy can easily be accomplished in your shower by alternating hot and cold water bouts
  2. Changing the way you eat to keep to promote recovery and performance is free! It will even help you sleep better by keeping your insulin blood levels stable…
  3. Don’t understimate either the importance of 8 solid hours of undisturbed sleep; this is the time when your body patches itself up!
  4. Stretch 20 minutes a day. It reduces muscle tension, increases the range of movement in the joints, enhances muscular coordination, and improves your overall performance

So there you have it, recover properly and you shall reap the rewards.


July 22, 2008

Here’s a fantastic background music service for when you are bored to tears in need of mindless entertainment at work.

It works wonders to keep me from stabbing someone nodding off during the quarterly reports ordeal. Enjoy!!!

David Byrne Radio

the endurance experiment

July 21, 2008

It’s no secret that I abhor long distance running (aka Long Slow Distance*). Endurance goes with putting up and also with patience and I’m not very good at any of those. As such I’ve been pondering what to do if I actually want to complete the bloody nice Nike marathon in October 2008.

Here’s the conundrum I face. LSD is solely aerobic training. The benefits of it are increased cardiovascular function and better bodyfat utilization. The drawbacks are plenty though: decreased muscle mass, decreased strength, decreased power, decreased speed, decreased anaerobic capacity, and decreased testosterone levels (although women manufacture about one seventh the daily testosterone amount of men they still need this hormone for growth and to maintain muscle and bone strength). Not to mention that everytime I run long distance, I fuck something up. Is it coincidence that the entire sports rehabilitation industry caters mostly to runners’ injuries? Hmmmm…

In my opinion that’s a lot of drawbacks for such limited benefits. As I age, is it more important for me to be strong, have dense bones, and good balance to be able to break a fall, or to be able to run 20 miles? The answer is pretty obvious to me.

So what to do if I still want to run the marathon? OK, so it’s true that I might have signed up for the wrong reasons, namely to get the limited edition Tiffany’s necklace and cruise the chocolate mile…ha ha. But something tells me that I should just do it!, ya know, for bragging rights. Now everyone would have you believe the only way to train for an endurance event is LSD. My fast-twitch fiber being revolts against this idea.

The answer came to me this past Saturday at a certification where I got to meet endurance athletes who train a whole different way. Enter CrossFit Endurance training where you concentrate on training your anaerobic system with the added benefit that it simultaneosly trains your aerobic system (and if someone has ever done Fight Gone Bad you know what I’m talking about). Studies (see here and here for 2 examples) demonstrate that the adaptations caused by anaerobic training are similar to high volume endurance training, however, this adaptation comes at much lower training volumes. Short and intense intervals…hell yeah, I’ll take two please!!!

You may ask yourself, well if this is the end-all-be-all of endurance training, how come more people don’t do it?  Number one, not everyone is built equally. Number two, people generally don’t like intense training. Tell me magic mirror, why are there are a gazillion recreational marathoners in the world but only a few recreational sprinters? Because sprinting is damn hard. In comparison almost anyone with good company and conversation can power through a marathon. He he.

In addition to the CF WODs, I’ll be doing the prescribed CF Endurance training 2 or 3 per week under my coach’s watchful eye (also will be incorporating rest/recovery techniques to keep me healthy and ready). There are plenty of crossfitters who report better times, increased resistance to fatigue, and increased power as a result of the adaptations brought on by the CF WOD and the non-LSD endurance training. Heck there’s the story of this guy who only did the CF WOD regularly. Then one weekend he signed up for a triathlon to go hang out with his friends who were also doing it. Borrowed a mountain bike, threw on his regular pair of ratty shoes, and powered through all the events to place 3rd overall. I bet everyone else in the race must have felt a bit blue!

So I’m giving this type of training a mighty try, San Francisco hills and all. My goal is just to complete the marathon, not to break the sound barrier so don’t be busting balls. LOL. If it works, it would prove to me that LSD is not the whole truth…and also that chocolate is indeed a mighty stimulant. If it doesn’t, it would prove once again that I’m fierce. Just because. LOL.

If Katie Holmes can run it without a bra, how hard can it be? [insert hysterical laughter here]

*For-the-love-of-gawd Disclaimer: Please do not take this post offensively. It was written solely to express the feelings about LSD (not the drug mind you) from the bottom of my heart. You may enjoy LSD and I commend you for your endurance and determination. Now back to me.

to load or not to load?

July 18, 2008

It is a time honored tradition to carb-load with a heaping plate of pasta the night before an endurance event. This has roots in research conducted in the 1960’s. Different studies have been conducted since that shed new light on the body’s utilization of energy during endurance events.

There are three main versions of the standard carb load:

1) The original carb load was developed by Gunvar Ahlborg, a Swedish scientist, in 1967. His theory was to deplete the glycogen (the body’s stored form of carbohydrate) stores prior to the carb load, starting about a week before the event with three days of low carbohydrate intake (about 10% of total calories). Then the next three days was a carbohydrate intake of about 90% of calories with a reduction in exercise intensity.

2) In the 80s, a modified regimen was developed, eliminating the depletion phase and increasing carbohydrates to 70% of intake for three days, also with decreased training. This is the most popular regimen today.

3) In the 90s a new regimen was developed by scientists at the University of Western Australia. This regimen calls for normal diet and light training until the day before the race with a very short, very intense workout and 12g of carbohydrates per kilogram of lean mass for 24 hours.

Activity level has a big impact on how often you need to “carb up”. Someone hammering away at the CrossFit WOD everyday has a higher need for carbs than someone following a standard split-routine of “3 sets, 8-12 reps, chest and triceps”. A sprinter has a higher need for carbs than a distance runner, contrary to what conventional wisdom would have you believe. As a rule, the higher the intensity of the effort, the more you’re tapping into muscle glycogen for fuel rather than fat.

This gets even more complicated when you factor in gender. “Because higher levels of estrogen inhibit carb utilization, women naturally burn more fat and metabolize carbohydrates differently,” points out Karen Dolins, a sports nutrition professor at Teachers College, in a Muscle & Fitness Hers article. “Several studies have shown that women don’t benefit at all from classic carb-loading regimens.” One, in fact, found that men who carb-loaded increased their glycogen stores by 41 percent and improved their cycling performance by 45 percent, while women showed no effects unless, in addition to a high percentage of carbs in their diet, they also ate 30 percent more calories than normal. If your head is not spinning yet, add fluctuating monthly levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones which can affect a woman’s receptivity to carb-loading.

Carb-loading, like nutrition, for performance is a science. All variables must be taken into account for it to work the way you want it to. In other words, eating seven bagels the night before running the marathon is not going to make a difference if you haven’t tweaked your diet and training volume/intensity on the days leading to the event. It might, however, have you stopping at every port-a-potty during the race. 😉

It is not completely clear to me either how eating a huge plate of pasta is expected to only be stored in the form of glycogen in your muscles. The body can only hold so much of it in the liver and muscle cells with all excess being stored as fat.

It is a much better strategy to have a rock solid nutritional foundation. If you eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, the good fats, and lean protein on a consistent basis, you should be able to go out on any given day and knockout any challenge you are presented with. On race day, have a a breakfast of slow releasing carbohydrates like oatmeal with milk and fruits. During the race eat or drink small foods that would keep your blood sugar levels stable and your electrolytes in balance all of which would also prevent you from “hitting the wall.”

And if you can’t veer away from the carb loading tradition for Pete’s sake don’t do pasta (unless you want a side of extra saddlebags that is). Here’s a better substitute: a plate of grilled veggies or sweet potato with a lean protein (chicken, lean steak, fish, etc.). Enjoy!

administrivia: cycle 5

July 16, 2008

This camp thing seems to be a work in progress (much like the presidency of the U.S. LOL). I have been thinking of ways to better the experience for everyone and have come up with the following:

Hell Week and Game Week
These are going away. The objective of training “not to suck at life” is to introduce stimulus that are intense, constantly varied, and which cannot be predicted. As such it is better if you don’t know what’s in store for your daily training. If your mind is not prepared, your body will be “caught by surprise” thus emulating real life, reducing any chances for plateaus, and increasing the overall benefit of your workouts. We’ll still have grueling and fun workouts but you won’t know when they are coming!

Benchmark Workouts
Every cycle we will perform one or more benchmark workouts. These will be repeated throughout the year. Results will be posted in the blog under the training category. By comparing results you will have a chance to gauge your fitness evolution and make changes to your training or diet to achieve different results.

Some cycles will see the awarding of PowerGal and Most Improved Player. Others will have a sort of competition for prize money or a special gift. You won’t know what we are doing until the last day of the cycle when we will either take an onsite vote for the awards or reveal what the terms (workout, points, prizes, etc) of the competition are. Again, routine is the enemy and I’d like to keep your mind “on its toes” too!

I will be sending each of you a Paypal invoice with your dues for cycle 5. This is just a convenient and secure way of paying electronically by credit card or bank account even if you don’t have or want a Paypal account. If you wish you can still pay by check on the first day of the cycle (in which case, please ignore the invoice).