Food Find, May 29th


It does a body good.


If you don't eat it, you're just plain silly.

I could copy and paste all sorts of facts and figures, pontificate about how eating fat doesn't make you fat, pretend that I actually understand all the science behind it. But I won't. Instead I'll tell you that if fat-free versions of out favorite foods were the answer to our growing obesity problem, we'd have no obesity problem.

So I'm working on becoming comfortable with the F- word. It's not easy - we've been estranged for a very long time (anyone remember the fat-free snackwell cookie when it first came out?). But anything worthwhile is worth working on.

Fat. Go eat it. I dare you ;)

The New Black

Chances are, you're missing out. I'm not sure on what, just that it's likely there's something interesting right underneath your nose - you only have to look for it.

And I'm not getting all philosophical or sappy on you either :) Really look around on your next trip anywhere - I'm sure that there's a restaurant you hadn't noticed, a new store, heck - even a person.

For the past few years, people have mentioned that they run in a local park. Just a short path, they said. String a few repetitions together to get some decent mileage, a nice local run. In all that time, I'd never made it out there to check it out.

On Monday, I took my dog there. And found TRAILS. Sure, they were short. But I followed the white blaze, the red blaze, the blue blaze...running through the woods with my dog, coming upon the odd runner and some deer. Making random turns, knowing that someone's backyard was never more than a short jog away.

It's not the same as tackling the Long Path, but it's the next best thing.

So open your eyes, look past the familiar, and find yourself the new black.

If my head wasn't attached to my neck...

Cross your "T"s, dot your "I"s and remember to hit "Save Now" or "Publish Post". Once you've done that, DOUBLE CHECK that your smartly written, somewhat humorous and always pertinent blog article has indeed saved, and is scheduled to post the next day.

That's the lesson for today, as I seem to have learned the hard way.

It's a lesson that carries over to the real world as well (I know, I know - what is there but the internet really?)...but I digress.

Most of us operate on good intentions. Speaking for myself, I know that I certainly do. But sometimes it's the little careless errors that throw us off course (or in my case today, off schedule). Booking airfare for the wrong week (well, it was the week we went last year - sue me), putting the RSVP into your bag and forgetting to actually mail it, writing down the wrong start time for an audition - you name it, I've done it.

Over the years I've learned that the only way for me to stay on track is to double check everything, and then check again. Yes, it's tedious. But, it's better than having to either explain your transgressions to your friend who is getting married and wonders why you haven't RSVP'd, or paying the finance charge on your credit card.

I'm the same way with my training programs and schedules. I always check in the a.m., then again on my way out to the door, and a final check before I'm about to actually train or run. When you put a lot of time into programming, it really is no fun to realize that you did the entirely wrong workout that day.

Not a huge deal, mind you - but a royal pain in the ass :)

So I'm making a list and checking it twice.

Not to mention hitting SAVE NOW and then publishing this babbling ;)

Tuesday's Tip, May 26th

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results - Albert Einstein (attributed)

Monsters and Mortals, Lisa Vaught

This past weekend, Lisa competed in the CrossFit Northeast Qualifiers in Albany.


WOD 1:
As Many Rounds as Possible in 12 Minutes of:
5 Thrusters 135 Men / 95 Women
10 Burpees

6 rounds, 5 thrusters

WOD 2:
ROW 2000 Meters on the Concept 2 Rower


Going into Sunday's final WOD, Lisa was in 7th place!

Sunday's WOD:
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 3, 2, 1 Reps
of the following triplet for time:
Power Cleans (155/105)
Pull-ups (C2B)
KB Swings (1.5pood/1pood)

Lisa is currently recuperating from her kickin' performance at the Qualifiers, so I have yet to find out the final standing. While she didn't wind up squeezing two girls out in order to place in the top 5, she's still my hero:)

Watch out in 2010 - Lisa is definitely a Monster, and a force to be reckoned with!

Lisa! Lisa, Lisa bo Bisa Bonana fanna fo Fisa mee my mo Misa Lisa!

Today I just want to take a moment of your time to tell you about my friend Lisa.

She is uber cool.

She is very smart.

She is incredibly pretty.

She throws a mean dinner party.

She is also fabulously strong, especially overhead - and has beat my ass consistently for the past year.

The only thing I can do better than her with any surety is run very far. So, if she were to chase me with a butcher's knife, I could probably run her ragged and force her to give up. Unless of course, she catches me before that happens.

I should rethink my escape plan.

Have fun at the NE Qualifiers, Lisa :)

You can follow Lisa's performance on the Northeast Qualifier's Website.

Platform Nine and Three Quarters

Getting back on track after a vacation is never easy. Trust me, I should know. I've been back for two (full) days and I've yet to get back into the swing of things :) Kept up with my "Sit Up and Count Down" to Jamaica, but I've yet to pick up my beloved barbell, or hop on my happy treadmill.

But the detour is merely temporary. I've simply got to get my hands on an updated schedule and find out which track my train will be departing from.

I'm currently working on an improved training plan with some very intelligent coaches, as well as shaking up the balance of what goes into my mouth. It's time to step it up and get on back on board.

I should probably steer clear of the Cafe Car....

Big Apple Bites

It's time to leave the world of vacation and rejoin the real world. Today we fly back to New York and by tomorrow morning, it's back to business!

I have a lot of catching up to do - my barbell has been sitting lonely in my living room, the treadmill is gathering dust, and my pull up bar is suspended in time. It will be a pleasure to reacquaint myself with their charms. This week, my physical activity has been limited to sit-ups, a Stripper 101 class, yesterday's hikes and holding myself on the bike. I can't wait to move!

My kitchen also holds a lot of allure - as much as I've enjoyed not cooking and cleaning, it's time to get back to basics. Even doing my best to choose healthful items (with only 3 real indulgences all week) from the menus (without going crazy), I feel sluggish by now. I would love to spend a week drowning in yogurt, crunching on vegetables and noshing on fruit.

Vacation. 89 days until the next one :)

Rewind to: Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers

This morning we're leaving the Grand Canyon, and heading to Zion National Park in Utah. We'll be there tomorrow (ATV tour!) and hopping on board the motorcycles for the return trip to Vegas on Sunday. Monday we head back to NY, and by Tuesday it's business as usual. Sigh.

Today, I'm wearing lipstick. Full on, opaque lipstick. Not gloss, not Chapstick, not lip stain - Lipstick.

I don't have an audition. Not seeing any clients. Just wearing lipstick.

Now you may be wondering if (and why) that's a big deal. Truth be told, it probably isn't particularly newsworthy :) But considering that I am generally a wash and wear kinda girl - it's way out of the norm for me. I think my objection to makeup is a cross between being lazy, and some sort of spiteful reaction to being a conformist. Why should I have to wear makeup to be beautiful, right? Eh, I'm sure it has more to do with the lazy factor (and my close relationship with the snooze button).

OK - I hear you - get to the point!

Yesterday morning I was running late getting myself out of the door. I showered, threw on my gym clothes, wrapped my head in a bandana and walked out the door. I was clean, had brushed my teeth, was heading to the gym - all keeping in line with "scrubbing behind my ears".

But I still felt icky. I was cranky. Really, really cranky.

As I glimpsed my reflection in the mirror at the gym, I realized it was because I just didn't like how I looked. Not in a body image sort of way, or because I didn't like my gym outfit. But because I hadn't taken any time for myself that morning. I rushed through my morning, did the bare minimum of prep (cleanse and clothes) and just bolted.

So I'm wearing lipstick. This morning I woke up, showered, dressed and put the face on. I'm still a less-is-more woman, so there really isn't much of a difference between my naked face and my made-up visage. But I'm dressed now, head to toe.

And I really do feel better.

Please don't misunderstand me - I am in no way suggesting that all women should feel compelled to get painted up every time they leave the house. No need to invest in long wearing makeup that can take the heat of a killer WOD. Frankly, that's just a waste of money and makeup ('cause nothing can withstand a WOD like Eva).

What I am proposing is this; if you find yourself feeling off kilter, icky, cranky or just plain down and out for no real, tangible reason - explore your little morning rituals. Shake it up. If you're a sneaker girl, throw on a pair of boots. Granny panties? Go wild and try some hi-cut briefs. Jeans and a T? Throw on a cropped zipper hoodie, or a casual blazer.

Or if you're a Chapstick girl - go wild and paint your lips.

Channel the inner's OK. You're still bad ass.

Rewind to: Don't Forget to Scrub behind your Ears

Today is all about the Grand Canyon River Adventure. I hate to say it, but getting in today's sit-ups is going to be tough :)

I hate leaving the house un-showered or, heaven forbid without brushing my teeth (hey, don't judge me- it happens!). Occasionally, my socks don't match. And, I'll admit that I've even left home wearing an outfit primed for a spot on the worst dressed list (that's what I get for not owning a full length mirror). Obviously these are things that happen under extenuating circumstances - hitting snooze one time too many, tax season exhaustion leading to extreme mental fog, cruddy lighting in the bedroom, misplaced fashion sense. But when they do happen, the occurrence is rarely (if ever) repeated the following day. I mean, who in their right mind would purposefully set themselves up to feel icky? Again?

Little things, that when overlooked, can completely set your day on end. Now, being intelligent people, we take pains to avoid sabotaging our day with something completely in our control. Right?

Well, let's look at this past week. Training partner was out of town. I had the best of intentions to continue along without her, following the CF main site and getting some runs in. Got sick, didn't train for 9 days. 9 days! My training partner returned, and with her came my mojo. Going to the gym was no longer an option - it was a scheduled, non-negotiable portion of my day (even when solo). Planned the evening before, and adhered to.

Light bulb moment - no matter what the workout was, or how I performed, I felt better after training. Alternatively, when I got sidetracked and didn't make it to the gym or for a run, I felt icky. Which begs the question - if I know that I feel icky when I'm (for lack of a better word) lazy, why do I allow those days to happen? Repeatedly?

There is no reason that I can't make time to train every single day that I plan to. I may have to alter my workout to accommodate time constraints that are beyond my control, but I should be able to squeeze something in, whether it be some KB swings, a quick run, or some body weight exercises. Without fail. No excuses.

Remember - shower, brush your teeth, check the mirror and be flexible with your training plans. You many have to short, go body weight, heck - even Body Sculpt with Gilad. But get the training in.

Just don't be icky.

Rewind to: Crab Cakes

Today we pick up the motorcycles and head to the Grand Canyon, with a stop at the Hoover Dam!

At the tail end of an email I recently received, a very wise man I know made mention of a particular phenomenon that I was previously unaware of - crab mentality. His explanation follows:
  • Crab mentality – Have you ever been to a fish market? If so, you must have noticed that crabs are always sold live, but the strange thing is, the container they are in, is kept wide open, without the lid. Now you will think that crabs with their mobility will escape, but they do not. Why? Because a crab will always pull down a fellow crab which is climbing up, thus none ever reaches the top, and they all eventually become someone's dinner…"
Intrigued, I went to the all powerful and all knowing Wikipedia:
  • Crab mentality describes a way of thinking best described by the phrase "if I can't have it, neither can you." The metaphor refers to a pot of crabs in which one tries to escape over the side, but is relentlessly pulled down by the others in the pot.
  • This term is broadly associated with short-sighted, non-constructive thinking rather than a unified, long-term, constructive mentality. It is also often used colloquially in reference to individuals or communities attempting to "escape" a so-called "underprivileged life", but kept from doing so by those others of the same community or nation attempting to ride upon their coat-tails or who simply resent their success.
Wow. And all along, I was simply referring to people like this as assholes.

I'm proud to say that I currently have no one in my life that exhibits these characteristics, friend or family. It's taken a long time, but these days I'm surrounded by people who want nothing more than for me to succeed in anything and everything I do. And I feel the same way about their endeavors. I'm proud that I can look to all of my friends and know that regardless of where we are individually in our careers, we can feel joy and pride for those of us who are excelling (in the entertainment industry, that's no small feat!).

Athletically, I am similarly supported (ah, if only I were creative enough to have worked the phrase "athletic supporter" into this post). From the moment I began running (and more recently with CrossFit), I've experienced nothing but camaraderie and support from all of the people I train with. Through good runs and bad, PRs and injuries - no one has ever tried to tear me down. Instead, I am constantly presented with the building blocks to create a stronger, healthier Divaleh.

I wonder then, why some people are content to remain in that pot, constantly being pulled back down into the fray. Is it because on some level, they don't feel as though they deserve better? Or is it easier to blame their lack of success on someone else's sabotage, rather than take the responsibility upon their own shoulders?

Whatever it is, I hope that someday I'll be in a position to give them a leg up.

Of course, at just under 5' tall, that might not be much of a boost. But it's a start.

"Crab mentality." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 14 Jun 2008, 01:06 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 24 Jun 2008

Rewind to: Asleep at the Wheel

Viva Las Vegas! And, "Stripper 101" at 3 pm.

I see all sorts of crazy things on my drive into the city every day. Drivers eating oatmeal from a mug with a spoon (leaving how many hands on the wheel?), drivers reading the newspaper while going roughly 60 mph, drivers putting on makeup (mascara wand + eyeball + my extreme desire to hit you from behind = bad news), drivers using a hot curling iron near their forehead....the list goes on and on.

But this morning, I saw something that completely took the cake.

There we were, slowly inching towards the tolls for the GWB. In the lane beside us, there was a car just sitting, not advancing forward when the cars in front had moved. As we approached along side, I glanced over, expecting to see either a reader or a beauty queen.

She was sleeping.

After much honking, she finally rolled forward - only to close her eyes again once she caught up to the cars in front of her. This cycle went on until the final merge.

Aside from the obvious incredulousness of witnessing someone actually napping with their foot on the brake, seeing her sleep during her commute got me thinking: how many of us construct a training plan and then operate on autopilot? I know that I have been guilty of this on occassion - if it's written down on my calendar, then that's what I do. Period. End of discussion.

But is that an intelligent way to train?

I don't know about you, but I'm fairly certain that my body has no idea that Monday is Monday and Saturday is Saturday. It doesn't know that 7 days is a week and that in x amount of time I should have gotten y seconds faster or z percent stronger. It doesn't know that Thursdays are interval runs and Saturdays are long runs. Those are my calendar days, my impositions on that time. Generally, it all works out just fine and my body is on the same page as my calendar. But occassionally, it's just not going to happen. It's easy to try to force it - to stick to the planned workout. Lift heavy on a heavy lifting day. Run fast and furious on an interval workout day. But is it really going to get you the most out of your workout?

As athletes, only we know our bodies. We need to learn to listen to them - oftentimes they can tell us a hell of a lot. If you go out for that interval run and those 400s are harder than they should be (not just hard, but harder to the point that you know something is off) - maybe turn that run into a tempo run, or fartleks. If you approach the bar intending to lift heavy and it's just not happening, dial down the weight and take the time to work form.

The same goes for workouts that other people design for you - sometimes they just don't make sense for what you want/need. Take, for example, the recent workout post on 5 rounds for time: 25 inverted burpees, 25 pull-ups, 25 burpees. One hell of a workout if you can do all the components as rx'd, in a space that is equipped to handle however many people you're working out with. But if you can't do an inverted burpee, or even come close to doing the separate components well enough to piece one together - does it make sense to do the workout as written? There is no shame in modifying a workout to get the most out of it that you can - or just not doing it and opting to do something else. I attempted the workout above with a modified ivnverted burpee, and with a smaller rep scheme. What I really should have done was take the day to work skills - pull-ups and handstands, and gotten a met-con workout somewhere else. Intsead I got a sore tush and crick in my neck from poorly executed rolls :)

I am in no way advocating that you avoid the things you don't like to do, or wuss out on the ones that you find the hardest to get through. Merely that we need to occasionally take a step back, observe, and be mindful of what our bodies are really capable of doing on that given day.

In the end, we get far more out of a well executed workout that is less intensive than we would out of a forced workout that drains an already empty tank. Aside from the obvious mental strain of a bad workout, if you push your body on an off day the chances of being ready for another hard workout anytime soon are slim. Pull back today so you can surge forward tomorrow.

Use pencil when you program your workouts, and be flexible. And carry a good eraser.

Rewind to: The Sun Deck, 12 Laps per Mile

Today, I fly out to Las Vegas to begin my vacation! On tap for today - some good Vegas debauchery! Penny slots are my favorite way to pass the time, particularly the "I Dream of Jeannie", and the one with the Taxicabs!

Last year's post tax season vacation took me out to the other coast, and as always I debated the likelihood of actually working out:

As I sit here in my living room, my new 80's haircut saturated with Manic Panic Vampire Red and wrapped in a Duane Reade bag, I am going over the list of things I still need to pack for vacation.

Do I pack my running gear?

Every trip begins the same, with the best intentions to continue some semblance of my daily routine. And I really do have the best intentions. Really. I do. But in the end I rarely, if ever, lace up my sneakers and go for a run.

It's not because I'm lazy or unmotivated (most of the time). Generally, it's because I feel guilty. Guilty that I'm taking time away from spending time with the boy. He's such a good sport about all my early morning runs, the weekend runs and the races out of town. We spend so little time together at home, how do I walk away from him on our vacation?

I will pack my sneakers. I will pack the mp3 player. I will pack my best intentions and place them beside my Bodyglide and sunblock. I'd love for this next week to be a change of scenery rather than an upheaval of routine. But whatever it will be, it is first and foremost an opportunity to spend time with someone I love.

And if that means my sneakers languish in solitude, so be it. That may be the price I pay for surf, sun and sipping an umbrella drink with my sweetheart.

Run strong, my friends. Add a mile or so for me :)

Special Birthday Weekend Edition!

This morning, Mr. Diva gave me the birthday present all girls dream of:

It's the new Rogue Women's Bar, nicknamed the "Bella"!

1) 25MM Diameter

2) Dual Knurling Marks for Olympic and Power Lifting

3) Made with 155K LB PSI tensile strength steel

4) Black Zinc center with Chrome Collars

5) Snap ring construction with bronze bushings

Let the garage gym production begin :)

Next up - plates!

Space, the Final Frontier

Tomorrow this little diva has a birthday! It's my last year in one of those "check here" age brackets, too. 34. And you know what? I feel pretty good about it. Is my life perfect? No. Is my house clean? No. Am I the strongest woman in the world? No.

But I'm the strongest little diva I can possibly be at this very moment. And that's kinda kick ass.

Big things coming up! On Monday I'll be heading out of town for a long awaited vacation with Mr. Diva (it's a 30th birthday trip for him - yes, I like them young). We're heading out to Vegas for 2 days, and then renting motorcycles and riding to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park.

We're also now 99 days out from our Jamaican vacation, and are both doing a sit-up countdown to departure (imagine the Burpee Challenge in reverse, with sit-ups - yes, I'm a dork).

But amidst all of this anticipation, I'm looking forward to living in the beginning moments of this next year of my life. After all, there's no need to wish the time away - it does that very well on it's own. Rather, I'm going to slow down each day and eek as much out if it as I can.

I swear, one of these days I'll figure out how to add those extra hours I so desperately need!

3, 2, 1...Email

As a CrossFit Nomad, I know what it's like to often train alone. But that doesn't mean I have to go uncoached. The internet is a powerful tool. You have a plethora of resources, all you have to do is search. Use it to reach out to the people who can help you achieve your goals.

Don't be shy!

Margie Lempert of CFSBK, coaching me on the Deadlift

Second Pull of the Power Clean:

Photos Courtesy of CrossFit Virtuosity

100 Reasons I run, #91

  • To get far, far away from the turkey vultures that populate the county. Seriously. They are frightening. Really, really, frightening.

Monsters and Mortals, DIY

Step 1: Go to Rip's Basic Barbell Cert.
Step 2: Listen.
Step 3: Learn.
Step 4: Repeat.

  • If you touch a barbell, or are thinking about touching a barbell, GO TO THE CERT.
  • If you think you already know what you're doing and think that you don't need the cert - GO TO THE CERT.
  • If you train anyone, coach anyone, or give unsolicited advice to anyone - GO TO THE CERT.
I truly can't emphasize the value of this 2 day barbell certification course enough. Silly piece of certification paper aside, it was the most informative, worthwhile and practical weekend I could possibly have spent. The fact that this is not required of anyone running an affiliate or coaching CrossFit is shameful. You will come away from this certification with the tools to coach people in the 5 basic strength moves, as well as a deeper understanding of your own current capacity. You may even discover hidden potential.

As for me, I walked away with tattletale shins and knees (I jump FAR too early on my cleans).

To summarize:
  • Grab a copy of Starting Strength and Practical Programming.
  • Go to Rip's Cert.
  • Learn how to to it RIGHT.
  • Get strong.
And maybe, if you work really hard, someday you'll have an enormous neck like John Sheaffer of Greyskull Barbell Club:)

Food Find, May 1st

Came across this site while checking out CrossFit Balboa (which I got to from CrossFit Endurance):

Food Timeline: Food History and Historic Recipes

Apparently, Peanut Butter & Jelly was invented in 1901. Spam and Krispy Kreme in 1937. The seedless watermelon in 1949. And deep fried Coca-Cola in 2006.

How do you deep fry soda??