Saturday, March 27, 2010


Jackie Daniels, MVP

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sprint Club

Well Gang, after reading about all the benefits of intermittent sprinting and doing a bit on my own, I've decided to start a "chicago area sprint club".  I mentioned this to my massage therapist, Catt, over at Dr. Steve Bourdage's Chiropractic Office (he's a fellow CrossFitter and awesome chiro.  Oh and a fabulous guy). She was interested in creating a Meetup Group.  Today was our first meeting.  I get to handle the workout.

Sadly, no one showed up.  Even Catt didn't sprint today as she was waiting in a different location in the park. Deep sigh.  I did the entire exercise alone.  It was good practice.   

An important part of any workout: intermittent, extended, intense - whatever - is the warm up.  One has to get those muscles warmed up for the work they are about to perform.  I also wanted to incorporate some Central Nervous System Priming (CNS priming).  Essentially doing movements that put our brains on notice that they need to put out soon and in a big way.  CNS priming is still the wild, wild west of fitness.  But I think there is a lot to be said about it, regardless of what is known.  It's not dangerous to prime the CNS so I decided to try it and log what I find.

Back to Sprint Club - we've had some gorgeously warm weather here in Chicago - upper 60s.  That is, until yesterday, when we received a solid inch of beautiful snow!  Yes, snow.  The crocuses were coming up nicely but now they are frosted.   It was about 40 degrees this afternoon and I'll bet many people didn't show due to the weather.   I love snow and don't mind the cold, if I dress for it.  So Sprint Club continued.  I'm hardy.  Here's the joy that you missed:

I did a light jog, followed by 3 rounds of:
10 thigh high step ups (each leg)
10 push ups on same step
10 sec duck walk with a log (*CNS prime)
10 jumps with log (*CNS prime)

I found the logs at a park district with lots of woods.  This city girl carefully scaped off the slugs, spiders and rolly polly bugs.  You're welcome. Then for good measure, I covered the logs in old towels with duct tape.  No bugs allowed to escape into someone's hair.  Not on my watch.  

A few log jump squats for good measure and I was ready to sprint!  I cranked out the first one at lightening speed. The ground was pretty squishy from the melted snow, but speed was not my concern.  Maximum power output was the objective.  Go strong!  I found a nice path where I'd get muddy but not wet.   I walked back and waited until complete rest. This was the hard part.  I wanted to go- go - go.  I timed the rest for good measure.  Then went again.  This was easy. My lungs did not burn. But I felt my legs were moving faster than I could handle.  Almost out of control.  Great!

Resting between sprint 2 and 3 I realized - no one showed up - not even the technical organizer.  I consulted the Meetup listing via iPhone during a rest period.  I was supposed to meet the other organizer on the corner.  Woops, I was between the playgrounds.  So I sprinted over there, using the concrete path.  Wow, it was like I was a cheetah leaving a streak of fire in my wake.  10 seconds on fire!  A passeryby smiled.  No one on the corner.  I walked and sprinted back to my workout area and finished up. 

Overall, it was a GREAT day to sprint.  The soft earth made for an excellent training ground. I wasn't concerned about what others thought. I even felt a little uppity when seeing other joggers passby. I wanted to convince them to sprint with me!  But I had to keep my head to the wind, so to speak.  

There you have it folks, the humble beginnings of my sprint club on a sunny but cold Spring day in Chicago. More in two weeks!  Special thanks to all of you who RSVPd or left inspiring Facebook messages. I will see you next time!  But, so you know, it will be different.  Come with coffee to occupy you during the breaks.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Blog Roll -PaNu is a blog written by Dr. Kurt Harris. One focus of the blog is epigenetics:  how outside factors effect gene expression (food, exercise, pollution, etc).  And specifically how one's diet effects gene expression hence overall health. 

A simple example of epigenetics is during pregnancy, obstetricians mandate that preggo moms take at least 1200mg of Folic Acid daily to prevent spinal bifida.  Folic Acid being the agent affecting the genetic expression of the gene that makes one's spinal cord come out straight as opposed to crooked.  

PaNu is one of the paleo nutrition blogs that I read and enjoy.  It can be science-y. Dr. Harris is a pracitcing medical doc with a personal interest in this stuff.    His lastest blog post is a great one.  He really outdid himself with the metaphor.  Anytime a scientists comes up with such an effective metaphor for a complex biological system, he must be given high praise.  So snaps to him.  Check it out here.   

One thing is sure:  our bodies, metabolism, gene expression, etc are NOT linear.  They do not things in a specific order everytime.  It's not a chaotic system.  I don't know how it is organized really, but the more I read and learn, the more that comes to light for me regarding food:  Fake food is not nutrition.  And after eating whole foods (even non organic ones, etc) I feel so much better.  And look better too.  More on that later.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Beck 1, Quasi broken washer via clogged P-trap - 1

My clothes washer was not completely spinning the water out of the clothing.  I'd set it back to spin and the clothes would get spun out ok.  I kept an eye on it and this was a recurrent problem.  I also noticed that the old cement utility sink that the washer drains into, emptied slow.  I tested it.  Yes, extremely slow.  But eventual.  My diagnosis was that the washer wasn't the problem. The water was backing up into the washer's drain house not allowing the water to fully drain from the washer.  

I started with the drains.  Cleared out some lint.  Ran boiling hot water down the drains to clear out any detergent residue.  Poured in liquid Drano and let it sit for an hour.  Rinsed.  Nada.  Clogged up.  Time to go in boys. 

Brandishing one big red, monkey wrench, I put all my CrossFit physique had to loosen those bushings.  But I got it. Oy, now I know why plumbers are big; they've gotta be strong to get everything loosened up.  Sure enough, big ol' clog in the P-trap.  Yeah, it was lint and everything else.  Ew.  Gratifyingly unclogged it.  But now the bushings don't want to work.  Cross threading commences. Patient unwrenching, wrenching, crossthreading.  It wasn't working. I swear I couldn't NOT crossthread it.  I had to replace the whole P-trap.  Grrr. 

It's 10pm and the kids are in bed.  I can't leave them in the house alone. So I'm stuck with an open drain.  It's just wrong to leave it like that.  It demands a run to home depot. I'm goal oriented!  Luckily my stash of stuff from rehabbing this place 10 years ago revealed a part that would fit with reused parts from the old P-trap (this is the old plumbing portion of the house after all.  It's not Jerry-rigged nor McGyver'd mind you.  It's just creatively solved).  I got it to a point where it didn't leak.  Or so I thought.  

I was feeling victorious after suffering thru manual labor, gross extractions, copious kid interruptions and a parts-related mini-panic.  Feeling brave, the next step was to do a load of wash!  Smart girl that I am, I ran a small load.  I put a bucket under the new P-trap.  Listening for the deluge, I ran downstairs to find that the new P-trap was indeed leaking.  Fortunately into the bucket.  Irony is that I could dump the water from the bucket that caught the drain leakage, into the sink from where it just came - without any leaks.  The P-trap can handle water from the tap, but the deluge from the washer was too much (this is an extra small load too).  

So I call it a night, only to find that the cold water on the faucet is now leaking.  Grr.  Nice brass bushings, coated in years of tarnish come off,  I apply some teflon tape, reattach and viola! Fixed for now. 

Tomorrow is another day.  One where I find a handyman or plumber to solve this problem, correctly. 

In the meantime, I have an awesome battery operated crescent wrench that loosens and tightens with a the push of a button.  Unfortunately I couldn't use it in this application.  But I'll be fixing up the girls' bikes in no time.  Good tools are fun (except the human variety).

I'm calling it a night.  11pm.  The girls are still up.  I'll be seeing Midnight tonight after all is said and done.  Hopefully soon after it will be with my eyes shut.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Skiing in Gaylord, MI

Scroll down my blog to read about Anstee girls' ski bonanza.

I disabled my Facebook account to reclaim time. It's working. But I
miss the ease in posting photos- blog light!

Ais getting towed

By Ranger Bob. So cute

Indi at ski school

First time downhill in group lesson. Lasted entire lesson (2 hrs).
Hilarious watching her tiny self try to grab hold of the tow rope. But
she got it. Her teacher, Shannon, worked so hard teaching Indi. More
skiing later. Hooray for centrally located bunny hills so both girls
were in close proximity.

Ais skis for the first time

I forked out tall cash for 3.5 y.o Ais. Her instructor "Bob" had big,
clear blue eyes and a mustache. I knew she was in good hands. Too
bad she lasted only 15 minutes. Go Ais a base!!

Ski bunnies to Arctic Mermaids

Indi and Ais loving the entrance to the outdoor pool. All kids, as of
right now are swimming outside. Cool Crazies!

Winter swimming

After a new, raucaus morning of alpine ski lessons , indi unwinds in
classic fashion. In the pool and hot tub! The heated pool has a door
that goes outside. Indi and Ais thought this was awesome! Me too!
They didn't think much of the spooky, foggy steamroom, but I loved
getting my sweat on while merely sitting and inhaling deeply.

Background: I bought a weekend, inclusive package off of someone on
Craigslist. $600 package for two hundy. This resort is extremely
family friendly. No drunken singles or college kids. A safe place. The
girls were so disappointed that we couldn't go to our fav spot in
warm, sunny AZ. Too broke. But creative alternatives are working
great! They love it here and enjoyed the 6 hr drive (and leaving
school early on a Friday). Simple living

Anstee Girls' Super Awesome Roadtrip

Me and the girls are headed to northern Michigan for some ski and
swim. 6 hour drive and we made it. The girls were fabulous!

Hotel at Treetops resort has a heated indoor pool that goes outdoors.
It on the list right after ski school! Stay tuned