Sunday, April 27, 2008

for freddy

Before I left California, I was having a really hard time keeping motivated to exercise. I think it was just the plain old stress of moving, school and such. In fact, I find I'm still in that rut. It's weird because I want to exercise. I really do. I love it. Okay. So I don't look like Miss uber-fit chick. But I've also been a firm believer that what you look on the outside isn't necessarily a reflection on what you feel like on the inside. I know a lot of people who many assume are fit, but really aren't. Also, exercise for me is a mind and spirit thing and not necessarily a body thing.

But right now, I'm on Guam and I'm taking my time here as serious vacation time. Part of this break is helping me sort out my health issues and such. So when I get back to Cali, though it will be a struggle, I do plan on focusing on three things (in no particular order): 1) yoga 2) running 3) CrossFit. I think the three provide me a good balance of workouts. I'm always battling my relationship with CrossFit because sometimes it does feel like only the uber-fit are allowed. But I have to remember that patience is the key. If I'm patient, I'll keep my focus and dedication. And that's the thing with me lately. I've lost my patience with my body. But being back home is helping me gain that patience back. It's also helping me learn the value of forgiveness.

And that's the end of that rant.

So rest of the entry is dedicated to my dear old CrossFit coach Freddy. As I mentioned, I'm here on Guam. For those of you who don't realize it, Freddy is actually rooted in Guam. His father's roots are here. In fact, Camacho is quite the distinguished family here. So Freddy, if you're ever interested, it wouldn't take much for you to feel welcome by the locals here because more than likely, they'll know your family.

For those of you who don't know much about Guam, it's a small island in the Pacific. Actually, it's the largest island in Micronesia and if I recall correctly, it's the only rice-eating island in the area as well. I was born and raised here until I was thirteen. My family and I then moved to California and settled in Union City, then Fremont (however, I went to high school in Union City). This is the first time in almost twenty years that I've been back. It's beautiful here and the weather is usually in the 80s with cooler nights. The beaches are phenomenal because the water is blue and clear. Though tourism is big here, it doesn't have that over-crowded feeling that you get when you're in Oahu. For the most part, people are friendly and the fiestas are unlike anything you've ever experienced. (Ahem. On Guam, when you go to a fiesta, you don't pay. The locals will kindly feed you for free. The food here is unlike anything you've ever had. I say it's the love and pride people put into the food. It's Guam hospitality. Naturally, it helps if you're thankful and don't harass the locals and stuff). Needless to say, I'm glad to be home after all these years.

A note to all you CrossFitters: As far as I know, there is no CrossFit here yet. I assume that will change in the next few years when the island becomes over-populated with the military folk. Um, if you're on the Zone diet, I'm not sure the local fare would work with you. Perhaps some kelaguen and BBQ sans the red rice will do it. You'll have to bring your own veggies. (Brad, I know what you're thinking: How the hell can you have kelaguen without the red rice?! Yeah. I know.) Though CrossFit isn't here yet, there is a Krav Maga studio that I hear is located near one of the military bases. Also, ultimate fighting is a total thing here, so there are various Jiu-Jitsu and other martial arts studios here. Of course, because the beaches are so scenic, running is a thing. In fact, I did a 5K walk with my cousin yesterday just because I wanted to see more of the island's capital.

Your typical Fiesta plate... If you ever visit here and you're lucky enough to go to a village fiesta, one of the things you'll have to learn is the art of filling your plate. Before I go into detail about that, you should know what a fiesta is. On most weekends, one of the villages will hold a fiesta. A fiesta is when the village gets together and has one big party. These parties usually entail A LOT of food. I'm talking enough food to send you into a major food coma plus enough for you to take home and then some! Seriously. There are usually 3-4 six foot long tables that run down an area and it's filled with food: red rice, kelaguen (usually chicken, but sometimes beef, seafood, spam, etc.), breadfruit, yucca, shrimp patties, potato salad, sashimi, tamales giso, the best BBQ you've ever had, various seafood dishes, ham, turkey, roasted pig, lumpia (at least two varieties), pancit (about 2-4 varieties), various American comfort food (depending on whether or not someone in the village knows how to cook it), the list goes on. If you're vegetarian, you kind of SOL. You won't find a lot of vegetarian-friendly dishes at fiesta because on Guam, vegetarians are people who don't eat land animals. That's why the seafood is there. Somewhere off to the side there's a drink station (water, sodas, beer) and 1-2 more tables of dessert. The fare usually consists of local food along with Asian and American food. Oh, and did I mention that this food is free?!

When you go to fiesta, you're most likely going to be greeted by a local who will welcome you into their village. Again, be nice. Because if you're not, the locals will handle you. You don't want to know what I mean by "handle you."

Filling your plate... You just have to know how to pile. If you look closely at the plate, the rice and starches are tucked away at the bottom, followed by the meat in the middle, then topped with whatever is wrapped (in this case, tamales giso; but it could be steamed fish in banana leaf - you get the picture). In the event you suck at filling your plate, no worries. There's enough food to go around for seconds, thirds and so on. In fact, it would be rude to the locals if you didn't go back for more. They might even re-fill your plate for you or drag you back to the food. Filling you plate is also an important skill for when you pack food to go. Again, you need to do this. In fact, you'll want to do this because the food is so damn good. Dessert is another trip that again, consists of local fare such as latiya, heavenly delight, pumpkin turnovers and various Filipino, Asian and American fare. (I had to skip dessert during this fiesta because I felt like falling over because I was so full; that meal so deserved a "Michael").

Another note: I know many of you haven't heard of this food. If you ask nicely, I may invite you to my next family party just so you can have a sampling of this. Ahem. If you ask nicely...

In my totally biased opinion, Guam has some of the greatest beaches. The water is so clear and blue. There isn't a lot of surfing because it isn't exactly safe because of all the reefs. There is a lot of boogie boarding and wind surfing though. Also, our sand is nice and nearly white. If you look closely at this photo, my feet are actually under water. I just wanted to give you a sense of how clean it all is. Even our seaweed is pretty. You can imagine my disappointment when I visited my first California beach. From then on, I vowed I'd only "beach it" in the islands. And yes, the water is a lovely temperature. Any workout would be amazing here because it's clean, the weather is nice, and the views are pretty. Come on, who wouldn't want to run 800 meters along a beach?

Yes Freddy. Here's my shameless CrossFit plug for all of you. This was taken at Matapang Beach in the village of Tumon. Cheers! I miss you all and can't wait to come back. A month and counting...

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I admit it. I've been lazy. Since moving to Makati I've hit the gym just once. That's really bad considering I like to go at least four times a week. The Philippine summer has just gotten under my skin. I can sweat buckets just sitting in my living room with no electric fan. I hate that feeling. Walking to the gym is uncomfortable because it's so hot. I feel like I'd handle the heat a lot better if the pollution wasn't so bad. I think that's what makes the heat uncomfortable -that I know I'm getting dirty at the same time. It just makes me feel - EW!

Anyway... I'm on Guam right now. At first, I thought I'd try getting some interviews in and such. However, I've decided that I'm not going to. I haven't been here in almost 20 years and in seven days I need to just soak in being "home." On Saturday there's a 5K race going on. I'm not prepared to run, but I'll walk it with my cousin Dodie while his wife Sol runs the race.

I've been wanting to get into running again - nothing more than a half marathon. I think that's all my body can really take. Besides, I miss the training and the instant tan I get. Though I don't love running, I like what it teaches me. I like how it challenges me.

So to get into the spirit of running, I ordered (and it will be shipped to my sis's house in Cali) the new Nike SportBand. For years I've been debating about getting the ipod nano for the NikePlus capabilities. However, I'm just not a nano person. If you're gonna buy an ipod, I say do the regualr ipod and the shuffle. Call me vain, but when I run, I'm not big on tan marks so one less nano tan mark is just good news to me. For that, I'm all about the shuffle. So yes, I invested in the SportBand (thank heaven it comes with a sensor).

I'm not a Nike shoe fan, but there are attachments you can buy such as the Shoe Pouch so you can use the Nike sensor on non-Nike shoes. Rumor has it that the sensor works best on Nike shoes. But I'm gonna stick to my own Brooks, thanks.

So wish me luck for when I get back. I've decided to be forgiving with my body. To be okay with the exercise I am and am not doing. I think I'm eating better and am maintaining my health as best as I can. I'm just not getting the exercise I want to get in. This is temporary and that's okay. But when I get back to Cali, all that changes. The running resumes. The CrossFit resumes. And I get my fathletics on. Bring it!