Thursday, September 08, 2011

atb2: the thin commandments

I am beyond excited to announce that Darryl Roberts, director of America the Beautiful (ATB) is at it again. This October, Roberts will officially premiere America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments (ATB2). In case you don't remember, I wrote this post about ATB back in 2009. I'm glad that Roberts decided to pursue a follow-up to ATB. While I don't know Roberts personally, I did meet him at a screening and exchanged a few emails with him regarding his films. I consider him a kindred spirit of sorts. If I were a filmmaker, these are the types of films I'd be doing.

ATB2 addresses America's obsession with thinness. For a synopsis of ATB2, go here. It's definitely an issue that is near and dear to my heart, as I firmly believe that fat does not necessarily equal unhealthy and skinny doesn't necessarily equal healthy. Health is way more complex than that. I'm embarrassed for people whose understanding of health is a simplistic as this.

This brings me to a related issue. Recently, I was engaged in a conversation with someone about health and eating. In the course of our conversation, I shared that I've been actively working on changing my eating habits and such. I then admitted that on the road to healthy eating, I eat very little rice (as a Filipino, this deserves some major kudos), noodles, pasta, and bread. Though I follow a mostly primal menu, I still have my fair share of cravings for sweets. In particular, I have a weakness for dark chocolate. Granted, I'm not perfect. I like a sweet every now and again and as you may know, I'm a cupcake girl - especially with good company. There are different ways of understanding food. On one hand, food can be seen as fuel. On the other, food is part of a greater social experience. As an island girl, I have absolutely no objections to this second point. However, with my old age and state of health, I just can't have desserts the way that I used to. These days, I can literally feel my body swell with certain foods (especially anything cake-y or bread-y or rice-y or noodle-y or pasta-y). Though challenging at times, I try to monitor my sweet intake. As I was mentioning this, I was actually kind of proud of myself because compared to three years ago, I eat WAY less sweets and processed foods.

In this conversation about health and eating, this person proceeded to accuse me of being a junkie, and declared that I am addicted to sweets - especially dark chocolate. She then said that if I truly cared about my health, I needed to learn to handle my addiction.

(shaking head while resisting every urge to grab a machete to violently chop someone's head off) W.T.F. Really? ME? A junkie-dark chocolate-addict? Whoa.

Technically, I should brush this off my shoulders. For some reason, I can't. When she accused me of being a junkie, she made me feel like a half ton misanthrope who spends her nights alone in a corner hating life while diving in head first into vat of ice cream while violently chomping on an array of fast food from KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut. She made me feel like a heartless barbarian who would give up a member of her own family for a slice of cheesecake. She made me feel like my eating habits are so out of control that I need to be locked up in an institution because I'm such a menace to society.... In short, she made me feel ugly and that I deserved to be a fat.

According to, the definition of addiction is as follows: the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. For the record, I can assure you (and this person) that my days and weeks without dark chocolate or sweets does not cause me or anyone around me "severe trauma." Further, I'm not enslaved by my occasional desire for sweets or dark chocolate. While food addiction may be a reality for some, I'm positive that I do not fall in that category. Just because I value food and happen to be fat, doesn't mean I have an uncontrollable addiction to it.

Perhaps food isn't the issue at all. While I can't easily change someone's ignorant views on food and health. I can certainly be mindful and keep better company...

Monday, September 05, 2011

taubes on oz

Hello September! (Yes, I know it's a little late.) Apologies for lagging on the blogging. Things have been hectic, as I enter yet another phase in my life....

For starters, I re-located and now live in not-so-sunny South San Francisco. This means a few things: (1) I had to suspend my One World membership because I can't figure out how to commute to the gym (plus, my car is about twelve years old and can barely handle the current commute I put it through). (2) I miss my One World family! (3) For the time being, I'm going to have to Globo Gym it for a while.

Before you judge or make fun, I will say that the Globo Gym I signed up for is quite nice. There are LOTS of classes and I'll be taking advantage of their spin, kettlebell, yoga, dance, and bootcamp courses. They also have several CrossFit-esque classes, which should be interesting. Also, I kinda miss just walking into a gym and doing whatever. I'll let you know how it goes:)

Outside of personal stuff, did any of you catch Gary Taubes on Dr. Oz recently?! In case you didn't know, Gary Taubes is the author of Why We Get Fat and Good Calories, Bad Calories, two books that are staples in anyone's paleo/primal book collection. He's also written a few major articles in the New York Times: What If It's All Been a Big Fat Lie and Is Sugar Toxic? The Dr. Oz segment is quite entertaining. The title of the segment alone should draw you in: The Man Who Thinks Everything Dr. Oz Says is Wrong. Why yes. My interest is piqued. If yours is too, here are links to the segments.

 The Man Who Thinks Everything Dr. Oz Says is Wrong: Part I
 The Man Who Thinks Everything Dr. Oz Says is Wrong: Part II
 The Man Who Thinks Everything Dr. Oz Says is Wrong: Part III
 The Man Who Thinks Everything Dr. Oz Says is Wrong: Web exclusive!

Admittedly, I have some strong feelings about the segment, which I'll cover at another time. For now, I'll let you know that Taubes did indeed take a cholesterol test. His blog post about it is here.

I participated (very slowly) at last week's Giant Race.
FINALLY, in a previous post, I mentioned that I was participating on a "Road to the Half" challenge, where I would commit to some kind of exercise for 30 minutes everyday starting September 1st. Well, I failed miserable on the first two days. However, by September 3rd, I went right on track. Here's my progress so far:

9/1: No workout
9/2: No workout
9/3: Rowing/Biking at Globo-Gym
9/4: Run 10 miles
9/5: Stretching to recover from 10 mile run

Notes (to myself) about this workout:
Regarding the 10 mile run, I conquered it in two segments: a 4 mile run and a 6 mile run back to back. For breakfast, I had Canadian bacon and a slice of cheese for my pre-run workout. After the first four miles, I was POOPED and wasn't sure I could continue. However, the SO bought me a luna protein bar and some sharkies. For long runs, I'm used to having snacks like that to sustain energy. I'm not sure how paleo diets go with endurance runs. From this weekend, I can honestly say that I do need a piece of fruit or snack to keep me going. No. nuts and beef jerky don't quite do the trick. I say this because when I did the Giant Race, which was a few weeks ago, it was only a 5K and I was knocked out for the afternoon. However, when I did this 10 miler with a few snacks, I could continue with no problem. Also, when I came home, I didn't conk out for the rest of the afternoon (unlike I did with my previous 8 miler and the 5K). Hmmm... Will have to see what Mr. Cordain says about nutrition and endurance sports. I'll also have to look up some things about endurance athletes and paleo eating.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

more news

Many thanks to Miss Gladys for this article. Recently, a new study was published claiming that even obese people can be healthy. Here's another link you can look at about that same study. In short, the research shows, "the mortality rate of fat people who had no or only minor obesity-related health problems (such as high blood pressure or diabetes) was no higher than that of lean people." Dr. Jennifer L. Kuk, lead author of the study states: "I think this is a common notion, that if you are overweight you are unhealthy and that if you are skinny you are healthy," she told CBS News. "What people need to realize is that normal-weight people can have diabetes, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular problems."

Today's Small Victories
Any day I can get in a morning run is a good day!

Run 5K

On Sunday I ran 8 miles with Lori.

Notes (to myself) about this workout: Still trying to get back on track and ready for my September challenge!

don't call it a comeback

Hello all!

Yes. It's been ages. I've been off the workout wagon and I need to get back on. Consistently. With that, I'm designing my "Road to the Half" Challenge. Starting September 1st, I'm going to commit to working out at least 30 minutes a day. It can be as intense as running or CrossFit, or as simple as yoga or walking. The idea is to get my butt moving for at least 30 minutes a day (and to spend less time on the computer). The Nike Women's Half Marathon is Sunday, October 16th. That will be the last day of the challenge. After that, I'm going to have to craft a new challenge that prepares me for my next (and likely last) race of 2011, which is the San Francisco Mermaid Run, where I'm running the 10K race. The Mermaid Run happens on Saturday, November 12th. Again, after that race happens, I will post yet another challenge to help me cope with the year-end holidays. Finally, to celebrate 2012, I will again, craft another challenge.

I figure it's good to put goals on paper so that I can be held accountable for my health. Lately, my eating habits have definitely improved and I've lost some weight since joining Chris Stroud's Lean Out program. The progress is slower than I had anticipated, but a lot of it has to do with my level of commitment. I'll do a longer, much more efficient post on Lean Out. For now, if you have questions, you can contact me directly. Better yet, go straight to their site!

Another reason why I'm fully committing is because by 2012, I'd like to get off the Byetta for good. The medication is costing me way too much and frankly, there are a lot of other things I'd like to buy for $80/month (and that's WITH insurance). I like to think I'm on the right path. Though I'm on medications, my blood sugar checks have been the lowest I can remember in a long time. This week, I went as low as in the 80s. Right now, I just need a game plan.

Anyway... Happy Saturday and cheers to better health:)

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

battle of the coconut water

A while back, I dedicated a post to my love of coconut. Later on, I shared my paleo find when I discovered that Trader Joe's carries zico coconut water. Well, after actually tasting the zico product (and finding out that instead of it being actual coconut water as the old label read, it's actually coconut water concentrate; I've only tasted the natural and NOT the other schmancy flavors), I have to say that it's not one of my favorite things. Granted, zico can be found everywhere and it's probably better than gatorade (but don't take my word for it). However, it just doesn't taste that great. But in a pinch, I guess it's okay. I can see how folks are all about the different flavors and stuff. But if you look at the label, it reads: "100% natural coconut water from concentrate, natural flavors." The chocolate flavored reads: "100% natural coconut water from concentrate, cane sugar, coconut cream, cocoa, vanilla, carrageenan." From concentrate? Plus there's other stuff in there too? Sorry. It's not my thing.
Zico coconut water found at my local Trader Joe's. Not my
thing and not that tasty. But if you like flavors and need a
quick fix, I guess this will do it.
Yesterday, while shopping at Trader Joe's I noticed that they started selling their own coconut water - NOT from concentrate. This piqued my interest, so I forked up the $3 for the bottle. The final verdict? Well, it's slightly better than zico and it isn't from concentrate and doesn't have other ingredients except the coconut water itself. Yes. In a pinch, it'll work. However, I'm not forking up $3 anytime soon for the stuff. And I'll tell you why...
Trader Joe's now has their own brand of coconut water.
Again, not my thing, but cleaner tasting than Zico.
In my book, nothing can replace the goodness of an actual, fresh young coconut. As mentioned before, when I lived in the Philippines, my mom drank 1-2 coconuts per day. It was easy, since local street vendors sold these (the water and the meat) cracked and peeled, ready to drink/eat in a plastic bag for less than fifty cents. My mistake was not joining her in doing this. Over the three months, my mom's feet and legs didn't swell as much. Now that we're in the US, she's back to the swelling. However, she takes virgin coconut oil in her food and rubs it on her feet, which again, helps with the swelling.

After some serious thought and research about the coconut, I decided to start buying them from the local Asian grocery store, crack it open myself, and eat them. In fact, I include coconut water/meat in my latest concoction of my daily green smoothie. Also, if I have any to spare (this depends on how much room I have in the fridge), I have a coconut after a tough WOD or run. It really is yummy and refreshing. Plus, the meat is to die for! AND for the environmentally conscious, the coconut is completely compost-able (no more bottle/can waste).

If you've had your coconut this way, you can never go to the bottled stuff. I swear! If you're wondering how to get these suckers open, check out this video. Fresh, young coconut can cost as low as 99 cents to almost $4 (depending on the store and season). Personally, I buy mine from Seafood City in Union City. I find that they're the cheapest there. Note: should the prices of the coconut suddenly shoot up and the availability go down, I'm blaming ALL OF YOU! Okay. Enjoy:D
Young coconut from the local Asian grocery store.
In my book, this is the only way to go.

Today's Small Victories
I did yoga and I ran back to back. Yay!

1 hour of yoga

Today's Workout
Run 5K

Notes (to myself) about this workout: Late afternoon yoga is hard. Period. It's challenging and refreshing, but it kicks my butt. I had about an hour break before doing the run with Miss Lori. We did the interval 4:1 run. It was good. Slower than usual, but it was good. Yay.

playing catch-up

Recently, I presented my research at the EPA.
Here I am with my dear friend Shirl celebrating
a successful talk:) (Yes. I know that technically,
my tree pose was off. However, the dress was
kinda short and I'm not a big fan of inappropriate
displays of my underpants. It would be
Weinergate all over again!)
Oh my. Apologies for being out of blogger touch. I didn't realize how long it's been. In case you're wondering, yes. I've been training. Here is what I've done since my last post:

Friday, June 3rd
Today's Small Victories
I've been doing awesome with keeping up with healthmonth. Tracking with my iphone makes a world of difference.

Today's Workout
1 hour of yoga
3 mile run

Notes (to myself) about this workout: I did everything in the morning in one shot. I started with the run and then headed to yoga. Since I've been struggling, I decided to do the interval running. It turned out to be a good thing. Though slower than usual, it was good to build my mental strength. It's still frustrating to me because I'd like to do my usual 5K without stopping. But there's a mental block in me and I need to figure out what it is.

Another thing, if I do the run/yoga thing again, I need to plan better. There was barely any time in between. If I'm going to do yoga right after running, I need some down time to prepare for yoga. Otherwise, I just feel like a hot, sweaty mess (which is what eventually happened).

Sunday, June 5th
Today's Workout
Hike at GG Park

Notes (to myself) about this workout: Though leisurely, I decided to log this in as a workout anyway. The SO (significant other) and I decided to take a hike at GG Park. We were at Stow Lake, which has a gradual hill-like area where you can keep going up toward the top of the waterfall. It was nice. PLUS we got to see FOUR owls that day. Very cool.

Monday, June 6th
Today's Small Victories
Despite my laziness and the horrific traffic, I made it to Crissy Field

Today's Workout
3 mile run

Notes (to myself) about this workout: My original intent was to do this run on Sunday. But I just got lazy and opted for the GG Park hike. Also, I've been freaking out about the whole running thing and getting too winded too fast. After some soul searching, I realize that one of the main reasons why my running hasn't been up to par is that I haven't been enjoying the run. 

Truth be told, the Mermaid Run kinda freaked me out. During the second half of that race, I got really winded. Like, REALLY WINDED and I had to stop and take a walking break. From there, it was a struggle to the finish. This doesn't usually happen to me. I don't get that winded or that freaked out because I'm really good at listening to my body and pacing. After that run, I realized that the second part was so difficult because I was trying to keep up with Miss Lyn and Miss Lori, who were running at a 10:30 pace. My usual pace is about a minute (or so) slower than that. When I'm off pace, I'm completely off balance and it wrecks my entire system.

Since then, I've been freaking out because (1) I'm freakin' slow and (2) that reality has been stressing me out (3) that stress has been negatively affecting my running mojo. Right now, I'm trying to find footing again. I'm trying to actually enjoy running and get mentally prepared for the Nike half. With that, I did this run at a 4:1 interval, while walking the hills. It was good. Still slow, but I'm running slightly faster than the last time I trained for a half (and that's with walking the hills). Though hazy, SF was beautiful. I wish it wasn't such a huge trek to make it out there to run.

Tuesday, June 7th
Today's Small Victories
After a million years, I FINALLY made it to CrossFit

Today's Workout
Run 1.1 miles; stretching (includes doing my yoga salutations with Annelisse hanging on my back. Yeah. You try doing downward dog with a small child on your back. With that, I officially declare myself a yoga warm-up badass!)

Complete the following for time:
50 American kettlebell swings (20#)
20 jumprope skips
40 kettlebell swings
40 jumprope skips
30 kettlebell swings
60 jumprope skips
20 kettlebell swings
80 jumprope skips
10 kettlebell swings
100 jumprope skips

Notes (to myself) about this workout: Since this was the first time in a LONG time I did a CrossFit anything. Therefore, I decided to go way light. In retrospect, I should have gone 25# (or more) because I did everything unbroken (which I think defeated the purpose of doing these many KB swings). However, when taking a long CF break, I feel it's always better to be safe than sorry:) This was a good start to coming back. Tonight I run and tomorrow I plan on going to the 4pm CF class. OMG. The night classes are so big now. I'm spoiled. And I can't handle the crowds. Also... I kinda like going in on my own and not timing the WODs. But shhh... Don't tell anyone I said that!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Community Health and Wellness Introspection

Paddy, one of my dearest friends and owner of Paddy's, the BEST coffee house in Union City kindly asked me to share this information with you. If you're in the area or if this issue is near and dear to your heart, please stop by. Also, please share it with friends.
Every community has its own share of illness and pain, and our community is no different. To address and encourage community members to share their experiences, Paddy's is organising the Community Health and Wellness Introspection every 2nd Thursday of the month, 7 to 8.30 pm.
June 9th, Community member Maria Inciong was diagnosed with breast cancer, underwent treatment and fought it. She and her family will share their experiences with the community.
We are doing this because as a community, we are our own support group. We can laugh and cry with each other and nothing heals pain better than that.
Date: Thursday, June 9th
Time: 7pm-8:30pm
Location: Paddy's, of course! 3900 Smith Street; Union City; (510) 324-8572
This was taken a few years ago during Paddy's anniversary
party. L-R: Diana, moi, Fritzie, and Paddy.
P-Dogg and I go way back. (No. I don't really call him P-Dogg. I just thought it would be funny to write that.) In fact, when he first opened way back in 2003, I remember sitting in his coffee shop alone. For HOURS because no one knew about this business yet. A few years later, Paddy's hosted a community event that some I put together with some friends, regarding a local family's deportation case. Since then, Paddy's has been an incredible community hot spot. I'm so proud of him and all that he's done with this shop! If any of you are in the area, PLEASE stop by for some great java and conversation!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

national running day

This is my  National Running Day photo. Actually,
it's a photo of my new running shoes. It's an old classic
for me. New Balance 1123. I found it for over 40% off at
amazon (they have since raised the price and it's now
only 30% off). I snuck in just in time. It's a good day!
Today is National Running Day. To celebrate, I started the day with one hour of yoga (hooray!). In the evening, I ran a 5K. Poorly. But I still ran (and walked) it. I'm not sure what's going on with me, but I'm finding that I can't run the distances I used to. I get winded way too easily. Today I took my first walking break because my sides were hurting. Perhaps eating not too long before running was not a good idea. fathlete confession: My eating habits have been really off. When I'm not eating stuff I probably shouldn't be eating, I forget to eat all together. Badbadbad! I'm sure this is directly related to my bad workouts. Gah! My second walking break came because I couldn't breathe and felt like I was on the verge of throwing up - not a good thing when you're running with a partner. At the last half mile I threw in the towel and walked the rest of the way.

Admittedly, my training has been inconsistent and right now I need to be patient and consistent. I spent the wee hours of the night last night mapping out my training schedule. This morning I sorted out my health month goals. For now, I'm good to go! Today was a less than perfect run. I was sad, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it. Patience and consistency. That's my training goal for now. I'll let you know how it goes!

So... what did YOU do to celebrate National Running Day?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

executive decisions

Yes. I know. It's been a while. In truth, today was my first run since the Mermaid Run. Seriously. I need to get back on track. GAH!

In other news, I chopped off my hair. I needed it. Yay. The photo to the left is what it currently looks like. Yes. It's short. And I'm happy. Sometimes a gal just needs some change...

Today's Small Victories
 I ran. (I ran so far away... And I ran. I ran til night and day... I couldn't get away...)

Psyching myself out for the run!

Today's Workout
Run 3-ish miles

Notes (to myself) about this workout:
This was my intention: It's been a while since I've run or worked out. I wanted to do this slowly. Therefore, I intended to run 5K at a 4:1 pace (4 minute run, 1 minute walk) so that I could practice the POSE technique. I sported my Nike Free to do this.

This is what actually happened: A few minutes into the run, my pants started falling down. Seriously. As in I had to run to the nearest bush to make sure I was still decent. As in when I was decent and started running again, my pants fell down. AGAIN. This meant I had to walk. I was trying to beat the sun setting, so I fell a little short of my usual 5K.

These are the valuable lessons I learned today: POSE running isn't as drastic as I imagined it to be. It's simple actually. You lean forward, like you're about ready to fall. Once you do that, the body automatically starts to propel itself forward and you run. Because of this, your strides are automatically shorter and your heels kick toward your butt. The change in form is subtle, but I see how it is efficient. However...

...with all the hub-bub about POSE running comes all the hub-bub about shoes. Even I fell for that silly trickery. I was actually going to purchase the New Balance Minimus to wear for short runs and then use my regular motion control for the longer runs. After today, I've made some executive decisions about shoes - including holding off on buying the Minimus because...

...the important thing about POSE running is the technique itself - short strides, lean forward, striking at the midfoot as opposed to the heel. It's about the technique, not the shoes. I've been thinking about this for a while and it finally came to me while walking (to avoid my pants falling off) today...

... My shoe does not determine my running technique. I determine my running technique. Therefore, it shouldn't matter what shoe I wear because shoes are about the support that your feet and your body need. I'm not built like a lot of runners. a.k.a. I'm fat. And I have flat feet. And I'm prone to ankle sprains. I need my motion control shoes because I need the support. In just looking at minimalist runners, they're all thin and light, which is why thy can handle a minimalist shoe. I just don't have those kind of feet or that kind of body. I'm okay with that...

...I came to this conclusion when a runner passed me by. In watching his technique, he was definitely a POSE runner, but he as wearing traditional running shoes. This is probably because he naturally runs that way. See? You can POSE in shoes. You can. You can. You can. Ha ha!

...Finally, low-rise workout pants have to place in my high-impact workout repertoire. Period.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

barefoot and running

As you all know, I'm running the Nike Women's Half Marathon in October and right now, I'm trying to iron out some training issues before I go into training mode later next month. Currently, I'm re-visiting the whole barefoot running debate. I'm not interested in not wearing shoes - especially after reading this. Rather, I'm interested in the running technique. Simply put, pose running or barefoot running focus on  landing on the balls of your feet as opposed to striking with the heel. Unfortunately, when reading through the info online, the discussions focus on the shoe debate. It's a little frustrating because I'm not one for extremes. Rather, I want the best of different worlds. I want to wear shoes, but I also want to run more efficiently.

For more information, check out these links:

After sifting through some sites, I finally found these two videos. The first one is a news clip from BBC that showcases the pose running method. What I like is the testing and that they're wearing shoes, but showing how efficient the technique is.

Here is the second video. I like that it focuses on the method of running, which emphasizes the foot strike. In traditional running, you strike with the heel, which apparently is not good for your feet or your body. In pose running and barefoot running, you strike with the balls of your feet, take short strides, and try to hit your butt with your heels. Also, this video shows a great transition from heel striking, to barefoot running, to using minimalist shoes like Vibrams, and then running in shoes.

With that, I've decided to do my short runs with my Nike Free shoes. I'm using short runs to focus on technique and get used to this style of running. For longer runs, I'm using my traditional motion control shoes (which are old enough and are flexible) while maintaining the new form. I'll do this for a month before deciding what shoes to invest in. (Yeah. My running shoes are about three years old, so I need new ones. The Nike Free are less than a year old, but pretty beaten up.)

In terms of shoes, I'm eyeing the New Balance Minimus Road. I tried them on recently and I need a Men's size 8 in the black/red. I loved the toe box, but the women's model was too narrow (the "padding" kept hitting the arch of my feet). Hence, I need the men's model. Admittedly, I was inspired by this video:

Also, I'm a big fan of New Balance shoes. I currently use and love these motion control shoes. While I'm willing to get another pair, I'll need to wait to see how running in minimalist shoes treats me. If I like it, I'll need to change up my longer mileage shoe.

For now, technique now, shoes later.

Monday, May 09, 2011

go mermaid, go!

This past Saturday, I ran the Mermaid 5K with Miss Lori and Miss Lyn. They both had their daughters run the race too. It was really great to see all the athletes there, especially the little girls who ran the mini-maid! Everybody crossed the same finish line. Overall, it was a great event and I'd definitely do it again. However, I do have one complaint... The announcement for the mini maid race wasn't very clear. One moment, they announced the race would start in 3 minutes, the next moment, there was a gang of little girls running to whoknowswhere. Boo! Anyway... Many thanks to Lori and the SO for taking pix. Here are a few of them. Enjoy!

While waiting for the 5K to start, we decided to take a group
pic by the finish line. Yes. Those are spirit fingers you're
looking at.

And here we are waiting for the race to start.

Admittedly, this is my favorite pic. EVER. My jaw gets a
little tight, so I tend to loosen it up a bit. (I see Manny Pacquiao
do it sometimes.) What it has to do with running? Not much. While I
was poking my jaw, the SO asked, "What kind of stretch is that?!"
and I just started bursting into laughter. Hence, the silly photo.

And here we are after we finished.

Friday, May 06, 2011


Bib. Check. Timing chip. Check. Swag. Check. Check. I'm ready to go, baby. Let's do this!!
Yes. The following song will be playing on my ipod as I run it, run it!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

what does a runner look like?

For the record, Run Fatboy Run is one of my favorite movies EVER! I have no idea why I don't have the Blu-Ray yet. As mentioned before, I had major blister problems when I trained for Maui in 2005. This scene just cracks me up. Yes, my blisters on both feet were comparable to the one you see in this clip.

Today, my dear friend Lori sent me a link to this message board where they were discussing the age-old question: What does a runner look like? The person who started the thread shared an experience at her local running store where a sales girl said, "Wow. You don't look like a runner." When you get the chance, take a peek. It's a riveting read.

I'd like to stand on my soapbox and rant about such a bullshit question. What does a runner look like? If I referred to Runner's World magazine, I'm sure that someone like me would be far from being a runner. But you know what? I'm fat and I run. If you have a problem with it, you can suck my blister shield-soaked toe! If I were the woman on the message board, I would have told the sales lady, "I don't know what a runner is supposed to look like. But now I know what an asshole looks like!" (That's my short answer. Deep breath. Continuing...)

These days I'm trying to be less mad and more productive. (Sometimes it works, more times, it doesn't. I'm trying, folks!) With that, I'd like to leave you with some pearls of wisdom from John Bingham. His book, The Courage to Start is what inspired me to start running. Here it goes:
If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.
-John Bingham, Runner and author

Today's Small Victories
I ran another 5K!

Today's Workout
Run 5K with Lynn and Israel

Notes (to myself) about this workout: I felt good after this run. However, I'm still trying to find my footing with running. At the end of each run, I feel winded and irritated because I get tired too easily. And then I get disappointed because I know I can run better, but I'm just not hitting it like I like to. I think I need to backtrack and go back to interval running - 4 minutes on, 1 minute off. I also need to have a more consistent training schedule that includes weight training. Of course, dial in the nutrition. Finally, patience. I need some patience...

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


These days, this song keeps me going. Love it! Enjoy. fathlete confession: I meant to embed the actual video, but the official youtube thingy won't let you do that. Boo!

Today's Small Victories
I did my run!

Today's Workout
1 hour of yoga in the morning.
Run 5K.

Notes (to myself) about this workout: I'm convinced that my Nike app doesn't like me. I say this because it claims that I run a half mile less than Lori, who happens to be running right next to me. It also says I run way slower than her, even though she's running right next to me. It's official. Nike hates fathletes. Boo. (I kid. Silly technological ma-le-functions!)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Coca CrossFit Plus

I'm all about progressive ways about approaching health and ideas of fat, athleticism, etc. Admittedly, one of the things that bothers me about CrossFit is the slogan, "Forging elite fitness." This is because it seems so limiting and uninviting. If CrossFit is adaptable for every BODY and fitness level, then I don't understand why it should belong only to the "elite." (Yeah. It only sounds cool until a brilliant someone points out that it doesn't make sense, huh?!) Anyway...

Confession: I stole this photo. This is
Kate "killer" Rawlings, owner of COCA CrossFit.
I just wanted to take a moment to give major KUDOS to the folks at COCA CrossFit, located in Ohio. Today they just started a great program called Coca CrossFit Plus. The program is designed to: "...provide a safe non-judgmental environment where plus size clients can participate in regular CrossFit classes. Workouts will be designed for any size, shape or fitness level." The program is headed by Kate "Killer" Rawlings. fathlete confession: I'm always suspicious of people who try to do programs like this. It comes from my, "only a fathlete knows what another fathlete needs" mentality. HOWEVER, I'm positive that Kate and the amazing folks at COCA are going to do a fabulous job with this program.

After doing some research, I was really inspired by Kate's story. She was a D-1 athlete who, after college, gained over eighty pounds. She went from that to placing 29th at the 2010 CrossFit games. For an interview with Kate, click here. Also, when I emailed her asking about her program, she replied promptly and was very kind. Again, KUDOS and good luck! I'm sure we'll be hearing great things about Coca CrossFit Plus!

For those of you who consider yourselves plus size, are in the Ohio area, and are a little intimidated with CrossFit, I recommend that you give COCA CrossFit and/or their Coca CrossFit Plus program a shot. You never know what you can do until you give yourself a fair chance to try!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

fierce products: armpocket

Now that I'm slowly, but surely getting back into the swing of running, I'm also trying to figure out the whole gear thing. fathlete confession: Now that I'm training, I'm realizing why three years ago, I declared no more long distance races for me. It's a bathroom issue. I'm not big on using port-o-potties and when I trained for Maui, I mastered the art of "holding it til the run ends." Seeing that I'm older and my bladder is weaker, that strategy doesn't work very well. Gah! But this post has nothing to do with sorting out bathroom issues. Moving on...

I'm trying to decide what gear works for me. Things have changed since my last two major races and the gear available is amazing! I used to run with my ipod shuffle. These days, I'm running with my iphone because 1) Nike+GPS iphone app is awesome. 2) It's safer to have your phone on you when running. Thing is, it's a bit bulky. After shopping around, I found a great product called armpocket. I really like the sport i-20 with the clear window (pictured above).

Before I begin telling you how awesome this product is, it's only right that I let you know that I actually had to return my armpocket. This has nothing to do with it being a bad product. I now know that I'm just not someone who likes to run with something strapped to my arm. I find that my hands tend to swell when I run with it. This might have something to do with the arm band needing to be snug and my arm needing some circulation. Again, it's a me issue and not a product issue. Moving on...

For those of you looking for an armband to hold your iphone (or other device during runs), I highly recommend the armpocket. First off, it's secure. There is light bounce, which is normal. But overall, it stayed in place and didn't twist around or cause any chafing (which is a testament to good design, including good placement of the velcro). Second, it comes in a variety of colors (including purple, which is now in stock... but wasn't when I bought mine... just sayin'). Third, it carries what I think are the essentials: an iphone with a case, keys, id, cash. Finally, because it has a clear plastic window, it protects your iphone (no need to worry about it being drenched in sweat). Overall, if you're someone who likes to wear their gear on the arm, this is a great product.

Today's Small Victories
I made it to SF for a hike.

Today's Workout
6 mile hike in SF

Notes (to myself) about this workout: In total, the SO and I were out for over two hours. It wasn't particularly hard, but it was a long hike/walk. Big kudos to the SO who really stuck it out. He's recovering from an injured achilles and I know this hike wasn't easy. However, we finished and he's recovering nicely. As for me, I'm okay. I'm a little sore and slightly disappointed that I'm not running more. However, I need to cut myself a break. The Nike Half isn't until October, so official training doesn't start til July. With that, I just need to ease into the running. One step at a time...

**FYI I am in no way paid or compensated for sharing my opinion about the armpocket or any of the products I feature in “fierce products.” These are just things that I personally like. However, if you are from armpocket and you want to shoot a gal some stuff to try out, I’d have absolutely no objections to that. I promise to share an honest opinion about it!

Friday, April 29, 2011

to be a mermaid

The Mermaid Run East Bay is a week away and I gotta say that I'm REALLY excited! I'm running the 5K with Miss Lori and Miss Lyn. Both of these lovely ladies also signed up their daughters to run the race. AWESOME! For those of you who don't know about the Mermaid Series, please check out their mission statement:
Mermaid Series is building a welcoming community that inspires women from all backgrounds to uncover and realize their full potential.

Mermaid Series strives to serve as a catalyst for change in women's lives as they set and discover new goals for themselves in fitness and in life. By providing training, support, motivation and eco-friendly events we are committed to the pursuit of our participants healthy lifestyle.

Our events aim to provide an opportunity for a positive change while making each woman regardless of their ability feel welcome.
This is exactly what I love about the Mermaid Series and why I have decided to participate in both bay area Mermaid events this year. Any organization that honors building a community of support in order to inspire change in people's lives deserves a BIG KUDOS in my book. I'm always the first to admit that I'm not the greatest runner and running isn't my favorite thing in the world. However, running has and continues to play an important part of my life.

As I've mentioned before, I started running because I believed in the cause I was running for. I wanted to push my body for something greater than nice calves and bragging rights to completing a marathon. However, in the process, running became a symbol of how I would tackle life's challenges. Of the many lessons I've learned while training for a marathon, it's that the race - whatever that may be for you - is about finishing. It's not about the time or the distance, it's about finishing. I learned that all too well when I crawled in tears to the finish line in Maui.

When people think of the concept of running, most people think in terms of running away from something. Each time I run, I ask myself one question: What are you running to? When I've answered that question, my goal is clear and it makes running (the activity) worthwhile. Again, I can't wait for Saturday and many many more Mermaid runs to go!

Today's Small Victories
I made it to yoga. YES!

Today's Workout
One hour of yoga

Notes (to myself) about this workout: Yoga rocks. I need to do it more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

born this way

fathlete confession: No matter what you say or think, I am NOT a Gleek! However, I am in deep love with this week's episode which featured Lady Gaga's "Born This Way." Here's the clip:

In particular, I LOVE what Tina (aka the Asian gal on the show) declared. It's become my new mantra of sorts. It goes a little something like this: ‎"If I don't have many Asian sex symbols to look up to, I have an obligation to become one myself. My new mantra is: Be the change you want to see in the world."

POW! Eat that, world of haters!

Today's Small Victories
I ran. I sucked. But I did it. Oooh! I finally found my running hat.

Today's Workout
Run 5K

Notes (to myself) about this workout: This was the worst run I've done in quite a while. I was sucking air, my hands were swollen, and I just wasn't feeling it. It's not like me to not finish a run, so I ended up walking the last half mile. Many thanks to Miss Lori for hanging in there with me. Gah. Bad run:(

On another note, I wonder if compression makes a difference. This was the first run I did where I was compression-less. Hmph.

in defense of running

The 2005 Runbutans
To put this all into context, it all started with this post where Freddy talks about running and marathons and why they're over-rated. Recently, this same exact post was re-visited here. I'm not going to lie. I didn't really appreciate it the first time around. With that, I posted the following response (which no one really cared about):
Marathoner or CrossFitter or both, it all comes down to different strokes for different folks! Don't let the fatty fool you, I ran a marathon five years ago and it was a great experience because it showed me the different ways in which I could push my body. In fact, whenever we're doing a tough WOD (e.g. Mr. Josh) and I want to throw in the towel, there's always a voice inside me that says, "Come on Joanne, you've run a marathon in dead heat of Maui, you can do this!" There is just something about finishing a marathon that continues to be meaningful to me today. 
Also, I ran the marathon to raise money for a charity that was near and dear to my heart. At the time, it wasn't about health. It was about pushing my body in the name of something beyond me. Training for the marathon also provided me the chance to get to know SF and Berkeley in ways that I wouldn't have. Running is a great way to explore your neighborhood, appreciate nature, and such. It's as fulfilling as you make it. 
I agree that long distance running isn't ideal for most. Marathon training tore up my feet! Shortly after finishing the marathon, a friend sent me an article about a long-term study done on marathoners and ultra-marathoners. It stated that these athletes were more prone to heart failure because the body isn't meant to handle that stress. It also stated that such athletes tended to develop mental "issues" later on in life. Something about oxygen to the brain. I'm not saying that the article was 100% correct, but it was enough for me to re-think running. 
I have great respect for runners and athletes from all walks of life. Do what you love and what adds to your life. At the time, long distance running worked for me. Currently, CrossFit works. At another point in my life, something else may work. I decide the destiny and parameters of my fitness. No one else does.
In re-visiting the debate, I certainly do not like it any better the second time around. There is a difference between a perceived standard of fitness versus someone setting a personal goal for him or herself. Also, it's unfair to post two opposing bodies to represent the variety of athletes that run (both short and long distances).  Alas, this time, I decided to just shut up... for the time being. Luckily, my gal pal Lori chimed in as a voice of reason. Here's what she had to say:
When I first started at OW, don't know if anyone remembers, I couldn't even run a 400 without stopping! With just the training at OW I completed a 5K in good time and now am training for a 1/2 marathon. OW rocks! 
I actually hate running and now realize I hate it because it is all mental and in my head. Everytime I lace up the shoes for a run, I convince myself that I can't do it or that I will be bored to death....but I push myself to do it to break that mental barrier. The more "running fit" I become the more I am enjoy it and being outdoors and the more rewarding it is becoming hitting new PR's both on distance and quickness. 
I think Crossfit and distance running is a perfect combo...why not? win! Plus you get to buy all kinds of shoes! 
Also, thanks Angela! :)
In short, every sport or athletic skill has its value. Though I've declared time and time again that I'm not interested in doing another marathon, I make this claim having given it a fair shot. For now, marathons have no future with me. But I commend anyone who is willing to take on the challenge. It's a different experience and one that I continue to value. Unlike some, I don't think it's fair to disregard a sport without having gone through the experience first (cough cough. comments section. cough cough.). It's just plain unfair. To those who claim that anyone can do a marathon, DO IT. Then talk your shit.

Monday, April 25, 2011

the fierce runner

Taken at the Kaiser 5K earlier this year.
I'm not sure if you all know this, but this blog started when I decided to run the Maui marathon back in 2005. It was originally called "the fierce runner" (hence the URL). Back then I had fantasies of being a bona fide runner, participating in marathon after marathon.

However, that dream died quickly when I started having major blister problems. For some reason,  every three years, the running bug tends to bite me. This year is no different. After the marathon, I didn't touch running until 2008 when I ran the Nike Women's Virtual Half Marathon.

I can't quite remember why, but I haven't run much since then. This year, 2011 is again, the year of running. It started with the Kaiser Permanente 5K back in February. I ran this with Miss Lori because I've always wanted to run this event. It was a lot of fun and I plan on doing it again next year. Because this was such a great event, Miss Lori and I decided to run the Mermaid Run East Bay in a few weeks. That's also a 5K that we signed up ages ago. Miss Lyn will also join us:)

With the Mermaid run on my mind, I was wondering if I would be ready or willing to run another half marathon. I've always wanted to run the Nike Women's Half Marathon again. It's a great event, but terribly difficult to get into, since they pick via random lottery. As luck would have it, one of my students told me that this year, they're allowing college students to bypass the lottery and get in for a discounted rate. Viola. I'm in and running it in October! fathlete confession: I'm seriously considering signing up for the San Jose Rock n Roll Half Marathon just two weeks prior the Nike Half. It would be a good practice run. Hmmm.... Still seriously considering it.

Finally, I've been so jazzed about the Mermaid run that I decided to sign up for the Mermaid Run San Francisco in November. This time I'm doing the 10K.

Yes folks. This is the year of the fierce runner. Watch out!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

back in the saddle again...

Last Thursday, I saw Rex Navarette perform at the
 San Jose Improv. Here we are: Dorothy S., Rex, Shirl R.,
me, and my sis. Such a fun night!
Hello all! Apologies for being MIA. Truth is, I was off beat with my New Year goals in January. Lots of stuff has been keeping my crazy life insanely busy. Unfortunately, my workout life has taken a toll. Luckily, I'm back on track and in full force!

Well, maybe not full force, but definitely looking for some consistency.

In truth, I avoided the gym in January because I can't stand all the band wagon goers. The idea was to wait til February to get my New Year goals in line. That way, all the band wagoners would be gone and I'd be in a better state to start off the New Year. Besides, since I'm kinda part Chinese (by virtue of being Filipino), I guess it makes sense that my new year starts on a different calendar (smirk). For now, I'm glad to be back in the game. Cheers to good health this year. Woot!

Today's Small Victories
I followed my rules quite well. (Note: Will elaborate on what healthmonth is in a later post. For now, just know that it totally ROCKS!) Yea first day! Also, I shopped for some inexpensive grass fed beef and marinated a batch for some good eats for me and the SO. Since I was on a roll, I whipped up a batch of home-made primal chili while snacking on fresh cucumber salad. Ahem. Did I mention that I did some reading and class prep to boot?! Yea!

In the morning, I did my first yoga session of 2011. YES! Awesome!

Some random craziness with Freddy that included jump ropes, stretching and other stuff I can't recall.

CrossFit One World WOD
Complete the following 5 times:
1 minute of 5-10-15 yd long shuttles (suicides)
Rest 30 seconds
1 minute of kettlebell swings (35# Russian style)
Rest 30 seconds
Score total kettlebell swings.

Joanne's Final Score - 167 kettlebell swings

Notes (to myself) about this workout: I love anything that involves a kb swing! Though I suck, I also love getting to work on the jump ropes. Finally, yoga rocks!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

from le twins...

...for le twins. This is the post that I dedicate to le twins Mary and Maria. These crazy ladies gave me some awesomely hilarious gifts for my bday this year. While I know you're likely to be fixated on the candy tassels, do take note of the funny cards. I love these two bad asses!

Today's Small Victories
I made it to the gym. Also, I'm trying to get back on track with respect to cooking and prep. I've been slacking because of the holidays. Today I was back to my green smoothie with eggs and Canadian bacon breakfast. Gah. I need to spice up the eggs and bacon thing. It's getting kinda old...


CrossFit One World WOD
Run 2 miles
Joanne's Final Time - roughly 19 minutes

Notes (to myself) about this workout: You may have noticed that I didn't do the posted WOD. This happened for a few reasons... First off, I came in late. While I'm sure Raz would have let me jump in, I think coming in late is a little rude and if I can help it, I'll do my own WOD on my own time. Second, it's the new year and I ended up getting too involved with chit-chat with some of my favorite people. I meant to run 2.2 miles and then row 2k. But time ran out. About the running.... I ran the 2 miles and then walked for about three minutes, and then ran the rest. In total, I was out for under 24 minutes. I don't know what happened. I guess I just ran out of gas and decided to walk. Man, I'm in so out of running shape. Boo! On the upside, if my calculations are correct, my running time averaged under 10 minutes per mile. If that is so, then this is the fastest mile I had ever run. I've never even known my mile to be in the 10 minute range. Woot!

Getting back in the game slowly but surely...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

hello 2011

I have decided that the theme for 2011 is RUNNING. Thoughts are still brewing, so I'll elaborate on a future post. For now, the photo to the left is the FIRST photo taken of me this year. My dear friend Margaret is the person with me. We spent NYE at a restaurant in San Jose. For $40, it was all the booze you could drink. Unfortunately, not a drop of water was available. If you didn't know, I'm not much of a drinker - just a social one at best. So yes, that is champagne in my hand. Dehydration was setting in and I just needed something wet. Gah!

Today's Small Victories
Made it to the gym!

Row 1000 meters (Jason's technique - pull hard and fast with a break; strokes/minute should be under 20)

CrossFit One World WOD: Schoolboy
Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
5 deadlift 165#
1 rope climb (modified)

Joanne's Final Count - 10 rounds + 3 deadlift

Notes (to myself) about this workout: I liked the warm-up because it prepared us for the deadlift. Also, it showed me that I could use less energy and still row at the same pace as I usually row when I'm doing 1000 meters. Gotta love the technique warm-ups!

I'm not a fan of Schoolboy or the deadlift. But There it is. My back hates me right now. Bleh.