Monday, June 7, 2010

Whidbey Island Ride June 5 2010

So it was Saturday June 5, 2010; The weather was nice, Kevin was in Vermont working on a solid 4th place finish in the Bennington Monument stair race, Jordan was in Bellingham gearing up for finals week, and I found myself in a very unusual place… I had an entire day with nothing to do…Holy Shit!!! “Well I will put an end to that in a hurry,” I thought.

I had in the back of my mind this century ride (any ride 100+ miles), where I start at my house go north up Hwy 9 then work my way West to LaConner, then to Hwy 20, and down Whidbey Island back to the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry, from there it is just a quick 17 miles home. In total this ride would be 128 miles. However, I was still up in the air as to whether or not I wanted to take the time to do that long of a ride. Then at about 10:15am I got a call from my mother, she informed me that she was going to be eating dinner at Ivars in Mukilteo at 6:30pm. Well, I thought to myself, I may as well do the ride now since I could bum a ride off the parents when I got into Mukilteo. Then I could avoid the worthless mileage through Everett, but I would have to hurry to make it in time. This phone call pretty much solidified my plans. So I cooked up some power bars for the ride.

Bars: Buckwheat, Quinoa Flakes, Hemp Protein, Dates, Banana puree, raspberry puree, Raisins, cinnamon, honey and coconut.

By 11:18 I was geared up and moving.

Mike rode with me for the first 17 miles, or I should say I rode with him, as he pulled me at a really nice 19mph to the end of the centennial trail where I continued on and he rode back home.

I made only a handful of stops the remainder of the day, two stops for food and bathroom breaks, and a couple quick stops for photo-ops. I got to the ferry at 6:03 just missing the 6:00, but no worries I still made it to Mukilteo in time to catch my ride.

I felt good upon completion of the ride, and considered riding the remainder of the way home, but after the wonderful scenery on the island, riding through Everett seemed unpleasant by comparison.

Ride Stats: 111 Miles, 6h:32m in the saddle, 6h:45m total including stops. 17mph Average not including stoppage time.

Mike. After providing me with a nice draft up Centennial trail.

Deception pass, a pretty gnarly bridge.

Views from Deception Pass

Greenbank... over 90 miles into my ride I was very tempted to stop at the winery down the road to do a little tasting.

As I rode up to the Ferry Landing I discover I missed it by under 5 minutes, there it goes. Oh well the next ferry is only 30 minutes and I ran into a group of ladies from Kathmandu, Nepal who were all very cool.

Views from on the ferry, hungry for some food on the other side.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blaine Street Stairs

Kevin Lucked out and ran into Barefoot Ted on the Blaine street stairs in Seattle the other day. Ted filmed Kevin putting up a record at 1 minute and 4 seconds.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Culver City Stairs

Video of the Culver City Stairs. Kevin got the new record in this video at 2 minutes 6 seconds.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Random Mountain and Blewett Pass Ride

So two weekends ago Jordan and I got out for a nice moderate endurance weekend. I was a little apprehensive as I was still recovering from my overtraining syndrome, but figured if I kept the heart rate down it would be beneficial. We climbed a no-name mountain, drank some whiskey, and did a 68 mile bike ride over on highway 97 over Blewett pass and back. All in all it was a good weekend, and I can already feel the benefits.

Friday, April 23, 2010

WOD - Ride to and From Work

My first ride to work in almost a month. I has happy with the result.

To Work: 20.6 Miles 1h:14m:00s, Nice easy pace.

Ride Home: 20.6 miles, 1h:05m:31s, Avg Speed: 18.865mph, Avg HR: 162bpm, Max HR 184bpm.

All things considered, not too bad. I started easier than normal, but when a group of Team riders decided to challenge me, it was on... Held 174bpm for half the ride, and cranked it up the hill on the finish where I was on the verge of bonking.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Over-training Syndrome - Spin Class WOD

I attended my first spin class in over a month last Wednesday and followed up with another on Monday. I had the following results:


Average Heart Rate: 166bpm

Max Heart Rate: 188bpm

Approx. Calories Burned 830 approx.


Average Heart Rate: 155bpm

Max Heart Rate: 191bpm

Approx. Calories Burned 740 approx.

I made sure to push it a little more than usual at Wednesdays’ spin class, as it was a test to see how well I am recovering from over-training syndrome, and with the results above, I am quite happy. I would have liked to see my heart rate break 190, but my average was what I had hoped, I actually hoped for something around 160.

Now I will enlighten you to what over-training really is and is not. Over-training is NOT the following:

1.) Pushing so hard you pass out

2.) Pushing to the point of vomiting

3.) Being so sore you can’t walk the next day

4.) Getting heart rate so high that you lose you hearing, vision, …

Even though all of the aforementioned are undesirable and should be avoided (most of the time) if possible, they are not examples of over-training. Over-training is the result of prolonged periods with high volumes of exercise without allowing ample time for your body to properly recover. True over-training often takes many months to be realized, as was the case with myself.

Over-training is an endocrine system disorder and its symptoms generally include:

1.) Fatigue

2.) Irritability

3.) High Cortisol Levels

4.) Low Testosterone

5.) Injury of many types

6.) Sickness

7.) Unexplained lack of desire to train or feeling like you must train even when fatigued.

8.) Excessive Lactic Acid Buildup

9.) Decreased performance

10.) Inability to complete a normal workout routine

11.) Decreased Maximal Heart Rate

12.) increased resting heart rate (In certain cases, decreased in others)

I noticed my first signs of over-training when stair racing, I would push hard, and it felt more painful than usual even though I was not moving as quickly. I would get excessive lactic acid build up and my legs felt like they were filled with concrete. I also noticed that I had no race-day adrenaline and my practice times began to slowly regress. I knew something was wrong, but did not realize it until I wore my trusty heart rate monitor in the stairwell on Columbia tower race day. My maximum heart rate in that race was 171bpm with a 163 average. The race only lasted 8ish minutes; I should have been able to easily get my heart rate to the upper 180’s. That is when I realized I must be over trained. I looked back on my results from former spin classes and realized I was slowly degrading my body, not allowing enough time for rest. Ahhh, so this is why professional triathletes have random rest weeks in the middle of their training regimens, something that I thought unnecessary unless you were physically sore, injured, or in some other sort of pain.

So for that past 3 weeks I have been resting, I am not sitting on my ass all day everyday, but I am taking it very easy in my workouts, and reduced my volume by 70 percent. Wednesdays spin class was my first real test to see my progress, and with the results above I can put a smile back on my face because it often takes athletes 1-4 months to recover from over-training, it looks like I am well on my way to recovery in just 3 weeks.

So what did I learn?

1.) That over-training sucks – so get your rest days, and occasional rest weeks into your routine.

2.) I was trying to do 3 separate workout routines, 1 for stair racing and cycling, 1 for strength, and 1 for mountain climbing. I was doing 3 athletes work loads, yet I am only 1 person. So pick 1 spot to excel and focus on it; do not attempt to be everything all the time. If you have a generally good fitness base, you can adapt to the fitness you want within a month or two with proper training.

3.) Eat well, my fast recovery is likely a result of my diet, it is a perfect diet to recovery from over-training for many reasons.

4.) Make sure to eat enough. This is likely where I failed as well, my calorie intake when climbing, and the 1-2 days post-climb was not sufficient for recovery, even though it was healthy. I was too low body fat to get away with calorie restriction in such efforts. So I put on a few pounds purposefully to avoid this in the future.

5.) SLEEP and STRESS AVOIDANCE – This is what really fu*$ed me over. In the midst of all my training I was working long hours in a stressful job and getting far too little sleep. Stress means high cortisol levels, which means no recovery. Yet I would work out anyway because it would make me feel better. And even though it relaxed me, it just made the need for even more recovery. So focus on sleeping more, working less, and avoiding too many high stress situations. Next time I am in this situation I am taking a sick day or two (I don’t give an F if Sea-Tac is not going to be able to fuel their airplanes because I can’t get a pump up and running in the next 3 hours…I don’t give an F if the roofing factory is losing $1,000 per minute because their line is not running…they have some resourceful folks working for them, I am sure they will figure it out).

6.) Allow ample time for recovery, even if you feel you don’t need it. Endurance athletes in particular need to make sure to incorporate rest days once or twice per week into their routines and rest weeks every fifth week or so. This will help the athlete avoid the slow process that is over-training syndrome.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Raw Beet Slaw with Eggs and Avocado

Well I figured it was about time to throw another food post on the blog. So here is my dinner from the other night. Raw Beet Slaw with Eggs and Avocado usually is something I would eat for breakfast, but the other night it seemed fitting for dinner. So what the hell, why not? The raw beet slaw is super fu#*ing healthy and tasty so I really don’t need much of an excuse to eat it.

Raw Beet Slaw: I make this in large batches, so I did the recipe in ratios, that way you can make as much as you want.
2 Parts Raw Beets Shredded
2 Parts Jicama Shredded
1 Part Carrot Shredded
1 Part Red Onion or Challot Diced
1-2 Parts Green Cabbage Shredded
Fresh Cilantro chopped to taste
Fresh Basil chopped to taste
Lime Juice to taste
Salt to taste
Small handful of raw cashews (Garnish)

I used 1 really big beet when I made this (You can figure out the rest based on the ratios above). It makes a good portion (family size for most), but 1-2 servings for me :). I used the juice of 2 limes, and could have used a little more because my limes were somewhat useless. The Cuisinart shredder blade is very useful for this recipe, I don’t know what I would do without it. Anyway, I shred everything separately (Using the food processor) and throw it in a bowl where I add the onion, cilantro, basil, lime juice, and salt. Then mix it all together and you got your self one really good B.A.S. (Big Ass Salad). You can add sweetener if you would like, but I am a purest, and if I wanted it sweeter I would probably just shred an apple and throw it in there.

With the above concoction I fried 2 eggs (Pasture Raised Chicken Eggs from Sky Valley Farms, for the love of God please DO NOT BUY INFERIOR CANCER CAUSING CRAPPY PASTEURIZED EGGS THAT TASTE LIKE RUBBER, it’s worth the extra money to get improved taste and health) sunny-side-up in coconut oil, and topped with 1 small avocado and some hot sauce. It was definitely some tasty vittles.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Soy Sucks!!!

If I walked down the street and asked 10 random people the following: “Are soy and/or soy products good for you?” I am willing to bet that at least 7 of them would say yes. Foods such as Tofu, Soymilk, and Soy Yogurt would come to mind; they would recall the taglines that soy is high in protein and that soy milk is a good replacement for people with dairy allergies. So how would I answer this question? My answer would be no. Soy is not good for you, especially if you are male; it is an estrogen inducing, sperm count lowering, nutritional lightweight. I would go more into this, but you can find all the information regarding estrogen and sperm counts among other things here (

Instead I will focus on the claims and evidence that exists in support of soy being a health food. Here is what I found:

Soy, analysis:

High in Protein – That’s good but unfortunately soy also contains trypsin Inhibitors. What is trypsin? Well trypsin is a glorious enzyme, produced by the pancreas that is responsible for breaking down protein in our digestive system. Thus the trypsin inhibitors in soy will limit the amount of protein that can be broken down and used by our bodies, thus making soy a mediocre protein source at best.

OK, but it’s Rich in Calcium, Zinc, Iron, Phosphorus, magnesium, b-vitamins - Excellent at least it has a good mineral profile right? Wrong because soy also contains a huge amount of Phytic Acid, this is responsible for inhibiting absorption of zinc, calcium, iron, and magnesium. So much for all the great vitamin and minerals; we can’t absorb the majority of them in the presence of Phytic Acid anyway. And here is a note for you people thinking Soy/Soymilk is a good way to get calcium: The calcium is there, but your body never gets to use it!!!! So don’t think that soy is a good source of calcium, because it is not!!!

Yeah, but it’s Rich in omega-3’s – I can’t fault that, or can I? Actually yes I can, unfortunately soy contains almost exclusively ALA, one of a handful of the acids that make up the precious omega-3 army. The downside to ALA is that it needs much more processing by the body (liver) in order to be used; as a consequence it is not nearly as effective in promoting good health as other forms of Omega-3 fatty acids (Such as EPA and DHA that wild salmon is chock full of). When consumed in excess ALA can even promote prostate cancer and macular degeneration. (

Ah but soy does Lowers LDL and Triglycerides – It may lower LDL and Triglycerides slightly, but the jury is still out on this one. However I do know this for sure: the American heart association no longer recommends soy as a good food for lowering cholesterol levels ( I wonder why (Sarcastically)???

Low in Saturated Fat – Well saturated fat is not necessarily a bad thing. I guess this makes soy a low calorie food, so I won’t fault it for that.

In summary we have soy, high in protein, but trypsin inhibitors limit their breakdown; It’s got a lot of vitamins and minerals, but phytic acid renders the majority of them useless; It’s rich in omega-3’s, but unfortunately only ALA which must be converted by the body in order to be used; and its claims of lowering cholesterol levels is sorry at best. I think we should label Soy the food that has all the good stuff that your body can’t use, and it could fuck with your thyroid, lower sperm counts in men, and induce unwanted estrogen production. With all this being said, I still may have a tiny sliver of my heart still accepting of sprouted soy (the verdict is still out), but as of right now I recommend avoiding it completely because there are better alternatives.

New Research on why you should avoid Soy. By Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig:

Monday, March 8, 2010

How Street Stairs

On Saturday I had the pleasure of running up the Howe Street Stairs in Seattle, and getting the Official Record(But it is very beatable, even though I put in a good effort). Kevin filmed, and PJ stopped cars so I could safely cross the street.

Check out the Video.

Friday, February 26, 2010

What is for Lunch Today?

People often ask me, "what is for lunch today?" Well this is my answer for today. Recipes Included!

Lunch Menu

1 – Spinach Salad with Brocolli, Carrots, Onion, Tomato, and Avocado

2 – Chicken with Stewed Onion Pepper and Tomato

3 – Steamed Brussel Sprouts

4 – Riceless Sushi???

Steamed Brussel Sprouts

  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Olive Oil to taste
  • Salt to taste

Steam the Brussel Sprouts for 10 minutes or so, then add olive oil and salt to taste.


  • 1 Chicken Breast (Large)
  • 1 Large Tomato
  • ¼ to ½ Red Onion
  • ½ Green Pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Oregano
  • Garlic Powder
  • ½ tbsp Coconut Oil

Defrost chicken, and heat pan with coconut oil. Add chicken breast to coconut oil and cook on one side for 3 minutes. Add onions to pan while chicken is cooking. Flip the chicken over and add tomatoes, and bell pepper. Get a good stir fry going and season to taste with Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper, Oregano, and Garlic Powder. Put a lid over the pan for 3 minutes. At this point the chicken should be cooked through and the veggies stewing nicely. Remove lid, re-season and evaporate unwanted moisture if necessary.

Riceless Sushi (makes 2 rolls)

  • 2 sheets Nori
  • ½ Roma Tomato
  • 2 Mini Carrots
  • ½ Small Avocado
  • 1 Handful of fresh Spinach
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves
  • Hot Sauce of your liking
  • 1 small can of Sardines (Get what you like, I used plain sardines in water. And YES, I would love to have used Ahi Tuni or smoked salmon, but I am on a budget damn-it!!!)

Lay out a sheet of nori as if you were going to make sushi. Start by getting a layer of spinach (As seen in the photo), and add the rest of your ingredients. Make sure to keep slices thin for easy rolling. Roll as if it were real sushi, and wet the closing edge of the nori with a little water so it will hold together. Note: There would be almost infinite variations on this so get creative.

Friday, February 12, 2010


I hinted at Diet and Nutrition in my introduction and I assured you this would be an interesting topic. So now I am formally introducing to you the Paleo Diet, which is the current diet that I adhere to, and some of the results I have had pertaining to general fitness, weight loss, and athletics among other things.

I started to make changes to my diet about 1 year ago upon observing Kevin (my brother). He got on a diet plan after joining the X Gym, where he rapidly lost body fat and increased muscle (His rapid results were of course in large part due to an intense physical training routine as well). So I started by eating only natural/whole foods and a generally low glycemic diet (Also commonly referred to as the diabetic diet). This basically consisted of cutting out of my diet all refined carbs (most cereals and breads, refined sugar), artificial sweeteners (Aspartame, Ascesulfame-K…), and other artificial and chemicals and food additives (High fructose corn syrup, msg…). This led to the avoidance of candy, granola bars, most bread, cereals, and most salad dressings, as they are generally loaded with high fructose corn syrup, msg, added sugar… Thus olive oil and balsamic vinegar became my go to when eating salad and I ate lots of it. From here my diet slowly evolved, I began researching more, adjusting my macronutrient (Carbohydrate, Protein, Fat) ratios, and eliminating certain foods that my research deemed non-optimal. It seemed every step of the way there was improvement in my athletic recovery and overall fitness. As I progressed I found myself eating very close to what is now commonly known as the Paleo Diet. Simply put, this is a diet that is supposed to imitate the diet of our ancestors from the Paleolithic period. Why the Paleolithic Period? Because this is the period of human evolution where the majority of our genetic adaptation took place, hence we then should be genetically optimized to consume the foods that were eaten during that period. These foods include Vegetables, Fruit, Nuts, Seeds, seafood, and wild meats. I know what you are thinking, probably as I did, “This diet is limiting, No Soy! No Beans! No Lentils! And where are all the whole grains?” Unfortunately these foods all need to be processed in some way in order to be eaten, and there is little evidence that any of the foods were in our Paleolithic ancestors’ diet. Of course there are exceptions, where people did consume grains or milk, but it is still not enough to give any of the aforementioned foods the Paleo Diet stamp of approval. The first time I heard about the Paleo Diet I didn’t even consider it a viable option; it was just far too limiting; but over time I found it pretty easy to follow, and with the surprising performance results and improvements in recovery, there was some added motivation to stick with the new regimen.

I was 25 years old, 5’7” tall, and 156 pounds, when starting the diet modifications. I was physically fit as a cyclist, mountain climber, and soccer player. I maintained for all of my college and post college years (up until 1 year ago) a weight within about 5 pounds of that 156 pound mark, with few exceptions; I did at one point get down to 147 pounds (after climbing with the flu, burning almost 10,000 calories in a weekend, and throwing up what little food I ate, followed by having my wisdom teeth removed and being on a liquid diet for the next 4 days) and at one point weighed in at 162 pounds (as a result of my poorest eating habits I had since high school and putting on bulky muscle. I was still very fit, as this was my weight during my first time climbing Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier in the same week.). Looking back at myself, I see a reasonably fit individual, pretty strong, and with good will power to push through and overcome physical challenges such as the Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier week. However, when I look in the mirror today, I see a slightly different beast; I am now 26 years old, a solid 5’8” tall, and 145 pounds. I can run a faster 40 meter, 100 meter, 400 meter, 1 mile, and 10k than I ever have. The only anomalies are the 2 mile and the 5k, as I was in very good shape to run that distance at the height of my soccer playing career, and because I have not recently timed those distances. I can dead lift 40% more; front squat 50% more, do double the consecutive push-ups, and triple the pull-ups that I could at any other time in my life; and I have added 2 mph to my average cycling speed. I would also like to note that all of this is after being off of all activity for almost 9 months because of a knee injury where I tore my ACL, MCL, LCL and Lateral meniscus.

Now some of these results can be attributed more too hard work and specific training, and some of the results attributed to diet, but if there is one thing I have learned it’s that YOU NEED BOTH PROPER DIET AND TRAINING TO MAXIMIZE HEALTH AND PHYSICAL POTENTIAL.

So let’s delve back in to my current diet to see what kind of foods are on the menu that led to the aforementioned results. As I stated previously the diet consists of Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Seeds, Meat, and Seafood. It does not include Grains or Legumes. Dairy is more of a gray area, but is still avoided especially in a pasteurized or processed form (Almost all of the milk/dairy products available at the grocery store fall into this category). There is some question as to whether Grass Fed, Organic, Raw, and Full Fat dairy products are acceptable, but as a rule the Paleo Diet still does not put it on the menu. So now I will go through the acceptable food groups one by one.

Fruits – Fruits are to be generally low glycemic. If you are not sure which fruits fall into this category, Google has the answers. Off the top of my head I can tell you that apples, pears, oranges, and grapefruit are all fair game. Fruits like bananas, pineapple, and melons have higher glycemic index and should be limited somewhat.

Vegetables – Green Vegetables are all fair game. So eat your kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, chard, mustard greens, and celery. Onions, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, and most other vegetables are also acceptable; however there are a couple exceptions, these include potatoes, sweet potatoes and other starchy tubers. These tend to be high carb, high glycemic, and require some processing/cooking to eat, therefore they are not paleo. If you miss mashed potatoes then I recommend trying mashed cauliflower, I actually like it better anyway. Also as a side note, potatoes are a preferred food for athletes on the paleo diet who need a source of carbohydrate to fuel endurance exercise, so for you athletes, potatoes may still be on the menu.

Nuts – Nuts are good, Walnuts and Almonds are probably the most healthful, but pecans, macadamia nuts, and other nuts are still fair game. Cashews (which are actually not a nut, but a seed from fruit) are fair game as well. Peanuts are a legume and are not acceptable. That goes for peanut oil or any other product containing peanuts. Soy is also not acceptable (Soy has been marketed as healthy, but all my research indicates that it is a sorry substitute for more optimal foods and in some cases can be detrimental to overall health, but I will get into this in another post).

Seeds – Most seeds are acceptable, and I cannot think of many exceptions. I particularly like hemp, chia, sunflower, sesame, and flax seeds (Although there has been some recent research on flax that unfortunately has downgraded it in the healthy food community, I still eat it though)

Seafood – Salmon, Tuna, Shrimp, Muscles, Clams, Lobster, Swordfish, Trout, Herring, Sardines… Eat it, lots of it, but note the following: Some fish contain high amounts of heavy metals, so limit them. Fatty fish, like salmon should be only eaten if wild, farm-raised fish will screw up the fats, and I don’t recommend eating them. If you want to save money by buying farmed seafood stick to shrimp and lean fish only.

Meat – Lean meat is fair game, when eating beef I highly recommend that it is 100% grass fed. Grain fed, and grain finished beef has a fat profile that is harmful to your health, 100% grass fed beef has a fat profile that is very good for your health. All wild meat is fair game, and organ meats are encouraged. Eggs are also fair game, but try to get omega-3 varieties that are organic and free range, also buying from local farms is generally best, and you can go see the operation yourself to ensure quality.

I will stop now, as this is just an introduction into the diet, but before I finish, I will give you an idea of what a normal day looks like for me. Below is a copy of my fitday ( that illustrates what an average day looks like for me. Note that this day would be supplemented with additional calorie intake and carbohydrates if I worked out more than 90 minutes.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Osteoporosis - This one is for the Ladies... And everyone else

I stumbled across another blog today, called Nephropal and I like it so much I put the link in the recommended reading section on the right of this blog. To put it simply, Nephropal focuses on Health and Medicine from an evolutionary viewpoint, the blogger/bloggers do a wonderful job of making very complicated subjects understandable to all the normal people, like me.

Anyway they had a great post on Osteoporosis, and calcium absorption. My basic take was that diets high in sugar(specifically fructose) in combination with Vitamin D deficiency has a detrimental effect on calcium absorption, and thus sets one up for Osteoporosis. Women in particular should take note as calcium deficiency is often more of a problem, especially during pregnancy. So eat less fructose (and sugar in general), get more vitamin D (especially during winter months), and make sure to do some load bearing exercise to help keep bone density (They also mention this as being important). So read on...

Oyster Dome trail and Ankle Sprain.

This last Sunday I went for my weekly run of the Oyster Dome. The whole things was going great until the very end of the run (when I say "end of the run" I mean I was literally 20 seconds away from my car after being on the trail for an hour and a half). As I was descending the last switch back to the start of the trail my ankle rolled accompanied by a very audible "SNAP". I immediately drop in a heap of dust and profanities. The pain wasn't to bad, but the whole joint swelled up to the size of a grapefruit within seconds.
Some locals were nice enough to help me limp to my car. I never did get their names, but they were a man and a women (thanks!). The man seemed worried that I was going to pass out because he kept asking me, "Are you going to be alright? Your not going to pass out, right?". I assured him that, no i would not pass out, and that i just needed to get back to town.
I drove as fast as I could without being a menace. My car is a manual transmission, and my ankle was starting to freeze in place, so I wanted to get somewhere before i no longer had the ability to shift. I called a friend who was nice enough to pick me up and take me to the ER. It was funny, I was the first of three people with ankle sprains to come into the hospital in a matter of minutes.
one bag of ice, one x-ray, and 5 hours later I was out of the Hospital. Nothing was broken, and they couldn't tell if any ligaments or tendons were damaged (an MRI would have been worthless with all of the swelling). They just told me to rest, ice it, eat copious amounts of NSAID's and schedule an appointment to see my GP.
One big lesson learned during all of this, don't go to the hospital for a sprain. Looking back I wanted to make sure that I didn't break anything. I think my ankle would have hurt a whole hell of a lot more if I broke it, and the swelling would have been purple and red from a hematoma forming.
Now I don't know if I will be able to compete in the stair climb (suck!), on the other hand I have lots of time to devote to school. Also, I managed to beat my previous PR on the Oyster Dome with a time of 38:38 (take that sprained ankle!).

Friday, February 5, 2010


There is something I have noticed that happens to people as they grow older, specifically at that point that they get a career. They tend to settle down, routine becomes the norm, getting up at the same time every morning, eating the same breakfast, going to the same job, coming home to the same house, and going to bed at the same time every night. Let me start by saying there is nothing wrong with routine, having structure allows for efficiency in completing daily tasks, you know what to expect day in and day out and therefore alleviates unneeded stress. However, there is a problem with excessive amounts of routine. I eventually see people so entrenched in going through the same motions every day that they forget how to break routine. They get so used to the same patterns that an observer could watch and swear that they were following some sort of sacred ritual. They will even continue to do things they dislike simply to keep to the routine they have created. You see this when people stay in the same job that they hate 1 year, 2 years, even a decade too long because of an inability to change. It keeps people in relationships that should be ended. It keeps people from trying new things, continuing learning, and ultimately staying young, mentally.

The solution to this little problem is a simple one. You must occasionally challenge yourself; try something new, something scary, something you have never done before; the more unfamiliar the task, and the more stress you feel in attempting it, the better.

I am no stranger to trying something new, it comes easily for me, however I usually don’t stray too far out of my comfort zone, but two nights ago that changed. I really went for it, tried something that had been at the back of my mind for some time. I went to a ballet class. That’s right, BALLET. Now I had multiple reasons for doing this; it was (and is) a new challenge; it improve fitness; the movements are unusual and foreign, so learning them will help keep the brain young; I still have muscle atrophy and movement issues in my left leg as a result of a knee injury, so ballet would likely have a therapeutic effect as well (and it’s cheaper than Physical Therapy)…The list goes on...

Anyway let me continue. Not only had I never taken a dance class before, I had never even danced before; or nothing a respectable person would call dancing, and definitely not sober. I was the guy who would hang out on the sidelines at weddings, smoking cigars and sipping whiskey with the guys to avoid going on the dance floor. So to participate in a ballet class was far out of my comfort zone. In addition being a heterosexual male I was way out of the usual demographic as well (* See Disclaimer Below); so far out that you pretty much have to shut the mind off, there is no room for self-conscious thoughts or I would be enveloped by them and fail, and failure is not an option. It actually brought out a sense of freedom, a sense of carelessness, and dare I say it relaxation. It was a much different experience than I had expected. I really thought it was going to be an anxiety riddled cluster-F*&# similar to giving a long technical presentation in front of a highly critical group of people; But it wasn’t, it ended up being quite the opposite, thank god.

In the past I don’t know if I would have mentally been capable of attempting ballet, it would have simply been too much, too uncomfortable, I wouldn’t have been caught dead attempting it. I don’t know what allowed me to just go for it this time, perhaps it was the mental training I went through when climbing this past summer; I was on the northwest face of Liberty Bell on lead, 40 feet from my last piece of protection. I was fatigued from 12 pitches of difficult climbing prior, and it was getting dark as my hands were slowly losing hold of a flaring crack while performing a lie back maneuver. My options were dwindling quickly; my back was up against the wall (figuratively). No protection, far too technical to down climb, arms were pumped up to the moon, and as I previously stated my grip was failing. My choice became simple, the fear left my conscious thought, it was do or die, nothing mattered anymore. It is funny how a tough situation can get so simple when you only have 1 option; if you attempt it successfully you live, if not you die. What goes through your head at this point is very interesting, it’s a survival mechanism, you throw out all thoughts fear and self preservation, and you proceed to complete the task at hand, with no regard for the situation around you. In hindsight you remember every detail, but at that exact moment you notice nothing but those things that matter. The arm burnout is irrelevant, they either have the strength or they don’t, you don’t care because you have no control over it. The darkness creeping up on you, that goes unnoticed, as again you have no ability to change the fact that you are short on time. The cold, it too goes unnoticed, you can’t stop to put on another layer, it’s impossible in that position. The only thing that gets remembered is every hand placement, every foot placement, and the knowledge of what it will take for your shoe rubber to stick. The line is set, and you climb.

I needed a similar mindset to attempt Ballet, being so far out of my comfort zone I needed to mentally let go. It is like putting yourself in a state of careless vulnerability. You have risk, whether it is falling to your death, or just looking like an idiot trying to get proper turnout to perform a simple tendu, you must not care, because ultimately your goal is to complete what you started; just as climbing without protection was my only option on Liberty Bell, finishing this Ballet class was my only option Tuesday night (Or at least I mentally made up my mind that I was going to finish it no matter what).

This control of mind is a skill, and can be developed. Of course in hindsight one can think more logically about trying something new and uncomfortable. What did I really have to lose by going to a ballet class? The answer is nothing, with the exception of some possible short term embarrassment, I had nothing to lose. I had put myself in a perfect situation; if I failed I was simply back where I started, still with the option of trying again and improving; the only direction to go was forward. This is no different when trying anything that is completely new. So here is my logical advice to everyone. If you find yourself in a rut, doing the same thing every day, getting bored with life with nothing to look forward too, then go out and try something completely new. Think about it, why wouldn’t you? If trying something new can only result in progress and not failure, then why not choose progress? It is good for your psyche on so many levels that I feel everyone who reads this should make it a point to try something new every now and again; in part to keep mentally stimulated (hell it may even be helpful for Alzheimer’s) , and also in part to see what you have to gain.

Lastly, build up the skill of going outside of your comfort zone. If you feel self conscious about going to the gym, go anyway. If you feel uncomfortable about going to a spin class because of fear you won’t do well; who cares? Nobody will fault you if your goal is improvement. If you are avoiding anything that can bring benefit to your life simply because you fear failure, do it anyway; you have nothing to lose. And finally, if you need a little motivation, a tidbit to inspire you, a little morsel to help you get off your ass and try something new, just remember this: Brian went to a Ballet class.

* Disclaimer – By no means did I write this with the intent that all Male Ballet Dancers are homosexual, or that it is even a bad thing to be homosexual, because it’s not. I was simply stating that there are very few male ballet dancers, and ballet dancers that are male do have higher tendency to be gay ( than that of the normal male population, and thus being heterosexual I was far out of the normal demographic that would be found in a ballet studio.

Whole Foods, Fit Employees getting bigger discounts?

Check out this article in the Seattle Times today. It covers Whole Foods new policy to give an extra 10% discount to employees who's body mass index (BMI) is less than 3o. I am not totally sure what I think about this just yet... The following questions arise: Is BMI really an accurate measure for health or fitness? It gives incentive if your BMI is below 30 but what about if you are hovering around 15 and are way too skinny? Perhaps that is when they should offer even more of a discount to encourage more eating :)

Now that I think about it I kinda like the idea. If my company offered some sort of incentive I would score, my BMI is 22 (Which is about the lowest it has ever been).

Anyway, I thought you might find this interesting

Thursday, February 4, 2010

February, 3, 2010 - Spin Class

Workout of The Day:

1 Hour Spin Class at Team Fitness Lake Stevens. Greg, the instructor Wednesday evenings usually does a pretty good class, and is generally more challenging than other instructors.
Average Heart Rate: 157
Max Heart Rate: 178
Minimum Heart Rate (After Warm-up): 146

This was a good workout coming off a couple rest days to recover from a month of 12+ hours per week workouts including cycling, climbing, Crossfit, and strength.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Introductions seem like the thing to do these days. Plus, Brian did it, and I wouldn't want to miss out. Anyway, my name is Jordan Sahlberg, I am a senior at Western Washington University in the Kinesiology program (sports science). Exercise is my life as well as my choice of profession. I love to play many sports, but climbing is my one true passion. I have never been one to love all the rules associated with organized sports (this doesn't mean that I avoid them entirely). Climbing is liberating because it is you vs. yourself. No rules, no referees, just you and the mountains. Anyway, more on that later.

In general, I hope to contribute what I can to this blog. My goals are to record my experiences with injuries, treatments (what worked, what didn't), exercises (goals; what worked, what didn't), and areas of interest (The heart, altitude training, ect.), and general musings.

It should also be noted that Brian and I ascribe to many of the same ideas as far as nutrition and training, but we are very much different. We have different problems as well as slightly different approaches to fitness. Much of this comes from the fact that we are individuals. Everyone responds uniquely to exercise, no one person reacts the same. Ideally, these variances will be represented through our joint contributions as well as the contributions of others. In either case, take what you will.

Saturday, 1/30/2010: Oyster Dome run

It lieu of actually running up stairs this last weekend. I thought it would be good to get out and get the legs moving. School seems to eat up most of my time, so I train when I can with what I have, and what I have is the Oyster Dome. The O dome is little chunk of rock nestled in the Chuckanut mountains near Bellingham. Its 3.25 miles to the top (6.5 round trip) and it gains around 2k vertical feet. Not very glamorous as far as hiking goes (the views are good on a clear day), but it more than delivers as a run. My thought was to run it once hard, then run it again at an easy pace as a base builder.

The First round was over in 39:25 (to the top), not shabby, but I could have pushed a little harder. The second round, which was at a much easier pace, clocked in at 49:12. Because of time constraints for the rest of my winter quarter at Western Washington University, I will most likely be running the Oyster dome every Saturday or Sunday. The rest of my training will be high Intensity intervals on the spin bike and lactate training on the stair stepper. If I can keep up with school and training, it should be an interesting race when the big day comes around.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Workout Jan 30 2010:
I got in the stairwell today for the first time since the Wamu tower race in December where we completely lit up the competition; (You can read about that here)We spend most our time training in the Wamu tower, as its convenience is unmatched because Kevin works on the top floor; today's suffering however, took place in the Seattle Municipal Tower (Picture to our right) Instead.
I put up a respectable time of about 7:40, and was informed that I likely became 1 of only 4 people to break the 8 minute barrier(The others are PJ, Kevin(my brother), and Jesse Berg who is currently ranked number 1 in the US, but that is debatable).

After that 8 or so minutes of lung and leg burning, Kevin and I went back to his place, made breakfast, and later in the day hiked up mailbox peak at a nice slow pace. We summited in 1 hour 30 minutes(far off my record of 1h:04m:56s, but setting records was not todays purpose). All in all it was a good, but somewhat uneventful day.

Todays Stats:
Seattle Municipal Tower: 7:40s (PR, First time in building)
Mailbox Peak: 1:30:00 (approximate, from gate to summit)

Seattle Municipal Tower All time record: 6:59 (Jesse Berg)
Mailbox All Time Record: Unkown, but I have seen no reports of anyone beating my time of 1:04:56, although it is very likely someone out there probably has.

Friday, January 29, 2010


For the first post on this blog I am going to explain my purpose in making it. This is simple, I do a lot of random shit, soccer, climbing, stair racing, cycling, crazy ass training for mountain climbing, engineering...You get the idea. This blog is simply a tool for me to show a little bit of what I do from day to day; share stories, pictures, ideas, and other information I find interesting. A large portion of this blog will be dedicated to training, fitness, health, and dieting, as I have been experimenting for the past year with many different methods to improve athletic performance. I have found information that I feel is valuable through research and by using myself as a test dummy. This will be a place for me to post my results, and what I feel is useful information.

Here is a Brian to Brian question and answer session that will help portray what will be contained in this blog.

Q1: Brian what should I expect to see in this blog?
A1: Brian, thanks for asking... You should expect to see the following: Mountain Climbing Trip Reports, workouts that I found particularly effective(IOW they hurt a lot, the good kind of hurt), a log of foods I eat(believe me, as I get more in depth you will find this interesting), recipes, and my thoughts on just about anything.

Q2: Brian, I heard you were on the Paleo Diet??? Why are you such a crazy Mother F'er?
A2: I was born that way, and yes I am currently experimenting with the Paleo Diet for Athletes(also the title of a book that I recommend reading to get a different perspective for dieting). I am measuring it's effectiveness at improving post-workout recovery(I will get more into this subject later).

Q3: Do you adhere to any particular workout protocol?
A3: The simple answer is no, however I do tend toward a Crossfit style workout. These workouts are usually very intense, and last 30 minutes to 1 hour. This is a little longer than most crossfit style workouts, but I have modified them to meet a slightly different level of fitness designed for mountain climbing. I also recommend googling(some day this word will be added to the dictionary, just wait) Crossfit, and taking a look at the as these sites provide the inspiration for many of my workouts.

Q4: Mountain Climbing, soccer? I heard ballet was good training for some of that stuff, you don't do that do you?
A4: Sssshhhhhhhhhhhhh

Q5: Engineering, where does that fit in?
A5: That is what I do for a living right now, it funds my various adventures, and It is also a warning that I may get a little technical and number oriented when analyzing workouts and results.

OK enough talking to myself, even though I could go on all day. Please stay tuned...