Friday, February 25, 2011

Double Take

I'm reclaiming my personal blog now. Professional blog updates to come later - got the server space today and think I can have the site launched next week. But now - back to meee.

Do you ever see someone somewhere unexpected - somewhere you do not usually see them - and at first you don't recognize them even though you know that you know who they are? Does that make sense? Like you see a coworker at the grocery store and it takes you a second to figure out why you know them?

Well, that just happened to me at work today. A man walked into the library, and my first thought was, "Hot damn that is a good looking man!"

And then I realized.... it was Derek


It's okay, you can roll your eyes. I know.

To go off on a completely different tangent now - I have succeeded in completing six 4-mile runs and one 3.5-mile run in the past nine days (including today), all with a 9 minute-mile pace or faster.

SO tomorrow I'm going to step it up and try a longer run. I wanted to do 8-miles, but my knee has been bugging me still (remember the getting-hit-by-car incident from last year.... yeah...) so, I think I'll just try for 6-miles. And then - Yoga!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


So, this health blog really needs a name. Here are the ideas so far:

  • The Hog: A Health Blog (sent as a joke, but hey -why not?)
  • An Apple A Day (kinda over used, but it's catchy)
  • Health & Wellness Blog (cause that's what it'll be)
  • ???

Any who, I have gotten some awesome feedback so far. Based on that I will be adding articles on nutrition supplements, specific diseases & conditions, and 'reader questions' answered. Keep the feedback coming, and dear lord if anyone knows of a good name help me out here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Up-Coming Professional Blog!!!

Okay, y'all get the inside scoop - I just got approval to launch a "healthy" blog through my work at the Health Sciences Library! I am super excited about this opportunity to write for my job, and I really want this blog to be a success. So I want to tell y'all about it, and get some feedback from you.

The target audience of the blog includes:
  1. The College of Community Health Sciences community (my work)
  2. University of Alabama affiliates (pretty much all of Tuscaloosa)
  3. Any person who may be interested in reading about health related topics (this could be someone here in Tuscaloosa, or someone in Australia)

The content will include:
  1. Fun healthy recipes with alternative food ideas
  2. Exercise tips, routine ideas, motivation aids, pep talks
  3. Local Highlights, community events that promote good health
  4. Library Highlights, resources that our library provides
  5. Fact or Fake - confirm or bust old wives tales with review of medical literature
  6. Guest writers, reader feedback posts
  7. Book Reviews
The things I have to watch out for:
  1. I CANNOT provide medical advice
  2. I'll have some legal statements liability purposes
So I really want this blog to have some interactive quality to it. I'll need to get a strong readership base built up and make opportunities for those readers to give feedback and participate in the blog. In order for that to happen, I need to be writing about stuff people are interested in.

This is where I'd like your feedback.

What would you guys want to read about? What health-info could I research for you and post? Would any of you be interested in a guest column? Is there a book you'd like me to review? Do you know of a community event that should get highlighted? What's a health related old wive's tale that you want to know the facts about?

AAAAND, what the heck should I call this blog??? LOL - I am blanking on a good name.

So please, give me your feedback, thoughts, and ideas. You can comment them here, or email me (, or send me a Facebook message. I cannot wait to get started on this new project! :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Moving with Momentum!

I feel like I'm finally getting some momentum behind my running. Check out the last five days of my week:

Thursday - ran 3.5 miles (didn't time it)
Friday - group yoga one hour
Saturday - ran 4 miles (didn't time it)
Sunday - ran 4 miles in 36 minutes
Monday - ran 4 miles in 34 minutes during my lunch break!

Isn't that freaking awesome?!?!

Yes, I am overly proud of myself. But I definitely want to keep this up so I can be fully prepared for the Ranger Run and just so that this type of routine becomes... well, routine for my whole life. It's hard to get into good habits, and I want this whole running thing to really stick.

What motivates you to stay in a healthy habit (pick whatever habit you might be trying to keep)? What gets in your way?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Head Games

Last Sunday I went climbing with Derek and Sam at Steele, determined to hone my mental skills on the rock face. I have been reading The Rock Warrior's Way by Arno Ilgner (that might not be how to spell his name. whatever.) to learn some mental skills and improve my climbing.

The weekend before I had gone to Sandrock with the hopes of sending my mental 'project' Thin in the Middle, a 5.10 sport route. Unfortunately, I was not on my mental A-game and after make excuses about the cold weather and excessive crowds and being hungry and being sore from working out, I didn't even attempt the route. I led another sport route, so at least I did something. But basically I punked out.


So this Sunday was my opportunity to do-over. We hiked in with beautiful weather - blue skies, warm sun, cool breeze. After puttering around and checking out a few routes (it was my first time at Steele) we ended up in front of a 5.6 trad line. Sam was in need of a few moments to eat his breakfast, so Derek asked me if I wanted to take the lead. I decided to go for it - after all it was only a 5.6

I racked up and scoped out the route. The start of the climb was a scramble up onto a block at the base of a crack - I figured I could make the scramble without a problem, and place gear in the crack. The ledge I would be standing on was about 15 feet off the ground.

This was a perfect way to start my climb because it was easy enough I was confident I wouldn't get hurt, but high enough to make me uncomfortable. It would have been a lot nice though if there had been a place to get gear in the crack when I got there!

So there I was, standing on a block with no gear. I fiddled around, sat down on the block and got a cam in a horizontal by my feet. Fat lotta good that would do me. (translation for non-climbing friends: gear below you is gear you have to fall past to catch you... this close the the ground, gear at my feet is pretty not helpful.)

Derek offered that there was a horizontal up left I could use... I tried to reach for it, but I was too short. I was going to have climb up to protect the route.

At this point, I remember Derek telling me about a sketchy almost run-out 5.6 route that had epic like tales from previous ascents.

I called down to him, "Is this that route you wanted me to do that would freak me out??? Is this gonna be runnout???"

He called back, "The protection is all there. Look around."

I decided that surely he would have warned me if this was the "epic" route. This couldn't be that route. Besides. It's 5.6 and I can climb 5.6 and even if I fall I will be okay. That became my mantra - I can climb 5.6 I can climb 5.6

So up I went. Sam and Derek did a great job of calling out encouragement. They reminded me to breath, reminded me that I had huge holds (so it didn't matter that the route WAS a bit run out and the gear that was there was in kinda crappy rock that would probably break if I fell on it). When I got to a spider web nest and came close to loosing it (I'm not a fan of spiders) Sam reminded me that spiders are scared of me.

And so it went. It took probably an hour for a 100ft route (waaaaay slow), but my ropes were in a beautiful straight line (led doubles so Derek and Sam could follow quickly), I never weighted my gear, and I never lost control of myself. I even placed a nut that I would have been confident falling on. I made it to the top and it was a beautiful day.

I did find out later that it was definitely the "epic" route.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Unlocking Iron

Apologies for the randomness of this post, but I felt the need to share.

I am prone to having iron deficiency anemia.

I've been told by doctors and friends alike to "eat red meat" to fix this problem. But that doesn't really work for me. Why? Well, there's that whole pesky VEGETARIAN thing that I'm trying to go for.

So here are some pointers for anyone wanting to keep up their iron levels without slaughtering Bambi's mom, Maude the cow, or Miss Chicken Liver.

Pointer #1: Eat foods high in Vitamin C when getting your iron.

Vitamin C helps your body unlock and absorb the iron. So when you are having your bowl of oatmeal or iron-fortified cereal, pour yourself a glass of 100% juice to go with it. When you are having a spinach salad, throw some mandarin oranges on it.

Pointer #2: Get your iron from a variety of sources.

Variety is good in your diet. Duh. Here are some of my high-iron favorites: walnuts, spinach, fortified cereals & oatmeal, chickpeas, okay just about any beans, raisins, peanuts, dried apricots, Clif Bars, and Clif Boulder Bars.

Pointer #3: If resorting to supplements, add LOTS of fiber to your diet.

Enough said.

If your interested in learning more, check out this link from the Center of Disease Control:

The one thing they don't mention is that you can also become iron deficient if you work out a lot - it makes sense though if you think about it. As you work out, you damage your muscles and they rebuild - and your body uses your blood to do this. So the more you use your blood the more you will need to replace your body's iron & other nutrients in order to recover. Just something else to keep in mind, especially if you find that you get really tired when you work out rather than feeling energized :)

My two cents for the day.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Training for Indian Creek

Today was my second training session for Indian Creek. Derek has been coming up with work-outs based on the Mountain Athlete program for our training.

Here's how it went:

First, ran a 6 minute 45 second mile - new personal record!
Warm Up = 5 sets of the following
  • 8 foot cuts on the bouldering wall (foot cut = get yourself on the overhanging bouldering wall, let your feet come off the holds, then with controlled movement put your feet back on the holds)
  • 20 seconds calf raises
  • 25 seconds tip toes
  • 8 slasher-to-halo's with a 15 lb weight
The work out = 6 sets of the following
  • 3 minutes in the crack machine
  • 45 seconds chair
  • 45 seconds plank
  • 8 burpees
Cool down = ran another mile, this time in about 8 minutes

All and all, I feel pretty beat up. The crack machine was set to slightly wider than hand size for me, so I had to cup pretty hard to stay in. By the end of it, I was only staying in for maybe 15 seconds at a time before falling out. But the thing is - I had a LOT of fun with this workout! It wasn't boring, it was insanely challenging but still achievable. I feel worked.

Also, funny note, I worked out in my sports bra since we had the bouldering room to ourselves- this gave me ridiculous motivation to keep good form b/c anytime I didn't have good form my abs would arch out and look extremely icky. But when I had good form, it was like, YES, I'm gonna get me some smoking hot abs.

It's the little things, right?

Here are some pictures of the crack machine, just for funsies. Kinda scary looking, eh?

No falling allowed!

Have you ever heard of Mountain Athlete? If so, what do you think of it?

Off to bed now - we're going climbing at Sandrock tomorrow and I'm going to lead Thin in the Middle! (and hopefully not sprain an ankle in the process...)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Learning to Fly

As promised, here are the details on our up-coming spring break trip to Indian Creek, Utah!

Derek and Sam will be leading a UA Outdoor Rec trip, taking a few adventurous climbers to the ascend some of the most amazing crack lines in the world. And I actually get to go!!! The trip is running from March 12th to March 20th, so I only have about 5 weeks to train for it (oh yeah, and that 25K that is the following weekend - eeek)

So why is this post entitled "Learning to Fly" - ?

In efforts to get inspired to train hard core for this trip, I spent some time Googling pictures of Indian Creek rock climbing. I found several beautiful shots, but there was this one route that kept popping up - Learning to Fly. This route is rated 5.13+ and is one of the hardest in the area. Beyond it's name, it caught my attention because women were leading the route in every picture that I saw.

Here is a video of Steph Davis rocking out the route:

Learning to Fly from steph davis on Vimeo.

It's difficult to describe how or why, but this route inspires me - these women inspire me. Looking at these photos I think, "I could do this"

Which is INSANE - this is a 5.13 PLUS!

I've never made it up anything harder than a 5.10 or 5.11 without falling, and always on top rope. The hardest trad route I've ever tried is a 5.9 to lead, and that was only after repeated top rope ascents!

But really. Look this route.

It's beautiful.

And listen to the name "Learning to Fly"

It sounds so liberating. Yes, you will probably fall on this route. But it's okay, because your not really falling - you are flying. And learning, and growing. It looks overhanging enough that you really wouldn't hit anything if you fell - and the gear looks bomber. You could really just go for it.

I want to do it.

Next month or next year - I will set my sights on this route. I want it. I can achieve this. I will learn to fly.

Let the training begin.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

T-Town Pics!!!

There were several photographers at the comp, and I finally had some time to go through all of their photos to find these shots. Presenting:

The T-Town Pull Down Family Photo Edition!

Below: My bro-in-law, Scott, making his way up the over-hanging wall
Below: Scott rocking it out again

Below: Little Brother Garrett crushing it hard core! This guy one 1st place in the advance division!

Below: Garrett showing off some more of his mad skill

Below: Derek talking to the crowd with lil' Mike on the rock rings

Below: Derek dancing his dance

Below: Derek and Tyler (Josh's daughter) - made me think of us having kids someday. That girl can send too - she totally topped out the bouldering wall with no fear!

Below: another shot of Derek, taken by lil' Mike I think - lil'Mike has mad picture taking skillz

Below: Anna after finishing a route

Below: Anna sending with style!

Aaaaand the rest are pictures of me. You do remember the title of this blog right? Yeah. That's right - it's aaaaaall about me.

And Anna too :)
So freaking happy that I have such an awesome family!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

NYR's Check Up

Here's how I did for the month of January on my New Year's Resolutions:

1. Climb 3 times per week at the gym (or 2 times if climbing outside on the weekend) for 30 to 45 minutes, including antagonistic muscle strength conditioning

Gym time didn't happen as much as it should, but I did go ice climbing twice and competed in the T-Town Pull Down

2. Lead a traditional 5.9 route

Nothing to report

3. Lead a sport 5.10 route

Gonna try this Sunday!!! - going for Thin in the Middle at Sandrock again

4. Compete in the T-Town Pull Down


5. Attend a group yoga class once a week

I went to two classes...

6.Run 30 minutes at my target heart rate 3 times a week, when not otherwise training

My heart monitor broke, so I'm not too sure here - but I have been running!

Train for and run competitively in any number of races, not to exceed a cumulative racing distance of 50K for the year

I picked my next two races!

8. Knit and sew birthday and Christmas gifts

haha, fail so far

9. Hand make birthday and holiday cards

aaaaand fail again.

10. Sleep no less than 7 hours a night - this receives priority over school work

All nights except one

11. Read Thrive by Brendan Brazier, a nutritional guide for vegans

Done! Moving on to the Rock Warrior's Way - book review to come

12. Step down as President of SAC


13. Create new budget and set specific savings goal for the year

Derek made the budget - savings goals to come

14. No caffeine. Seriously this time.

hahaha. I don't know why I even kept this one. I drink coffee until it makes me sick, then stop for a while and then pick it back up again. Some day. maybe.

And just for funsies: a picture of the new CRACK MACHINE to help us train for our upcoming spring break trip to INDIAN CREEK!!! Details to come :)