Monthly Archives

February 2015

At Last!

February 26, 2015

This week, I finally got kipping pull ups, after working for more than a year on developing the strength and the rhythm it takes to pull off a set of five. It was only a year ago that I got my first chin-over-bar, and it took me a year just to get a single one of those.

I think it was working with Maddie Curley, a gymnastics coach, that got me here. In five sessions, she helped me perfect the individual elements of this movement—the mount, the kip, the pull, the push, the swing, and the reset at the bottom—and

Letting Go

February 25, 2015


A few weeks ago, I attended the annual dinner of the American Alpine Club. I look forward to it every year because it is the one day when passionate climbers from all over the world crawl out of their tents, peel themselves off vertical faces of rock and ice, and trek to a common location—this year it was held in New York —for a weekend of lectures and gatherings, formal and informal, and a chance to swap camp stories. From these meetings, there are many flashes of brilliant insight.

Such was the case with the weekend’s special guest and honoree,

Prep Work

February 23, 2015

Bath, 1925. Imogen Cunningham


The Open starts at the end of the week. My coaches have all told me, in so many words, that there is no more training I can do: I can only stay the same…or get worse. So I am going into self-care mode. Here is my to-do list:

  • Focus on mobility in the gym to keep my shoulders, thoracic spine, and hips open, using the movements suggested in Kelly Starrett’s book
  • Take my supplements on time, as directed
  • Eat meals on time and exactly as directed
  • Slather my hands in CrossFixe repair balm multiple times

Tech for Training

February 17, 2015
photo by Charlie Mason

photo by Charlie Mason

Training weaknesses, as competitive athletes do, requires data collection and analysis. It’s not enough to have vague goals like, “I want to run faster.” You need to know how fast you run today and set reasonable expectations for improvement in performance: “I want to run my mile thirty seconds faster.”




I collect my data every day and these are the devices I use:

  • Withings Scale—tracks my weight and BMI daily and wirelessly uploads the data to an app.
  • Suunto Ambit—a watch made for mountaineering, but can be tweaked to record data for

What I Eat

February 12, 2015



















The Zen of Aggression

February 9, 2015



This morning, I had a private training session with the legendary Sean Waxman—a champion Olympic weightlifter who has coached many of top athletes in the sport. He’s as big as a refrigerator, with hands like ham hocks, but he’s also gentle and kind, and as enlightened in spirit as he is strong in body. I’ve been working with him casually since last November, but I stepped up the program to weekly one-hour intensives after I lost my nerve in the NorCal Masters and my fear cost me my spot in the competition.

We were working on the Olympic

How I Eat

February 3, 2015



I have eaten “clean” my whole life. I grew up in the Santa Clara Valley of California, when it was predominated by large family-run farms, and access to fresh fruits and vegetables was a fact of life.  Except for the few years during which my mother bought canned peas—motivated, no doubt, by convenience—everything green on our table was no more than 48 hours from the ground. There were no fast-food spots in my town then, so I didn’t try a Big Mac until, when I was 22 years old, I revealed I’d never had one to a boyfriend while