Browsing Tag

Rest Day

Prep Work

May 29, 2015

Rudolf II of Habsburg as Vertumnus. Giuseppe Arcimboldo, 1590.

I love food. When I look at my fridge, I want to see pleasure, not obligation. Not antithetically, training also demands that I eat thoughtfully. I need to eat not only for taste, but for performance.

I follow a plan that ensures that I have energy when I need it, in balanced proportion (more or less 40% carb-30% protein-30% fat) without the sluggishness that follows a heavy meal (I eat about 1800 calories per day). But I’m often traveling between gyms during the day, which means I don’t have time to get home to prepare a sit-down lunch for myself. And my days are usually so packed that when I come home hangry, I won’t be forced to make a desperate choice, because what I need and want to eat will already be there waiting for me. I need good food, fast.

Local farmers’ markets take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Shopping at the Santa Monica farmers’ market is one of my greatest pleasures—a sensual and aesthetic abundance and a chance to talk with the farmers who grow my food and to meet up with friends who shop there, too. But for now, I use a service, Good Eggs, to shop for me, since I don’t have the time to do it myself. They drop off a cooler packed full of locally grown vegetables, fruit, and meat.

Thursdays and Sundays are my rest days, and a perfect time to think about my meals and prep them. This is what’s in my fridge for the next four days:



  • Roasted Squab with morels, roasted broccoli and kabocha squash puree
  • Mara De Bois strawberries



  • Halibut with braised collards and kale
  • Oatmeal with roasted plum jam


  • Bone broth
  • Carrots with sesame and cilantro


  • Roasted sweet potatoes and golden potatoes with Herbs de Provence
  • Braised beef short ribs with peach salsa

Dinner :

  • Opah with tarragon, roasted asparagus and sautéed English peas with lemon
  • Papaya



  • 4 eggs
  • Chicken patties with beet top pesto
  • Sautéed red cabbage with caraway seed, mustard seed, and champagne
  • Apple-cinnamon oatmeal


  • Bone broth
  • Roasted Celery root with orange, cumin, and coriander


  • Baked sweet potato
  • Blackened Chicken breast
  • Nectarine


  • Duck breast with cara-cara orange glaze
  • Roasted purple cauliflower with balsamic and basil
  • Kiwi




  • Pork sausage, asparagus, zucchini, and broccoli saute
  • Oatmeal with almond paste and stewed blueberries


  • Bone broth
  • Roasted rutabaga with lemon zest
  • Chicken breast with chili sauce, cilantro, chives, lime, and basil with tomato
  • Roasted sweet potatoes with herb scented salt

Then I prep. Chopping, zesting, dicing, sautéing, and cooking everything I can: a working meditation. By mid-afternoon, I have a pleasingly stocked refrigerator, organized into labeled containers. In the following days, when I get home, mind and body fatigued past the ability to make decisions, dinner is ready. Voila.



March 27, 2015

P1420820Yesterday I made good on a promise made to myself almost 20 years ago: to fly helicopters again. I first earned my Pilots License during a very busy time in life, when I was juggling motherhood, work, and a marriage, and I stopped when I moved away from a house in rural Connecticut which had convenient access to a helicopter and interesting places to go in it. Now I have returned to it during another busy time. But it’s no coincidence. Performing in the CrossFit Open has been more mentally stressful than it has been physical: the competition has been all-absorbing for the last five weeks. I believe that the best way to recharge my mental batteries is to engage in an activity that demands full attention. So I fly.

The urge to fly runs in my family. My dad was a bush pilot in Alaska, my brother was an aerobatic pilot who performed in weekend air shows, I was married to a man who was and still is a passionate recreational pilot, and we have a son who flies both fixed and rotor wing aircraft. I like helicopters more than airplanes because the places you can go in them are much more fun.*


Gia and Models in the California Desert. Chris von Wangenheim, 1979.

I fly the tiniest non-experimental helicopter there is, a Robinson R22, and I do not aspire to fly anything else, except the equally basic R44, which has four seats. Robinsons have very few moving parts, appealing to someone like me who is not a motor head but who is a gadget freak. If you open the cowl doors, as every pilot does in pre-flight inspection, you can easily see every connection and how it works and test its integrity with your own two hands before take-off. Once in the cockpit, the pilot is directly connected to this remarkable little machine with the cyclic, collective, and two foot pedals. I love this feeling, which is, to me, a sensation similar to rock climbing, without the physical exertion. Climbing air: a perfect activity for a rest day.

Yesterday, I spent an hour of flight time reacquainting myself with the aircraft. I did fine flying straight and level as we surveyed the snowy mountain peaks of the San Bernardino range. Next week, I will learn to hover again. I am betting that it will take me at least five hours to relearn this critical skill, which took me ten hours to master in 1995. It will probably take about 30 hours to be fully proficient to fly solo again, so long as I minimize time between lessons.

The range of the Robinson is about 250 miles and it travels at 110 MPH. This means that hiking trails of Big Sur, the ski slopes of Mammoth Mountain, climbing rocks in Joshua Tree, and the surf beaches of San Diego will be within my reach. This is my incentive. I will be logging my adventures here, so please stay tuned.


Meanwhile, 15.5 was announced last night, and it consists of only two moves: rowing and thrusters. I am fairly proficient at both, and I actually enjoy rowing, but the kicker is that they will be judged for time. My plan is to approach it like I have done before: in today’s go I will get the feel of it. Monday will be for real. The Open final scores will comprise the first score in the Master’s Qualifier (which is a semi-final step to qualify for the CrossFit Games, my goal). I am currently ranked in 3rd place Worldwide in the Women’s 60+ Division. So on Monday I will leave it all on the floor (now that I have learned the value in doing so), and post my results here.


Stephanie Seymour. Photographer Herb Ritts


*Essentially most state laws allow helicopter pilots to land anywhere it doesn’t say you can’t. Safe and courteous pilots always obtain permission to land at their destination before takeoff.



Making a Study

March 20, 2015


Yesterday was my rest day. I typically spend Thursdays doing something related to art, because I cannot easily fit visiting galleries or museums into my schedule on the days when I train. A large show—more than 60 paintings—by the masterful British artist J.M.H. Turner (1775-1851) just opened at the Getty Museum, in Los Angeles. I visited it with my friend C.F., who is a painter and a sculptor, and my favorite person to go with on these weekly art outings because his eye is keen and our taste in art is similar. We are both devotees of abstraction: he paints it, and we both collect it. And we are also lifelong students of art history.


Turner is best known for his large, densely painted oils, often depicting dramatic allegorical scenes, and the show was rich with some of his finest. But my favorite pieces were the light and airy watercolor studies, created with speed and efficiency, on site and only for himself, where the master experimented technically before committing to the more permanent medium. There is an unselfconscious, spontaneous quality about these small personal works that I found more intriguing than many of the larger, heavily worked masterpieces for which he would be judged.




It is in the spirit of making a study of my own that I will make a first go at 15.4 this afternoon. I have no idea how many rounds and reps I can get in eight minutes. Because Masters 55+ are asked to perform multiple rounds of Push Presses  instead of Handstand Pushups (like younger athletes must do) interspersed with rounds of Cleans, I can’t reckon my own numbers based on their times like I did last week when our movements were exactly the same. So like Turner working fast and light to capture a few fleeting moments of sunlight, I will just start working against the clock and see what turns up.

Open_Workout_15.4 Details