Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Morning Motivation

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"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."
Helen Keller

"Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will."
Jawaharal Nehru

"The best way to prepare for life is to begin to live."
Elbert Hubbard

"The whole of life is but a moment of time. It is our duty, therefore to use it, not to misuse it."

“Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today.”
 James Dean

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
 Howard Thurman

“The difference between school and life? In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson.”
 Tom Bodett 

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure its worth watching.”

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Competition Primer (Part V) Between Shows

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Competitors get a break between the pre-judging (morning) show and the Finals (night) show. The auditorium or facility will usually clear out and be locked up, so you need to take your belongings with you. Or, at least anything that you aren't too concerned about. 

You would never leave your suit, they are custom made and start at the low $300.00 and run into the thousands. And, although I would hate to think that a fellow competitor might take one, I just think you should never tempt fate.

I don't even take my suit off, just throw clothes on over it. The tightness of it will start wearing the tan away, and when you see a competitor close up at this time of day, they start to look pretty rough. The tan is wearing in places, make up is starting to cake, hands look dark and stained from the tan. They are tired and ready to be done.

It's fun to go out into the audience for a bit, and cheer on friends. Then off to eat! But don't pig out!

Although the judges have made their minds up at the pre-judging, if a competitor comes back for the night show and looks like hell- they can kiss their placing goodbye! I have seen some women come back with belly's so round and full they looked pregnant.

Most will go out to eat "real" food. And, what you eat will be dependent on how you look. You will need to learn how food affects your body to know, but let me tell you this now. When you diet down for a competition, and you have very little body fat, not much water and everything is painstakingly weighed and measured before you ingest it, every little thing you eat WILL make a difference. 

Don't blow all your hard work between shows. You only have a few more hours (well, OK, maybe 6 to 8) and then it's over. I have seen countless women break right here. Why?
Because we are all sitting in a restaurant with big cheeseburgers in front of us!

So, if you do not have super good willpower, then don't tempt fate. Have someone bring the right food to you if that works. Don't go to a restaurant. Do what you need to do.

Some will need to eat. Me? I get lean, I ate a cheeseburger in between shows. I think I had a couple fries, a few ounces of iced tea. That's it!

If you have a hotel room, take a nap. I took one outside one year, on the grass. That's how I met Mystra, another competitor. She also was hanging out and offered me half a grapefruit. It tasted wonderful! Just don't lay in the sun, it will melt the tan if you get all sweaty. And make sure you aren't near any sprinklers!

After the break, you have time to fix make up, hair, and the tanners will fix any blotches or marks just before you go out on stage again, so don't try to fix it yourself!

Take a deep breath, it's a long day, there is one more show to go!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Seafood Soup

I can eat soup almost everyday. There was a time in my life where I only wanted thick, creamy soups. Now, I cannot even digest that and certainly don't dream about eating it. I like clear broths, with homemade stock and lots of vegetables.

Scallops, shrimp, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, wild rice and homemade chicken stock.

I actually made this at the spur of the moment due to a timing error with the family's meal. So, I had to throw together something at the very last minute. I had made chicken stock so I knew that would be the base.  I searched in the freezer and found a bag that had three very small scallops in it and one that had 5 plump uncooked jumbo shrimp. Bingo!

Into a small pot I placed the chicken stock, and all the vegetables cut into bite sized pieces. They were already cooked, it was Sunday and I had cooked a bunch of vegetables for lunches. Asparagus, mushrooms and zucchini. They warmed in the broth as I cooked the seafood.  I added one ounce of cooked wild rice for some texture.

I ran the shrimps and scallops under cold water and they quickly thawed, then I sprinkled the shrimp with chile powder. I heated my skillet and added a very small amount of coconut oil and then quickly seared the scallops and shrimps.

The scallops cooked first, I pulled them out and placed them in the serving bowl.

The shrimps still had the shells on and took longer, I added a splash of water to keep them from drying out and sticking as they finished cooking.

When they were done, I pulled them off, took the shells off and cut them into smaller pieces. I added them to the bowl with the scallops, then poured the broth and vegetables over.  A couple squirts of sriracha sauce and it was ready to enjoy!

Soup is so easy to make, just use your imagination! If you can make your own stocks it's a bonus as you don't have to worry about sodium and what may or may not be in it, and the flavor is phenomenal. 
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Wednesday's Quads

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Quad day- How many times have I written about my legs? I have been trying to bring up the size for ages, and Roy seems as serious as I am, so I am seeing improvement, but it’s not easy that’s for sure!
Monday was hams and my calves were still super tight and bordering on painful when I got to Roys at 5:30 pm on Wednesday. I stretched and rolled trying to loosen up a bit before the squat marathon.
Back squats- we started with a warm up of 8 reps at 95 pounds.  He reminds me to do what we did last week, no resting at the top, we all do it, and we shouldn't. You squat all the way down,  explode up and stand for a few seconds and catch your breath.  no no no! No resting!

Today there would be none of that. If I need a short rest do it at the bottom, but keep the legs tight, as soon as I get to the top standing position, thrust my hips forward, squeeze the glutes and head right back down again., and I mean all the way down to the ground. Everything is timed, it’s all about the “time under tension”.

Try it, you will find a whole new world of squats exists.
Another warm up set of 8 reps at 115 pounds. Rest
On go the chains, there are two and they weigh 22.5 pounds each, so we are at 160 pounds.
10 squats, low as I can get, all the way to the ground, way past parallel, shoot up, no rest, back down again.
The sweat is dripping off my face already and yet again, I haven’t even moved my darn feet.
I lost count, I just wanted to stop and I think we did four sets. Rest.
Take the 35 pound plates off and add the 25 pound plates, another set and although the weight is lighter now, I am fatigued.  It’s 140 pounds.
Off come the 25 pound plates and all I have left are the chains so it’s a light 90 pounds. But Roy tells me this is a burnout set I will do 25 reps.
“All at once?!” I exclaim. “No, I will tell you when to stop” he says.
I start and am wiped out already, I get to 12 and barely make it “Rack it” he says. He quickly strips off the chains and adds plates, I think it is now way down to 65 pounds, but really my head was spinning, my eyes couldn’t focus and I am not sure (but he has it all written on my chart). “Go!” he says and I launch into more, I think I got to 8. “Rack it!”, then he strips off all the plates and I am at 45 pounds, “Go!” and down I go, I have 5 more reps.
Talk about burn….
I rest a while and its now time for Poliquin dips for the VMO’s super set with walking lunges, slow, long stretch, 15 on one leg, 15 on the other. Four sets of each. With each set of lunges I end up outside in the drive, the cool air feels good, but I smell food and it is making me hungry.
Finally we are done, it lasted 75 minutes.
I arrive home at 7:00 pm and am famished. Cooper, Lauren and David are enjoying brisket I made previously; I will have a vitellone patty, wild rice, asparagus and Brussels sprouts.
That night, as I lay in bed, my calves still throb from Monday.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Human Growth Hormone

Human Growth Hormone. More people use it than you think, and the side effects are numerous. But people don't care, they just want to look good, or be leaner. I will anxiously await this new test, to see how it changes what our athletes are doing.

This is an article by the Associated Press on a new HGH test.

LONDON -- A new test that can detect the use of human growth hormone for up to 21 days has been endorsed by international anti-doping officials, moving a step closer to a potential breakthrough against doping at next year's London Olympics.

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart told The Associated Press on Monday the "biomarker" test for HGH won strong consensus among doping scientists and experts from around the world who attended a London symposium on detecting growth factors.

The test, which still needs final validation by the World Anti-Doping Agency, widely extends the detection window from the current "isoform" test, which can only identify HGH use going back 12 to 72 hours.

The new test, which also uses blood samples, can go back "anywhere from 10 days to 21 days" and could be a significant deterrent against one of the most potent performance-enhancers in sports, Tygart said.

"This is an important step," he said. "We're hopeful it's going to be approved by WADA soon."

In addition to its possible use at the Olympics or in international sports, the test would also be valid for the NFL, whose players' union has yet to agree to introduction of any HGH testing.

The biomarker test was the main focus of a closed-door conference over the weekend that was jointly organized by USADA and UK Anti-Doping.

"The consensus ... is that this test is a well-validated, scientifically reliable test which extends the window of detection and would also be important to implement," Tygart told the AP following a separate anti-doping and ethics symposium Monday in London.

He said the biomarker test had been supported by more than 30 peer-reviewed scientific articles.

The isoform test, first used in 2004, is designed to detect the presence of synthetic HGH in the body. By contrast, the biomarker test scans for chemicals produced by the body after HGH use, detecting "the effects of using human growth hormone," Tygart said.

The biomarker test could be used alone or together with the isoform test.

"The two tests are complementary," Tygart said.

WADA has to go through its own scientific validation process before the new test can go into effect.

"I would hope it's imminent," Tygart said. "Clean athletes, once they're satisfied that it's scientifically validated and should be used, they want it out there immediately."

Olivier Niggli, legal director of WADA, said the agency would assess the new test fully before giving it the go-ahead.

"Scientists are always very optimistic," he told the AP. "We'll see where exactly where we are. We'll see whether every aspect is covered. Before anything comes into place, we want to make sure we have the answers to the questions we'll get when we go try (the test) for the first time.

"It's very promising. There's still a bit of work to be done but we're getting there."

Niggli was coy about whether the new test would be in place at London's 2012 Games, which start in July.

"If it would be, I wouldn't tell you," he said. "We want to keep the element of surprise."

While HGH testing has taken place at the Olympics since 2004, no positive tests for the hormone have ever been recorded at the Games. Outside of the Olympics, there have been eight positive tests for HGH in seven sports detected at seven different labs.

In the most recent case, two-time Olympic cross-country skiing champion Andrus Veerpalu of Estonia was banned for three years by the sport's governing body in August. The federation said he tested positive for HGH in Estonia in January while preparing for the world championships.

Tygart and Niggli both defended the isoform test against questions raised by the NFL Players Association. The NFL would be the first major professional sports league to implement HGH testing.

Blood testing for HGH was part of the collective bargaining deal struck between the league and players this summer -- but only if the union agreed to the methods. The union has asked for more information about the process and questioned the safety and reliability of the test.

"There is complete consensus that it's a good test, is scientifically reliable, has been well validated and should be used by any entity, professional or Olympic, that wants to protect clean athletes," Tygart said.

Niggli added: "This is a test which was done over many, many years. We've got a lot of studies behind it. We're very comfortable to defend it."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hams from Hell

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We are now working on my hamstrings once a week, Monday evenings is the selected day of torture.

I enjoy training hamstrings, but then there are some things that once I start, I decide they are really, really difficult.

SC always told me I was built to deadlift. I guess that's better than being told I am strong like a Russian tractor, he meant it as a compliment I am sure. 

Monday we did deadlifts, Romanian Dedalifts (RDL's). We started with my ending weight from last week- 155 and Roy just kept piling on the weight. He said as long as I could do 10 reps, I could do more weight.

He added more, then the chains. We were up to 195 I think, and I had done four sets. He wanted more. He added more weight, it couldn't have been much, maybe we were up to 200 or 205, and I did 5 reps and on the 5th, just let it drop it on the ground, I couldn't pull it up any longer. 

I was breathing hard, sweating, the kind of training I like, you see, my feet barely moved! ha ha

Then it was on to unilateral work on the extension bench, with a weight. This one is done very slowly, it hits the top of the glutes and my lower back begins to feel it.

We went longer than usual. Roy wanted to hit the calves too. I got home, had a ground beef patty, brown rice, mushrooms and zucchini. I thought I would be sore the following day.

I woke at 4:00 am, ate egg whites and off to the gym for shoulders, nothing was sore, nothing hurt, odd. I made sure I rolled and stretched my legs a little but concentrated on the shoulders more.

I emailed Roy and told him "nothing! no soreness!"

At lunch I changed and grabbed my jump rope, it was off to run the steps and jump. Jogging to the event center was fine, but as I took the first stairs (two at a time), I could feel the slowness in my legs, the muscles were still fatigued.

I managed to run my steps and jump rope, but it was slow going. I slowly jogged back to the office when I was done. By the time I got home from work at 5:30, my calves were killing me, my hamstrings were staring to feel tight, and I knew I was in for a long night of tossing and turning. I would have hamstrings from hell in the morning.

And Wednesday night Roy and I train Quads. Quads means squats. No way to rest the hams when doing squats.

Give me strength, I am going to need it Wednesday night!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Friday Night Out

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Friday....I love Friday! I work until 11:30 then off to train shoulders with Roy. Well, we actually changed it a bit, my chest needs to be trained. 

We did bench press with a very, slight incline, this made it much more difficult! Then dumbbell press, making sure to stretch all the way at the bottom, then turning the dumbbells at the top. Then incline lat raise, facing the bench. 

When we finished I went off to Whole Foods and Peet's for my shopping. First Peet's and I get an iced coffee to take with me as I shop.

As I am at the checkout, a young woman comes to bag. "I am totally jealous of your arms!" We talk a bit, she knows a bodybuilder but she said her arms are not nearly as big as mine (yahoo!)

Later David and I head off to Enoteca La Storia to meet some friends, all women he works with. As we walk up to the patio I see one head turn around, then all the heads snap around in our direction. We are greeted with squeals and hugs. Lindsay says I put them all to shame, they feel like they need to go to the gym now. 

A few bottles of wine and some meats, cheese and bread and then David and I leave for dinner, we are off to Opa! 

It is packed as usual, so we get a glass of wine and stand, a couple offers us their places at the bar, we will eat there! As David goes to use the restroom a woman at the end of the bar motions to her arms, then to me and a thumbs up. Smiling she says "Impressive! Your arms are great!"

We get Saganaki, the flaming cheese served with ouzo poured over it then lit on fire. Squeeze some lemon on it and it is warm, gooey, heaven.

David gets the grilled solomos (salmon) and I get the seafood souvlaki with Greek salad instead of fries. 

As I am waiting for the restroom, the hostess walks over to me. "Your arms are amazing! I cannot believe how great they look, you look awesome!"  I thank her and we start talking about what I do. She says "I work out 5 days a week, but my arms don't like anything like yours!" I explain that I really train twice a day, it takes a lot of hard work to get here.

We had a great evening and I went to bed with an attitude that, despite several glasses of wine, I would be up at 5:00 am to kill legs!

I was. I did. And my shoulders and pecs are sore from Friday!

Monday, October 24, 2011

What is Your Fitness Lacking (Fitness Blog World Post)

I am a member of Fitness Blog World. 21 talented, motivated, energetic and amazing women who write about fitness. Today we are all writing about what our fitness may be lacking. 

This was very easy for me to write, I know exactly what I am lacking and I have been working on it.   I have no problems with goal setting. I know how to eat properly. I have a great trainer. I have a manageable schedule. I have the knowledge. There is just one thing that I don't do enough (although I know I should).


And it feels so good, so why do I struggle with this?

I have a great foam roller in my living room, but I would only use it when I was really sore. I have read quite a bit about how it is important to stretch and roll on a regular basis, not only to feel better, but to prevent injury and promote muscle growth.

Still, I wouldn't. There always seemed something better to do, something more exciting or challenging. I am also on a fairly tight schedule, so if I have to cut something out, it won't be any lifting at all, it will be stretching. 

I think in the back of my mind, it's similar to the same school of thought that many people who train with weights have. They only train what they can see. So, since I cannot "see" any progress or change from stretching, I can easily justify the fact that I eliminate it.

Well, I am wrong!

I always feel better when I stretch, and several years ago I was Yoga devotee. Three nights a week I would go  to my 90 minute Yoga class led by Venus. She was the reason I went, she made the studio so calm and warm, and as I would lay on the floor, she would bring essential oils over and hold them under my nostrils, or rub them on my temples. I always felt like I was floating on a cloud when I was done. But she moved away. I have never found an atmosphere like the one she created in that studio.

Oh I digress. I was trying to tell you that I LOVE to stretch, it feels great, it is necessary for a well cared for body. So....I am making a point of stretching more, to get that "cloud" feeling back!

Actually, Roy makes me stretch before we train, and that is really what has pushed me to incorporate stretching more. I am really enjoying my new schedule. I could probably do more, but for now it's a great start.

Monday 5:00 am Cardio 20 minutes/ abs 15 minutes/ stretching 15 minutes
Monday 11:30 am Stairs and jump rope
Monday 5:30 pm Weights with Roy
Tuesday 5:00 am Weights at Courtside
Tuesday 11:30 am Stairs and jump rope
Wednesday 5:00 am Cardio 20 minutes/ abs 15 minutes/ stretching 15 minutes
No stairs- standing meeting :(
Wednesday 5:30 pm Weights with Roy
Thursday 5:00 am Weights at Courtside
Thursday 11:30 am Stairs and jump rope
Friday 5:00 am Cardio 20 minutes/ abs 15 minutes/ stretching 15 minutes
Friday 12:00 noon Weights with Roy
Saturday and Sunday 6:00 am Stretching, Weights, Cardio, stretching (again)

I shall now try to roll on my foam roller a bit at night, just before bed. As the boys watch TV I could easily do that!

Advise I would give to others would be to schedule the time in. I have found that since I have it written on my sheet, and have worked it into my routine, I don't skip it. I even find that some days I am stretching and rolling a lot longer than I allotted, and that's great!

Be sure to visit the Fitness Blog World site and check in with all of the other writers.  

Monday Morning Motivation

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The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, Nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when they discover that someone else believes in them and is willing to trust them.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Getting Back to Normal

We all self critique, some more than others. Some of us are very hard on ourselves, and others, well they just don't get too worked up about anything.

In the month or so following a competition, I scrutinize everything. Every little body part, every lump and bump. I worry it's all just falling apart at times.

Then some days I look in the mirror and think "damn I still look awesome for a 50 year old. In fact, for a woman half that age!"

These are pictures of me now, three weeks after my competition. I went from 118 to 128 (you always blow up a bit due to the carbs, sodium and basic mess your body is in), down to 124 and now I am at 125.

Tuesday I was out on campus and had run my stairs and jumped rope, I was wearing my typical clothing, same as here but a tank top over it. When I was done I ran to the Nutrition and Food Science building to pick up my CSA delivery and as I walked back, iPod still blasting in my ears, a student tried to talk to me. He said something to me and I couldn't hear, I pulled my ear bud out and asked him "what?". He said it again "You are extremely fit!"

He walked off quickly, no intention of talking more, he just wanted to say that. I felt good. Here was a kid, maybe 22 years old telling someone who is as old (no, older) than his  mom that she is "fit". 

At the gym on Thursday I was in the back room, where the bench press's are located. There were two guys who always train together there. They are young, maybe 30 if anything, and I know one is a surgeon. I have noticed as he is extremely attractive so I kind of paid attention to him. I was training back and in the squat rack doing bent over barbell rows. I could tell he tweaked his back but didn't want to say anything, he is hurting. As he stretches out, and tries to alleviate the pain, I take my ear buds out and walk over. 

"You tweaked your back, didn't you?"

"Yeah, how did you know?"

"I can tell by the way you are moving. I didn't want you to feel bad so I wanted to tell you that a few months ago when you two were in here, I broke a rib training."

They looked a little shocked and asked what I was doing at the time. I showed them and they asked if I stopped. I explained , no, I just do it a bit differently now and they laughed.

Then his buddy said that he (the surgeon) was an old man, that's why he was struggling.

"Old!?" I said. "I am 50! He isn't old!"

The surgeon looks at me, from the bench press where he is sitting and says "We are talking body age here. And speaking of body age, aren't you supposed to have a guardian to be in here?"


Tall, dark, handsome, young....and he knows a good pick up line! Just the male I have always been attracted to! Don't worry, David knows I have always been attracted to dark skinned men, It's a running joke, he picks out my eye candy for me sometimes.... 

The three of us laughed and chatted a while, we had fun doing what we enjoy.

Interactions like these are really necessary to help me ease back into life as a normal person. I am sure that those who don't compete cannot understand, cannot empathize. But luckily, I meet and talk with people like this all the time, it helps me to get back on track. It's also one of the things that keeps me going back to the gym day after day!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Carissa Moore

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I have a special place in my heart for female athletes. No matter what anyone will say, regardless of Title IX, it is still not a welcoming world for athletic women. They just don't get the same fair shake as men, they are not encouraged to compete and it is all around more difficult for them trying to grow up and include athletics in their life.

Many people (but not all) seem to think that women just shouldn't be doing the stuff that men and boys do, but why? What's the problem? Luckily, there are people out in the world who do encourage women to get out and have fun, be active, thrill seek.

Carissa Moore is a role model for all young women in the world.  And when I say young, I mean it, at 18 she became the youngest women's world champion surfer!

And, to top it off, at the age of 19, starting next month, she will be the only woman competing against more than 200 men in two events of the Triple Crown of Surfing in Oahu.

She earned wild-card entries into the Reef Hawaiian Pro on November 12-23 and the Vans World Cup of Surfing on November 24 to December 6.

Check out her website and make sure you encourage all young women to get involved in a sport!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Butts and Backs

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Backs and Butts

I think that those two parts of a woman's body are stunning, absolutely beautiful. I mean look at this view, pretty nice huh?

I am on the left (in case you couldn't tell). This is the top four in the Unlimited "C" division of the 2011 NPC San Francisco Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure, Men's Physique and Bikini Championships. I placed third.

So many people only concentrate on the muscles they can see, the "mirror muscles". I have always loved to train glutes and back, part of this may be because my back gets wide and impressive  and I love to see the results.

My glutes? I have always had a good, round butt. Genetics. However, I still have to train it and train hard. Those little leg pulley things that people call "kick backs" might feel good, and in fact I do it sometimes too, but it won't make your glutes ride high and hard. I don't think it does anything actually. You need to perform exercises with a lot of heavy weight, just like you would for any other muscle you are trying to grow.

And, not much looks worse than a dimply, saggy, loose, fat butt.

What do I do? There is lots to do!

Wide stance squats, plie or sumo squats (stand on two raised blocks so you can go deep), hip thrusts, barbell glute bridge, sprints, reverse hypers, Good mornings, ball ham roll outs, Glute Ham Raise, kettlebell swings, running stairs, lunges, RDL's, deadlifts (all the major lifts and all squats will hit the glutes too). 

Hey! Thats' serious weigh training isn't it? And hard stuff too! You bet. You cannot grow big, beautiful muscles without lifting heavy and working hard! The cute little colored weights with the powder coating are not your friend!

I usually train back once a week and glutes once a week. Then, as I am getting closer to a competition, I will train back twice a week and incorporate the glutes into other days.

Having a strong back and strong glutes is not only pleasing to the eye, but it will help you in life. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Short Ribs and Beef Cheeks

You can see the struggle I have balancing my two passions, weight training (and trying to maintain a lean, ripped look) and cooking (and eating obviously).

My family loves it when I cook, they hate it when I diet. But, when David and I got married, I wrote the vows myself, I think it went something like this: "sickness and health; richer or poorer, dieting or bulking" (hee hee, just joking).

Above is a huge skillet with a wonderful dish of beef cheeks (the absolute best stew meat) and beef short ribs. Combined with tomatoes, red wine, garlic, porcini mushrooms, grated carrots, onions and broth; it becomes a succulent, beefy dish pleasing to anyone that has an ounce of testosterone in their body.

Oh I make my own pasta to go with it too, this time it was pappardelle, wide, tender egg noodles that are velvety smooth with ruffled edges.

Pasta is very easy to make, I use a hand crank machine as I have read that an electric machine produces a much more "processed" smooth texture, and I want as far from processed as I can get. 

Looks like it has been taking a while, I see a bottle of sparkling wine in the background below, it wasn't there in the picture above!

The recipe is easy. 1 cup flour, 1 egg, pinch salt all in a food processor. Process until all combined, then pinch it, if the mixture does not hold together when pinched, add a little water, no more than a teaspoon at a time.

I roll it out with a dowel then run it through the machine, folding over itself again and again till it is smooth. Then start making the rollers closer with each pass.

The through the cutters and voila! Delicious!

I toss it in flour so it won't stick. It cooks in boiling water no longer than 2 minutes. 

Here are the boys, enjoying the pasta with the short rib/beef cheeks on top!

I guess they figured they would wear black in case they splashed the red sauce on their shirts. 

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Did I eat any? Yes indeed I did! But I didn't eat nearly as much pasta as they did, I took a little pasta and some meat, and had a huge plate of broccoli on the side, with my fat free vinaigrette on it to help fill me up. 

These are the weeks where I adjust back to life. I think if I were single, I might live off of boneless, skinless chicken breast and asparagus a lot more, even when not prepping for a competition; but I am not, and frankly, life on a perpetual diet cannot be life at all can it? I gain weight, get back up to a "normal" size, and I struggle, I really do. It is hard to look at myself after being so lean, hard to accept what my body really looks like.

I know many competitors who feel this way so strongly, that you will never, ever see them in revealing clothing unless they are just about ready to step on stage. Seriously, they think they look "fat", unattractive, out of shape, you name it. When in reality, their "worst" is better than most people's "best".

In a couple weeks you will probably read about how pleased I am with my new "bigger" me, I will accept the added size and embrace the bigness.  I actually look better when I have some meat on my bones, we all do. But, after a competition I will swing just a little bit too much one way, and then I will rein it all in to land at a good middle point. It just takes me a while to get to the acceptance point, to be comfortable in my body again.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Olympic Eligibility

LaShawn Merritt, a champion. Or is he? I read an article about his eligibility being reinstated. This was originally in the New York Times. What are your thoughts about this? Do you think that once an athlete pays his/her dues they should be eligible to compete again or do you think once a cheater, always a cheater?

The Olympic 400-meter champion LaShawn Merritt of the United States and possibly dozens of other athletes had their eligibility for the 2012 London Games restored Thursday when a doping punishment put in place by the International Olympic Committee was struck down as overly severe.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Switzerland, nullified a 2008 I.O.C. rule that barred athletes who had served a doping suspension of six months or longer from competing in the next Olympics, even if they had completed their original sanctions.

In its ruling Thursday, the sports appeals court called the I.O.C.’s rule “invalid and unenforceable” and said it violated the statutes of the World Anti-Doping Agency, which was created to bring about uniform handling of cases involving banned substances. Essentially, a Court of Arbitration for Sport panel ruled that athletes were being penalized twice for the same offense.

The most visible beneficiary of the ruling Thursday is Merritt, who won a gold medal in the 400 at the 2008 Beijing Games. He was later suspended from competition for 21 months after testing positive for a steroid found in a male-enhancement product.

Although Merritt’s suspension ended in July, he would have still faced a ban from the London Games had the I.O.C. rule not been overturned, even though the substance he took was designed to enhance sexual performance, not athletic performance.

“LaShawn is really happy with the result,” his lawyer, Howard Jacobs, said in a telephone interview. “If you serve your suspension, you should be able to return to competition, and that is all competition.”

Merritt will be among the favorites as he tries to repeat as 400-meter champion next summer. At the recent world track and field championships in Daegu, South Korea, he finished second in the open 400 and helped the United States win the 4x400-meter relay.

Thursday’s ruling could also affect the British Olympic Association, which has a rule that bars its athletes from the Winter and Summer Games for life if they commit a serious doping offense. Now the chances for the British sprinter Dwain Chambers and the cyclist David Millar to compete in the London Games could have gained newfound traction.

About 50 track and field athletes had their chances of competing in London elevated by the ruling, according to the I.A.A.F., the sport’s governing body.

The I.O.C. rule had not been met with uniform acceptance in the Olympic and antidoping worlds. Both the United States Olympic Committee and the United States Anti-Doping Agency had supported the restoration of Merritt’s eligibility. The I.O.C. and the U.S.O.C. had taken the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, seeking clarity on eligibility issues.

“This decision does not diminish our commitment to the fight against doping, but rather ensures that athletes and national Olympic committees have certainty as they prepare for London,” Scott Blackmun, chief executive of the U.S.O.C., said in a statement.

The I.O.C. said in a statement that it “fully respects” the ruling of the arbitration panel but expressed disappointment at the outcome. The Olympic committee also said it would attempt to have the rule restored when the World Anti-Doping Agency bylaws are revised in 2013.

“The I.O.C. has a zero tolerance against doping and has shown and continues to show its determination to catch cheats,” the committee said in a statement. “We are therefore naturally disappointed since the measure was originally adopted to support the values that underpin the Olympic movement and to protect the huge majority of athletes who compete fairly.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dinner Out

You can see that David is happy, we don't go out to eat much, and certainly haven't in a very long time. It was Friday, Cooper was attending a party (well a limo was taking them to the beach, he came home for a blanket I didn't ask questions...)

We went to a small Italian restaurant in Campbell called Tigelleria.  Their food is organic,  sustainable, and they are members of Slow Food, just like us!

I don't have a competition, at least not for months so I can relax the diet. I was good all week long, and was looking forward to a fun night out, just like a "normal" person! 

They brought us some small flat bread and three spreads, hummus, tapenade and pea puree.

We started with a glass of sparkling wine and carpaccio. Thin slices of raw beef with arugula, capers, olive oil and Parmesan cheese. 

Then we split the squid ink pasta with shrimps and asparagus and a glass of wine.

Then David had Salamelle Mantovane, pork sausages made with nutmeg and lambrusco, served with a great rustic polenta. 

I had Cinghiale al Forno, wild boar tenderloin marinated in valpolicella and stuffed with rosemary and black olives, wrapped in pancetta served with shallot and carrot puree and roasted chestnuts.

And wine.

Then dessert. I don't usually eat dessert but I am glad I did. I may just come back here for a coffee and this dessert again. 

It was Salame Dolce; sweet chocolate salame made with chocolate, dry cookie crumbs, almonds, butter and sugar. 

You can see me thoroughly enjoying it here. I had a great time, and didn't feel the least bit guilty for eating every last bit!

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Sunday morning I got home from the gym, David asked if I ate his left over sausage and polenta. Hell no, before the gym?! Cooper comes out and says "I hope no one was saving that sausage, it was great!" He even ate and enjoyed the polenta. Cooper is a foodie, and to please a 17 year old foodie is pretty tough.

I would say give them a try, they are on Open Table. Make a reservation. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Morning Motivation

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“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.”
 Fulton Oursler

“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”
 Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop.”

“Fear is a habit; so is self-pity, defeat, anxiety, despair, hopelessness and resignation. You can eliminate all of these negative habits with two simple resolves: I can!! and I will!!”

“Fear is the thought of admitted inferiority.”
 Elbert Hubbard

“To be a star, you must shine your own light, follow your own path, and don't worry about the darkness, for that is when the stars shine brightest”