A New Minimalist Shoe Resource

January 11, 2011

One of my favourite barefoot / minimalist shoe bloggers, Damien, who, by the way, has a new minimalist shoe review up, has started a great new resource for minimalist shoe enthusiasts.  It’s called Toe Salad.  If you like barefooting, or minimalist shoes, or even MovNat, you should check his websites out!

Carbs! Not fat!

December 20, 2010

So excited to see this in the news!!

Scientists now saying carbs, not fat, are to blame for America’s ills – latimes.com.

My Current Workout Regime

December 9, 2010

I just moved, with my husband, across the country – from LA to NYC.  I was doing weekly sprints ( more like monthly, but I was doing them!), sporadic strength training, and occasional walks with my hubby.  But then we started packing!

Since the first empty box was opened until now (except for a brief run over Thanksgiving at my husband’s parent’s home) I haven’t done much exercise.  That is, I haven’t done much single-purpose exercise (ie. exercise for the sake of exercise).  What I *have* done is:

  • lift and carry heavy and awkward items
  • move heavy boxes
  • assemble IKEA furniture
  • move said furniture around the apartment without scratching the floors
  • acquire and carry home heavy bags of household goods
  • climb up onto the counters and climb back down again, over and over

And because we’re in NYC, there’s also…

  • walk
  • walk
  • walk

So we’re getting exercise!  My muscles can attest!  And we’ve been getting the Erwan Le Corre-type of exercise…  Sorta!

Once we get really settled in, I’ll figure out where to run my sprints.  But in the meantime, I’m not stressed about not getting “regular” exercise.

Getting around Injinji!

August 27, 2010

Don’t get me wrong.  I *love* my Injinji socks.  I’ve just got a tight budget right now and can’t buy enough for every day of the week!  So how do I wear my Vibrams without buying a ton of special socks?  Simple.  I make toeless socks.

They’re like fingerless gloves…

…but they’re for your feet!

It’s simple!  Take a pair of socks that you want to wear with your Vibrams and put them on your feet! Read the rest of this entry »


March 9, 2010

I get daily emails from Steep And Cheap dot com.  They have hourly outdoor gear deals that are sometimes “downright criminal.”

I have no idea who writes the Daily Dose, but they’re really hilarious sometimes.  Other times they have no point.  But I like reading them nonetheless.  Especially because they’re short.  Here’s one:

I went to school sick on the day my 8th grade science teacher was running experiments in the hallway. He setup a course for a radio-controlled car and handed out stopwatches to everyone in the class. We lined the halls at the ready. I took a seat against the locker since the floor felt more stable with my back against the wall. It’s kind of like the story that if you’re lying in bed and it feels like the bed is spinning, then you’re supposed to put one foot on the ground. Not sure if that works. Our class was timing the R/C car’s run down the hall, but our teacher couldn’t keep the car straight and we had to keep starting over. This experiment was, by all accounts, one of the cooler ones. It had us out of the classroom and holding stopwatches. The bar for cool experiments was set pretty low. At some point my frustration with my teacher’s R/C driving ability bubbled over, and I mumbled something along the lines of ‘come on man, let’s get this over with’ under my breath. He overheard, and as a self-appointed cool teacher in our school, had me try to drive the car instead of disciplining me in front of the class. I did terrible, and I’m pretty sure our whole class handed in incomplete work since we hadn’t collected enough data. Thinking back, I never really took school too seriously, so the most baffling thing to me about the whole thing is that I was there on day I was even a tiny bit sick.

Click here to find out how Steep And Cheap works.

P.S. I’m not gettin’ any loot for this post.  I just think it’s a good idea and the emails are cute.

For the record…

February 28, 2010

My father sent me this email after the Canada-USA Gold medal hockey game today (the game that Canada won!!):

From: Daddy
Subject: For the record
Date: February 28th, 2010

  • Canada sets a personal best record for most medals in a Winter Olympics: 26 previous best 24.
  • Canada sets a record for most golds by a host country in a Winter Olympics: Norway 10 in 94, US 10 in 2002, Canada 14 in 2010.
  • Canada sets a record for most gold medals in any Winter Olympics: Soviet Union 13 in 76, Norway 13 in 2002 and Canada 14 in 2010.

Gillian if you want you can post on facebook.Love you


Okay, Daddy!  I’ve posted it!  I love you and I’m so proud to be your daughter and to be Canadian!

UPDATE: The New York Times hit the nail on the head with this piece on our hockey gold!

Wet Grass

February 2, 2010

I went down to the Rose Bowl for my sprints this morning.  The grass had received a buzz-cut and it was rather wet.

My vibrams ended up looking like this!

It was a good workout.  I ran further and faster than ever and felt great afterwards.


January 8, 2010

Back in December, I did too much activity in a short period of time and my body rebelled.

On a Thursday, I went to a free class at California Kickboxing in Pasadena.  They kicked my rear end.  I took a fall in the beginning of the class onto the mats, but I was fine and continued.  The instructor, Joseph, was amazing.  There was a moment when I was having trouble with some of the instruction that he was giving me and he said, “That’s because it’s new.  Forget that it’s new.”  It was like something clicked, a light went off, and I got it.  I stayed for about 75 minutes until I finally had to jet.

On Friday, everything hurt.

On the Saturday, I went to an indoor rock climbing gym, called Rockreation, with Tyler and Brian.  We started climbing at about 10 am and climbed until about 5 pm.  It was awesome.  My rear end still hurt from all the jumping squats I’d done on Thursday, but I gave it another good workout…  And while on Thursday my arms were mostly punching and striking, on Saturday they were pulling and pushing and quivering.  I shred my forearms to pieces.

On Saturday night, I was stiff as a board.  And I’d planned a long run for…

Sunday.  I had intended to run about 12 miles because I’m training for the LA Marathon and it was a long run day.  I wasn’t sure if running the whole thing would be the best for me, so I decided to punch it down to 9 miles.  So on Sunday, I found myself at the Rose Bowl, trotting three times around the 3.1 mile loop.  At about 6.2 miles, I realized my arms were in pain.  I had thought that my arms would be fine, because “after all, it’s only running!” but I was wrong.  I keep them bent at a 90′ angle the whole time and that was using my exhausted muscles!  I finished at a 13 minute per mile pace.  Slacker!  And made my way home.

Once I hit the home turf, I started feeling weak.  More weak than I usually feel after a long run.  Ryan and I went to church (our church meets in the evenings on Sunday), and during church I was nearly ready to pass out.  People told me I looked pale.  So instead of hanging out with everyone afterwards, we came straight home and Ryan made dinner.  I felt better after I ate but I still needed to sleep.  I was weak for another 48 hours while my body recovered.

What happened?  I’d pushed my body too hard and I was literally, actually, for reals exhausted.  No kidding right?  But I learned something.  I learned my limit and I think it’s a heckovah lot farther out than I would’ve guessed!  I also learned the value of a rest day between intense workouts.  Rest is part of improvement.  For some of us, that concept might be new.

Forget that it’s new.



August 12, 2009

Wednesday is grocery day.  Depending on the week, I get up early (earlier than normal) and trot to Trader Joe’s.  Sometimes I head to Whole Foods or Ralph’s if necessary.  If I’m really good, I’ll make it to my local farmers’ market.  At Trader Joe’s, I typically purchase organic and local (if available).  I also try to avoid products with stuff in them I can’t pronounce (and some stuff that I can but I want to avoid).  Trader Joe’s has lots of options.

One reason why I can’t get into the habit of going to the local farmers’ markets and I’m reluctant to join a CSA (or something similar) is because I LOVE LOVE LOVE my weekly grocery trip.  When I lived in Vancouver, I signed up for a Local Organic Food Delivery Service.  Every two weeks, my basket of local, organic foods would show up at my studio apartment’s door.  But I often found myself at the grocery store on a weekly basis (often oftener), to pick up this or that.  I missed the shopping!

When I get home from my shopping trip, I have a routine.  I call Ryan from about 2 minutes away and have him (and Justin or “the intern”) come out to help me bring in the bags.  I usually have four heavy bags.  Once they’re inside, I move all the food from the bags to the counters.  Then I move them from the counters to the fridge, freezer, and cupboards.

In that lovely middle space, when the food is sitting on the counters, I like to take a brief moment to admire my bounty.  It’s usually subconscious and lasts only a few subtle seconds.  But for those brief seconds I feel somewhat like a hero coming home from a successful battle.  I enjoy the visual luxuriousness of all my spoils (yet unspoilt) spread out before me on my counter.

A while back, Time Magazine had a photo essay called What the World Eats.  It was a look at other people’s bounty on dinner tables from around the globe.  The photographs were by Peter Menzel.  I found this photo essay fascinating and enlightening.  A friend commented that he was going to buy stock in Coca-cola because of the number of photos that included the nasty stuff!  Some of those families could have made use of a good nutritionist.

Speaking of, I’m participating in the Primal Health Challenge hosted by Mark Sisson and his Worker Bees over at Mark’s Daily Apple.  The challenge has daily contests from big prizes to little ones.  One of his contests is called “Show Us Your Groceries.”   Mark found Time Magazine’s photo essay just as interesting as I did.  And he wants to see what his online community is eating!

I had wanted to shoot this photo when I first saw the Time Magazine’s photo essay but Mark is offering an opportunity to win 5lbs of fresh Kenai River Sockeye Salmon overnighted to my home!  I’m so down with that!

And today is grocery day!!  So once I got home, I put all the groceries on the counter like I normally do.  But this time I arranged them so that they all faced one direction.  I pulled stuff out of the cupboards and snatched stuff from the freezer and the fridge.  I pulled Ryan away from his work (for only 2 minutes, Justin!) and set up the timer on my Nikon D70.

What’s pictured here is more than a week’s worth of groceries.  But you get the idea!

Team Fritch's Groceries

Isn’t it gorgeous?!

Any comments or questions?


August 5, 2009

Recently I’ve been reading and learning about the primal/paleo “diets.”  I use the quotation marks because if you follow these eating plans, you can’t really call them diets.  You have to call them life-style changes.

Over at Mark’s Daily Apple, Mark Sisson has started a 30-day Primal Health Challenge.  Since I’ve been following his eating suggestions for several months now, I decided to try the Health Challenge.

My goal for the challenge is simple: to lower my body fat from 26% to 23%.

When I joined Weight Watchers in July 2007, I was about 41% body fat. Last year I ran a half-marathon (at 38% body fat). This year I competed in a reverse sprint triathlon (at 27% body fat).  I’m currently 26% body fat.

Let’s see if I can drop 3% points in 30 days!

Go to my Primal Challenge Journal to see my progress.

MONKEY FEET: How My Vibram Five-Fingers Sprints Fared On Their First Hike

July 18, 2009

As a young girl and teenager, I loved being barefoot.  Running through the grass barefoot, running around the church grounds in Texas barefoot, running through the sand at Northern Bay Sands barefoot.  Even in recent years, I’d rather turn up the heat in my home than put socks on.  So imagine my delight when recently, while doing a google search on proper running form, I came across a bunch of websites and videos that told me that running barefoot or emulating barefoot running in regular running shoes was the best form for which to aim.  Hm?  Running barefoot?  I googled that.  And came across a ton of blogs talking about the Vibram Five-Fingers shoes.  Or as I like to call them: Monkey Feet.  Also known as: a way to be barefoot, but not.

I put them on my Wishpot List and waited.  No go.  Finally, I came across a blog last week that suggested looking for them on Craigslist.  So on Tuesday this past week I searched on Craigslist and found only one pair for sale.  It was the exact pair I wanted in the exact size that I needed.  I took that as a sign. Read the rest of this entry »


May 23, 2009

…need anti-inflammatory.

Today I was out for a quick run (20 minutes, 2 miles) and about 1/4 of the way, I hit a crack and went flying, tumbling and rolling across the pavement.  I was okay.  My hip hurt a little and my shoulder was scratched up, but I finished my run and felt fine.  However, about halfway through the afternoon my hip started aching.

I knew from my time spent with a great physiotherapist in Glendale that while inflammation serves a purpose, it also can hinder the healing process.

So I went lookin’ on one of my favourite food/health websites for some answers.

  • Here’s a post on the great effects of olives on the body, one of which is as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Here’s one about tea and its anti-inflammatory properties (among others).
  • Here’s list of foods that help reduce inflammation in the short term.
  • Here’s a list of ways in which to reduce inflammation over the long term.
  • And here’s a list of medication alternatives.

So after reading quickly through these posts, I promptly went to the kitchen and downed two aged garlic pills and four green olives stuffed with jalapeño peppers.  Yum!

I’d rather eat olives than down some nsaids any day!


May 5, 2009

Today a white minivan took off a piece of my skin all because the driver thought that using his indicator is optional.

I was doing my daily exercise – today, a quick bike ride – and I was going straight through an intersection when the second car in line, a white minivan, suddenly turned right instead of going straight!

Thankfully, I had been paying attention and had slowed down enough so that my collision with the vehicle was decidedly uneventful.  The vehicle scraped my elbow as I did my best to turn with it.  I’m not even sure the driver was aware that I’d hit him.  He finished his turn and kept right on going.  I turned into a parking lot to catch my breath.

Had the driver used his indicator, I would have been aware of his intentions and would have slowed to let him turn before going straight.

Please, people, use your indicators!  Blinkers!  Flickers!  Whatever!  Just use them!

Book Store Flies

April 27, 2009

After the screening of The Garden on Saturday night, we stopped at a used bookstore around the corner and I bought a book about long-distance cycling for $4.  This was a traditional used book-store with the typical book-store-flies.  You know the ones.  They love books.  They love thinking and talking and sharing opinions.  They wear mostly black.

Well this group was no exception and when I rounded the corner to pay for my book, I asked, “Who wants my money?” and they immediately broke into a round of quips about who would like to take my money and why.  Witty folks.

Then, one girl standing beside me asked if I’d like to see a real “sea-bug” and as I pulled out my dollars I answered, “Well, I grew up on an island, so it may not gross me out.”  “Which island?” another book-store-fly asked.  “Newfoundland.”

A chorus of “ooohs” met my ears followed by a discussion about where it is and which time zone it uses.  Cute.

They proceeded to ask me questions about the province: how many people, how cold, etc.  They seemed genuinely interested.  One guy told me that I was the first Newfoundlander that he’d ever met.  So I curtsied.

After entertaining a few of their questions, I raised my hand, waved and said, “Good night, y’all!”

I bet that kept them quipping for a while.


March 16, 2009

On Saturday, I competed in my first triathlon.  It was a sprint reverse triathlon.  Whereas most triathlons will begin with the swim, transition to the bike, and finish with a run, this race began with a run, transitioned to the bike and finished in a pool.

It was also a sprint distance.  For an explanation of triathlon distances, click here.  The swim portion for the race in which I participated was only 150 meters since it was in a pool.  Typical times for a Sprint Distance Triathlon are between 60 minutes and 120 minutes.  I had expected to complete the race in about 90 minutes given my training times.  I thought I’d do the run in about 35 minutes, the bike in about 40 minutes, and the swim in about 5 minutes, plus about 5 minutes for transitions.  That’s about 1 hour plus 25 minutes.  I would have been happy to complete my first triathlon in about 1 hour 40 minutes.  It was my first!  I’d just be happy to complete it!

img_0067-fbThe energy before the race was electric.  Ryan said after that I was moving faster in the morning than he’d ever seen me move in the morning.  It was a little chilly and I wanted to stay warm so I was jogging everywhere.  The excitement was contagious.

Ryan was able to stand with me on the side of the road right up until the final horn!  I kissed him right before I started running.  That was neat.

The run was hard.  I truly thought that I wasn’t going as fast as I wanted to go.  It was a slight uphill going north and then a slight downhill going south.  So I was able to push a little harder on the return 1.5 miles.  Perhaps that is what saved me?  Either way, when I finished the run, I felt like I could have pushed harder.  Trotting into the transition area, I passed Ryan cheering for me.  That felt great.  Also, knowing I was about to get on the bike added a little energy to my step as well.  Apparently, I like transitioning.

The bike leg was awesome.  I was halfway through the first mile when a professional-looking guy on a tri-bike said to me as he passed, “Reduce your back gear!  You’re on a slight hill!”  So I said, “Thank you!” and did just that.  He was right.  It’s enough of a hill going north that I needed to be in gear 2 and not gear 3.  I was so grateful for that stranger because it really made my bike leg rock!  Going North was challenging; but I was competitive.  Then as we made the turn to the West and ultimately South again, I gained speed and zipped past lots of people on road bikes.  Me and my little modified mountain bike were flying!  So repeat that twice more and that’s how my bike leg went.  I passed Ryan on the South side twice.  The third time, all I could think about was how my calves had been cramping on the bike and I hoped they wouldn’t cramp once I got off my bike and tried to run to the pool.  I give serious thought to whether I should wear my sneakers to the pool or run the half-mile barefoot.  I choose barefoot.  Also, as I turned down towards the transition area, people were still coming out of the transition area on their bikes, having just finished the run.  Apparently, I was in the middle of the pack.  That felt good too.


At the dismount line, several people stopped all at once and I was too tired to laugh as we nearly toppled all over each other trying to dismount.  I’d practiced my dismounting but not in the middle of other cyclists.  It’s certainly a challenge!

After hooking my bike back on the rack, taking off my sneakers, helmet, socks, shorts and donning my swim cap and goggles, I took off barefoot across the grass towards the pool.  Halfway there, I came upon a girl in blue shorts that I’d been pacing on the bike course.  She too was barefoot and as I passed her I made a joke about how the gravel was horrible on the feet.  She laughed and said, “Heck yeah!” and we both continued our trot towards the doom that awaited me.

I ran into the pool area, unaware of what was about to happen.  While on the bike course, my calves had been cramping.  So I’d been praying that they wouldn’t cramp up during the transition to the swim.  And they didn’t.  Then I hopped into the pool.

Cramp!!  My left leg curled up like a baby fern.  My toes were tight and my calf ached and I had 150 meters to swim.  I was in shock!  What to do?!  I found it difficult and painful to swim the stroke that I’d practiced.  I had no air and no kick to support it.  So I did what felt right: I flipped over on my back and did some sort of reverse frog stroke.  It was slow, but at least I kept moving.  Consequently, I spent about 50% more time in the pool than I’d planned…  But it was nothing compared to the shock I recieved when I got out of the pool!

I hadn’t been able to find Ryan in the stands when I was in the pool.  So many people and I was focused on staying afloat, moving forward, and not sinking due to pain.  I kept moving forward and was strangely surprised and understandably delighted to get to the end of the 150 meters.  We narrowed into one wheelchair ramp out of the pool and crossed the chip mats.  Here was my shock:

The clock read 1:16:44.

What?!  1 hours 16 minutes?!  Really?  I waited around for the results to be posted.  But they didn’t actually get the athena results posted on Saturday morning.  So today they were posted on Active.com.  So, here’s my actual times:

triresultsI performed better than I had expected!!  And I felt great!

The energy after the race was also super happy.  Everyone was congratulating each other and hugging and were super supportive of each other.  Monica met me and Ryan after the race.  We sat on a picnic bench and sipped free coffee from Jones Coffee who were superstars by providing free coffee for everyone.  Ryan and I already love Jones Coffee and we were even more in love with them after seeing them at the event.  Then Monica, Ryan and I went to The Coffee Table for breakfast.  Yum!


I was a little stiff on Satuday night and on Sunday but that’s the extent.  It’s kind of frustrating.  Part of me thinks that I could have pushed harder on the run.  Even though I finished with my prefered time of 30 minutes.  I tend to wonder what my bike time could be if I was using a road bike.  Next time, I’ll have something to chew or sip that will decrease cramping.  Also, next time, I probably won’t be competing in a reverse triathlon.  I intend to train for an Olympic distance race in the fall.  I might need to practice my swimming more.

Anyway, it was a great little event.  I plan to compete again.  I plan to compete in this event again and I’ve learned that I truly, truly enjoy triathlon.  I’m hooked.  Look for me out on the course, I’ll be the one flying by you on my mutant mountain bike.


March 5, 2009

Today, I worked out with Tom Hanks at the Rose Bowl.

Well… He was running one direction and I was biking the other and I passed him going rather fast three times.  So I’m not exactly sure that it was Tom Hanks; but it sure looked like Tom Hanks and it’s really fun to think it might-a could-a been Tom Hanks.

If it was, he was working out really hard.  Well done, Tom!

If it wasn’t, some guy who looks like Tom Hanks sure sweats a lot.


February 3, 2009

About nine months ago, the Tandem Arts intern at the time Taylor Calmus, a former bike tech, bought a bike on craigslist for me.  He fixed it up and we paid him for the bike and labour.  It was/is a “Specialized” Hard Rock mountain bike.  Gray and pink.  He put good ol’ Target Bell tires on it.  I bought a gel seat cover and I was good to go…

After riding it for nine months and reading more about triathlons and triathlon bikes, I realize that I should have gotten a road bike.  Chalk it up to ignorance.

So my mother gave me a bit of money for my birthday, and among other things, I decided to use a portion of it to get my little mountain bike overhauled into a road-ish sort of bike.  Here’s what I had done:

  • shorter handlebars
  • handlebar ends
  • flat tires
  • peddle toe clips

The bike tech at our local bike shop, Tony, said that lots of people are doing that these days – putting street tires on their mountain bikes.  He’s been a racer for twenty years.  I bet he thinks it’s cute.  But he was super helpful and full of interesting knowledge about bikes and racing.  He kindly asked how my training’s been going and helped me find the right gear with which to alter my vehicle.

We picked up the bike tonight.  It’s in the garage right now.  Tomorrow I’ll lower the handlebars and raise the seat.  Before I put it away, I rode it in figure eights around the parking lot in the back.  The new tires are so great!  The new handlebars are awesome!!  The toe clips rock my world!

So Taylor, you’d be bemused to see my little mutant bike.  Now it’s even more special.  And it’ll carry me through my first multisport race in less than six weeks!  Here we go…!


January 25, 2009

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.

From CrossFit.  Thanks to Emma.


November 2, 2008

So I wandered over to River’s Edge Cafe in Tulsa on Friday to do some scouting.  It’s all boarded up.  Someone take over the lease and make it cool again, please!

While there, I made a fascinating discovery!  Tulsa wants people to be healthy!  So much so that they offer free bike rentals!  So trusting!  You have to slip your credit card in and leave a deposit.  It’s all automated.  And so cool.  The bikes are pink so I imagine they have a higher use rate in females than in males. 


October 6, 2008

Here are the top eight (8) reasons that you know it’s too late* to be out riding your bike.  You know it’s too late when…

8. You pack your sunglasses away.
7. You can’t read your wristwatch anymore.
6. The streetlamps start to come on.
5. Instead of being focused on the street, you find yourself admiring the sky.
4. You start breathing through your nose so you can stop swallowing bugs!
3. You’re grateful for the cars that come up behind you because they illuminate the road!
2. You see stars…

And the number one (1) reason why you know it’s too late to be out riding your bike:

1. You come up with this great list during the last mile and you’re afraid to post it because you know you’ll hear it from your mother!

* For the record, I was intending to be home by 7 PM but did not anticipate the huge hill in the middle so I got home 15 minutes later than I thought I would and it got darker 15 minutes earlier than I thought it would.