September 12, 2013


or my lack thereof...

There was a time I would have never thought to take up a martial art.  I did.  There was a time I never thought I would be good at it.  I practiced.  Now I have skill.  And I love it.

There was a time I was a terrible shot.  I hated shooting practice.  I dreaded it in fact.  Then I got frustrated with being frustrated.  I switched to a better, smaller, more comfortable gun.  I practiced.  Now I have skill.  And I love shooting.

There was a time I said, "I'll never be able to do one pull-up."  I challenged myself, "BUT, what if I tried..."  I practiced.  Now I have strength, and I can do weighted pull-ups.  I love doing them.  Once, during work, I saw a guy doing pull-ups on the bar of a traffic light.  I moxied up, walked over, and did 4  pull-ups with my 30 pound gun belt.

Right now, I hate take downs.  I have always hated them. I suck at them.  Well, today, I am done with that.  I am going to practice takedowns and I going to get good at them.  Really good.  Like, people in class will dread starting from standing with me good.


September 10, 2013

Sabbatical. From this, not training...

WELL, I suppose I need to write.

I have been back to consistent training since June.  The last couple of months have been fairly exhilarating.  The months I was absent from training were like a slow winding of a rubber band, and when I started up again, the band snapped into a lovely, slow perpetual motion.  I have had more good training days than frustrating ones, my movement is becoming sharper and cleaner.  I am beginning to dominate more sparring sessions than ever before.  Now, I am about a million miles from being a frightful threat, but there was a time when everything just felt like a LOT of work.  Not that it's all easy (Ha! right, uh, no), but the vision of the fight is becoming clearer, thus, I use less energy, thus, occasionally, I surprise myself with the occasional moment of, gosh,  flight, is the word that just popped in my head.  Flow.   Clarity.  Submissions that are planned and that work.  Moves and combinations that used to pass me by, or maybe I passed them as if void of senses, now display themselves like colorful peacocks, daring me to grab their beauty and exploit their presence.  I have experienced moments of actual, honest-to-goodness, joy.  And not once, a few times.  How breathtaking and calming!

We have a new woman in class who I think is going to stay with it.  She is a dancer, rippingly strong, totally cool, and absolutely game.  I used to dance, so the first time we met we immediately bonded.  My friend Rachael received her black belt while I was gone, and her game has turned into something that resembles a small tornado of hell.  Fabio has said that pound for pound, Rachael is probably one of the strongest people in our school, male or female.  She is a petite woman whose technique movement are razor clean and efficient.  Such is the lot of the smaller person.  You have technique or you have nothing.  Rachael has everything.

Rachael's younger sister Jessica has moved back to San Diego from Tennessee.  Her speed is...just...straight up annoying.  Jess, if you are reading this, know this is a compliment!  My default mode is slower and more methodical, and Jess makes sure I don't lounge around during sparring.  And then there is the tall Jessica.  I told her when she first started that when she figured out just how long her legs were, she would start wrecking havoc in the school.  Well, now she is well into solid blue belt status and she is starting to figure it out.  The last time we sparred It took an act of congress to pass her guard.  God forbid I get caught in her spider.

My friend Jeannette (pronounced Je-nay) has returned from a short absence.  Her game is more like mine, except she is really good at it!  Jeannette routinely sends people into fits because she moves so...infrequently! Because she does not have to.  The one move she makes just shuts down your whole plan of attack, and when you launch a new attack, she shuts that down too.  And then she chokes you.

My current "work on" move is the triangle from guard.  Not much to say here except that it's a work in progress.  I relied on side control as my gateway to submissions for sooooo long, and I thought, I really need to widen my horizons.  I love the triangle,  so my new combos are guard, spider, triangle; guard, spider, sweep; guard, spider, omoplata.  I am working for the day I achieve them on an "at will" basis, as opposed to a "please god bless me with ability just this one moment" basis.  Though I suppose that is the always the goal for all us in jiu jitsu.

I have to apologize for not writing for a long time.  Back when I was preparing for swat tryouts, I had promised a post about the power of the big toe in athletic performance.  I still have plans to write it.  I'll just have to gather my research again.  I tend to have a love-hate relationship with writing.  I admire those of you who are able to churn out well-written, coherent, intelligent articles with Mach 10 speed.  Val Worthington, for example, good grief!  Has she ever written anything that isn't completely spot on?   Or Georgette, Julia, Jen's family, Megan, Mrs Ibarra, Shark Girl, Leah...all these fantastic women that carve time to write.

When I sit down to write, I have to will myself to open the floodgates, and much of time, I just don't do it.  When I am finished writing however, I am always happy.

In work news, the Gaslamp Quarter Bike Team continues to be some of the most bizarrely fun, interesting work I have done.  Ever.  In life.  Frustrating too, but mostly bizarre fun.  Witnessing the throes of human behavior while influenced by alcohol and/or synthetic drugs, is completely fascinating.    Think...Fellini film quirkiness+thousands of people+everyone is in varying states of loudness/hysteria.  That's the bike team.

Um...real quick, I want to start throwing some food news into my blog.  Husband and I love food, so I should write about it.  We recently had an excellent meal at Chopahn, located at 6th Avenue and F Street in downtown San Diego.  Chopahn specializes in Afghan cuisine, which is slightly similar to Mediterranean food.  I'll write more about it later, but it's now 4 am and I heading to sleepies.

Train well!


June 07, 2013


Yeah, 4:01.  That was my time on the swat obstacle course.  The time limit is 4:00.
The rest of it:

440M-79 seconds
Hand-Release Push-Ups-37

So, long post short, my next challenge is to fine tune my ability to execute speed and strength together in one gorgeous dance.

We will now return to our regular scheduled programming of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu chat with Dagney.


May 30, 2013

Pull Ups

Eleven. In a row. For the first time, double digits in one set.

That is all.


May 15, 2013

A word about food...

This always happens when I have not written for a long time.  I write one post, and then the flood gates open.

The short version of this post is: Listen to your mother and eat your vegetables.

I have demanded a heap of work from my body lately, and I have stayed (knock wood) healthy, with the exception of a couple of little hiccups (a cold and a minor bout of tendonitis in my feet).  I am of the post-40 crew, which according to some, means I am on the down turn.  A couple of years ago I thought, well, the hell with that!  And I started down this path... I was doubly inspired last year during the olympic trials watching Janet Evans and Dara Torres, two doyennes of the swimming world, out there scrapping it with women half their age.  Neither of them made the olympics, but when you examine their times in real world terms (not the millionth of a second terms), they rocked at those olympic trials.

So here are my menu items:

water water water water water water

Breakfast Choices:
Brown Rice with eggs, wilted greens, and Sriacha
Oatmeal with butter or almond butter, honey and cinnamon (yes, sometimes butter)
Smoothie made from Perfect Foods green formula, with almond butter and one banana

Lunch/Dinner Choices:
Any big salad with some kind of protein (small fist size) and rice (small fist size)
Greens greens greens!!!! Kale and spinach.
Tabouli salad with protein
These greens are very high in calcium

This is controversial, but either organic chocolate milk or chocolate protein shake and a small bag of cashews.  I was totally off dairy for a long time, but I was concerned about my calcium intake.  I started drinking chocolate milk only after an intense workout.  It's extremely satisfying and keeps me going for a solid four hours.  I don't experience a sudden energy drop and I don't get hungry.  I also love a small of cashews for recovery.  Yes, the evil nut, loaded with fat.  Salted too.  I want to stress the chocolate milk/cashew combo is only after speedwork at the track, or an intense endurance workout.

A handful of mixed nuts
Plain popcorn
1/2 of a Clif Builder's Bar (usually while at work)

I tried strict Paleo for a bit, but the intense workouts left me lethargic.  I added carbohydrates for my morning meal and light carbs during the day.




Hello.  I have not written for a long time.

Reason being, I have not trained Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for what I consider a long time, roughly, 6 months-ish.

I have been preparing for the swat tryouts again, since I did not make the grade last year.  I have cut everything that is not related to the following: sprinting 440M, push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups, and an obstacle course.  I miss BJJ terribly, but I could simply not risk injury.  As you all know, when training BJJ with any modicum of frequency, you always carry a twinge or twang somewhere in your body.  Some muscle that fusses for a few days, a stiff joint.  Jammed fingers.

I also train in Intrepid Arnis Eskrima, and was supposed to compete in a sparring competition in April.  Along with my BJJ sabbatical, I had to tell my Eskrima Guru that the risk of a broken finger was too great, and I would have to bow out from sparring.  I felt so bad telling him this, as I am one of four of his students in his small school, and the only woman.

These were all sound decisions however, as I have been completely focused on the task at hand, which is becoming faster and stronger.  It is taking my entire being.  Real improvement in strength and speed takes time and diligence and patience and a bloody stubborn attitude.  These two animals do not like to work together.  You improve one, then you improve the other, then you go back and improve the other, and so on...It's not like, "oh hey! I can drag the 200 pound dummy farther today! And I can run faster too!"  Quite the opposite.  It's a constant building of a symbiotic relationship between them.

I have always been a pretty strong person, but the obstacle course demands, unadulterated, NC-17, strength. It demands that you essentially hurl yourself over hill and dale, drag yourself on the ground, over walls, through windows....your get the picture.  At the last practice, I realized this o-course was like a 4 minute round of speed deadlifting of my own body weight.

And then there is speed.  Lord oh lord, do I ever have to be diligent with speed.  I have spent so. many. hours. at. the track.  Documenting documenting documenting.  The track has been a source of joy on some days, when I set a new PR; and a source of misery, doubt, and frustration, when my times have been out the window.

In the running department, I was blessed with the ability to go as far and long as I want, but not very fast.  I have aways had to claw my way through the clock to improve my speed.  And I have done it to, am still doing it.  If I make the academy, I'll have to go from being a 9-9:30 minute miler, to a 7:30 minute miler.  This is a tall order, and I decided, well, then I will become that person.  I will be a woman who can run a 7:30 pace and do it well.

My tryout is on June 7.  Until then, the work and focus continues.