Family Stuff

Making Some Changes

As followers of this feed know, Marc and I have been going to CrossFit for almost 8 years. It seems hard to believe that it has been that long, but it has. Over those years, we have had the opportunity to make new friends, challenge ourselves and have much fun. When I was burnt out during endurance training for half-marathons and marathons, CrossFit was a welcome respite. And who knew minions could do box jumps!?!

Honestly, CrossFit was the first place I ever worked out in that had a positive and an inclusive atmosphere. No gym I ever went to prior had anything remotely close to that. I love how it is normal in every local to cheer on the last person finishing the workout. Keep in mind that each location is individually owned so no mandate exists to adhere to a "code".

It was awesome that we would travel to so many places and do a workout, and walk out with a bunch of local recos on how to spend our time in that region. Our family and friends tagged us as part of the "cult", yet a number of them soon followed and become even more "devoted members of the cult". That was entertaining, but it was also fun seeing them challenge themselves to do things they didn't think were possible for themselves. The phenomenon known as 'Harvelicious' is still the stuff of legend.

Over those same years, Marc and I have had some events happen plus, you know, we're getting older. So we recently decided that we needed to change things. Our interests have changed over that time. Marc still swims, but I run less and we do more hiking together. I definitely still run on occasion plus I practice yoga, but little things kind of kept creeping in making us wonder if we needed to change other aspects of our training to meet our goals.

Enter the 'Delaying Decrepitude' room. The 'No Excuses' room is still around, but is definitely used for more stretching, rolling, etc. But the "D Squared" room has some pretty cool things that will allow us to take our high intensity and strength training to the next level that is more inline with our individual goals. Marc has his goals and I have mine, and some of them do not overlap.

We are excited for this next phase and what it will bring. Obviously no change comes without risk. But you can't grow if you're not willing to adapt and adjust. It will require some adjustments to our routine and more planning on our end, but overall we think this will help us achieve our goals. I have no doubt that we will continue to drop in at local CrossFits when we travel, but for now, it's time to focus on 'Delaying Decrepitude'. Stay tuned.

You Can't Hit What You Can't See.

How did we get to the end of January already? Wow. 

Let's start off by commemorating what would have been Grandma Mollie's birthday today and also celebrate the 47th anniversary of Harv and Yvette along with Lisa's birthday, both of which are tomorrow. Good stuff and we will celebrate all of them "west coast style".

One of the things that I have done for most of my adult life was to write down my goals - personal and professional - every year. I wouldn't call them resolutions because I tried to build upon progress from the previous year as opposed to just starting a new behavior from scratch on January 1st. Plus resolutions in January tend to be broken by this time for most people so it just seemed like an exercise that was rooted in setting myself up for failure.

Why do I write down my goals? You can't hit what you can't see. For me, they become much more tangible when I have to look at them regularly and assess my progress on them. 

I didn't track my goals in 2013 because I was starting the 1st quarter of the year in Australia and the point was just go with the flow. And when I came back, I had the whole "unknown broken hand" thing so that just put everything into a chaos. Then for 2014, I was so consumed with launching and growing Upower that I just didn't think I needed to do it. That was a mistake.

So in 2015, I set out some goals which included winding down my involvement with Upower and what I was going to think through during Patagonia Caminada. Things were moving along until mid-April when Marc's "dandruff ball" reared its ugly head and then everything was thrown into chaos on many levels. 

5 months later, I was able to resume getting back to my working towards those goals. I tweaked a couple of them given changed circumstances but they mostly remained intact. What was shocking to me was that when I wrapped up 2015 that I actually made decent progress on what I was trying to achieve. Now how I got to the end point wasn't what I quite envisaged when I set everything out that January, but somehow I got there.

One of my goals last year was to read more books and I succeeded in that. It does help me relax. I finally was able to finish "Hamilton" by Ron Chernow after seeing the play over Thanksgiving. It was a LONG read but worth the effort. I learned quite a bit about that time in American history. I wouldn't say you need to read it before seeing the show but it probably wouldn't hurt given the musical nature of the performance.

Another book I recently wrapped up was "The Time of Our Lives" by Peggy Noonan. It's a series of columns she has put together over her length career as a speechwriter and as an author. One of the columns that was included was about the Challenger disaster 30 years ago and at the time, Noonan was Ronald Reagan's speechwriter. So she had to write a speech rather quickly for him to address the nation with. It was interesting to read the process that went into crafting those words in what was, essentially, on the fly.

[Side note: Another interesting piece Noonan had in her book was around gathering facts when Mt. St. Helens blew in 1980. It was a laugh out loud moment reading how she was able to piece together firsthand accounts.]

All of the news leading up to the Challenger and the story of how Christa McAuliffe was on the shuttle motivated so many people back then to dream big and set high goals. That's where you learn to set goals.... by being inspired by others.

As for how I am doing on my 2016 goals? I'm pretty happy with my progress this far. I know it won't all be upward progress throughout the year. Plateaus will happen due to other priorities or taking time to realize that I need to find a new gear. I'm ok with that. I'll just keep plugging away.

BTW, if you are interested in learning more about the post-mortem surrounding the Challenger disaster, I would encourage you to read this. It's a long read but well worth it.

You Just Never Know.

[NOTE: Originally authored for Modo Yoga Seattle's blog. They were gracious enough to ask me to write about my experience with the recent 30-day challenge.]

If you would have told me 15 months ago that I would be practicing yoga regularly, let alone completing two 30-day challenges, I would have told you that you were crazy. But here I am, and I’m better for it.

Some background. I am a Type A person who has the MO of “getting stuff done”. Make a ToDo list, complete it and create the next one. Repeat cycle. Before yoga, I ran and did CrossFit. I still do those and I enjoy all 3 activities for different reasons. [Sidebar: Yes, you can do CrossFit and practice yoga, and not spontaneously self-combust.]

I figured I would do the 30-day challenge in March because I was in between jobs and I had some extra time. Why not, right? My focus during this challenge was to ‘believe in myself’ after I transitioned out of a company I co-founded. I also wanted to continue to ‘be present’ and not multitask, which was a goal I set earlier in the year.

What I learned in the challenge was that “every day is a different day”. Your body works differently at 6am than it does at 5:30pm. Having the same expectation of your body’s capabilities for every practice is unrealistic. Just like life, right?

That 30-day endeavor inadvertently ended up preparing me for the most challenging period of my life. My husband, Marc, ended up having emergency brain surgery in mid-April and the recovery was stressful for obvious reasons. One person that I became friends with during the challenge helped out in a major way on surgery day with a small and simple act of kindness.

The lesson here is that you just never know where help is going to come from when you need it.

We had some other significant “bumps in the road” surface in that timeframe. Our friends encouraged me to keep exercising and set time for myself while all of this was taking place. So I kept going to yoga as much as I could while mixing in running with friends.

We certainly had our share of things that we couldn’t control, but you can control certain things and ‘gratitude’ was one of those I focused on. Someone always has it worse than you and setting that intention in class was huge in helping me remain focused and composed. Marc’s recovery was progressing in a positive direction, so the regular reminder during a tumultuous period was good.

Rose, one of our beloved instructors, had a great quote in a practice that said, “Don’t think about how far you have to go. Think about how far you have come.” We were at a pretty tenuous phase in Marc’s recovery at that point so those words really resonated with me and they still do many months later.

I also learned to just ‘accept’ what I could and couldn’t do on a given day, whether it was at a practice or in some other facet in life. Lying down and chilling for half of the class was surprisingly liberating and I picked that up doing the bingo in the 30-day challenge. Did I mention I like to get stuff done yet?

The quiet in the room added calm when everything outside felt pretty chaotic. It allowed me to prioritize keeping things simple as much as possible so I could take care of both Marc and myself. I still say to people that yoga was definitely a form of therapy as I was simultaneously dealing with multiple crises.

Fast forward to the 2nd challenge in October, which had a backstory about some “unfinished business” for me (click here). In one of the workshops led by Kylie, she said something to the effect of “if you’re not willing to inspect, you can’t expect”. Another gem of a quote.

In between the 2 challenges, I had done a fair amount of introspection about a number of things going on in my life. I had made some changes, which were starting to yield results on a number of fronts.

By mid-October, Marc was participating in yoga practices 3x/week thanks to Brandon’s help. He had his modifications and the atmosphere at MYS made us feel very comfortable to just do the best we could.

Marc’s determination to stretch, sweat and recover from his multiple surgeries motivated me on days that I didn’t feel like getting out of bed at 5:30am to complete the challenge. But I did. My fellow challengers also motivated me when I was on the fence so we would make a plan to hit a class together. Marc practiced next to me as I finished day 42, which was my goal. 42 sessions in 42 days.

I’ve learned a great deal about myself from when I first walked into MYS in late October, 2014. Participating in the 30-day challenge not knowing what to expect gave me more than I bargained for. I absolutely recommend it and advise going in with an open mind. It’s different for everyone. And jeez, two 30+ day yoga challenges in under a year. Never would have thought that would have been me! But you just never know.

Adele, Jennifer Lawrence & Emma Stone Follow The Becks

Oh yes. It's true. Read on.

We don't like to travel around Thanksgiving. Generally getting anywhere is a hassle and is way more expensive so why bother. But circumstances from earlier this year surrounding Marc's health forced us to change our travel schedule for the year and so we ended up in NYC for the entire week. 

The line-up of restaurants was pretty deep but the list of people we were seeing was even deeper. We had a pretty ambitious schedule since this was our only trip slated for 2015. We had plenty of family and friends to see, and we were so grateful for the many who could work with our crazy schedule. In terms of catching up with folks, I was inspired on multiple occasions by the risks that some of them are taking personally and professionally. 

As someone who has taken their fair share of risks with mixed results, I know what is involved in making these decisions. Putting yourself out there as a founder/co-founder, trying to execute a career change or making a big life decision is hard work. And even after you make the decision, it's not uncommon to second guess your decision. On my end, it has been a somewhat tumultuous year on a number of fronts. But fortunately over the past 2 months, I've experienced and now see bluer skies ahead.

OK, back to the food and wine. I'm asked regularly on how I find the restaurants we eat at. A few are old stand-bys, a couple are recos from others and the rest I source from either Eater and/or Zagat.

We really didn't have any misses on this trip with respect to the restaurants, although Gabriel Kreuther is a challenge for anyone who is a picky eater. While they did accommodate us without a complaint, they didn't seem to have as many options as other places. I enjoyed the food and the wine, and thought the menu was innovative. The service was excellent.

My faves from this trip were The Modern (Dining Room) and Cosme. As it turns out, Adele, Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone were at Cosme the day AFTER we were there. Aren't we just the trend setters? Seriously the food at Cosme was excellent thanks to their signature dish of duck carnitas and if you know me, you know I love duck.

Other places that are worth recommending are Rebelle, Wallflower, Fuku and Orient Express (cocktails). We did enjoy the Todd English Food Hall at The Plaza Hotel, and Toloache. Volare was always Volare. And the breakfast sandwich place, aptly named BEC, was pretty tasty.

The wine list at The Modern was probably one of the best that I have ever seen in terms of diversity. A friend of ours that we met in Sydney, Australia is now the Wine Director there and really recommended some standouts. Well done, Michael, and congrats on all of the accolades.

Thanks to this article in Food and Wine, I was able to bring something different to Mom's Thanksgiving table from The Lobster Place. Score. 

We were very fortunate to get tickets to see "Hamilton" and I was worried that it wouldn't live up to the hype. I was wrong. The lyrics were so well done and the acting/singing was really well executed. I hear the waiting list is LONG to get tickets. It's worth the wait. Go see it. And by the way, I learned some interesting things about Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr in the process. 

Now I have to read Ron Chernow's book on which the musical was based on. Good thing I just finished my last book on Whitey Bulger yesterday on the flight back. Other recent reads include The Forgotten Man by Amity Shales and Enduring Patagonia by Gregory Crouch.

Should Harv Start Writing An Advice Column?

Dad has lots of Harvisms. We covered this previously a number of years ago in the blog with the always reliable "take a steam shower, you'll feel better" quote from Harv. It's basically his answer to anything when you are not having a good day. Try it before you mock it. 

This quote surfaced recently when talking to a friend about Harv's latest fundraising endeavor with his local CrossFit on raising money for Barbells for Boobs. She has followed his exploits when Lisa or I quote him on Facebook, and said that Harv should have an advice column. I sighed and said "oh boy", which was met with a response of "he probably has some real gems for advice".

More "oh boy". So this friend happened to be suffering from some allergies so I sent over the above mentioned blog entry as advice that she should take. Needless to say, it worked and now she wanted more Harvisms. 

"Do as I say, not as I do" - this one was generally used when he was driving 90mph in upstate New York going to Oswego.

"Those pants will come back in style" - although this pretty much referred to HIS entire wardrobe. In the case of the picture, we're talking about a sweater that was bought in the early 90s and was worn to a 40th anniversary surprise party in 2008. I am willing to bet that he still has this sweater in 2015. Unfortunately I have not been able to dig up a pic of him in the aforementioned pants. 

This sweater was so 'ancient' that it was featured in the picture collage that Lisa put together showcasing the fun times of Harv and Yvette over the course of their 40-year marriage (now we're at 46 and closing in on 47). 

Since Harv joined the community at CrossFit Rapture, he has come up with new Harvisms at a rapid clip. He actually has pretty much invented his own CrossFit nomenclature. Why call them kettlebells when you can call them 'kettles'? Pull-ups are 'chin-ups'. Hamstrings started as 'hammies' and then went to 'hams'. Perhaps Harv should have some bacon post-WOD? Or maybe he is referring to Hamm from "Toy Story"?

Harv also likes saying post-WOD that he thinks "there's a conspiracy" between Marc, the Brothers Arikian (Dad's coaches and owners of CF Rapture), Lisa, Jarrett and me. I don't know what he's referring to since we're all pretty upfront about what we're trying to achieve at CrossFit.

OK, I found another awesome sweater pic from the late 80s/early 90s thanks to Lisa (see below). Still can't find a pic of him in these infamous pants that probably have gone in and out of style multiple times since the early 70s. We'll get a pic in a future blog post. 

One of my all-time faves was when we were playing soccer and he would yell to one of us "work it, work it, work it" as the ball was being dribbled up the field. Well it turns out Lisa was still playing in Massapequa when 'Pretty Woman' came out. I happened to be home for the weekend to see Lisa play and watched Harv do his thing. So I went behind him and channeled Kit DeLuca with this gem (note you need audio turned on). It generated many laughs from the parents on our sideline. Of course Harv said, "Very funny, Jill! Very funny!" 

I would have bought dinner that night but that would have violated another Harvism. When I was delivering newspapers (before I was legally allowed to because you know...), I would meet him at the local greasy spoon after my route was done on Sunday. The check would come and he would always say, "Don't worry, Jill. I got this. I don't want to ruin your amateur standing.

Yeah, that's my Dad. He's pretty freakin' awesome. I might consider renting him out for parties... for the right price.

If you have Harvisms to share, please do.... we know many exist.

WWC 2015 vs. 1999 - Differences.

The town where Lisa and I grew up was very soccer crazy. Most kids played in the local league growing up at one time or another. I never even gave it a thought that it would be possible to make a living as a soccer player. Then 1999 changed the game for so many, and it looks like 2015 is the result of all of the hard work of the '99ers.

We recently had the opportunity to attend the Women's World Cup Final in Vancouver, Canada - a quick drive from Seattle. Lisa, my sister, and I have been working on this for just over a year and while good planning always helps, we had some luck along the way. This luck manifested itself with the USWNT making it to the final and then being right above the goal where they would score their 1st 4 goals.

The game was shocking in a good way, given how the 1st 20 minutes or so played out. The crowd was at 95%+ USA fans and it was loud. In short, it was awesome. We rented a house in Kitsilano, just outside of the main downtown core, which made it easy to walk in and out of the city. Marc and I even went to yoga at a sibling studio of the one we go to in Seattle. How times have changed (at least until Marc is back to 100%)!

I thought it was worth discussing the differences between what my viewing experience was in 1999, when Lisa and I attending the opening match for the USWNT in NJ and watched the final in a bar in NYC, and what it was over this past month in 2015.

In 1999, it's safe to say that the players were marketed as "All American girls" in the sense that they were pretty, athletic and feminine. A couple were mothers so they were deemed "the ultimate soccer moms", which was good. Most of the attendees I saw in person or on TV were either people like me (women who played when they were younger or current playing in rec leagues) or young girls who were currently playing soccer in youth leagues. 

The only men you typically saw (outside of the WWC final at the Rose Bowl) were likely fathers taking their daughters to matches. I am pretty sure that no men's clothes were available for sale for the Women's World Cup. The market wasn't there. When Lisa, Keri (a long-time friend of ours) and I watched that final in 1999 at that bar, we had one TV on the match. The other TVs were on MLB and other assorted sports going on that day. By the time the match went into OT, 90% of the TVs had been shifted to watch USA vs. CHN. And it was loud. Unfortunately that momentum did not translate to success in a US professional league for women.

Fast forward to 2015 - 16 years later. If you go to the Nike website, you can buy men's and boy's gear that commemorate the US Women's National Team. This is definitely progress. The other major observation was the demographic of attendees of the USA matches. Many, many more men. Lots of boys. The American Outlaws have had huge showings at USWNT matches and it was no different at the final. They are awesome.

On our current WNT, we have stars who are openly gay and no one seems to care. This is fabulous. We have the Moms, which is great. What is even better is that a new focus is in play that the women are talented players with tremendous athleticism and skill. Yes, we have players who are capitalizing on their looks to snag more endorsement deals. Given the pay disparity between men and women for the World Cup, I have no issue with that. But those players who may not have received endorsement deals in 1999 are starting to receive them now (Abby Wambach). And those players are role models to the youngsters playing on local teams. Everyone is different and it's ok to embrace who you are.

The women's game is growing. Parity is improving. You saw England and Australia make great runs this year, and many of those players have other jobs (READ: non-soccer) that help pay the bills. Here's hoping that the success this past month translates into improved compensation and more opportunities for those ladies.

Oh and we had a great time with the #teamof8 in Vancouver. Many much needed laughs. 

Go Eat The Freakin' Cupcake!

Yes, I said that. 

Just eat the freakin' cupcake!

While we tend to eat relatively healthy, sometimes we have been known to indulge here at Chez Beck (see pic on left). If you follow us on Facebook, Instagram or have been a guest at our house, you'll know this. But we try to eat relatively healthy most of the time. 

This post isn't about throwing healthy eating out the window. It also isn't meant to feel bad for us. It's about living life and not taking things for granted. Ever. 

The past 4+ weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind at Chez Beck. A pretty unpleasant one at that. We had a most unexpected and a very serious health scare that required immediate attention. Details aren't necessary but needless to say, it demanded putting everything on hold to focus on the situation at hand and the uncertainty that went with it, which was considerable (and on some level, still is).

OK, back to the cupcake. When an email was sent out to a small group of people as events were unfolding, a joke was included that someone could help by stopping at Cupcake Royale, a local shop in Seattle, to pick up some cupcakes or shakes for Marc and Jill. 

The percentage of those people willing to head to Cupcake Royale on our behalf was pretty astounding! It prompted some thought as well. So the next email that went out included an update on the patient and exhorted all of the recipients to go eat the freakin' cupcake because life is short. Clearly the joke touched upon a nerve that people were in need of a cupcake!

The great news is that things are getting better. Much better. We are cautiously optimistic and continue to progress forward everyday. This is due not just to the perseverance at Chez Beck but also due to the incredible support we have received from our families and our friends during this time. We are so lucky. Oh, and a great medical team to boot.

Marc and I have this little tradition that we do at dinner every night. Yes, every night. We always toast to something positive. It can be something as inconsequential as a household bill not being as high as we expected to getting great news on the health front. You name it. We've covered it in the daily toast.

We encourage y'all to find something positive to celebrate everyday with the folks in your life. The longstanding tradition has helped a great deal during these past few weeks.

And don't wait for an excuse. If the opportunity presents itself...


3 Mar: Mendoza (ARG) --> Santiago (CHI) --> Equator

A rather long day ahead for us as we make the journey back home. It's been a great trip and I always say that a goal of any trip is not to get value for money on your travel insurance. So we succeeded.

We checked out of our hotel and went to the airport. We had some ARG pesos to spend and were offered a variety of options in the duty free shop such as below:

Marc and I ended up settling on a wine that we tasted yesterday but cannot obtain in the States, so we'll have to repack our bags again once we get to Santiago. Perhaps more clothes to be ditched?

The plan was to spend the afternoon touring Santiago with a driver, have a nice dinner and then head to the airport for our late flight back to the States. The constant and dramatic changes in climates covered on this trip have started to catch up to me and I was starting to feel a bit under the weather, which seemed like a fabulous way to travel home. Woo woo! Give me some Nyquil please.

Santiago is a pretty city, and is surrounded by mountains and smog. Lots of smog. Not as bad as Los Angeles, but it's there and it's constant per our guide. We had lunch in one of the local food stalls in the central area and we found out that the locals like to watch TV during this time so we were fortunate enough to catch an episode of "Glee" with Lea Michele singing "Let It Go" (our niece, Mollie, would have loved this). Then "Sex and The City" was on, but it was time to start our tour.

We went up to a lookout point to catch some nice views of the city and toured a museum that discussed hallucinogenic snuff kits from a long time ago. Apparently these were popular in our 1st destination, Atacama, but oddly no one offered us any. Hmmm.

After our tour, we went to the hotel that we stored our large bags at prior to Mendoza and re-packed. They were kind enough to let me use the gym to shower before the flights home, so I was happy. We had a couple of farewell cocktails, dinner and then it was time to head to the airport.

Our gate had people ready to go to DFW (our destination) but the sign said MIA. Right. Some confusion especially since we saw one crew board the plane and another crew was waiting to board the plane. It turns out the MIA crew boarded our plane, then were informed they were on the wrong plane, etc.

Somehow we managed to take off on schedule. As you can guess, we made it home safely and the journey was uneventful. Thanks for tuning in to another adventure of Marc and Jill. It was an exhausting journey but a worthwhile one. We appreciated all of your likes, comments, emails, private messages, etc. We were especially grateful for all of your well wishes for Marc when he wasn't feeling so well.

26 Feb: Puerto Natales

We departed Rio Serrano at 9am after a decision to make it an 8:45 departure the night before. One thing this group cannot do is depart at the appointed time - it is always about 15-20 minutes after that. Since the group decided not to do a 3.5 hour hike today, I was feeling good and rested for the day.

We stopped several times for photos as we made our way to the Milodon Cave, which was cool to see. After that, we stopped at La Sila de Diablo (The Devil's Chair), a rock formation that looked a lot like a chair that the devil apparently spent a good amount of time sitting on back in the day.

We got to the town of our final stop (Puerto Natales) on this portion of the tour early due to the lack of hike. We all walked along the waterfront and took in the amazing views on a windy day. It was crystal clear which was spectacular.

The timing of getting cell phone service back worked out as it was Harv's birthday and we were able to call him to wish him a Happy Birthday. It was good to chat with him and give him some chuckles from far away.

As we ate lunch at the hotel, the group voted no less than 3 times on either seeing penguins the next day on the way to the airport OR hitting the city of the airport (Punta Arenas) for a walk around the town. On one of the votes, I voted twice just to see if Muti, our guide, was paying attention and he caught me. We finally decided to follow the agenda and go see the penguin sanctuary.
After lunch, Jill and I walked up into town only to discover that if it was not a restaurant, it was not likely open. So a 'locals town' rather than a 'tourist town'. It was a nice change of pace to stroll around anyway. We then headed back to the hotel to rearrange the bags for our 3 days in Mendoza and let the town eat lunch at 2pm or take their siestas.

After packing and a shower, we headed out once again. Now stuff was open and I needed to at least go to the chocolate shop. It appears that I've started to collect a Chocolate Harem (Southern Hemisphere Edition) and we needed to buy some good chocolate as a parting gift on the final night of the dinner. Fortunately, the place was open and the chocolate looked really good. We got some and walked around some more before returning to the hotel for a pre-dinner drink with the gang and just hanging out.

Dinner was good and I busted out the chocolate after the dessert course (which of course included chocolate or vanilla gelato and brownies). A nice way to end the final full day with the group.

23 Feb: Torres del Paine National Park (ARG).

In light of yesterday's wonderful discovery around having brown water at the hotel, my first words of the day to Marc were "do we have clean water yet?" Unfortunately the answer was no.

Today's hike was expected to be challenging as we were targeting a vantage point of the Paine Towers that had a final ascent similar to our Laguna de Los Tres trek last week. The weather was cloudy with light rain but anything can happen weather wise in Patagonia, which could be good or bad.

Marc hiked for the 1st 90 minutes to a great viewpoint of the valley and then returned down to the hotel to rest up and continue reading "Ready Player One". I continued on with the rest of the gang. The weather was toying with us for most of the trek out to the towers. Rays of sunshine, rain showers, wind gusts, etc.

Our guide didn't think it made sense to go to our initial target because of the conditions but he did want to take us to a spot to *MAYBE* see the towers without too much difficulty. Low and behold, we caught a glimpse of them in the clouds. Score for us.

Heading back to the Refugio for lunch, we saw the sun shining in the direction of our hotel but not in the direction of the towers. The Refugio is a place where campers stay, shower & eat. It also is a place for day hikers like our group to take a break. By the time we made it back there, we found 2 of our crew engaged in a serious game of Jenga.

The wind picked up quite a bit as the sun continued to come out in the Lake Nordenskjold Valley near the hotel. I went ahead as I wanted to see how Marc was faring at the hotel.

In case you are wondering, windy conditions at your tail as you are going downhill with narrow paths/large drop-offs are less than ideal. I was making progress when I saw the sign for a shortcut. Ahhhh..... Some other word was also on the sign but I knew our hotel had a campground, so I figured it was the same place......

About 10 minutes in, nothing looks familiar but I tell myself to stick with it. Another 10 minutes in, I see my hotel down in the valley but the path I am on is not heading in that direction. I should turn around, right? Sure, but I don't. Now I am almost 40 minutes into this "shortcut" and I am now assessing if I should continue on the path and hitch a ride to the hotel (probably not), head back up the trail to the sign and head down the right path (smart) or identify a way between both paths to see if I can cobble something together (hmmmm).

Note the handwriting in red on the map, which was my "foolproof" plan. :-)

Obviously I went for the brilliant plan of looking across a huge swath of land to see if I could trek down to the proper path without killing myself or getting eaten by a puma. When I started, I gave myself about an 80% chance of success. I immediately thought I was making some progress since I found some horse tracks (aka horsesh**). My logic was if a horse could walk this, so could I. Flawless, right?

I get about 60% across and I am bush whacking trees & branches. No more horse tracks though. I am walking on top of lots of bushes. More swashbuckling brilliance. I then run into a bunch of trees and can't see a thing, so I decide to get to a higher point (slightly going backwards).

I now see that I am about 85% across, so this is good. Progress. Now what about those fighting guanacos or the wild puma that could attack me? Hmmmm. Stay positive, Jill. The other hazard was that if there was an unknown chasm that made it impossible to cross but wasn't visible from my earlier vantage point..... Oh boy.

Fortunately I started hearing familiar voices, which ended up being one of the couples from our tour so I knew I was close. I find a spot to pop out of to get visual confirmation and I traverse some more bushes to get to them. When I yelled out to them, they said, "Where did you come from?" Ah yes....

So thanks to some literal horsesh** along with some schmuckitude, I saved myself from a very dumb move around a "shortcut". We got back and we're talking to a couple of Brits about fitness. She starts talking about burpees and I tell her that she should try CrossFit because why not? The discussion then shifts to me explaining the "shut the car door (with your tush)" as a way of improving squat technique. The gal loved it and then we went our separate ways.

I get back and see Marc. He is in good spirits and looks well rested. I immediately ask to see the map of the park. Then I really got to see what an idiot I was for taking a "shortcut" from a sign in a language that I didn't completely understand.

I guess I should've have listened to my Dad because had I followed his tried and true advice around "staying with the group", my little detour probably would not have happened. Oops.

14 Feb: Buenos Aires (ARG).

We figured that BA would be one of the places that we could pick up some nephew/niece friendly gifts even if it means that we carry them around for another 2.5 weeks. Marc didn't feel like coming to CrossFit with me so he went shopping and I went to hear more "vamos!" 
All of the movements are in English even if the cues are in Spanish, so it is pretty easy to follow. The coaches and athletes were nice, and we talked about the Nisman craziness, Jason Khalipa and wineries to visit in Mendoza. I picked up a shirt with a Spanish saying 'Mas Fuertes Que Ayer'. Bonus points for anyone who can guess what that means.

Marc met me after the WOD and we went to lunch at a place recommended by the concierge. Wow. We went to La Rosa Nautica for ceviche (don't worry, Marc had items for him as well). The flavors were awesome and the food was wonderful. It turns out that this restaurant is very famous in Lima and they decided to open an outpost in Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires. We sat outside and they had Maroon 5's "Songs About Jane" playing on a repeat loop. We almost felt like Lisa and Jarrett were with us!

After lunch, we walked over to Museo del Bicentenario. The museum was actually built into the true terrain next to where the President's office is in Plaza de Mayo. Even though 95% of the content was in Spanish, the video editing was so good that you could get a sense of the stories that were being told about Argentina's tumultous history. They had a timelapse video going back 200+ years of how the city main gathering places have evolved over time. Bonus in that it was FREE!

The Obelisk had been passed by a number of times via taxi, but we hadn't caught a picture of that or the opera house, so we walked in that direction as we made our way up north. The architecture and grand avenues are definitely similar to Europe and it was great taking it all in. We made our way back up to Recoleta to our guide's favorite 'helato' place. Lots of dulce de leche and chocolate flavors. Someone was very happy.

We then had to pick up another gift related to the Boca Juniors and ended up having to hit 2 stores in completely different sections of town to finally get the right size. All in all, Marc and I walked 8.5 miles plus Marc walked another 2.5 miles shopping and I did the WOD earler. We were pretty beat, but had to get back to pack because of the early start the next day. But the walking should serve us well for all of the hiking we will be doing over the next 12-13 days.

Normally, Marc and I do not celebrate "Valentine's Day" as we think you should be in that frame of mind every day. But many of the restaurants were doing a special menu, so we went out and had drinks/dinner at another great restaurant called Aramburu. On the way back in a taxi, we witnessed what was our 2nd "near accident" because of a bus driver jumping red lights, etc.

Our visit to Buenos Aires has been brief, but we really enjoyed it. We hope they can get things sorted out economically for the citizens soon.

Bringing 2013 To A Close (Oh, and Becks Are Now Employed).

It is amazing that 2013 is almost done. Fortunately for Marc and I, it was mostly a pretty phenomenal year and we are incredibly grateful for that.

We had the Australian Walkabout for 3+ months, which was an awesome experience and way more worthwhile than we ever could have hoped for.

We watched our parents get healthier and defy their respective ages. We also made our brother-in-law a CrossFit convert after he resisted for so long. :-)

We hosted another successful "Open That Bottle Night" (after we did one in Australia!!!) and JDRF dinner, and we had "Beck The Halls" storm back into our lives with a vengeance! Our families and our friends continue to make us chuckle and to be supportive of our endeavors.

We had visitors from all over, including 4 of our nephews and nieces. We got to spend Thanksgiving in NY and Christmas in SoCal, both of which were so much fun.

We mostly remained injury-free to pursue our fitness activities around swimming, running and CrossFit.

The decision to close Purple Teeth Cellars. Yes, this is a positive thing because we were able to close the business down on our terms so we can focus on other projects going forward.

We both found jobs that we are excited about (more below). It was worth taking the time off and then taking our time to find opportunities that we are passionate about.

And most importantly, we are both healthy and very thankful for that.

Some of the "not so great" things in 2013 include:

The broken hand and recovery with the "purple claw".

3 of our close friends being diagnosed with some form of breast cancer. Fortunately they all seem on the road to recovery. But HUGE dislike here.

The Yankees and the New York Giants 2013 campaigns (ok, this only negatively impacts one of us for this one and truthfully - not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things).

So in reality, it was a very good year for the Becks.

I'll let Marc decide if he wants to talk about his role, but he is happy and excited which is all that matters to me.

About 3+ months ago, I asked a close friend if she wanted to move forward on an idea that we had only talked about in passing. She said yes pretty quickly, which was pretty exciting but a little scary.

Reason it was a little scary was that this is a completely new space for me. We have created a non-profit called "uPower" that will focus on getting underprivileged kids in Seattle to after-school fitness activities. My role is "Executive Director" - aka the "GSD" person. The initial emphasis will be working with local CrossFits here in Seattle and pairing up with local schools.

It's been a busy few months trying to get this off of the ground, but we have made a ton of progress. You won't find a website yet as that is still in development, but behind-the-scenes... trust me, I have been busy working with my co-founder on building the best infrastructure we can so we are hopefully in a position to scale this concept properly. 

I am fortunate to have an awesome Board of Directors to help me out so we can move this concept forward. We are lucky to have a network of people who can connect us with experts as we get more educated on a myriad of topics. And yes, it's a whole new subject matter for me but I am embracing the challenges ahead.

So with that, onward to next year. Hoping for all of you to have a wonderful 2014!

Keeping Busy In San Francisco.

We just came back from a pretty busy weekend in San Francisco, which was filled with great times with family and friends. I also managed to squeeze in a half marathon, which we will cover in a separate post.

The plane ride and some recovery time after the race allowed me to read Wheelman: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever. Not sure I would recommend it because it just confirmed what I already thought of Lance Armstrong. That's not a knock on the authors from the WSJ, as it was meticulously researched, but it just provided more insight as to what a diabolical and selfish person he is. If you're interested in how pervasive the drug culture was in cycling and the extent to which Armstrong wanted to protect his legacy, read the book.

Our time in SF had us hitting some excellent restaurants. Coqueta, which focuses on Spanish cuisine, was the standout. We went to Frances to celebrate the 1/2 marathon finish, which was also excellent. Great service too. Rich Table had so much hype, so it was slightly disappointing that it didn't knock your socks off. That said, it was very good and even better to catch up with some of the SF cousins.

We went and visited with a former neighbor of mine from Massapequa, who is now a paramedic with the SFFD. It was really fun catching up with him, and he told us of a museum we never heard of called 'The Disney Museum'. It's historical artifacts from the Disney family about how Walt Disney & Co. became the massive entertainment company that it is today. Not really for kids, but for those of you who grew up with Disney as they grew up, you'll appreciate it.

Marc is a huge fan of Neil Gaiman and it just so happened that the Cartoon Art Museum is showcasing an exhibit on some of the drawings used in 'The Sandman' series. It was interesting, but unfortunately they had some other kind of festival going on that made things very loud and chaotic in there, which took away from wanting to read more about the drawings.

It wasn't what we would call an awesome sports weekend by Beck standards. The Broncos lost and the Red Sox advanced to the World Series. The New York Giants are about to kick off for MNF, so no news on if they will put their 2014 1st draft pick status in jeopardy.

And yeah, Congress and Obama finally got their act together.... until we get to do this again in January-February, 2014. Good job, elected officials! Idiots - all of them. But props to Chris Christie for giving up the fight against same-sex marriage in New Jersey - progress for my friends who live there!

All in all, a fun and a busy weekend in SF catching up with a bunch of people. Now back in Seattle to face reality and the Giants playing on Monday Night Football.

One Word: Harvalicious.

Most of you know that my Dad, aka "Harvalicious", has been doing CrossFit for about a year now. The story of how it all started is somewhat random, and what makes it awesome.

We (my Mom, sister and I) have been trying to get Dad healthier for a long time. We have a history of heart trouble on that side of the family and he had a close call back in 1991, which took me awhile to recover from the shock of it all. In any event, we kept trying. Some yo-yo dieting took place and the net results were on the wrong side of being healthier.

After a close relative fell ill and was forced to live in assisted living, Harv finally reached out and said he was "ready to make a change". The call I have been waiting for... for years. But now what? I certainly wasn't expecting this call, but was overjoyed to receive it. I knew my Mom would be able to take care of the food part as she has been very successful of a very sustained period of time with Weight Watchers. So that left the other aspect - "getting moving".

I always envisioned that when Harv finally called me that I would hire a personal trainer. But that didn't seem right anymore. CrossFit entered my mind, but it freaked me out too. My sedentary Dad at CrossFit! That's for crazy people. But wait. It's scalable. This COULD work... maybe. At this point, Marc and I had been doing CrossFit for almost 2 years, and been to multiple boxes so we had a decent idea about things. One thing we knew: every CrossFit that we ever worked out at was full of super positive people who cheered on everyone.

When I told Marc and my sister my idea, they definitely didn't jump onboard. I said that we only had one shot at this and we had to strike while the iron was hot. They did agree that personal trainers can be expensive and not very consistent. OK, well call some CrossFit gyms in the area and see what you can find out.

Enter CrossFit Rapture. No email addresses on their website. But they did have a Facebook page. I got in touch and Coach Shane, one of the owners, texted me back so we could chat on the phone. I asked the owner what he would "do with a guy like Harv" and listed out the litany of physical issues. Shane had some ideas and I liked that he wasn't trying to "use my Dad as a resume builder". 

OK. Game on. We had to send Harv to get sneakers and then off he went to private morning sessions with Coach Ben. When we went to Disneyland in October, 2012, we put Harv through a mini-WOD. The pounds started coming off. He started to have more energy. Subtle changes in his mindset were taking place. Unfortunately we had a setback where Harv took a break.

Fortunately, with the help of my Mom, we were able to coax him back into the friendly confines of CrossFit Rapture. And he decided he wanted to go after work and be in class with everyone else. Things started to look up. Let's just say that Harv quickly acquired nicknames from his CrossFit buddies like "Harv the Legend", "H-Train", "Harvalicious" and now "Hollywood Harv". Harv also started to develop a "very proprietary nomenclature" to use for CrossFit. Kettles, anyone?
Harv proactively went to a workout at one of the local beaches. Did burpees in the sand. Who is this guy?! Maybe "Hard Core Harv"? Met more people in the CrossFit Rapture community. And then he got wind of "Barbells for Boobs", a fundraiser for people who cannot afford to pay for mammograms. So he decided to partake, with Mom, Lisa and I helping him to raise money for the cause. In return he had to do a workout called "Grace", which is 30 clean and jerks with a barbell. Trust me, it is not as easy as it sounds.

In parallel, I emailed some folks at CrossFit Journal about Harv's journey and they agreed that it was an awesome story to tell. I had the privilege of flying back to New York last week and working out with Harv, plus discussing how much his changes have meant to me and to the rest of our family. It was very powerful watching and hearing my Dad talk about his journey towards finally making the changes he needed to make. I finally had the chance to meet the community at CrossFit Rapture, including Coach Brad (another owner) that made me look so good by being so supportive of Harv. It was worth every penny and every minute of time to fly back for 36 hours. 

Harv is currently in 2nd place for his CrossFit Rapture fundraising efforts for Barbells for Boobs, but on Saturday he did do the workout "like a boss" as Coach Shane likes to say. I woke up to a video of him working hard and having fun with some family support there. The best was him in the large group picture at the end of the event with the rest of his CrossFit Rapture buddies. He is definitely a valued menu of the community there and our family is so thankful to them for so many reasons.

Harv still doesn't understand why people are inspired by what he does. I suppose it is easier for him to feel like that, but I know he has a huge fan club here in Seattle at our local CrossFit. Plus many of our family and friends cheer him on. Somewhere along the way, the nickname "Harvalicious" emerged. I like it a whole lot better than "Puff Daddy." And just remember, it is never too late to make positive changes in your life. Just ask Harv.

Interesting Reads, Cooking Adventures, Etc.

It's been a busy month, thus far. Running, cooking, CrossFit, friends, quick trip to Whistler, getting ready for the JDRF dinner and helping Harvalicious with his "Barbells for Boobs" fundraiser. 

I never get around to reading as much as I would like, but found a few articles over the past 3-4 weeks that have been interesting:

I had NO IDEA that if you declare bankruptcy that pretty much every debt will be forgiven, except for student loan debt. I am not sure which "genius" decided on that, but it has the potential to stifle innovation and risk taking in America. I am all for paying your debts but this is absurd. You try and get a new start, and your student loans will always be with you (but not your credit card debt). Not good.

Fascinating read on the sequence of events that took place after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Good job, Esquire.

What a cool story about a "sommelier on wheels". Shows that you can always pursue your dream if you really are passionate about it. It would be interesting to understand what was involved in the service portion of the Master Sommelier exam. 

I am convinced that Gianni Agnelli was "The Most Interesting Man In The World" before Dos Equis came up with the moniker for their very hilarious ad campaign.

It's not looking good for the Yanks to make the playoffs. I am pretty much "anyone but Boston" at this stage, but I think it would be pretty cool if the Indians and Pirates made it to the Fall Classic. The Giants are off to a horrific start. No O-Line and a leaky defense. Not sure how Kevin Gilbride still has a job and how much more of a pounding Eli Manning can take.

Running is going well mostly. Some aches and pains, but getting through the workouts and improving efficiency.... hopefully.

Spent the long Labor Day weekend in Whistler, BC. Hung out with a good friend, golfed for the 1st time since getting the broken hand fixed and cooked some lasagne. Good times.

On the home cooking front, Marc picked up for me "Modernist Cuisine At Home" as a gift and I have been busy trying things out like "Sous Vide Pork Belly" for an upcoming dinner party challenge, omelettes, pressure cooked vegetable soup, amongst other things. It's definitely educational and I look forward to seeing how I can "up my game". Other recipes I have worked on include an heirloom tomato salad from "Down Home: Downtown", which was great, and Chocolate Pudding Souffles with Almond Butter Ganache, which was adapted from "Michael Mina: The Cookbook". Yes, you read that right - Jill baked.

We are still fundraising for JDRF (will be through mid-November) and have our big dinner on Saturday. The dinner is sold out, which is awesome. Hovering around $18,000. Thanks to all who have donated to date! Harvalicious (aka Dad) is also fundraising to provide mammograms for those who can't afford them. You can donate here! Harv is going to do a special CrossFit workout with his "box" on October 5th for the cause! More to come on this.

“When I was a little boy, I wanted to be a baseball player and join a circus. With the Yankees I’ve accomplished both."

Who said that? Quick, quick....

Well, it was apt at the time it was said (~35 years ago) and it seems really appropriate now. The quote was made by Graig Nettles, while playing for the Yankees in the late 70s. Sportswriters, followers and players referred to the chaos surrounding the team as the 'Bronx Zoo'.

Now we have what one writer called the 'Bronx Zoo 2.0'. I don't appreciate cheaters, but I dislike NOT following 'due process' even more. The situation with A-Rod has just devolved into such absurdity that no one knows what to believe. But what if the A-Rod situation (replacing Reggie Jackson) was happening with George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin alive, and reprising their roles in the 70s, except with Twitter accounts? Now that would be awesome.

Numerous baseball players have complained that A-Rod gets to play while he appeals an unprecedented suspension. But they seem to forget that THEY voted on the collective bargaining agreement that grants players to RIGHT to play during an appeals process. So if they really want this to stop, they can call upon their union leadership to open up the CBA and change the process. Until then, they are sore losers since, somehow, the Yankees have started hitting again.

Last night's game was beyond awesome after Dumpster decided to be the moral arbiter of MLB and plunk A-Rod. BTW, it only took him 4 tries. Maybe Dumpster (funny how autocorrect was working last night on my phone and iPad) can ask David Ortiz about his failed PED test that he promised to get to the bottom of if he is so outraged. Anyway when A-Rod clubbed a home run to deep center, I was pleased. After Dumpster loaded the bases soon after, got pulled, then received a standing ovation walking off of the mound, I jumped for joy when Brett Gardner knocked in 3 runs on a triple.

BTW those runs got charged to that pitcher who had just received the standing ovation. Nice job, Boston fans. Yanks ended up winning and Dumpster got the loss. Golly, hope that loss doesn't affect playoff placement for the Red Sox. ;-)

We also had some more VIPs visit in the name of Marc's parents along with our nephew and niece from SoCal. They stopped in for a couple of days en route to Alaska, so it was good to see them. Marc got to play tour guide and show the kids the local, fun places. And I got to showcase some healthy cooking ideas for Dee & Bruce in between some meetings. 

In other news, my runs are progressing. I had a solid track workout and will be able to move on to mile repeats tomorrow. Never thought I would be excited about that, but that's what happens when you're injured for a bit. I did some hill work on both Saturday and Sunday with mixed results on my times, but helpful from a mental perspective as I got to work out some frustration from earlier in the week. The workouts have increased in intensity for both Marc and I in swimming (MB), running (JB) and Crossfit (both) over the past few weeks, so by Sunday afternoon at an engagement party for close friends, we were gassed and made an unfortunate early departure.

Good times on many fronts. That said, when I recommended to Marc to take a 'recovery week' like Coach T prescribed for me this week, he jumped at the suggestion and said, "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea." So there you have it. An easier week on the workout front for Marc and I this week. Thankfully.

Uh, When Is My Rest Day?

Well the good news is that I am getting to the point in my training where we have enough volume that I am looking forward to my rest days. That means I am making progress on some level as 3 months ago, I couldn't run much without pain a couple of miles in. The good news is that the same pain isn't showing up until mile 8 in my runs. So the stretching and PT must be working.

My former coach, Kim, once told me that 1/3 of your workouts are going to be awesome, 1/3 of your workouts are going to be "so-so", and 1/3 of your workouts are going to be garbage. In my mind, this references more in terms of how you feel you performed in the workout. This week, Kim's advice rang true. I had one of each with respect to my running workouts during the past 7 days.

My track workout was disrupted by a nasty headache that wouldn't go away. Unfortunately it got worse as I started the workout, so I stopped after 2 sets (was supposed to go 5). Needless to say, I wasn't pleased. It wasn't a hard workout relatively speaking and I missed track last week because of our VIPs in town, so I was keen to get this one in. So I took myself out of the workout after chatting with Teresa and walked home. Grrr.

In the meantime, I managed to RX another workout after deciding to see where I was with burpees. I hadn't really attempted a burpee since early February's fall with my hand/wrist. I somehow did 88 burpees in the workout, and it's safe to say that they were probably some of the ugliest ever completed in the history of Crossfit. I was the last one done but I didn't stop and kept at it no matter how slow going it was on the 11 burpees per round. So that was positive.

On Saturday, I finally got to do some hills in my run. I found a hill close to my house that is similar to one of the ones in my upcoming 1/2 marathon. While it wasn't a long workout, I had the chance to see how I was faring fitness wise and I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at my splits later that morning. Is this progress? Perhaps?

Today I did a z2 effort for 90'ish minutes and since I was a bit sore from yesterday, I opted to keep it non-hilly. That was a smart move. I am typing this as I am icing my hip and my knee. But I did get in 10 miles in 90 minutes and I kept it consistently within z2 (easy). That said, it was a bit of a slog at the end and I didn't stay as sharp on my form as I needed to when I started to get fatigued. So that's the "so-so" run of the week. 

I think things will be fine. I just need to be proactive about when to ice and when to apply heat, and to KEEP STRETCHING! I have about 2+ months until my race so I will continue to build, get stronger and try to make smart decisions.

"Life" Getting In The Way of Jill Being An Idiot -- Hooray!

It's been an eventful two weeks here at Chez Beck, with this past week being most notable. 

Our 1st set of VIPs visited from New York and definitely created lots of fun and entertaining moments. Marc and I brought out our "A" games on the cooking and baking fronts (yes, I actually baked). We'll cover the food/beverage insanity in a separate post.

Lisa, Jarrett, Jeffrey and Mollie came in for a trip, and they covered a ton of ground. It also helped that we had some friends who loaned us things that made the trip easier with 2 young kids. They hit the Aquarium, Space Needle, Woodland Park Zoo, Pike Place Market, Leschi (to look at the boats) and Madison Park (to swim at a friend's house). Jeffrey LOVED the donut peaches in season at the market and devoured more fruit than anyone thought was humanly possible during the past week.

Of course, no visit to Seattle would be complete without a visit to CrossFit. Both Lisa and Jarrett were keen to see what exactly was the 'tour de force' behind Harv's very improved fitness level. We took them on separate days as one parent had to watch the kids, and I think they understood why hiring a personal trainer is a bit different than going to Crossfit. Both of them worked hard in their respective workouts and gave their best, which is all that matters.

Back home in NY, Jeffrey has some friends who have attended "Kids Crossfit" with their parents. So when I asked him if he wanted to try it, he JUMPED at the chance. For a youngster like Jeffrey, the WOD (workout of the day) was no small feat. He ended up running a mile, and yes, he ran the 4-400m runs without walking. Then he did a bunch of push presses and lunges with 2 5-lb. dumbbells. He didn't complain and really wanted to finish strong. Coach Jean Anne and some of the other "Kids Crossfit" participants provided great encouragement! Uncle Marc and Aunt Jill couldn't have been more proud of his effort.

I am sure all 3 of them are excited to chat with Harv about how hard it is and how proud they are of the progress he has made. Once Mollie gets old enough, she'll be next to try it out! :-)

As for my training, I hit a couple of milestones last week. I PR'ed my deadlift to 152 lbs., which is a 30 lb. improvement from last year. The right wrist is still a bit stiff for power cleans and related lifts, so I can't do as much weight as I would like. It'll get there. I just need to be patient. I also ran 8 miles for the 1st time in a LONG time at a consistent and easy (z2) pace. I was pleased for sure. The hip was a bit achy at the end, but it would have been manageable if I had to go 10 miles. Progress.

I missed my 1st workout since my resumption of coaching with TN last week. I tried to figure out when I could "double up" on another day to jam it in, but I then decided to just not get it done. The time had passed and doing a double might cause me to get injured. I thought I might get dinged for not doing the workout, but as it turns out, Teresa said: 

"I give you credit for NOT trying to cram it in.....that was the best decision!"

So I guess there is something to be said for backing off and not beating yourself up for "life getting in the way". In this case, "life" was a wonderful time with Marc, our VIPs and some friends who joined in the fun. 

Phil the Thrill.

I wouldn't say I am a huge golf fan, compared to say baseball or football (US), but after taking up the game once I moved to Seattle, I definitely started to appreciate it more. I never was a fan of Tiger Woods. He just always seemed to be arrogant and a poor sport, especially given how much success he had playing golf and how much money he made as a result. The events in late 2009 only cemented my disdain for him. His conduct on the course has finally become a topic for discussion, which was well overdue since it seemed like sportscasters just kissed his rear for fear of angering Tiger. Oooh.

My beloved grandmother, Mollie, was a Phil Mickelson fan. I remember watching the US Open with her in 2002 on Father's Day when it was played just down the road from us at Bethpage Black. I somehow became a Phil fan on that Sunday afternoon even though he lost to Tiger. He just always seemed like he knew that he had it really good and knew his role was to golf and entertain the fans. And he played to win, and not just collect a paycheck.

Phil can be maddeningly frustrating to watch. Winged Foot. Merion. But when he pulls something out of nowhere, you get just as rewarded. His win yesterday at the Open Championship was a shock and thoroughly enjoyable. And he has done something Tiger hasn't - Phil knows how to win majors from behind

I have no idea what Phil is like in private, but I know that he realizes his job is to be with the fans and thank them for supporting the game, in addition to golfing. I like that. I LOVE that he doesn't slam his club down when he hits a poor shot, swear incessantly after a mishit, and doesn't treat interviewers like garbage when he has a bad round.  So congrats, Phil, and I know Mollie had a celebratory G&T "upstairs" in your honor.

Of course we have the other side of the spectrum in bad behavior in Ryan Braun, who finally admitted to taking PEDs. I hope the sample collector who Braun demonized and caused to lose his job sues the pants off of him. Braun was so adamant about the collection process being flawed and blaming this person that one can hope that karma comes back to Braun's checkbook. Speaking of reformed cheaters, I always wonder if Lance Armstrong ever apologized to Emma O'Reilly after making her life miserable?  

Moving back to being positive, I had a good week on the running front. I actually hit my assigned paces/HR zones on my runs this past week, so I am incredibly pleased. The work is paying off, but we have so much more work to do to get me where I need to be for my race. My stretching program is helping and more routine, so that is good. I definitely got inspired watching my former coach race and place 2nd in her age group in yesterday's Lake Stevens 70.3 Ironman.

Moving on to food, we were able to hit Crush for dinner -- one of Marc's faves. We chatted with Jason (chef and owner) about his new restaurant, our visit to Quay in Sydney and the awesomeness of the Big Green Egg. Really great restaurant with the food and service, plus we opted to sit at the bar so we saw some of the interesting prep they do in the kitchen.

I signed us up for a Gluten-Free Doughs class (focused on pasta) at the Pantry at Delancey. It wasn't Paleo-oriented but it was good to learn a few more tricks when working with non-traditional flours when making pasta/dumplings from scratch. We only wished that the class started at 5:30pm instead of 6:30pm because we didn't eat until 9:15pm, which is a tad late for us. I don't think we're at the "early bird special" stage yet, but still... we're not in NYC either. That said, I am somewhat inspired to experiment some more on this front with Paleo "doughs". Stay tuned for more in this space after last year's sweet potato gnocchi (success after FIVE attempts!)

I also attempted some other dishes in the kitchen last week. Two of them are Paleo versions of existing recipes from 'Avec Eric' by Eric Ripert and 'Simply Ming One Pot Recipes' by Ming Tsai. A third night consisted of a meal from 'Practical Paleo' by Diane Sanfilippo so obviously no versioning required to make it Paleo.

What's The Right Sequence, Eh?

View from Jill's run: Mt. Rainier
from Lake Washington Blvd.
Just over 2 weeks into being committed to a 1/2 marathon and I am still trying to figure some things out. Since I am doing PT for my hip/knee, plus doing cross-training in addition to running, I am trying to assess the most optimal sequence. And I need to figure in rest days into the equation because they need to happen.

As it turns out, PT takes a lot out of me and leaves some lingering effects for a day after. Mind you, it has been incredibly effective but I need to schedule it the day before a rest day. Then my body can recover from runs, Crossfit and PT on that off day. So that needs to get fixed pronto.

"Barely Cooked" Scallops (Marinated in Ceviche) With Corn
and Scallion Relish (adapted from "Michael Mina")
In spite of the sequence not working this week, it was not a bad training week by any stretch. I did do my long run yesterday, which took away my 2nd rest day (lesson learned). The run went fairly well as I pretty much followed instructions to keep my heart rate in zone 2 (easy), so I can't complain too much. The view of Mt. Rainier was pretty special too (see above).

And hey - I even got closer to following Coach T's instructions at track as well. Progress. 

The other modification I have made to training has been at Crossfit. Instead of doing the flat out/back runs we are randomly assigned for 200m and 400m, I am taking a different path which has some incline on it. Just more of incorporating uphills and downhills into my regular routine while my body is pretty fatigued. We will see if it pays dividends as I get into longer runs with real hills thrown in. 
Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast with
Spaghetti Squash "Carbonara"
(adapted by Jeff Mall of 'Zin')

The other positive news is that my hand and wrist are getting stronger, so I can cook more regularly and give +Marc a break. Marc ate scallops (used a recipe from 'Michael Mina') and went back for seconds... it took me awhile to get myself up off of the floor. So yes, miracles can happen. Then I "Paleo-ized" a dish from 'Down Home Downtown', which is a cookbook from one of the restaurants we frequent when we are in Healdsburg. 

It's a great time of year to cook in the Pacific NW since so many things are coming into season. I can't do heavy amounts of chopping, but I am grateful for what I can do in the kitchen. Since we have VIPs (+Lisa+Jarrett, Jeffrey & Mollie!!) coming to visit at the end of the month, Marc and I are working furiously on menu options. Expect lots of 'home cooking' pics posted that week!