Yearly Archives: 2012

Our Whole 30 Food Challenge

After finishing my Whole 30, I was pretty sure that I would want to do nothing but binge on cheese. And bread. And sugar. And chai lattes.

Instead, something wonderful has happened. I actually *want* to eat whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense food. A plate of protein, sweet potato, and veggies is a delicious meal. And I don’t really *want* milk in my coffee. I’m not lying.

whole30 food 2

Baked sweet potato, steak, and veggies

The Whole 30 challenge is 30 days of eating whole, unprocessed foods. Protein, veggies, fruits, nuts, healthy fats, and spices. All the good stuff. 30 days of making good food choices, with no cheating. That’s right, no cheating. No 80/20 rule. Why? Because the purpose is to form new habits and recalibrate the body’s hormones and taste buds. It worked. Somewhere around week 3 I had a tangerine, and it was heavenly. I didn’t need anything sweeter. Continue reading

December Hibernation

I’ve gone into what I can only describe as hibernation mode. Not super inspired to go to kettlebells classes, not jonesing to climb, not wanting to do much of anything that involves leaving the house. It’s dark, it’s grey, it’s cold. Give me a warm beverage and some slippers, I’m staying in.

These guys know what I'm talking about.

These guys know what I’m talking about.

I remember this happening last December as well. I inadvertantly took three weeks off of kettlebells classes and just did other things. I think it’s a good thing to do every once in a while. Just take a breather from the normal stuff. Give my mind and body a rest.

We went to the climbing gym this week, my first time in almost three weeks, and I just climbed stuff that was fun. I stuck mostly to routes well within my comfort level, and then I worked on one challenging project with some of the climbing crew. It was fun and relaxed, and there was no pressure put on myself to perform in any way. We laughed and had fun. Continue reading

Pull-Up Progressions by Ron


Well, it’s happened. I have finally successfully completed my first strict, tactical pull-up! And my second one, and my third!

If you know me, you know that this has been a long time coming. It was well over a year ago when I made this a goal for myself. Why did it take so long? I was impatient. I would work on it for a while, get frustrated, stop. Then I’d get inspired again and work on it some more, get frustrated, etc. etc.

I spoke with Ron, one of my kettlebells instructors, about this goal. He gave me a progression to work with, and it didn’t involve a band (which is good, because I use a hangboard instead of a bar). The progressions worked. The key to getting the progressions to work, however, is patience, which I lacked. But eventually I adopted the attitude that I would just do a little work each day, working from wherever I was, and before I knew it, I was there. As Ron says, there are no shortcuts.

Below you will find the progressions I used. It’s important to give each step its due diligence before moving on to the next. Patience and consistency in practice. Slow and steady, the turtle and all that. Continue reading

Zion: 1/2 Route, AKA Unknown

I’m not sure how such an awesome route can have such a lame name. “1/2 Route, AKA Unknown.” It’s listed in Mountain Project as a “warm-up” route to the 12a next door, but for me a 10+ is a worthy route all on it’s own, not just a warm-up for the harder stuff around it. What it should be called is “Best Route Ever.” Or maybe “Most Beautiful Route Ever?”

Look how pretty it is:

Marianna climbing “1/2 Route, AKA Unknown”

Four of us went out to Red Rock Canyon (outside of Vegas) last week to do a few whirlwind days of sport climbing (trip report forthcoming). On our ‘rest day,’ we drove up to Zion National Park and hiked an hour in to climb this beauty. Continue reading

Managing Fear: Where to Start

This is the first of a few posts I’ll be writing on the topic of fear and anxiety. Something that I, and many of us, have had a lot of dealings with. I am not an expert or professionally trained in any way, I’m just relating my experiences and the processes I’ve found that have helped me.

Managing fear in the Black Hills. With a crooked helmet.

Anxiety is something I’ve dealt with for a long time. I am very familiar with it and its tricky little games; always trying to take the fun out of everything and make me feel like a lunatic. One of the most tactile manifestations of anxiety is fear. Fear of everything from animals to flying to climbing.

I’ve learned a few ways to manage my fears, rather than have them rule my life. It wasn’t until I started climbing, though, that the process really made sense to me. Surprisingly, the climbing wall has turned out to be the greatest teacher of all. Continue reading

Kettlebells in the Park

We didn’t make it to our regular Tuesday evening kettlebells class last night. So, Seth and I grabbed the bells we have at the house and walked over to the neighborhood park for our own workout.

I’ve always loved the *idea* of swinging outside, and doing my own workout, but I’ve avoided it because I was self-conscious. Turns out, nobody really cared. We found our own little spot and weren’t bothered by anyone. And we got to enjoy the beautiful fall evening while we were at it. Continue reading

Kettlebells Love. Climbing Love.

I would like to take a moment to tell you, once again, how much I love climbing, and how much I love kettlebells. Feel free to stop reading now, because you’ve heard me say it before. Quite a few times.

Photo: Hennepin County Public Affairs

I ended up doing a little self-experiment this week. Within three days, I went climbing three times (twice one day), and did two kettlebells workouts. One of my friends wanted to climb a few extra days this week, so I said “sure!” It all sounded fun, and it felt like a bit of a challenge.

A few rest days are now in order, but it was a lot of fun. And I was reminded, once again, how much I love climbing. And how much I love kettlebells. Continue reading

Derailed: Getting Back On Track

They’re getting along well.

It’s been an eventful few weeks here. My normal schedule has taken a backseat to more important things that needed our attention. Family comes first. We’ve been adjusting to some changes, one of which resulted in a new kitty cat in the house. His name is Teko, and he likes to explore. Yesterday we found him down one of our air vents. He’s fine.

I’ve managed to get out and climb a bit, but my kettlebells training has been virtually non-existent. The work I had been doing to pre-plan meals and eat well has also gone out the window. I know that the longer I don’t train and eat poorly, the more those things become habitual. Continue reading

Mountains on the Brain

I have mountains on the brain. I’ve been enamored with climbing for quite some time, but it’s never been quite like this.

That’s me, way up there on the Grand. Exhausted, but happy.

Me, heading up Wall Street. First roped-up pitch of the Upper Exum.

You may already know that Seth and I took a trip out to Wyoming last month and spent a week in the Tetons. The pinnacle of our trip was climbing the Grand Teton. Something about those mountains, and about that climb, has dug its hooks into me, and it won’t let go.

I’ve been on climbing trips before. I go out, I have a great time, I return to Minnesota, and although I feel a renewed excitement for climbing, it’s usually something I look back on fondly as I casually plan my next trip. But, this time is different. Continue reading