My first Bikram Yoga class!

It’s 3:30pm and I’m crouched over my toilet contemplating relieving my stomach of it’s biscuits and gravy contents. I can’t decide whether a full stomach or throat sore from bile would be more unpleasant while contorting my body for 90 minutes in a crowded, 105 degree sauna. I kneel over the toilet with an “I’m going to die, aren’t I?” look on my face and after a few valiant heaves decide to keep my hands out of my throat and chug water instead. Now I’m bloated with a distended belly and I’m burping re-tastes of sausage flavored gravy. I have less than an hour before my first ever Bikram Yoga class. Continue reading My first Bikram Yoga class!

Inspiration Point Night Hike – July 16, 2010

Began running up to Inspiration Point from the Tunnel Road trail head at 10:30pm tonight without a flashlight. It took me under 9 minutes to the bridge after which point it was soon too dark, steep, rocky, and dangerous to continue running. I crept my way up the rest of the trail and reached Inspiration Point under 42 minutes.

Earlier today I finally understood the significance of what a good friend had recently suggested. I had told him that my life’s work was to empower people. He suggested I inspire people. One cannot be empowered if not inspired.

At the top, I crouched and marveled at the view. I played with my echo and finally challenged myself to scream at the top of my lungs. Then I reflected until the Point had earned it’s name.

Inspiration need not come by demonstration. Inspiration can come by revelation itself. The form of revelation need not be an embodiment or show. It need not be much more than an idea or understanding. A story can be all the revelation one needs for inspiration.

I spent 35 minutes at the top and then began the equally terrifying journey back down. I quickly fell into a wildly naturalistic movement that had me back down to my car in 49 minutes, just 20% longer than my journey up which was almost half running. I stretched briefly, finished the clam of blackberries in my front seat, and headed down the mountain chugging the last liter of Day Shake wondering why I was so incredibly bad at driving. I pulled into my apartment complex at 1am and headed to the pool for breast stroke mini-laps and pool yoga.

What does this have to do with health?
Charging up a mountain, late at night, alone, without a light source, seems like an unlikely but obviously unhealthy decision. In this case, the hike was not about physical health, though I never for a moment stopped checking in with my body. This hike was mentally and emotionally freeing. This was a spontaneous personal challenge which I’ve overcome and now feel more confident for having done so. Perhaps the key to empowerment is little more than inspiration and confidence.

Perfect Full Sit Up Form

Staff Sergeant Ken explains and performs perfect full sit up form for Army Physical Fitness Test.

90 degree angle at knees.
Heels on the ground.
Fingers clasped and behind head.
Ex-hale up, in-hale down.
Break vertical.

Feet elevated on bench to decrease strain on lower back for training.

Rest position:
Rest in up position.

My Thoughts:
If you have a weak core, poor flexibility, or have chronic back issues, stick to crunches! The only advantage of a sit up vs a crunch is that sit ups activate hip flexors in addition to abdominals. Which reminds me, stretch your hip flexors after doing sit ups or you may develop poor flexibility and chronic back issues!

Related Post:
Perfect Normal Grip Push Up Form

Underwater Breath Holding

Why not one more personal challenge? This time, how long can you hold your breath underwater? I’ll set my goal at 180 seconds (3 minutes) sometime soon. Maybe 300 seconds (5 minutes) long term. Also, first person to find an article explaining why someone shouldn’t hold their breath wins a breath of fresh Santa Barbara air!

100 seconds (1 minute, 40 seconds)

Inspiration Point Challenge

This is a log of my trials with Inspiration Point, roughly 1.7 miles of trails with 800ft elevation gain to one of the most beautiful views of Santa Barbara.

Successfully jogged from distant parking area about 0.5 miles below starting point to Inspiration Point in 33 minutes, 5200 steps, estimated 2.3 miles, estimated over 14 minutes/mile. Walked down afterwards and am out of Surge so had same meal as last time.

First successful jog to top of Inspiration Point, estimated 1.8 miles.

Dynaflex Pro gyro exerciser

Since joining the software team at work I’ve rapidly developed a perpetual burning soreness in the tops of my hands and forearms. I’ll go out on a sore limb and diagnose myself with inflammation. It’s generally unpleasant but mostly has me a bit worried. I wouldn’t be surprised if it eventually caused carpal tunnel.

Besides the usual reasons carpal tunnel wouldn’t be fun, I don’t ever want to have to stop playing the piano, so I’ve been trying to figure out how to subdue the inflammation without quitting my job.

Overcoming Hand Pain
I bought an ice pack conveniently designed to fit hands, but that mostly contacts my wrist and I don’t wear it often enough. I’ve decided to make yet another purchase, this time I’m more at risk of over-applying than under-applying.

Dynaflex Pro gyro exerciser
I bought a Dynaflex Pro for $20 at the sports store across the street. I’ve had one before, and loved it, but lost it. Not only am I excited to play with it and build up strength to thwart my inflammation, it came with educational packaging which is where I got the pictures to the right.

Perfect Normal Grip Push Up Form

Staff Sergeant Ken explains and performs perfect normal-grip push up form for Army Physical Fitness Test.

Back must be straight, rigid line.
Feet together or up to 12 inches apart.
Hands are shoulder width apart, fingers spread forward.
Come down until upper arm breaks horizontal plane, elbows pass rib cage.

Feet together, squeeze rear, tighten core to keep back straight.
Head back and tilted slightly up.

Rest position:
Rest in downward-facing dog with slight knee bent, not in upward-facing dog.

My Thoughts:
If you’re prone to neck tightness and a knotted upper back, try keeping your head and neck extended as though being tugged forward by a string attached the the crown of your head. Your chin will be slightly down instead of up, but not so much as to compromise your breathing. You’ll be looking a couple feet in front of your hands or straight down at the floor. Make sure you push to full extension to stretch your upper back, and keep your rhomboids and erector spinae strong throughout the set.

Related Post:
100 Push Ups in Under 2 Minutes

Training Log – 2010.07.04 – Back in the Groove after Week of Vacation


I’ve left you all hanging for the past week because my best friends from home were all here in Santa Barbara and we’ve been having the time of our lives.

Diet was of no consideration, and even my day shake stopped making appearances after the first few days, replaced appropriately by beer, wine tastings, and the occasional shot of jalepeno-infused tequila. Pure gluttony and fast food binges took place of protein shakes and vegetables.

Perhaps the healthier substitutions were in the variety of fun physical activities that took place of my usually highly regimented work-out routines. In place of my regular running and gym and Yoga schedule I walked, hiked, swam, danced, played volleyball, paddle ball, ultimate frisbee, soccer, basketball, and even taught my first casual Yoga circle!

Luckily, Needless to say, we had the time of our lives. My heart and head are in a better place than ever, and strangely enough, I actually lost another inch on my waist. It will take me a few days to get back into my healthy routine, but it was well worth the divergence. In conclusion, I recommend always breaking your healthy restrictive habits to fully partake in the greatest week of your life the best people you’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.


Wake: 415 for good byes then slept until noon.

Workout 1 – Run, Push Ups and Pull Ups, Run
Ran 1.0 mile to deposit check at bank then to gym.
10 x circuit: 5 pullups, 10 pushups = total: 50 pull ups, 100 push ups
Ran 1.0 mile to buy running watch and new foam roller and home to get ID (back of my bank cards say “photo ID required” instead of my signature), then ran back to store and back home.

Workout 2 – Hike 2.5 miles – Inspiration Point, Part of
Hiked part of Inspiration Point in Crocs to watch Fourth Of July Fireworks.

RHR: 69 (high)
Pedometer: 12000
Sleep: 2400