Apr 11

Taking in CicLAvia

There are times when an idea is good. There are times when the implementation of that idea is excellent. CicLAvia falls into the latter category. To make it even better, the weather in Los Angeles was perfect for a bike ride through the city.

On Sunday, I packed up the kids and we went over to Hollenbeck Park to see one of the end-points of CicLAvia. We’ve visited the park before and enjoy it immensely. There is rarely more than 50 or so people around the park, so it was even more amazing to see hundreds of Angelenos congregating at the northern end of the park with their bikes, scooters, skateboards and feet.

LA Cyclists

According to their site:

Ciclovías started in Bogotá, Colombia, over thirty years ago as a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets. Now they happen throughout Latin America and the United States, connecting communities and giving people a break from the stress of car traffic. The health benefits are immense. Ciclovías bring families outside of their homes to enjoy the streets, our largest public space.

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Mar 11


Remember my last post back in August 2010 about the cover of Women’s Running Magazine? I did wind up canceling that subscription and oddly, my Runner’s World subscription stopped coming to me at the same time.  That was no skin off my nose, as I wasn’t interested in reading it anyway.

Or so I thought.

I found that a lot of my motivation to run, to try new trails wasn’t because I enjoy it (I don’t), it was because Runner’s World magazine offered me helpful tips on many things, that I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. Sure, I could go to the website and find articles, but the problem is two-fold: 1) I’d wind up searching for the same items or 2) I find myself getting bored with technical speak or stories on athletes, I don’t care about.

When I signed up for last month’s Firecracker race, I got a subscription to Runner’s World.  Last Friday, I received my first copy and…

April 2011 Runner's World

When I saw it, I just laughed, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Aug 10

Black Women Run, Too

I recently received the Sept/Oct 2010 Women’s Running magazine and there’s a strong chance I may cancel the subscription. The magazine itself has some almost-useful-to-me information, but each time it comes in the mail, I’m reminded that the magazine is really not geared to me as a black female.

Women's Running magazine

Women's Running magazine

Just a glance at recent covers can tell you that. In the two years this magazine has been coming to my house, I don’t ever remember a woman of color on the front of the magazine. Inside the magazine, not one of the articles features a woman of color. Three ads contain a woman of color: One Latina near the beginning of the magazine, then on page 76 (this issue is 80 pages) in the lower left corner and again on the back of the magazine. The only time you see females of color accompanying an article is when they are children. Of course! It’s so uplifting to see young black and brown girls interested in fitness. *eyeroll*

Of course, this is nothing new. Women of color are be used to the dearth of useful information in magazines geared to (white) women. Self, Shape, Women’s Fitness, Prevention, and Fitness Magazine have never pretended to cater to me. That’s why I will never subscribe or read these magazines. But when I saw “Women’s Running” (previously Her Running), I had wrongly assumed that meant all women. If anything, this is extremely clear in the beauty sections, which mainly focus on products geared to those with fair skin and non-kinky hair. In other words, I’m not going to hold my breath expecting an article on which hair care products are best for black women who swim. Which is okay. I don’t need Women’s Running to change to fit me.

I think what astounds me most, is that when you consider the make up of the US Woman’s Track & Field team, it is mostly black women. I do not recall seeing them interviewed in this magazine. However, I do see many interviews from past white Olympians, including those who have never won a medal. When I go running in my neighborhood the young Latinas and older Asian women put rest to the belief that only white women run. When I join a race and see so many black women of various ages, I refuse to believe the image these magazines give me. There is a reason that I follow @blackgirlsrun on Twitter.

Sadly, there’s not many options for me out there. Heart & Soul magazine has a very, very limited fitness section. I used to subscribe to this magazine for years, but figured it was time to let go when I only wanted to read one article from it. Instead, I’ll continue what I’ve been doing; sending out tweets and blog posts asking black female athletes for tips. Word of mouth is strong among black women. We have that going for us.

Hopefully, I’ll learn of a useful-to-me magazine.

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Jun 10

Activities That Take Less Time Than Registering for Swim Classes at Richard Alatorre Pool

There’s incompetence and then there’s mind blowing WTFness that makes you worry that the people in charge are capable driving, breeding and/or voting. Today’s experience registering for swim classes definitely fall into the latter. With only 36 families in front of us, what should have taken, at the most 10 minutes, took a little under 3 hours. Two hours and 51 minutes, to be exact.

How is such buffoonery possible? Well, first off, they would not pass out registration papers to us while we were standing on line. Considering some people were registering 3+ children, logic would dictate that making the registration forms available would have been the most efficient way to handle this. When I spoke to the woman handing out the forms, she said that she’s only handing out 10 at time so that she won’t get confused.


Her exact words were, “Well, whether you have them now or get them later, you still have to stand in line.” I said, “I get that, I just thought I’d spend my time effectively. I thought this would be…efficient.” She just looked at me.

As we got closer to the front, I overheard her talking to other parents. That’s when I learned that the line wasn’t just for swim classes, but also for people signing up for team sports or the Jr. Lifeguard program. Once again, logic dictates that separating us into 3 separate lines would be the best course of action. Especially since, I also learned that after you filled out the registration papers, you’d have to go stand on one of these lines anyway.

What it came down to was that I got to spend 2 hours in the sun, standing on line to get a piece of paper that I could complete. Once that was done, I was given the opportunity to stand on yet another line, to give that paper to someone else.

I can think of several ways this registration could have gone so much faster. Making the registration forms available online, would be awesome. Even better, would be to allow for online registration in the first place. The multiple line suggestion above would have worked wonders, too.

Then I started thinking about other things I could have done that wouldn’t have taken nearly as long:

  1. Getting a new license at the DMV. Hell, doing anything at the DMV.
  2. Standing on line for a ride at Disneyland.
  3. Getting a DBA.
  4. Filing for unemployment benefits.
  5. Going through airport security. Internationally.
  6. Finding parking in West Hollywood during Pride.
  7. Getting an outside table at Doughboys.
  8. Listening to a speech by Bill Clinton.
  9. Getting inside the Federal Building.
  10. Visiting an IRS office.
  11. Driving to San Diego, Palm Springs or Santa Barbara.
  12. A dinner cruise in Long Beach.
  13. Watching TWO soccer matches.

I could go on, but what it boils down to is that whoever was the mastermind of today’s events should be fired. Immediately. Or at the very least, someone with half a brain should be in charge of registration from here on out.

Mar 10

Sink or swim?

I’ve been thinking about how I need to incorporate more activities in my exercise regime. Running is fine and I’m proud of myself that I got off my ass and did it, but it still bores me to tears. Months of being unable to run made me reassess how I approach fitness. I want it to be fun again, not a chore. Finding my swimsuit had me thinking, “Triathlon”.

No, I don’t want to do a triathlon, but I watched so many of them over the summer, that I was psyched enough to start training. Only problem, besides the lack of non-stinky swimsuit, is that I suck at swimming.

You know those people who go to the pool, but don’t want to get wet? I’m only slightly more userful than them. Most of those types can swim. I can flail, splash, froggy-wiggle and float.  Taking swim classes with my daughter only served to remind me that I was never formally taught how to swim. Freestyle, butterfly, breastroke, backstroke…I’m aware they exist, but I have no idea how to do those fancy arm things without getting water up my nose (<–PHOBIA ALERT!).

I got my husband’s bike fixed today; I already have my running gear and just need a non-stinky swimsuit. I found this pretty neat triathlon training plan today. Let’s  just hope people can keep their giggles to a minimum when I start doing laps at the pool.

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Nov 09

Course for LA Marathon 03.21.10

Well…wish me luck. I just checked out the details of the map and WOW! That’s a nice chunk o’ LA right there. I can see why people are excited about this course. The race is in 4 months, so it’s time to get serious with training on hills. Just looking at the map, I can see that I’ll have some issues with the Echo Park/Silver Lake area. It’s not too hilly, but it is climb nonetheless for someone like me.

View 2010 LA Marathon Course in a larger map

Of course, I still need to register for the race, buy new shoes & socks, build up my core again and…uh…start back running. The best thing about doing the Great LA Walk is that I now have a glimpse as to what my running time could be. Granted, I’m not a fast runner, but I have my moments. I also won’t be stopping to take photos or sitting down at a restaurant to eat. If I finish with a 7:45 run time, I’ll be happy.

Sep 09


After the race I have a bad habit of just throwing myself into things and then dropping them. Or worse, thinking of doing something and then never getting around to it in forever. I don’t have a support system like most. When I announce my ideas, they usually get shot down. Yet, I’ve learned that when I say “I will” then the naysayers tend to shut up.

One thing that bugs me about a lot of people I know is that they often announce what they plan to do, yet never follow through. You know the types, “Next week, I’m going to start working out.” “In two months, I’m going to start looking for a job.” “Next year, I think I want to travel.” Those are admirable plans, but there are no goals involved. Why are you going to workout? What kind of job are you seeking? Where do you want to go? There are no answers. You hear them state these things so often, that you tend to tune the out.

In July, I decided that I was going to run the LA Marathon in 2010. So far, the response has been muted. This is in contrast to when I had announced my plans to run the Marathon this year (before the date change and injuries). I found that the people in my life were extremely unsupportive. Where a simple, “Way to go!” would have sufficed, I got responses like, “You? Run? HAHAHA” or “I guess you have to stop smoking.” or the lamest, “You couldn’t get my fat ass to run anywhere.” [Selfish side note: When I say that I'm running, I don't need to hear about YOU.]  I have always been aware that there are those who will never support your endeavors because they’re too scared to try anything.  It’s easy for them to mock you when you just announce vague plans. It’s harder for them when you have them etched in stone.

But sometimes we sabotage ourselves. I certainly have. And I have to be on the lookout for it. I haven’t been able to run or exercise for some time now. First, we went to the Bay Area. Then we had 2 weeks of bad air quality due to fires and a concurrent heatwave. Now I’m sick. The urge for me to exercise is still there, but I know that all it takes is one more week and I’ll be back to doing nothing. This is unthinkable with my goal to run the LA Marathon. So I’ve decided to come up with smaller goals to help me achieve the larger one.

These are my smaller goals:


  • 50 sit ups
  • 100 jumpropes
  • Walk my kids to school


  • Run 3x a week
  • Tennis once a week
  • 1 hour of cardio 3x a week
  • Swim laps 2x a week


  • Run a 5K or 10K
  • Go hiking.
  • Bike

Seeing this list broken down into small attainable goals already makes it easier on me to see the as doable. Besides, now that this out there, I can’t not do it. You can keep me honest by checking in on my MapMyFitness profile.

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Aug 09

If I don’t get the Forerunner 405CX, I will die

Garmin Forerunner 405CX

Garmin Forerunner 405CX

I like my little Sportsline watch/heartrate monitor, but I really, really, really want need the Garmin Forerunner 405CX. I am…obsessed with this watch. I mean, I visit the website every other day.

As you may know, I track my workouts on All of my running routes and EA Sports Active workouts can be found there. When I’m running, I try to keep track of my heartrate. The only problem is that there’s usually an hour lag between the end of the run and the time I can actually input my data. This means that sometimes things are forgotten. If I had the Forerunner, I won’t ever have to remember! I can just connect it to my computer and upload the information to MapMyFitness.

Loaded with serious training features, Forerunner 405CX continuously records your time, distance, pace, calories burned and heart rate. Each workout is stored in memory so you can review and analyze the data to see how you’ve improved. And advanced training features will challenge you to step up your pace — race against Forerunner’s Virtual Partner® to improve your times, or set up interval workouts without having to circle the track. You can even download recorded courses to compete against previous workouts.

How can I resist that? How can I not own this perfect piece of gadgetry?

This will save me from having to remember what my route was when I ran. No more guessing. And as much fun as entering routes on MapMyFitness can be, it can also be pretty tedious. Uploading those routes would save me a large amount of hassle.

I need this watch.

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Aug 09

My Healthcare Story

My doctor In 2002, I found out I was pregnant the week I returned to work from disability leave. I was let go the next Monday. Throughout my pregnancy, we paid $640 per month towards COBRA. I received  unemployment. My self-employed husband was covered under my plan. On April 29th, I was discharged from the hospital. Within the week, I received bills and then a shock from CIGNA: my health insurance was cancelled. My payment in April was a day late. CIGNA chose to send me back my check and cancel my coverage. The cancellation took effect retroactively to April 30th. That meant my follow-up visits to my OB/GYN and to the new pediatrician all had to come out of pocket.

There’s a lot of noise out there about the proposed healthcare bill going through Congress at the moment. There are a lot of lies being told by right-wing propagandists. A lot of astroturfing being done by the health insurance & pharmaceutical companies. I do not know if the proposed bill is going to help. What I do know is that for over 60 years this issue has arisen and the GOP tells us that we have to wait and see. If they haven’t been able to come up with a reasonable response or alternative solution in this time, why does anyone listen to these people?

I find it frustrating that people who receive taxpayer funded healthcare (I’m talking your elected representatives here)  have the audacity to go out and tell you that taxpayer funded healthcare is “socialism”.  It’s just mind-blowing when people I know who receive some kind of government assistance parrot that line with no sense of irony. When you tell them that just like with gay marriage or abortion that if they don’t like it, don’t participate they have no response but to sputter. No one is forcing them or their doctors to join in the proposed bill. They do not have to use the service. That is no reason to deny it from others who want it and need it.

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Aug 09

EA Sports Active: Halfway through the 30-day Challenge

Day 5 - Me doing DDR Universe I splurged on the EA Sports Active back in June after hearing rave reviews. The title was created for the Nintendo Wii and I was eager to compare the ‘game’ to the Wii Fit. Surprisingly, I haven’t taken the time to write about my experiences with the Wii Fit, so I’ll try to squeeze in some thoughts here in comparison with the EA Sports Active.

After you make your profile, you can choose between using preset workouts, creating your own or taking the 30-Day Challenge. It’s clear from the title that I chose the last option. I first set my 30-Day Challenge in June, but due to an injury and general busy-ness, never completed it. I decided to start over and stick with it as much as possible.  When you do the Challenge, you’re given a calendar that tells you went your next workout day and  it gives you days of rest. July 21st was my first day back below are my thoughts on the first half of this Challenge.

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