The Cave

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Archive for September, 2011

Jimmy Miranda hits his 2nd Muscle-up

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Jimmy Miranda surprised us all on Thursday during the 4:30 class when, after a little bit of skill work he not only got, but just floated two muscle-ups smoothly over the rings without any trouble.  If anything he almost had more power than he could handle on the first one, nearly over-shooting the catch on the dip.  Fortunately, we caught the 2nd attempt on video.  See for yourself:

Pretty cool way to celebrate his 54th Birthday.  Awesome work, Jimmy!

Decadent Paleo Chocolate Pudding

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

avpudg1It’s hard to believe how delicious this rich chocolate pudding tastes, how easy it is to make and that it’s completely Paleo. Need I say more?


  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 ripe banana (but not overly so)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup, more or less to taste (if you are used to a no-sugar diet, 1 or 2 Tbsp is actually plenty)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Peel avocados and banana. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Adjust as needed for sweetness. Chill and serve.

Optional add-ins: 1/4 tsp cinnamon, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, 1 tps instant coffee (dilute in a tsp of water before adding to blender)

Gym Etiquette

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Recently, we’ve moved some equipment around and as we continue to expand and bring in new people, it’s easy for little things to get missed.  This is just a reminder of friendly practices before, during and after your workout.

We use different tools, but it's the same idea.  Don't let our gym look like this!

We use different tools, but it's the same idea. Don't let our gym look like this!

Keeping things organized.  Some days, we have CrossFit classes back-to-back for six hours.  It’s a pain in the butt for later classes to get set up if the earlier classes don’t put their stuff away properly.  This includes stacking the bumper plates neatly in their correct places (written on the wall), keeping the kettlebells organized, and stacking the dumbbells in an orderly manner on the shelf (written on the shelf).  Also, if you’re going to use a weight to anchor your pet, please put the weight back before you leave.  And finally, if you have to record your numbers on the floor with chalk, please wipe up after yourself when you’re done.

Starting on time.  Most people know that if you show up late, you have to wear the weight vest for the warm-up.  This is just a fun reminder that if you’re late, you’re inconveniencing everybody else in the class.  If you show up early, feel free to work on individual mobility or skill work, but please don’t start the warm-up until the class actually starts.  Otherwise, you’ll finish before everybody else and have nothing to do until the skill work starts.

Use the Chalk Bucket Correctly.  Nobody likes inhaling half a pound of chalk dust when they’re gasping for air during a workout.  So, please apply the chalk, then clap your hands inside the bucket.  Also, it’s very helpful if you avoid knocking the chalk bucket to the ground.

Encourage Your Classmates. Most of you are pretty good about this.  If you finish early, it’s polite to cheer on the people who are still working– even if you’re cheering between gasps.  You can also feel free to encourage others while you’re working.

Edit: I forgot to add this before, but it’s along the same lines as everything else: Use the Heaviest Weights Available.  I don’t mean, try to go as prescribed, I mean be as efficient with the bumper plates as you can be, especially if it’s a big class.  You can make 100kg by putting eight 10kg plates on a 20kg bar, but if there’s anybody weaker than you in the class they’re going to have a tough time scaling because you’re using all the lighter plates.  Be courteous to the classmates who might not be as strong as you by reserving the lighter plates and bars for them.  Again, not a big deal if there’s only one or two people in the class, but I’ve seen a few issues with this in those busy Saturday morning classes.

Just remember: this isn’t big box gym, it’s a community.

Stop Defeating Yourself

Sunday, September 25th, 2011
First to exit the water, 2010 CrossFit Games

First to exit the water, 2010 CrossFit Games

We oftentimes struggle for success. Unfortunately we are often our own biggest hindrance to success. There is all this stuff we have bouncing around in our heads. Past wrongs, past failures, self-confidence issues, fear can all severely limit our chances of success.

A quote from Henry Ford “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.

This quote is clearly not 100% accurate, but does demonstrate how much our own belief in something can affect the outcome. Look at the history of sport. How many times has there been a perceptive barrier on an accomplishment that once broken, is then repeated by countless individuals? It is that idea of striving for the improbable, and fully believing that it can be done that will allow for it to be done.

Once you have decided that you are incapable of something you have strongly influenced whether or not you are capable. I have seen many people state that they can not do something, then deliberately (whether consciously or not) screw up their attempts. This self-defeatest mindset has to be turned around. It will limit you in the gym, and in every area of your life.

Frustration and anger at failure must also be watched. If you find yourself getting angry because you don’t perform as well as you think you should have, or fail a skill or lift, step back and calm yourself. You can direct the frustration to help you succeed, but in most cases your elevated stress level is going to interfere with success and improvement. You must understand that you are not the performance. A failure or poor performance does not diminish your value. It is an opportunity to learn and move forward. Allowing these things to get at you will reduce your rate of improvement. We have had a few cases (most often having to do with double unders) of athletes walking out on a workout. There comes a time when you may repeatedly fail at something. It may even be something you normally can do. Even so, it doesn’t matter, and letting frustration eat at you is not going to improve the situation. It may be time to step back and try something else. It may be time to laugh it off and keep pounding at it. This depends on your state of mind. If you can refocus, keep calm and work through, then get on with it. If you find your well being diminishing rapidly, step away and reassess. Finding a different approach may be in order. Your coaches are here to help you with this, but if you get yourself into a negative mindset then there is nothing a coach can do to help.

You will fail a lot here. If you are moving forward you will experience failure. If your coach asks you to try something it is because they truly believe you have a chance of success. You must believe that yourself. How many things have we asked you to do that felt impossible the first time (or 100th time) that you can now do? Ring supports, free standing handstands, heavy cleans/snatches/deadlifts/etc, running speed, pull ups, muscle ups. At one time you couldn’t do any of this. Maybe you still can’t. So keep working at it and you will one day succeed.

I’ll end this with another Henry Ford quote “I am looking for a lot of men (and women) who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.”

Deb’s Carrot Ginger Soup

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

carrot_ginger_soupThis Friday marks the autumnal equinox and despite the current warm weather, I have a sublimely delicious recipe that is sure to get you in the autumn spirit. I just got this easy-to-make soup recipe from my sister-in-law in Connecticut where the New England foliage is already starting to match the vivid fiery hues of this lovely soup. Even though it still feels like summer in our part of the States, what better way to welcome the changing of the seasons than by cooking up a healthy bowl of fall-colored comfort!


  • 6 cups chicken or veggie stock
  • 2 lbs carrots peeled and chopped (large dice)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • pinch cinnamon
  • salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium low heat. Add diced onion and sauté stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, add the garlic and ginger and sauté another 5 minutes until onion is translucent. Add stock to pot along with carrots. Turn heat up to high and bring to just barely a boil at which point reduce the heat again to medium low, cover partially and simmer for about 30 minutes or until carrots are completely tender. Add cinnamon. Purée mixture with an immersion blender or in batches in regular blender. If doing the latter, return to pot to re-heat. Add salt to taste if necessary. Serve hot. For an extra rich soup, stir in a spoonful of ghee to bowl before serving. Relax and enjoy!

Final FGB Photos and Video

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

As has been noted in the comments already, a huge thanks to Rich L. for coordinating for FGB VI. He has been a huge fundraiser himself every year that he has been involved, and this year he stepped up to coordinate the event. I felt completely comfortable with him keeping us all in the loop and running event day. We have more media from the event. Be sure to check it all out.



Fight Gone Bad and Handstands

Saturday, September 17th, 2011
Working hard for good causes

Working hard for good causes

Some final numbers. Our final total raised for Fight Gone Bad is $10,449. This is literally double what we raised last year. I missed event day, but have heard a lot of stories. PRs were set. New people were introduced to our way of training and life. A lot of people had a lot of fun.

I’m so proud of you all. It is great to know that our little gym tends to do well in events where the primary motivation is giving. I love the generosity of our community.

So, you may be wondering the result of the handstand world record attempt. USAG set out to break the world record for simultaneous handstands. The previous record was 2,500 set in the lead up to world championships. The attempt today absolutely crushed the old record. 20, 478 individuals did handstands across the country at 1pm Eastern time. Our gym contributed 43 to that number. 39 were on site at the gym, two were in a parking garage, and another two were at camp. Congratulations, we are now members of a world record holding group!

Fight Gone Bad 6 is Coming up This Saturday

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Hey Crew,

   Just a reminder that Fight Gone Bad 6 is coming up this Saturday Sept. 17th.   This event is open to the public so feel free to invite your friends.  Fight Gone Bad is an awesome CrossFit workout as well as a yearly fundraiser and this Saturday we are doing both.  This year’s FGB benefits: the “Special Operations Warrior Foundation”, providing college scholarships for the children of deceased special operations officers, the “CrossFit Foundation” and “Infant Swimming Resource®” mission to teach children and infants water survival skills, and the “Camp Patriot” organization, which takes disabled veterans on outdoor adventures.  To top it all off, you can get a great workout, so come join us and invite your friends.  Whether or not you can make it, you can also sponsor one of our athletes by looking us up on the Fight Gone Bad website and clicking on “Donate”, searching by “Team”, then the appropriate Country, Province, and “Team” field (CrossFit Marin) and subsequently picking the athlete that you’d like to sponsor. 


An appropriate little picture borrowed from our friends over at CrossFit 619 in San Diego
An appropriate little picture borrowed from our friends over at CrossFit 619 in San Diego


Also, this Saturday is National Gymnastics Day and USAG is organizing an attempt to break the world record for the most simultaneous handstands held worldwide.  That will be at 10am, so warm up those wrists and get ready!

See you all Saturday,


Running at Altitude

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

I’m sure many of us in our travels to Tahoe have gone out to get a run in and found it to be quite a bit more difficult than it is down here at sea level. I was in Yosemite last week and there were some elite Ironman triathletes who were training by running the Half Dome hike. This is a total round trip of about 18 miles and goes from 4,000 feet in elevation at the base up to 9,000 at the peak. I could actually feel the air getting thinner as we approached the top and could only imagine how fit those guys had to be to run that route. This weekend, I’ll be taking on another elevation challenge with the Tough Mudder up at Squaw Valley. Up there, the base elevation will be 6,200 feet and will involve a substantial vertical ascent for the run. This got me to thinking, exactly what is restricting performance when you run at altitude and by how much does it restrict you?

Altitude and Performance

One of the key measures to look at is VO2 Max. VO2 Max represents the maximum capacity of the body to transport and use oxygen in the cells. Since oxygen is the lifeblood of the cells during aerobic activity, this measure is considered one of the gold standards of aerobic fitness. Another important measure, lactate threshold, occurs when blood lactate starts to accumulate above resting levels and lactate clearance can no longer keep up with lactate production. One way to look at it is that VO2 max is your total aerobic potential, while lactate threshold determines how much of that potential you’re currently tapping.

At elevation, we see a much lower oxygen saturation in the air than at sea level. At 6,000 feet elevation, the saturation is about 94% compared to 98% at sea level. Your body will try to compensate by building more red blood cells to uptake oxygen over time by secreting more of a hormone called erythropotein (EPO). EPO may sound familiar due to it’s prominence in blood doping scandals with elite cyclists. They take EPO to stimulate an overabundance of red blood cells, which can artificially raise their VO2 Max. It’s important to note that you won’t see benefits from the red blood cell increase unless you arrive at altitude at least a week before you run since the new cells won’t reach the blood stream until then.

Because of the lower oxygen saturation in the air, we lose about 10-12% of our VO2 Max at 6,000 feet and 12-15% at 7,500 feet according to running doc Dr. Jack Daniels. He does also mention that running economy is actually improved by the lower air resistance at altitude, which will only result in a net loss of 6% VO2 Max at 6,000 feet. So what does this add up to? In a short race of 800-1500 meters, the difference would be negligible, but if you run a 10k, you could potentially lose 2-4 minutes off your time.

Important Tips for Altitude Training

  • Increase Calories - Because the VO2 Max is so much lower, you’ll have to work that much harder at a given speed to maintain your pace. This will eat through the glycogen energy stores in your muscles like crazy. Be sure to get adequate nutrition.
  • Hydration - Be sure to drink extra water. You will naturally become dehydrated at altitude, especially with the impaired VO2 Max that is putting more pressure on the cardiovascular system
  • Watch Your Pace - If you go too hard, you’ll be pulled quickly into the anaerobic zone and past your lactate threshold. This will really hurt your run time by the end. Concentrate on your breathing and try to stay in the aerobic zone if you’re doing a long run.
  • Iron Deficiency - Women can be prone to iron deficiency, which can be a serious problem at altitude. Iron is key for red blood cell production, so be sure to take a supplement if you’re spending extended periods up high.
  • Altitude Sickness - This is common for people who go too hard out of the gate without acclimatizing. The symptoms are headaches, nausea, dizziness, and lack of appetite
  • Last but not least, enjoy the view!!

Marinated Zucchini

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

zucchini1I’m always looking for something fun to do with zucchini, especially at the end of summer when they seem to be everywhere! Marinated zucchini makes a wonderful side dish or topping to an arugula salad with the marinade as a dressing.


  • 3 medium zucchini (pretty with both green and yellow)
  • 3 or 4 scallions, minced
  • 4 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (omit for strict Paleo)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp toasted cumin seeds
  • black pepper to taste

Wash zucchini and slice as thinly as you can (peeler or cheese slicer works well). Sprinkle with salt – preferably sea or kosher – and let sit 15 to 30 minutes. In the meantime, set a small skillet on medium heat. Add cumin seeds and stir until they start to pop and are lightly browned. Set aside. Rinse zucchini thoroughly and pat dry. Toss all ingredients together in an airtight container, cover, shake well and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours. Remove garlic clove before serving.