Tag Archives: Hex Chromosome

Fresh Ink x2

I am flattered and honored to be the subject of an article on Runner’s World’s Zelle website!  Many thanks to Megan Birch-McMichael for such a fantastic writeup.

 

http://www.runnersworld.com/run-matters/she-runs-dara-obannon

 

This awesome article, which makes me seem much cooler than I actually am, was published the morning after I got my first running-related tattoo – I am covered in derby ink, so I really wanted to get something that represents my running life as well. Meet Pacer and Miles, my running spirit animals. Myles Bryant designed and inked this piece for me, and I am over the moon about how much I adore it.

 

Pacer says Miles is going WAY too fast and will burn out by mile 9.

Pacer says Miles is going WAY too fast and will burn out by mile 9.

 

Everything is coming up Milhouse today! Now I’ve gotta go be awesome so that I can live up to the press. 😉 Have a blessed day!

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Homemade salted caramels

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I’ve never grown out of the “I made something for you” phase of childhood – it’s still my favorite way to give gifts. Whether it’s layered soap bars or layered dessert bars, I derive so much pleasure from putting effort & love into handmade presents.

This Christmas, I spent a lot of time making treats to give to neighbors, church friends & family. The biggest hit was probably the salted caramels. They are super easy to make – it’s like culinary alchemy – and they store well in the fridge. They can be used in other recipes, melted into coffee or just devoured on their own.

I do recommend measuring your ingredients before you begin – the process relies on quickness. You won’t need a candy thermometer, but a candy mold makes it easy to portion them out.

ingredients:
1 cup of sugar
6 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
Sea salt to taste

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method:

Measure your ingredients & keep close by. I also recommend greasing your molds now by spraying lightly with cooking spray or brushing with oil (I use coconut oil & a pastry brush).

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Place sugar in a dry saucepan over medium-high heat and continuously whisk or stir with a spatula as it melts (this helps prevent burning).

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As soon as your sugar is liquid, light brown & just about to bubble, stop stirring.

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Add the butter & whisk until melted. It’ll foam up a bit, so watch your fingers!

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Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in the cream ’til smooth.

Now it’s time to pour the liquid into molds – I transfer my liquid into a measuring cup first for easier pouring.

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I use a silicone Wilton brownie bites mold & I fill each cavity about half full. (The liquid can also be transferred to a jar if you prefer to use it as a caramel sauce.)

Lightly dust the top of each caramel with sea salt.

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Place mold in fridge or freezer until caramels are firm enough to unmold. After unmolding, they can be individually wrapped in wax paper squares or pieces of Saran Wrap Press’n’Seal.

That’s it! Minimal effort for rich, soft, buttery caramels that kick the pants off of those pale processed Kraft cubes.

Please try them and let me know what you think! And if I ever bring you a bag of them, know that they are basically little chewy squares of my love for you. 😀

OFFSKATES WORKOUT WITH ACRD

Pyro

I had the privilege of guest-coaching an off-skates workout for my beloved Assassination City Roller Derby recently, and I wanted to make it available for anyone to do at home. This circuit takes 20-30 minutes, depending on how long your rest breaks are in between exercises.  You can do this pretty much anywhere – it requires no equipment and you don’t need shoes.

Off skates with Pyro – 6/29/14

 
Warmup (5 minutes)
Neck/shoulder/arm rolls
Windmill – stand in an A-frame, arms straight out to sides parallel to floor. Keeping arms straight bend and twist at waist to touch right toes with left hand. Return to start position and twist to touch left toes with right hand. Alternate for 20 seconds.
airplanearms
Marching, high knees, butt kicks
Balboas –  jogging in place while shadowboxing high in the air as if punching a speedbag
10 jumping jacks
10 cross jacks  (arms crossed in front instead of overhead)
10 squat jacks (sink into sumo squat with each jump)
Core (5-10 minutes)
Cat/cow for 15-20 sec to loosen the spine, then  30-60 seconds of each exercise with 10-15 sec rest in between.
 cat camel
Scorpions – On your stomach, elbows on ground, chest up – lift left leg and twist it across body so your toe taps the floor to the outside of your right leg.  Return to start and alternate this cross-body motion on both sides, keeping upper body still and focusing on opening up hip flexors.
Elbow plank with alternating wide toe taps
Iron cross – Lie on your back with arms straight out to sides and legs wide. Lift right leg straight across body to meet opposite hand, and return to center.  Alternate sides for x secs/reps, focusing on glutes, hips and hamstrings. (Iron cross can also be done standing as a dynamic warmup – kick leg up to meet opposite hand)
Around the world plank – one by one, lift and lower each limb slowly and with control in a clockwise fashion; reverse direction halfway through
Bridges – lie on back, knees bent, feet together, soles pressed into floor. Lift pelvis using core until torso and legs form a diagonal; squeeze glutes at the top. Keeping flutes engaged, slowly lower to floor. Repeat for 30-60 seconds.
Flutter kicks – lie on back, legs straight, hands under low back for support. Tuck pelvis and make tiny rapid fluttering kicks with feet, floating them just a  few inches off the floor while keeping upper body flat on floor.
Balance (5 minutes with no rest – just keep alternating legs for each exercise)

Basic balance: stand on one foot and slowly swing the other leg forward and back to center; out to the side and back in; and behind you and back to center.  Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.

Hip abduction: stand on one leg, raising other knee to waist height.  Abduct your hip so that you “open the gate”, with your knee pointing out to the side…you’re gonna look a bit like you’ve got a lil’ Captain in ya…then slowly adduct so your knee points forward again. Stay on the same foot and slowly repeat this open/close motion for 30 seconds.

Single leg toe touch:  stand on left foot, right foot hovering off ground in front of you. Bending @ waist, reach with right hand to touch left foot; stand up straight to complete rep. Keeping a slow, steady pace, repeat for 30 sec, then switch sides. (note: you can add a dumbbell to your toe-touching hand when you’re ready to progress this exercise)

Single leg squat with contralateral toe touch – as you squat on your right leg, touch the outside of your left foot with your right hand before standing straight up to complete one rep.  Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.

squattouch

Single-leg curtsy squat with front leg swing:  shallow single leg squat, free leg bent back behind – as you stand, straighten leg and swing it in front of body, then behind for the next squat – repeat for 30 sec each side.

Cardio (5-10 minutes, depending on how long your intervals are)
Speed skaters
Mountain climbers
Reverse lunge with kick punch – from a standing position, step back with right foot into a reverse lunge.  From this position, you’ll smoothly stand as you front kick with your right leg and punch the air in front of you with your left hand @ the same time. Put some oomph behind it!  Repeat the lunge to kick-punch for 30 seconds on this side, then switch to lunge and kick with left leg as you punch with right hand for 30 seconds.
Burpees  (or cross-climber burpees)
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Bonus – if you are working out with a friend or a team, throw this in at the end for one last core/cardio exercise:
Partner leg throwdown: Lie on your back, head in front of your partner’s toes, and grasp their ankles/calves for support.  You’ll lift your legs and they’ll throw them back down to the ground, alternating left, right or middle – your job is to use your core to stop your legs before they hit the ground, then immediately raise them for the next throw. Repeat for 60 seconds and switch.
Cooldown stretch (click for how-to)
hipstretch1
hipstretch3
Please let me know if you have any questions, if you enjoyed this workout and if you’d like to see more like this!

How Roller Derby Saved my Life

I originally wrote this on my league forum as a post for the fresh meat group I was coaching at the time. I shared it on Facebook later for a rec league group I was training,  and by request I’m sharing it here now in its original entirety. I hope it continues to inspire and motivate aspiring derby athletes.

…………………………………..

I’ve been meaning to put this out here for awhile – I posted it on my league board recently in a nutrition and fitness thread for my freshies. There aren’t a lot of old guard left who remember what my life was like when I first joined Assassination City & I don’t want anyone to ever assume that I’ve always been who and what I am, because it’s taken a lot of hard work to get here.

This will be really, really long, so bear with me. It’s only the 2nd time I’ve ever said it all out loud, and I talk a lot. Plus, I’m a narcissist who needs visual aids to fully illustrate the changes my body has gone through, so you get pics too.

I was small (unhealthily so, but that’s a confession for another time) until I hit my early 20s, then birth control (& later fertility meds – oh, the irony) + eating way too much crappy food + sitting at a desk all day reshaped me. I weighed about 155 when I finally became pregnant with Victoria – then I put on 63 pregnancy pounds. Yeah, that’s not a typo. I’m 5’4″ & I weighed 218lbs when I checked into the hospital. That’s over twice the size I was when I met V’s dad. Some of it was the swelling from pre-eclampsia, but most of it was the fact that I used pregnancy as an excuse to eat everything in sight (mostly processed garbage & greasy fast food) & I told myself that walking the dog was actually real exercise.

Here’s what I looked like pregnant (with my best friend Jackie O’NiceAss @ her baby shower):

Our kids were born two days apart.

Our kids were born two days apart.

 

And right after I had V (rare pic of natural haircolor):

proud mama

 

V had severe GERD, which took a trip to the emergency rom and several specialists and procedures to diagnose. Sickly, unhappy new baby + scary new body and wild hormones did a number on my self-esteem, so I spent the first 4 months of V’s life in misery on so many levels.  I didn’t realize at the time I had PPD, but I can see now how bad it really was.

When V was about 4 months old, Jackie O & I started talking about roller derby again. We’d heard about it for the first time @ the baby shower where the above pic of us was taken & we had made a pact that we would join after we had our babies. After researching local leagues, I attended a DDD bout one weekend and an ACRD bout the next.  Dude, I was hooked within the first 2 jams. It was pure awesome. I contacted ACRD about 2 hours after their bout & joined within the next month (summer of ’06).

My skating background: rink rat as a kid + speed team when I realized that skating was faster than running (I’ve loved running since I learned how to do it). I hadn’t been on skates in 17 years, though. I went to a public session the day before my first practice and rented a pair of brownies. I was on the floor for 15 mins when a 12 year old asked me to teach her how to cross on the corners, so I guess it came back to me pretty fast. Muscle memory amazes me.

First practice: I lasted 45 minutes. I was so out of shape! I’d been walking every day & had progressed to light jogging again since I had V so I was probably down to 185 when I strapped on my skates. My bad knee hated me bc of all of the weight I was forcing down on it. I made it through the entirety of the next practice & every practice after that, & my body and mind began to transform.

In my first year of derby, I lost about 25 pounds…I didn’t do much else besides skate. I was eating less, but still eating like crap – my first home team, La Revolucion, used to get bourbon & pancakes @ Bandera after practice. Not exactly the best post-exercise nutrition. Still, I was a pretty decent jammer & I used my size to my advantage – but more importantly, a year of hanging out with a group of strong, beautiful, confident women who come in all shapes & sizes reshaped my self-image & helped me love myself again.

larevpy

La Rev Py

I shattered my leg (11 breaks in the tibia/fibula) on June 6 of ’07 – had surgery June 11 (2 plates, 17 screws and one stabilizing rod), attended the pre-bout party on June 15, & went to the bout + separated from the Giant on June 17. It was a busy week. The Divorce Diet will make you drop weight fast, but I don’t recommend it – nor do I recommend crawling into a bottle of whiskey for a year, which is what I did. Weight fell off to the point that people were asking if I was doing coke. I think I was probably 112 @ my skinniest – West Texas flung me around the rink in July of ’08 (my first bout back as a skater) like a rag doll.

Scary Py.

Scary Py.

 

** Around this time, I started practicing yoga + meditating every day. I needed to regain my balance in every sense of the word. Yoga changed a lot about my life for the better – I cannot say enough good things about practicing on a regular basis. I healed physically, mentally & spiritually through yoga. It made me more mindful of every bite I put in my mouth, every drink I took, every minute wasted in a bar or stuffing my face in front of the TV that could have been filled with something meaningful & productive. I also started keeping a journal, which made it easier to track whether I was stress-eating or forgetting to eat bc I’d drank too much. A journal shines so much light on what’s going on inside you, & that helps shape the outside. **

I sprained my right ankle in Dec ’08 but kept skating on it in pain ’til about Feb ’09. I do NOT recommend that – if you have an inversion sprain, get off your skates & heal. I opted for 3x per wk physical therapy bc I wanted to recover as quickly as possible. Physical therapy strengthened both ankles, plus it helped build some muscle in my legs (stability exercises are SO good for your entire lower body & core). It made me feel stronger, & I love feeling strong! I started running again & I bought a couple of circuit-training DVDs featuring HIIT (high intensity interval training, which is the quickest way to get in bad-ass shape). I highly recommend Jackie Warner’s DVDs – she will destroy you in a very short amount of time. The key is to understand that exercise is supposed to be uncomfortable to some degree – you have to sweat to burn fat & build muscle.

After a year of lifting @ home, Ripper talked me into joining her gym in May ’10 – I hired a personal trainer & fell in love with her job, so I started the NASM PFT program in July ’10 & started hitting the weights & Stairmaster hard. I graduate/become certified in April of ’11, but I’m already working with clients now based on my personal experience, my experience training/coaching in the league, & all of the obsessive reading I do about fitness, nutrition & life coaching.

So, to make a short story very, very long, this is why I now look like this:

gunzzz

 

I’m impressed if you made it through that long ramble. I feel a bit as if I’ve exposed my soft underbelly to you all, figuratively & literally. I work my ass off on the daily bc I know I am never finished – I’m never going to be a final product, I’m always a work in progress. We all are. I take my nutrition one day @ a time, focusing on eating clean 95% of the time & I don’t beat myself up if I eat a yummy fatty treat every now & then (although once I started eating clean, I stopped craving sugar and fat as much – I’m repulsed by fast food and most processed crap now). I break a sweat @ least once a day – cardio is good for the body, heart, mind, soul. Cardio is good working meditation for people who can’t hold still for long (like me). Lifting weights makes me feel powerful – that power carries over into life outside the gym and off the track. Lean muscle burns fat even when we’re asleep, so my body is a self-maintaining machine. I quit drinking on Nov 1, 2009 and I don’t miss it @ all. I realize I am an extreme case and your mileage may vary – I don’t expect anyone to quit drinking or enjoying an occasional piece of cake – I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal, so it works for me.

Bottom line out of all of this, the one point to take home with you – derby can change your life in many positive & amazing ways, but it’s only the beginning of being truly fit & healthy. Think of derby as the gateway drug to lifetime fitness and health. Derby alone will not turn us into powerful lean machines – we have to put hard work in to get great results out of what we do every day. That daily hard work will show up on the track and in every other aspect of our lives.

Thank you for listening.

sweatpantsareforsoccermoms

 

Pinkify Your Hair – How to Keep Your Color Vibrant

October seems like a great time to reblog this article, since I am asked nearly every day of the month whether I dyed my hair for breast cancer awareness month. I usually respond that I am aware and support the cause every day and through multiple events, but that I just make the most sense in October. I will say this – if you want every spectator at Race for the Cure to cheer wildly for you (and for a few to request pictures after), then pink up that mane, darlin’. What’s aberrant 11 months of the year is celebrated for 31 days.

Hex Chromosome

Truly pink hair is a commitment on par with marriage. That noise takes work. Days of refusing to get in chlorinated water, walking around with pink fingertips, and generally wearing hats. We actually have enough info to fill TWO POSTS with this awesomeness. Let’s start with MagPie, shall we?

TIPS ON PINK HAIR

The Pyro Maim Ya Edition

I’ve been coloring my hair in some form or fashion since I was 10 years old, and the first color I ever tried was – you guessed it – pink.  It was a fuchsia-hued styling gel that did nothing to control my ginger frizz, but it made me feel like Cyndi Lauper.  I’ve tried just about every shade imaginable since, but I’ve always come back to pink. It just best represents my personality – as I like to tell people, it’s an outward expression of the insane energy that powers me. Also, it…

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One-Exercise Workouts: the Cross-Climber Burpee

I’m a big fan of timesaving, full-body workouts that can be done virtually anywhere with no equipment.  Seriously, there are ZERO excuses to skip a workout with that kind of resume. My favorites include core work, cardio and plyometrics to keep me in top form for derby and running.

I call this a One-Exercise Workout, but it’s really a couple of exercises blended together into one super ass-kicker.  Push through these as hard and as fast as you can while maintaining your form – make sure you’re landing lightly and if you feel a sudden or sharp pain, stop immediately.  These are not for the faint of heart, so be ready to ache afterward – but the results are absolutely worth the burn.  Plus, as soon as you’re done with the set, you’re done with your workout – simple, huh?

 

Cross-Climber Burpee:

Start position:  standing straight, legs together, arms by sides, shoulders back.

Drop to a crouch, hands on the floor slightly in front of your feet.

burpeecrouch

Jump feet back to land in plank position.

 

plank

 

Holding your plank, pick up right leg and twist lower body to tap right knee against left elbow.  Return to center and repeat on left side, tapping left knee to right elbow.

 

crossclimberrightcrossclimberleft

 

Return to plank (if you’re feeling particularly masochistic, you can throw in a push-up at this point) and hop legs back into a crouch.

burpeecrouch

From here, you’re going to spring up into the air!  Jump up as high as you can…arms outstretched over your head if you have the ceiling room, or clasped behind your head if your Hobbit house was built in the 1950s like mine.  Imagine your legs as springs, propelling you to the ceiling.

jump

Land lightly in a crouch – that’s one rep!  Shoot those legs back out into a plank and hit it again!

As for sets, play around with what works for your timeframe. When I’m rushed for time, I like to do mine Tabata-style – 20 seconds of 100% effort as I do as many as I can as quickly as possible, followed by 10 seconds of rest and repeated 8 times.  That’s a 4 minute workout that hits every muscle while increasing my endurance, boosting my metabolism and making my butt look fantastic in shiny shorts. You can’t beat that with a bat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Derby & Your Knees: Coexistence is Possible – by Pyro Maim Ya

You can still find me on Hex Chromosome’s blog – watch for more derby-specific workouts and clean recipes!

Hex Chromosome

Tired of having your knees feel like @$#& after practice or a game? Yes, better knee pads can help, but it isn’t the whole story. Let Pyro Maim Ya, personal trainer at Pynk Fitness,  be your guide to being able to skate longer. Because quitting is for hosers. YOU HEAR THAT, KNEES?

Strengthening and protecting your knees

As I type this article, I’m icing my knee.  It’s become a routine after practice or a run these days, although it took awhile for the habit to stick. In fact, it took several years for any of the advice I was given about my knees to stick. What can I say?  I’m stubborn and they seemed just fine. My hope is that you’ll heed my words and take steps now to protect, strengthen and extend the life of your lovely knees so you won’t be purchasing full replacements long before you…

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