My half marathon trail race last Saturday through Oakland Hills Redwood Park offered some of the most beautiful scenery I had ever seen. A rich dirt path, where arcing roots surfaced and dove back below, was lined with lazy ferns and towering Redwoods that made each part of the trail feel intimate. This was my first half marathon and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to do it on a trail in Northern California.

The first nine miles felt amazing. When hills got steep, I stuck to my plan to power walk up and run on flats, downhills, and slight inclines. During that first nine, I couldn’t believe I was about to crush my first half exactly how I wanted.

But after nine, things started to fall apart.

My first mistake was that I forgot my camelback at home. I imagine all destination races can notoriously be a venue of things forgotten. On the race website, they boasted many aid stations along the way, which eased the inclination to kick myself. During training, I never ate much before a run because I have a …. sensitive stomach when it comes to running. Shyly, I had asked the race director, “What if you have to go to the bathroom during the route?” I was informed there were a couple campsite bathrooms along the way. “Or jump behind a tree,” he said. So, mistake number two was that I didn’t fuel myself hardly at all before the race.

There were not many aid stations along the way as boasted. This is directly related to mistake number three: not fueling enough during the race.There were, in fact, two aid stations; one at mile six and one at mile nine. I ate three-fourths of a banana in total and a couple cups of water. I contemplated drinking their electrolyte concoction, but I was imagining how my stomach would protest in the most humiliating of ways so I declined. Rounding the corner from the aid station, the next mile started as a ridiculous hill that caused my jaw to slack when seeing it. There were three huge hills in this race. The mile-seven hill I handled pretty well, but looking at the wall confronting me after mile nine I thought, “Welp, one foot in front of the other, Rivera.” The hill finally eased after a mile, but by then I was starting to have an Uh-Oh moment. I settled into a jog, but my energy was drained. I decided that by sheer will alone I was going to get  through the last hill, which was a straight-up ascent starting at the eleven and a half mark. Joy has to be good for a mile or so, no?

But here’s the deal: As mentally tough as I like to consider myself, my mind couldn’t fully compensate for a real physiological bonk. Starting up that last hill, I couldn’t believe I couldn’t force my legs to move faster. I began feeling lightheaded with tunnel vision. “F*#k!” I yelled at my feet. A couple runners passed me, which pissed me off more. “What’s my problem?” I thought. I stopped and looked at the trees. I asked for help from Nature, the goddesses, from my inner effing self. I thought that would give me a boost, but it didn’t.

A photographer who was perched on a huge tree stump primed to document runners’ misery, taunted us as we struggled. I was not in the mood for that. I think he realized I was having a tough time and he hopped off the stump to walk with me and talk to me for about eight hundred meters. Nature had sent me help after all.

I crossed the finish line much later than I had hoped feeling like shit. Mina was there, thank god, and she handed me an orange soda. She knew to give me the soda because everyone who had crossed the finish line before me ranted about how brutal the course had been and how they needed sugar or salt immediately. When I downed the soda, I felt immediately better. I thought to myself, “Oh.” I ALMOST wanted to redo that last part so I didn’t feel like it had got the best of me.

I totally disrespected my fuel for my first big race. I had not underestimated the training, the cross training, the mobility, or recovery. But I had not spent any time dialing in fuel. Me of all people!

My husband used to ask our daughters, “Do you want to learn things the easy way or the hard way? Up to you.” I obviously picked the hard way last Saturday. But I’m excited to figure out my race nutrition, and I can’t wait to try it all again.

Friday’s Workout

5k Row FT – Leader Board Time!


Saturday’s Workout

Leaderboard Day!
Followed by a Bondsy-Q
$10 to go toward Westside Food Bank for Thanksgiving
$10 to go toward the BBQ, all to Bondsy.

Sunday’s Workout

20 MIN EMOM–You choose what you play with

ODD MIN: A movement (user’s choice)
EVEN MIN: A different movement (user’s choice)

Monday’s Workout
Mental Toughness

Teams of 2 or 3
12 TTB
60 DU
24 KBS (24/16)

B) AB for Cals with partner

What’s really hard in life? Isn’t that a good question? I bet each of you reading this would give me a million different definitions of what is hard. Just this past weekend most of the staff and some Oak Park students headed to Malibu to play and learn at the XPT workshop.  Some of us had briefly talked about what was going to be hard for us individually. I thought getting to the ice bath wasn’t going to be that bad, my thought was “I’ll just breathe”. The hard part for me was getting myself to the bottom of the pool to pick up a dumbbell and bring it up to the surface. I KNOW that my breath is my biggest tool, because I use my breath to help keep calm in many situations.   When I’m under water… there is NO breath to be used.  So, what I perceived to be hard was (imagine that).  I had the biggest challenge moving under water with dumbbells, or I should say swimming with dumbbells was my biggest challenge. The thing is I know this is where my growth happens, when it’s uncomfortable and hard, and it’s usually the stuff I don’t want to do. THAT IS GROWTH. 

In 2012 I participated in one of my first Insight Seminars. The intention of insight is to learn to live from your heart. Now, I’m really talking about hard. The thing that was hard for me was getting up in front of all the participants to share.  We were invited to  get up in front of the group and share what we were aware of. I don’t usually think of myself as having trouble talking in front of people, unless of course I have to talk about my emotions. So, when I got up in front of the group all I did was cry. I couldn’t get words out of my mouth. I was so scared to talk about what I was feeling that the only thing I was able to do was cry. Over a few days it got better, but this was HARD and that was growth. 

I share all this with you because we all perceive things differently. What brings joy to me can bring a feeling of dread to you and vice versa. Our intention at Oak Park that we all want to learn, try new things and continue to work on the not so fun stuff as well as all the other fun stuff. As we do, we grow and become more balanced people both in and out of the gym.  I’ll always have to continually work on expressing how I feel, (which has gotten a lot easier), and remind myself to do that things that I don’t like doing and I appreciate having this community of support to do that. 

Wedesday’s Workout

“CF Games Open 17.1”
For time:
10 Dumbbell Snatches (50/35)
15 Burpee Box Jump Overs (24/20)
20 Dumbbell Snatches
15 Burpee Box Jump Overs
30 Dumbbell Snatches
15 Burpee Box Jump Overs
40 Dumbbell Snatches
15 Burpee Box Jump Overs
50 Dumbbell Snatches
15 Burpee Box Jump Overs
(20-minute time cap)

If you got time capped, add the number of reps you failed to complete to your time in seconds. E.g. If you got 210/225 reps (didn’t finish the last 15 Box Jumps) your time would be 20:15.


Thursday’s Workout

A) Ascending ladder for Quality and Creativity
4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16…….
Pull up
Push up
Squat x 2
Time cap: 15

B) Bench Press
Peak 5 x 4 @ 85%
Base 5 x 6 By Feel


I write this as I stare at the lowering sun highlighting the eucalyptus grove outside my AirBnB balcony in Oakland Hills. Damn, life is good! 

The biggest take away from my trip so far is that our intuition is one of our most powerful — and possibly our most unused — tool. As someone who has vey good intuition, I encourage you to use yours more. (This reads like a fortune cookie, which … cool!)

Happy weekend, friends.

Friday’s Workout

A) EMOM 10
2 Hang Power Snatch + 3 Power Snatch (TNG)

B) Reflect (5-7 minutes)

C) AMRAP 12 / Upshift/Downshift
5 Snatch (Gear 4-5)
15 Pull Ups (Gear 4-5)
200m Run (Gear 3)

Saturday’s Workout FT:
400m Run
2 Squat Cleans (95/65)
2 Bar-Facing Burpees
4 Squat Cleans
4 Bar-Facing Burpees
6-6, 8-8, 10-10
400m Run
10 Squat Cleans
10 Bar-Facing Burpees
8 Squat Cleans
8 Bar-Facing Burpees
6-6, 8-8, 10-10
400m Run

Monday’s Workout

A) Shoulder CARs (Controlled articular rotations, aka shoulder circles!)

B) AMRAP 15:
7 Tempo Push Ups (3-2-1)
200m Run (upshifting/downshifting breathing gears)

C) Snatch Balance
4×3 by feel
(not more than 70% of 1RM SN)

D) Segmented Snatch Pull
4×3 by feel
(not more than 90% of 1RM SN)


On Saturday, Nov 3rd, let’s play! We will hold Leaderboard Day, which will be a loose format competition day where athletes can do one, two, or three workouts at a chance to get on the Leaderboard — or to find a personal PR. After the workouts, there will be a Bondsy-Q! Even though Bonds just completed his biggest athletic endeavor to date, he’s ready to cook his famous food for us! Suggested donation is $10 for the Bondsy-Q or $20 for the Bondsy-Q and the rest will go towards a donation to the Westside Food Bank as they get ready for Thanksgiving.

Vote for the classic workouts you want to see on Leaderboard Day. You have up to three votes. Cast your vote by placing your initials next to the workouts on the sheet on the whiteboard in the main gym.

Friday’s Workout

A) Bench
PEAK 5X5 @ 80%

B) 5 cycles FQL
3 BB Push press
2 Jerks
8 FR lunges

C) Reflection

Team shuttle run relay
(teams of 3 or 4)
accumulate as many shuttles as you can

Saturday’s Workout

Alternating Between
Deadlifts (225/155)

Monday’s Workout

PEAK: 3 x 3 @ 90%
BASE: 5×4 (by feel)

Mobiity Intermission
– Scaps & Lats

Partner Up :90 :90
1 working at a time
10 Ring Push ups
10 DB OH Squats (35/25)
10 Pull Ups

Every other week I ponder what to share with you all. Sometimes I think it will be super thoughtful, emotional or insightful. Then at other times I think I’ll just share about gym etiquette, but I feel we are past that.  So at the end of today I leave you with this quote.

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” Pema Chödrön

Wednesday’s Workout

“The Riv-Ram”
AMRAP 25 – for total reps
6 Power Cleans (135/95)
9 Pull Ups
300m Run

9 Power Cleans (135/95)
12 Pull Ups
300m Run

12 Power Cleans (135/95)
15 Pull Ups
300m Run
(add 3 reps to every every movement every round …)


Thursday’s Workout

A) Squat Mobility (10 minutes)

B) 6 Rounds :30:30
Blocked Kip Swings / Kipping PUs
Alternating Pistols
(12 minutes)

C) 7-10 Rounds for Quality Load:
1 Power Snatch + 1 OHS + 1 Snatch + 1 OHS
Rest ~ :90

The Constitution mentions our “right to vote” five times. It is the constitutional right most mentioned; more than “freedom of speech” or “free exercise” of religion, more than “the right to keep and bear arms.”

I encourage all of you to register to vote if you haven’t already. The deadline to register in California is Oct 22!

Voting is a integral part of the electoral and democratic process that some take for granted. Many people fought very hard while endangering themselves to secure their own right to vote,especially people of color and women .

Don’t squander your right!.

Friday’s Workout

DEADicated Friday

ALTHEA (Chippah):
1500m Row
20 Power Cleans (135/95)
20 Push Press
20 Back Squat


AMRAP: Cycles

4 Total Cycles – 3 mins of work, 1 min
between cycles

3 C2B Pull Ups
4 Front Squats (115/75)
5 Push Press
PIck up where you left off. Total score is number of rounds and reps completed.

Monday’s Workout

5 Rounds on the 4:00
200m Run
40 Double Unders
MAX REPS Ground to Overhead (135/95)
Cut Off: 3 Minutes
Score = TOTAL G20

Aerobic Threshold (AT) Interval Training 

When tasks require you to be at your aerobic limit for an extended period of time, it can be a precarious situation.  The likelihood of “redlining” can and will happen!  Programing high intensity work and measuring the work to rest ratio’s become an art form equal to the task. 

Case in point… Professional Cycling Team Time Trail.  Six riders working at their aerobic thresholds or at power output indicative of that metric.  The cyclist are at their AT’s for an hour+, but are able to use the “draft” (less power output) for brief moments while taking short respites when not at the front of the pack.  While reviewing rider’s blogs – they regularly perform AT intervals at ratios of 3:1…for example, for every 3mins of AT work, they allow only 1min of recovery – thus training for and anticipating for expedient recoveries. 

This video is a prime example of an athlete at “full gas” trying to stay with his team.   You’ll note his size is considerably larger than his counter parts.  His role was to pace the team on the flatter sections like a “diesel engine” leading up to the hill where the video begins.  At this point his job is done as you’re allowed to drop a rider and still finish as a “whole” team.  But on this day, “dude man” is not gonna abandon his team.  Notice how quickly he hit’s the “wall” and only takes a brief respite and then is able to re-join his mates!

How quickly can you recover?


A) Mobility (Pec focus) (8 minutes)


B) Dry Land Swimming 2-4 Rounds:

9 Banded OHS (red or blue)

7 KB Swings (32/24) @ G4-G5

5 Double KB DLs (32/24) @ G3-G4

Max Distance Farmer’s Carry on Exhaled Breath (24-minute cap)


C) Bench Press

PEAK: 6 x 5 @ 75%

BASE: 5 x 10 (by feel) (18 minutes)


A) 2 Rounds For Time:

800m Run

30 Pull Ups

40 Push Ups

(18 Minute Cap)


B) Reflect (5 Minutes)


C) Sumo DL

PEAK: 3 x 5 @ 85%

BASE: 5×5 (by feel)

(18 Minutes)

In 2009, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn won the Nobel Prize in Medicine. She studied telomerase and the enzymes that repair and lengthen damaged ends of chromosomes. Her main focus was on the finding that stress caused physiological damage. Dr. Blackburn studied women who were under chronic emotional stress because they were the main caretakers of children with autism or chronic diseases.  Her first major study was providing genetic evidence indicating that chronic emotional stress might shorten a woman’s life span. The study wasn’t an objective measure of stress as much as it was studying women’sperception of stress. The perception seemed to matter. Two women might be in compatible situations, but one had learned to manage her stress better by empowering herself and taking charge of her life, the other had let stress overwhelm her thus causing damage to herself not just emotionally, but physiologically.

Dr. Dean Ornish of the Preventative Medicine Research Institute and School of Medicine suggests: “What we eat, how we respond to stress, how much exercise we get, and perhaps most importantly, how much love and intimacy we have can make such a powerful difference in our health and well-being.”

He goes on: “What we found is that whole foods, moderate exercise, stress management techniques such as yoga and meditation, and learning to give and receive love more fully often reverse the progression of coronary heart disease, early stage prostate cancer, type-two diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, depression and other chronic diseases.”

Dr. Ornish found that just changing your lifestyle, including our outlook, changes your genes. Your genes! In men with prostrate cancer he found that making comprehensive lifestyle changes for only three months caused changes in over 500 genes concluding that our genes are our predisposition, but they are not our fate.

Reading these articles and studies over the weekend reinforces my belief that we are active participants in our lives. Our perception, our thoughts, our actions — good or bad — hold power. Exercise your power for your best self. Live the life you want to live. Live it as optimally as you have control — and know you have much more control than you think.

Friday’s Workout

A) 3 Rounds on the 6:00
Cap 2:30 each round
R1: 500m row (gear 5)
R2: 500m row (gear 4)
R3: 500m row (gear 3)

B) Scap Mobility

C) 7 Sets of:
2 Snatch balance
2 OHS bottom to bottom w/2 sec pause at bottom

Friday Breath with Coach Matt – 12-12:30pm

Saturday’s Workout

For Max Load on each set:
Strict Press
Push Press
Push Jerk

Sunday’s Workout

“The Crush”
At 0:00
3min Max PC (95/65)
200m Run
At 6:00
3min Max KBS (24/16)
200m Run
At 12:00
3min Max Burpees
200m Run
At 18:00
3min Max STOH
200 M Run
at 24:00
3 min max DU
200m Run

Sunday Pranayama Breath Class with Tanya 11:15-12:15

Our perception that we have “no time” is one of the distinctive marks of modern Western culture.

“Margaret Visser”

I’m currently in week 4 of my yoga teacher training and it’s been a joy.  Each sunday we spend the morning studying history and philosophy, then we have a 90 minute yoga practice as a group.  We take a lunch break to return in the afternoon to anatomy, postures and practice teaching.

In August I received 10 books for the curriculum  which we will read over the entire training. One book in which I’m truly enjoying is “Brining Yoga to Life” by Donna Farhi.  

The above quote is at the start of one of the chapters entitled Slowing Down. It states that one of the precursors to yoga practice is slowing down. Slowing down the mind, the body, feelings and emotions. We are all constantly over scheduled, overworked and overbooked. We rush from one appointment to the next, and hurriedly go from Monday till friday in anticipation of the weekend.  If we are lucky, maybe we have some down time.  Or maybe we are rushing from one social engagement to the other. The truth is we all have a few minutes to sit down and breathe. It just feels like we don’t.  If we do take the time to breath its likely that the sky will not fall down and no major problems will occur. But we will never know unless we actually slow down. 


Wednesday’s Workout

A) 4 rds of 40:20
Minute 1: 90/90 Split Squat Lunge
Minute 2: Inverted Row
Minute 3: Pike Push Ups

B) Reflect

C) Sumo Deadlift
PEAK: 4x 1 @ 90%
BASE: 5×3 (by feel)


Thursday’s Workout

Beep Test – New Leader Board!

AMRAP Run 20meter shuttles – Progressive Temp


When I first started coming to CFLA over eight years ago, the 5:30pm class was my regular time slot. And Friday at 5:30 was my favorite class of the week. Magner was the coach of that class then, when he used to be a part-time coach. He was chill and fun, and always had a little smirk or a little laugh that put me at ease, especially when I was a beginner. Magner was also the originator of what I later coined “Crossvasana.” Often he would leave five to ten minutes at the end of class for us to lay down, close our eyes, and decompress from whatever workout had just killed us. It was my favorite way to end a class — and end the week.

Our friend Magner, after ten years at the gym, is moving with his beautiful family to The Valley. We will miss him a lot as a regular in the 6am class, but hopefully we will see him on the weekend now and again. 

Tomorrow on Friday, we will pay some homage to Magner with his own workout. Some of the movements he’ll like, some not so much. 

See you soon, Magner. We love ya.


Friday’s Workout
Mental Toughness

“The Magner”

9 Power Snatch (95/65)
12 Lateral Burpees
15 Overhead Squats
200m Run

Sunday’s Workout

For Time:
1 Mile Run – THEN perform
15 – 12 – 9 – 6 of the following:
Power Cleans (135/95)
Pull Ups

Monday’s Workout

Franklin Hill Fitness Score

A) “Franklin Light Hunt”
Back Up
Back Across
Max Light Posts Score

(Rest 10 minutes)

B) 2 Intervals on the 6:00:
Franklin Hill Sprint 220m

“Fitness Score” is the total of your two intervals times on part “B”…divided by your Light Post Score on part “A”