Thursday, December 22, 2011

Plus 10%

Last year (2010), I did some sort of workout on 200 different days - probably my lowest total in a long, long time. I know I did more in 2002, when I tore my ACL. I did more in 2009, when I fought a torn hamstring tendon for much of the year. I might have done fewer days in 1998, the year my daughter was born, and I was struggling with a job that I hated. I simply had no motivation that year, although I finished the year strongly, and got through two marathons just before moving to Vermont.

Partway through this year, it looked like I'd get at least 240 workouts this year, a 20% increase from last year. But, after a lackluster autumn of workouts, I'm at 221 with ten days left in the year. So, I'm currently 10% higher than last year and I may get close to 15%.

Compared to where I was in September, I'm not really thrilled. I have definitely gone backwards in the last couple months. But, I'm lighter than a year ago, more flexible and explosive than a year ago, stronger than a year ago, and much happier with where I am now vs. where I was then.

On the second of January, I turn 50. Hopefully, around this time next year, I'll look back at my 51st year on this planet as another year of improvement.

I would like to get a little stronger, return to running more frequently, do more rowing this year and improve there, improve my skiing, and improve my body composition in the coming year. All of those things should be easy to accomplish at age 50, right? So, maybe it won't be easy, but the alternatives aren't very attractive.

I need to get this rib healed so I can get back to training harder and skiing a bit less cautiously.

And, on January 2nd, we start a 60 day Paleo challenge at CrossFit, and I'm looking forward to that.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


After a three week absence from CrossFit, I finally went back last night. A couple weeks ago, I thought the cold I was fighting was finally gone. But then, I did a hard 5K row that had me coughing a lot. And then later that night, I fell and cracked a rib.

The rib is still sore and I still have some remnants of a cough from the cold I had over a month ago. The combination of a sore rib cage and a cough isn't exactly pleasant. But, I also hadn't done any workouts (other than skiing) in two weeks, so I needed to do something.

As it turned out, the workout was one that was fairly gentle on the ribs, and I did keep the weights low.

After the warm-up, we were supposed to do 7 heavy single reps of snatch balances. This is a lift that I'm not very good at, due to mobility issues in my shoulders. Compared to a year ago, I'm doing much better with the mobility, but any attempt at a snatch balance with real weight overhead ends up with me in a quarter squat rather than a full squat, and that is really an entirely different lift. So, I worked on overhead squats instead, focusing on form. My heaviest set was 3 x 85 pounds, and I did a lot of reps at 65 pounds. The coach really emphasizes that he'd rather have us do low weights with good form vs. higher weights with bad form.

Then, the main workout was a short one:

Overhead squats
Sumo Deadlift High Pulls

The prescribed weight was 95 pounds (heavier than I did in the "strength" portion of the workout), with Level 1 being 65 pounds and level 2 being 45. Given the rib injury and the three week break from CF, I opted for Level 2. The overhead squats didn't bother my ribs at all, but I could feel that a heavier high pull would be an issue.

I finished in 4:10, and felt like I'd cheated as I watched some of our stronger guys take over 6 minutes to do the workout at 95 pounds.

My ribs were a bit sore after the workout but I did manage to sleep reasonably well after taking some Aleve. I think I'll try CF again tonight.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Great weekend of skiing

I had a pretty quiet workout week last week. My ribs are still really sore, and I needed some painkillers just to sleep for the past week or so. Things were slowly getting better, but after two days of skiing this past weekend, including lots of moguls, I'm sore again today. I am scheduled to ski for 10 straight days starting Saturday, but if skiing is going to interfere with my rib(s) healing, I might need to curtail that schedule.

I did teach skiing all weekend. We still have limited terrain after one of the least snowy early winters in years. Luckily, it got very cold for part of the weekend and the mountain is making as much snow as they can right now.

On Saturday, none of my group of girls showed up to ski. The weekend before Christmas tends to be slow, as people are busy getting ready for the holidays. We also have coaches, especially college students, who tend to be busy that weekend. So, I covered for two other coaches on Saturday, and had six very energetic skiers on my hands. Four of them were younger than my group, but they just wanted to go, go, go. And so we did. I think that we skied more runs on Saturday than I'd skied the entire previous weekend.

On Sunday, two of my own group showed up, so I had a group of 8, and I had an assistant coach for the day, which really helped. My assistant is the older sister of a former student of mine and she did a great job. Despite cold temperatures and lots of operating snow guns, we skied hard all day. One trail in particular was a lot of fun, with snow guns blasting and big moguls setting up as the day progressed.

Over the weekend, one of the girls that I'd skied with for the first time ever told me "If I've learned one thing about you, it's that you like to smile and laugh a lot." As far as I'm concerned, I couldn't be paid a bigger compliment by a ski school student. In general, if they are having fun, I'll be having fun and smiling and laughing. And it was indeed that kind of weekend.

The downside to the weekend was that my rib injury seemed to regress. It was feeling better last Friday, but now feels very tender again. The pain is really isolated to one spot, but a blow to the ribcage anywhere near that spot (such as falling while skiing - even instructors fall sometimes) is pretty painful. Hopefully, five days away from skiing will let some more healing occur.

Also, I really want to get into the gym this week. The CrossFit coach has told me that I can show up and substitute any movements that bother the ribs. However, I'm afraid that just about everything will hurt. We will see. Tonight, we are decorating our Christmas tree at home. Tomorrow night, I'll be at CrossFit and I'll see how it goes.

And right now, all I want for Christmas is lots and lots of snow. This might be the slowest start to the ski season since 1999.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Quick Update

Once again, I've gotten so busy that I'm doing little but working, and nobody really wants to hear about my job. Well, my bosses want to hear about it, but I'm sure they don't read my blog.

The cold that I've been fighting has been gamely hanging on. I still have a little bit of a cough and some congestion. It wouldn't be an issue at all, except...

Last Wednesday night, I got out of bed in the middle of the night to go the the bathroom. It was a cold night, and I'd worn a pair of wool socks to bed. Flannel and wool are the standard New England form of birth control for half of the year or so. Well, that and sleeping with almost 200 pounds worth of Rhodesian Ridgebacks, but that's a different story, and seems to be peculiar to my household.

As I hopped out of bed to head to the bathroom, wool socks hit the wood floor and it was like I was on ice skates. My legs went out from under me and I hit the right side of my rib cage very hard on the edge of my bed.

On Thursday, I was sore, but ignored it other than taking a rest day. I figured it was just a bruise. On Friday, I was more sore, and wanted to visit the doc, but I had to be in my office all day, and my office and my doctor's office are 65 miles apart.

Over the weekend, I started teaching skiing for the year. The mountain was ridiculously crowded, conditions were less than optimal, and I was terrified about falling on my right side. I managed to stay upright on Saturday, but Sunday, we skied in moguls under snow guns for a lot of the day. I managed to fall three times, but none affected the ribs. Luckily.

Last night, I had another restless night, trying to sleep, but every time I'd doze off and move slightly, the pain would wake me up. Finally, this morning, I visited the doctor. He's pretty sure I fractured the rib, but said that there's really nothing to be gained from an x-ray. After 4+ days, if there were other issues, I'd probably have symptoms other than just pain. He gave me some pain medication to help me sleep for a few days, and I'm anticipating a long night of sleep tonight.

In the past three weeks, between being sick, busy at work, and now injured, I've been to CrossFit a total of three times, and done a total of 7 workouts, with my 2 ski days not counted in that total. I can feel myself getting fatter by the day.

So now, I need to figure out what exercises I can do until my ribs are better. Hopefully, it won't be long until the pain subsides a lot.

I heard a rumor recently that Christmas is coming in the next month or two. Perhaps I should start thinking about my Christmas shopping. If I can't work out, I might actually have time to do some shopping.

Lastly, I'm fairly certain that the higher suicide rate in the US around Christmastime is caused by hearing "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" one too many times.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Back at it

In the photo above, I was back at CrossFit after a 2+ week break, doing deadlifts in workout called Bradshaw (more below).

I seem to finally be over a cold that lingered for about two weeks. Most years, I deliberately plan a 2-3 week downtime, where I basically give myself permission to do nothing at all, unless I'm really motivated. Usually, this break comes in the winter, so I will do some skiing, but not much else for a few weeks. I think the rest is good for me, and it helps me (mentally and physically)from getting burned out on training. But, about 14 months ago, I discovered CrossFit. And somehow, last winter, I forgot to take a break.

I looked at my training logs over the past couple weeks, since I wasn't training. I was curious how long it had been since I'd gone more than a week with no workouts at all. The answer was 13 months - much longer than it should have been. Between a lot of stress at work and the training I was doing, I think everything just caught up with me. And, after about two weeks with no workouts at all, and then a week to ease back into things, I am feeling much better.

During the past three weeks, I got past some major hurdles at work. I was faced with a few really difficult technical issues around a new product and how to generate reports in a totally new software architecture, and I managed to solve all of the problems (no thanks to one of the hugest software companies in the world, who will go unnamed here). I caught up on sleep. Over a four day Thanksgiving break, I slept more than 10 hours for three straight nights.

And last Wednesday, after no workouts for two weeks, I hopped on the rowing machine after work. I rowed my second fastest 5K ever on the rower. Then, I took a rest day and cooked Thanksgiving dinner for my family and my wife's family. The day after Thanksgiving, I did a workout on my own - some lifting and Abmat sit-ups. The next day, I went to CrossFit, and did a scaled down version of a tough workout named Bradshaw. And then, I rested for two days, despite the fact that I had the option to ski on those days. I simply felt like I needed the rest and there will be many days to ski starting very soon.

Last night, I went to CrossFit after work, ready to do a hard workout for the first time in a while, and I most certainly got a hard one:

30 minutes, as many reps as possible:
5 deadlifts (I did 205#)
13 push-ups (I switched to knee push-ups within the first 10 minutes)
9 box jumps (18")

I think I completed the fewest rounds of anyone in the class, doing 12 total rounds. I was averaging 2 minutes per round for the first 8 rounds, and then suddenly, it was taking closer to 3 minutes per round. Despite switching to knee push-ups, my triceps are still shaky this morning from 156 push-ups. My legs are also feeling the 108 box jumps.

Tonight's workout starts with heavy back squats. After that, I'm guessing we'll do a much shorter main workout, given what we did last night.

This coming weekend I will be doing pre-season ski instructor training. Hopefully, some of it will be on snow, but the weather is making that look less and less likely. It's been ridiculously warm, and after being open for 4 days, Sugarbush had to close on Monday. Even if I spend the weekend just talking about skiing, it will be nice to spend time with my ski instructor friends and get ready for the upcoming season. I'm probably going to have a different role at the mountain this season. Rather than spending the season with a fixed group of students, I'm going to be a fill-in coach, a trainer for newer coaches, and then spend a lot of time in training with our most experienced coaches. By the end of the season, I would like to take my PSIA level 3 skiing exam. In order to get ready for that exam, I need to have a more challenging season than my normal job, and I need to spend time improving my skiing, with feedback from our best instructors. My boss suggested that a different role this season should challenge me more than my normal job, allow me to take the training I need, and also help out with some of our newer coaches. I'm looking forward to a very different kind of season.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Skiing soon?

The snowmaking guns are on at Sugarbush!

I'm excited to see some good friends from college this weekend, and looking forward to cooking with my good friend Bob. He and I are doing a multi-course dinner for our wives (plus my two children and one other girl who is visiting for the weekend) and it should be a lot of fun. I've got 4 different courses from a pair of ducks (pate, duck breast prosciutto, confit, and seared duck breast) plus sweetbreads and beef carpaccio on my list of courses, along with some local cheeses. Bob will add a soup, a salad, and a dessert. They will be tiny courses but a lot of fun. I've put an incredible amount of time into a few courses that will be over in a bite or two.

After this meal, cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 14 people next week will be a breeze.

Thankfully, I seem to be getting over my cold just in time for this dinner. Right now, it's been 8 days since my last workout and I'm not quite ready to return to the gym. Hopefully, I'll be at CrossFit on Monday, ready to go. Before this cold, I had gone no more than 5 days with no workouts earlier in the year. I'm guessing that CrossFit will be tough for a week or two, given that the explosive strength/lactate threshold fitness is the first to disappear when you take a break.

Did I mention that the snow guns are on? If all goes well, I'll be wearing ski boots one week from today.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Yesterday, I removed two posts I had written about the problems at Penn State. I mentioned in yesterday's post that I had removed them, and gave a brief reason why I'd done so. My friend Ollie replied to yesterday's post with a nice comment:

"Actually, I wish that you'd repost those articles you wrote about Penn State. While your assessment about the "smug writers" is correct, the solution is to have more sane, thoughtful voices, not fewer."

So, I'm putting both posts into this one post. My apologies to my friend Jeff, whose comment on my first post seems to be forever gone.

I forget the exact days that I posted them, but both were posted last week, in the first week or so of the scandal. They are listed below in the order I originally posted them.

Shatter the Illusion of Integrity

I woke up this morning with Rush's song "The Spirit of Radio" in my head. I don't know why. I don't think I've heard it recently. But, as I thought about the song, and the sad events at Penn State over the last week, it seemed to make some sense to me.

For the most part here, I write about me - what I do, what I think, what I want to do. It's my blog, so I guess I have that right. Most of what I write is about workouts, races, skiing, and every once in a while, a political comment. Today's post is deeply personal and written with a heavy heart.

Last Saturday, as I was watching college football, news started to break out of Penn State about indictments and truly heinous acts by a former Penn State coach. At first, it seemed like one bad apple, and perhaps some higher ups who didn't follow through on their legal obligations. But, as we all know now, it was way more than that. And, despite everything we seem to know, I wonder if it's still going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

This will probably be a long rambling post. First of all, if I get a fact or two wrong, please forgive me. And secondly, if any sentence here sounds like I'm support the people in power at Penn State, it's unintentional. I simply cannot support the people who have lost their jobs in any way.

But, let's go back to the beginning. I grew up in PA, born in 1962, four years before Paterno became head coach. I remember a Christmas day bowl game for PSU where my grandmother was horrified that my dad would turn on football on Christmas. I remember Art Schlichter, a star football recruit for Ohio State, throwing the ball to Penn State defenders repeatedly in his first big game - or maybe it was his first ever game. I believe Penn State beat Bert Jones in the Sugar Bowl before Jones went on to replace Unitas in Baltimore. By the time I was 10 or 11, my parents took me to Penn State's spring football game - the Blue and White game. I paid $1 that day to join the Nittany Lion Club. After the 1976 season, I cobbled together $65 for a ticket and my share of expenses to go to the Sugar Bowl, where Penn State lost to Alabama in a heartbreaking 14-7 loss. Somewhere, I still have the pom poms given to us by the Penn State cheerleaders before that game. While in college, I remember trekking from Bucknell to Penn State with my best friend and a little bit of money, hoping to score a cheap ticket to the game against Maryland. We got into the game in the middle of the first quarter. I remember seeing Booker Moore break his leg in a home game. I remember being disappointed when PSU kicked a late field goal against Cincinnati in a blowout game at Beaver Stadium. I think the field goal may have put them over 50, but it didn't matter and it seemed tacky. I remember seeing Pitt blow out Penn State while I was a grad student at Penn State in 1984. I've seen Penn State play many games at Beaver Stadium. I've seen them play in the Sugar Bowl and the Rose Bowl. I've seen them play at Brigham Young and at Boston College. I've watched 100s of games on TV. I remember Mike McQueary having a huge breakout game against Minnesota, throwing 4 or 5 TD passes in one game. Greg Garrity's catch. The Giftopoulos interception. Two national championships. Curt Warner outrushing the Heisman winner in consecutive bowl games (Walker and Allen, I believe) The Orange Bowl loss to Oklahoma and Jamielle Holloway - John Shaffer's only loss. I've seen Penn State beat Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State in person. I was there the day Penn State lost 6-4 to Iowa, when Iowa took a deliberate safety and dared PSU to score a field goal. Three straight losses to Nebraska, Iowa and Cincinnati to start their national title defense in 1983.

I guess it's in my blood. I've been to a game as recently as a month ago. I had hoped to go the game this coming weekend, but ticket prices were too high for me.

In my life, I have to say I've had three people I've admired as father figures. First is my father-in-law, a wonderful man who is the same age as Joe and got his PhD at Penn State while Joe was an assistant. The former head athletic trainer at Bucknell, Edgar "Hal" Biggs taught me a lot, put up with some lapses on my part, and was the first ever adult to treat me like another adult. And of course, even though I never met him, there was JoePa. Integrity. Honesty. Succeeding the right way. And even when they lost, fans still had his morals to lean on. No excessive celebrations on the field. No fancy uniforms. "When you get to the end zone, don't dance, but act like you've been there before and expected to be there".

And in a few days, it's all been shattered. I'm left in despair. I've read the indictment. I don't see how McQueary (who I thought might be the next head coach) or Paterno can feel they did the moral thing. People were hurt. Badly. People were hurt long after it should have been stopped.
I'm so sad for those boys. So ashamed of the apparent complicity. I feel like I've been stabbed in the heart.

Which leads to the illusion of integrity:

Emotional feedback on timeless wavelength
Bearing a gift beyond price, almost free
All this machinery making modern music
Can still be open-hearted.
Not so coldly charted, it's really just a question
Of your honesty, yeah, your honesty.
One likes to believe in the freedom of music,
But glittering prizes and endless compromises
Shatter the illusion of integrity.

For the words of the profits were written on the studio wall,
Concert hall
And echoes with the sounds of salesmen.

Yeah, the song is about how industry and money ruin radio and music, and how fans can rob the artists as well, but it seems to apply here as well.

The gift of Penn State football, almost free if you chose to watch it on TV and simply enjoy.

Honesty here applies to the consumers, but in reality, it was people at Penn State who showed a lack of honesty.

Glittering prizes, endless compromises, profits, salesmen.

To me, the illusion of integrity has always been that now. I know that 60+ years of hopefully doing the right thing isn't erased, but it's tarnished beyond recognition. And Penn State fans are left to grieve. I do hope that the grief is about the pain inflicted upon a cadre of young boys. There will be plenty of time later to grieve for the football team and university.

Right now, I haven't missed watching, attending, or listening to a single Penn State game for years. This Saturday, I honestly have no interest in what happens on the field. I'm very curious how the fans in the stands will act, and curious if the players will be able to find a way to even care. But, I'm not sure I'm curious enough to even watch.

(Post-script to this post: I did watch the game and I'm glad I did. While I found the pre-game mid-field prayer a bit contrived, it was nice to see the honest emotions of fans caught on TV. Along with the 100,000+ fans with tears in their eyes, I'm sure there were many, many more people at home affected the same way.)

Biggest Sports Scandal Ever

My wife and I were discussing the concept of big sports scandals last night. Almost everything we could think of came down to cheating for one of two purposes - to win unfairly or to make money.

Overage pitchers in the Little League World Series
Point shaving in college basketball
Stealing signs in the 1951 NL pennant race
Steroids in (insert your sport/event here)
Officials in the 1972 Olympic basketball finals
A bizarre case of two horses whose owner did an "identity switch"
The infamous 1919 Chicago Black Sox
Betting on sports where you are involved (Pete Rose and an NBA official)
Riding the subway to a Boston Marathon victory
Knee-capping a figure skating opponent
Bribery to get the Olympics or World Cup
Stealing a corked bat from the umpires' locker room
Doctoring the baseball (Yes, you, Doug Drabek)

So, who lost in each of the examples above? Obviously, truth, integrity, honesty, whatever you want to call it, took a big hit. Gamblers (legal and illegal) were affected. Pride. Egos.

To all of that, I say (trepidatiously) "So What?"

None of those can compare, in my opinion, to hiding a pervert in your midst, and even worse, giving the pervert access to his victims and a location to commit his crimes.

Some people think that the NCAA will never again use the death penalty in a sport, as they did for the SMU football team in the 1980s. There is so much money to be made in college football, especially with a team that is on TV every week and sells out the third biggest stadium in the country regularly.

But, if there was a cover-up, if there is evidence that Penn State covered for Sandusky in any way, or evidence of wrongdoing shows up related to a missing prosecutor (search the name Ray Gricar and see what you think), Penn State might deserve the death penalty.

It's hard to imagine that Beaver Stadium could sit empty for a few years, but perhaps it would be appropriate.

There have been rumors in State College for a few months that Urban Meyer has interviewed at PSU and even bought a house in Boalsburg. But, why would he want that job now?

Just like the Catholic Church, the term "fall from grace" seems so appropriate.

And remember, I'm a fan. This isn't an opinion from an Ohio State fan who thinks that Tressel and Hayes were treated badly. I have to admit that I loved those guys going down.

The word schaudenfreude seems so apropos. (German and French in the same sentence!)

Thanks for the comment Ollie!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Random thoughts from a runaway life

I just deleted two posts I wrote about the whole Penn State scandal. The more I've read about this on the internet, the more I've been disgusted with smug writers who seem to know (without a doubt) who did what, who was at fault, what should be done, etc. I've decided that I don't want my blog to even be part of that conversation.

I seem to have come down with a head cold. Work has been intense and stressful, with a 12+ hour day yesterday. In the last couple weeks, I've also gotten somewhat lazy with my diet, eating grains, particularly wheat, after assiduously avoiding them for months. Is getting sick related to that?

Two weeks ago, I got in five good workouts. Last week, I only got in two workouts. Work played a factor there. Stress. So, maybe being sick is a combination of diet, stress, and lack of sleep. I'm trying to fix all of these right now, although the stress may never go away unless my job goes away. And if that happens, one type of stress will simply replace another.

Right now, even though I haven't done a workout since last Wednesday, I'll probably take a few more days off this week, given how I feel right now.

My son managed to wreck our second car two weeks ago, and he came very close to totaling the car. He has stepped up to pay for a rental car and the deductible, and it's been an expensive lesson for him and an inconvenience for everyone else.

The car accident prevented me from getting to the Stone Cat marathon as planned. My wife and I were planning two nights away from home for that race, and without another car at home for the kids, that wan't good parenting. And, the marathon had prevented me from attending a party for a good friend that I don't see often enough.

My wife and I did manage to see Furthur a couple weeks ago, mostly because that one was close enough to home that we could leave home just for the evening. I have to wonder if that's the last time I'll see Phil and Bobby in concert. There were some high points in the show, but the audience was nowhere close to a sellout. If they aren't selling out medium sized venues, maybe they'll decide it's not worth living on the road all the time.

I even took a few days of vacation around that show and the planned marathon. But then, I did some work on every one of my vacation days - not really the time off I needed.

This weekend, some good college friends are coming to visit and I'm very much looking forward to the visit and cooking a nice dinner for all of us.

Today is 11/15. Sugarbush had hoped to open for skiing on the 19th, but it was 60F when I got up this morning. It is supposed to get colder towards the weekend and with a little luck, we might be skiing the following weekend.

And maybe in a few days, I'll get back to CrossFit.

If I don't spontaneously combust before then...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

CrossFit "Karen"

What could be more simple than 150 Wall Balls? Just do them as fast as you can.

Well, I did a sprint workout on Monday. Tuesday, I did some lifts that I rarely do, and I was sore going into the workout yesterday. After our warm-up, I was a bit more loose, but still somewhat sore.

Oh yeah, then we did 6 sets of increasingly heavy strict presses, tiring out our arms somewhat. In theory, the Wall Ball is about the power coming out of the squat - the hip extension that propels the ball upwards. In theory. But, it doesn't always work that way.

I looked at the board before we started. The fastest times were in the low 7 minute range. Many of those were scaled - using a med ball that weighed less than 20# for a male or 14# for a female. I had visions of taking 15 minutes, given how I felt, so I scaled my workout to a 14# med ball.

And then, we were off. I did a set of 30 before a short rest. I thought maybe I could do the workout as 5 x 30. But, 20 reps into my second set, I was hurting. I took a short break. And then did 20 more. And 20 more. At 90, in my state of oxygen deprivation, I "realized" that I only needed two more sets of 20. (I have a math degree). Then I realized it was three more sets. Time seemed to slow down. I started to think about not throwing up. But, I kept going. And, I made it at 7:46. My buddy Ken did sub-7 with a 20# med ball. He's young and tough and strong. It was a great workout. Tanya, to my immediate left, finished about a minute later. Her time for the prescribed workout was very solid.

I don't know if anybody really enjoyed the workout, but it was a burner. After I finished, I staggered to a chair to sit down for a bit, and for a second, I thought I might get sick. But, I held it together.

Now today, I just need to see if I'm too sore to work out.

And next time we do Karen, I'm moving up to the 20# med ball, even if it takes me all day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nice and Simple

Last night was a "work your weakness" night. I got to the gym early and spent almost half an hour stretching.

Then, it was pretty straightforward:

10x4 front squats - every minute on the minute - at 115#

I can lift a lot more than that, but I'm working on using the standard grip and keeping my upper body upright. So, the lighter weights allow me to do that and still get in a good workout.

10x5 kettlebell swings - 53 pound KB - every minute on the minute

Then, 12 minutes, as many reps as possible:
10 Bulgarian Split Squats using 2x26# KBs, five on each leg
10 Burpees - focusing on form on every rep.

In total, I did 40 front squats, 50 KB swings, 60 BSSs and 52 Burpees. I can feel today that I worked hard yesterday. But, if I'm not tired or sore after a WYW day, I didn't really work my weakness.

CrossFit again tonight. The next two days are questionable because my snow tires aren't on yet and we are going to get some snow tomorrow evening and into Friday morning.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Eleven Days - No Posts

In the photo above, although my form is far from perfect, I was setting a new PR in a lift called the split jerk. The photo was taken a couple weeks ago.

In my last post, I said I needed some rest. I did take some rest days, a total of 7 rest days in 11 days. And, I feel a lot better.

Work has been really, really busy. We are working on a new product, seriously changing our existing products, and it's been stressful. For a while, between training, work, commuting, and sleep, sleep was losing badly. I was exhausted, and decided I couldn't keep going like that. I know I'm in trouble with my sleep if I find myself feeling sleepy on my drive home. That has happened more than once this month and it's simply not smart or safe.

I'd been working out 5-6 days most weeks recently. Two weeks ago, I did 4 days. Last week 3. And I've been sleeping. Yesterday, I went to bed before 8:00 p.m., and slept until almost 6:30 this morning. I feel pretty good today and I'm looking forward to getting back to CrossFit tonight. I've had a couple months this year where I went to CF 15-16 days out of the month. This month, it's been 6 days so far, although I've done some other workouts as well.

Last night, my wife and I did a 30 minute running interval workout. A short warm-up, go hard for a minute, easy for a minute ten times, and then a cooldown. Then, a quick dinner and an early bedtime.

Hopefully, I'll get back to training a bit more in these next couple weeks. By the first of December, I should be skiing on the weekends, so I have one more month to get myself in better shape for the winter.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I need a rest day!

Last night at CrossFit, I arrived sore and tired. Luckily, the warm-up plus some additional foam rolling was just what I needed, and by the time the main workout hit, I felt a lot better.

We started out with heavy singles of split jerks. This is a fairly complex Olympic lifting movement, and I don't get to practice it very often. Basically, it's a technique for finishing a Clean and Jerk, and a proper split jerk allows many lifters to jerk more weight than by any other jerk method. But, if you don't do it fast and really drop under the weight, it can be a frustrating movement. Before I picked the link above, I looked at a number of videos that showed pretty poor form. It's not that I'm better than the people in the videos, but there were clear form issues in many of the videos out there.

Anyway, my C&J PR is 165#, so I should be able to split jerk more than 165#, if my technique is correct. But, before last night, my best had been 125#, done more than 6 months ago. Part of the lack of progress had been my shoulder injury, but my shoulder feels pretty good these days, so I'm more willing to try heavy overhead lifts right now versus a few months ago.

After warming up, starting at 45 pounds, I easily got to 125, 135, 145 and even 155. I struggled at 165, just missing twice. The misses were all about form - I was not fast enough and didn't commit hard enough to dropping under the bar. But, I got a big PR and I know I can go even heavier.

After the split jerks, we had a 13 minute MetCon. Some of our workouts start with a task that is called a "buy-in". A buy-in is a task that needs to be completed to start the workout, but doesn't count towards your score for the workout. The goal is to complete the buy-in quickly, so you have plenty of time to accumulate whatever the "scoring" task is.

So, last night, we had a 1200 meter run as a buy-in, and for the rest of the 13 minutes, we did Turkish Get-Ups. Our score for the workout was the total number of TGUs completed. Our 400 m loop is long - by as much as 20% or so. We actually ran about 0.85 miles, and it took me 6:54 to complete that task - about an 8mpm pace. Then, in the 6+ minutes that remained, I managed to perform 15 TGUs with a 26 pound kettlebell.

Today is a rest day. I'm hoping I feel less sore and beat up tomorrow. I'm planning to do a 3 hour or so run tomorrow, given that I have a marathon in 3 weeks.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Another tough night at CrossFit

Back to back really tough nights have been rare at CF recently, or so it seems. Maybe it's because I missed a few classes the last couple weeks due to a lot of other things going on in my life.

I was tired and my quads were a little sore when I got to the gym last night. I warmed up on the rower, doing 4K to complete the 100K rowing challenge in 28 days. I definitely improved my rowing technique and got faster on the rower in the past four weeks. However, I can't say that I've become a fan of rowing, so I'm sure I'll drop my volume down somewhat.

Next, we did heavy deadlifts. I did the following:

2x225 - warm-up
2x275 - first working set
failed at 375, rested, failed again

This was easily the most reps over 300 pounds that I've done in one workout. It was obvious that I'd been working hard (the 3x355 was really tough) when I could barely budge the 375 bar.

So, after rowing 4K and doing hard deadlifts, it was now time for the main workout, and it was a tough one:

5 rounds, as quickly as possible:
40 double-unders (or 120 jump rope singles)
30 box jumps
20 kettlebell swings

Because I can't do double-unders consistently, I knew this would be a long workout.

In the first set of rope jumping, I made 113 reps unbroken. And then, I almost killed myself on my first box jump, missing the jump and narrowly avoiding a fall. I slowed down and got through the jumps, but after the first round, I switched to a lower box, fearing somewhat for my safety. Missing a box jump and landing on the edge of the box does unpleasant things to your legs. For the KB swings, I used a 35# KB, and the first round went smoothly.

In the second round, I did the 120 reps unbroken. That felt good. The lower box jumps and the KB swings went well. And then, I forgot how to jump rope. Before I'd gotten to 60 reps in the third set, I had at least 15 missed jumps. I don't know what was going on. So, I blamed it on the rope, threw it in a corner (somewhat angrily), went and got a new rope, and did the last 60 reps uninterrupted. In the fourth round of rope jumping, I went 120 straight. And in the last round, I basically stopped at about 50 to catch my breath, but didn't miss a rep. Clearly the rope was at fault in that middle round.

I was the last one in the gym to finish, in 23:59. And, I was whipped. After the workout, I saw the chiropractor that works at our gym, for some work on my neck and my shoulders. He noted that my shoulder were really showing the effects of the workout we'd just done - mostly the deadlifts, I imagine. He also commented on my form during the KB swings, and gave me some pointers to avoid injuries with these, especially at higher weights.

Today, I'm sore from my last three days of workouts. I can't go to CF tomorrow, so I'll go tonight and scale the workout as needed to get through it safely.

I'll work from home tomorrow. My daughter has a soccer game. I'm done with the rowing challenge. I think I'll take tomorrow as a rest day.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

CrossFit - Chief

Just under a year ago, I walked into a local CrossFit gym for the first time. The date was 11/2/2010. I had been anxiously waiting for CrossFit to come to Vermont for a few years, and I don't know why, but the week before, I'd done a Google search and found out that there were suddenly 2 affiliates in Vermont. If I've heard the story correctly, Wyoming got its first affiliate just before Vermont, making us the last state with a CrossFit box.

I walked into class that night, mostly to observe. I watched the warm-up. I watched the strength work. And then Jade, the owner and coach, asked if I wanted to do the main workout. I had workout clothes with me and I jumped at the idea. The workout was called Chief. It goes like this:

5 rounds of the following:
3 minutes of as many reps as possible - 135# barbell cleans, 6 push-ups, 9 air squats
1 minute rest

After each rest period, you start where you left off. That night, I used 95 pounds for cleans rather than 135. I had never done a clean before in my life. After the first two rounds, I switched from real push-ups to knee push-ups. And, I completed 21 full rounds, plus 3 cleans.

Last night, when I arrived at CrossFit, I rowed for a while. Then, I did the official warm-up. Then, we spent 10 minutes practice double-unders with jump ropes. And then, we did Chief.

This time, I went to 115 pounds for the cleans and I probably should have done 135 pounds. But, my PR is only 165 pounds and we were told that our goal should be continuous motion in the set of 3 cleans. I knew I could do that at 115#, but I wasn't sure about 135#.

I was determined to do legit push-ups for every single round.

In the first three minutes, I completed 4 rounds. In each of the next four, I didn't make four rounds, but I completed more than 3. With 10 seconds left on the clock, I needed to do 9 air squats to complete 18 rounds. I missed by 1 rep.

So, I finished three fewer rounds than almost a year ago. With higher weights. With 108 legit push-ups. A year ago, I don't know if I could have done 108 legit push-ups in 19 minutes.

A year ago, I could barely walk the next day. Today, I'm a bit tired but not too bad. That's a good thing, because I saw on Facebook that tonight's workout is going to be tough. The main workout will come after some rowing and some heavy deadlifts. I need 4KM more to complete my 100KM rowing challenge. That will be finished tomorrow if tonight's workout doesn't completely trash me.

Just under a year later, I remain as challenged and intrigued by CrossFit as that first time I met the "Chief".

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just some numbers - 3/4 of the way through the year

Last year, I did a total of 190 workouts during the year - probably the fewest days of exercise I've had in a year in the past 25 years or so. This even includes 2000, when I was injured and recovering from surgery for a lot of the year, and 1998, when the birth of my daughter and some work issues led to a below average year.

As of yesterday, I've done some sort of exercise at least 191 days this year. It breaks down something like this:

Running: 250 miles (pretty pathetic, but more than last year)
Cycling: 475 miles
Rowing: 93KM
Skiing: 32 days
CrossFit: 91 days
Other workouts: 17 (mostly strength work)

And, I've lost 25 pounds for the year. I still have more weight to lose, but it's been a good year so far. I'm really excited to start skiing in six weeks or so, and see how my lighter weight and improved fitness translate to the mountains.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rowing 10K

A couple weeks ago at the gym, I heard some people talking about their best times on the rower for the 5K. One person commented that he'd just rowed a new 5K PR, and that when he started rowing, it was never his intent to go that hard. He simply started rowing, felt good, and ended up pushing hard through the distance.

That's exactly what happened to me yesterday. I was planning to row 10K, with no particular time goal. I took it easy for the first 2000, and it felt pretty good. And, I wasn't that far off from my 2K PR. So, I decided to push a little bit for the next 2K. That went pretty well as well. So, I kept pushing hard. My third 2000 went pretty well, but I struggled a bit on the 4th. As I started the last 2000, I was hurting, yet I knew I'd have a big PR if I didn't give up.

My first 5K was 20:48 and my second was 20:44, for a time of 41:31.6. My previous best for 2000 was 8:18, and I basically averaged that pace for 10000 meters yesterday.

After I was done, I basically laid on a mat in the gym, sweating and trying to recover. I was on the mat for a long time, with sweat just pouring off of me.

I am planning to get to CrossFit tonight and then do some rowing tomorrow morning. But, I also feel like I might be coming down with a cold, so we'll see how things go.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sucked into a vortex, it seems

I don't know if I've been busy, or just not motivated recently. It's probably a little bit of each, but I seem to just be hanging on. And I'm not even sure what it is that I'm hanging onto.

Last week, I skipped CrossFit on Thursday and Friday to end the week. I didn't work out at all those two days. News at work earlier in the week certainly affected those decisions and my motivation.

On Saturday, I managed to get to the gym for a 6K row - not a very interesting or significant workout. Sunday, I worked, and when combined with the crappy weather, I didn't do much else.

Monday, I managed to row 10K and go to my daughter's soccer game after work.

Tuesday, I actually overslept and I was late for work. I can't remember the last time I did this, but I haven't been sleeping very well recently. I was exhausted after work and didn't do anything but watch TV.

We have been dealing with a broken-down car (the part is due in today), so I've been playing chauffeur a lot. This morning, I took my daughter to the orthodontist and I've been working ever since.

The great majority of my work today has been de-activating our most financially lucrative customer in our data system. I think that this issue has really been part of my sudden and recent malaise. The termination from the customer cost me a long-overdue raise and that's been an unpleasant turn of events. What's even more frustrating to me, at times, is that my company has a really good product that has a great return on investment for patient and providers. Basically we have a product that gets patients and doctors talking to each other, cooperatively managing Type 2 Diabetes, and our research shows that our product saves over 25 times what it costs in health care costs. Soon, we will have similar capabilities related to other chronic diseases. So, shouldn't people be beating down our door to get this product?

Unbelievably, the fact that our product can reduce healthcare costs is a dis-incentive for many potential customers. "So, let me get this straight. I am going to pay you money. My diabetic patients will be healthier in the long run. They won't need as much hands-on health care. So, I am going to pay you money so that I can bring in less revenue? Don't let the door hit you on the way out." So, our challenge is to sell to people who have some money on the line - some "skin in the game", so to speak. But, the people with money on the line tend to be far removed from the individual patients. We are talking about government and large insurance companies. They like the idea, but they seem convinced they can do it better. Without us. Yet, I know for sure that this isn't happening at places where we have worked in the past.

It scares me that the health care system can be that indifferent. A billable visit or even an amputation doesn't seem to be an issue. Yet, doing something proactive to help people be more healthy and reduce health care costs isn't worth the effort. I really love my job and I think it provides value to its users and society as a whole. And yet, we are having a hard time getting anywhere in the market. Chronic diseases consume a huge percentage of our health care costs - as high as 75% of all health care costs. That doesn't even begin to address things like lost productivity at work (one study in 2003 estimated that lost productivity was about 4x the health care costs associated with chronic disease), or lost/reduced quality of life.

I believe in what we do at work. A decade ago, I had a job in the genetics software field where I had a similar passion. Despite our belief in the value of our product, and despite getting the company public, I eventually lost my job as 75% of the company was laid off in one day. I was the most senior employee who lost a job that day, and a lot of the reason for that, in my opinion, was that I had a lot of options worth a lot of money in an acquisition, but worthless if I was laid off. I had given an excess of time and effort to that company but didn't receive the same consideration in return. I swore I'd never work that hard again or care about a job like that again. And yet, here I am.

Yesterday, I finally told management at work that I needed some time off. I'm taking a four day weekend this coming weekend to go to a college football game with my brother.

In early November, I'm going to take a long weekend to see Furthur, run a trail marathon and then visit some other friends. I need the break.

Now, if I can just find the motivation to row my 10K tonight, I should at least remain on target for my 100K rowing challenge. And, tomorrow, I hope to return to CrossFit after missing a whole week - something I haven't done in quite a while.

And while I'm not on vacation or at the gym, I'll probably continue to work too many hours. Because it seems to make sense to me.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Busy week

When did I last post? Maybe last Friday morning.

Work has been crazy busy, working with a consultant on a new product that we are building. I am the consultant's go-to person for any and all questions about the product. I'm also building a lot of reports that will be part of the new product. Plus, those reports are what our customers will see, so attention to detail is very important. And, I'm also building a huge suite of test data for the application once coding is finished. So, work has been very time consuming.

Last Friday, I rowed an easy 5K and then went to watch my daughter play soccer.

Saturday and Sunday, I watched some football, went fly fishing with my son, and did some work around the house. Plus, I worked when I had time.

Monday, I rowed 10K and went to watch my daughter play soccer again. I was very glad to be at this game, their first win of the year.

Tuesday, I worked and went to CrossFit. I got in some easy rowing before a tough workout - as many reps as possible of the following in 30 minutes:

Run 400 meters
30 Kettlebell snatches - my arms and shoulders are still sore from these
20 box jumps
10 pull-ups.

I did four rounds plus part of another 400, finishing the fifth 400 at 31:55. Our "400" is actually closer to 470 meters, but it's close enough.

Wednesday was kind of a rough day. We got some bad news here at work regarding our biggest customer. This had all kinds of immediate financial implications for our small company. I was just about to get my first raise in over 5 years, and it was supposed to be a nice raise. Instead, the raise was put on hold and some other people took temporary salary cuts. Hopefully, we'll close some sales soon and our revenue won't affected too badly. I really believe in the value of the product that we provide, or I wouldn't be taking the chances with an underfunded start-up the way I've been doing for years.

It was a disappointing day though. I made it to CrossFit after work, did some easy rowing, some heavy squats, some fast rowing, a bunch of burpees, and some running. Then, I went home and the day got worse. The Red Sox blew a lead and lost. The Yankees didn't seem to make any effort at all to hold a lead over Tampa Bay, and Tampa won in extra innings, knocking the Sox out of the playoffs - the end of an epic collapse.

Then, my wife and I awoke at 3:00 a.m. this morning to the sound of our dogs fighting. After we got them apart and calmed down, we discovered that one or both of them had emptied a garbage can all over the kitchen and living room. It honestly looked like someone had deliberately poured the contents of the garbage as widely around as possible. We figure that if either or both dogs get sick, we'll know who is guilty.

Today, it's back at work and CrossFit later.

I'm at the midpoint of the rowing challenge in terms of time, and I've rowed 51,000 meters, just about half of what I'm supposed to do in the challenge. So, that is moving along just fine.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Busy workout in humid weather

Last night, when I got to the gym, it was just starting to rain. It had been humid all day.

We work out in a warehouse type of facility, a typical CrossFit "box" that in no way resembles a Globo Gym. There is no air conditioning, and the big back doors are often open, so we essentially train in the same "air" that exists outside.

I got to the gym early yesterday. So, I worked on Double Unders for a while. I'm getting better, but still not ready to incorporate them into a workout.

Then, I rowed 3000 meters towards our month-long challenge. I'm at 30KM after 8 days, easily on pace for my 100KM.

Then came the official warm-up:

Run 100 meters
3 rounds of Cindy (5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 air squats)
Run 100 meters

By now, having only finished the warm-up, the humidity was really affecting me. My shirt was absolutely soaked. Luckily, I had a second shirt in my bag and I switched for the main workout.

Next, we were supposed to work on snatch balances. Regretfully, to do a good snatch balance, you really need to have a good overhead squat, which I'm still working on. So, despite doing OH squats on Monday, I spent the strength portion last night working on them again.

After 20 minutes of OH squats, including one where I lost my balance and had to throw the bar, it was time for the main workout:

12 minutes - as many reps as possible:
Row 2000 meters
Double Unders or Box jumps

The rowing was there simply to take up time, delaying your start of the double unders or box jumps. Your score was the reps for the last exercise, and I was doing box jumps. It took me 8:18 to row 2000 meters, leaving me about 3.5 minutes for box jumps. I got 45 in that time span. Two other people who rowed more slowly than I did also managed 45 box jumps. So, while my rowing had given me an advantage, the others were much more proficient in the box jumps. I guess that gives me a "work your weakness" task the next time we do that workout.

So, in one workout, I did some running, easy rowing, hard rowing, pull-ups, push-ups, air squats, overhead squats, rope jumping, and box jumps.

Just another day at CrossFit.

My plan for today is to row an easy 5000 meters after my daughter's soccer game. Tomorrow, I'm planning some running sprints and 10000 meters of rowing before I start watching college football.

Sunday, I might row a bit, but my main priority is getting out for some fly fishing with my son. The season is just about over, and some of our rivers and streams have finally recovered enough from Irene to be worth fishing again.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

And Another PR in the Gym

I am on some kind of a roll recently in the gym.

In recent weeks, I've set new bests for the clean, the clean and jerk, the strict press, the 500 meter row, and tied bests in overhead squats, and the back squat.

Last night, we were working on deadlift sets as follows:

5 reps - 65% of 1 rep max
5 - 70%
3 - 75%
3 - 80%
1 - 85%
max - 90%

But, I hadn't tried a maximal deadlift for a while, so I deviated in the last set. I started at 245 for my first set, and by the fifth, I was at 320 pounds. This went pretty easily, so I skipped the 335 pound max reps set, and tried for a new PR at 385 pounds, vs. my previous best of 375.

It turned out to be a very unusual lift. I got the bar a couple inches off the ground and then I just stalled. After maybe 5 seconds (OK, probably 2, but it felt like a lot more), I was about to give up on the lift, assuming I couldn't make it. My lifting partner said later that I shifted my body position just a little bit, moving back just a bit and allowing my hips to open up a bit more easily. Suddenly, the bar started moving slowly upwards again. I knew as soon as I had movement, I'd finish the lift. When I fail, it's always early in this lift, unlike strict presses, where I often fail at the end of the lift.

And, bit by bit, with the whole gym watching, I nailed the rep. Everyone broke out in applause; it was pretty cool to pull it off with an audience. It wasn't pretty, but it's a new PR for me.

My weight is down to 210 right now, from a high of 236 back in April. One of my deadlifting goals for a while has been to lift twice my body weight. Yesterday, I lifted 183% of my body weight, so I'm getting close. If I can get under 200 pounds and get to 405# on this lift by the end of the year, I'll make that goal.

After my deadlift, the rest of the workout seemed unimportant. The workout was 100 burpee pull-ups, which is a tough one. You do a burpee, but instead of the normal jump at the end, you jump to a pull-up bar and do a pull-up. If you can't do pull-ups, you are supposed to do 10 burpees, 10 pull-ups, etc.

Another option is jumping pull-ups, where you use a lower pull-up bar than prescribed, and really get a jumping start to the pull-up. I chose that option, and scaled the workout to 60 reps. I finished in 11:29, but kind of felt like a cheater because everyone else was still going.

After the workout, the chiropractor worked on my shoulder a bit, and we decided to decrease the frequency of treatments; my shoulder is just about fully healed.

Then, I headed home to watch the CrossFit games on TV.

All in all, it was a pretty good day.

Today, I'll do some rowing and the CrossFit workout, and then tomorrow may be a rest day. My legs are a bit tired today.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another lifting PR

Last night at CF, we started with 7 x 1 clean and jerks. This is a lift that I don't do very often, except at lower weights in our main workout. The goal last night was to do heavy reps. I looked at my logbook and found that my best C&J was only 135 pounds. Given that I'd cleaned 165 pounds a week or two ago, and that I can push press 135 pounds, it seemed a sure thing that I would, at the very least, tie my best weight.

I warmed up at 95 pounds and then started adding weight, 10 or 20 pounds at a time. At 155 pounds, the lift still went pretty well - a new PR by 20 pounds. Then, I tried 165 a few times. I could handle the clean, but my jerk (I was using a split jerk) just wasn't dynamic enough, and I failed a couple times. Finally, after some coaching, I managed to commit more to the movement and I nailed 165 pounds. So, I tried 175 pounds, which would be a PR for the clean as well as the clean and jerk. Here, I failed on the clean. My pull was good enough, but I just couldn't get under the bar quickly enough. But, I'm getting better.

I dropped back to 165 and nailed another rep there and then called it a day on the C&Js - with a 30 pound PR.

Next was the main workout - 4 x 500m of rowing. I had planned to take yesterday as a rest day from rowing after rowing for 3 straight days, but it wasn't to be. The pointers that I got at the gym recently from a Concept2 employee have really helped me, and I'm rowing faster than ever.

In a time trial at 500 meters a few weeks ago, I got 147.6. Yesterday, my first rep, with less effort than the time trial a few weeks ago, was a 1:46.4. I did fade a bit, with one rep at 1:50, but I averaged 1:48.1 for the four reps. And, I got a 500 meter PR out of the workout.

Work has been crazy for a few days, but our release seems to be stabilizing, so I can get back to my normal software development work for now. I hope. Nothing seems to be broken at the moment anyway.

Tonight at CF, I know we are starting with heavy deadlifts, but who knows what we'll do after that.

Sometime this week, I need to do some running as well. I've got a marathon in six weeks or so.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Row, row, row your (fake) boat...

The last few days, including the weekend, have been pretty intense at work. We put a major new release out yesterday, and it's required a lot of planning and baby-sitting - making sure that nothing is misbehaving in the software.

I've managed to keep working out, but things have been pretty boring the past few days.

Friday was a rest day.

Saturday was the farmers market, an 8K row, and I watched college football the rest of the day.

On Sunday, I worked, did a lot of work around the house, rowed 5K pretty easily, and tried to get to bed early.

Yesterday, I rowed and did CrossFit. I had a really good workout yesterday, feeling really strong. Some lifting, some bodyweight stuff, some running - same old, same old.

Then, home for dinner with the family, a couple innings of the Red Sox game, up at 5:00 today, took my son to work, and got to the office before 7:00.

I think I need a vacation.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Owww! - Beat up today

Last night's CF workout was very different than normal.

First, I arrived early and rowed 5K, the start of my 100K in 30 days challenge. That was a more substantial warm-up than I normally do, but I kept the effort fairly moderate.

Then we worked on squat snatches. I'm getting better at this lift, but I still have some mobility and speed and technique issues. We did 3x3 at heavier weights and then 3x10 at lighter weights.

And then, we went outside for sled pulls - 8 reps of about 30 seconds each with 90 seconds rest. These were brutally hard, and my entire body hurts today.

I was planning to row some more today, but with a CrossFit fundraiser/workout tomorrow morning, I think it's a rest day today.

Tomorrow morning, we have an open gym, doing a workout called Fight Gone Bad. It's 17 minutes of torture. It's also a major CF fundraiser, so we'll have a big crowd.

After that, I'm likely to come home and take a nap while attempting to watch college football. Hopefully, I'll be up for some rowing on Sunday.

Autumn is rapidly approaching here in VT and we are going to have cool temps all weekend, with the chance of frost. Hopefully, the farmers markets will continue to have good produce for a few more weeks, but as October approaches, the volume definitely decreases. I haven't really been in a regular supermarket all summer, living off food from the farmers markets and the side of beef in my freezer. It will be disappointing to return to the supermarket in October, even though we belong to a high quality co-op. It's just not the same as buying from the farmers directly.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Strict Press PR

A friend of mine mentioned to me recently that my blog is, um, somewhat boring. Now, she doesn't really exercise much - yoga and a she's a hasher. I can easily see that this could be boring. The title of the blog suggests that it's about ultrarunning. I haven't finished an ultra in a couple years right now, although I did a marathon this summer and I'll do another this autumn.

It's not ski season, so there's not much to say about skiing.

And, I do talk about nutrition, and I'm making good progress with a Paleo/Primal diet, but I don't spend a whole lot of time talking about that. My doctor thinks it's a fad. My boss, a doctor, also seems to think the same thing. I see what is happening with my fitness and physique, and I think the diet and CrossFit should get the credit. However, while my weight is down and my strength is up, I'm far from being a cover model for Mens Health or some other such magazine. Even if I ever did have the lean, ripped body, there's still the rest of me that would need airbrushing, I suppose.

So, am I just talking to hear myself talk? Is this just a diary that I allow the whole world to see? I don't think that's really true, because there's a lot I'd write in a private diary that I'd never even consider writing here.

Perhaps it's just a glorified workout log. I do wonder if someday, my currently teenage children will stumble upon this and read it, and find out more about the dad that they ignore on a regular basis. After all, Project Runway or video games are way more interesting than a dad, at least right now.

Well, enough of that rambling. Time to write about what I always write about - a workout.

We started with strict press work at CrossFit yesterday. The rep pattern was 5-5-3-3-1-max, starting at 70% of max and going up by 5% each round. Yesterday was 9/14/2011. My best ever strict press is 125, first achieved on 12/14/2010 - nine months prior. I've done 125 a few times since, but I've failed at every attempt higher than 125. The shoulder injury that I suffered in March of this year has been part of the issue, but it's a frustrating lift. Just like the bench press, an increase in this lift comes with lots of workouts doing the lift in question, and with the addition of muscle mass in the upper body.

So yesterday, after finding that my single rep at 90% (112.5 pounds) went pretty well, I decided to skip the 95% set and try for a PR at 127.5. That would be a 2% improvement in 9 months - not very significant at all. But, I did nail the rep, and then did 3 additional push presses at the same weight. So, at age 49, there's something in my life where I'm still improving.

After that lift, the rest of the workout seemed pretty easy:

12 minutes, as many reps as possible:
12 push-ups
12 sit-ups
12 box jumps

I came within four box jumps of completing 6 rounds. If my arms weren't still feeling the effects of 200 push-ups on Monday, even if they were knee push-ups, I would have done more reps.

When I got home last night, I spent two hours watching the CrossFit Games on ESPN2. I've officially crossed into CF-nerdom now, I suppose. It was nice to see a lady from our gym doing so well in one of the workouts. And, my wife really enjoyed watching it and she will be doing her first ever CF workout this coming Saturday. My daughter, on the other hand, had a completely different viewpoint. She seemed a bit weirded out that I get home late every night because I'm doing something that ridiculous. Then, I told her about CrossFit kids, and she is now interested in trying a workout with one of her friends.

Because I stayed up late, I overslept this morning and never got to the gym to row before work. I'll definitely row tomorrow after work, and maybe I'll get in a few thousand meters after CF tonight.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Yesterday's workout

It was pretty basic yesterday. After our mobility work, we spent 10 minutes working on rope jumping. I was getting frustrated with my double unders, because I can do one, and then I speed up my jumping to correspond to the faster rope speed. The coach suggested doing one double and then go back to singles for a while, and then another double, repeat, etc.

This turned out to be easier than I expected and it might be the key to me gradually being able to do multiple double-unders in a row. I will continue to practice.

The main workout was as follows:

3 rounds, as many reps as possible:
row for 3 minutes (count calories as reps)
hang cleans for 2 minutes, 75 pounds
pull-ups for 1 minute (band-assisted for me)
Rest for 2 minutes

I was consistent, albeit unimpressive, on the rower, getting 44 calories each time. My hang cleans really degraded, starting at 27 and falling to 22 and 20. My pull-ups were consistent, at 11, 11, and 10. I was still tired from 100 pull-ups the day before, and even the first set was tough.

It looks like autumn is on its way to Vermont. We have the potential for frost Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings. I'm hoping to do some bike riding this coming weekend, if the daytime temperatures are warm enough.

Saturday morning, we are doing a fundraiser at CrossFit, using a workout called "Fight Gone Bad". It's an annual CF event, and I'll donate some money to the cause and show up for a rare Saturday workout.

And tomorrow, the 100,000 meter rowing challenge starts. I've committed to rowing 100KM on the rower in a 30 day period. This will be in addition to any running or CF workouts I do. It should be a busy month.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Solo CF Workout

Since I worked at home yesterday, I had time for a longer than usual workout. I decided to do a CrossFit workout on my own. I chose Murph, a classic workout from the series of Hero workouts:

Run 1 mile
100 pull-ups
200 push-ups
300 bodyweight squats
Run 1 mile

The runs must come at the start and end of the workout, but the middle part can be broken up however you want. I did pull-up sets of 15-10-15-10-10-10-10-10, and then simply doubled and tripled the pull-up total each time through for the other movements.

I used assistance bands for the pull-ups, and I did knee push-ups. I can do 80-100 total push-ups in sets, but with 200, there was no way I could do them all that way.

My total time was 54:11, which is easily the longest CF workout I've done. If I'd tried to do it without assistance bands and the easier push-ups, I might not be done yet.

Today, I feel tired but not sore. I'll have to see how CF goes after work today. It's a warm day and it's going to be warm in the gym.

On Facebook, someone has recently proposed a workout called "4000 ways to F**k up a 10 mile run". This is scheduled to occur the first weekend of October, but I have to admit that I simply don't know if I can do it:

40 rounds, for time:
Run 400 meters
25 push-ups
25 sit-ups
25 bodyweight squats
25 burpees

If I think back to workouts over the last six months, I've done up to 200 knee push-ups in a day, I've done 140 sit-ups in one workout, I've done 300 air squats, and I've done at most 100 burpees. Add in ten miles of running while trying 1000 reps of each of those movements? I don't know if I can possibly finish this workout, and if I can, it will take me more than 8 hours. I may give it a go, but be reasonable when I start to hit the wall on burpees or some other limiting factor.

By the end of the week, it sounds like our local weather is going to take a turn towards autumn. We are likely to have scattered frost in New England by the weekend, and high temperatures in the 50s for a few days. I may need to pull out some of my cold weather cycling gear if I'm going to ride this coming weekend.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Annual physical, a sprint workout, and some college football

On Friday afternoon, I had my annual physical. It was kind of odd, in some respects. My previously borderline high BP was normal. I've dropped one medication and cut another in half. I had lost 23 pounds since my last visit to my doctor, just a few months ago. He noted that my mood or disposition or whatever you want to call it was better than the last time he'd seen me. All in all, things went really well. Then, my doctor asked how I'd accomplished the improvements. I gave credit to training at CrossFit and my Paleo Diet. He stopped for a second, and said he wasn't familiar with CrossFit. But, Paleo was just a "fad diet", implying by the way he said it that he didn't think it was a good idea. I felt like asking him if I'd merely shown "fad" improvements in my health, but I just dropped it. I'd like to lose another 20-25 pounds right now, and see where I am at that point. I am feeling more and more fit all the time, I'm definitely getting smaller, but I am still 30 pounds heavier than when I got to Western States in 2008 - the year the race was cancelled by fires. I have more muscle mass now than I had then, but I also have more fat mass, and I need to keep working on that.

Given my family history of diabetes, the doc did order a Hemoglobin A1C test. I deal with this test all the time in my work, but I've never had one before. Hopefully, I won't be surprised by a bad result.

Friday after work, my wife and I did a quick sprint workout. We warmed up for half a mile, ran a quarter very hard, walked back to the starting point, and did three more quarters. I averaged 1:36, which is the best I've done in a long time. On the other hand, about 20 years ago, I did a dozen quarters averaging 1:16, with only 1:45 or so of recovery. I'll never see that again, but what I did on Friday is much better than when I did the same workout a couple months ago.

My wife entered a 5K XC race on Saturday morning, only 14 hours or so after this workout. She took second in her age group. I've been too polite to ask how many runners were in her AG.

Saturday, while my wife was racing, I went shopping at the farmers market, took my daughter and one of her friends out for breakfast, got some new tire tubes for my bike, and then came home to cook and watch football. I'd hoped to ride my bike, but time got away from me and it never happened.

My main interest was the Penn State vs. Alabama game. I have to admit that I didn't like anything that I saw from Penn State. After Penn State took an early 3-0 lead, Alabama tried a fake punt on their next possession. In my opinion, the spot of the ball was terrible, Alabama just barely got the first down and they went on to score a touchdown. However, even if the call was wrong, it ultimately didn't matter. Penn State simply didn't have the talent to play with Alabama. There is a world of difference in their talent levels right now. For years, I know that many people have been suggesting that Joe Paterno should retire. I've often argued that he's earned the right to retire when he wants. Penn State is only a few years removed from an 12-1 season and a BCS bowl win over Florida State. But suddenly, they seem to be, at best, a second tier team. I hate to say it, but perhaps at age 84, Joe really needs to consider retiring. I'm just a fan, a nobody in this issue. Yes, I've gone to lots of Penn State games over the years, seeing them play in CA, PA, MD, UT, LA and MA. In PA, I've seen a lot of games. Right now, I'm not even sure if I want to watch them on TV any more. I don't donate a lot of money to the university. I'm not a coach, a sportswriter, and I don't even have a degree from PSU. But, I'm guessing that there are donors and potential recruits out there who are seeing and thinking the same things as me. Oh well, it's just a sporting event played by other people that I don't know. I don't know why I let it occupy so much space in my life at times.

After training hard during the week, I ended up doing very little over the weekend. I mowed the lawn, bu that's far from a workout. I'm working from home today, so I'll probably do a CrossFit style workout on my own tonight before heading back to the actual CF gym tomorrow.

The 100 kilometer rowing challenge starts later this week as well.

Friday, September 9, 2011

My shoulders are trashed

On Tuesday, we did cleans for a one rep max.

On Wednesday, Sumo deadlift high pulls plus knee-ups hanging from the bar.

And then yesterday, we did snatches and deadlifts.

The really good thing is that my shoulder injury from earlier this year is much improved. I am not holding back as much in my workouts, although I limited my snatches to 95 pounds yesterday. So, while my shoulders are sore (cleans and snatches should make your shoulders/traps sore if you do them correctly), I'm not feeling injured.

The "hot spot" I had at the top of my right hamstring felt better as the day went on yesterday, and our workout included some running, which felt OK.

Yesterday's workout:

5x5 Snatches (power snatches for me - I suck at squat snatches).

Then, 15 minutes, as many reps as possible:
10 deadlifts at 185#
10 pull-ups (band assisted)
run 250 meters

I completed five rounds plus 10 deadlifts.

Today, I'll do a running interval workout after work.

Tomorrow, I'll do a bike ride before settling in to watch the Penn State vs. Alabama game. Penn State is a 10 point underdog at home, and will have to face a tough defense and a tailback who torched them at Alabama last year. But, I think this Penn State team is better than last year's team. Both teams are unsettled at QB and at least 4 different QBs should take snaps during the game. Penn State will probably have to play nearly flawless football to win, especially in the red zone. They'll have to stay away from penalties, turnovers, and poor decisions by young QBs. But, playing at Beaver Stadium is a big benefit. I've seen some very good visiting teams lose there over the years.

Oh yeah, I have a physical today. After seeing my weight drop and my fitness improve with a Paleo diet and CrossFit, I'm hoping that my bloodwork today also shows improvement from a year ago.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Weather, and of course, more CrossFit

September is one of our rainiest months in Vermont. I like the rain in September, because I know it's filling the ponds used to make snow in the winter at the ski resorts. If we had to wait for natural snow, there are some years that we wouldn't be skiing yet at Christmas or New Years Day. Instead, we are normally skiing by Thanksgiving, which is now only about 10 or 11 weeks away. So, the September rains are important.

But, after Hurricane Irene and the devastation it caused here in Vermont, we just don't need any more rain right now. But, it rained most of last weekend and it's been raining all week. We've had a lot of rain and rivers are very high right now. My son and I haven't even been able to consider any fly fishing recently, given the depth and color of the rivers. Of course, considering the damage done to property all over the state, not being able to go fishing is truly a trivial consideration.

It sounds like the rain will finally wind down today and we should have a decent weekend. Hopefully, my lawn will dry out and I'll be able to get it mowed. I'm hoping to ride my bike this weekend as well, although I have to fix two flat tires before I can do that.

Last night, at CrossFit, we did 6 sets of progressively heavier squats, with a rep pattern on 5-5-3-3-1-max. I started at 195 and ended up at 310. My two reps at 310 weren't very high in quality; my depth wasn't good enough.

Then, we did 21-15-9 of these three exercises for time:
Sumo Deadlift High Pulls (I used 85#)
Toes to Bar (I did an easier variation called knee-ups)

My time was 9:59.

More CrossFit tonight, although I've got one really sore spot at the top of my right hamstring, so I might need to take it easy tonight. If my leg feels OK, tomorrow will be running speedwork.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Paleo Challenge Benchmarks

Yesterday was the start of our 30 day Paleo challenge at CrossFit. We needed to get weighed, photographed, and do some benchmark tests to compare at the end of the month. The contest has four scoring categories - Paleo Diet compliance, weight loss, performance improvement and a subjective "physique change" based on photos.

My weight was 213.6 - down about 22 pounds from late April, but that still puts me only halfway from where I was to where I'd like to be.

There were four performance benchmarks:

1 rep max barbell clean:
I realized after the workout that I had never before attempted a max barbell clean. I'd done reps at lower weight of both power cleans and squat cleans, but no max attempts. My technique was terrible as the weight increased. I really needed to be doing squat cleans as the weight increased, but my technique was a poor power clean. I got to 165 and then failed 3 times at 175. Over the next four weeks, I need to practice this lift. I'm strong enough to lift more if I get the technique down.

Max reps ring push-ups:
I had done these only once before and I did only 11. Compared to a standard push-up, the fact that the rings can move makes things very interesting.

2 minutes - max box jumps:
I was pretty happy with 33 box jumps in two minutes, although I saw some much better results than mine.

500 meter row for time:
This one left everyone on the floor, lightheaded and gasping for breath. My technique has been improving on the rower and my times have been improving somewhat, but going all out for 500m is not something I've done recently. I started out at a 1:35-1:36 pace, but that didn't last too long. Near the end, I'd drifted over a 2:00 pace, and I didn't even hit my goal of 1:45, instead rowing 1:46.7.

So, I now have five numbers to improve upon in the next month. Losing weight will help with the four benchmarks, and sticking with my Paleo diet will help me to lose weight. It all starts with how I eat. Some people might be able to do it, but I simply cannot out-train a bad diet.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Long weekend, more workouts

After CrossFit on Thursday night, I spent Friday working from home.  I was planning to go to the gym after work, but the weather forecast for the weekend made me change my mind.  We had nice weather on Friday, with lots of rain and electricity expected for the rest of the weekend.

So, after work, I did a simple workout that I've been doing a lot recently - a short warm-up, and then 10 by one minute hard, with a one minute walk between each hard rep.  I did a total of 2.5 miles in under half an hour and I was done.

Saturday, I went to the farmers market in the morning and I wanted to watch some college football, including Penn State's noon game.  So, I went to the gym for a quick workout:

Deadlift pyramid - 5 reps at 135 ending up with one rep at 335.  I tried a heavier rep but it wasn't there on Saturday.  Then, on my own, I did the CrossFit workout known as "Cindy":

20 minutes, as many reps as possible:
5 pull-ups
10 push-ups
15 air squats

I used assistance bands for the pull-ups and after the first few sets, switched to knee push-ups, so I could keep moving quickly.  I ended up with 14 rounds plus 5 pull-ups.  Today, I can still feel the 210 air squats in my legs.  I keep having this fear that I'll get to the gym tonight and the workout will be "Cindy".

After the workout, I got pretty lazy for the rest of the weekend.  I did some cooking.  I watched college football.  I went for a swim.  I slept in on Sunday.  It rained so much that I couldn't mow the lawn.  And then, it was time to come back to work.

Today, we start our 3rd Paleo Challenge of the year at the gym.  In the first challenge, which lasted 45 days, I just kind of gave up about halfway through.  I caught a cold that wouldn't go away, I wasn't getting to the gym enough, and I just let it go.  In May, we did a 30 day challenge.  In that one, I stuck with it pretty well and finished 3rd.  As of now, I'm down over 20 pounds since late April, and another month of strict eating and hard training should help me to improve that.  As long as I stick with it this time around.

Friday, September 2, 2011


The photo above is one that our CrossFit coach took last week in a "Work Your Weakness" workout. The caption that he put on the photo was "Damon hitting some of those awful bulgarian split squats". While it certainly looks like I was working, I actually like this lift, and I have done them a lot in the past. They are a mainstay of workouts in the New Rules of Lifting books, and I've used them for years. But, it had been a while since I'd done them.

Last night was an interesting workout named Nicole. The goal was to do as many pull-ups as possible in 20 minutes. However, it wasn't that simple. We started with a 400 meter run, although our 400 meter loop is closer to 470 meters according to my GPS device. Then, we could do as many pull-ups as possible without coming off the bar or resting on the floor. As soon as you came off the bar, you had to run another 400 meters. Repeat until out of time.

This workout is different than many workouts in that it has some strategy. Also, every time you run, you are losing time to the clock while accumulating no "points". Do you run as fast as possible to do as many rounds of pull-ups as possible? If you do that, will the hard running compromise your pull-up total. Also, when you get to the point in pull-ups where you aren't cranking them out anymore, should you do a hanging rest for a while and then try to do a few more? Or, should you abandon the pull-ups, run and resume the pull-ups?

The people who scored highest tended to use the run hard, do pull-ups quickly, quit when you stall, and run again strategy. I used the run a bit easier, hang for a bit and eke out a few more pull-ups strategy. I managed five rounds, and my pull-up totals were between 11 and 14, for a total of 61. The best score yesterday was a 155 by a new guy to our gym - a very lean and fit college student who weighs only 140 pounds but can deadlift 375 pounds.

The coach picked the workout because it was the one year anniversary of the gym being open and Nicole was the workout on opening day.

Today, I'm working from home, so I'll work out on my own tonight, but I'll do a CrossFit style workout. Tomorrow, I'll do some short interval work before I settle in for the first full day of the new college football season.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

More CrossFit

Yesterday was my 15th CrossFit workout of August - the most I've done in one month since joining the gym. For the year, I've done 92 CF workouts in 8 months, an average of 11.5 per month. I would like to average 3-4 workouts per week in general, although the coach is now telling us that he is going to change the programming a bit to make it more physically feasible for people to do 5 straight workouts during the work week. We have enough people who work near the gym but live far away, and those people, including me, don't make the Saturday workouts, which tend to be long. So, it sounds like we'll do fewer long workouts during the workweek for a while.

I've gotten some good comments this week about my weight. Two friends that I hadn't seen for a couple months mentioned that I'd definitely lost weight. And, in a more typical CrossFit fashion, someone at the gym mentioned that it was clear I'd been dropping some "tonnage".

Starting next week, we are doing another 30 day Paleo challenge at CrossFit, so I may have to give up dairy for a month again. I don't seem to have any real issues with dairy and I tend to eat some high quality cheese on a regular basis, plus cream in my coffee and I cook with cream as well.

So, last night's workout:

5x5 push presses - I used 125 pounds, which is close to my max for a single strict press

Then, 15 minutes, as many reps as possible:
5 pull-ups
10 push-ups
20 Abmat sit-ups

This is one of those workouts that most people could do at home, as long as you have a bar to do pull-ups. It was pure simplicity and plenty difficult.

I used an assistance band for the pull-ups, but should have used a lighter band. For the push-ups, I was very happy with how my shoulder felt, and I didn't do any knee push-ups. This was the first time I've done a high volume workout with push-ups without needing to back off to protect my shoulder.

I did 7 rounds plus 15 reps - 40 pull-ups, 80 push-ups, and 140 sit-ups. That's an average of one rep every 3.5 seconds for the 15 minutes. The fastest guys in the class did up to 13 rounds. When you can do kipping pull-ups with no assistance, things can move a lot faster.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to the Gym - Tough Night

After three days off, I was expecting to feel pretty strong in the gym last night. But, it didn't happen that way at all.

After our warm-up, we spent ten minutes working on rope jumping; I spent the time working on double-unders. I did get two in a row at one point, so bit by bit, I'm improving. But, I was also sweating a lot just from the rope jumping and I felt out of breath at times. That seemed odd, given that I should have been rested.

Then came the main workout, a really tough one, especially for me:

21-15-9, as quickly as possible
squat snatches
dumbbell thrusters

Both of these are difficult moves for me, although, to be honest, I think the second is tough for just about everyone. My overhead squat sucks, which means that legit squat snatches are next to impossible. Eventually, I transitioned from crappy squat snatches to a power snatch followed by an overhead squat and then just to power snatches.

On the DB thrusters, I started at 25 pounds per hand and eventually dropped to 15 pounds, and I still struggled at the end. My time was just under 11 minutes and I felt like a failure. Low weights, poor form on the lifts, and completely gassed.

Hopefully, tonight will be better.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Exciting weekend - crazy weather edition

I last posted on Friday morning, after going to CrossFit for my 4th consecutive day. I went again on Friday, as planned and then hurried home that night. I will admit that I was pretty sore over the weekend from 5 straight days of CrossFit, but it was an excellent training week.

Saturday was mostly spent getting ready for the big storm. We did some grocery shopping, got some ice to help protect the contents of our large meat freezer in the basement, did some work outside, such as moving things into the garage. We rarely put our cars in the garage, but we did make room for one as this storm approached, and we parked the other car where no falling trees could reach it.

Our daughter wanted to stay overnight with friends, but with the storm due, we vetoed that choice, much to her dismay.

I spent so much time prepping for the storm on Saturday that a workout was never an option; there simply wasn't time.

As we went to bed on Saturday night, the forecast was still very ominous and we had no idea what to really expect. I woke up about 2:00 a.m. to make a trip to the bathroom and discovered that it was already raining lightly. I slept in on Sunday until about 8:30. It was raining harder when I woke up and we had some light breezes out of the north with some occasional higher gusts. But, by noon, the wind had died down and we were left with very heavy rain and no wind for much of the day.

We were trying to keep abreast of the storm on local news and the Weather Channel. Our satellite signal for TV was very intermittent during the heaviest periods of rain. At one point, we were surprised to hear the next town over and a particular local road mentioned on the Weather Channel. Apparently, the road had flooded and a bridge was gone. This was one of the two routes we could have used to pick up our daughter at her friend's house, so forcing her to stay home was clearly a good idea, at least in the adult world view.

During the afternoon, the electricity blinked a few times, which seemed odd given the lack of wind. The local radio station that I usually listen to for local weather details was off the air. We discovered later that they had some serious flooding issues.

In reality, we had no idea how bad the flooding was around the state. We live at 1100' and our property drains reasonably well. We had one minor roof leak at our chimney during the heaviest rains and some water in the basement, but no other issues on our property.

I was working on cooking dinner when the lights suddenly went out. Because we use propane, I was able to finish cooking dinner, and we ate by candlelight. We even played a game of Mousetrap with the kids, who delighted in killing my wife's mouse first and me next.

About the time it got completely dark, the rain was diminishing, but the winds were picking up. We had a couple hours of gusty winds, but nothing super strong. As the winds diminished, the house was amazingly quiet with no electricity to fuel gadgets.

I used my cellphone to keep up with local events on the web, but eventually, I needed to save some battery life. So, by 9:30, we went to sleep. We knew there was no school for our daughter the next day and my offices were closed, but I could work remotely if the town had power.

On Monday morning, the drive to town wasn't too bad. The local golf course had flooded and a few businesses and houses had been damaged, but we seemed much better off than the rest of the surrounding towns. And, according to the power company web site, our power was due to be restored by 10:00 p.m. on Monday, much better than radio projections of weeks for some people.

And then, around 1:00 p.m., downtown went dark. The power company had apparently discovered some issues with cables near a river and they needed to take the entire town, plus some neighboring towns, offline. We were told that the best we could hope for was Wednesday, and Friday was quite possible. Now I had a new concern. I have a large freezer that I use so I can buy local grass-fed and pastured meat in bulk. It had about $1000 worth of meat in it.

I contacted some friends who had extra freezer space and power and then packed up and took the meat to their house. Meanwhile, my wife and kids went to visit some family locally, for dinner and a shower.

And then, around 9:00, the power came back. I have no idea why it happened so soon, but I won't complain. So, I'm an hour away from home, our meat is nearby in a friend's freezer, and my family is at home. My wife's office is closed today. My daughter's entire first week of school has been cancelled. We have friends and neighbors without power and with extensive property damage.

We managed to survive unhurt, with no property damage, and at most, lost a couple hundred dollars worth of refrigerated food. Compared to what many other people are going through, we were very lucky.

Today, I hope to get back to the gym. I was disappointed to miss the CrossFit Total workout yesterday, which was the test workout after our 12-week Wendler Cycle. I may do it on my own later in the week.