Thursday, June 30, 2011

Good Workout, Bad Dinner

After the workout on Tuesday, yesterday was almost a rest day at CrossFit.

After our warm-up, we went straight into some strength work on strict presses. But, every fourth week of the Wendler cycle is a de-loading week (low weights), so that work was fairly easy. The only hard part was some chest-to-bar pull-ups the day after we did 90 pull-ups.

After the strength work, the MetCon was not too bad:

8 minutes, as many reps as possible
8 reps - sumo deadlift high pull - 75# for me (between Rx and Level 1)
8 burpees

I got through just under six rounds and I was tired, but not beat up. After the workout, I saw the chiropractor who has been working on my shoulder. He is very happy with the progress we've made and he didn't even pull out the Graston tools yesterday. He did some active release work, and worked on the biceps tendon a bit. After the biceps tendon work, I did my first fully pain free push-up in quite a while. So, the shoulder is probably 80%-90% there. I am going to see him just every other week for a while now, and hopefully let my body complete most of the remaining healing on its own.

I rode home after the workout, beating an approaching rainstorm. As I went through the kitchen, I found four ingredients for dinner: a locally made Mexican-style chorizo, fresh spinach, eggs, and cream. That was a perfect primal meal waiting to happen, and I cooked the sausage first, added the spinach, cooked that, added the cream, and finally some eggs. I also added some salt and pepper. And, I cooked everything well enough - none of the ingredients were under-cooked.

I ate dinner while I watched the Red Sox game and did some laundry. By 10:00, the Sox had lost and I was in bed. My alarm was set for 5:15 as usual. But, I woke up about 4:30, feeling terrible. One of those ingredients in the dinner was tainted somehow. Since then, it's been a rough morning, but I'm finally feeling better. Hopefully, I'll feel up to doing CrossFit later today, assuming I can get to the gym.

Michelle Obama is in town today, and I normally take a low-traffic shortcut through a hotel parking lot on my bike at 5:00 or so. But, Michelle Obama is speaking at that hotel at 5:00 today, so I probably not be allowed to use the short cut, so I need to fight through some much nastier traffic on my bike to get to the gym.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Yesterday's CrossFit workout was Badger.

I had never done this workout before and didn't know its history until I Googled it later. After reading a bit about the workout, I feel like I certainly didn't do it justice.

Here is the prescribed level for the workout:

3 rounds for time:
30 squat cleans, 95 pounds
30 pull-ups
800 meter run

One of the first clues that a workout is going to be difficult can be found when you walk into the gym. We have a number of large whiteboards on the wall. One shows our warm-up for the day. The next board shows our strength work for the day. Then, the next four boards show the four levels available for the main workout. Last night, the strength board had no workout. Instead, there were some comments about the main workout, and about how hard it was. Next, I started looking at another set of whiteboards where the previous groups from yesterday had posted their times. Almost every time was over 30 minutes.

Thirty minutes isn't a long time to be running, or cycling or swimming at a steady pace. But, 30 CrossFit minutes can seem like an eternity because you are going hard the entire time.

And, squat cleans are not easy. Well, they're not really difficult. But, they wear on you. You start as if you are going to do a light deadlift, but suddenly, you're doing a front squat instead. There is a lot of movement and it gets easy to cheat - just don't drop down into a full squat for each rep. As you get tired and start to cheat a little, squat cleans can start to look more like power cleans, a much easier movement at light weight.

So, with all of those excuses lined up, it's pretty obvious I didn't have a great workout. That's the interesting thing about CrossFit. I've had some good workouts recently. I've been doing the Rx'd workout more often. I've been passing people during running segments. I'm getting stronger. Feeling confident. And then, bam! I got humbled big-time last night.

For level 1, the only change was to drop the squat cleans to 65 pounds instead of 95. But, I also use assistance on pull-ups. If I had tried to do 90 unassisted pull-ups, the clock would still be ticking on my workout.

As we started the workout, it took me about 10 squat cleans to know I was in trouble. I started breaking the squat cleans into smaller sets - 5s and then 4s. After I finally got through the first round of the cleans, I started my pull-ups. I soon found myself doing them in sets of 5. That would eventually drop to 3 and even a couple sets of 2. By the time I headed out on my first run, I knew that level 1 was going to be too much. My legs felt terrible for the 800 meters and I hadn't run since Saturday.

I knew that level 2 used only 20 reps rather than 30 for the cleans and pull-ups. I decided to drop to 20 reps for the next two rounds.

And, it still sucked. Or, I sucked - however you want to look at it.

Finally, after almost 37 minutes, I staggered back inside, done with a very humbling workout.

One of the ladies from our gym recently placed first in the CrossFit Northeast Regionals. She finished the workout in just over 26 minutes and made it look easy. But, I think everyone else was over 30 minutes.

After the workout, I hopped on my bike and headed home. I immediately hopped into the swimming pool to try to cool off. I then drank at least 8 glasses of water before I went to bed. And, this morning, I got up at 6:15 instead of 5:00.

I know that part of tonight's workout is strict presses from the Wendler cycle. But, it's a de-loading week, so the lifts are fairly easy. I'm hoping the main workout isn't another grinder like last night.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sometimes, it's just time to rest

All day yesterday, I felt tired. Sleepy. Lethargic. Not motivated to work out.

Going into Friday, I had worked out 13 of 14 days and 26 of 30. Due to weather, I took a rest day on Friday. I did some interval work on Saturday, and then rested again on Sunday. But, it still didn't appear to be enough.

I left work at 4:00 yesterday, and got to my rented room about 5:00. I had already decided that CrossFit wasn't going to happen. I went to my room, turned on the AC, and took a nap for 90 minutes. Then, I got up and had some dinner, and went back to bed.

This morning, I felt a lot better. My bike ride to work normally takes 35-37 minutes. This morning, I was in the big chainring most of the way, feeling strong, and I made it in 32 minutes. So, the rest must have done some good.

Tonight, I'll do CrossFit.

But clearly, I just needed some rest the past few days. I need to make sure I'm paying close attention to how I feel, and getting rest days when I need them.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Thirteen Days Until the Marathon

This past weekend, I pretty much goofed off. I was supposed to run with my wife or do heavy deadlifts on Friday. Instead, we were both tired and we took a rest day.

On Saturday, I did 6 quarters with long rest between each repeat. My wife did the workout with me, and we ran in the rain. We let the dogs sit this one out, although they could have used the exercise. I averaged about 1:45 per repeat - pretty slow.

Sunday was supposed to either be a long hike or a long run, but instead, I slept in. I spent a lot of the day doing nothing, and never really did anything useful other than mowing the lawn and cooking dinner.

So, I'm now 13 days from a marathon. To be honest, I don't really feel like running a marathon at my current weight and my current (lack of) fitness level. I am sure I can finish the event under the time limit (6:30), but I'm not sure what the point would be. I don't have to prove to myself that I can finish a marathon, after doing more about 125 marathons and ultras in my life. I see no reason to truly slog through a super-slow marathon either, unless I can honestly say that I'll enjoy the experience. And, I don't think that I will.

I'm trying hard these days to train hard, but have my training days be fun. I don't mind working hard, but I want to be having fun when I work hard. I don't know if doing a marathon right now will provide me with any fun.

So, I'll think about it. I might be able to drop to the half marathon.

I could run long today after taking a rest day yesterday. But, I'd rather go to CrossFit. And that preference feels like I'm answering my own question about running the marathon.

If it's not fun, why do it?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Just another CrossFit Thursday

I've used this title for a blog post before. Chrome just told me so. I hope it doesn't screw up every search engine in the world. Maybe if I used the title "Gay Pride", I'd get a little temporary rainbow icon attached to my post. If that comment made no sense, go to Google and enter the term and look at your results. Do it quickly before the brouhaha subsides or Google changes the "catch me if you can" doodle.

Anyway, yesterday was a pretty typical day. I spent most of the day fighting with Windows 7. Actually, for ten days now, I've been fighting Windows 7 (64-bit professional). On two different hardware configurations at work, from two different manufacturers, the Windows updates from those days have caused all kinds of problems. My cloud-based shared drive and back-up service have been interrupted, and my config files were trashed, rendering some old backups unusable. I have probably been through 40 reboots of my own computer. I have had to purchase some software for a co-worker because Windows got so corrupted that his computer barely worked. He still has to attempt to re-apply the Windows updates now that he's repaired the OS. I can't imagine that we are the only two people who have had these problems, yet I've seen very few complaints on the web. As the IT director for our little company, I've now had to "decree" that Windows updates no longer be automatically applied. This, in turn, makes our anti-virus software unhappy, as our vendor there expects every Windows update that is security related will be applied immediately. Sometimes, I hate computers. Well, I really should just work on Unix/Linux. Or maybe a Mac.

After I finally got out of here yesterday, feeling very frustrated with computers, I took it out on some iron at CrossFit. After a more vigorous than usual warm-up, we worked on overhead squats for a while. We were supposed to use heavy weights, but my shoulder got really sore the last time I tried heavy OH squats. So, I kept the weight lighter and really focused on my form and good depth in the squat. I have some issues with shoulder and hip mobility that really make this a tough lift for me, and I am getting better, but I have a long way to go. Given my strength in other lifts, I should easily be able to do 135 pounds or more for an OH squat, but that just isn't the case.

After the OH squats, the MetCon was pretty straightforward:

12 minutes, As Many Reps As Possible:
Row 250 meters
10 DB Split Snatches, right hand (35#)
10 DB Split Snatches, left hand (35#)

The DB split snatch was a new movement to me. From the name, I instantly knew what the lift was, but I'd never done it before. I could tell that my form wasn't very good because the left side was much harder than the right. Yet, this lift should derive its strength from the hips rather than the arms, so if my weaker arm was limiting me, my form was the issue.

I made it through four complete rounds plus 95 meters on my fifth rowing round.

Today, I am scheduled to do Wendler cycle deadlifts. But, my current plan is to run with my wife instead. We really enjoy our hour-long runs when I get off the commuter bus on Thursday or Friday evening. We might get thunderstorms, and if that happens, I'll do my deadlifts instead.

Tomorrow, I want to do some 400 meter repeats on the track, and Sunday, I'll do a long run or a long hike.

And then it's back to work. I wonder what will go wrong with Windows next week.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mt. Mansfield hike, Paleo Challenge, More CrossFit

My friend Jeff commented yesterday that I should put up some pictures from the Mt. Mansfield hike on Sunday. I only took two photos on the hike, one of my wife and one of my son on the summit. My wife probably doesn't appreciate that I got a photo of her eating an energy bar, but I was the person with the camera. My son was really tired at this point, but held up pretty well in his first real workout in quite a while.

Here is our hiking route, produced using my Garmin Forerunner, Garmin's Connect software, and Google Earth:

The mileage I got from the Garmin doesn't match the guidebook mileage, and one "lap" isn't even a "Garmin" mile because I hit the lap button by mistake. One thing that I really liked about the Garmin Connect site is how it corrected the elevation numbers that the unit recorded during the hike. The Forerunner told me we'd climbed 4690 vertical feet, while I suspected the actual elevation to be closer to 3000'. The software took the GPS points and corrected the vertical to 2964'. All in all, it was a fun day and my son now needs only Killington to have summited all of the VT 4000 foot peaks on his own power. We may do that one this weekend, and we might even throw in Pico, the highest peak in VT that doesn't hit 4000'.

On another subject, the winners of our month-long Paleo challenge at CrossFit were announced yesterday. I didn't know about it until I got to the gym and a few people congratulated me. I wasn't sure what they were talking about at first. Rather than repeat the details, they can be found here. I'm not sure if I like Jade's comment about "Damon rounding out the top 3." I am spending all my time at CrossFit so I can be a little bit less round.

Since really working to reduce the carbs in my diet in mid-April, and moving to a Paleo-style diet, I've lost about 18 pounds so far. I was at the highest weight I've ever been, and I still have plenty to lose, but things are moving in the right direction. From June of 2008, when I was in great running shape for the Western States 100, until April of this year, I had gained 52 pounds. Not all of that was body fat, but it was still the biggest weight swing I'd ever had in my life, and I'm working hard to revert those bad changes. I'll probably never again be as light as three years ago unless I give up lifting, but I'd still like to lose another 25 pounds or so. Working for a start-up software company for the past few years, plus a serious hamstring injury and a love of good beer has been a bad combination for my weight.

My eating was right where I wanted it to be yesterday, including local rabbit roasted with rosemary, garlic and olive oil. I had that with the fresh-from-the-garden chard and a salad.

That dinner came after this workout:

Biking: 14.2 miles for the day, most of it in a light rain

Strict presses
5 x 95#
3 x 105#
1 x 120#

Push press:
4 x 120#

Close grip bench press:
5 sets of 10 at 85# (still protecting my shoulder a bit)

Pull-ups - 3 sets, max reps, and I dropped to a lower strength assistance band to make it more strength work rather than endurance: 8, 7, 7

Finally, the MetCon was as follows:

10 minutes, as many reps as possible
15 power cleans at 95#
30 lateral jumps over the barbell

I did this one at the RX'd level rather than level 1 (65#). I knew I'd get fewer reps, but the AMRAP workouts are a good time to push the weights to a higher level. On the "as quickly as possible" workouts, using a weight that is too high results in a long, slow slog. On an AMRAP, you just do what you can and you're done when time expires. I did 3.5 rounds in 10 minutes.

Today is more bicycling in the rain and CrossFit. Tomorrow, I'll switch my focus to running for three days - my final real runs before the marathon in just over two weeks. I need to break in a new pair of shoes this weekend.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tired of being tired?

Sometimes, I wonder what all of this training stuff is really about.

This morning, I woke up feeling tired and old and creaky. I thought briefly about putting my bike on the bus and getting a ride to work. But, as usual, I put on my cycling clothes and pedaled to work. It's not a hard ride; it takes me 35-37 minutes every morning, and there is one big hill, but it's not that big a deal. In the evening, I ride another 45 or so minutes, with the ride split up by CrossFit. Those 75-80 minutes on the bike are way more fun than 2 hours in the car. And I have to think they are better for me and the environment than driving.

But, I was tired from CrossFit this morning. At CrossFit yesterday, I was tired from lifting on Monday. Monday while lifting, I was tired from hiking on Sunday. On my ride to work this morning, I was thinking about being tired. Maybe I was thinking about feeling old too, but that wasn't the main train of thought.

I really enjoy CrossFit. I like the improvements in my strength and my stamina. I enjoy the people I train with. I have no intention of competing in CrossFit, so that sometimes leaves me wondering "why?"

But, even if I was competing, like with running over the past 25 years, the "why" question doesn't go away. Since April first in 1985, I have made training of some sort or another a top priority in my life. I've race hundreds of times - road races, track races, trail races, triathlons, duathlons, relays. I've done running races from 800 meters to 100 miles. I've been elated at times and frustrated at others with the training itself and the races.

I've skied hundreds of days in the past 12 years. I've taught skiing for 300 or more days over the last decade. I'm always moving, always training, always trying to "improve". But, improve what? Why? When will I arrive and be done improving? And if I do arrive, then what? Do I just stay "there" until the realities of old age take me away?

If it's all about being healthy, I should place most of my focus on my diet and put less time into training. I definitely train (exercise - whatever) more than I need to for my overall health. If it's fear of being fat, well, that hasn't been a raging success. If it's to avoid getting old, that doesn't seem to be working. If I'm trying to stave off the effects of getting older, why do I feel old and creaky right now?

Why have I endured a torn ACL, numerous bouts of Achilles tendinosis, a rotator cuff injury, bike crashes, broken ribs (twice), broken toes, plantar fasciitis, and other assorted aches and pains all of these years?

I don't know if I have any answers to these questions. I do sometimes think about Bear Bryant, the legendary football coach. When it was time for him to retire, he recognized that fact and told everyone that the team deserved better coaching than he'd provided. He was asked what he would do now that he was retiring and gave a simple, seeming throwaway answer: "Probably croak in a week." In less than a month, he was dead.

Maybe that's what I'm doing. Training because I'm afraid I'll croak the second I stop. And, for the most part, it's fun. It's challenging. CrossFit is especially challenging because the goal is to constantly change things and force you to learn new things and adapt to new stimuli. It's not like training for ultras, where you can spend hour after hour doing the same thing, slowly building a huge endurance base. As soon as you think you have something down at CrossFit, they change the rules on you.

So it goes. I'm tired. I'm somewhat tired of being tired. And yet, I don't want to quit, or at least I don't think I want to quit. And I don't know why I don't want to quit. I don't feel ready to croak quite yet.

13 total miles on the bike.
10 x 2 sumo deadlifts at 275#, every minute on the minute
10 x 5 kettlebell swings at 53#, every minute on the minute
12 minutes, as many reps as possible:
10 band-assisted pull-ups
200 meter run
Completed 6 rounds, but the last 200 meters took me past the 12 minute mark

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fun weekend

Friday, my wife and squeezed in a quick workout at lunchtime. I did my Wendler cycle deadlifts and some stiff-legged deadlifts, but that was it for the workout. The deads were heavy, so it was a lot of work, but done in a short period of time.

Friday night, we had a family gathering to celebrate my son's graduation. It was a fun evening, full of many "So, what now?" questions for Phil.

On Saturday, we went to the farmers market and not much else early in the day.

Phil and I got out for a couple hours of fly fishing. Despite numerous hatches going on, we didn't see a whole lot of action. Phil hooked one small fish and I saw a couple fish, but that was mostly it. Well, I did hook a really big one - myself. And stupidly, I'd forgotten to crush the barb of the hook before I tied the fly to my line. I try to always do this, to minimize any injuries to fish that I will be releasing. So, I suddenly found myself with my left index finger impaled deeply by a fish hook. And the barb was preventing me from backing out the hook. It took me over half an hour to work the hook forward through my skin, remove the barb, and then remove the hook from my finger. This work averted a trip to the emergency room and its associated costs. Plus, I'm current on my tetanus shot, so I think everything is fine.

Yesterday, my wife and son and I hike Mt. Mansfield. We used a trail that my wife and son had never seen before on the ascent - the Maple Ridge Trail. I'd come down this trail but never ascended it. It was the first hike of the year for all three of us and our time was fairly slow. The total distance was under 10 miles, with about 3000' of climbing, and it took us 6 hours. We did rest for half an hour on the summit though. It was a beautiful day on the mountain and there were a lot of people out there. I saw people hiking in Vibram Five Fingers and even one couple hiking barefoot. Given that this is Vermont, I shouldn't be surprised.

After the hike, we stopped in Waterbury for dinner at The Alchemist - a really nice local brewpub. I was so tired and dehydrated from the hike that I had club soda rather than beer.

Today, after work, I'm going to do some squats in the Wendler cycle, followed by 5 sets of 10 Bulgarian squats. After that, I'll run home from the gym.

Tomorrow, I'll be back at CrossFit.

Three weeks to my marathon. It's going to be a slow one.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Easy Hour on the Feet

That's me briefly leading the pack in Wednesday night's CrossFit workout.

My wife picked me up at the bus station last night, and we did an hour-long leisurely walk-run, covering about four miles. After I'm away from home most of the week, the hour or so that we have alone to run or walk is something we both really enjoy.

Today is my son's high school graduation, so I am working half a day and then squeezing in a quick workout before the graduation ceremony. My son is really unhappy with his principal right now, and I don't blame him. My son is not big on ceremony as a general rule, and planned to get his diploma without a cap and gown. He didn't buy a yearbook, had no interest in a class ring, no interest in sending out graduation announcements, thinks graduation presents make no sense, etc.

Yesterday, the principal informed the class that anyone not wearing a cap and gown could not participate in the graduation. He would have opted out right then, which he'd prefer to do, but he's complying to make his mom happy. Plus, you have to pay money to use the cap and gown. I offered to intervene for my son, but instead, he's just laughing at what he sees as perversity in the process.

After graduation, we're having a small family gathering to celebrate. He is more interested in some promised fly fishing time later this weekend.

I'll probably take tomorrow as a rest day and just do some fishing with my son.

My replacement Garmin Forerunner arrives tomorrow, so I'll take that out on a long hike or run on Sunday before my son and I do some more fly fishing.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Yikes, it's three weeks to my marathon.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mixed Results in Last Night's Workout

Last night started (after our warm-up) with the Wendler cycle again, doing military presses. My first two sets were fine, but the third (and heaviest set), going for max reps didn't go well at all. I failed on my first rep and ended up doing a slight dip and drive - a push press rather than a strict press. I don't know why that happened, but my upper body lifts definitely seem to progress very slowly.

I've been running and skiing for years, so I have the leg strength for squatting and deadlifts, but bench presses and strict presses are definitely a weakness. And, those lifts really require the addition of muscle mass to see major improvements. I don't care if I add the muscle mass, but it doesn't happen very quickly.

After the presses, we did 5 sets of ring dips and 3 sets of pull-ups. I used bands for assistance, but dropped down a notch on the band that I'm using.

The main workout suited my strengths really well:

7 rounds, as quickly as possible:
10 deadlifts
Run 200 meters

The prescribed weight was 225# for men. I knew I could do this, but the last few sets would be tough. And, with a heavy deadlift workout scheduled for Friday, I didn't want to do 70 deadlifts at 225 pounds. So, I opted for level 1 (155#) and really focused on pace. I was the third person done in the group, and for the first time in quite a while, I was passing people on the running reps. I felt smooth and strong the whole way through the MetCon.

I've had some really good workouts over the last five days and I'm feeling a little tired from the effort, but not too bad.

Today, I am going home because of my son's high school graduation tomorrow. My wife and I will do an easy run this evening - maybe 45 minutes or so. Tomorrow, I'll do my deadlift workout, but it will be short (and intense). By Saturday, I'm guessing I'll need a rest day or at least a very easy day.

I've got a marathon in just over three weeks. Maybe it's time to start training for that. My recent weeks have been something like 3-4 CrossFit workouts, 50 miles of bike commuting and 2 runs totaling 10-18 miles. My long run is 3 hours at an easy pace. The marathon is going to be a challenge.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Better Weather Than Forecasted

Monday morning, I was looking at a forecast that called for rain most of Monday and Tuesday. It drizzled on me a bit on my bike ride to work on Monday, but it was barely noticeable. And, it's been dry ever since.

After lifting hard on Monday, I couldn't make it to the gym yesterday. After work, I had an appointment at the same time as my CrossFit workout. OK, perhaps I'm being a bit dishonest there. I could have gotten up at 4:30, gotten dressed, ridden to CrossFit, done the 5:45 a.m. workout, ridden back to my room, showered, and then ridden to work. But, I knew I'd get 20 road miles in yesterday with some good hills, so I skipped CrossFit. I did get in the road miles and the weather was beautiful for the riding.

Today is supposed to be a sunny warm day, and it was warm enough to ride to work without a jacket this morning. I was tired and sore enough from the past few days to consider riding the bus, but I rode the bike instead. Tonight, I'll go to CrossFit and then tomorrow, I'll ride to work in the morning and do an easy run with my wife in the evening. Tonight, our focus is Wendler strict presses before the main workout.

I need to go home tomorrow rather than Friday because my son's high school graduation is Friday. He is thrilled to finally be done with high school, but his academic future is still somewhat cloudy. We were very surprised when he received a rejection letter from his "safe" school last week. He easily exceeds all of their minimum academic requirements - by quite a lot - yet he was rejected for some reason. And, they don't even have his AP and SAT achievement test results yet. So, he's asked for clarification and basically appealed the decision. He has another in-state backup school, but he really wants to leave Vermont for college, and if I were him, I think I'd want the same thing.

On Friday evening, we will have a family gathering to celebrate his graduation. I thought he'd want to go on a trip or do something else a bit more grand to celebrate. All he really wants is some pizza with family on Friday night, a new laptop to take to college and he's asked for some time for the two of us to go fly-fishing this weekend. That will be easy to accommodate.

After I ride and run tomorrow, and then lift on Friday, I'll have 8 straight workout days. Saturday will be a rest day, with some fly fishing. Sunday, I'll either run long or do intervals.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tough Night at CrossFit

The Wendler lifting cycle we are doing at CrossFit is pretty tough. The 12 week cycle is broken down into 3 4-week mesocycles. Each mesocycle gets harder in weeks 1-3, and then week 4 is an easier week, before increasing the load for the next mesocycle.

Right now, we are in week 2 of the first mesocycle. In week 1, the rep scheme for the primary lift is 5-5-max. In week 2, it's 3-3-max. In week 3, it's 5-3-max. The weight goes up in each set and from week to week, except during the fourth (deloading) week.

So, last night, I started with back squats, doing 70%, 80% and 90% of my one rep max of 315:
3 x 220
3 x 252
max reps at 285 - I got 4.

Then, each workout, we do one or two "supporting" lifts - higher reps, less rest, lower weights. Last night, we did barbell lunges, 5 sets of 10 reps per side, and I used 110 pounds. This was brutal, but I managed to get through it. During the first set, I didn't think there was any way I'd get all 5 sets, but I did.

Then came the MetCon workout:

12 minutes, as many reps as possible:
5 push-ups
10 pull-ups
20 air squats
40 rope jumps
10 tuck jumps

I was beat from the strength work and didn't even manage to finish four rounds. But, I got in a great total workout. Plus, I got over an hour of bike riding done for the day as well.

Today, I have an appointment after work, so I won't make it to CF. But, the appointment will increase my cycling mileage for the day to over 20 miles, mostly at an easy pace.

Tomorrow, it's back to CF for Wendler military presses.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Laid Back Weekend

The weather wasn't so nice this weekend, which helped to make it pretty relaxing.

Friday after work, I went to the gym very quickly to do some Wendler Cycle deadlifts and one supporting lift:

Deadlifts (3 minutes rest):
5 x 240
5 x 275
max reps at 310 (did 7 at 315 - 315 is easier to rack than 310 - six total plates instead of twelve)

Good Mornings (1 minute rest):
5 sets of 12 at 90 pounds

Those lifts took about 20 minutes. After the workout, I hurried home to mow the lawn before the rain showed up.

When the alarm went off on Saturday morning, it was pouring outside. My wife suggested we skip the 10K race, and since it had been her suggestion to run the race, no urging was needed for me to agree. We slept in, went to the farmers market, and went out for breakfast. About 3:00 p.m., it seemed like there was no hope for a break in the rain, so I went out for an easy 50 minute run. No dogs or humans wanted to come along.

After the run, we watched some movies and I cooked dinner - a relaxing evening.

Sunday morning, I got up early, planning a 3.5 hour run. The first 40 minutes were done with my wife and the dogs. My wife wasn't enjoying the run, so she quit after 40 minutes when we got the dogs back home. I headed back out by myself. About an hour or so later, I realized that I also wasn't really enjoying the run. The bugs were bad, the temps were low but the humidity was high, and I just wasn't comfortable. So, rather than continuing away from home, I turned around and ended up doing 2:40 or so rather than 3:30. I simply saw no point in continuing when it just wasn't fun. (If I'd written that a few years ago, I would have laughed at myself for being a wimp. Right now, I simply don't care. I got a decent workout and that's good enough.)

I had a nice dinner with my wife and daughter on Sunday night and now I'm back at work. Pretty boring, huh?

I did read a really interesting book over the weekend: "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living" by Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney. Unlike many of the books on the market that talk about Paleo, Primal or Evo lifestyles, this book was really about the science, not theories on why we should eat like cavemen. Admittedly, those lifestyle books do contain science, and I find them to be valuable books, but this one went straight to the research on a number of topics.

In some ways, I thought title was misleading because there was very little art and a lot of science in the book. Here are a few thoughts I sent to the person who sold me the book, Peter Defty, who produces and sells the Vespa supplements I've been using on my long runs:

"I found a couple grammar mistakes, which drive me crazy in non-fiction. It wasn't as bad as Deep Nutrition, but it still makes me wonder if something else might not have been checked carefully enough.

I loved the fact that things like Paleo and Primal weren't even mentioned. This was a pure science approach to the subject. One thing that it did allow was for the possibility that the human genotype is changing faster than some of the Paleo/Primal people might believe. That was one of the few "guesses" in the book.

I think the title is deceiving. I mentioned the book to a few friends and they all bought it. One of them is going to hate me because she found GCBC too technical. I think this book is almost pure science. When it comes time to approach the "how", they refer you to the Atkins book that they helped to write (and which I bought yesterday as a follow-up). This book will be very difficult for the masses to read. I found the chemistry and biology to be fascinating most of the time, and they admit when they are going to get really technical, but most non-scientists will be lost on even the basic sections.

I think there were two fantastic take-aways from the book:

1) The human body reacts very uniformly to VLC diets, but not uniformly at all to high carb diets. Unlike Paleo or Primal, which have a cult/religious feel to them at times, this book acknowledges that people are different and will react differently to high carb diets. However, the reactions to low carb, especially higher fat/low carb are very uniform and the exhibited phenotypes for people eating that way are markers of good health. Maybe I am reading too much into that, but it seems incredibly obvious that this is what our genotype has evolved to "prefer".

2) The entire concept and timing of keto-adaptation, which they stress repeatedly, and how quickly that adaptation can be impaired makes me wonder if concepts like "cheat days" (the weekly "re-feed") or cyclic ketogenic diets really don't make sense. I know that the book really made me re-think how I tend to eat on a weekly basis. I am very strict during the week, but the weekends tend to be more relaxed. I work away from home during the week, so I'm in a rented room and cooking in someone else's kitchen. I keep protein, veggies and fats and salt there - that's about it. I work out really hard and eat really low carb. On the weekends is where I might eat grains (I had some bread on Friday), sugars (tonic water is a favorite during the summer), or alcohol (gin with that tonic water, an ice cold beer or more), etc. Am I impairing my adaptation significantly by regressing on the weekends?

Oh yeah, I certainly feel better about the fact that I like salt on my food after reading this book. It also gave me a much better appreciation of why you tell me to be careful with electrolytes and hydration with the Vespa."

So, I really enjoyed the book, but my job is developing software to help manage chronic diseases, with Type 2 Diabetes as a focus. I started in college as a chemical engineer, and studied organic chemistry for quite a long time. I also read extensively, probably obsessively, about diet and metabolism. While this book is targeted at both medical professionals and laymen, I think a lot of people might struggle with it. On the other hand, I think it does a great job of explaining why medical research is so messed up, it shreds some studies that are accepted as "gospel", and even if you have to skim over the most technical parts, it includes a lot of valuable information.

Ultimately, I like that the book allows that some people can be very healthy on diets that are not low carb. And, low carb does not have to mean meat-based. A vegetarian or vegan diet can be low carb, although this can be more difficult to pull off than with an omnivorous diet.

And, some (many? most?) people can't obtain optimal health on a diet where carbs aren't seriously restricted.

And lastly, there is no reason you can't be an endurance athlete on a low carb diet, providing you accept the time necessary (weeks) to fully adapt to the diet.

It seems to me that I've been moving more and more to the Paleo/Primal/Low Carb side of nutrition for the last couple years. My improving fitness and decreasing weight right now are reinforcing those decisions.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Not my week so far

It hasn't been a truly terrible week. And, I really have no right to complain about my life. I have a pretty easy life compared to so many people, especially given the economy these days.

But, I've been feeling old this week. Maybe a little bit depressed.

My knees are feeling achy.

My legs are still sore on Friday from a workout on Monday. I took a rest day yesterday and I still feel tired.

It's been hot and humid all week - weather than I don't particularly like.

It rained a lot too, which messed with my bike riding schedule all week.

The mosquitoes are really bad.

My puppy ate my Garmin Forerunner and it will cost about $200 to replace.

The puppy also didn't like being tied outside yesterday afternoon, where we thought he was simply enjoying a nap in the sun. So, he jumped through a window screen to get back inside. I now have to fix two window screens, including one the other dog jumped through last fall.

My chainsaw won't start and my weed whacker won't start and I need both of them to do some work around the house.

I came back home a day early and I'm working from home today. It just seemed like the week wasn't going my way and I wanted to be home. But tonight, despite me being home, everyone else has plans, so I'll be eating leftovers for dinner - just me and the trouble-making dogs.

OK, now that's out of the way. It's really not so bad.

I have a house, a job, a wonderful family, two lovable dogs, and I'm in pretty good overall health.

Sometimes, I just need to vent a little. And perhaps wish I was 20 years younger.

Deadlifts tonight before I mow the lawn. 10K race tomorrow. Long run on Sunday.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

But it looked so easy

When I got to CrossFit yesterday, my plan was to only do the lifts for the Wendler cycle - 3 sets of strict presses, 5 sets of bench presses, and 3 sets of chin-ups, and then go home.

Well, I had an appointment at the end of class for the chiropractor to work on my shoulder - ongoing Graston and ART work that seems to be helping my shoulder a lot.

But, the main workout for yesterday was as follows:

12 minutes, as many reps as possible (AMRAP):
Run 200 meters
20 kettlebell swings

I decided to do this workout because it's one where you can easily slow down and scale the workout. When we do "as quickly as possible" (AQAP) workouts rather than AMRAP workouts, it's harder to scale things. You need to complete the reps for an AMRAP workout (excluding Tuesday when I simply opted not to do that). But, the AQAP workouts can be taken more slowly if desired.

But first, I did my Wendler cycle work.

Strict press:
5 reps at 80#
5 reps at 95#
max reps at 105# (6)

Bench press:
5 x 10 @ 115 - Because of my shoulder, pushing in the horizontal plane is something I still do somewhat carefully. I did the bench presses at 75 pounds to be safe.

(I've been in the office for just over an hour now and the fire alarm has gone off at least 15 times. We had a fire drill yesterday. I'm sure this is testing of some sort. Sort of sure. If I don't finish this post, I guess that means it wasn't a drill today.)

Chin-ups (band-assisted) - max reps - 3 sets

Then, the 12 minute AMRAP:
Run 200m
20 KB swings (I picked a wimpy 35# KB)

I took it easy and got through the run on my fifth round plus five more KB swings.

The Graston and ART treatment went pretty well. My range of motion has improved dramatically. I still have issues in the infraspinatus, but most areas outside of the supraspinatus tendon are otherwise resolved. Most of the treatment last night was Graston on the supraspinatus (painful) and then some ART to make sure the infraspinatus wasn't affecting my range of motion. I'm making good progress with these treatments, and I moved my next appointment with the orthopedist out a month to see if I can resolve things this way rather than needing any more injections from the doctor.

Today is a rest day. Really. Honestly.

(They finally announced that the fire alarms are just tests after 70 minutes of on and off alarms)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

But, I don't want to get old...

Why am I still trying to train like someone half my age? It can be discouraging at times.

Monday, I ran before work and then did a hard - very hard squat workout after work.

Tuesday, after work, I rode the bus to my rented room. On the walk from the bus stop, I tripped and fell on the sidewalk. That must have been some sort of sign that I was tired. I changed clothes and hopped on my bike for the ride to CrossFit. I had trouble just getting my shoes into the clipless pedals. Perhaps another sign? The ride itself was pretty uneventful.

At CrossFit, I was sweating during the warm-up. Yes, it was a hot day and a harder than normal warm-up, but I could tell I was tired. The weight work was 5 x 5 of squat snatches. Right now, this is a lift that still bothers my shoulder, so I did some alternate work. I did some very light weight overhead squats. Then, I did some muscle snatches. And finally, some power cleans. Again, I felt exhausted through all of the this. The main WOD was as follows:

5 rounds for time:
10 box jumps
10 wall balls
10 burpees

Ugh! The box jumps and wall balls would be brutal after Monday's squat workout. It was hot. I was unmotivated. After the first round of jumps and wall balls, I did two burpees. And then, without really thinking about it, I quit doing burpees. I took a rest. I ended up doing the box jumps and wall balls, but rested every time I should be doing burpees. Even doing level 2, it was still too much for me last night. I was dead after the workout. I pulled out my logbook at the gym, started to write something, got frustrated by my workout, scribbled over what I'd written, and then scribbled an expletive over that. I finally mustered the energy to ride back to my room.

I was too tired to cook dinner, it was too hot, and I wasn't hungry anyway. I did have a cooked chicken breast and a pickle in the refrigerator. I finally mustered the energy to eat them before heading to bed.

Today I am even more sore from Monday's squats. I rode my bike to work but with little energy.

Today's strength work at CF is focused on the strict press. We have sets of strict presses, bench presses and chin-ups. After that, I'll probably skip the main WOD and head home. My legs need a break, to be honest.

I could go back a few years - not that many really - and find weeks where I would do back to back hard workouts with no issues at all. Maybe it's because they were mostly running workouts and I'd been a runner for many years. I've now been lifting for about 4 years and doing CrossFit for less than one year. But, there are times when CrossFit leaves me feeling very, very old, and I wonder what happened to that young runner who could train hard so often.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wendler Cycle in the Gym

We are starting a 12 week Wendler Cycle (Google it if you want the details) at CrossFit, focusing on our back squat, strict press and deadlift. The goal of the 12-week cycle is to increase your 1-rep max in each these lifts. The cycle is often done with four lifts, with the bench press being the fourth. But CrossFit, in general, isn't very big on bench presses, so we are focusing on the three lifts that make up the sum known as the CrossFit total. I recently got just over 800 pounds for my CF total. We'll see where I am three months from now.

The first workout was last night, but I wasn't at CrossFit. I worked from home so I could be at home in the evening to celebrate my wife's birthday. Luckily, if you know your max lift in each of the three lifts we are working on, and you have the appropriate spreadsheet, the workout can be calculated for you.

Here is the main Wendler Cycle workout I did yesterday. Mondays are squat days, Wednesdays are press days and Fridays are deadlift days for us on this cycle.

205 - 5 reps
235 - 5 reps
270 - as many reps as possible without going to failure - I made 5.

Then, 5 x 10 front squats at 160 pounds.

I think the front squats were tougher than the back squats. That was a lot of reps, they hit your quads more than back squats, so today I have sore glutes and sore quads.

After the lifting, I did a short MetCon workout of my own:

4 rounds, as quickly as possible:
25 push-ups
row 250 meters

That was it. And, even after a rest day on Sunday, I feel trashed today. I have a meeting tonight and can't make it to CrossFit. It's likely that I won't get to train at all today, but that happens sometimes.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Some running and some celebrating

Friday, I planned to take a rest day. My wife was picking me up at the bus stop and I thought we'd go right home. But, she wanted to run, so we did an easy run together. It was without a doubt the best run I've had in a long, long time. After a six month break from running, getting back to running somewhat regularly hasn't always been fun. I've needed to mix walking with running on a regular basis, and I've been really slow all the time. Without CrossFit, I'd be nowhere at all, so I'm certainly glad I still trained during my running hiatus.

And, my hamstring really seems improved, which was a big goal of the running hiatus. But Friday night, even though I was slow, I didn't need to walk. I was just cruising and enjoying the run. I think my wife was surprised, because she was struggling to keep up the entire time.

Saturday morning, we got out to the farmer's market early. We needed to finish our shopping for a meal to celebrate my in-laws' 50th wedding anniversary.

I put together a five course meal, based mostly on local foods. We had local cheeses, a local rabbit braised with local bacon and veggies, a salad of local greens, local beef and chard in the entrée, and even a bread pudding that used bread made from local wheat. There was even a local wine in the meal.

Dessert was purchased, but made by local cooking school students. We had a really fun evening celebrating with my in-laws.

Before I started cooking on Saturday, I did manage a quick interval workout. I warmed up and then did one minute hard, one minute easy times ten. My "hard" pace was in the 6:30-6:45 range, slowing down as I got to the later repeats.

Sunday, I took a rest day, and this morning, I did a short run before work. This was my first run before work in quite a while. When I was running ultras, running before work was something that happened just about every work day. But, as my running mileage dropped the last two years, it's become less common. Recently, I've been biking before work, but not running.

Today is my wife's birthday, and we will go to the gym to lift after work. Then, I'm going to cook a nice dinner for her birthday before I head back out of town tomorrow morning. The rest of the week will be CrossFit workouts, until my next long run next weekend.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Eating and Exercising in a Primal/Paleo Style

I remember the first time I read the Paleo Diet for Athletes book. It was during 2005, not long after I'd had a 93 mile DNF at Western States. I'd had a good year as an athlete in 2003 (Wasatch finish) and 2004 (Hardrock finish), but my weight was not where I wanted it to be. I had run Wasatch close to 190 pounds. In my best road racing days, I'd run my PRs when I weighed close to 170 pounds.

The next year, I ran a huge number of miles to get ready for Hardrock, and ate a diet based on tight portion control for months. Every dinner would be one plate of food, with 1/4 for protein, 1/4 for salad, 1/4 for a veggie, and 1/4 for a carbohydrate. Every lunch was a salad. My weight dropped, but I was miserable on this diet. Also, my fat consumption was really low, and I was constantly hungry. It was only my fear of the Hardrock course that allowed me to stick close to this diet. I raced Hardrock under 180 pounds and had a good race. I had dropped about 20 pounds in two months to get to that weight, and without that weight loss, I probably would have never finished Hardrock.

The evening after the race finished, we went to a very nice restaurant in Telluride. I had a meal full of fat and protein (plus some nice wine) and truly enjoyed my first meal in quite a while.

I had just had two pretty good ultra seasons, finishing two of the harder 100s in the country. But, I wasn't satisfied. I spent a lot of time reading about nutrition in the fall of 2004. I felt like I needed some sort of change in my diet to help me get leaner. I don't remember exactly how it happened, but I decided to become a vegetarian for at least one year to see what happened. Would I lose weight? Gain weight? Save the planet? Improve as an athlete? I wasn't sure, but I made the change.

The first time I recorded my weight in my training log in 2005 was in mid-February. I was at 189. Eating a vegetarian diet, I arrive at Western States at 185 pounds. I was working with a coach at the time, and I had run a very tough 50 miler just three weeks prior. And, overall, I'd done less training than I would have preferred. On race day, I was doing OK, but I eventually had foot problems on some long downhills late in the race, and I missed the time cut-off at mile 93.5. I tried two more hundreds later that year and dropped out in both of them, both around the 65 mile mark. In the last attempt, I was sick and had a sore foot.

Overall, I think the experiment was a failure. I didn't race well, I was sick more often than usual, and I didn't feel like I recovered well all season long. After two years where my mileage was well over 2000, I ran just over 1600 miles this year and still complained about being tired in my logbook.

At one point that year, I bought the Paleo Diet for Athletes. I was reading it over lunch at a restaurant, and I remember a phrase that basically said if you were a vegetarian, you should give the book to someone who would get some value out of it. That made me angry and I considered tossing the book.

In 2006 and 2007, I returned to my "hometown" race and ran the Vermont 100. In 2006, my weight had drifted up into the mid-190s, but I trained well and ran 27:20. The next year, at about the same weight, I ran 26:04 on a longer course. If I'd been 10 pounds lighter, I probably would have run sub-24.

I finished the year in good shape, and was thrilled when I got picked for WS in 2008. Just like in 2004, I went back to portion control for my diet. It wasn't fun, but I needed to finally finish WS. I was at 182 pounds when we left for the race (I'd taken up weightlifting the prior year and gained some muscle mass), and as lean as I'd been since Hardrock. Then, the race got cancelled. I'd had thoughts about going for sub-24 given how fit I was and how lean I was. But, the cancellation was out of my control and I could try again in 2009.

But, a funny thing happened on the way to 2009. The disappointment of the missed opportunity seemed to give me an excuse to slack off on my diet again. I trained hard for a fall marathon, but my diet was terrible leading up to the race. I hoped to run under 3:30 and instead had a terrible day. I knew by mile 8 that I was in trouble and I almost quit at 16. But, I plodded to the finish. My weight had crept up to almost 190 pounds by race day.

By this point in time, I had read Stu Mittleman's "Slow Burn" and some more info on Maffetone training - both oriented towards easy training that seems to aid in fat metabolism. Then, I heard of the Primal Blueprint. And, I re-read the Paleo Diet for Athletes. And, probably most importantly, I read "Good Calories, Bad Calories". I wasn't quite sure what to do with them though. Running on a low carb diet seemed to make very little sense at all to me, at the time. Plus, I had Western States in 2009 to deal with. So, I stuck with my normal diet.

In April of 2009, I suffered a nasty injury while playing kickball. I tore a hamstring tendon pretty badly. We tried as much rehab as possible, but the fact was that my chances of finishing Western States that year died as soon as I hit the ground after tearing the tendon. I eventually had a Platelet Rich Plasma treatment later that year to help with the tendon injury.

At Western States, my weight had pushed up close to 200. My mileage was low, I could lift OK, but intensity was tough in running or lifting. I missed an early cut-off and was out of the race before the marathon. By the end of the summer of 2009, I was at a low point. Running wasn't fun or even comfortable. It seemed like I was at the chiropractor or the orthopedist's office all the time. The injury had robbed me of my easy stride and stolen all of the joy from running.

In 2010, I ran fewer than 300 miles. I started one ultra and missed the turn-around cut-off in a 50K. My wife and I did a 5-mile run together in September of 2010, and I wouldn't run again for six months. My hamstring was still not healed, running held zero fun, my weight had gone up to 230 pounds, and I was in the worst shape of my life.

I was trying to eat a Paleo/Primal diet, but I wasn't working out enough. I was drinking too much alcohol, especially beer, and making bad food decisions, especially on the weekends. I skied hard this past winter and I felt like I skied OK, but long days in the bumps weren't a lot of fun. Trying to support that much mass on a 5'10" frame in the bumps is a lot of work.

By the time ski season had ended, I had gotten pretty disgusted with my fitness level. Even though I was doing CrossFit, during the winter, I didn't go often enough. I only made it to CrossFit once in February - pathetic. As ski season neared its end, I really needed to make some changes.

I started pushing myself back to the paleo/primal way of eating. I also stopped drinking beer and cut way back on any other alcohol. By the time we started our Paleo Challenge at CrossFit at the beginning of May, the momentum had turned. My diet has been good, my exercise has been consistent, and I'm getting fitter and leaner. There is still a lot of work to be done, but I'm heading in the right direction.

Of course, I've done this all before, and then lost it, so who knows where I'll end up. For right now, I'm just glad that I'm eating in a way that's enjoyable and giving me the results I want. So many times when I've lost weight, it's been pure torture. I certainly miss some foods right now - bread being at the top of the list. But, I can have a little bread on occasion and still lose weight. I just can't eat it for every meal.

This coming weekend will be an eating challenge, as my wife's family gathers to celebrate her parents' 50th wedding anniversary. But, I'm the chef for the celebratory dinner, so I can certainly make sure that I have access to the foods I want to eat.

Last night's CrossFit workout was one of our easier workouts in a while, it seemed. After the warm-up, I did 5x3 of snatch grip deadlifts. Everyone else did 5x3 of squat snatches, but that lift still bothers my shoulder. My snatch grip deadlifts are limited by grip strength more than anything, and my working sets ranged from 225 pounds to 295 pounds.

After the lifting, we did the following for time:

Five rounds of the following:
6 Clean and Jerks (I used 95 pounds to protect my shoulder)
Run 200 meters

The light weight for the C&Js plus the fact that we had running made this pretty easy for me. I was the second fastest person in our class, in 10:02.

Today is a rest day. Tomorrow, I'll do running intervals. And Sunday, I'll probably do some canoeing and fishing with my father-in-law and son.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Two Tough CrossFit Workouts

I now hate the number 7. Being a person with a math degree and a love for number theory, I've always been partial to prime numbers. In the winter, I am always happiest when the number on my ski lift chair is prime. Yes, I'm a geek. No reason to deny it.

But, last night's workout was all about 7s and I wasn't happy.

It started innocently enough. We did some good warm-up work. Then, we practiced some Olympic lifting movements - cleans. We did 5 rounds of a clean complex as follows:
3 power cleans
3 hang squat cleans
3 front squats

To take it easy on my shoulder, I kept the weight fairly low at 95 pounds.

Then we hit the main workout:

7 rounds, as quickly as possible:
7 deadlifts
7 box jumps
7 kettlebell swings

The prescribed workout was 275# for the deads, 30" for the box, and 70# for the KB swings. Level 1 was 185#, 24", and 53#. I basically did level 1, but I only used an 18" box, not a 24". I can do 24" box jumps, but if I tried to do that many in that workout, I'd end up missing a few and possibly getting hurt.

I thought that deadlifts at 185 pounds would be easy, but there was a secret hiding in the workout. Every movement involved the hips for a lot of its strength. After the first round, I was surprised that 185# felt so hard. That's about half of my max. How could it be so hard? By the fifth round, every exercise was getting tough. Plus, it was hot in the gym.

I finished in 12:34 and was happy to be that fast. From there, I rode my bike back to my room. I almost got detoured by a cremee stand, but I knew that I had a weigh-in at the gym today. Ice cream would have to wait, no matter how hot the weather.

I had a tough time sleeping last night, for the second night in a row. It was just too hot for sleeping, even with a fan blasting at high speed. I got up at 5:30 this morning, planning to ride my bike to work. But, after a shower, I could hear thunder outside. A quick check of the weather showed a significant thunderstorm about to arrive. So, I put on my work clothes, and rode my bike to the bus station. The buses have bike racks, so I put my bike there. Just after the bus started moving, the storm arrived. We had high winds, heavy rain, hail, and a lot of electricity. I was very glad not to be riding in the storm.

At lunchtime, I hopped on my bike and rode to CrossFit. I have a work meeting tonight, and today is the final workout for our 30 day Paleo challenge at the gym, so I had to work out earlier today. We had five total measurements for the challenge, with my scores shown:

Compliance points for diet and workouts: 347 of a possible 450 points.
Maximum single rep weight for a thruster: 145 (start was 145, but with a shoulder injury, it's not surprising that I didn't improve)
Max pull-ups (band assisted for me): 16 vs 10 at the start
Time for a fixed workout: 9:44 vs 10:47 at the start - about a 10% improvement
Weight loss: - 7.6 pounds (I'm down 12 total in the last 6 weeks)

For the most part, I lost points in the first category for not drinking a protein drink right after the workouts, not getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night, and for eating non-Paleo foods on the weekends when I've been home. But, even with those transgressions, I'm certainly happy with the rest of the results, especially the weight loss.

I doubt that these scores will be close to good enough to finish in the money, but it's much better than the last challenge, where I basically quit after two weeks. We are doing another challenge in September.