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.