Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tweaked Hamstring

In May of 2009, I was playing kickball with my brother and some college kids after Penn State's spring football game.  It should come as no surprise to anyone who has been to a Penn State game that there was alcohol involved.

At one point in the game, I kicked a weak grounder to the pitcher (if that's what they are called in kickball).  Not wanting to be shown up by college kids, I sprinted for all I was worth down the first base line.  A few feet before reaching the base, I felt a pain in my hamstring, somewhat like I would imagine it would feel like to be shot by a gun or a bow and arrow.  I went down hard in a heap, knowing I'd hurt my hamstring badly.

That injury may very well be the reason I'm not running ultras any more.  It has gotten better, and after a platelet rich plasma treatment in the summer of 2009 to treat a partially torn tendon, I would guess that I function at 90% of my previous level.  I can still do sprint workouts.  I can lift heavy.  I can run and ride my bike.  But, every once in a while, the hamstring will act up and I need to curtail my activity for a while.

I did a good weight workout last Friday after work.  Essentially, I did the CrossFit workout that I'd missed on Thursday, although I made the strength portion (push presses) harder than prescribed.  On Saturday, I did a sprint workout - 10 x 100 meters.  The workout went well, although I was surprised that my quads felt a bit sore while sprinting.

Saturday night, I noticed that my left hamstring felt a bit sore.  On Sunday, I had my first day of pre-season ski instructor training, plus the weather was miserable, so I gladly took a rest day.  The hamstring felt fine when I got to CrossFit last night.

The first part of our workout last night was a ten minute time window to establish a one rep max muscle snatch.  We don't do this lift often, and I struggled with form.  I started my serious efforts at 95 pounds and I got to 120 pounds.  At 120 pounds, my elbow lockout was a bit shaky, so it might not have been a legal rep.  I failed badly at 125 pounds and I was done with that part of the workout.

Next, we did 10x2 of back squats at 70% of our one rep max, which is 255 pounds for me.  We did the sets every minute on the minute.  And, just to make it really fun, we paused for 5 seconds at the bottom of each squat.  This is an uncomfortable position that really forces you to keep a tight core and a strong vertical spine.  About the 5th set, I noticed that my hamstring was not happy.  By the 8th set, I was thinking about quitting, as the hamstring got worse.  But, I (probably foolishly) continued to the end.

After the squats, our workout was "Annie", one of the newer girl WODs.  This workout is named for Annie Sakamoto, one of the original CF "Nasty Girls".  She is one tough competitor and has finished as high as third in the CrossFit games, I believe.  At age 36, Annie still looks and performs like the elite athlete that she is.  But, the Annie workout is not what many would think.  It's not about strength.  It's not highly gymnastic.  Instead, it's a somewhat short lung burner:

50 double unders (rope jumping, but the rope goes underfoot twice per jump)
50 Abmat sit-ups
40 double unders
40 sit-ups
10 double unders
10 sit-ups

I'm still working on double unders.  Or perhaps I should say I'm not working on them enough, because I haven't perfected them yet.  Normally, for people who can't do double-unders, we do single unders and then 50% more reps of tuck jumps.  Because the tuck jump is performed by pulling the knee towards the chest, I was afraid it would bother my hamstring.  So, I simply doubled the number of double-unders and did singles.

I got through this in 10:16.  My last Annie had been the tuck jump variation, and I'd done 10:52.  I think the method I used last night was slower, so I was happy with my time.

My wife completed the CrossFit introductory program last Thursday.  On Friday, she did her first real CF workout.  Last night was her second.  Doing 150 sit-ups in a workout when you haven't been doing them is really difficult.  She finished last in our class, but true to the supportive nature of our gym, she had lots of people cheering for her at the end.  She finished in about 12:40 and I think she's pretty sore today.  She's also hooked on CF already.

Tonight's workout includes power snatches, pull-ups and wall-balls.  I think my hamstring will be OK for all but the heaviest snatches, and I'll give it a go.  But, if the hamstring complains at all, tonight, I'll simply walk away from the workout or find something else to do.

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