Friday, April 27, 2012

Sick all week - nothing else to say

I've been flat on my back sick for almost a week now.  Last Saturday morning, I woke up feeling somewhat sick.  But, I thought I was just tired (not much sleep the past few nights) and I was getting up early.  I went fishing for a couple hours.  I took my son to a local independent record store to "celebrate" Record Store Day. We each bought some new vinyl.  I went home and my son went to work.

I wanted to do a quick running interval workout.  I didn't really feel up to it though.  However, with rain on the way, I forced myself out for the workout.  And, ten minutes after I'd done the workout, I realized I felt so bad because I was getting sick.

I was horizontal for the rest of the weekend and took Monday as a sick day.  I worked a little bit on Tuesday, but it wasn't much fun..

On Wednesday, my wife made me go to the doctor.  Despite my best efforts to stay hydrated, my weight was down 7.5 pounds from a doctor visit two weeks ago.  They did some lab tests, but no answers so far.

On Thursday, I was finally able to eat again.

Today, I'm vertical but still far from 100%.

Hopefully, resting through the weekend will be enough to get rid of whatever this is.  I haven't been this sick in a long time.

And, I haven't done a workout since last Saturday.  I hate missing a whole week of workouts unless it's a planned rest week, which this wasn't.

Oh well, take care of the body first.  There was no way I could do a workout this week anyway.

Friday, April 20, 2012

That was different

CrossFit last night was quite different than most of our workouts.

All workouts start with about 10-15 minutes of warming up, foam rolling, easy movements relevant to the workout, etc.

Then, we either lift followed by a shorter workout. Or, we do a longer workout.

But, last night was completely different:

8 minutes, as many reps as possible:
10 burpees
15 push presses
20 pull-ups

Then, rest 5 minutes.

Then, in a 5 minute window, do the heaviest set of five deadlifts that you can manage.

Rest five minutes.

Run a mile as fast as you can.

In the first portion, I didn't get much past 2 rounds - just 5 burpees into the third.

For the deadlift, I knew I could do 315 or higher if I was fresh, but we'd already done some hard work. So, I pulled 275, which I knew I could do, rested almost 3 minutes, and then pulled 315. I probably could have done 335 if I'd tried it, but maybe not.

At this point, everyone realized that the heavy deads were going to affect our running. My run was truly pathetic at 9:40 for a single mile. But, I got through it and I wasn't last.

I'm a little beat up from the past three days, and we are about to have a very rainy weekend, it seems, so I haven't yet decided when or what workout I'll do next. I do want to do some fishing this weekend as well. I still haven't landed that first trout of the season.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

10, 9, 8, 7, ...

Another CrossFit post. Yesterday, I "liked" a photo on Pinterest that showed someone doing box jumps, with the caption "Realizing you joined a cult and you like it". It's really kind of weird to me to be seeing CrossFit/Reebok commercials on TV all the time these days - "The Sport of Fitness". I'm there because I really enjoy the workouts, I enjoy the amount of intense work I get done in a relatively short amount of time, and after many years of working out by myself, I enjoy working out in a supportive group environment. So, maybe it's cult-like. It seems to be trendy. I don't really care and I haven't bought any of the new shoes that I think Reebok wants me to buy for my CF workouts. But I can't rule out that I might buy them in the future either.

Last night's workout started with 5x5 of strict presses. I've been skipping this lift, but decided to see how my shoulder felt last night. The prescribed weight was 70%-80% of 1-rep max, and my 1RM is 135 pounds. But, I knew I'd never get close to that. I warmed up with a 45# bar and felt OK. I jumped to 65# for a set of 5, and that felt OK. I jumped to 75#, and my shoulder complained a bit. So, I dropped to 70 pounds for my last three set.

Then, the main workout was laid out like this:

10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 reps per round of these movements
Kettlebell swings (44# for me)
Box Jumps (18" for me)
Pull-ups (band-assisted)

Essentially you did 10 reps of each movement, then 9 of each, 8 of each, etc.

I only really struggled on the box jumps and got through this one in just over 11 minutes. I had put out a perfect level of effort. I was nearly toast by the end, but I'd been able to maintain a reasonable pace throughout the workout.

Tonight, I'll go to CF again. Tomorrow, I'll need to find a workout to do at home, instead of CF. Or, I might go trout fishing after work.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

As hard as possible, every round

After a really busy week last week, I took it easy for a few days. On Saturday, my son and I went trout fishing for the day. After that, we watched the NHL playoffs for the rest of the weekend. Monday was really hot, and it was my daughter's birthday, so it was easy to take the day off from the gym.

Last night, I made it back to CrossFit. I knew the workout was going to be tough, because there was no strength work before the main workout. But, the board didn't even tell the entire story. Here is what I saw written on the board:

5 rounds, for time:
Run 200 meters
10 squat clean thrusters
15 burpees
20 walking lunges
Rest 3 minutes

As we went over the squat clean thruster movement before the workout, the coach told us that there was an additional requirement for the workout. Each round was to be done all out, as if it was the only round. He said that each round should get slower than the previous round, and if that didn't happen, we weren't going hard enough.

Typically, in a workout like this, I'd try to pick a pace that I could maintain, or at least almost maintain, for the entire workout. But, not yesterday.

We all started together - almost 20 of us - on a narrow path for our first 200. That part was easy. The squat clean thrusters were fairly easy for me because I picked a light weight (45#) to protect my shoulder. Then came the burpees. Burpees and I are not friends in general. I find them especially hard to do when mixed in with other high intensity work, and my shoulder injury makes them a bit more challenging right now. But, I fought through them, did the lunges as quickly as I could, and I finished the first round in 3:40. After the first round, the rest interval seemed like a long time.

My second round took 3:53. The rest still seemed substantial. Then, a 4:06. The rest period seemed shorter. Then, a 4:16. The rest period seemed to last about 30 seconds. And, I struggled home with a 4:31.

It was an interesting workout, especially given the go hard all the time approach.

I can't wait to see what tonight brings.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Busy, busy week

Work seems to be exploding again. We are working on a number of new products, rolling out products to new customers, working on securing venture capital to stay in business, etc., and it's been kind of crazy.

This week, on Monday and Tuesday, I worked late and never worked out at all. Finally, on Wednesday night, I made it a priority that I'd get to the gym. The workout started with a "pick your own" strength movement, with 1-5 reps done every minute on the minute for ten rounds. I chose front squats, trying to focus on correct form. I have lifted well over 200 pounds using a cross-over grip that is only used by people with terrible shoulder mobility. My goal on Wednesday was to find a weight that was possible but difficult using the correct grip. I ended up doing 10x3 at 125 pounds. My wrists were a bit sore at the end, but I made it.

After that, we did a 12 minute workout, as many reps as possible, of dumbbell manmakers, rope jumping and tuck jumps. It was one of those workouts that looked easy on the white board, but didn't turn out that way.Yesterday's CrossFit workout was a classic "hero" WOD - McGhee. I had first done this workout last November 19th. I was going to link to my post about that workout, but I see that I didn't write anything about it. We were really busy at work in November and December and while I was at the gym as much as possible, I didn't post much. Anyway, the "hero" WODs are notoriously difficult, and this one is no exception.

30 minutes, as many reps as possible:
5 deadlifts
13 push-ups
9 box-jumps

The prescribed weight for deadlifts is 275 pounds. I know that this weight would become a limiting factor for me before 30 minutes had expired. In November, I used 205 pounds and finished exactly 12 rounds. Last night, I decided to use 225# and try to go past 12 rounds, even if by a single rep.

Things started out pretty well, and I finished my 6th round with 16 minutes left on the clock. By this point in time, it had become obvious that push-ups were the real limiting factor. I could do the five deads uninterrupted, and I could do the box jumps the same way, albeit slowly. But, by the mid-point of the workout, I couldn't do 13 straight push-ups without rest. So, I started focusing on breaking up the 13. I'd try to get to 9 or 10, rest for a bit, and then finish. In one set, I only got to 5, rested, and then only got to 9 and had to rest again. But, I finished my 11th round with over 3 minutes on the clock.

At this point adrenaline seemed to kick in and I did one of my faster rounds, finishing my 12th round with almost a minute to go. I did the five deadlifts quickly, and then headed to the push-ups. I got in 7 quickly, but had to rest. I got in 3 more and had to rest again. And then I ran out of time.

I did beat 12 rounds by 15 reps, and I used a heavier weight than last time. So, I'd call it a successful effort. Total reps are kind of scary:

Deadlifts - 65 reps at 225# - almost 14,000 pounds
Push-ups - 166 reps
Box jumps - 108 reps

Any one of those alone would be a good workout. All of them together, and I'm sore today.

Tonight, I'm planning to go to CF again. After a tough workout last night, and because Saturday's are usually tough, I'm guessing tonight will be a much easier workout.

Tomorrow looks like a nice warm day. My options for the day include the following:

1) Ski
2) Ride my bike
3) Run
4) Trout fishing
5) Some of the above
6) None of the above

As of now, I'm planning to fish in the morning with my son. Then, I'll probably go for a bike ride or a run in the afternoon.

Monday is the Boston Marathon. While I'm not running (it's now been 16 years since I last ran Boston), a number of my friends will be there. The weather forecast for Monday is scary, with temps in the mid to high 80s. I've run in one Boston where the temperature approached 80F and it was my worst performance ever there. Hopefully, the forecast will turn out to be wrong and the weather will be amenable to fast times.

Friday, April 6, 2012

It must be "Shoulder Week" at CrossFit

When I got to the gym last night, I looked at the board for the main workout and I was surprised to see nothing but shoulder work. But, I was able to modify things so that I got through it OK.

We started with deadlifts - 5x5, at 70%-80% of our one rep max. I did sets at 275, 295 and then 3 at 315. This went pretty well. If we didn't have the 80% limit, I probably would have done at least one set at 335.

Next was ten minutes, as many rounds/reps as possible:

8 x left hand dumbbell power snatch
8 x right hand dumbbell power snatch
12 "CrossFit Games" push-ups (chest to deck, lift hands from deck before going back up)

One of our primary focal points on unilateral lifts is to gain symmetry. That is, if one side is stronger than the other, pick a single weight and work on catching the weak side up to the strong side. But, because I'm rehabilitating an injury, the coach had no problem with me using different weight dumbbells. I used 15# for my injured right shoulder, 25# for my left, and did the push-ups as knee push-ups.

Going this way, I was able to do 6 rounds plus 11 reps and I did it without irritating my shoulder. There is no doubt that the cortisone has really helped with the inflammation and my range of motion.

Tonight, I'll do a quick sprint workout after work. Tomorrow, I want to do a longer but fairly slow run. And, if it's warm enough on Sunday, I might get out on my road bike for the first time this year.

I could ski this weekend, but I think I've had enough of this marginal ski season. Oh yeah, it was snowing as I drove to work this morning. Too little, too late.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Modifying CrossFit to Appease My Shoulder

Last night's workout was very shoulder intensive - not my first preference the day after a cortisone shot in my right shoulder.

After the warm-up, we were supposed to spend 20 minutes determining a one-rep max for the thruster. My one-rep max right now might be about 45 pounds, although I've done 165 in the past. So, I worked on power cleans instead, getting up to 165 there before it felt like my shoulder was going to complain.

Next came the main workout, "Jackie":

For time:
Row 1000m
50 thrusters

I decided that rather than modify the movements, I'd modify the resistance and make this a rehab workout.

I rowed as I normally would have and finished in just over 4 minutes. I can row faster than that, but going out too fast on the rower in this workout has bad downstream consequences. Then, I used our lightest weight barbell (15# vs. the 45# prescribed weight) for my thrusters. I was able to complete these with no pain at all.

Lastly, I used our most supportive band for the pull-ups and while I had to rest during the set of 30, I did them with no shoulder pain.

Today, my shoulder isn't sore. I slept much better last night than the night before.

CrossFit again tonight.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shoulder Friendly Workout

Last night, after I was finally done with doctors and work, I did a CF-like workout on my own. It was very simple, done as quickly as possible:

Row 3000m
100 Single Unders (jump rope)
100 Air Squats
100 Single Unders
100 sit-ups
100 Single Unders

Tonight after work, I'll go to the real CF, instead of making up my own workout.

I did have a terrible time sleeping last night. I didn't fall asleep until 4:30 and then slept restlessly for about 3 hours. I was later for work than I like to be.

After I got to work, I did some googling of cortisone and insomnia. Apparently, insomnia for up to 48 hours is common after a cortisone injection. I can't imagine I'll have insomnia tonight, as tired as I am right now.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

End of my rest week and a shoulder update

Yesterday was the end of a deliberate rest week after I was done with teaching skiing for the winter. Because the roads were icy in the morning, I opted to work at home rather than going to my office.

Yesterday's workout was pretty simple. I ran for about 25 minutes, with 10 x 30 seconds of harder effort thrown in. My Garmin showed that I ran those 10 segments at about 7 mpm or so. It was windy, but other than that, it was a fairly pleasant run.

Today, I had an appointment with a sports orthopedist to look at the shoulder I hurt 6+ weeks ago. I've been having trouble sleeping almost every night since I hurt the shoulder. A year ago, I'd hurt the same shoulder, and both times, I hurt myself in a skiing fall. Last year, it was a side impact and this time, a front impact.

A year ago, I mainly hurt a tendon that connects the infraspinatus muscle to bone. With physical therapy, and a number of Active Release Technique and Graston Technique treatments, the shoulder was just about back to 100% over the last few months. I'd been improving in the Olympic lifts again and felt stable on those lifts.

This time, the x-ray came out clean again. The ultrasound showed that there is either unresolved healing in the infraspinatus tendon or a new injury there. There appears to be a more significant injury to a supraspinatus tendon. And, the inflammation in the joint was pretty significant.

The doctor was most concerned about the fact that I have a definite loss of strength while moving in many directions.

For today, he decided to start somewhat conservatively. He gave me a cortisone shot to help with the inflammation (I know that some people won't consider that to be very conservative, but he didn't send me for an MRI, or send me to a surgeon). I got some exercises to do on my own. No Olympic lifting. No military presses. No bench presses. Push-ups only if they don't hurt, which probably means knee push-ups or none at all.

In four weeks, I'll go back. If my strength isn't significantly better, they'll do an MRI. And, if one or more tendons has a significant tear, I'll have to decide between aggressive physical therapy, platelet rich plasma treatments, or, in the worst case, surgery. The recovery from rotator cuff surgery is very unpleasant (locked into position for weeks, sleeping in a chair, etc.), so I will do everything I can to avoid that.

So, after work today, I'll find some exercise to do that won't hurt my shoulder. I'm leaning towards some rowing and maybe some bodyweight movements - air squats, sit-ups, etc.