Monday, February 25, 2013

Ski Instructors - Always the Critics

Here is a video shot yesterday on Stein's Run at Sugarbush with my ski group.  Stein's is a steep run and is designated as a double-black diamond.  It was freshly groomed for yesterday and we had an inch or two of somewhat dense snow on top of the grooming.  So, it was skiing easier than normal, but the rapid transition the skiers make (turning the skis quickly while turning) is due to the steepness of this terrain.

I watch these kids ski on a regular basis.  Of the five students in the video, four are new to my group this year and the fourth has been with me for the three previous seasons.  One other thing of note is that this was the last day of a 9-day skiing vacation for all of these students.  Many of them were tired yesterday.

As I watch the video, it's amazing to see little details that seem to elude my eye on a day to day basis while skiing with the kids.

The first skier is very fast and very athletic and skis at high speeds all the time.  It's interesting to see in this video how far back his center of mass is.  Basically, it's what we call being "in the back seat" and it makes control more difficult.  Because he is almost always ahead of me and skiing fast, this is something that I haven't noticed on a regular basis.  Also, the steepness of the terrain probably amplifies the issue.

The second skier has a single issue that I've been focusing on all year - shoulder rotation.  Ski turns should start from where the ski meets the snow, facilitated by lower body movements.  This skier uses his upper body to create rotation and the skis then follow the upper body movements.  In the third segment of this video, I had talked to this skier and reminded him about the shoulder movements, and he clearly skis better in that third segment.

The third skier is the one who has been with me for three previous years.  She is clearly tired (to my eye) in this video.  She was also somewhat self conscious about being videotaped, especially on steep terrain.  She is a strong technical skier, but she is initiating her turns here by rising up and throwing her hips across the ski - something I rarely see her do.  After that movement, I like the rest of her turn and the angle between her lower body and upper body is very solid.

The fourth skier has an interesting challenge that I've been working on all year.  She has a natural stance that is very narrow compared to the average skier, but this is not uncommon in females.  With that narrow stance, she has a harder time taking advantage of the benefits offered by shaped skis.  This leads to her "throwing" the skis through the turn at time, and failing to achieve and upper and lower body separation - a "break" at the hips.  Instead, her entire body tilts, rather than a tilting in the legs with an upright upper body.  It's easy to see this when she is compared to the previous skier.

The fifth skier was exhausted yesterday.  She looks as if someone had stapled her elbows to her jacket and her upper body simply isn't moving.  This is very atypical for her.  This video does not represent her best skiing at all.

The last skier - me - also has some issues.  I like the way my legs are extending and retracting through the turns.  The uphill leg extends to initiate the turn and the skis change edges simultaneously.  But, my upper body is following my skis too much, rather than being more open and facing down the fall line.  When the upper body faces more in the "net" direction of travel, it is easy to build some counter (lower body rotated under a more still upper body) near the end of the turn.  This acts like a spring and helps with the steering of the skis into the next turn.

Remember that this a double-black diamond run.  I was skiing that run for the fourth time in the day, and all of my students had already skied it 1-3 previous times that morning.  I see a lot of good things happening with every single one of the skiers.  But, as an instructor, it's my job to improve everyone's skiing where I can.  And, the video gives me some great idea for the last four weekends I have to work with these students.

One of the things that I love about teaching skiing is that we are never "finished".  Everyone has the ability to improve, and it is a sport of lifelong learning.  This is true of instructors as well.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Deadlift PR

Last night's scheduled CrossFit workout was a non-starter for me.  The workout was very simple - 75 Kettlebell Turkish Get-Ups.  Most people have never done a Turkish Get-Up or even heard of the lift, but it's one that would not be kind to my shoulder.  After talking to a sports med doctor and a chiropractor, I've decided to stay away from any over-the-head pressing movements for a while.  And, a Turkish Get-Up requires you to hold a weight overhead for the entire rep.  It would probably take me 22-25 minutes to do 75 reps, and that is a long time to be holding a kettlebell overhead.

So, I decided to do some heavy deadlifts, which I hadn't done in a while, followed by a standard CF workout called Cindy.

Here are my reps for the deadlifts:


That was essentially my warm-up, and I then switched to single rep sets:


These felt relatively easy until the 395 pound rep, which was challenging.  My PR of 415 pounds was set on 10/15 of last year, doing a workout called CrossFit total, where I set PRs for the strict press, back squat and deadlift all in the same day.  So, rather than continuing my pattern of adding 20 pounds to each rep, I added 25 pounds for a total of 420 pounds on the bar.  It wasn't pretty, but I nailed it and set a new PR.  This was at least my third lifting PR this year.  I also set PRs for the snatch and the clean and jerk last month.

After the 420 pound rep, I was done with the deads and it was time for Cindy - a very simple workout.  You simply do 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 air squats as many times as possible in 20 minutes.  I modified it a bit last night, opting for 10 rounds as quickly as possible.  It took me 16:06 to do those 10 rounds.

Today is a rest and recovery day.  With the new snow in the mountains this past week, and more snow expected tomorrow, I imagine I'll be skiing in the trees again this weekend.  I need a rest day so I can keep up with my students in the trees.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

NCAA, Mark Emmert, Miami and Penn State

I'm far from biased here and I will admit it.  I think the penalties that the NCAA imposed on Penn State were excessive and were not done within any guidelines or rules.  They just made it up as they went along.  Most of the people who were punished had nothing at all to do with the crimes committed by Jerry Sandusky.

Earlier this week, the NCAA was forced to admit that they had really botched an investigation into the Miami football program.  Many people around the internet joked about the NCAA's "Lack of Institutional Control" - the crime that was "invented" by the NCAA to dole out the "death penalty" to the rogue organization.

Mark Emmert took no responsibility for the problems in the investigation.  Well, he did fire a couple people, but he appears to be taking the position that he did nothing wrong and he should be allowed to remain in charge.

Today, the NCAA delivered a report to Miami.  Apparently, the "lack of institutional control" phrase is used in that report.  Is the NCAA considering applying the death penalty to the Miami football program.

I'm not claiming that Miami is innocent.  I honestly don't care.  I have not been a fan of the Miami football program ever, although the fact that their current head coach is a former Penn State player and coach allows me to hate them a little bit less.

But, the NCAA seems to operate with no rules or limitations in its own behavior, and then cracks down on the "bad apples".  Who polices the NCAA?  No one, as far as I can tell.

Today, a pro-Penn State web site published an article about the Miami situation.  Remember, Penn State fans do not like Emmert at all right now, so the article is not written from an unbiased perspective.  There isn't any claim of objectivity.

The article includes a screen snapshot of a tweet from Jay Bilas, an ESPN analyst.  It simply says "Mr. Emmert: Your resignation is not just appropriate, it is required."

I certainly hope that Mr. Emmert is gone soon.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

CrossFit, CrossFit, Rest, Ski, Ski, CrossFit

The title is how my days have gone since my last post.  Yeah, there was other stuff in there.  Work, sleep, commuting, time with my wife and kids, etc.  The daily and predictable parts of life.  But, this blog really started out with my pursuit of fitness-related activities and that remains a passion and focus for me, even if I'm not running ultras any more.

During the summer, you can expect to see more posts about fly fishing.  These days, with the below-average ski season that we are having, I'm already dreaming about fly fishing, although it's probably 6-10 weeks away for me.  I even made my first fly-fishing purchase of the year yesterday.  But, I still have 5 weekends of ski teaching left, and I intend to enjoy those as much as possible.

Last week was not a great CrossFit week.  After skiing the previous weekend, as always, and planning to ski on Tuesday, I took Monday as a rest day.  I made it to CF on Wednesday and Thursday, and I had really good workouts both days.  But, the second day beat up my legs a bit, so I did my normal Friday rest day.  My preference is to go to CF four days per week, not two, but sometimes it just doesn't work out.

Saturday, despite very little new snow, we had a good day.  Temps were moderate and winds were light.  Grooming had made some really steep trails a lot of fun and that's how we spent most of our day.  We did one natural-snow bump run and no one wanted to do another one after that.  I had a light teaching focus for the day and we mostly just skied.

Sunday was very cold and very windy.  We skied as much as we could tolerate, but the cold took its toll on the kids, and the winds took a toll on the lifts.  By 2:00, most lifts were closed for the day.  We used that as an excuse for a hot chocolate break and then a couple easy runs to end the weekend.  Most of my students are skiing all week this week, so they will have plenty of time to ski before I see them again.

Last night, I made it to CrossFit.  The workout included front squats, back squats, wall balls, kettlebell swings and burpees.  I felt pretty strong through the workout, even though my legs were a bit tired from the weekend.  The highlight was probably doing 65 total kettlebell swings with the 53# KBs.  This is the most reps I've done with the 53s so far.

We got home in time to watch a delayed broadcast of my (and my wife's) alma mater, Bucknell, beating Lehigh in basketball on TV.  This was good payback for a loss to Lehigh last month.  They are likely to meet one more time, in the Patriot League championship game in March.  Bucknell is 22-5, and they could be 27-5 going into that game.  If they lose, it will be interesting to see if they can get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

My senior year at Bucknell, I was the athletic trainer for the basketball team.  We went 24-5, losing a very close conference championship game to Rider.  I still swear an official swallowed a whistle and failed to call a horrible over-the-back foul that would have given us a chance to win.  At 24-5, we had the best record of any team in division 1 that did not go to the NCAA tourney.  But even that wasn't good enough for an NIT invite.  This year's team is probably better than the 1983-1984 team, but they will probably have to win out to get to the NCAA tournament.  Once there, they are certainly capable of winning a game or two.  In the past, they have beaten Kansas and Arkansas in the tournament, and last year, Lehigh took out Duke.  The Patriot League isn't the pushover it was 15 years ago.

Tonight, after work, it's CrossFit time again.  My wife has plans to meet some friends for dinner, so I'll go alone, but I did that for quite a while before my wife joined the gym.  I really enjoy doing the workouts with my wife and then talking about them on the way home at the end of the day.  I will miss that tonight.  Then, I'll drive home, cook dinner, eat, fall asleep, and get up in the morning to do it all over again.

It may be predictable, but it's a pretty good life.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Three days of skiing

While the monster snowstorm known as Nemo was pummeling other parts of New England, it mostly missed the area where I live.  We got about 6 inches of snow from a separate storm before Nemo arrived, and then maybe 4 more inches of snow at my house.  Sugarbush was reporting 14" total from the two storms when I arrived at the mountain on Saturday morning.

With the new snow, the mountain was re-opening some natural snow trails that had been closed, and two friends and I headed for one of those trails first.  Despite the new snow, I thoroughly disliked the run we did. I bought a new pair of skis this season.  They are skis that are strong on hard snow, on ice, on groomers, on the race course, and they even do well in mixed snow - also known as "crud".  But, I simply find them too stiff in the bumps, especially harder bumps, and I don't like them in powder or trees.  I am currently looking around for a second ski to cover these other conditions.  I really struggled with those skis in that first run.

Anyway, as the day went on, I was happier with how my skis were performing.  It was only that first run where I was unhappy.  After a morning spent on natural snow bumps and in some easy trees, I got permission from my boss for my group to hike from the top of an open lift to the top of a closed lift.  The runs at the closed lift were open to skiing, but the lift was not running.  I am guessing that ski patrol and mountain ops knew that if the lift was open, the snow would get destroyed by the high traffic it would see.

Most of my group were enthusiastic about the mile-long trek on the Long Trail to get to the Castlerock portion of Sugarbush.  It took longer than I expected, but the trip went without incident.  Here is a photo of my group posing at the top of a rock along the Long Trail:

After hiking for an hour or so, we re-grouped and prepared to ski a trail called Middle Earth.  Partway down Middle Earth, the students wanted to stop at another vista and play for a while, which I let them do.  They spent time exploring "tree wells", which form when small coniferous trees manage to create air pockets where you would expect to find snow.  Falling into a tree well, especially upside-down is fairly dangerous.  It can be tough to get out of tree well on your own, and if you move too much snow around, you can actually drop the snow onto your head in the tree well and suffocate.  It's not a common occurrence, but at least one skier in the U.S. died this way at White Pass ski area last season.  In the photo below, the boys on the right are poking around in some tree wells:
After exploring for a while, we headed down Middle Earth - our best ski run of the day.

On Sunday, things had changed at the mountain.  The fresh snows from the day before had "set up", and many natural snow trails were no longer fun.  Even some of the easy tree runs had deteriorated, leaving us with fewer skiing options.

But, we managed to have fun.  We did some racing, we skied a few natural bump runs, and we skied some steep terrain that proved somewhat challenging.  To end the day, we worked on jumping techniques for a while.

On Monday, I was able to confirm that I would get to ski all day on Tuesday with a friend from out of state. So, I took Monday as a rest day, knowing that a full day of skiing with an expert skier who is also an ultra-marathon runner would be challenging.

And then, it rained on Monday night.  My wife and I had visited some friends for dinner after work, and a drive home that would normally take no more than an hour took three full hours, including 75 minutes parked on an interstate that was completely iced up.

We were supposed to see some snow on Tuesday, but I wondered if the mountain would be bulletproof ice after the rain on Monday night.  What we found was a mixed bag.  Trails that were groomed Monday evening before the rain were fairly slick.  Trails groomed Tuesday morning were choppy at places, but fairly nice.  The upper mountain had been spared most of the rain, and there were even pockets of snow.  Lower mountain terrain that had not been groomed at all mostly fell into the spectrum of "not fun" to "downright scary".  We did one run on a lower mountain, natural snow bump run.  Without a doubt, it was the least fun ski run I've had in years.  But, at the summit, we found a couple inches of windblown powder in a bump line on a double black run and we had a blast there.  We made about half a dozen trips to the summit and skied every snow-making trail that was open on that side of the mountain.  By the time we called it a day, we had skied close to 30,000 vertical feet in one day - the most I've done in a day this year.  Before I became an instructor, I skied that many vertical feet nearly every time I skied, but it's rare to ski that many runs these day.

So, we had a day of powder and packed powder, a day of mixed conditions, and a day of firm conditions.  With warm weather expected today and Friday, Saturday will probably start out firm and fast.  But, we may get up to 6" of snow during the day on Saturday.  And then, starting on the 19th, we enter a period of unsettled weather that may produce three big storms in rapid succession.  That would help the mountains in the northeast tremendously.

Friday, February 8, 2013

That was unexpected

I was dreading CrossFit last night.  After a poor workout on Wednesday and feeling completely beat up and exhausted, how could Thursday be any better?

But, I knew that with a winter storm today, I would be working from home and would have no chance to get to CF.  Plus, I need today as a rest day before what will certainly be a challenging skiing weekend.

The main part of the workout last night looked tough and the times on the board from earlier classes confirmed that it was a longer than average workout.

We started with push presses at 5x5.  Normally, I would do these at about 135 pounds, but to take it easy on my shoulder, I did them at 115 instead.  This still felt tougher than I expected, but my form was good on the reps and I got through it just fine.

Then, came the main workout:

4 rounds, as quickly as possible:
20 ball slams
30 kettlebell high pulls
40 sit-ups

A ball slam is a simple movement.  Squat to a sand filled ball (30 pounds for me last night), pick it up and lift it overhead and slam it back to the ground.  Repeat.  These aren't difficult most of the time.

The kettlebell high pull is a movement where skill is a big factor.  Essentially, you stand in a sumo stance and pull the kettlebell from the ground to your chin.  If you simply pull straight up, you will fry your arms quickly.  If, however, you put the kettlebell on the floor six inches behind the default position, you can use a hip extension to launch the kettlebell almost like in a kettlebell swing, and the movement is driven from your legs and hips and not just arms.  In the first round, I used my arms too much and couldn't do more than 10 without resting.  By the third round, I had the technique down and I was able to do up to 20 uninterrupted reps.

And sit-ups - well, they are sit-ups.  My biggest concern on high rep sit-up workouts is getting ab muscle cramps that will slow me down.  But, no such problem last night, and I was able to do all four sets with no rest at all.

Looking at the boards and the times posted by others earlier in the day, I figured I'd be around 21 minutes and it would be a miracle if I got under 20.  But, I felt strong the entire workout and got an 18:13.  I was very surprised and very happy.

Today is a rest day while it snows like crazy outside.  The storm isn't going to hit us nearly as hard as to the south and east of us, but we will still get a fair amount of snow today and tonight.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Beaten Up by CrossFit

In the past couple weeks, as my weight has dropped a bit, my shoulder has felt better, and I recovered from a head cold, I've had some really good workouts.  I had an amazing workout last Tuesday.

This past Monday, we started with Olympic lifts and then the main workout was a ladder of burpees and power cleans:

10 minutes, as many reps as possible:
3 power cleans
3 burpees (jump over barbell after each burpee)
6 power cleans
6 burpees
9 power cleans
9 burpees

I was amazed to finish the round of 15 and get in 7 more power cleans.  I felt strong for the entire workout.

Tuesday, we started with back squats and front squats.  After doing an intense squatting cycle last summer and into September, I've backed off on the weight for my squats recently.  But Tuesday night, I did sets of 6 at 225, 245, 265, and 275.  The last set surprised me a lot; I simply felt strong.  When I started CrossFit, my one-rep max was 265 and it's now 365, so 6 x 275 shouldn't be a killer, but it was almost easy.

After the squats, we had an unusual main workout:

12 minutes, as many reps as possible:
30 front squats
40 toes to bar (I do knee-ups hanging from the bar to protect my shoulder)
50 kettlebell swings
100 single unders
50 tuck jumps

I used 95# for the front squats, and a 53# kettlebell.  The 100 double-unders and 50 tuck jumps were a substitute for 100 double-unders.  My double-unders are improving, but I'm nowhere close to doing 100 of them in a workout.

Now, the interesting thing about this workout, is that we would normally do something like this "as quickly as possible", not "as many reps as possible".   Looking at the workout, I wasn't sure if I could even finish one round in 12 minutes, but I made that my goal.  Again, I felt fairly strong, and I made one round plus one rep. Interestingly, my wife, working out right beside me, also did exactly one round and one rep.

After the workout, I added 5x5 of pull-ups on the minute.

After two good workouts, I was excited to get to the gym last night.  During the warm-up, we did some overhead squats holding a PVC pipe.  Just that movement told me that my legs were still feeling the effects of the squats the night before.  I was suddenly worried about the tough workout on the board.

We started with power snatches and clean and jerks.  Five single reps of each at 80% of our one rep max.  That was pretty easy.  Then, the main workout:

3 rounds, as quickly as possible:
30 pull-ups
30 deadlifts (relatively light weight)
30 box jumps

I used assistance bands for the pull-ups.  I used 115# for the deadlifts and this felt surprisingly difficult.  As I started the first round of box jumps, I was really worried.  I almost missed half of the first 10.  Missing a box jump usually leads to bruised and bloodied shin, or even worse, a fall onto a hand or wrist that could be disastrous.  By the time I'd gotten through the 30 box jumps, I was convinced that finishing the workout as defined was going to be dangerous.  My legs were simply too tired.  I almost decided to do two additional rounds of 30/30/15.  I even thought about two more rounds of 15/15/15.  Finally, I decided to simply switch the box jumps to step-ups and do all the reps.

On the third round, near the end of the pull-ups, I was doing mini-sets of only 2 or 3 reps.  But, I finished.  I did the last round of deadlifts as sets of 14, 9 and 7.  And, I got through the step-ups.  Total time was 19:01 and I was fried.

I drank as much water on the way home as I could.  My wife agreed to cook dinner after I drove us home.  I fell asleep on the couch before dinner was ready.  I think I was asleep by 8:15.  I woke up to eat some dinner and headed to bed.  I did get close to 10 hours of sleep, which certainly helped.

But, we have another tough workout tonight.  Tomorrow is a rest day, with a big snowstorm due during the day and I need some rest before skiing in (hopefully) deep new snow on Saturday.  I just have to get through tonight somehow.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Shoulder again

So, I had a cortisone shot in the AC joint of my left shoulder last Thursday.  I was instructed to take two rest days and not lift before Monday.  I was allowed to ski "as long as you don't fall on the shoulder".  Luckily, I managed to ski the entire weekend without falling at all.

Part of that was due to snow conditions, which kept me out of the really difficult terrain.  On Saturday, we had a cold day and due to the recent rain and freeze-up, every natural snow trail was closed.  Every snow-making trail was open, and with one exception, they were all groomed.  The one exception was a double-black run called Stein's Run, which was being used for a freestyle bumps competition.  I had one student in the comp, so we skied Steins twice on Saturday.  The snow-makers had made a lot of snow on the trail, and the first run was fairly pleasant.  By the time we returned, a lot of the new snow had been scraped away to reveal blue rock-hard moguls.  These were not fun to ski and my students insisted we not return.  So, I took them to Ripcord instead - a very steep double-black run that was groomed completely flat.  I wanted to work on tactics with them.  On steep ice, skiers tend to get defensive, and use techniques known as pivot slips or side slips.  The skier often feels out of control as speeds increase.  Instead, I wanted my group to spend time turning on the steep ice.  I wanted them to pretend the ice wasn't there.  I demo'd what I wanted them to do and then watched.  Half of them seemed to get it immediately.  The other half panicked, got defensive, picked up speed, and managed to prove the point of the lesson.  I will admit that I had a huge advantage over my students.  I am on fairly new skis and they'd just been tuned.  And my ski is particularly strong on ice compared to many other brands.

Some of the students needed sharper edges.  Or they might have done better with newer or higher performance skis.  But, in every case, I think the point of the lesson was driven home by their experience.  If they did what I asked, they felt in control.  If they didn't do what I asked, they didn't have fun.  But, they are mostly 12 years old.  Will the lesson stick?

On Saturday, the snow-makers were very busy and that continued into Sunday.  With a big holiday period arriving soon, and two distinct January thaws this season, our snow depths are well below normal and a lot of the closed trails are covered by a thin layer of bulletproof moguls.  The snow-makers did a fantastic job this past weekend and we had all kinds of "features" to play with on Sunday.  The kids spent most of the day jumping off of and over these features, with some of them working on 180s and 360s.  The day was warmer than many recent ski days and we skied a lot of runs.  All in all, it was a really fun day.

On Monday, I was able to return to lifting, but I was nervous.  By this point in time, the shoulder felt much, much better, and I'd slept through the night for four straight nights.  The workout included snatches and clean and jerks - two lifts that involve a barbell overhead.  I kept the weights light, although a bit higher than the previous week, and got through the workout mostly unscathed.  There was no pain, but the shoulder did seem a bit "angry" after the workout.  Nonetheless, I slept through the night without pain and felt better yesterday.

Yesterday's CrossFit workout didn't really hit the shoulders much, so I got through it OK, even though it was a difficult workout.

Tonight, we have Olympic lifts in the workout again, but I'm going to back off on the weights again.  Having the shoulder heal completely is way more important than any weight I can manage to put overhead in any one workout.               

Friday, February 1, 2013

Shoulder update

Not long after I posted last week that I was going to stick with just the chiropractor for my left shoulder problem, I changed my mind.  We have a very good non-surgical sports med doc in my region, and he has helped me with a variety of injuries over the past few years.

I explained to the nurse when I called that I hadn't had a decent night of sleep in weeks.  Normally, it can take 4-6 weeks to get an appointment with this doctor, but after I brought up the lack of sleep, they got me an appointment within a week and I saw him yesterday.

Things went very much as I expected.  X-rays first, even though I was fairly sure they would show nothing..

Then, a physical exam that pushed both arms through a range of motions and strength tests.  My strength and mobility were fine, but I did have pain on some of the movements.  The tell-tale sign was my complete failure of something called the Hawkins Test (also called the Hawkins-Kennedy test).  This indicates an impingement in the shoulder, particularly the AC joint, where my pain has been centered.  I also passed a test that is used to detect arthritic degradation in the joint, which was reassuring.

Next, the doc looked at both shoulders using an ultrasound machine.  The bursa on the injured shoulder was clearly inflamed.

He guessed that I'd done something very minor to the shoulder - something that I don't even remember.  That minor tweak essentially led to some inflammation, and after that, everything I was doing, even if it was pain free, was continuing to irritate the bursa.  When the bursa swells, there isn't enough room for the tendons to move freely, creating the impingement syndrome.  He described it as a classic case and said that cortisone is the best option.  I'm not crazy about cortisone, but it is a very powerful localized anti-inflammatory.  He injected the cortisone with some lidocaine.  He wanted to be sure that the first shot removed all the pain.  If I still had pain after the first shot, he would do a second at a slightly different location.

But, the first shot took care of the pain immediately.  As the lidocaine wore off, I felt a little soreness, but nothing bad.  Cortisone typically takes about 36 hours to do its job.  However, I slept pain-free last night for the first time in six or so weeks.  It feels like a miracle.

I had to promise no workouts at all yesterday and today.  I'm allowed to ski this weekend and I can return to lifting on Monday.

I will continue to work with the chiropractor and do a lot of foam rolling and mobility work.  I think that this will reduce the risk of injury in the future, especially when doing Olympic lifting.

Because I felt better today, I (perhaps foolishly) signed up for the CrossFit games this year.  It only costs $20 to enter.  For five consecutive weeks, you do a workout in your own gym, and record the results at the main CF web site.  For younger athletes who qualify, the next step is a regional competition in Boston before the finals in California.

For an old athlete like me, the five workouts are the qualifiers to go to CA.  Now, there is no way I will be one of those athletes going to CA.  Perhaps if they'd had  an "old, fat, beat-up ex-ultra-marathon runner category, I'd be able to qualify, but I wouldn't bet even on that.

Oh yeah, I've completely given up wheat so far this year.  As usual, I'm eating very little sugar and fruit.  I am having some white rice and potatoes for carbs after CF workouts, but not a lot of them.  Since the first of the year, I've lost about ten pounds.  I'm almost back to weight I was at when I started using testosterone, but my body composition is much improved.  I still have some body fat to lose,  but I'm hopeful that I'll get down to 90kg in time for a power lifting meet later this year.  Ultimately, I'd like to get back to about 190 pounds.  I spent most of my running career in the 168-180 pound range, but I've got more muscle mass these days, so 190 pounds should have me fairly lean, if I can get there.