Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Improving Week by Week

OK, first the obligatory whining.  It's always something.  I have noticed in my workouts the past couple weeks that running is somewhat painful.  It seems to be in the area where my psoas muscle was removed.  Wearing high quality compression gear doesn't seem to help like it did before my latest surgery.

Monday night's workout had 3 x 400m runs as part of the workout, and by the third 400, I was reduced to walking part of it due to pain.  I told my wife that I'm really glad right now that I don't consider myself to be an ultrarunner any more.  If so, this pain would be a lot more worrisome.

Also, I'm still less than 10 weeks removed from major abdominal surgery.  I'm still healing.

And, my favorite physical therapist is on the DL, after two knee surgeries.  She helped me with rehab after the first surgery that removed some of the psoas.  I'm sure she could help me this time, but she's not working right now.  Hopefully, she will be back at work fairly soon.

But, other than that issue, things are going well.

My first week at CrossFit, I accidentally trashed my legs so badly that I could barely walk for a week.  The next week, I had to change the workout on Monday to avoid squats, but I made it to the gym 4 times that week.  My plan was no more than 3x per week until at least September.

Last week, I made it 4 times again.  I've been doing Olympic lifting twice per week, which is huge for me.  For a while, I'd sort of backed off on Oly lifting.  Mobility issues were limiting my progress, and I injured my shoulder doing snatches a few years ago.  Fear of re-injuring the shoulder led to me limiting what I did, rather than adapting by changing the amount of weight on the bar.

This time, I'm keeping the weights light, and treating it as a cross between mobility work and strength work.  I'm doing the Oly lifts fairly lightly, but it's heavy enough to create some stimulus.  And, when it comes time to do full depth snatches, overhead squats, or split jerks, I'm not backing down.  I'm doing the movements as written by the coach.

Currently, I've done 11 CrossFit workouts in the past 23 days, which is about average for me when I'm healthy.  I try to average 3-4 days per week.  I usually end up averaging 3 days per week for the entire year, but I have plenty of weeks where I'm there 4 times.

I am going to miss 2 days this week due to a day off work tomorrow and a trip out of town.  But, everything is moving in the right direction.  I'm sore and I'm tired, and I have some pain, but I'm not hurt.

Each week seems better than the last.

It is a bit frustrating to finish last in every single workout.  That's just where I am right now.  I'm older than most people in the gym.  I missed almost two entire months after surgery.  I had cut back on workout intensity for a few months before surgery due to side effects from chemo.  So, I'm older than most, I'm a cancer patient, my workouts have been limited, and I'm finishing last in the workouts.

People in the gym aren't having any of my whining.  They think I'm a hero just for being there after all I've been through.  They see me working hard, and that's good enough for them.  I have to let it be good enough for me as well.

The same attitude that carried me through so many marathons and ultras is now carrying me through this.  I'm just not ready to quit yet.  I still have so many things I'd like to accomplish, and my training in the gym is essential to most everything else I want to do with my life.

Monday, August 7, 2017

How did that happen?

Last week was week #2 in my return to CrossFit.  My plan was to go on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and to go at about 60% effort.

On Monday, because of a squat workout the previous Monday, my hamstrings were very tender.  I thought I was at risk of pulling a hamstring if I squatted, so I did bench presses instead.  Then, there were burpees in the main workout, and I'm not quite ready for them either.  So, I improvised and did 3 rounds of run 400 meters followed by 10 push-ups.  I have run very little since my surgery and it's still uncomfortable, but I need to just do it.  I bought some new compression shirts last week, and I'm hoping they will help with running, and make box jumps and burpees possible again.

I was going to skip Tuesday, but somehow, I ended up at the gym and decided to do the workout.  We started out with a 21 minute "every minute on the minute" snatch and overhead squat work.  We did three different complexes, each one 7 times.  I kept the weight light and got through it OK.  Then we did 10 minutes of air squats, knee-ups, and dumbells from the shoulder to overhead.

Wednesday, I was back again.  It was our wedding anniversary and we had a dinner reservation, so we went to the earlier class than normal, and it was hot.  We were working out in some of the worst heat of the day.

This workout, despite the fact that I scaled it quite a bit, was simply one of the toughest workouts I've ever done at CrossFit.  Every five minutes, I ran 200 meters, did 3 pull-ups, 6 push-ups, 9 air squats and 5 barbell push presses.  I then got to rest for the remainder of the 5 minutes.  In the first round, the work took me 3 minutes and I rested for 2.  But, I got slower each round and it took me 4 minutes to do the work in the last round.

But, we weren't done there.  At the 30 minute mark, we started an up ladder of kettlebell swings and box jumps (I did box step-ups).  It was 3 reps of each the first round, then 6, 9, etc.  I was so exhausted from the first 30 minutes that I simply could not go straight through.  I saw some really strong athletes resting during this part of the workout, so I didn't feel too bad.  But, it took a lot out of me.

On Thursday, thankfully, we took a rest day.

On Friday, we did clean and jerk complexes, similar to Tuesday, in an EMOTM style.  Then, 8 minutes of rope jumping and wall balls.  By the time we finished, the fatigue from the week was pretty intense.

On Saturday, my wife and I got to the farmer's market early.  We shopped there, hit the supermarket, and once we got home, I spent the entire day cooking a nice meal as a belated anniversary dinner.  We had gone out for dinner on our anniversary, but the meal was disappointing.  So, I wanted to make up for that.

I had some really nice wines planned for dinner, but the entire week kind of caught up with me by the time I was done cooking.  I had been trying to stay away from pain medicine, not wanting to mix pain meds and alcohol, but eventually, the effort of the day was too much, and I needed some pain meds.  I had a little bit of wine, and my wife enjoyed some, but we never got around to opening the bottle I really wanted to drink - an Hermitage La Chapelle from 1990.  So, we saved that one for another day.

I was much happier before this cancer stuff, when I took no pain meds and I could have a drink without having to worry about the two interacting.  I simply need to be more careful these days, and I need to accept that my body can't do right now what it could do 3 years ago.  If I'm lucky with my next few scans and I keep working hard in the gym, maybe I can reverse some of this.