Bear Complex (in Rehab)

Work out this morning: 5 rounds of 7 reps of “the bear complex” (Power Clean, Front Squat, Push Press, Back Squat, Push Press), with 500 meter rowing “buy out” at the end. Not for time. I went light and very fast on the reps, but took plenty of rest (2-3 minutes) between rounds (rehabbing my left shoulder): 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 lbs. These were done rapidly, as: squat clean, thruster, back squat directly into push press (a back thruster?). I finished before everybody else, rested, and then rowed. I took the row easy. Slow rate: throughout I kept my strokes per minute at about 22. Built speed: I warmed up for the first 100 meters, then brought the splits down from my warm-up speed of about 2:05 to about 1:40 at the lowest; last 300 meters averaged 1:44 or so; total 500 time about 1:55, I think (I didn’t notice the end time; I actually rowed about 550 meters). I was not trying for my best time.

Shoulder Rehab

Thursday AM: Session with Corey at Stay Active Clinic. Rehabbing this acute flare up of my chronic shoulder -itis in the left shoulder.

Warm-Up: Double Unders, OHS pose, foot work, dislocates, mobility, foot work, push-ups (15), OHS (10), Pull-Ups (7, blue band, strict, C2B), TGU sit-ups (10 per side, 20 lbs).

Strength: Shoulder Press 8 x 3 @ 45s w/ 60% of 5 RM (70 lbs). Felt left shoulder discomfort throughout.

Manual Therapy: Corey worked on my left shoulder. It rocked. He relieved like 75% of the pain in the shoulder in about 15 minutes. I’m on the road to recovery.

I’m going to continue to back it off this week, on Friday and Saturday.

Over the Hump

Sometimes, it’s best to leave some fuel in the tank. I felt fantastic after Wednesday morning’s WOD, for two simple reasons. (1) I’d had enough sleep. (2) I knew that I needed a “back off” day and so I took it. I didn’t aggravate anything. Did nothing spectacular, worked nothing too hard, made no new PRs. I went light, I went fast. I had lots left over. And that, my friends, feels awesome today.

Running Ragged

In an ideal world the body responds to stress stimuli by getting stronger and faster. But bodily recovery requires adequate time, plenty of rest, and good nutrition. Although I really do understand how important these concepts are, the reality is that quite often, I don’t give myself what I need for proper recovery. But being almost 42 years old, and basically a desk monkey, if I don’t allow for recovery, I really start to feel it.

That’s definitely been true for me recently. I’ve been pushing it a bit hard for more than two weeks, and by Monday of this week, I was done.

What have I done? Over the past two and a half weeks, before Wednesday: I ran the Asheville Half Marathon (18 days ago on 9/18); set new strength PRs in Hang Clean (9/25), Overhead Squat (9/27), Push Press (9/29), and Front Squat (10/5); completed two 5k distance sprint workouts (9/25 & 10/2); and did seven Met-Con WODs (the 22nd, 24th, 25th, 27th, 29th, 2nd, and 4th). Holy shit.

During this past Saturday’s post sprint workout WOD (also a sprint workout), pain in my leg led me to a disappointing DNF. Then on Monday, although I got a satisfying new PR in Front Squat, some left shoulder pain — a flare up of a long-term low grade injury — hampered me in the WOD and I had a slow and not fun workout. To make matters worse, on Monday, I had new and different (meniscus) pain in my left knee. Altogether, I was bumming. It’s amazing what small bodily pains can do to you, spiritually. They really drag you down. I felt like I was at the bottom of a hole, physically speaking.

So, what did I do? I happy and proud to say I got smart.

I slept in on Tuesday, skipping a strength WOD. Extra rest day! That left me feeling better, in spite of that pain in my shoulder and knee persisting through the day and seemingly not responding to the mobility work I kept stopping to do. And then, going in to today, Wednesday, I got plenty of sleep. I warmed up, then took it easy in both the strength/skill work and in the WOD.

And the result was: I feel great. I feel awesome. I am over the hump. I am out of the hole. I may take another day of lighter, faster work, or not. But I have definitely proven to myself that self-scaling, taking extra rest and rolling back the effort, is an effective means to aid in efforts to recover.

WOD Notes

Warm-up was as usual. Skill work was box-jumping drills of various kinds… fun, and not too difficult. A good thing for me. I didn’t push these too hard, being sensitive about my knees. Then the WOD was 5 rounds for time of 200m runs and 25 KB swings. Instead of pushing through with a 53 lb KB (which I know I can do), I went super light, with a 26 lb KB. I stayed in control, went fast as I could. I was light on my feet during the sprints, and moved quickly and stayed tight with the KB. Time: 9:53. My buddies who gave me shit for going light on the KB were finishing a minute to three minutes behind me. I felt glad to be taking care of myself. I was super stoked to have no pain during the runs and to feel no strain in my left shoulder during the KB swings, and … that is all.

Nutritionists Question 2010 Govt. Dietary Guidelines

Hite, Feinman, et al., “In the face of contradictory evidence: Report of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee,” Nutrition 26:10 (2010) 915–924. [See ONLINE ABSTRACT and FULL TEXT].

The original Dietary Guidelines for Americans were produced in the 1970’s and were the first government sanctioned nutritional directives published in America. Under the influence of Ancel Keys’ studies of cholesterol and cardiovascular disease (CVD), these guidelines promoted the dubious concept that all dietary fats lead to excess accumulation of body fat and contribute to heart disease. In response to what was billed as a looming crisis of heart disease in America, the document promoted the replacement of dietary fats with dietary carbohydrates: the original low-fat, high-carb diet was born. Rib eyes were out; bagels were in.

When it became widely known that the government was sponsoring a full scale year 2010 update of these Dietary Guidelines For Americans, a storm of controversy ensued. To the members of the various camps of contrarian, alternative, whole-food based, low-carb, high-fat, and paleo diet promoters, it quickly became apparent that the government was going to engage in a blame the victim exercise of reiteration. The publication history of the scientists involved in the rewrite seemed to indicate that the report would likely represent the interests of pharmaceutical and big-agriculture companies. What it would likely not do was represent the spectrum of debate and uncertainty present among endocrinologists, cardiologists, and the modern science of metabolism and nutrition.

When the guidelines were actually published, in July 2010, it was clear to the contrarians that their worst fears had been realized. The guidelines had ignored 30 years of science, and reiterated warnings against saturated fats, although the science on these fats and their relationship to cardiovascular disease has literally transformed in the decades since the original guidelines were published. They reiterated the call to replace saturated fats in the diet with carbohydrates and polyunsaturated fats, in spite of the fact that Americans are literally besieged by masses of processed “food” products that are adulterated with obesogenic refined carbohydrates (especially sugar, HCFS, wheat flour and corn starch) and pro-inflammatory Omega-6 rich vegetable oils (soybean, corn, etc.) The guidelines did not adequately address the risks of the current dietary practices of Americans, in spite of rising rates of obesity, type II diabetes, and generalized metabolic syndrome. Fat gets demonized; cheap and ubiquitous sugar gets a “it’s fine in moderation” pass.

Americans, who are already obsessed with eating low-fat and low-calorie, and who are willing to purchase anything labeled as “natural” or “organic” as long as it it doesn’t contain “fat,” were essentially going to be told that for 30+ years they had simply failed to implement the earlier guidelines… and that was why they were getting fat and sick. Blame the victim.

Academic nutritionists, however, have not been silent about this travesty of public policy. In this recent issue of the journal Nutrition, prominent nutritionists from Chapel Hill, SUNY, and other schools pick apart the recent guidelines and devastate their claims to be based on an impartial review of the science of nutrition.

How long will Americans continue to be made the victims of bad, incomplete, politicized, economically driven government science?

Read the article, linked above, and let me know what you think.

Front Squat PR and Ugly Dream

Front Squat new 5 rep max: 5 x 85 / 3 x 115 / 1 x 145 / 5 x 155 (PR). During the “DreamWorld” workout (15-12-9 of Power Clean and Jerks / Burpees) slow progress and my complaining of a tweaked out left shoulder led Shanna to drop down my weights; so: round 1 at 110#, rounds 2-3 at 95#, time: still 9:30+ (I can’t exactly remember). I finished but it wasn’t pretty. I felt like dying right afterward. I thank my comrades for help during the last round of burpees, the lone shining moment in an ugly dream.

So, the morning was good and bad. Who can say, exactly? Warm-up was ok. Then it felt good to start out the week, like last week, with a new PR. (We’ll be working on the Front Squat every Monday for 8 weeks now, I’m told, so next week my new PR won’t come until Tuesday or Wednesday. :-0) Those Front Squats felt pretty damn good. It made me thankful to have been working the lift weekly for the past five weeks before today.

But then, it felt humbling to have shoulder pain (actually, a feeling of looseness, or weakness rather than pain, strictly speaking; actually I think it was what should be called an impingement) hold me back and bring me down on the MetCon. Now I’m going to have to baby my shoulder for a while.

It’s always something. Fracking old body always falling apart. Probably if my sleep had been less disturbed I wouldn’t have had any problems.

Sunday Weigh-In

Apparently not a good week for me, body composition wise. It’s very hard to tell, but one thing I notice is that, once again, I wasn’t able to observe a 14% reading. So I have apparently gained a bit of fat in the past two weeks.

Weight Measurements Sunday Oct. 3rd 2010
Weight Observed Body Fat % Implied Fat Mass Implied Lean Mass Comment
182 lbs 16% 29.5 lbs 152.5 lbs Also saw 17% at this weight (in AM); also saw 181 and 180.5 at 16% percent.
182 lbs 15% 27.5 lbs 154.5 lbs Best data point for day, not too bad compared to last week’s data point (which was an outlier).

Although I was well hydrated and rested, and ate light all day, while staying active doing chores and yard work, I could not get a lower BF % reading. Implies a net gain in fat over the past few weeks.

5k sprint/walk and DNF Fragmented Helen

Doubled Up on Saturday morning, first, before 6:00 am I moved 5k in Montford, doing 60s sprints with 180s walking recovery; 10 rounds of Sprints and 9+ walks, total time 38:13. Then, to CFA 7:30 class for Pose Running drills and a partial “Fragmented Helen.”

5k “Montford Crawl” Sprint/Walk

I started out the day super early, finding myself awake and unhappy about it by 4:45 am. It was a crappy night of broken sleep but I was excited to repeat the 5k course I did last week, using a slightly different interval tempo for my sprints with walking recovery: max effort sprint for 60s @ 240s intervals for 5k distance:


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Result: 10 sprints (at 0, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36 mins), 38:13 total time

I had no pain this time (except for a little painful fatigue in my left hip flexor), which was very unlike last time, and I made up considerable time. I was about 3 minutes ahead of where I was last week as I rounded the corner onto Courtland from Pearson (and didn’t have to stop sprinting from pain in my knee at that point, thank God).

I was highly conscious of following true “pose” running techniques throughout the workout… a technique made more likely and necessary given that I was, as last week, wearing Vibram Five Fingers. I was really pleased not to face the kind of pain I had last week.

And finally, also, my overall time was a full 6:32 shorter. Which was really great. Of course, I totally walked for the final several intervals last time.

I felt really good during this workout. Although my sleep had been disturbed (children, and just a bit too much alcohol the night before), and although I was technically in a fasted state (about 10 hours since my last food), my body really was doing great. I was not “completely” fasted because I used a scoop and a half of “Purple Wraath” BCAAs. I had no problems with energy level or discomfort of any kind. Which is good to know.

After the sprints I had another scoop and a half of “Purple Wraath” and a scoop of “Jack3d” before heading to the 7:30 am workout at CFA.

A Running Focused Saturday AM CFA Session

I knew there would be trouble shortly after I arrived at CrossFit Asheville, and saw that the workout would focus on Pose Method sprint work for the Skills, and then a “Fragmented Helen,” i.e. a Helen with a rest period of 2 minutes between rounds. I had already put a lot of sprinting volume on my feet, ankles, calves, knees and hip-flexors that morning. It would be difficult to maintain pose form and not injure myself. But I was game; after all, all that was involved was some warming up and another 3/4 mile of sprinting.

Fragmented Helen: 3 rounds for time of:
400 meter sprint
21 Kettlebell Swings (53 lbs)
12 pull-ups

It didn’t go so well. The pose-techniques were fine. I really pushed it, taking advantage of my thorough work-out earlier which had accustomed me to going all out on the sprints. But during that first 400 meter run of Helen, I could tell that my knee wouldn’t last. By 300 meters I was in pain, the same pain in my right knee that ruined my Half Marathon and that stopped me last Saturday. I completed the first round just fine (especially the 21 consecutive KB swings, a great improvement over previous efforts at various permutations of Helen). But then, I had to bail at less than 100m into the next run. I walked back, did my swings and pull-ups, then stood around for a while, and then finishing out a third round of KB swings and pull-ups. I did not finish Helen, per se, and didn’t record a time.

The pain and stiffness in my joints was pretty much guaranteed from all of this. It felt good to work out hard, but was discouraging not to be able to finish the Helen.

Future Plans for Sprinting / 5k and Endurance Distance Work

Everything in these experiences comes down to my preparedness for endurance length running. I’m not prepared for it… I’m not prepared for any real volume in running or sprinting. But I have a plan for building capacity, and here it is.

Along the 5k route today I was planning my “moves” over the coming weeks. The goal here is to keep working on speed and endurance, while strengthening my “barefoot” running technique and building capacity to handle distance volume.

So here’s my schedule for the next few weeks. I think the pattern is pretty clear.

25% (1/4) sprinting:

10/9: max distance in 30s / 90s recovery (2 min intervals) for 5k.

33% (1/3) sprinting:

10/16 (in Rhode Island): max distance in 120s / 240s recovery (6 min intervals) for 5k.

10/23: max distance in 90s / 180s recovery (4.5 min intervals) for 5k.

10/30: max distance in 60s / 120s recovery (3 min intervals) for 5k.

11/6: Haywood Heroes 5k (Inaugural Race) in Canton: see race map and event page for details.

50% (1/2) sprinting:

11/13: max distance in 180s / 180s recovery (6 min intervals) for 5k.

11/20: max distance in 120s / 120s recovery (4 min intervals) for 5k.

11/27: max distance in 60s / 60s recovery (2 min intervals) for 5k.

12/4: Jingle Bell 5k in Montford: see event homepage.

After that point I plan to start alternating weeks between 10k distances using a “fartlek” methodology that will have me sprinting approximately 20% of the time, and while continuing my sprint training over 5k distances, cycling back through 25%, 33% and 50% sprinting vs. walking.

When I have cycled back through the sprint work on the 5k distances, I will have also done a few 10k distances, I plan to drop the 5k sprint work and switch to alternating between 10k and 15k distances on Saturday AMs, doing walking/sprint work on 10k distances and fartleks over 15k distances. By that time it should be summer.

This patter will continue over the summer until August, 6 weeks prior to the next half marathon, at which point I will add in one 5k sprint workout per week (Tuesday AMs) and continue to alternate between 10k and 15k on Saturdays, using a 20% sprinting fartlek method to build speed and capacity. Approaching the Saturday before the 2011 Half, I’ll do my 5k sprint work and my 10k on Saturday; then a 5k jog on Tuesday and nothing until the race.