so fracking busy

I’ve been so busy I haven’t updated the blog after the Carolina Fitness Challenge (but I tweeted that event unto death) or after Monday’s return to training.

And at the moment I am up way past my bedtime grading final exams and papers. That’ll will throw off tomorrow’s training schedule! (But not as much as a family vacation that’s coming soon.)

Some good news is that I’m keeping my intermittent fasts (14 hours Sunday to Monday; 16 hours from yesterday to today; doing 16-18 hours from today to tomorrow), and I was almost paleo today — that is, if you don’t count my corn chips at dinner and a single palliative/preventative postprandial ‘sky then I ate ‘paleo.’

The past few days I’ve been eating a really fine stew, by the way. I can’t wait to blog about “recovery stew.” It’s awesome.

Monday’s post-challenge movement

Monday AM, two days after the Carolina Fitness Challenge, although my health was a bit compromised from terrible sleep and questionable nutrition on Sunday, I showed up, and that says something. As is indicated in the comments to the day’s WOD posted on the CFA site, “I MOVED!” It makes me happy. It left me feeling happy to be alive.

It’s not important to note the specifics of the results of my Monday workout here. There was little that I did which might impact the overall direction of my training.

I did three sets of Hang Cleans at 95, and then over four sets I practiced the Clean at 115. (Total volume: 1,775).

And then I goofed around on WOD, going light with the dumbbells and focusing on form on the row, fun on the box jumps, and speed on the push-presses.

Carolina Fitness Challenge 2010

The results are here.

Here’s how I did:

Event 1:

AMRAP in 12 Minutes:
12 Burpees
12 Kettlebell Snatch (Men/Masters: 52lbs Women: 35lbs)
100m Farmer’s Carry (Men/Masters: 2x52lbs Women: 2x35lbs)

MY RESULTS ARE NOT F’IN LISTED.

Event 2:

Front Squat – 3RM

Master’s 4th place: 185 lbs

Event 3a:

For Time: Row 1250m

Master’s 2nd place: 4:27.1

Event 3b:

Immediately upon finishing the 1250m row, complete as many reps as possible in 3 minutes of:
Men: Muscle Ups
Masters/Women: Chest to bar pullups

Master’s 5th place: 14

Events 4a-d:

As many reps as possible in two minutes of each movement, with one minute rest in between. Movements may be done in any order.
Deadlifts (Men/Masters: 225lbs Women: 155lbs)
Box Jumps (Men/Masters: 24″ Women: 20″)
KB Swings (Men/Masters: 52lbs Women: 35lbs)
Double Unders

Deadlift: 21. Master’s 5th place.

Box Jumps: 38. Master’s 3rd place.

Double Unders: 36: Master’s 5th place.

KB Swings: 30: Master’s 5th place.

Overall Placement:

Master’s 5th place

psycho somatic

So, Wednesday am at the WOD I apparently tweaked something in my right shoulder. I felt a slight twinge right before the WOD but didn’t notice any real pain. All day long I was fine. The pain came on hours later.

Evening time I was cleaning up after dinner, I reached for something on the counter and *BAM* my shoulder lit up like a fuse on a stick of dynamite. I pressed on it, rolled on it, made war on it with a lacrosse ball. To no avail. In the middle of the night, when I had to get up to get my damn barking dog out of the back yard at two AM, it hurt even worse, if that is possible.

It hurt so bad I worried I’d torn something up. If so, very bad luck. But another part of me was thinking, the timing of this is all wrong. The Carolina Fitness Challenge in two days. Me recuperating from a cold. The WODs were just announced Wednesday evening. Could this all be in my mind?

Thursday morning I was going in to see Corey anyway. I would ask him. Maybe he could help me.

I got in to CrossFit Asheville/The Stay Active Clinic at about 6:15 am. To warm up I jumped rope (left calf still not better, damnit), and tried to practice double unders, which was rough at first but got better. I did some basic calisthenics, and I practiced the kettlebell snatch with the 53 pound KB. It took some getting used to but even with my smarting shoulder I could see I was going to be able to pull off the WODs on Saturday. The chest to bar kipping pull-ups, I wasn’t too sure of, though. One test rep hurt pretty bad. I decided to take my chances by leaving those alone.

Corey observed a snatch, and immediately did his customary simultaneous eye-twinkle smirk head shaking grimace thing — which let me know that, once again, my own psycho-poor mechanics could be the culprit in my suffering. He told me that my forward thrusting neck posture was likely to blame. “Finally catching up with you,” were his words.

This is a little mechanical issue I became aware of around the time I started to have the symptoms of Hyoid Bone syndrome (now in remission, thank God).

Basically, as I learned while Corey’s fingers were attempting to rip the cords of my neck out from under the skin, the tissues of the neck muscles are bound up with various nerves that wend their way down into the shoulder. Some kind of binding or impingement of nerves could be taking place, something that was basically due to poor coordination of shoulders, traps, lats, neck, and head.

His manual therapy exposed some really tightly bound tissues on the right side of my neck. We have work to do, and I have work to do, keeping my head and neck in proper alignment during work and play.

Did it work? Well, I had pain and tender tissue in my neck after he finished with me, but less pain in my shoulder. And things got better and better into the night.

I am hopeful.

Durham here I come.

ninjas getting ready…

At the 6:00 am workout with CFA this morning, the would be ninjas were preparing for Saturday’s contest in badassery

I was there, jack3d up and fed with my aminos and creatine and shit (that’s for you Brian). I also used a chemical sleep aid last night (zolpidem, but who’s counting) in an effort at least to ensure a few hours of consecutive Z’s. It worked, as did the chemical wake up, which was especially necessary in my groggy 5:20 am state. This shit ain’t paleo, of course; but, have you noticed it’s 2010? It’s not like I’m going to take a pill the night before the CFC.

(Also not paleo: last night’s dinner of three carne asada tacos on corn tortillas and tortilla chips with salsa at Tacqueria Fast, followed by gorging on holiday chocolate covered “european cookies” and thick gooey “dutch fudge;” but I weighed myself in yesterday morning at 179.5 and believe me I do NOT want to weigh less than this; I’d rather create an “anabolic” environment with a bit of an elevated insulin state, plus get the seratonin, leptin, etc., going, from the extra carb calories; would it have been better to gorge on meats? probably but right at the moment I’m not worried about any of that shit, I’m just trying to hang tight at right around 183 lbs. I don’t regret the sugar but I do regret the gluten.)

The workout…

Warm-Up: crawling, etc., mobility, dislocates, push-ups (plyometric, 20); pull-ups (dead hang, c2b, but with blue band, 10); hip extensions (12); front squats (light bar, about 11).

Strength: split squats; on floor (5 x leg); off of 20″ box (10 x leg); w/ 8 lbs DBs off box (10 x leg); w/ 10 lbs DBs off box (like, 5-8 per leg); w/ 20 lbs DBs (5 x leg).

WOD: “CFC Peeps” scaled version of “Ninja D”. 3 rounds for time of 5 Hang Power Cleans (w/ 115 lbs), 10 box jumps (24″ box). Result: 1:26. Heck yeah you read that right. I flew through this WOD, definitely finished first in the gym.

Lots of mobility working in there, between things, especially the lacrosse ball on my damn calf. Tonight it’s a full, Starret inspired mobility session, about 30 minutes, before bed. Certainly.

Time for more coffee.

in my prime

I’m excited to be one of what would appear to be nearly 200 competitors at the upcoming Carolina Fitness Challenge. I’m in the master’s category, athlete #201, and I’m one of the 5 over 40 athletes from CrossFit Asheville who are headed down to Durham this week. CFA is poised to dominate the master’s category, I think; we have 5/12 of the masters! We had better dominate.

I am not ashamed to say that I know from experience that at least 3 of those 5 CFA athletes are stronger and faster than me. And the other, well, he’ll give me a serious run for my money. Let’s just say that my goal is not so much “to win” but simply, to do my best.

In order to accomplish that, I’m going to have to do four things. (1) get some more sleep in the next few days. (2) kick this damn cold … runny nose, scratchy throat, inflamed bronchial tubes. (3) maximize my mobility and (4) hopefully in the process overcome residual soreness from my pulled left calf muscle. If I can’t do all four of these things, I won’t be fully in my prime this weekend.

Let me rephrase that. I want to be at 100% on Saturday. I am going to be at 100% this Saturday, thanks to mobility work, good nutrition, sleep, and rest.

sick day / light day

A second night of terrible sleep… J.Z. and I both have colds, so he kept waking up, as did I. And my cold is probably worse today than yesterday; I’m losing my voice, I have a scratchy throat and eyes, and runny nose. Damn.

At 5:15 my cell-phone alarm clock buzzed, and I turned it off. I didn’t mean to, but anyway I must have fallen back to sleep. That would have been fine; miss a workout for sleep? I would usually have no qualms about it, especially during this week, which is supposed to be light and restful prior to the Carolina Fitness Challenge. If you “accidentally” fail to wake up for your workout you probably need the sleep and recovery more than you need the training.

But I didn’t stay asleep. I woke back up at 5:44, feeling super uncomfortable, and not feeling like I was going to get right back to sleep. For about 2 minutes I contemplated what to do. I could tell I needed rest. But I also knew that some light movement would be good for the overall training regimen and for my immune system. I was awake, and I could just make it if I got going. So I did.

That’s how I found myself, only about 3 minutes late, warming up with the 6:00 am class at CFA.

Warm-up: crawling around, mobility work, calisthenics. Moderate pace.

Strength: dumbell shoulder press; Rx’d was five heavy sets of 8; I did three light sets of 8 (20s, 25s, 30s). Just go through the motions.

WOD was a 10 minute AMRAP; I did two rounds and then quit. The burning in my throat and lungs told me that it would have been wrong to keep going even if I wasn’t trying to take it easy. Rounds were 15 KBS, 10 Goblet Squats, 5 burpees. I used a 35 lb KB.

Some additional mobility work, socializing, and I went home just as usual.

I would call this a “sick day.”

body comp update

Body Measurements on Sunday, Dec. 5th, 2010
Weight Observed

Suprailiac Skinfold

Body Fat %

Fat Mass

Lean Mass

180.5 lbs

less than 6mm

less than 11.5%

less than 20.75 lbs

more than 159.75 lbs

In the past two weeks, since my last weigh-in, I appear to have lost 3.5 lbs, but I suspect most of this is the loss of water due to a return to a lower total carbohydrate intake. Also, I seriously doubt that I have lost all the lean mass I had apparently gained as of three weeks ago.

To me, what matters are the following observations.

My weight measurements may seem “volatile” lately but my average weight actually remains pretty stable. If you look at the average weight observed in any given calendar month, it gives a more realistic picture of the “changes.” Going into November there was a slight increase in my overall mass (both fat and lean), and since reaching a peak the week before Thanksgiving, I have dropped back down.

Aug: avg. weight 182. Sep: avg. weight 182. Oct: avg. weight 181.75. Nov: avg. weight 186. Dec: avg. weight: 180.5. 3 month moving average: Aug-Oct: 181.9. Sep-Nov: 183.25. Oct-Dec: 182.75.

Week to week, the raw numbers, combined with the (obviously imprecise) body fat % estimates that come from measuring my suprailiac skinfold, might make it seem like I am gaining and losing muscle mass at a kind of ridiculous pace. But that’s likely not very real. My skinfold measure has consistently hovered near 6mm, going above as my weight goes up and below as it goes down, which basically suggests that fat stores and hydration may vary but the underlying muscle mass is either stable or perhaps growing.

The best indicator of that is probably the fact that I have consistently hit new PRs week to week this fall; most recently, gaining three new PRs in the last week alone (Monday, PR in Back Squat; Wednesday, PR in Hang Power Clean; Saturday, PR in 5k run).

Slow and steady progress.

I remain fairly committed to the idea that if my weight remains stable over time (i.e. hovers between 180 and 185) while I make gains in strength and speed (and any other measures of fitness, such as acquisition of new skills or demonstrations of other physical feats), then that means I am either honing the neuromuscular system in a positive way or gaining muscle mass… or both. And that suits me well.

Jingle Bell 5k

On Saturday morning, Dec. 4th, I ran the Jingle Bell 5k. Awesome!

To save time here, I’ll just piggy back on the post I put up over at the CFA website. Follow the link to see links to team results, official results, etc.

To make things simple, let me say this: awesome run, fun times hanging out with my CFA peeps (and Jody Kuhne). A new PR on the 5k in my Vibram Five Fingers. Cold as shit.

I hurt my left calf during the run but I kept pressing on it. Probably not a good idea but I so wanted that PR! And I got it. Plus agony in the calf. Hopefully that will clear up fast. I’ve been rolling it, massaging it, etc. Corey says not to stretch it. So I won’t.

The central nervous system stress that came from this new PR was totally tangible for me. I had a sleepless night, or rather a night of constantly broken sleep in short periods. I kept waking up with a racing heart following scary nightmare/stress/fight or flight dreams (invaders, stabbed in the stomach, people chasing me, whatever). I should have stuck to the plan and not had alcohol this weekend. Also, CNS stress and bad nutritional choices contributed to a budding cold. Now I got a runny nose, scratchy throat, red eyes. This BETTER clear up in a day or two. I gotta be at 100% in just under a week, for the Carolina Fitness Challenge in Durham.

Result: 21:30.7 (PR); 1st in age group (40-44); 10th overall (out of 210).

And… I wore a santa hat and jingle bells on my fracking VFFs. F-you if you don’t like Christmas. (Thanks to Yoke Bost for the link).

Double Unders, Virtual Shoveling, and Push-Ups

I made it to Friday’s Workout at CFA, but I took it pretty easy and don’t really have any significant results to report.

When I saw that the skill was double unders, I thought, yeah, I can work on that. And I did. I suck at double unders. Gotta get better! A new year’s resolution I think. I probably won’t get them nailed down before next Saturday at the Carolina Fitness Challenge.

Then, when I saw that the WOD was “Virtual Shoveling” (30, 25, 20, 15, 10, 5 of Virtual Shoveling and Push-Ups), I about shit my pants. We did that workout on January 14th, 2009 which is just about two years ago. It was one of the things that convinced me that “CrossFit is Awesome” but the aftermath of that stuff was incredible pain and soreness. The kind of pain that comes from doing unfamiliar things. It was that day after pain that I really remembered. And I wanted to avoid.

In my memory, I used a huge weight on that bar and worked really hard to complete the WOD. So on this occasion, to avoid pain, and in order to spare myself any kind of unwelcome DOMS for my planned Saturday 5k PR, I went ridiculously light. Turns out I actually used 5 pounds more total (45 lb bar plus 10 lb plate instead of 35 lb bar and 15 lb plate); better: I improved my time by about 35% (10:20 vs. 14:20). And no pain the next day. I feel kinda guilty that I let Tom Rehm suffer all alone with the 45 lb bar on there (and Rustan with the 35 lb bar), while I “wimped out;” but we all gotta define our own goals and pursue them at our own pace. They got their stimuli and I got mine. (I finished at least 2 minutes ahead of everybody else in the gym.)