routine and change

After my a three week holiday season of suspended training and extended, serious, and deliberate overindulgence in neolithic favorites (especially sugar, flour, and EtOH), which was followed by a frantic first half-week of getting back to school (that felt a bit like swimming to shore from a sinking vessel in the dark) I am now, finally, getting back into the routine of training.

But things have definitely changed.

For one thing, my training diet, which as recently as a year ago was a major preoccupation of my mind, has become an automatic function in my life. I can run on impulse, shifting elements of my nutritional plan as needed, and apparently at will. On a day by day, case by case, meal by meal, need by need basis, I move from lower-carb/ketogenic dieting to higher-carb eating for intensity and endurance, to cheating and refeeding, phasing in and out of 80-95% Paleo and Semi-Zone and Intermittent Fasting (Leangains style) principles of dieting. I’m staying 99% gluten free, eating a little rice now and then, still off the beans, not much fruit, eating minimal sugar during the week, refeeding on Saturdays, alcohol only on weekends, lots of green veggies. It feels good and I feel no need to overthink it at present.

I haven’t been regularly weighing in or measuring my body, but I remain lean and continue to maintain weight, while apparently making various kinds of gains in my work.

I am so busy now, with my children (J.Z. 13 months and Lena, 3 years 9 months), home life, and a crushing workload at school, that I haven’t been recreating in the same way, and I can’t make the same kind of time for this blog (or for social media in general) that I have made in the past two years.

I can feel my mind turning to other, more serious matters, even as I remain excited about my general goals: getting stronger and faster while staying lean and even getting leaner; so I can be ready to surf my tail off when I get a chance; or snowboard if I can; or even get back on my skateboard from time to time (safety first!).

I have so many things to write about here… and no time to do so.

Specific Training Goals for Jan-Jun 2011

  1. Greater than bodyweight 1 rep Bench Press
  2. Greater than 210 lb 5 RM back squat
  3. Greater than 310 lb 5 RM deadlift
  4. Set of 10 dead hang pull-ups
  5. Set of 10 ring dips
  6. Sub 7:30 pace 10k race
  7. Establish and maintain a 175 lb body weight

Feedback appreciated.

Squat and Press at the Y

Tuesday morning I had an awesome little visit to my local YMCA to take advantage of their recent acquisition: a squat cage. Mind you: not a Smith machine, those things blow. A proper cage integrating an adjustable squat rack with safety bars (that can safely be ignored, but that’s another story). Anyway, training and routine demand I get back into the weekly squatting (at a minimum) and, common sense dictates that I need to go heavier if I plan to get stronger. Which I do. So I did. I also benched. Again. It’s like, getting to be a damn habit!


12 x 2 x 160 lbs @ 60s intervals. Total volume: 3,840. Compare to my most recent squat session where I did the same thing but at 155 lbs (last month) for about 120 lbs less volume.

Nothing to complain about here. 160 lbs is almost 85% of my current 5 RM. I tried to move quickly out of the bottom, but in general, I am just trying to move as much weight as possible and focusing on hip drive and keeping my knees out.


12 x 2 x 145 lbs @ ~ 1-2 min intervals. Total volume: 3,480. Compare to my most recent bench press sessions, at the Mac, last month.

145 lbs is about 97% of my current 3 RM and about 88% of my current 1 RM on the Bench Press. This was a good session, giving me a boatload of volume at a high percentage of my max. I will retest my 1 RM next time I bench (probably next week).

Feels good to hit the gym and lift some weights. Maybe the YMCA is good for something after all.

double jerk

Monday at six am, with WAY too little sleep for my own good, I made it to CFA for the WOD, entitled “double jerk”.

Strength: Muscle-Ups 3 x max reps in 1 minute. Naturally I used a band for assistance. Blue band. Result: 10, 8, 6 (24 total).

WOD: “double jerk”. Apparently we did this last January but, as the comments show, and as is recorded in this blog, I subbed rowing for the double unders (on account of my leg, of course; it was very painful last year at this time). A year ago I used 120 lbs on the Clean and Jerks (interesting) but this year I used only 100 lbs. (Not sure how that happened; both WODs Rx’d 70% of Push Jerk, but I apparently ignored that last year and used my most recent “Grace” weight instead; this year I took the Rx % of Push Jerk numbers. Turned out to be the right decision.)

A year ago I got 24 clean and jerks. This year, 41 (12, 12, 8, 9). I did not row, nor did I count my D.U.s. Volume compared: 24 x 120 = 2880, vs. 41 x 100 = 4100. That’s a pretty big jump.

Feeling good about it.

Happy New Year

After taking three weeks off of CrossFit and two weeks off of lifting I can sincerely say: “oh yeah, CrossFit is freaking HARD.” LOL.

Today’s WOD at CFA was Pull & Squat. Strength was Power Clean.

Power Clean

Rx’d: 5-7 sets of 3.
3×155 (+10 lb PR)
1×165 (f on 2) (-5 from PR)
1×165 (f on 2)
2×155 (f on 3)

I didn’t know when I was doing 3 x 155 that it would be a PR, let alone a +10 PR. It has been almost a year since I set my previous 3 rep PR so, this can be a kind of year on year measure of progress.

Pull and Squat

Alternating up and down ladders, 10 sets, 110 reps:
10-9-8…2-1 x Pull Up alternating with
1-2-3…9-10 x Front Squat

I used 95 lbs. I did all the squats in continuous sets.

For the pull ups I did unassisted kipping pull ups for the first two sets, then switched to a red band and concentrated on bringing my nipples to the bar with the kip. I did not do continuous sets of pull ups and did no set more than 5 reps. I rested at will between sets.

Result: 14:00

I didn’t push myself in extremis. One reason was I started out sore as hell, and another was I came in with about four hours of sleep. Not an ideal situation. So I had my considerations. Nevertheless, the workout also exposed my weaknesses. From this WOD I learned that my pull ups just aren’t where they should be.

After two years of regular CrossFit workouts you’d think they should be better. One reason they are not is probably just poor discipline on my part. But another reason is probably that I am building on such a poor foundation… I didn’t start trying to master pull-ups until I was over 40 years old. I think that the over 40 set has great success in CrossFit with fat loss, reconditioning, and gaining in mobility and strength, but less success in building significant muscle mass. That’s not to say that one can’t acquire significant capacity in a previously untrained movement (like deadhang or kipping pull-ups) after 40, but that pull-up training will have to be more consistent, intense, and deliberate than it has been for me.

I am already experiencing significant soreness from this session. But think… I am going to be really sore after tomorrow’s workout! I should do some mobility work.

It’s a new year and time to run some numbers and evaluate where I’ve been and where I’m going. But I’m so swamped at work right now… a lot of the detailed planning and evaluation is going to have to go on in my head. I hope to share some of my thoughts and goals and ideas about getting there; when I have some good stuff and some numbers I’ll share them. General ideas about my goals for 2011: stay lean and get leaner; get strong and build muscle; spend as much time as possible moving more and heavier weights than I’ve ever lifted; get as mobile and flexible as I can; heal up my left foot and run a true barefoot 10k in under 7:30 miles; get 10 unassisted dead hang pull ups.


Wednesday morning saw me back at CROSSFIT ASHEVILLE!.

No time at present to record what we did. Follow the link above for the WOD. I’ll record that I got 13, 14, 14, 15, 15 calories on the rows (yes I am that good) and used a 30 lb soft (non bouncing) medicine ball, which means you get a squat, clean, and press in that ball slam. And I like trying to do the inverse burpees. I didn’t count reps on the ball slams or burpees. I was just there to play. And it was fun. So glad to be back with my peeps.

You know who you are!

Maui no ka oi

“Maui is the best!”

Ok, maybe there’s someplace better, but it doesn’t even matter if it’s true.

It’s currently Saturday, January 8th, 2011. My last post was on Saturday, January 1st. I’ve been so busy with my family on this vacation that I just can’t find the time to catch up with my blogging. This post is just a quick update to my “training” blog that logs the surfing sessions I got in since my last post. Too many awesome details have already slipped from my mind, so this won’t be a piece of literary mastery or even a decent memorial, but whatever. If you’re a friend, and you want pictures (not of me surfing, but whatever) check me out on the facebook.

Sunday, January 2nd. Went back to Launiupoko beach park again. The surf was better than the day before. My family had less fun (the cousins didn’t join my wife and kids) but I had more fun, more rides, and… for the first time I really felt like I was “getting” the surfing element of the “Stand Up Paddle Surfing.”

Monday, January 3rd. Took the whole day off from surfing entirely. I guess I was tired and sore. Also, the original plan was to take my SUP board over to the most famous of Maui’s surf spots, Honolua Bay. I took a hike there in the afternoon, with my dad for company and my boy JZ in the backpack. It was windy, very sunny and hot, and perfect 4ft waves. The spot was crowded with locals and tourists alike. Most of the passable waves were being dominated by some pretty skilled riders. And no SUP surfers out there; the steep cliff climb down to the put in spot in the middle makes it a difficult place to show up at with a SUP board. But looking at the waves and the line up I knew I could hang with this crowd. On regular surfboard. So later in the afternoon I rented a 9′ quad fin from Maui Surfboards (cool guys there, by the way) and planned to go out the next morning.

Tuesday, Jan. 4th. I woke up about an hour before sunrise (at 6:00 am; sunrise at 7:04 am) and slowly, quietly got geared up and departed for Honolua Bay. After a stop at the Honolua Store for coffee and use of the facilities, I hiked down in the growing light of pre-dawn and was the first guy in the water. The waves were very small (1-3 feet at most), and the breaks all end on coral and rocky points. But they are awesomely shaped and regular as a clock. A bit later I was joined by two tourists from Japan and a local on a shortboard. He turned out to be a pleasant enough guy although he was pretty grudging with the aloha at first. (I smiled and said, “how you doing?” when he paddled up to the spot where I was riding; he didn’t smile, said, “fine thanks; another day in paradise” and his look was on the polite side of stink eye; but later, when I gushed at the morning double rainbow that appeared over our heads, breathing out an audible “unbelievable” he finally gave up some surfer love with a smile and we traded a few comments about how amazing the spot is; localism sucks but appreciation and aloha win the day). Other surfers and tourists observed from the cliffs above. I rode a few waves, some of them pretty awesome. And the technical skill involved in keeping that rental board free from damage on the rocks… that’s priceless. YES! I surfed in Honolua Bay. Next time I’m in the area of Napili Bay — if I ever am again — I believe that’s all I’ll do while I’m there. Dawn patrol at Honolua. An unforgettable two hours in the water. Maybe a little chilly in the January wind before the sun emerged from behind the hills. But I’m not complaining! Later that afternoon, before making dinner for my bro John’s birthday, I got out for another 45 minutes or so of vigorous paddle surfing. So yes, it was also a double. What a day. We finished it up with some delicious home cooked grilled fish, veggies and rice, ice cream, and plenty of libations.

Wednesday, Jan. 5th. Second to last day, and I did not waste it. The swell picked up slightly on this day, from 2-4 feet, and, as it turns out, there were ride-able waves in the Napili bay. I caught a few of them with the SUP board, and started to feel like a pro! I had a very long session, nearly two hours in the water. I paddled out to the point on the north end of Napili Bay and I learned, from some CRAZY local boys riding boogie boards on the standing wave that breaks out there, far from shore (!) that the surf spot there is called “scorps” as in “scorpions.” An appropriate name. I did a crazy thing during this session. Here’s what happened. A crazy fat wind came up and blew out the surfing opportunities right in Napili Bay. It was right then that my dad came out on his rented 12′ soft top and said he wanted to paddle out to the point, the place that turned out to be scorps. I paddled with him about 2/3 of the way, then I came up with the idea of porting my board across the rocky point, from Napili Bay to Kapalua cove, where the waters would be gentler for the final leg of the paddle out to scorps. You should have seen me trying to carry that crazy board without dropping it on all the sharp and slippery lava rocks (my neoprene VFF aquas served me well, but they weren’t quite sticky enough to keep me from sliding perilously around a lot); but tenacious! I made it. And no damage to the board. Thank you Jesus. Then I paddled out, past what was probably a ridable wave, except I didn’t feel like risking that unknown spot just then. I watched the crazy boogie boarders, and then proceeded around the outside of the break and back into Napili Bay. Oh my freaking God! It was crazy rough windblown waters; 2ft wind swell at 3 seconds, or something like that, in patterns warped by the submerged point break. Basically, a dome shaped curved wave breaks onto the point in an arc that runs 270 degrees of a circle. All those waves want to push you back on the point, and they were magnified by a weird SW headwind. However… I triumphed. I was like Jason the Argonaut paddling my board; I might as well have paddled it through a class 3 rapid. Except I didn’t have to dodge any boulders. Whatever. I worked my tail off to get back to shore. The end of an awesome day.

Thursday, Jan. 6th. My 42nd birthday. And our last full day on the Island. Most of the family (with the exception of John, who had to work) went back to Launiupoko beach park, and spent the afternoon there. When we first got there conditions were perfect. 2-3 foot swell, light wind. I paddled out and the first thing that happened was I caught an awesome wave right back in, all the way to shore. And back out again, catching as many waves as I wanted to. I was really surfing. It was an excellent culmination to this SUP adventure vacation. But the wind was onshore, and not favorable. When it picked up, as it did later in the afternoon, the waves got blown out and it became MUCH harder to surf. All my hours on the board, battling rough surfaces and headwinds paid off well. I was definitely one of the most confident SUP surfers out there that day. So much fun. This was followed by a glorious evening with John, Dad, Ebet, and Yael at one of my favorite bars in the universe: the bar at the restaurant at Napili Kai Beach Resort (it used to be called the Teahouse of the Maui Moon; now I think it’s just called the Seahouse). We ate and drank well. But apparently I picked up something, because…

Friday, Jan. 7th. Departure day. My plan was to rise super early and go out. All night long I could hear the swell building. I could hear it because I was awake. Sick. With intestinal cramps. What I didn’t know was that the waves had picked up to 8-12 feet! When I arose in the morning I saw the most amazing spectacle. Perfect (if a bit stormy) well formed longboarding big waves rolling straight down into Honokeana Cove and Little Maks! But I was completely debilitated by … Tourista? Food poisoning? Spare you the details. It reminded me of my bout with Giardia from last summer. Anyway, there was a SUP boarder right there in the middle of the pack, off shore. I could have gone out and had some of the best rides of my life… but I could not. Had to pack. Had to stay near the bathroom. Couldn’t risk going into a cramp and getting caught inside those monster waves. Anyway. This was a kind of fitting end to my trip. The Island and Ocean and storms got together and said: this is what we offer to the locals. To those who stay. Aloha. Maui no ka oi. Come back and spend your money again sometime!

Turtles and Toddlers (3 SUP sessions)

Thursday, Friday, Saturday New Year’s Day, I got out for three more sessions on my Stand Up Paddle board. The wind has remained pretty constant at around 10 kts, mostly Northly and Easterly, so the surface has not been ideal, but it’s been a good training period for developing my skills on a SUP board.

The waves died out on Thursday (12/30/2010), and I only had a 45 minute window in the afternoon, but… you gotta go! So I paddled down to Little Mac’s (aka Little Makaha or Little Maks), mostly with the wind, and cruised around trying to catch the tiny swells. Mostly this ended up being practice just getting the board into position and turning it around. I learned stuff like… you have to keep the board moving, even just a little bit, or you become progressively less stable. There was nobody there of course, except for sea turtles. So many sea turtles live in these little bays, it’s pretty neat. I had some communion time with these awesome creatures.

Paddling back against the wind was a real beast.

Friday, New Year’s Eve day, was about the same as Thursday, except I had permission to take two hours. Again I paddled around the Southwest point at Napili and across Honokeana bay to Little Makaha and chased after the tiny swell, fruitlessly, for a long time. I did come close to riding a couple of small swells but I’m just not there yet. I also explored the apparently unnamed cove to the south of the spot, I saw at least 10 turtles, and had some funny and startling close calls paddling around them. The wind was still high, but since I wasn’t in a hurry, it was not so much of a stress to paddle back against it.

Saturday, New Year’s Day, we loaded up our whole family, and my sister and brother in law loaded up their kids, and we took an afternoon outing to Launiupoko beach park, Southeast of Lahaina. John and Ebet rented a longboard along the way. It was a bit of a logistical challenge to get everyone situated there (parking, boards, beach toys, floaties, food, towels, changes of clothes, yada yada) but once we were settled it was a perfect place for family fun and some surfing the mini-waves. My time on the board Monday-Friday was paying off, as I was able to stay standing most of the time and get around where I needed to be. The bigger swells were still a bit of a challenge for me, but I got some really sweet little rides. Meanwhile, the toddlers played and had fun in the really warm wading pool behind the seawall. After I was done playing around, Lena put on her floaty and came out on the board with me! We took some really fun tandem boogie-style belly rides together on the junior waves at the south end of the park. Lena’s screams of excitement were music to my ears. She was really brave, and did not cry when waves splashed her face, etc. Then off to Aloha Mixed Plate for a family meal and libations. Fun times.