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).

Saturday afternoon brutal walk/sprint 5k

Plan HTFU in effect.

I put myself through one of the most brutal walk/sprint workouts yet this afternoon. It’s a cold day, sunny, but windy and temperatures in the thirties. I followed my usual Montford Crawl 5k route, and used a 3/2 walk/sprint protocol, 90 seconds of walking/recovery then 60 seconds of sprinting.

Result: 5k distance walk/sprint @ 90s/60s: nearly 12 rounds (12 walks, 11.25 sprints), total time: 29:15 (9:25.8 pace).

The cold burned my lungs, and my stomach and insides felt like junk. I guess I’m recovering from 4 nights and three days of bad behavior and WAY sub-par nutrition. Bad judgment. After every single one of those one minute sprints I felt like hurling; I was panting, almost stopping and doubling over as I entered the walking recovery. After about 8 of the sprints, I really didn’t feel like I had it in me to start up again after the 90 second recovery window. But I pushed it. This is about toughness as much as anything else. HTFU.

For the next two weeks I’m going to be VERY good (i.e. no alcohol, no sugar, no interrupting the daily fast, and no skimping on sleep). Why?

One week until the Jingle Bell 5k. I plan to PR. We’ll see.

Two weeks until the Carolina Fitness Challenge. I plan to NOT EMBARRASS MYSELF. We’ll see.

5k Walk/Sprint Work 60/30

Dragged myself out of bed for a 6:00 am session on the road. It was tough to motivate but worth it.

Route: the same old “Montford Crawl 5k” I’ve been working on since the Half in September. Protocol: 60 seconds walking/recovery, 30 seconds sprint (this is a 2/3 walking 1/3 running protocol, aka a 33% sprinting protocol).

Result: 20 full rounds and 42 seconds of walking, i.e. 30:42; that’s a 12 second PR.

Not a bad time! 3.1 miles in 10 minutes of sprinting and 20:42 of walking… 9:54 pace.

Additional volume: I took it pretty easy on Tuesday afternoon. 1 set of push ups (20); 1 set of dead hang pull-ups (5). I do intend to get in some practice every day, but maximizing additional volume every day is not in my plan or consistent with my goals… right now.

Haywood Heroes 5k

As Jody said, I set all kinds of quantitative measures of progress today at the Haywood Heroes 5k: new PR time (22:26.2); 1st place in 40+ masters class; 5th place overall; first full-speed 5k in Vibram Five Fingers shoes; and first time I beat Jody Kuhne in a 5k. (Notice I said, “first time,” Jody; train well).

It was a cold morning, about 8:00, Jody and I showed up in Canton, NC. There was snow on the hillsides and on the grass; later, we discovered there was icy snow on the bridges. Definitely hat weather, and for some, glove weather. Given that, I was pretty oddly dressed in a fleece cap, heavy Patagonia capilene top, with summer weight compression pants (coming down to above the ankle), my neoprene Vibram Five Fingers Flow shoes, and no socks of course.

I definitely didn’t notice my clothes, however, on this mellow and fun race course, that goes rolling gently through the paper milling town of Canton.

On June 1st, 2003, Haywood County first responders saved my life after I broke my leg in a Haywood County wilderness area. These burly EMS and forest service dudes hiked 4 miles into the woods, in the evening, to haul my ass out out of there. I ended up in surgery that night at the Haywood Regional Medical center (and again nearly 7 years later, when I had the hardware pulled from my right tibia this past February). This run commemorates fallen first responders in Haywood County, and I was proud to run it in honor of the guys who worked so hard to help me in my hour of need so long ago. Y’all are heroes!

The community of Canton turned out a small number of quality runners; everybody in this region who is serious about running was up on the Shut-In today. That’s fine by me! It’s nice to win for a change.

I was ecstatic to find, a short while after the run, that I had set a new PR time for myself; clocking 22:26.2 means I had run at 7:13.8 pace. Not elite by any means, but a respectable finish for a 41 y.o. weekend warrior. My placement came complete with a medal and a gift certificate. All in all, a very satisfying workout. For official race results see HERE.

My previous PR time in the 5k, 23:19, was set on 6/5/2009 June 5th, 2009, at the Chamber Challenge 5k.

Deadlift (4 x max reps x 80% @ 180s) and 5k walk/sprint

Did (most of) the warm-up with the 5:30 am CFA class (squats, pull-ups and push-ups excluded). Then, warmed up the deadlift and did my 4 x max reps x 80% @ 180s intervals. Waited around, went back home, and then did a 5k distance sprint session with 120s walking / 60s sprinting (180s intervals). Badass morning.


80% of my current 5 rep max (290) is 232, so I used 235. This was a difficult wod.

Warm-Up: 20 x 45. 5 x 135. 1 x 235.

4 x max reps x 235 @ 180s. Result: 9, 11, 12, 14.

During the 4th round, Corey came over and said I was fucking up the reps, either hyperextending with a raised chin or rounding my back. As you can see I was definitely rushing and pushing myself on the last round. I was more careful on the first couple of rounds. I do think I got a lot of quality reps in but the form problems tell me I need to do another swing through the strength progressions to continue developing form.

Finish up: 5 x 2 x 205 (70%), at short intervals, just to work the form. These felt tighter.

Total volume: 14,670. I suspect this is by far and away the most deadlifting I have done in one session, and is about three times the volume of any of my last three deadlifting sessions. I am going to be sore tomorrow.

My plan is to repeat work sets on deadlifts for the next three weeks, 12 x 2 with 65% (190 lbs), 12 x 2 with 75% (215), and 4 x max reps with 70% (205). Then, one month from today, a new 5 rep max attempt.

5k walk/sprint

I followed my usual Montford Crawl 5k route. Protocol was 120s walking, 60s sprinting. I completed 10 rounds of this, and then jogged for 54 seconds in round 11 to complete the workout in 30:54!. My PR time for walk/sprint work, clocking in at under 10 minute miles with 2/3 of the time walking (compare the table of previous results I made last week).

Basically, I am super happy with this workout today. Plan HTFU proceeds.

At the YMCA

I found myself with some free time during a visit to the YMCA. Lena in a children’s Yoga class. Puffling in child care. OMG. I did some hamstring stretching, and practiced headstands and handstands and did progressions towards handstand push-ups. I will get these soon! Which is very cool. Also, I discovered that they now have a regular set of squat racks at the Y, and it seems to me that Plan HTFU could come to include Tuesday afternoon strength work: maybe it’s time to add bench pressing into my routine? I think so. Also, I could hit deadlifts or back squats, or shoulder presses, as needed, in this window. It’s something I’m going to think about seriously. More next week!

Mobility Work

A blessed opportunity presented itself during the 3:00 hour, before my trip to the Y: a window for napping. I lay down on the bed for about 30 minutes. When I arose, my back… oh my back! The DOMS and stiffness were already setting in. I could tell I would need additional mobility work. So, later on, I definitely added it in.

Foam rolling of back, shoulder, IT bands, calves, quads, hams and butt. Various dynamic hip openers. Band assisted deep squat. (Lots of left knee pain there.) Then, practicing new hip opening work from Starret’s Mobility WODs #7 and #8. I need a trampoline!

Saturday Beatdown (5k walk/sprint and Carolina Challenge MetCon)

Plan HTFU was in full effect this morning as I did two workouts between 6:30 and 8:30 am; first a 5k walk/sprint (on my usual “Montford Crawl” route) and then, at the 7:30 am CFA class, a few sets of heavy Thrusters followed by the Carolina Challenge WOD.

It was a lot of work. As a result, there’s no need for additional volume in Pull-Ups and Push-Ups today! (I did do one extra set of each, though). I’m spending the rest of the day pigging out, and am going out on the town with Mrs. Baldwin tonight, where I plan to eat whatever the frack I want, although I’ll probably stay completely or mostly gluten free. That’s right: dairy and sugar are permitted tonight! (It’s Saturday, I did two workouts, and I am down 3-4 pounds over the past two weeks).

Montford Crawl 5k walk/sprint

I followed my customary Montford Crawl route.

Protocol: 3 min walking, 90 seconds sprinting (4:30 intervals); result: 7 rounds + 1:31 walking; 33:01 total time.

ANALYSIS of Walk/Sprint Work

I would like to point out that all of these sprint sessions are performed in Vibram Five Fingers shoes.

Comparison of Sprint Work Over All Sessions
Date Distance Protocol Percent Running Total Time Pace Comments
9/25 3.1 90s sprint / 4:30 walk 25% 44:45 14:25.8 DNF all sprints, Pain in Knees
10/2 3.1 60s sprint / 3:00 walk 25% 38:13 12:19.2 No pain
10/9 3.1 90s walk / 30s sprint 25% 32:23 10:26.4 Shorter sprint and recovery intervals leads to faster overall time!
10/16 3.15 6 min walk / 3 min sprint 33% 35:42 11:20 Pain in right leg returns
10/18 3.15 4 min walk / 2 min sprint 33% 34:54 11:04.2 Less pain
10/23 3.1 3 min walk / 90s sprint 33% 33:01 10:39 Pain free!

From this table, it seems that longer walking or recovery times and longer sprint times lead to an overall slower time; but it also seems clear that my results are following a sinuous curve of improvement; not every session will represent a clear improvement over previous work. Although today’s time was not my fastest, if it is compared to the last session with 90s sprints (9/25) it kicked butt. It remains to be seen whether this training protocol will eventually lead to consistent improvements in my 5k time. We shall see.

CFA WOD: “Carolina Challenge ’09”

Today’s CFA WOD included a brief Strength Session and a brutal Mixed Modal MetCon; twice before CFA has done this WOD — which came from last year’s Carolina Fitness Challenge — but I have always had my excuses as to why I couldn’t do it. Not today. Holy Moly.

Strength: Thrusters 3 x 3

Result: 10 x 45 / 5 x 95 / 3 x 115 / 3 x 125.

MetCon: Carolina Challenge

125 Double unders (375 single unders)
100 squats
75 kettlebell swings (53/35lbs)
50 burpees
25 thrusters (~70% of your thruster 5RM not to exceed 115/75lbs)
For time.

My shoulder was my excuse for not doing full weight on the Kettlebell, and I went lighter than Rx’d on the Thrusters as well. There was a 25 minute time limit. I just squeaked by!

Result: 24:35… w/ 35 lb KBs and 80 lb Thrusters.

The Thrusters weight I chose was only 64% of my 5 RM (125). So… that is what it is.

This is a hard workout. Period.

Plan HTFU: Additional Work

Push-Ups: 1 set of 10 in AM before run; 1 set in Warm-Up for WOD.

Pull-Ups: 1 set of 10 in AM before run; 1 set in Warm-Up.

Mobility and Ice: will update later. May not get time tonight, since it’s a date night!

South Road 5k walk/sprint, Redux

On family holiday in RI, I don’t have a chance to follow a normal training program. But, I figured I could get in an additional sprinting session. So I followed up Saturday’s walk/sprint 5k with another round, but with a different interval protocol. I also did a few sets of push-ups and a proper warm up.

Warm-up: basic footwork and pose drills, shoulder mobility, Sampson stretching, hip mobility, push-ups, and squats.

Walk/sprint: 5k distance. Protocol: 4 min walk, 2 min sprint (6 min intervals); time: 34:54 (sprints at 4, 10, 16, 22, 28, and 34; last sprint cut short obviously).

This is not terrible, almost one minute faster than Saturday. And not too painful, although there was some calf/shin/knee discomfort on the right lower leg.

Push-ups: I did 5 sets x 10 reps of push ups, at various times during the morning, including during my warm up.

Training plan update: For the next six weeks I am going to be deliberately pushing up (pun intended) the volume on my push-ups and (band assisted dead hang chest to bar) pull-ups, and also adding 2 easy one mile runs per week (tue and thu AM), just to add extra stress/stimulus in advance of the Carolina Fitness Challenge. These simple exercises will not overload my system (especially if I watch my diet and sleep and life stress) but they will, I think, help prep joints and muscles for the rigors of CrossFit competition in Dec; I believe they are also consistent with my other training goals (strength, speed, endurance, and body composition).



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South Road 5k Walk/Sprint

Saturday AM, in a fasted state (13 hours or so) I set off on a 5k out and back route from my mother in law’s house near the campus of the University of Rhode Island. I’ll post the route later.

Run protocol: 6 min walk, 3 min all out sprint (9 min intervals). It was brutal. My right knee started acting up immediately after my third sprint (at 27 minutes in). The pain was excruciating! Exactly the same pain as I had during the Half Marathon. I did not finish the workout as planned. I jogged a bit during the 4th interval (probably 2 min) and didn’t do the last sprint.

Results: 35:42, 3 sprints (at 6, 15, and 24 minutes).

The point of doing 3 minute sprints, at a pace that leaves my lungs burning and my body shaking, is to simulate the effort required in an all out 800 meter run.

The pain in my knee makes me question my training plans. I have some new ideas about how to increase my capacity. But now that I’ve decided to do the Carolina Fitness Challenge (Dec. 11th) I’ve got a new source of motivation. I’m typing this on my phone. When I have acces to my computer and the Internet again I’ll probably sketch out my new training plan in full. More later.



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5k sprint work

Slept in past the Saturday WOD today but still did my endurance work: 5k distance, intervals of 90 second walking, 30 seconds sprinting, 16 rounds and 23 seconds of walking, total time 32:23.

This is a large improvement over last week’s time and remarkably, put my efforts at just over 10 min miles in spite of the fact that 3/4 of the time I was walking!

30 seconds is an awesome time frame for high intensity sprinting. The 90 second recovery intervals were just enough, although they seemed to keep becoming shorter and shorter.

I look forward to reducing the ratio of recovery to sprinting next week and to work on some longer sprinting intervals over the next few weeks. But I’ll definitely do the 30 second duration sprints again soon.

Mechanically, now 3 weeks out from the Half Marathon, I seem to be about 90% recovered. Stoked about that. Up and up! Get faster.

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.