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!

Front Squat and a Devilish Trio

WOD today was front squat strength progression (60% x 2 x 12 [x131] @ 30s intervals; I used 95 lbs). Then a 10 minute AMRAP of 6 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls, 6 Burpees, and 6 Power Snatches, prescribed as 50% of 5 RM Power Snatch, for me that’s 55 lbs. I did 7 rounds + 4 SDHPs. Daniel referred to this WOD as the Devil’s workout.


I came into the 6:00 am WOD with very little sleep (maybe from 12:00 am to 2:00 am and from 3:00 am to 5:00 am; JZ is sick). I was in a “fasted state” (last meal was a low fat dinner of stewed chicken breast, carrots, tomatoes, onions, with grilled asparagus in olive oil, and fresh spinach, finished before 7:00 pm) but added BCAAs and Jack3d before training. Got there early, did some solid mobility work. Warm up was nothing much to report; usual drills, dislocates, mobility, plus K2Es (10, no swing), pull-ups (dead hang, blue band, set of 10), push-ups (10) and front squats (12 w/ 30# bar). A fun morning. This time around it felt good to keep to a training schedule in spite of lack of sleep; I take these rough mornings on a case by case basis. The workout was tough but not too bad. My left shoulder was still giving me some pain, mainly in the overhead hand-clapping portion of the burpees (!). It forced me to remain ultra conscious of my form. Which is never a bad thing. Overall I feel great coming into this week. I am pretty sure I have a strong training week ahead of me.

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.

Deadlift / Vegetable Medley

My sleep has been better the past two nights. But. Damn that was hard. I think it’s just me. This was the first WOD I’ve done in a while where I suspect that the fasted state of my morning training really was not working out for me. But it may also just have been that this was the third metcon of the week, and the sixth skill or strength session of the week. Bottom line was: I nearly gassed out; I was super slow. So, I either need more recovery days, more sleep, or a bit of food in the morning. (Or maybe, AM BCAAs, ala the leangains method — yes I know that’s not “Paleo”). Or all of the above. Or I just need to live with being the slow guy every once in a while. To be honest… I think that’s maybe the awesome choice.


400 meter run; crawling around; mobility work. Pull-ups (sloppy, but 10). Overhead squats (10). Knees to elbows (10). Forgot my push-ups. Paid for that later.

Strength: Deadlift

Dynamic Effort at 60% of 5 RM (i.e. of 290 lbs, therefore, 175 lbs). 175 lbs / 2 x 12 @ 30s

Volume: 4,200 lbs

This felt great.

WOD: Vegetable Medley

Where does Shanna come up with these things? CFA WOD today was fracking crazy. (No offense, Shanna, I mean this in the best possible sense of the term.)

200m Uneven farmer’s walk (Rx’d w/53/35 & 35/26)
30 push-ups
100ft unevenly weighted walking lunge (same wght as FC)
20 burpees
15 toes-to-bar
20 burpees
100ft unevenly weighted walking lunge
30 push-ups
200m uneven farmer’s carry
For time.

Result: 45 & 35 lbs / 19:43

I was last. And most beat down. Hours later, I love it. Enough said. What else can I say, after all?

Paris, Burning

Ouch! Something about today’s workout put the hurt on me. I’m not injured, it’s just that when I finished my work (dead last in the 6:00 am class) I felt like dying. I took a walk through the bank parking lot so my pain wouldn’t be so evident to all.


I got decent sleep last night (finally) (maybe 10:00 pm to 5:00 am with minimal waking in between). I’ve been very good about my daily half-fasts (no food after 8:00 pm, no food until after 8:00 am) and have found that training in a fasted state — before the WOD I drink a lot of water, but take no food and no coffee — has been working pretty well for me.

Running-style footwork, stretching; overhead squats (10); GHD sit-ups (10); ring dips (I forced out 6 unassisted and then did 6 with a red band); and pull-ups (10, kipping, semi-consecutive).

Strength: Power Snatch

I came into this knowing that my most recent power snatch 5 rep PR was set more just over a year ago (a year and a day, actually, 08/19/09) almost to the day. What a year it has been. I couldn’t believe that I haven’t had an opportunity to work this great lift in this fashion since then! My previous PR was 105, but given my recent work on “the Cred” I thought I could easily top that. Not so fast buster! Going in, my plan was WACK; and although I got a new PR (and, apparently, snatch more weight than any other member today, which seems … odd) it wasn’t what I went in thinking of.

My plan was to shoot for a 20 lb PR (stupid, I know) and I laid out my lifts accordingly. But I made an error in my calculations when I loaded up the bar, and ended up totally failing on my 1 rep set of the 5/3/1 progression! But I recovered, did a 2 rep set, and then blasted out a new PR at 5 lbs above my previous weight.

Results: 5 x 70 / 3 x 90 / fail x 120 (ERROR; supposed to be 110) / 2 x 105 / 5 x 110. Shanna’s feedback was that the last rep was a slight press out, which means, I think, that I start the work cycles on power snatch next time around. Also, although she didn’t mention it, I know that my landing was too wide, and on several reps I could feel my right knee shoot out to the side.

Still, I felt good about my new PR.

WOD: “Paris”

This WOD is “Helen” but with burpees instead of pull-ups. Hence the name, Paris (Helen’s lover in the Illiad; the cad whose seduction caused the Trojan war).

3 rounds for time:
400 meter run
21 kettlebell swings (53 lbs Rxd)
12 burpees

I did this WOD as Rx’d, but was very slow.

Result: 12:45

This hurt bad. It took me several minutes to get my composure back afterward. I was drenched in sweat.

3 mile bike ride

The difficult WOD didn’t stop me, later, from riding my bike from my mechanic’s back home. I had to drop my wife’s Subaru off at Organic Mechanic in West Asheville, which I did at about 8:15 am. A few minutes later I rode off on my bike and was home pretty quick. I did not actually check the time. It is a kind of difficult ride, beginning with a really fun downhill, across the French Broad River, and then back up the hill on the other side. Needless to say, this week has been a bit of a stretch for me. But it’s all good.

More later.

Green Lake Loop (2.8 mile run)

2.8 miles, 23:15 (8:18 min/mile pace).

Green Lake Running Trail and Environs (Google Maps Image)

Also: set of 10 burpees immediately followed by bleacher run (at the boathouse, same as yesterday’s round).

Handstand and rolling practice in the afternoon, running around barefoot in the grass in the sunny afternoon with the kids.

Esplanade HIIT

My first workout of the summer season was sprinting and burpees on the Katz Esplanade in Portland Oregon. The location was perfect for some high intensity interval training, and I was lucky to hit a brief interval of warmth and sun.

Training Cycle: Week 4/6 (Vacation Work Week)
Diet: Calorie Cycling (4 days low, 1 day high),
Whole/Clean/Paleo Zone w/ 2x-4x fat
First workout of the Week

Monday morning I rode my dad’s bicycle down to the Eastside of the Esplanade, and chained it up under the spiral access ramp. I did some footwork, pose-running, and movement warm-ups up to the top of the ramp, some push-ups at the top (standard and hindu), and then back down to the bottom, where I began by running north (counter-clockwise) on the riverside boardwalk.

The workout itself was as follows:

5 rounds of:
1 min all out sprint
1 min walking/rest
1 min max reps burpees
1 min walking/rest


Medium-speed run back to starting point.

This was a great session. Really awesome.

Result: Total distance covered during the five rounds of sprinting and walking: about 1.25 miles; total reps of burpees: 64 (rounds: 14, 13, 12, 12, 13). Run time back: 10 min.

I based this workout on “the summit” which was posted on the CrossFit Asheville website for its Memorial Day DIY workout. The original workout called for 5 rounds of 200 meter sprint and max rep burpees in 2 minutes, with a 2 minute rest between rounds. My workout had roughly the same total period (19 minutes versus 18 minutes) and about the same total rest (9 minutes versus 8 minutes). The one minute sprint period meant I was probably sprinting closer to 225 meters on average, but this WOD was much easier to do in an environment without fixed markers of distance, and the differences between the metabolic effects of sprinting for time versus sprinting for distance are minimal. Because my sprint and burpee times were uniform, I probably did less total burpees than I would have in the canonical workout. But it was very revealing of an area I need to work on. I see myself doing some one, two and three minute burpee time trials this summer (comparatively, the only reps posted to comments was 47 burpees, from Kim).

This was a good start to my summer program, and a fine workout to complete before taking three days off for a fishing trip out on the Deschutes river, where, I was pretty sure, I probably wouldn’t get a workout in this time around.