Thursday, July 28, 2011

The weight is over

7/27 lift squat 3x275 close-grip bench press 3x230 pull-ups +55lbs and atlas stone carry supersets x3

Woohoo, my three days of weights are over!  We got all our workouts and I managed to make all my lifts this week.  It feels good to finish a week without any failures on the books.  I'm not sure if four days off is a good thing or not, but hopefully I can rest up and get in some cardio.  The soreness was starting to catch up to us today.  I can only imagine how my body will feel tomorrow.  Already made some progress or "re-progress" on the squats.  Now if only the heat would let up so I could get in a decent run without worrying about stroking out.

two down, one to go

7/26 lift power clean 3x215 deadlift 3x405 plus some rotator cuff band work

This was not a fun workout to do back to back.  I'm hanging in there with both exercises, but I need to make some adjustments if I want to get stronger.  Now to just figure out what those adjustments are...

The trouble with a triple of triples

7/25 lift box squat 3x305 close-grip towel bench 3x245 plus push press 5,7x55lbs* and pull-ups*

With my hands messed up I wasn't going to try and do snatches or weighted pull-ups today.  Due to my training partner's impending vacation, we are doing our regular Monday, Wednesday, Friday workout on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  This week is only three sets of three reps for core exercises, so we actually have a chance of completing this crazy plan!  I think I had a little assist on one of the box squat reps, but everything else went well.  I need to do more traditional overhead presses.

creating a pattern

7/24 run spin 52 mins at SYNCstudio in Laurissa's class with the +1

HR avg 153 max 174

Decided to keep my cardio indoors for another weekend.  Yes, I also setup on the bike directly beside the fan, so I can imagine everyone in the back row gets to enjoy my manly fragrance throughout the class.  I wore what I consider my "control top" bike undershorts for this class.  I call them "control top" because their tight spandex front crushes my gut, making it hard for me to breath, but not being a one of those cool roadbike guys I see who look like they dressed for the Tour de France, but somehow got lost in my neighborhood, spandex is foreign to me, so maybe this is a normal feeling.

I didn't work quite as hard as last week, but I got a pretty decent workout all things considered.  Looking forward to getting in some time on mountain bike now that I have it back.  I'll see about doing a post this weekend for all the bike geeks out there.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Skin, how I miss you.

7/22 lift squat 6x245 close-grip bench press 6x215 plus pull-ups/atlas stone carry supersets

My missing calluses are a real pain.  They keep trying to heal, only to be cracked open again the next time I reach or grip something.  Grinding the scabs into knurled bars and concrete stones doesn't help either.  The squats were challenging, but all my reps were clean and I feel I've found a good starting point to build from again.  Kept my bench weight the same as last month.

Dang it, I need that callus!

7/21 crossfit 21,15,9 right arm kettlebell snatches, left arm kettlebell snatches with 50lb kettlebell, toes to pull-up bar

1 mile run prior to exercises

This workout sucked pretty bad, mainly because I don't do high reps with kettlebells all that much as they aggravate my back.  Now what really sucks is the super duper heat and humidity when we did this workout tonight resulted in my calluses softening up enough that I ripped the ones off my palms at my index finger on both hands.  One of my training partners managed to do the same thing.  I think it started with the left hand during the first 21 and the right hand went before the 15 set was done. I taped them to finish the workout but it's going to make the next week pretty painful.

one plus one doesn't equal two

7/20 lift power clean 2x225 (1+1) deadlift 2x415 (1+1)

If you read my last post, you know I've been having some health problems that are jacking up my workouts.  I'm still got some of those problems as it takes awhile for my body to heal itself after it's been done wrong.  I think my struggles today are the results of me not being at 100% yet.  I got my lifts but I  missed my attempt at doing them in standard double fashion and I had to take a break and regroup between reps.  I got my 5lbs on the deadlift, at least.  Hopefully I'll be feeling better and showing more improvements as the weeks go on, and I think this is a big part of why I haven't been feeling up to making my runs or perhaps it's the 100 degree heat ;-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gluten Free does not always mean Hakuna Matata

So I don't make a point to talk about it all that much, but I have Coeliac disease.  Which means I have to be careful about what I eat and I don't eat anything with gluten of any kind in it.  I also don't eat oats because they contain a similar protein (avenin) that could trigger a response and it's just not worth the risk to me.  One thing which I haven't touched since being diagnosed that I used to enjoy were wheat grass shots and greens products.  I used to use Lightforce greens a lot when I was grappling at a high level and found it to really help with my cardio.  Wheat grass is supposed to be harvested prior to the formation of gluten proteins but I've never seen a product that guaranteed this until now.
Gluten Free perhaps but still not safe for me

So the wife discovered a product called Amazing Grass that apparently tests their greens products for gluten and assures they are all gluten free.  So she received her first order around 7/8 and I tried some of the products around that time.  This is also around the time I started having problems again.  I don't know why I didn't put this together until 2 days ago.  I guess because it's such a small thing in the scheme of a day to shotgun 5 grams of powder, that I didn't pay that much attention to when I was doing it and I didn't do it everyday.  I started having the same symptoms I had when I was originally diagnosed.  Abdominal pain, breaking out in a sweat at random, feeling like crap etc.  At first, after following Der Scott's lead and consulting Dr. Google I thought I might be having Gallbladder attacks or I had begun menopause (I guess this is why Dr. Google isn't a real doctor).  Then it seemed like I was having problems all the time and I was feeling more and more rundown each day.  So it's been 48 hours since I last took Amazing Grass and I'm feeling much better.  I did some searching on the Celiac forums and some Coeliacs blogs to find that I'm not the only person with Coeliacs who had a bad reaction to this product.  I guess it's common for us to have a wheat/barley allergy or something.  Either way I won't be trying any wheat/barley grass related products again.  In retrospect I can't believe how haphazard I was in my use of this product.  Normally I over scrutinize everything I put into my body to avoid the chance of getting sick, but I think the large "GLUTEN FREE" markings on these products waylaid my fears.  It seems to take awhile for me to get all the "evil" out of my system, so hopefully I'll be feeling back to normal in a week, but after 48 hours I'm already feeling a lot better.

The Rundown

7/18 lift box squat 6x275 close-grip towel bench press 6x215 dumbell snatches 5x80,3x105 and pull-ups +55lbs

I've been feeling like crap for over a week now and it's been getting worse.  Initially I wasn't sure if it was something I was eating, the crazy amount of work I've been dealing with recently or some other new health problem yet to be diagnosed...  I think  I finally figure out what it was but I'm going to make that a separate post.

Today I felt exhausted and what little energy I had seemed to leave me during the box squats.  My legs were already beatdown from my return to squats and another spin class.  As soon as I finished my 3rd and final set on the box squat I just wanted to curl up and go to sleep.  I struggled through the bench and I think the snatch got some adrenaline moving again.  I guess the fear of dropping 105lbs on your head can wake you up.  A decent workout overall.  I cutback my box squat weights as part of my plan to drop back and build up again.  Kept the same weights on the towel bench and the other exercises.

woohoo 80's music week

7/17 run spin 59 mins at SYNCstudio in Laurissa's class with the +1

HR avg 155 max 176

My legs were already wrecked from my first deep squat workout in three weeks (and it was a max out day), so I wasn't expecting much out of them for this spin class.  My main goal was to work out some of the stiffness and get them moving again.  I probably would have skipped the class if not for the lure of 80's music...  There I said it.  I love me some 80's music for spin classes.  I can get pumped up for some Bon Jovi, Queen, Billy Idol etc.  I think it's actually how pumped up the rest of class gets that really helps me push myself.  There are a lot of closet 80's fans out there.  Admit it.

The class went really well.  There were a couple of assistant instructor dudes in the front row and for whatever reason it's easier for me copy their movements than a female instructor.  I think guys just move in a slower, stiffer, and more lumbering manner or something.  Either way I focused on my pedals and keeping my lower back in a safe position through out the whole class.  I could tell my back was getting fatigued toward the end, but it's been a few days and I'm feeling much better than after last week's class.  I think I just have to be conscious of exactly what my lower back is doing throughout every minute of the class in order to avoid having problems later.


7/15 lift squat 1x275 close-grip bench press 1x260 pull-ups +55lbs and atlas stone carry supersets

I cut back my squat weights in order to establish what is going on with these lifts.  I think the combination of missing some squat workouts and then missing some lifts when I do the workouts is adding up to a big slide in these numbers.  I'm cutting back the weights a bit in order to complete all my reps.

Moved up on the bench again, I'm within 15lbs of my previous wide grip efforts without any residual shoulder pain.  I still have shoulder pain issues with incline dumbells and probably any press where the elbows aren't tight to the body.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Andrew's 5000

7/14 run 63 mins (5x1000m) @ ATT soft side in New Balance MT10 Trail Minimus

1. 5:01  HR avg 166
2. 5:36  HR avg 173
3. 5:19  HR avg 172
4. 5:15  HR avg 175
5. 5:43  HR avg 175

temp 87 (about 5:40pm start)
HR avg 156 max 181 (average heart rate includes 10 min warm-up, 10 min cool-down and 400m rest intervals)

Thanks to some mechanical issues with my '91 Jeep, I didn't get in my run on Tuesday.  Ok, I should come clean, a combination of hubris and mechanical issues.  Let me explain.  I've had an ongoing issue with the Jeep and warm engine+weather starts.  The issue would get worse as the temperature rises, so naturally, a 100+ degree day, a full list of stop/start errands and a Jeep with a warm start problem is not a good combination.  On the bright side, all I have to do is give it enough time to cool off and it starts fine, which ended up being over an hour the third time.  After this I wised up and swapped cars.

Today was hot, but not unbearable.  I was running at a busy time on the trail, so the other people and their pets were a nice distraction from my own inner turmoil.  I believe this is the largest volume of interval work I've done in one workout, which isn't saying much, but I definitely feel it today.  Got plans for another spin class this weekend.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

And On The 5th Try, He Cleaned

7/13 lift power clean 1x235 deadlift 1x420 (did 5x5,4,3,2,1 this workout)

Yes, it took me five attempts to clean 235.  Going into the workout, I honestly thought I had no chance of hitting the single after my horrible showing on the box squat, Monday and my nagging back pain.  Somehow I pulled it off with good form too.  Each time I tweaked my pull a little bit, as I just wasn't getting the bar high enough to make the catch on the first 4 attempts.

After all the extra effort I expended on the clean, my hopes for moving up on max deadlift had dropped from slim to none.  My lifting partner had a great showing though and this helped motivate me to stick with my 5lb increase.  I had a great lift with no issues at all.  He thought I should have done more, but I'm going to stick with 5lbs a month for now.  I think this is a good plan, as I'm trying to increase my running mileage and add in some additional training over the next few months.

skipped Friday workout = crappy Monday workout

7/11 lift box squat 1x295* close-grip towel bench 1x260 plus snatches 5x80, 3x105 pull-ups +55lbs and 3 atlas stone carries (main lifts done 3x5,3,1)

Another busy Friday of work combined with dinner/movie with the wife left me no time to get in my lifting.  This means I missed the ever important squats, which is clearly not helping my box squats on the following Monday.  I'm coming to the realization that I can't miss another one of these if I want to improve on the box squat.

I'm getting closer to my previous max on the towel-bench and my shoulders aren't bothering me, so I'll continue to stick with my narrow grip and elbows tucked into my sides for now.  I got all my snatches with the left arm plus 2 near misses.  I made up my stone carries today, as well.  The stone actually wasn't as bad as I remembered it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ride to Nowhere

7/10 run spin 55 mins at SYNCstudio in Laurissa's class with the +1

HR avg 151 max 169

This is why the +1 puts me in the back row
Every time I go to SYNCstudio I am reminded of exactly how little natural rhythm I possess.  I can spin my pedals ok and with the correct tension, but I'm always the guy going left or on the down stroke when the rest of the class is doing the opposite.

It was fun to get in some time on a bike though, as I've been waiting with giddy anticipation for the "rebirth" of my ancient mountain bike from the REI bike shop.  REI has a huge backlog of repairs, so the bike won't be ready until after the 20th.  This has given me a lot of time to re-imagine my riding abilities and obsess over all kinds of newfangled parts and upgrades that I probably don't need, certainly don't understand and would be better served on a bike that isn't 12 years old.  This all started when my 4" (100mm") suspension fork went from mostly non-functional to instantly bottoming under the weight of my fat ass.  I'm going to resist geeking out on bike stuff right now, so I can save it for the post after I get the bike back.

Ok, back on track, spin class.  Laurissa is a great teacher, and her music choices are even better.  I would do more spin classes, but they always seem to aggravate my back.  I don't know if it's bike size issue (handlebars don't seem high enough for me), mechanics issue or just the result of having had a back injury in the past.  Either way, I'm finishing up this post on Wednesday night and my back is still bothering me.  The pain seems to be very low, possibly my SI or close to it.  Feels like I over stretched it.  I'm planning to repeat this class next Sunday, so hopefully I can come up with a solution, even if it means I need to bring a handlebar riser or something.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Back on the Trails

7/7 run 60 mins @ Eno River on Cox Mountain Trail and Fanny's Ford Trail in MT101's

temp 80's
HR avg 154 max 171

I was all packed up and ready to head out at 2:30pm when the thunderstorms rolled in.  I figured I probably shouldn't tempt fate again, so I waited until a little after 5pm to start my run after the thunder and lightning had passed.  My pace feels slow as a snail, but looking at my past runs I'm pretty much in line with those times.  I tried to grind out all the climbs today just to put in a little extra effort and use the flatter sections to balance out my heart rate.  I feel like my running performance has been slipping lately, but it's probably just the heat.  I need to get in a longer run this weekend, but at an HR of 155 or less.  My plan for next Thursday is to run at Umstead so I can compare with my data from this past winter.

I started to get kind of sick after this run, so I skipped my crossfit workout tonight.  I've been playing with Vespa CV-25, so I've cut out all my caloric nutrition on my runs for the last month or so.  I'll just run with NUUN in my water bottle or just plain water in the CamelBak.  I'm not ready to pass judgement on the product one way or the other.  I blame getting sick more on not eating lunch due to delaying the run than on anything else.  Once I got home and wolfed down some dinner I started to feel a lot better.  I'm not sure how I'll fuel for this weekend's run, as I want to run at least 90 mins.  I will say I feel like my recovery has been better since I started using the Vespa.  This could also be related to me shortening or skipping my weekend long runs.  I do feel like my interval work isn't beating me up as much.  I haven't used my compression socks for recovery in at least a month or more.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


7/6 lift power clean 5x205 deadlift 5x390 (3 sets each)

I'm feeling weak and overtrained lately.  The cleans felt really heavy and I had to reset on the deadlifts at least once.  I find my breathing is getting out of whack on the deadlifts, which throws off my integrity between reps.  We'll get through this week and see where things are at next week for max outs.

All Over the Place on Intervals

7/5 run 59 mins (4x1200m) @ ATT soft side in New Balance MT10 Trail Minimus

1. 6:26  HR avg 166
2. 6:33  HR avg 173
3. 6:39  HR avg 174
4. 7:03  HR avg 174

temp 85+ (about 7pm start)
HR avg 157 max 180 (average heart rate includes 10 min warm-up, 10 min cool-down and 400m rest intervals)

I think these times give a pretty clear picture of what the heat does to my performance over time.  I've started walking all my rest intervals in the heat as my heart rate never drops below 135 anyway.  It's interesting to look at how my heart rate during my 400m rest intervals creeps upward from interval to interval.  I think this is just a result of my body trying to cool itself.  I went back and looked at some of my speed work data from the cooler months and it seems I was able to recover consistently between intervals, so it definitely looks like it's the heat/humidity that's getting me.

The Most Dangerous Day of the Year

7/4 lift box squat 5x300 close-grip towel bench 5x230 plus snatches 5x80, 3x105* and pull-ups +55lbs

Not much to say.  Struggling on the box squats and having issues with lockout of left arm on the snatches.  Moved up a hair on the bench.  Feeling a little burned out, which is weird, as I haven't worked out since last wednesday!  We are also cutting back to 3 sets of 5 instead of 5x5's.  I figure we'll play with the volume a bit before we reorganize things.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Purple Leg

6/29 lift power clean 3x215 deadlift 1+1+1x405 plus incline dumbell presses

I didn't notice until Tuesday, but it seems I managed to tear something in the hamstring/adductor area of my right leg during the Spartan Race.  It has manifested as a large purple/yellow area on the inside/back of my right leg.  I think affecting some of my lifts, but otherwise I don't really notice it unless I bump the area.  I have a pretty good idea of which obstacle did it too. 

There was a mud pit obstacle with 10-12 foot climb out on a sheer clay/mud face using a rope.  When I got to the top of the rope and had to transition out of the pit, I threw my left leg over the edge and pulled myself up.  In doing so, something in my groin locked up with enough pain to blur my vision.  This was at an aid station, so I ended up leaning against a bulldozer for a minute or two while the rest of my team helped each other out of the pit.  Once I started running again the pain went away, but I think that's what did it.