Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rain or Shine

Last night, when I wasn't really tired and didn't want to go to bed, I went to work instead. That is right. I basically worked from 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM. I did get a lot done though. When you are on, you are on.

I came home at 7:00 AM (barely made it) and crashed until about 11:00. When I couldn't sleep, I rode my bike around the loop of death again. It gets easier every time. This time I really pushed. I could have done the loop again but with the little sleep and the rain soaking me, I figured I'd just make myself sick so I stopped.

I can't find my bike computer so I still don't know how long it is taking me to do the loop.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

2nd Times the Charm?

I rode the loop of death again. This time, it wasn't nearly as bad. It is amazing how fast the body can start to adapt. I still haven't timed myself. I wasn't fast but I did push in most of the places where I coasted the day before.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Return of the LoD

The Loop of Death is back. A lot has happened in the last year and a half. Almost 18 months ago, I nearly passed out while riding my bike and after the flat on the way to work later that same week, I never got back on my bike. I took a fencing class. Started working out with a personal trainer. Studied Capoeria. Avoided elbow surgery. Took several spin classes. Started CrossFit. Ran in the Frostbite Series. Stopped working out with my trainer. Endured extreme fiscal challenges at work. Stopped eating healthy. Mostly stopped exercising. And now, finally, got back on my bike.

Today, I rode the Loop of Death. This was the 2.2 mile route starting and ending at my driveway that I rode to start building a base for riding my bike almost 2 years ago. Back then, at almost 290 lbs, with no exercise at all under my belt, the loop of death almost did me in. Today, at 260 lbs, with a much better baseline fitness, at least in strength, I discovered that, once again, this silly, almost laughably short and easy route was nearly more than I could handle. I'm still trying to decide what happened. To be sure, part of me, knowing from CrossFit that I can push harder, insisted that I ride harder than I had before. I attacked the (minuscule) hill at Ashby, dropping gear after gear as I slowed and finally adding 2-3 gears and standing up to push to the top, lungs burning, breath rasping, head spinning and legs melting in place like a wax candle left on the dashboard of your black on black car, mid-summer in the Australian Outback.

I do (or have done) CrossFit, some small part of my brain screams in outrage. This can't be that hard?! Well, I'm here to tell you, it can, it was. An hour later, I can still barely type. My hands are shaking. My throat is burned raw and the memory of the death breath (You know when you reach deeper into your lungs than you have in years and the air is fetid, still and lifeless.) haunts me. Today, I had to pick, CrossFit, or bike (newly tuned up at REI). I chose the new (renewed) toy and for that, I paid.

I read recently that 80% of physical capacity / performance depends on the last 4 weeks. My last 4 weeks set me up for a bad time. Imagine how great I could be when the next 4 weeks IS the last 4 weeks. What have you done today?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Falling Down the Ladder

WOD - Pull-up Ladder
Start a continuously running clock.
Each minute do n pull-ps
where n starts at 1
and increases by 1 each minute.

1 - 90% strict, 10% kip
2 - 40% straight, 60 % kip
3 - first was 90% kip 10% fail,
- rest were jumping
4-15 - all jumping

I finished all 15 jumping pull-ups of 15
in about 40 seconds but I couldn't stand
back up to start round 16.

My arms feel like jello. With good
jumping pull-ups, the jump got me off
the ground but I could feel the finish
in my arms. Towards the end, I started
to lose that good finish and some were
just up as long as the jump lasted and
try to slow the descent at least a little.

I know I won't feel my arms tomorrow.
I've needed more pull-ups as I can feel
that I am backsliding fiercely.

I'm still shaking, 10 minutes later.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Four by 800?!

Recently there was a CrossFit workout that was four rounds of 800m each. Run each 800m for time and record the times of each round. You can rest as much as you need between rounds.

I think that once around my block is a little over 800m but here goes.
4 x 800m


The first round I set out way too fast but I was determined to put all I had in it. I was way past panic breathing at 3/4 of the way but I kept pushing. I crumpled at the end. It was rough.

The second round I tried to apply POSE running but while I get the principle, I don't seem to get the technique and I was getting more tired with less speed. Obviously, I'm not doing it right.

The third round, I just wanted to push a little faster but with a more even pace all the way around. I was OK until I hit the downhill at about half way (Did I mention I have 30-50' of climb in the first half and then that down for the second half?) when I started sucking wind hard and my legs started crying. I dropped my pace a little but not much and pressed on.

For the last round, I tried to stretch my legs without letting myself sprint too hard. I set a ground eating pace for the first half, even keeping my cadence high and a nice stride through the steepest of the uphill. At halfway I knew this was it and didn't slow at all. I did keep myself from the balls to the wall blast my legs kept asking for. At the final 50-75m straight (just barely uphill) to the driveway, I set it on burn, faster than I had been running but probably not as hard as I'd run from a bear. I was stoked to see I'd finished the last lap in under 3 minutes, and that I'd finished both the 3rd and 4th laps faster than the lap before them. I was also excited to see my PR time in the first lap, even if it did leave me blasted for the rest of the laps.

I think I rested 15-20 minutes between most of the laps. I wasn't timing my rests.

Now, my legs feel hot but good. Maybe we can walk around Creve Couer Lake later today. And who knows, a trip to the SkyZone trampoline gym would be really cool.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Setting Limits (Dropping Out)

I wanted to see how long it would take me to do 100 push ups. Sad to say, I stopped at 40 in 3:30. I started at 10 x 30 seconds. Did 20 that way in the first minute. Rested an extra 15 seconds. Went to sets of 5. 5 in 15, rest, 5 in 15, how many have I done? I think that was 30, 5 in 30. 3:15, oh god I have to do at least 5 more before 3:30. 5 more. Almost dropped myself on my nose on the second to last one. Just... one... more.... That's enough.

I just can't decide how to tell the difference between wisely stopping before goals that are too ambitious and wussing out. I think I'm erring more towards the latter these days but I have so many problems with pushing too hard that I'll take cautious for a while.

In the mean time, I really need to get my shoulder looked at. I feel like someone stabbed me with a knife and the pain never really goes away. And when I work out, it just gets worse.

Walking on Barfuss

I've been reading about Barfuss trails recently. Since I haven't been able to find one, I decide to roll my own. On the way out of the zoo, I took my shoes off. I walked across cool wet grass, sidewalk, bumpy bicycle crosswalks, concrete, the back of the snake in the turtle park and across the sharp gravel in the turtle park. For a 10 minute self rolled barfuss walk, this was ok. My feet did feel a little invigorated. I think the back of the snake was my favorite; it had more balance too it but the back was rough enough concrete to make it invigorating. The gravel path was painful but not unpleasantly so.

It turns out there is one of these at Bastyr University in Seattle. I can't wait to get back there now.

It's a Zoo

Michele and I went to the St. Louis Zoo today. It was a madhouse. With a balmy almost 70 degrees (F), everyone and their monkey's uncle was out.

As usual, we parked across the bridge in the Turtle Park. If you are willing to walk just a bit, you can get free parking almost every time. With the free admission to the Zoo, this makes for a very inexpensive trip, just avoid the gift shops.

An extra perk for the day, the top guy who usually performs at the Japanese Festival at the Botanical Gardens was set up in the Turtle Park. We spent a few minutes talking to him on the way in and on the way out. Most of his tops he mad himself. Of three 'performance' tops (ones he uses for tricks), he made one of layered disks of fiberglass, one of origami paper and one of wood. All three had pet flee collars around the outside for the rubberized protection of the edges. He also said he has one at home that was machined out of aluminum and that if you spin it on a smooth level surface, most of the time it will stop standing up instead of falling over. I'd love to see that sometime. I wish I could send him plans for a hand lathe or something.

Friday, April 04, 2008

All That and a Hat?

A couple of weeks ago, I went in to get my driver's license renewed. In the vision test, they asked me to read the letters. I saw two clear boxes of letters so I read them. "Keep going," the woman prompted. "Oh, you mean those blurs are supposed to be letters? OK..." I could see fine out of my left eye but my vision was not good out of my right. I hadn't noticed before.

Since then, I've been walking around closing one eye all the time. Sure enough, my vision is constantly blurry out of my right eye. I've even noticed that I can usually see better if I close my right eye. Apparently the blurry input from one eye degrades the overall quality of the brains ability to interpret what it sees.

After a bit of confusion about vision plans and benefits, etc, I finally made an appointment to see a doctor. Sure enough, I have astigmatism in both eyes. Where before I had 20x17 vision in both eyes, I now have 20x20 in my left and 20x50 in my right. And oh, by the way, the driving vision test is 20x40 but your really only have to pass in one eye.

I spend a while doing 1 or 2, 2. 3 or 4, 3, ad naseum and finally the doc leaves the room for a minute and holds up some kind of simulated glasses. "You don't need to wear them but they might help if you are going to be doing concentrated vision..." "Listen. I remember what it was like to have crystal clear vision. I don't like walking around feeling the world blur out. All I have to do is wear these glasses on my head and I can see again?! You're going to have to fight me to get them off, not convince me to put them on."

So, I'm soon to have glasses. The really sad part is that I've always liked the way I look with a decent pair of glasses on. As far as accessories go, good glasses are right up there with a nice hat. I'm excited to be able to see again but I'm also excited to wear a nice pair of stylish glasses. It's almost like I win twice.

And hats, if you ever see a leather fedora like Brad Pitt wears in Snatch, I want one. Please tell me where I can get it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

More Push Ups?

I did alternating sets of 10 self assisted hand stand push ups and 10 balance push ups with feet on a swiss ball again. 10 hspu, 30 min, 10 bpu 30 min, repeat.

I think I did 3 sets of each total. On my grease the groove plan for push ups, this still seems to be fun but after people show up at the office, I tend to stop.

On another note, I can do a normal hspu down to 8-9 inches from the ground now, but 4-5 inches is still too low. I'm making progress though.