Pandemic lessons, Week 2

What a long strange year March has been… Though the pandemic started weeks ago in China and parts of Europe, it really didn’t “hit home” until the 12th or 13th here. It was then that the precautions began rolling out, with spring breaks extended. And things only ramped up from there.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Last week I think we were all in a bit of shock. I did get a walk in and even managed one workout (see Week 1 Lessons here), but for a person who dislikes change it was rough on the system.

This week was better, though worse in a lot of ways as old habits for me began to creep back into my life. Managed a bit more:

  • Tuesday, 2.5 mile walk
  • Wednesday, chat with Coach Drea about nutrition/exercise
  • Thursday, 2.5 mile walk
  • Friday, strength training with Coach Marilee

Bad habits include:

  • Skipping breakfast and just drinking coffee
  • Less water consumption
  • Easier to just hunker down and work (I already worked from home before the crisis, so it’s almost a refuge to just chug along if I’m making progress on work items)
  • More regular alcohol consumption (not a lot, but more than I’d like)
  • Less healthy eating (more wraps or sandwiches, less salads and veggies)

The usual suspects.

Photo by Frank Busch on Unsplash

On the plus side, I think I’ve only hit Starbucks once in the last couple of weeks and I’m sleeping in later because I don’t have to make sure the girls are up for school.

But just like with everyone else, I am getting a little stir crazy. That’s why I was thankful I managed to get out for a workout with Marilee today.

Strength Day – Upper Body

My wife and girls have been doing intermittent strength training with Marilee for a couple of weeks. Today was the first time I got into the cycle.

Warm-up: Three sets of 10 banded pull-aparts then 10 banded overhead presses (kneel on band, press band upward like doing a strict press), then 10 push-ups.

From there, we looked at some numbers for strict press and bench press. My current one-reps are:

  • Strict Press: 145# (set back in February)
  • Bench Press: 230# (set many many moons ago), so I used 225# as a number for now

We used those numbers to figure out the following:

  • Strict Press, sets of 5 at 95#, 110#, and 130#
  • Bench Press, sets of 5 at 130#, 150#, and 170#
  • In both cases, the last set of 5 is really 5+ to see how many you can get

So how’d it go?

Strict press got sticky quickly. Sets of 95# and 110# were ok, but showed I needed to tighten my core for each rep more consistently and watch elbow position.

My last set, I did three very ugly reps at 130# and my body wouldn’t go further, so we dropped 5# and I did the last two at 125#.

Bench press wasn’t too bad. 130# and 150# went well. And I got to 7 reps at 170#.

Apparently we will focus on deadlifts and back squats next week and work on some accessory work as we move forward through a four week cycle alternating between upper and lower body movements.

We’ll see how it goes. 🙂

I’m hopeful that I can continue to get some walking in, plus add in the strength component next week. Just want to take it a week at a time for a bit, though I suspect we’re stuck at home at least through the end of April.

Lessons Learned

The biggest thing? Old habits die hard.

Before starting Crossfit and getting into the box regularly, I was a pretty big homebody. I spent a ton of time at my desk or in front of the television.

I thought I was over that, but apparently I was wrong.

Getting out and about to walk around or get a workout in at a friend’s house is great, but it’s not normal. So I shouldn’t be surprised that some of my oldest habits would return with me NOT escaping on a regular basis.

But the social thing… that’s killing me. ME… A huge introvert. Damn the luck. Apparently I need some people time too.

So I’m glad that I have had some gaming opportunities (tabletop RPGs) that have enabled me to “meet up” with the folks that we normally would meet up with anyway. I have a regular Tuesday night group that now meets via Skype and my D&D group that meets intermittently is now meeting more regularly over a messaging app (GotoMeeting) and using Roll20, which is a virtual tabletop that you can get to in a web browser.

It’s not enough, but it’s a start. I know my wife and girls are really feeling it because they have always been much more social than I am. But we’ll slowly find a new normal I hope.

If you’re feeling the pressure and stress, don’t think you’re alone. We’re all struggling to find a “new normal” — and it’s going to be a while before things settle again.

Do your best. Give yourself and others some slack. And we’ll get through this.

Together We Can Quotes. QuotesGram

Pandemic Lessons Learned, Week 1

Why does it feel like I’m Robinson Crusoe or Tom Hanks stranded on a desert isle all of a sudden?

Day 8 of Isolation

Seeing the workout is not the same as doing the workout. Doing the workout alone is not the same as doing it in a class setting. Surviving the social isolation is not the same as living…

What a weird time we live in.

I am not ashamed to say that I fell into a deep dark hole as soon as we were locked down for social distancing. My last actual workout was a week ago — a team workout at Continuum with Caleb and Larry.

Note: I miss the madness at the box.

Since then, I have felt guilty day after day watching as our own Coach Drea has done her absolute best to loop in people with technology. Remote coaching via Zoom chats and Facebook broadcasts. Yoga from Yogi Vanessa via the same channels. And I have done nothing. Maybe a little stretching here and there, but that’s it.

The streets are abandoned, just like in this photo by James Genchi on Unsplash

Add Energy to the Equation

Today my wife and I worked out with Coach Marilee in her garage, which is about 800m from our house. She asked if I wanted to go and my gut reaction was no. Thankfully the sane part of my brain stepped in and told me that’s why I should go. So I did.

This body had been at rest for several days with little motivation. According to Isaac Newton, I needed to inject some energy into the equation.

We went over, warmed up a bit, and did about a 30 minute team workout. Three stations:

  • 30 minute AMRAP:
    • One person did three rounds of Cindy (5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 air squats)
    • One person rowed
    • One person did planks or plank variations
  • Repeat until each team member did two rounds

Due to equipment and just generally being a lump, I did jumping pull-ups, but everything else I did pretty much as written. My planks became variations of high planks, low planks, downward dog, and child’s pose.

And I think we were done in maybe 27 or 28 minutes (timer on the phone cut out at 20 minutes).

It was good to move. I owe a big thank you to my wife for dragging me out of the basement today (and Marilee for letting us play in her garage).

Lessons Learned

I work from home, so the “stay home” orders going nationwide didn’t really affect me much — or so I thought. Turned out I had forgotten how much I thrive on routine. And when my routine escapes from home were no longer an option, my world shrunk a ton.

That includes working out. And though I appreciate everything our coaches are doing at Continuum, that approach simply doesn’t work for me. I need to get out of my house and interact with people away from the computer. I need to get on my feet in a place that isn’t home.

When you spend 24/7 at home, it becomes less a home and more incarceration. And I haven’t found a new routine yet.

I tried going for a walk early this week and was gone for maybe 45 minutes, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. And then we had weather changes throw me for a loop on top of simply being home all the time.

Maybe working out with my wife and Lee not far from home is the answer. Maybe it isn’t. But at least I got out one time this week.

We shall see.

Catch-up since Leap Day

Apparently I need to catch up a bit on writing up my workouts. Some of these will be a bit cursory, since it’s been a while.

Leap Day Team WOD

Mickey was home from college and AJ had soccer that morning, so Ev and I divided and conquered. She took care of indoor soccer and I went to torture Mickey. 🙂

And it was a doozy of a partner WOD that took 41:26 to complete…

  • 30 knee raises
  • 2 rope climbs or climb mods
  • 40 sit-ups
  • 2 rope climbs or climb mods
  • 50 walking lunges with weight (no weight for me, but Mickey used a 15# plate)
  • 2 more rope climbs
  • 40 push-ups
  • 2 more rope climbs
  • 30 shoulder to overhead. we did push press or push jerk. I used 95# and she used 75#
  • We did FOUR ROUNDS of this

It was a lot. I walked away with a new abrasion on my shin from rope climbs and some holes in my left hand that I’d rubbed raw. There were a couple of rounds where I just did lay-to-stand twice under the rope because I simply couldn’t hang on any more.

But we had a great turnout that day and had a good time. That was what mattered. 🙂

3-MAR-2020

Somehow I didn’t make it to Monday’s workout. I think we had a late start for AJ at the high school, so that threw all scheduled things out the window. As a result, I didn’t make it back in until Tuesday when we did some Clean & Jerk work.

We had a combo workout. The first part was strength, the second was an AMRAP. Neither was long, but they packed a punch.

  • Clean & Jerk Complex
  • 5 sets of a 3-position power clean and then 3 push jerks

I wasn’t sure how my shoulder or elbow were going to handle that today, so I took it easy and tried to work on form in the strength portion. I did 65#, 95#, 95#, 105#, and 115#. Some reps were probably better than others.

For the next part it was:

  • AMRAP 7
  • 3 clean and jerks (135/95#)
  • 3 toes to bar
  • 6/6
  • 9/9
  • etc., increasing by 3 reps of each movement each round

Not going to lie, this kind of fried me. I scaled and stayed with my 115# on the bar and then did straight-leg raises (instead of my usual knee raises) on the rig. Someday my hamstrings may stretch to the point where my toes can hit the rig, but for now I’d need some serious clown shoes to make it work. 🙂

I made it through 45 reps… 3+3, 6+6, and in the round of 9 C&J, I ran out of oomph. But I made it through 9+9 in that round and then 9 more C&J in the round of 12. It was definitely a push.

7-MAR-2020

Ev and I would usually go to the Thursday workout, but she was feeling miserable with a cold and my right elbow was still angry. We got adjusted on Tuesday, but it has taken a while to make that thing feel right.

So that led us to Saturday again. Ev and I made it in while AJ was participating in high school soccer scrimmages all day. We thought we might partner up that day, but I ended up being recruited by the “big guys” to fill out two teams of three. After drawing some playing cards and selecting the “highest” three as a team, I worked with Caleb and Marino while Ev worked with Stacy and a couple of the kids.

This was another doozy by the way.

We had 30 minutes (or so) to complete:

  • 75 power snatches (75/55#)
  • 75/50 calorie row
  • 50 power cleans (95/65)
  • 50/35 calorie row
  • 25 power snatches (115/85)
  • 25/20 calorie row
  • 15 rope climbs
  • 25 power cleans (115/85)
  • 25/20 calorie row
  • 50 power snatches (95/65)
  • 50/35 calorie row
  • 75 power cleans (75/55)
  • 75/50 calorie row

I stuck with a 75# bar for the whole thing and we divided all the reps up pretty evenly. I think Caleb or Marino took one or two extra here or there where numbers didn’t split quite right, but we hummed right along. And I must have scaled ok because I kept up with them. 🙂

We finished in 37:04 and the only new injury I had was re-opening the wound on my shin from rope climbs. But I made it to the top five times, so I wasn’t even mad about it.

Today, 9-MAR-2020

It’s been a while since I’ve popped into another class, but after the time change, my work schedule is a little messed up for two weeks. So the 9:30 class worked out for me! And I definitely wasn’t alone. We had probably 10 or so folks, so I wasn’t the only one the time change messed with today.

This was another doozy.

  • 21-15-9
  • double dumbbell power cleans (50/35#)
  • box jump overs (24/20″)
  • double dumbbell front squats (50/35#)
  • toes-to-bar

After doing the warmup, I knew 25# dumbbells were great. I knew that hanging knee raises (almost knees-to-elbows) was going to be ok. And for the box, well that was another problem.

Usually on box jump overs, I turn them into a 20″ box step-over — so you step up, step across, and step down. Coach Drea today wanted us to focus on moving more quickly and efficiently moving over the box, so I scaled a bit.

This was about the height I jumped onto and over today. 🙂

Instead of a 20″ box step-over, I stacked three 45# plates (3.5″ tall) to a height of 10.5″ or so and either did a hop up-pause-hop down, or did it without the pause. Took some convincing of the knees, but we eventually got the hang of it. I probably should have added another plate to make it 14″, but that was fine.

When we started, the round of 21 was tough — but it was in the round of 15 that I really slowed down. We were supposed to shoot for a time between 12-15 minutes. I finished the round of 9 in 15:51, so not too far off the mark.

Guess I scaled appropriately. 🙂 But it was a good burn. I was tired at the end.

The Upshot

After all of this, I was happy that I haven’t had any issues finishing a workout for a while. There have been moments, but it’s getting easier to push past them, so I’ll take that as a positive.

Great work everybody!

Tricky Little Burpees

Occasionally, crossfit throws us a curve ball. At first it looks like the workout isn’t going to be that bad, and that sets off warning bells — but you ignore them and head in anyway.

Unless something really gets screwed up with my day, I tend to be there on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. And Thursdays are special because I usually get to work out with my wife Evelyn, which is always a treat. She is boisterous and a lot of fun, which translates as “trouble for our coaches” more often than not. 😀

But today we got there and it was Coach Drea helped out by another of the apprentices (and someone we’ve known a long time now) – Marino! I have not had the privilege of being in one of his classes yet, so that made it even better.

The workout today… yeah, I kind of figured it was going to kick my ass. And I was right. 🙂

This was a triple-decker sandwich kind of workout. Do three sets of three movements, row for calories, do those movement sets again, row again for calories, and then do those movement sets one more time for good measure.

Each round was three sets of:

  • 9 front squats (95/65)
  • 7 toes to bar (or knees to elbows, or knee raises, or lie on your back and touch your feet to the rig over your head… whatever worked)
  • 5 bar-over-burpees, laterally

And then we rowed for 30/21 calories in those in-between parts.

Yeah, definitely was going to kick my butt.

As we warmed up, we were given some things to think about:

  • Breathe in through your nose with a closed mouth as much as possible to improve your efficiency with getting fresh oxygen where it needed to be
  • Scale the movements to the point where you could do the movements unbroken where possible
  • Use the burpees and the row as active recovery, working to slow heart rate and breathing to get off and keep moving
  • Try to do the burpees with a two-footed jump over the bar until that feels unsafe and then do step-overs
  • Use this workout as a character test and push through even if you want to quit
  • And previous classes had completed this workout in 15-20 minutes

So I scaled the front squats to 75# instead of 95# and the toes-to-bar became simple knee raises. Everything else stayed the same.

I did ok during the workout until that second set of three rounds, though I did scale my bar hops to step-overs pretty quickly after I tripped one foot over the bar and did the splits at one point. (I didn’t hurt myself, laughed about it, and did the SNL “Superstar” pose while I recovered. 🙂 )

Thank You Molly Shannon

It was that last row and three rounds that just about sank me. For months now it’s been a combination of being a bit out-of-shape cardiovascularly and just not being in the right frame of mind that has had me crash workouts. Sure, I usually walked out and did an 800m lap as a bit of penance, but I quit even if I kept moving afterwards.

Today, in the middle three rounds, I pondered quitting. The tiny terrorist in my brain was working overtime. But the shrewd negotiator kept me in the fight.

The front squats and knee raises I did unbroken in every single round. Sure, those little sets of burpees sucked but I could do them one at a time and get through the five slowly. And the row, I just focused on pulling until it was done. First 30 calories was done in about 2 minutes. Second took about 3.

And eventually I was done. (It didn’t hurt that Marino, Ian, Caleb, and several other folks were giving me encouragement along the way.)

It took me 24:45 to complete. Remember that 15-20 minute mark? Didn’t quite make it. But dead last beats didn’t finish, so I’m good.

Do I want to do it again? Heck no. 🙂

But I do want to give a shout out to Marino. He’s another great example (like Ash, Jess, Ian, and the other apprentices) of why we have stayed at our box as long as we have: our people are great.

Marino managed to be enthusiastic and informative during the warm-up and then during the workout he kept me on task, corrected my form a time or two, and just kept me going. He reminded me a bit of Coach Bill’s approach — fun but on mission.

Anyway, this was another workout where I wondered which of the programming gods I angered — but I survived.

Great work 8:30 class and thanks for all the support!

Catching Up: 24-FEB and 25-FEB

Oof. Some weeks the programming at your box hits your strengths. Sometimes it hits your weaknesses. This has definitely been one of the latter so far.

I’m not really complaining. Crossfit has a way of revealing all of those movements you really don’t want to do. That’s part of the beauty of how it works so well.

24-FEB — The Devil’s Tricycle

The Devil’s Tricycle

Any time I see a workout that involves the Assault Bike (aka “The Devil’s Tricycle”), I know I’m in for a rough one. Unlike with the rower, there’s no built in rest that I have been able to find. I have yet to find a good strategy beyond go hard and then let go. My pacing has been nonexistent.

And Monday’s workout (Turbo Tax) started with 30 calories on the bike. I openly confessed when I walked in that I was hoping there were too many people (we only have so many bikes) so I could volunteer to row. We all got a good laugh out of that and I ended up biking anyway. 🙂

The workout was simple. 15 minutes to do as many rounds of 30 calories on the assault bike, 30 kettle bell swings, 30 box jumps, and 30 deadlifts as possible.

My workout scaled slightly:

  • 15 minute AMRAP:
    • 30 calories on the bike
    • 30x kettlebell swings with a 55# kettlebell (instead of a 53# – scaled up?)
    • 30x step-ups to a 20″ box (trying to alternate which leg stepped up first)
    • 30x deadlifts at 135#

Um, yeah. I did my 30 calories in about 2 minutes, got off the bike and was struggling to control my breathing. To avoid stopping completely, I broke each of the sets of 30 into as many sets as I needed. 10s. 5s. 3s. 1s. It didn’t matter. Breathe. Go again. Breathe. Go a bit further.

We were supposed to shoot for 2 or 3 rounds. Woof. I got through one full round, got back on the bike, and managed 15 calories before time ran out. 15 ugly calories.

Long story short — the assault bike kicked my butt and set me up for issues with every movement after that. Breathing really was the problem. I wasn’t or couldn’t settle it back down.

And no, I wasn’t having a panic attack or a heart attack or even an asthma attack. I was just struggling with regulating heart rate and breathing to a level where I was calm enough and controlled enough to keep moving at a steady pace.

25-FEB — Harder Cindy

Cindy is one of the “girls” of crossfit that shows up frequently. We even use a Cindy-like approach to other workouts like Murph to break up reps more efficiently. And it’s been a while since I’ve done it. We’ve done a lot of Cindy-like workouts, but the last time I did Cindy as written was back in 2015.

Now that I’m at one of my heavier weights for a while (about 240#), I dread any workout that requires pull-ups. It’s different at 10# or 20# lighter, let me tell you.

And today? Well, it was “Hard Cindy”

  • 20 minute AMRAP
  • 5 weighted pull-ups (35#)
  • 10 push-ups with feet on a 30″ box
  • 15 squats holding a 45# plate

We warmed up and I was not feeling any of the variants of the weighted pull-up. They were supposed to be strict, and even with a chain belt and a 15# weight my body was telling me NO in no uncertain terms.

This was plenty high enough. 🙂

I never even attempted a push-up with my toes on a 30″ box, but I did some at 20″ and some at 24″. 24″ was tough, but I thought doable, so I figured it would do.

And then for the squats, I went with one of the skinnier metal 45# plates that had good hand holds. Tried in front at first, then moved to putting it over my back — and that worked ok.

So MY version of “Hard Cindy” was 20 minutes of:

  • 5 strict pull-ups (chin-up grip to avoid firing up my normal grip issues)
  • 10 push-ups with feet on a 24″ box
  • 15 squats with a 45# plate

How did it go? Well, I managed five full rounds with those modifications. In the 6th round, I dropped the box to 20″ for the push-ups. Everything else stayed the same. Made it through 6 full rounds plus 1 strict pull-up in the 7th.

I’m not going to complain. Only one person has done everything as written so far today — Todd. He managed 9 rounds plus 1 and kicked some serious butt. Everyone else has scaled. Most folks were in the 7-10 round range, which is fantastic.

And I had plenty of encouragement from Nicole and Jess today. They were both helping correct form and keep us on track, which they did really well as they always do. 🙂

Some Afterthoughts

Once again I have to call out Jess for being a great apprentice coach both days this week, first with Drea, and then with Nicole. She has a great balance of enforcing good movement and being encouraging the whole time, which is awesome.

Nicole called out the fact after the workout today that she thought I kept moving better than I had in a while. That my endurance was coming back up. And I’m not sure that’s true, but I appreciate the kind words. 🙂

Earlier in the month I took a hard look at the mindset I was applying to workouts (see “Mindset 2020” at the end of this post). After doing crossfit for a number of years now, I will always have some history hanging around behind me. For good or ill, I’ve done better and worse at many workouts over those years.

My hope is that by focusing on TODAY… maybe, just maybe, I can stop hauling all that around with me as a limiting factor and just accept it as what WAS, not what IS. Today I am not the same as I was yesterday, nor will I be the same tomorrow. I can only deal with the here and now.

Today isn’t better than yesterday, it’s just different. So if I take it as it comes and not as how I think it should be, I’m unloading all the crap that gets dragged along with it as far as expectations.

Did I “kill” this week’s workouts? Nope. They’re still alive and kicking. But I did keep moving, so I’m good with that.

Catching Up: 17-FEB and 20-FEB

This has been a weird week. Between meetings, weather, and just normal day-to-day madness, I’ve only made it in a couple of times this week. I don’t quite even know what’s going on tomorrow, but we’re doing our best. 🙂

Even so, I made it into Continuum for a couple of workouts. Monday night was Isabel and today was something involving lunges, slam balls, and rope climbs. Both classes just happened to be taught by some of our new coach apprentices (under the watchful eyes of other coaches). It added to the “weird” of the week, but it was weird in a fun way — I’m not complaining!

Isabel

Isabel is one of those deceptively simple workouts. 30 snatches for time. And yet… it’s one of the “girls” in crossfit and will leave you gasping for air at the end wondering what just hit you.

I have encountered Isabel before, but it’s been a while. And I’ve never done it as prescribed, I’ve always scaled. Spoiler alert: That’s still the case!

The goal is to hit this hard and fast and keep it to no more than 5 or 6 minutes. I’m pretty much all over the place.

  • 2016: 85# at 2:54
  • 2017: 95# at 5:34
  • 2018: 95# at 3:06

So where would I be in 2020?

We warmed up and went through all the movement prep with Ashley, who did just fine even if she might have been a little nervous. Coach Drea was there to help with questions any of us might have had (including Ash). No problems there.

During the warm-up, I tested the waters with 105# just to see how it felt. And after three wonky reps (even Ash was a bit concerned), I dropped back to 95# to see if I could stay somewhat close to my last time of 3:06.

My goal, as always, was to keep moving. If I put down the bar, I tried to keep myself to a handful of good breaths and go again.

I knew I wasn’t going to go unbroken, but I started with a set of 10, then did a set of 7, a set of 6, a set of 3, then a bunch of 1’s to finish it all off.

My result? A 7 second PR at 95# — 2:59. I will have to go up in weight next time just to see if I can push it closer to a prescribed 135# load. Maybe 105#. Maybe 115#. We shall see.

Hopefully we’ll see it again before 2022. 🙂

Walking Lunges + Rope Climbs + Slam Balls

After Monday’s bout with Isabel, we hit some weather issues (Tuesday) and meetings (Tuesday and Wednesday), bringing us to Thursday.

Thursdays are the one workout a week I usually get to work out with my wife Evelyn. She always makes things more interesting. 🙂

So we went in today and found Coach Nicole working with Jess, another one of the interns. We had a bigger class though. Nine of us I think.

The warm-up was long, but good, full of plenty of work on our quads, hamstrings, and thighs. We then went through all the movement prep we would need for slam balls, rope climbs, and walking lunges. And I knew as we were doing a 100 ft warm-up of walking lunges that it was going to be the limiting factor for the rest of the workout.

Spoiler alert: I was right! 🙂

The workout was an 18 minute AMRAP:

  • 100 ft walking lunge
  • 1 rope climb
  • 15 slam balls (30/20# ball)
  • 1 rope climb

Due to the larger class size, we split up into three groups of three. Ian, Melissa M, and myself started with slam balls. So I went ahead and did 15 slam balls unbroken with a 25# ball, clambered up the rope once, and started my lunges. Got back to the rope for the second time and my feet wouldn’t work as I grabbed the rope. So I dropped off and tried again. Same thing.

I’m never angry enough to do slam balls, but if you want to know more, I recommend watching this video of Camille Leblanc-Bazinet doing them. She makes them look pretty.

Jess said that one of the ways we could scale a bit was to drop one of the rope climbs. She was standing next to me as I dropped off the rope after the second failure and I told her I was going to just do one for each round after that. She nodded and moved on.

So for 18 minutes, I did 15 slam balls (25# slam ball), 1 rope climb, and a 100 ft walking lunge. Whee! But I managed to get up the rope each time (after slam balls) and even managed to do it in two good pulls (after the first time, which took me three).

Finished the 18 minutes with four complete rounds with my scaling options, plus five slam balls for good measure. Most folks were in the 5 or 6 round range, but I felt like I kept moving pretty well through the whole thing. I did get some minor corrections for my slam ball stance from Nicole & Jess, but otherwise I did ok.

One More Thing: My Battles with Sleep

Sleep has been one of those things I’ve been struggling with for years. I’ve tried everything. EVERYTHING. And in the last couple of weeks I’ve been down to two things:

  • A white noise machine. For years I’ve been using an actual fan blowing on me, but decided to try something new. I picked up a SNOOZ and it’s worked great.
  • And CBD oil. Jimmy turned me on to Nature’s Course Pure CBD Tincture and I started using it in early February. Though it’s not quite the panacea I was hoping for, it helps me manage my anxiety and helps with body recovery after workouts.

And for a couple of weeks, I didn’t notice a change. I was using the CBD oil in conjunction with various other supplements I’ve been using — and nothing worked. One night I decided I would just go with the CBD and the white noise — and I slept for 4 or 5 hours in a solid block. First time that had happened in months.

Photo by edoardo tommasini from Pexels

Since then, I am just taking the CBD in conjunction with vitamin D, vitamin C, and Super Flexy from Red H Nutrition, which is a turmeric/glucosamine-chondritin supplement that helps with inflammation in my joints. And yes, I take ibuprofen too. But I used to take a bunch of other things on top of all that and now it’s simplified a great deal.

Such a simple regimen has made a big difference in my sleep that I’m feeling better than I have in a long time. Some of that is mental attitude, but I appreciate the boost that a good night’s sleep brings me too.

Mind over WOD

Today’s workout was a battle of mind-vs.-WOD. A little bit of the Karen WOD mixed with abdominal work and a jump rope? Oof!

The workout was a descending ladder of reps… 50 wall balls, 50 sit-ups, and 100 double-unders (or 150 single-unders), then 40/40/80 (120), and finally 30/30/60 (90). It’s definitely a wall ball workout, no doubt about it.

We had a fun class of folks with Coach Nicole today, so I went in with a good attitude despite facing a whole mess of wall balls.

I went in with a few things in mind. Last time I did Karen, I broke it into sets of 5 and finished well under my previous time. So I figured I’d do something similar today. I didn’t, but that was the plan going in. Beyond that it was just continuing to move.

We warmed up and chatted about the workout, looking at various scaling options. Wall ball weight. Double unders or single unders. Number of reps, etc. We even talked about how to break up the reps. Some people were going to go 10-9-8-7-5-5 to get the first 50 done.

Just as a brief aside, I do want to talk about one bit of the warm-up I thought was great. We did three minutes on the rower — breaking each minute into 40 seconds of slow and steady, 20 seconds of sprint. It was fun and definitely got my heart rate up pretty quickly without destroying me right off the bat.

Anyway… back to the workout. We got started and I chose to use a 20# medicine ball for my wall balls, grabbed a nice old abmat for my sit-ups, and tried to remember my single under scaling number (150/120/90).

Time started and after doing the 10-9-8- approach for 50 wall balls, I was done in about 3 minutes. I was happy with that, worked through my sit-ups, and then got to the jump rope. My calves were angry. Very. And jumping was hard for that first round. I think I was around 8 minutes when I got back to the wall balls again.

I was all over the place after that. I think I did 10-10-5-8-7-5 (angry calves and knees this time), more sit-ups, and my legs worked better for the second round in the jump rope portion at least.

And then that last round. I kept looking at the clock. People were encouraging me to finish. My wife was singing whatever song was on the radio at the time. And I was doing 5 reps, 2 reps, 3 reps, 1 rep… whatever I could to keep moving. Sit-ups were much slower that round. And then my bunny hops kept getting tangled in the jump rope for those last 90 reps.

My final time? 28:35. Everybody else was in that 14-20 minute time frame and I was just doing dinky sets of reps inching closer to the finish line.

The only thing that saved me was the clock. Usually it gets in my head and causes problems, but today I was told that we had plenty of time when we got started — 30 minutes or so. It gave me a limit that I could work with. It didn’t get in my way. It just kept ticking away.

So did I finish? Yes. Was I in the time domain? Eh. Not really, but I was within MY time domain. That was good enough for me.

I was DFL, but I finished the damn workout. It was a win. 🙂

Thank you Coach Nicole and the rest of the 8:30 (and incoming 9:30) class for hollering at me as I struggled to finish that last round!

A site about my crossfit journey…