Regionals Workout #3, Scaled

You know the old joke, “I just flew in from X, and boy are my arms tired?” Well, I just got back from doing Regionals workout #3 at CrossFit Continuum, and boy is my body tired. Geez.

Arrived this morning to find Coach Larry waiting for us! But even before that, I arrived in time to help a guy push a stalled truck into a parking spot. Right place and right time to help and he seemed to appreciate the push, so life was good. 🙂

I was not alone in the 8:30 class today, though Mickey stayed home to sleep in. Darn teenagers. 🙂 It was me, Sarah, and Shannon taking on 2017 Regional Event #3. And we were a bit slower (and lighter) than the athletes who did this workout at any of this year’s CrossFit Regionals competitions. Saw this on the docket last night and muttered a bit of profanity after seeing some of the fittest individuals in the world struggle with this one.

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To kick things off with an uncomfortable bang, Larry had us begin with 5 minute on the assault bike, which I still call by its “Jonathan” term — The Devil’s Tricycle. I was uncomfortable after a mere 30 seconds on the damn thing and took frequent breaks and alternated just going with my arms vs. arms and legs. It was not pretty.

After that we started some work with a PVC pipe, doing 10 slow overhead squats with a 2 second pause at the bottom before moving to the rig for a 30 second hollow body hold. And from there we did three sets of:

  • 10 PVC “Good Mornings”
  • 5 pull-ups
  • 5 ring dips

ring-dip

Larry worked with me a bit on the ring dips, seeing me lean really far over on my first set. We talked about being a bit more upright to avoid any pectoral injuries like they saw during the Regionals this year (there are reports that 25 or more men suffered partial pec tears during the regionals). Ring dips are never one of my stronger moves and after yesterday’s shoulder-frying Cindy+ workout, my shoulders weren’t quite happy to attempt them today.

But we got through that and then discussed the workout itself.

  • For time:
  • 100-ft. dumbbell overhead walking lunge (80/55# dumbbell)
  • 100 double-unders
  • 50 wall-ball shots (30/20# ball)
  • 15-ft. rope climb, 10 ascents
  • 50 wall-ball shots (30/20# ball)
  • 100 double-unders
  • 100-ft. dumbbell overhead walking lunge (80/55# dumbbell)

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The box doesn’t have any 80# dumbbells or 30# wall balls, not that any of us were tempted to try these movements at those weights. I think most of us adjusted to level 2 or level 1. We did have a few folks do it at the level II weights, which is impressive.

Regionals athletes over the last few weekends, the ones who finished, did this workout in 16 minutes or less. Some managed it in a bit over 11 minutes. Crazy.

For the rest of us mere mortals:

  • Level II lowers the weights to 55/35# dumbbells and 20/14# wall balls
  • Level I lowers the weights to 35/20# dumbbells and 14/10# wall balls, plus single-unders and lay-to-stand rope climbs

I did somewhere between Level I and II. Let’s call it I.5.

  • 35# dumbbell, 20# wall balls, single-unders, lay-to-stand rope climbs

wallballGoing in, I knew that a couple of things were going to slow me way down:

  1. Walking lunges of any kind are a big challenge for me. My knees, even with knee sleeves, just don’t like the pressure of kneeling directly on the ground. Adding any kind of overhead weight just exacerbates that almost to the point of failure. And I managed to forget to tape my knees this morning, so that didn’t help.
  2. Wall balls. One of my goats. I knew I’d have to break it into smaller sets to get it done.

So how’d I do?

  • Managed to get through all of the first 100ft walking lunge with 35# overhead, alternating arms.
  • Single unders were rough, but doable.
  • Wall-balls took a bit. Sets of 10 or 5 to get through the first 35.
  • Rope climbs from the floor, I was able to do about 2 at a time. Knees were burning by this point.
  • Second set of Wall balls, I broke into 5 sets of 7. Consistency made it a bit better.
  • Single unders on this end were better. Did two sets of 50.
  • Last 100ft walking lunges is where I fell apart. Holding the weight overhead and doing the lunge became something my body simply didn’t want to do, so I dropped the weight, thrust an arm overhead, and did them without the weight.

Got all of that done in a tad over 22 minutes. Something around 22:15. Shannon was not far behind me at 22:34 or 22:44 and Sarah beat us both, finishing in less than 20.

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Any workout that involves walking lunges is automatically on my naughty list. Dave Castro is an evil man when it comes to programming challenging workouts. And I’m glad to be done with it.

Something tells me we may see other regional workouts before too long. And that’s fine. Bring them on.

But no more today… I’m going to go ice a few body parts and get some more mobility work in. 😀

Great work Sarah & Shannon! And thanks Larry for the encouragement during the WOD. I really didn’t want to pick up that wall ball. 🙂

Have a good day, folks!

Cindy Wants Revenge and Creatine Issues

My question: What did I ever do to Cindy? Why is she so angry?

I missed the Lurong workout last week. Honestly it just wasn’t a good week for me, but we’ll get to the reason behind that after I talk about today.

Mickey and I hit the 8:30 workout with Coach Drea this morning. We had a good crew along with us — Sarah, Brent, Shannon, Todd, and Lisa.

silly-walkBut Coach Drea was in “evil trainer” mode this morning with our warm-up… She led us outside and up the hill to the west, then told us what we’d be doing:

  • 2 minutes of jogging the 100-150m back and forth
  • then 15 seconds of sprints and 45 seconds of recovery for 5 rounds

Yes, I said “sprints.” And though I jogged the 2 minutes back and forth, my “recovery” was a walk. 🙂

But it didn’t stop there.

Once back inside, we did a long stretch of hip and shoulder mobility with a band on the rig. I swear I was sweating buckets during mobility, which is always entertaining. And then we did a few rounds (maybe 3) of:

  • 5 kips on the rig
  • 4 alternating one-arm planks (like the yoga move where you pivot to one side and then the other)
  • 5 wall-facing air squats, slow and steady as close as you can get to the wall without touching

cindyThat all took a long time. I think the mobility part of the workout was probably 35 minutes of our hour at least. And then we tackled the Lurong Challenge workout #3: Cindy Wants Revenge. Cindy plus rowing!

  • 12-Minute AMRAP
  • Opens with a 30 Calorie Row
  • Then 2 Rounds of:
    • 5 Pull Ups
    • 10 Hand Release Push Ups
    • 15 Air Squats
  • The next round starts back at the 30 Calorie Row

Apparently some early classes made it as far as 3 rounds, plus. So though I was shooting for 3, I knew the row was going to slow me down, as would the push-ups. Anything over 2 rounds would be good. 🙂

I made it through 2 rounds plus 3 reps. That boils down to about 183 “reps” in the 12 minute time cap. I did regular pull-ups and push-ups, and the regular air squats. My first 30 calorie row was about 2 minutes. Second was about 3 minutes. The killer for me was push-ups though. My first set of 10 was unbroken, but after that I was breaking it into 5 and 5 or 5-3-2 or whatever I could do.

Mickey made it through 1 full round plus 58 reps (she almost completed the third round of 5-10-15). She had to do a mix of pull-ups and ring rows, but she kept on chugging. Not bad for her second crossfit workout in a while (considering her first workout back was Murph!).

So we didn’t do too bad. Todd made it through 3 rounds plus a bit. Not sure how other folks did. But everybody was chugging right along!

Thanks Drea for a great workout!

Creatine and Me

So I mentioned that last week was bad for me. We started the Lurong challenge on my birthday, so this is the 4th week. And about the time we started, I also went back on adding some creatine into my diet.

now-creatineBack in October 2016, Jimmy suggested adding it to help with energy. So I bought Now Sports’ Creatine Monohydrate and added 1 heaping teaspoon to my Spark drink in the morning to help kick things off.

And that lasted until sometime in April when it ran out. I never had any issues and I do think it may have helped somewhat, but couldn’t put my finger on any particular energy boost from the stuff.

ON-micronized-creatineAt that point, I ordered a new type of creatine from Optimum Nutrition – Micronized Creatine Powder. I honestly didn’t think anything would happen negatively – I hadn’t had any issues on the other one and this one was well reviewed. So when the Lurong Challenge started and we shifted over to a Macro-based plan for meals, I just added this into the mix.

And holy cow, I started having some serious issues.

Mood swings from hell. Deep, dark depression in the afternoons. Anger. And I did my best to work through them, thinking they were a side effect of the diet change and lowering my carbohydrates (sugar crash, etc). But after a particularly bad bout last week, Ev and I decided we should just stop taking the stuff and see if it helped.

And honestly after not taking it for several days, I feel a lot happier. No mood swings. No anger or depression beyond my usual self-doubt, regret, and guilt (I’m human, it happens). So I think we’ll be not taking any creatine for a while.

I’m not saying that EVERYBODY has this kind of reaction – but damn. Not high on my list of things to try again for a while. I prefer normal me to depressed and angry me, 100%.

Strength Day!

The last two days have been a mess, but I am happy to say that I made it into CrossFit Continuum for the third day this week despite that. In fact, I made it in with my wife and youngest (my eldest was doing something I’m jealous of these days — sleeping in!).

We were definitely not alone… Sarah, Stacie, Melissa & Todd, Danielle, Connie, and Caleb joined us. Coach Bill had his hands full!

We started with a three round warm-up…

  • 250m row
  • 10 kettlebell sumo deadlifts (I used a 53# KB)
  • 10 push-ups

I thought they were sumo deadlift high pulls, so that is what I was doing for a while until Bill corrected me. But it was the push-ups, even 4 days after Murph on Monday, that were the challenge. And I wasn’t alone with some soreness.

sumoDeadlift5_NickStreet

When that was done, Bill went over the movements — bench press and sumo deadlifts — and we divvied up into pairs and trios to do the workout.

I worked with Todd & Caleb and they got heavy fast with the sumo deadlifts:

  • 135# x5 (warmup)
  • 225# x5 (warmup)
  • 275# x5
  • 295# x5 — ugly. Bill caught me not breathing
  • 305# x5 — mine were even uglier
  • 295# x5 — not as bad as 305
  • 275# x5 — better.

Todd and Caleb both looked great doing these. They’re a bit awkward for me. Not sure if it’s the grip with hands not as wide on the bar or the legs in that wide stance, but either way it was a challenge.

Barbell_Bench_Press

My one rep deadlift these days is 345# and I did 315# x6 back in April, so I’ll take 305# x5

From there we shifted to the bench press, which Caleb seems to do effortlessly.

  • 135# x5 (warmup)
  • 165# x5 (my weight in high school)
  • 175# x5
  • 175# x5
  • 185# x4 (my weight in college)
  • 175# x4

My one rep bench press is about 230# these days, so I’ll take today’s reps in stride. I stayed pretty close with Todd’s numbers, but Caleb I think did 5 reps at 255# to finish, so… yeah. He’s a beast.

Not a bad day. Better than yesterday when I didn’t get in to work out at least. 🙂

Great work everybody! And thanks Bill!

 

CrossFit Games Regional Event 2 for Mere Mortals

What? Yeah, that’s what I was wondering today as well. Today we attacked the Event 2 workout from CrossFit Games Regionals 2017. And after doing Murph yesterday, I have to say, I did better than I expected.

We had a great crew this morning for Coach Drea (with little Noah, though Coach Jimmy came in to sit with the little guy during most of our class): Shannon, Melissa, and Vickie. Mickey and AJ went in with me, but just did some yoga in the corner (loudly) before disappearing to help Danielle. 🙂

20-lbs-dumbbell1Started with a 500m row and then did a mess of mobility with a lacrosse ball, plus some PVC pipe overhead squats and good mornings, strict pull-ups, ring dips, sit-ups, and some Samson lunges.

From there it was time for some dumbbell snatch practice. I started with a 20# dumbbell, then moved to a 30# dumbbell, and finally to a 50# dumbbell. I honestly wasn’t sure I would be able to fling it over my head — but I did!

And lastly a bit of ring dip practice to figure out what progression we’d use. For Level II, it was banded — so I did banded. Not too proud there, especially since it wasn’t long before my body was telling me nasty things about ring dips. 🙂

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Picture courtesy of Mickey Fitzpatrick

So what was the workout exactly?

  • 21-15-9 reps for time of:
  • Dumbbell snatches
  • Ring dips
  • Rx: 80/55# dumbbell, Level II: 50/35# dumbbell, Level I: 30/20# dumbbell
  • And apparently banded ring dips were ok for Level II and below

I was quite surprised at how easily my body did the 50# dumbbell snatches. The banded ring-dips were another story. I did a few with my butt in the band, as Drea requested. But my shoulder and chest were already starting to give by that point — so I shifted to ring dips with my knee in the band from that point forward. Small sets.

Ring dips slowed me down quite a bit, but that was fine. By the end I was doing them one or two at a time. Even if I was last to finish (the other three ladies did awesome and kicked my butt), I finished.

Did the whole thing in 11:46. The time cap for the actual event was 6 minutes in competition, which I automatically double for mere mortals. So for me, I got in just under the time cap — I will take it.

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Great work ladies – you did awesome and were flying through this thing! And thanks Drea — I wasn’t sure I wanted to push to 50# but I managed. 🙂

Have a great day!

Memorial Day Murph 2017

Since 2013, we have done some form of Murph every year with the crew at CrossFit Continuum over Memorial Day weekend. I won’t say it goes well every year, but it’s always a good struggle for a good cause – to remember the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform in the service of our country. (Want to know more about Murph? Check out the great website dedicated to the workout and his memory.)

This year we weren’t sure we would be able to attend, but events transpired such that it became a possibility. So we went.

murphI have to say I wasn’t all that enthused by the prospect this year. I’m tired. The last few weeks have been a challenge with nutrition changes, soccer schedules, and the end of the school year for our girls. I honestly wasn’t sure I wanted to do the workout.

But here’s the thing. Whether I wanted to do it or not, it deserved to be done. And when time opened up for us to do the workout as a family, we did it.

This year it was me, Ev, and Mickey taking it on. AJ played three soccer games over two days and was more than a little beaten up as a result. She chose to bow out this year and I don’t blame her.

Mickey and I talked about it yesterday and decided that if we got to do it, we’d team up. She would run a mile and I would row a mile and we’d split up the reps 50/50.

Ev did the whole thing herself, with banded pull-ups and the run.

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Our crew before the workout. We looked much more tired afterwards!!

So how’d we do?

Ev finished the whole thing in under an hour – around 57 minutes I think she said. First time she’s ever done it in under an hour — so she did AWESOME.

Mickey and I split it up as planned. I rowed 2,000m in under 9 minutes and Mickey ran about a 9 minute mile to kick us off. We then split up the workout with a consistent rep scheme:

  • 10 rounds
  • 5 pull-ups (or ring rows, which Mickey shifted to after a few rounds)
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 air squats

That meant each of us did 50 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, and 150 air squats. And honestly I felt pretty good through the first 5 rounds. My push-ups started to fatigue pretty quickly, but I just broke them into two or three chunks and got them done.

But my 5 pull-ups and 15 air squats felt pretty good through the whole thing.

And when we were done, we walked a mile. Two laps around the 800m course.

We finished in under 55 minutes. I’ll take it. Mickey and I were done with all the reps about minute 33 and it took a while to leisurely walk the mile afterwards. We were less than a lap ahead of Ev and she did the whole thing herself!

Here are some pictures that AJ took:

So another Murph in the books. Great work to everybody who completed it. Quite a few folks tried it this year for the first time with a weight vest. My goal next year is to try it with rowing the front and back side of the WOD and do all the reps. It’s going to take a while, but I think if I pace myself like I did today I can pull it off.

On this Memorial Day, let’s remember why we have this national holiday. It’s to remember all those sacrificing their lives to the duty of protecting the United States — past, present, and future. We honor your sacrifices and embrace the suck each year doing Murph. It’s nowhere close to what you endure.

Memorial-Day-Images

Jump o’er the line, move your body in time…

I must start with apologies to classic R&B singer Harry Belafonte and songwriter Lord Kitchener for butchering the lyrics to  “Jump in the Line (Shake, Señora)” for my post title. After 600 times over a jump rope, I’m a little punch drunk I think.

Here’s the song from Bettlejuice if you too want to get it stuck in your head. 🙂

Evelyn and I arrived for an 8:30 class with Coach Jimmy and got to see Coach Drea with little Noah as well, so that was a nice surprise. We were joined by Todd, Melissa, and Carrie, so it was a smaller class. I expect class size to balloon next week once school is out for summer across the city and after the Memorial Day holiday.

rowboatWe started with a 1000m row (a little more than 4 minutes on the rower) and then shifted quickly to some barbell work for the squat clean. From the squat clean progression, we added weight to the bar and warmed up to our working weight.

Can I just say that 95# squat cleans felt phenomenal? I knew I had to add more weight. 🙂 115# didn’t feel quite as phenomenal, but still not horrid.

From there we talked about bar muscle-up progressions. Either full bar muscle ups, jumping muscle-ups, banded muscle-ups, chest-to-bar, banded or jumping c2b, etc… After Jimmy demonstrated a jumping muscle-up on the low bar, I just nonchalantly walked up to it and tried it with a “like this?” as I suddenly realized I was on the top of the frigging bar. And all of a sudden I realized I’d be mixing jumping bar muscle-ups with jumping c2b for the workout.

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My bar muscle-ups looked nothing like this 🙂

What was the workout? A lot of reps. For a Games-level athlete, maybe 10-15 minutes max. For me? 30+. 🙂

stopwatchFor time:

  • 150 single-unders
  • 20 bar muscle-ups
  • 10 squat cleans, 115/75#
  • 150 single-unders
  • 15 bar muscle-ups
  • 15 squat cleans, 115/75#
  • 150 single-unders
  • 10 bar muscle-ups
  • 20 squat cleans, 115/75#
  • 150 single-unders

My workout looked like:

  • time-371226_640150 single-unders
  • 12 jumping bar muscle-ups, 8 jumping c2b
  • 5 squat cleans, 115#; 5 hang squat cleans, 115#
  • 150 single-unders
  • 9 jumping bar muscle-ups, 6 jumping c2b
  • 15 hang squat cleans, 115# (perhaps one or two hang cleans in there)
  • 150 single-unders
  • 6 jumping bar muscle-ups, 4 jumping c2b
  • 20 ugly hang power cleans and just power cleans @ 95#
  • 150 single-unders

That took me 32: 18.

Evie flew through this thing with 75# squat cleans and banded chest-to-bar in 23:23. She did awesome.

I was just happy to get done. 🙂

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Great work 8:30 class and thank you Jimmy and Evie (and everybody else) for the encouragement and guidance. I appreciated it even if I grumbled a little. 🙂

Have a great day folks!

(Only bad part of my day is an angry left shoulder, which is what forced me to drop weight in the last round of cleans… but this too shall pass. Thank you honey for wrapping my shoulder with the ice pack!)

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Lurong 2017, Week 1: Struggling with my Gut-Brain Connection

As we embark on a new adventure with macronutrients, I’m left exploring one of the newer ideas about gut health. In recent years, I’ve seen many articles crop up about the mind-gut connection. This one from Mindful is pretty good. So is this one from Johns Hopkins.

protein-carbs-fats-wheelBut other than occasionally being irritable when I’m having GI issues, I’ve really never had reason to ponder it deeply. Now, I’m seriously looking at it and how to make my gut happier.

So here’s the thing… When you clean up your diet and cut out some of the things that we use to mask other issues, such as coffee or alcohol, sometimes it uncovers things you weren’t expecting.

First thing I’ve noticed after a week… I don’t need coffee to survive. I’ve been starting my day with a serving of Advocare Spark (we like Limeade and Mango Strawberry, though the girls like Blue Raspberry) for many months now and then supplementing it with coffee. I never even thought to drop coffee completely until we started this Lurong Summertime Challenge a week ago.

spark-limeadeWhen we did a Whole30 challenge 4 years ago, I dropped caffeine cold turkey. I was MISERABLE as you might imagine. I had spent the previous 20 years largely addicted to soda in many forms. At the time, I was going through a 12 pack of Diet Dr. Pepper every week or more. So the caffeine withdrawal was awful.

Since Spark has a bit of caffeine in it, I haven’t had that issue. Now, I’ve had some serious energy crashes in the afternoons, but I think that’s due to trying to find a balance between carbs and protein more than anything else.

Second, the alcohol, though pleasant, isn’t necessary. It was more of a habit than anything else. I would, at the end of most days, sit down with a cider beer. And if I felt I deserved it, I would pour an Amaretto on the rocks.

Again, there’s no withdrawal symptoms — because I wasn’t really consuming that much alcohol in the first place. But I was happy to find that to be the case. I’ve seen regular use of alcohol turn into a bit of abuse of the stuff through the years with a few folks, so I didn’t want to go that way.

0511-1005-0201-0040_Black_and_White_Vintage_Cartoon_of_a_Man_Asleep_at_His_Desk_clipart_imageThird, damn my get-up-and-go has got-up-and-left.

I’m usually good through the first half of the day. And in the afternoon, I start to tank. Badly. I’ve had a couple of days, especially on workout days, where I’ve simply crashed for a good 20-30 minute nap. This isn’t a good thing in my book.

So I need to find ways to combat this without resorting to a second round of Spark in the afternoon.

And fourth, and the topic of this post, the strange road of depression on some days has been a huge challenge. Before we began the Lurong challenge, I started doing daily journaling again with the intent of focusing on a practice of gratitude to reflect on all the positive things in my day rather than the negative. I tend to dwell on the bad things and forget the good things, and usually when I go back and look at it at the end of the day, there was more good than bad.

journal-clipart-black-and-white-10735Gratitude is tough to find when you’re stuck in the depression well. I’ve never been what anybody would call a happy, go-lucky individual. And I’ve hit some dark spots here and there. But damn… I’ve been pissed off at some normal things that go on in my life for no good reason.

My journal entries lately are full of angry words. Swearing. And accusations. Not at all like the first few entries where I focused on gratitude.

But let me say this… I’m aware enough now that it’s my head that’s largely the problem, so I don’t mind vomiting all this negativity on the page rather than spewing it on my family or friends. So the journaling has been a HUGE benefit to offload my mind during some of these periods.

protein-granola-bite-fuelSo my gut, as it adjusts to a less carb- and caffeine-centered existence, is forcing my brain to deal with some of the issues I’ve been masking for years. And I think that’s a good thing to a certain extent. I just wish I could find some magic gut biome happy juice that would make me a bit happier.

I’ve added some trail mix to my afternoon routine (Bite Fuel’s Protein Trail Mix has been a godsend). But the additional carbs have definitely slowed down the weight loss. (I will easily snack on a cup of the stuff, which isn’t exactly carb friendly even if it does pack in some additional protein.)

Can anybody hook a guy up? I’m wondering if I’m the only person this weird depression crash has hit when adjusting to the macro’d lifestyle. I seriously doubt it.

I’ll write more later on this challenge as it progresses, I’m sure. I’m already down about 5-6 pounds in a week, so I won’t complain about that aspect. But I really don’t like the mental/mood swings.

Ideas are welcome. Thanks!

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