Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My drug of choice

is endorphines. When I started doing triathlons it was to have a goal to get me to work out and get back in shape. I am at a point that I really enjoy the training as much as I enjoy the racing. Some of the workouts can be quite painful, but in the end I always have a great sense of satisfaction.

Today was a double. I was going to do them back to back, but I had to leave the house after the first workout to pick up my daughter. It worked out as my legs were a little wobbly after the first workout (4 x 5k bike time trials). I completed the time trials in 10:10, 10:07, 10:15 and 10:30. I was really out of gas on the last one. I rested (spun easy) for 4 - 5 minutes after each effort. I'm not sure that was enough rest.

These were very painful. My heart rate monitor needs a battery so I was not able to monitor my HR, but it did not matter - I took it right to the point where the legs burn - the pain threshhold. I believe on a flat road I'm around 9 minutes on these, but my indoor trainer really distorts the result - but if the winter is going to be like today (2 below during the day and 10 below at night), I will be on the indoor trainer quite a bit. This actually works out as I will be able to compare my times on the trainer vs. going back and forth.

The second workout was done about two hours later. This was the same workout I did a few days ago - 2 pullups, 4 deadlifts, 6 burpees and 8 situps. I substituted leg presses for deadlifts again, but did the burpees. I went heavier on the leg presses than last time. I managed to eek out 14 of these in 20 minutes. I'm happy as it is 1 whole round more than last time and I felt good doing them. There was less discomfort on the back than last time.

I read up on pulled back muscles to see what to expect as far as recovery goes. According to an article I read, it takes about three weeks for the pain to go away and about six weeks for a full recovery. I'm hoping for a faster recovery as the pain has already subsided quite a bit. It also mentioned that excercise helps break down the scar tissue. I don't think that will be a problem.

I feel well enough to do most any excercise with the exception of ones that put a direct strain on the back (weighted squats, deadlifts, swings, etc.).

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Still sore, but better

About four hours after doing the 25k bike time trial I did my second workout of the day. I pushed this one hard - the way I look at it is if I can do a workout with no or minimal discomfort then I am going to push it to the max. This one called for 50 pushups, 50 lunges, then 40/40, 30/30, 20/20 and 10/10 - for time. I tried to do each set with more intensity than the one before. I finished it in 19:30. I was very satisfied with this workout

Today called for squats - fives sets of three. I am not ready to test the back on squats or deadlifts yet so I did leg presses. I have the kind of leg press machine that you lay on your back and push the weight up with. You get a pretty good range of motion if you bring the weight all the way down which I do. I barely have enough weight in the house to do this workout - I had everything I have except for 30 pounds on the machine. Total weight was about 320 to 325. I love doing leg presses, but I try to stick to the plan as close to possible and leg presses are not anywhere in the plan. As soon as my back is recovered I will not be doing leg presses anymore.

Speaking of the back - its come a long ways in the last two days. It is sore when I move in certain ways, but it is no longer sore when I am just sitting around. Also, it was tender to the touch and now I have to push pretty hard to find the spot now. Tomorrow is a rest day and Tuesday's workout is the same as Friday's. I am pretty sure that I will be able to do burpees Tuesday and will attempt deadlifts as well.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas was good to me

I have not been one to enjoy Christmas much as it seems that the meaning has been totally twisted over time; however, My wife loves Christmas so I do my best not to ruin it for her. In my attempts to make this a nice Christmas season for my wife and daughter I somehow got caught up in it and actually had a very nice Christmas season.

Gifts were good as well. On the top of the list was the new Rudy Project Wingspan Time Trial helmet. Unfortunately I need to send it back as the laminate is separating in one spot. That's o.k. though, it is not like I'm going to need it in the next few days. I also received a new Fuel Belt running belt. It is the Helium Fuel Belt and it is comfortable. I didn't fill the bottles up yet, but it is definately more comfortable to wear than the Nathan fuel belt that I have.

I worked out Christmas morning and tried to stick with the workout that was on the plan as much as possible. The workout called for 2 pullups, four deadlifts, 6 burpees and 8 situps AMRAP in 20 minutes. I put weight on the bar and got in the deadlift position just to see how that would feel on the back - as I suspected there was no way I was going to be able to do this movement. I tried a few burpees and they also aggravated the back. So I did some substitutions - I substituted the deadlifts with Leg presses and burpees became six pushups and six squats. The workout moves were fine - the thing that hurt the most was transitioning from excercise to excercise. I had no idea how I was going to feel later in the day and I was braced for a very uncomfortable afternoon, but my back actually felt better as the day went on. 13 rounds total.

This morning I woke up and my back, still sore, feels much better. I'm ecstatic! I thought the recovery time from this was going to really set me back, but I am hopeful that it is just a minor set back. I am going to be careful to not overdo it, but I can see that the amount of time to full recovery is going to be much less than originally anticipated.

I rode the trainer this morning - ice on the roads deterred me from an outside workout. I did a 25k time trial on the trainer. I am going to get my old trainer repaired as it was more indicative of what my road speeds are. The trainer I am using right now is about 2 mph average slower than what I do on the road (at least I hope so). It took me 54:23 to finish the 25k TT. This was a painful workout - I could not seem to find the right gear - I tried all sorts of combinations. One gear would be too easy but the next one up would be ever so slightly too hard. I tried to stay in the harder gear as much as possible but would switch down for about 30 seconds when the lactic acid was building up too much.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Still on the injured list

Well....I definately did a number on my back. It happened on Monday and today (Thursday) is the first day that I feel a slight improvement. I did my workout Tue night and substituted 15 squats for the 10 box jumps as the box jumps definately would have sent me over the edge. I finished the workout in 15:15. I woke up Wed morning in more pain than I was in on Tuesday. I don't blame it on the workout - I think it is just running its course.

I skipped both workouts yesterday as my back definately would not have tolerated rowing or running. Today is a day off and although I would love to do a workout to make up for missing yesterday, I think resting the back is more prudent. I will reassess tomorrow.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Injured - hopefully not seriously

I was very proud of myself for getting up early this morning to get one of my workouts in. I did 50 squat cleans, 95 pounds for time. It took me 25 minutes and 50 seconds. I have no idea of knowing whether that is a good time or not, but it was the first time I ever did squat cleans. I watched various videos of squat cleans to get the technique. I realized that form would be pretty important with this workout and concentrated on getting it right. It took about five or six reps before I felt somewhat comfortable with the movements. I managed to get all 50 done. I felt fine during the excercise, but felt a twinge in my back shortly after finishing - lower right side. It did not get any worse during the day until after my swim workout. Who would have thought a swim workout would aggravate a back injury.

As a side note - I went all out on mys swim workout - 20 25s with 20 second rest. The first ten were done at about 20 seconds (20/20) and then they started to slip until it was about 23 to 24 seconds at the end. I feel proud though as every single lap was done all out. Its a mental game - I just kept convincing myself that it was the last lap before I took off. And finally it was. I was planning to warm down with a 200, but by now my back was really starting to bother me so I did a 100 warm down and took off. Total yardage was 800.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The end of a good week

Friday was one of those days that almost gets away from you. After a long day of work I picked my daughter up at school and we went out for dinner at friendly's and then we did some Christmas shopping. We got home around 9:00 and I immediately did my workout which was Five Pullups, ten pushups and 15 squats AMRAP in twenty minutes. I started them off at about a set a minutes, but I really slowed down on the pullups by the fifth set and on the pushups by the seventh set. I tried to make up time on the squats but that just meant that I was more winded going into the pullups which did not help matters. Total number of rounds was 14.

Saturday was a double and although I thought about doing them back to back I decided to spread them out so that I could put my all into each workout. First workout was 75 pound thrusters 50 x for time. I had to break this up into sets - first was 20, then 12, then 11 and final round was 7. Total time was 8:45.

The second workout was 20 seconds work; 10 seconds rest 24 Xs on the bike. I warmed up for a good ten minutes before getting into the workout and really pushed the 20 seconds each set. Funny how after about the sixth one the twenty seconds feels long the the ten seconds feels really short. I did, however, get into a groove about half way through the workout.

I woke up this morning (Sunday) and took a look at my workout plan and its a rest day. I was fully prepared to do a workout this morning and its a stinking day off! That's fine as I have learned to embrace all parts of the training plan - workouts, nutrition, and rest. Willpower has been getting tested on the nutrition side as there is all sorts of crap available. Everywhere you look there is cookies and cake and all sorts of desserts. Not to mention the Hors Duvours at the parties. I won't say that I've been perfect, but I have been able to say no more than I have any holiday season in the past. Here's a good example: Yesterday we went to Burton's, a nice steakhouse at Evergreen in South Windsor. Rather than ordering the steak that I really wanted (and knew that I wouldn't be able to stop when I should), I ordered a chicken salad. No apps and no drinks (though I really wanted one, and others at the table were drinking). It helps to have a clearly defined goal about seven months in the future (a relatively short time from now). Although I would have liked to indulge yesterday I can be proud of myself today. The next few days will be tough, but it will be over soon.

Tomorrow's another double and I plan to do the first workout in the morning. I don't like lifting first thing in the morning, but I do o.k. after I get into it (takes me a good ten minutes to get going). I will do a good warm-up to make sure that I can push the workout the way its supposed to be pushed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Avoiding Max's wrath

Yesterday was a rest day and just as well as I was sore from my double on Tuesday. I assumed I would still be sore this morning, but I was fine.

Today called for a strength workout and a swim workout. I packed my bag in the morning and took off for work as soon as I had the kid on the bus. When I was half way to work I realized that I did not pack sneakers. I figured that I could get my swim in, go home and then return to the gym for the squats. I did not get out of work until around nine so that was not going to happen. Rather than having to admit that I blew off a workout (even though it would have been unintentional) I stopped at Kohls and picked up a pair of cheap sneakers. I wouldn't run in them, but they are good enough for weight training. Besides, I really wanted to try front squatting - I've never done them before.

I practiced front squatting with just the bar first and then I put a light weight on to practice. I ended up doing the workout with 125 pounds of weight. I believe I could have handled a little more, but this being the first time I've front squatted, I figured it was prudent to be conservative and work on form. It was heavy enough - it's not like I didn't feel it.

The swim went well. The workout was one minute on, one rest, two on, two rest .......up to five on, five rest and then back down. Total workout time not including warm up and warm down was 49 minutes. This was probably the longest I've been at the pool for a long time (about an hour). Total workout yardage was 1650 and total yardage was 1900. My lats are tight from this workout. It's hard to explain, but it's kind of a good feeling.

Three more days and I can say I've had a good week. I think it will take more than one week to redeem myself, but its a start.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Workout 1:
5K run for time
time: 24:44
Avg HR: 163
Max HR: 172
Terrain - low rollers

Workout 2:
6 x 400 run; 1:30 rest
1 1:31:7
2 1:32:8
3 1:34:0
4 1:34:5
5 1:35:5
6 1:36:5

I ran these as fast as I could possibly make my legs move. I was so oxygen deprived after the first one my lungs were burning trying to suck in O2. I tried to keep up the intensity throughout - legs were totally beat by the last rep.

I got in trouble

There is a reason that I wanted a coach. There is also a reason that I chose Max as my coach. After meeting him, he struck me as a no nonsense, tell it to you straight type of person. Boy, was I right. After reading my blog for last week including the treadmill failed 3k for time he really let me have it - and I think he was holding it back. I deserved what I got and hopefully it helps refocus me. My goals are significant and in order to meet them and be happy that I gave it my all, I need to stay disciplined.

Yesterday was crossfit totals. They are as follows:

Shoulder press: 135
Squat: 185
Deadlift: 265

I plan to hit all my workouts this week with gusto starting with a 5k for time at lunch today. Hopefully its not raining so I can do it outside.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Week in review

Monday was a cross fit workout. It was one of those workouts where you complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes. It hurt pleasantly.

Tuesday was a day off and though I was a workout or two behind I had to take the day off to complete some personal errands.

Wed - 500 squats for time. 22:14. I need to check my log but I believe this was slower than last time.

Wed 2 - 30 minute bike TT. Mileage low due to riding trainer (and fatigue) Don't recall exact mileage - will update after checking my log.

Thur - AMRAP in 2o minutes of 5 burpees, 7 pushups, 9 squats. I believe I made it to 17. That's 204 pushups - wow!!

Had to alter the weekend due to family committments. Took Friday off. Saturday did Deadlifts 7 x 1 rep. ended up at 260 or 270 pounds. Pretty sure it was 270, but will need to recheck log. Also rode the trainer - three 5k time trials. This was actually a mistake. I looked at the wrong weekend when I was trying to figure out how to make the weekend work. Oops.

Sunday - read prior blog entry. I plan to redeem myself on Tuesday (assuming I can run outside - the treadmill stinks!!

I hate the treadmill.

I don't like doing workouts on the bike trainer, but I really despise the treadmill. I really don't care how cold it gets outside - I would much rather run outside in the cold than on a treadmill; however, there are exceptions. Yesterday it was cold and rainy- treadmill wins.

Workout - 5k for time. I never ran for time on the treadmill and arguably I still have not. I warmed up for one mile on the treadmill, stretched out and then started the all out effort. When I got to a mile I was dreading the remaining 2.1. I had the machine set for 7.7 mph. My breathing was good and my running did not feel overly uncomfortable for the first mile. The second mile is always the hardest and I kept telling myself that as long as got to mile two I would finish. At 1.5 I started really doubting my ability to finish the workout - not physically, but mentally. I tried to push myself by reminding myself of the bigger goal. I kept telling myself that I am not a quitter. When I got to mile two I hit the cool down button and immediately felt remorse. After 30 seconds I tapped the speed back up thinking that I could salvage the run - because I hit the cool down button the speed would reduce as soon as I got it up there. I was beat. I quit that session and decided to run another mile all out - I got to .5 and again quit the workout. I guess I'm a quitter!!!

At least I finished my swim workout. I finished the 600 in 11:06. That does not strike me as being a great time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Infrequent blogging leads to..........

Blog anxiety!

Well....work is ramping up for a very busy tax season. We are in full swing of year-end planning and gearing up for the coming tax season. I've already put in a few 12+ hour days and I can see plenty more on the horizon. I missed a couple of workouts, and believe it or not it was due to family commitments rather than work. It's going to get tough, but I constanly remind myself of the bigger goal out there and I am committed to finding the balance that works.

Crossfit definately helps as many of the workouts can be done from the house - no travel time and done in 30 minutes +/- a few. I was originally worried that I would feel like I was not doing enough, but I have been sore and tired from the workouts, so they are definately pushing me.

For example - Friday (because I missed Thur) was back squat body weight for three sets (max reps each set). I was sore for three days after that.

Sunday I did three 5K bike time trials. It was cold, but I wanted to get this in not being sure when I will be relegated to the indoor trainer.

Yesterday I did 500 meter row, 15 push ups, 15 sit ups, 15 pullups 3x for time. I completed this in 21:30. I think I could do it in 20 - hope it comes up again. This was a brutal workout and worked my legs way more than I thought was possible.

I'm one workout behind. Today is a scheduled rest day and I may need to take it due to work and family committments so I may stay one workout behind. Tomorrow is my favorite workout (500 squats for time). Yeah!!! 30 minute bike time trial as well - will try to get that done in the morning - otherwise it will be a trainer workout.