Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekend riding and a tough Monday WOD

I went for a very easy mountain bike ride at Harris Lake on Saturday with Monica and Alix, taking them on the beginner trail and the intermediate trail.  The beginner trail has been "groomed" and there were some nice rollers now and less rootiness.  I thought for sure it would be an easy and mellow ride to get back into it after crashing but I ended up taking a turn to hard and the bike slide out from me and I went right, using my hands to soften my fall. I felt like an idiot since putting your hands out like that way is good way to break something. Fortunately I didn't have enough speed to cause any damage and I think instinct took over to prevent any more bruising on my sides!  We probably did about 6 miles total. 

On Sunday, I decided to get serious about regaining my confidence and went to Briar Chapel with John.  I had my shin pads and elbow pads for extra insurance.  I took it a bit slow on the first lap but felt better on the second lap and successfully finished the ride with no crashes! So that was 4 rides in a row crashing and Briar Chapel became my first "crash-free" ride.  Let's hope it stays that way.  One thing I was proud of was staying the big ring to get up Bennet Mountain at Briar Chapel!  This is about a 5% grade, maybe more for close to 0.5 mile climb up. Not technical but it's a lung-buster and then you go down a really cool but challenging rock garden.  I was extra cautious and didn't clean much of the rock garden but it was still fun.  I think we ended up doing about 16 miles total.  The weather was awesome, the body armor wasn't uncomfortable and we got to eat at Buns afterward (best hamburger and sweet potato fries around here!).

One thing I did notice the entire weekend was my calves were really, really, really sore and I couldn't figure out why until Sunday evening when it finally occurred to me that 400 lateral hops (Friday) does a number on your calves!  Sheesh.

Monday I was back in the gym and did this very grueling WOD:
22 burpee pullups (do a burpee, jump up and do a pullup)
22 back squats 75 lbs (I tried 95 lbs but felt like I was struggling after 6 reps)
Run 200M with a 25 lb plate over your head (3rd round I dropped down to a 15 lbs plate!)
4 rounds
Time: 28:24
This workout just felt awful and I looked unhappy enough that Jason asked me if something was wrong!  Nothing particularly wrong but maybe still feeling shitty residually from the crash I guess. He also pointed out how I was losing my form in the back squats so that gave me something to focus on during the WOD and by the 3rd round I was doing 22 perfect back squats and using my hips instead of rising up with the butt!  Again, apparently I lead with my butt first when getting up (which puts more stress on the lower back) and you are supposed to lead with your hips and your chest upright!  And as I sit writing this at 10 pm Monday night, the DOMs have set in and my legs feel nice and sore from all 88 back squats!  I think doing 75 lbs was the right choice, considering the high reps and that this close to 50% of my 1 rep max for back squats.  Fun times!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Thursday night ride and Friday WOD

I am not sure if the extra carbs I've been eating (bad carbs as in brownies, red velvet cupcakes and scones!) or just the lack of mtb strength training is causing me to screw up on the trails but I had another crash last night.  And it was another stupid crash over something that I've gone over a million times with no problem but last night I guess I handled the bike differently or was going too slowly, not sure what. I went over a small set of logs and somehow my bike just went vertical over another root and flipped me over and this time I landed on my face (!) and slammed the right side of my body into the trail. It took me a second to get up and dust the leaves and dirt off. Then another couple of minutes just sitting on the trail feeling like crap.  And that was about 2 miles into the ride!  My face was fine (good) but I banged up my right hand, right arm, right thigh and knee and this morning I see the bruises on my left leg! Oh well, I got up and continued to ride even though I noticed that my rear brake lever was bent out (making it so I had to stretch my hand out to break), but the brakes themselves worked. No pictures this time!  I took it easy the rest of the ride and ended up having my longest Rocky road ride this year I think (1:30).  It was significantly darker and more of the ride was done with lights on which accounts for the slower pace but I was definitely being more cautious the rest of the ride. My right side just sort of throbbed for the remainder of the ride and I didn't feel like I could lift my front wheel up to get over anything.  Copious amount of icing and Arnica now to take care of the swelling and bruising.  It doesn't look too bad but I do feel tender in those spots.  Crashing sucks.

So despite crashing, I still wanted to see if I could do a WOD in the morning and turns out I can even with getting banged up from a mountain bike ride:
5 Thrusters 70 lbs (thruster = front squat into a push press)
50 lateral parallete hops (hop over a parellete bar (~12" height), left and right side = 1 turn)
5 Thrusters
Rest 1 minute and repeat
4 rounds
Time: 20:57
I could feel my right thigh on the hops but it turned out to not hurt.  The hops took the longest, I just don't have the power to crank them out. I end up doing 2-5 hops and then "starting over".  I've got no bounce!  70 lb Thursters was good, I might have been able to do 75 lbs but there is always next time.
I'm very glad it's Friday!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Yoga and my Wednesday WOD

Yesterday, I tried a yoga class with my friend Karen @YMCA in Durham.  It was actually a yoga class that I didn't actively dislike.  I could do almost all the moves and it made my back feel really great by the end and when I woke up this morning, I had no residual soreness in my lower back.  I probably should do more yoga to help out my back but I find it hard to commit to yoga. It doesn't feel like I'm doing much but one hour of yoga seems like 3 hours.   It would probably be easier if I could just come up with a routine I could at home and this class helped me see which moves I could do at home (sun salutation, downward dog, plank, warrior poses,  child's pose, cobra, and one legged stands).

This morning was all work, but not hard:

Run 800M
90 singles (jump rope)
30 hand release push-ups 
30 goblet squats 30 lbs
30 sit-ups
3 rounds
Time 29:37
It seemed like this should have gone faster but those hand release push-ups were painfully slow.
This seemed like an endurance workout, yesterday the 5-6 minute WOD had me more gassed than today!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Weekend fun and Monday WOD

Over the weekend, I did a girls ride at San Lee, it was a fun, leisurely ride.  I think it took us about 3 hours to finish the entire trail (11 or 12 miles) but we spent a lot of time in Free Fall and even went back through Free Fall to show Beth how to get over some of the rocks.  And then right towards the end of Free Fall, I realized I wasn't picking the right line and tried to turn and get up to the rock line and ended up slipping and falling off my bike, slamming my left hand on a very hard rock and getting the bottom of my palm bruised and swollen. Fun times. Nobody saw the fall and I got up and just started walking my bike to get out of Free Fall. It took maybe another five minutes before I felt like I could grip the handlebars well enough to start riding and finish the last section of Free Fall. I was little annoyed at myself for falling for no reason and my throbbing hand reminded me of the fall for the rest of the ride.  I don't think the picture below does justice but it still hurts a bit when I put pressure on it.

On Sunday, we went for a local ride at 286 and I got to see the new trail being built there but I was again out of sorts. I wiped out twice within the first 2 miles and my stomach hurt from something I ate the day before!  So I quit after about 10-11 miles.  Not the best biking weekend for me but definitely not the worst either.

On Monday, I got back into the gym and really ended up liking this WOD:
60 kettlebell swings 30 lbs
50 burpees
800M run
30 box jumps (I did stepups)
20 handstand pushups (yup, I did it)
10 deadlifts 165 lbs
Round 2: half the reps (i.e. 30 kettlebell swings, etc.)
Time 24:48

The hardest parts were the handstand pushups and the deadlifts but it was all good and my hand didn't hurt.

Warning: don't use your hand to catch yourself in a rock garden

Last Thursday, I did my first night ride in Rocky Road.  I am really glad I have ridden this trail about 30 times this year because it helped to know where the trail was going as it got darker and darker (I had a light but still, with all the leaves on the ground, the trail was hidden!).  The ride was a little bit slower and we made a wrong turn at one point but we still got done in 1:15, not bad. 

Friday morning I did my heavy lifting:
75 lbs 5 reps
85 lbs 3 reps
95 lbs 1 rep! I tried two more attempts but did not get under the bar fast enough.

Then Deadlifts:
140 lbs 5 reps
160 lbs 3 reps
180 lbs 7 reps
I recorded the clean and the 140 and 180 lb deadlifts, I think my form was pretty good overall.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wednesday WOD and night ride

It might have been a lonely workout on Wednesday if Laura (instructor) didn't do the WOD along with me!  I think it was better having her do the WOD too since it motivates me to see someone else do it at the same time:
Power cleans 85 lbs
10-8-6-4-2-2-4-6-8-10 reps
Double unders (sinlges for me x 3!)
You do 10 power cleans and then 50 double unders (I did 150 singles jump rope) and then back to power cleans with 8 reps and so on. 
Power cleans at 85 lbs was hard and I kind of gave up after the first 8 and took of some weight and used 75 lbs but then it was too easy  so I went back to 85 lbs on the 2 rep rounds and stuck with it even though I was breaking them down into 3 reps at a time to finish.  Still, I think this means I can't go back to 75 lbs in a WOD! 

Time: 21:49

Wednesday night was my first bike ride in almost 2 weeks! Between traveling, the rain, and being sick, I just haven't been out there.  It was a night ride at Lake Crabtree park and it was pretty fun.  We did two laps so I think I got in about 12-13 miles?  I didn't keep track.  I can't wait to bike again! 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Lifting heavy (for me)

I planned on lifting today instead of doing a WOD and ended up doing a little more heavy weights than I planned.

Jason had us find our 3 rep max on the push press and one rep max on the push jerk. 
My 3 rep max on the push press was 85 lbs and my push jerk 1 rep was 95 lbs.  he tried to get me to do 105 lbs but my arms weren't having any of it. 

Then I worked on my back squats:
85 lbs 5 reps
100 lbs 3 reps
110 lbs 7 reps!!!!
Back squats felt great today and I can see myself getting to body weight in a few more months! 
I then went back to straight presses:
60 lbs 5 reps
70 lbs 3 reps
80 lb zero reps! I just could not get the bar up above my nose, my arms were sore from all the push-ups the day before and maybe already worn out from the push presses and push jerks.  I will try again on Thursday or Friday.

I figured out how to make salads more tasty : add filet mignon.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Coming back from a cold

My sore throat last week developed into some aches and pains and a cough by Friday night so I took it extremely easy this weekend and watched two seasons of Don't Trust the B* in Apartment 23 on Netflix, finally ironed all my clothes and organized my bedroom.  I did absolutely no exercise and it felt pretty weird but also nice to not do anything but veg for two days.  And vegging to the B* in Apartment 23 was excellent so I have to write about it and tell you to watch it! It's demented, has a lot of funny lines and good dialog but the best was in Season 2, Episode 8:

Queens accent: "You crazy.  You stabbed a bitch in the conference room! You from Queens?" 
Midwestern accent: "No, I'm not. I'm from--"
Queens accent:  "Oh, you from Queens." 

For some reason, this 30 second piece of dialog had me laughing over and over again.  Sometimes television delivers.  The bummer part is that the show was cancelled! Oh well, it's probably for the best since it ended still being funny.  So the weekend was a wash as far as fitness goes but I was feeling better by Sunday night and decided to go in and do a WOD Monday morning.  Jason was teaching and it was just me and BC.  Before the WOD, Jason promised to show us one self-defense move and the first thing he showed us was how to get away if someone was trying to choke you. I'm going to have to ask friends to practice this with me so I remember how to do it!

The WOD itself was pretty hard:
25 pullups
50 deadlifts 63 lbs
50 pushups
50 floor wipers 63 lbs
50 box jumps (I did step ups)
50 thrusters 63 lbs
25 pullups
I thought the deadlifts would have been easy but my arms were tired from all the pullups so I had to break down the deadlifts in 15 rep intervals. The thrusters were the hardest of all (a front squat into a push press) and I was breaking them down in 3-5 reps at a time.  And I almost did more than 25 pullups at the end because I had the number 50 in my mind! Luckily for me, I stopped at 25 when Jason asked me how many I finished and he said I was done at that point!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday cardio WOD and deadlifts!

I went to the gym for my 4th WOD this week!

Row 400M
Run 400M
40 double unders (I did 10 attempts then 150 singles!)
4 rounds
Time 23:37
My shoulders were a little sore from push presses yesterday so I didn't do cleans and only worked on my deadlifts:
130 lbs 5 reps
150 lbs 5 reps
170 lbs 5 reps
The 170 lbs was tough!  Today was a tough day for lifting, didn't feel like I had much energy in me. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday WOD

It's raining and it's been raining all week which means no Mtn biking.  It's not that I think I will ruin the trails, it's that I know my back wheel will slide out on every tree root and I will get more beaten up than I'd like! So no Mtn biking means I'm doing more WODs this week and today was pretty hard:

100M walking lunges
Hang power cleans 65 lbs
Push press 65 lbs
100M walking lunges
Time 18:53
I did 55 hang power cleans and push presses! I actually thought I was going able to do 75 lbs but after the first 6 reps, I knew I couldn't do it without falling apart so I dropped the weight down.  65 lbs was a challenge! I felt great after finishing though.

I had a good Wednesday WOD although I feel guilty for not going heavier and maybe not squatting as deeply as I should on the front squats:
3 front squats 85 lbs
8 ring dips (purple band)
8 rounds
Time 6:03!
Shortest WOD ever maybe?  This also made me feel guilty- like I sandbagged the workout even though as I'm sitting here 14 hours later in the early stages of delayed onset muscle soreness!  So I worked on my cleans after the WOD was over and did cleans at 85 lbs and 90 lbs (3 reps).

I've been motivated again to cook and yesterday I made my eggplant/ground beef dish which made for a delicious lunch.  Monica provided me some delicious but deadly dark chocolate cake/torte, it was decadent.  I had a small portion so I felt like I enjoyed it but didn't pig out. 
I also tried my hand at filet mignon broiled in the oven, gotta have my iron and B12!!!! And I tried making chicken thai green curry.  Everything tasted good and I have plenty of food for the next couple of days but boy, is prepping and cooking labor and time intensive! Even when I think I'm not taking too much time, I still end up spending 60-90 minutes in the kitchen cutting, prepping, cooking and cleaning!  I keep reminding myself that this allows me to eat better for less and it does actually taste better than most of the things I would eat in a restaurant.

Thai Green Curry with chicken, carrots, and bok choy

Filet Mignon broiled in the oven!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tuesday WOD and strength work

I took Monday as a rest day, surprised to find my legs a bit tired from the 8 mile hike on Sunday.  Tuesday I was back at Forged Fitness:
Work on your snatch
then a mini-WOD:
10 slamballs 20 lbs
run 100M
10 pushups
run 100M
5 rounds
Time: 8:23
I have not been doing any snatch work and the overhead squat is my worst lift so today was just getting brave enough to get the bar overhead and squatting all the way down.  Up to 55 lbs it all felt great and I could even descend as the bar came up but at 63 lbs, I struggled.  I managed to power snatch 63 lbs and then squat and then I managed to actually do a real snatch.  So I tried 68 lbs and it sucked.  I got it overhead but it took 3 tries to overhead squat the weight.  I see snatch progression work in my near future.  I wish I had more time to work on everything!
After work, I went back to the gym to work on my presses and back squat:
I warmed up using the empty 45 lb bar and belting out some presses and back squats.
Military press:
60 lbs 3 reps
65 lbs 3 reps
75 lbs 4 reps (2 reps and then rested 1 minute, 2 more reps)
I keep saying I'm going to work on my presses and then I don't! I need to start doing some accessory exercises to get stronger on the press, I'm thinking push presses and dumbbell presses.
Back Squats:
80 lbs 3 reps
95 lbs 3 reps
105 lbs 8 reps
I love, love, love the progress I've made on my lifts. It isn't going to break any records but it's nice to be able to back squat 105 lbs for multiple reps and feel super stable when I do it!

Easy Dinner: Chicken sausage with sauteed onions and nuked/sauteed sweet potato!

On Sunday, I signed up for an 8 mile guided hike of the Green Ribbon Trail starting the Upper Gwynedd Township Park (that is a mouthful).  The trail is a natural greenway (weird to me since the greenways here in NC are paved) that follows the Wissahickon Creek for 21 miles from North Wales, PA to Schuylkill River.  The walk included a cool t-shirt (only in unisex size though, boo), bus ride back to the park and a picnic lunch at the historic headquarters (seriously, the building and surroundings were made of old stone brick) of the Wisshickon Watershed Valley Association.  So $25, I think I got my money's worth.  It was a perfect cloudy day in the 70s and we stopped every couple of miles for water and snacks (lots of Almond Joy and Snickers minis!).  Eight miles turned out to be all I could handle since I am no longer used to walking long distances. I actually think I would have an easier time of it if I had run/jogged most of it.  The trail itself didn't have much elevation and there were only a few spots that were tricky.  One fun part was the water crossings where they put large stone blocks in place so you didn't get wet!  Lunch was wraps, pasta salad, cookies, and munchkins!  All in all, it was pretty great!  I think I would sign up again next year and even try the 13-mile option (with a little training beforehand!). 

Walking blocks across the creek/riverbed

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Thursday Back squats and Presses!

I skipped the WOD on Thursday and instead worked on strength:

Military presses
55 lbs 5 reps
60 lbs 5 reps
70 lbs 6 reps
It's still really hard to do presses!
Back squats
75 lbs 5 reps
85 lbs 5 reps
100 lbs 10 reps!
I felt good about my squats today, it's been good progress compared to last December.

After work I did my Rocky Road ride, we finished the ride in 1:03!  So close, I think I only need to do this a couple more times to hit a sub-1 hr RR ride.  

On Wednesday morning I went to Forged Fitness:

As many rounds as possible in 15 min:
10 burpees
10 power snatches 55 lbs
I did 6 rounds and 7 burpees (Laura made a mistake on the board and gave my burpees to Karen!)
The power snatches were hard and my legs still felt a little tired.
After work, Lisa and I ran Company Mill, it took me 68 minutes to do the 5.5 mile loop, I was petering out on the last mile and it was getting dark! 

I am doing an outbid town workout today at the YMCA:

First I warmed up for 8 minutes On the elliptical machine. Then:
Squats 95 lb 3 sets of 5 reps
Deadlifts 120lbs 5 reps, 140lbs 5 reps, 160 lb 8 reps
Dumbbell presses 15, 25, 30 lb 3x5 reps
The 30 lb dumbbells were hard!  
I also showed my friend Payal how to back squat! She started with the 45 lb bar and then did two sets of 5 with 55 lbs! 
Afterwards I did one painful 2 minute plank hold. I wasn't feeling like going to the gym but it was fun after I got started.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tuesday Deadlifts!!!!

I didn't do my deadlifts last week so I was happy to see they were part of the WOD today:
Deadlifts 3-3-3-1-1-1 aim to get your 1 rep max
then a mini-WOD
Run 400M
20 lunges (each leg)
3 rounds
My time on the mini-WOD: 10:55
I convinced Trina to try out Forged Fitness so she came with me for this WOD.  She had never deadlifted before so she worked on her form with 55 lbs.  On the deadlifts this is what I did:
115 lbs 3 reps
135 lbs 3 reps
165 lbs 3 reps
205 lbs 3 attempts, the first one was okay but I don't think I stood all the way up, the second one I dropped because I started off with my butt too high, the last one I used the alternate grip and did it perfectly!  This is huge for me- I finally got over 200 lbs!!!! This is about 1.5X my bodyweight and is proof for my stronger biking this year.  I'm still aiming for 2X body weight though so I'll continue to deadlift and lift heavier!

After Forged Gone Bad on Saturday, I went for a bike ride at Briar Chapel so I could show Valerie around the trails- she had only been doing half the trail!  I was planning on taking it easy since Fight Gone Bad was so tough in the morning but John said I was keeping a good pace and he was surprised how fast I was going :).  But it did feel like an easy pace and BC has enough ups and downs that you can pick up speed and then coast uphill sometimes!  The rock gardens were more fun today and overall it was a good 7 mile loop.  I was spent after it was over though and the tired feeling had creeped into my legs.

On Sunday I felt tired but I had signed up for the dirt jump skills clinic so I felt like I had to go.  Biking over to Lake Crabtree felt so hard!  I knew that was a bad sign since this is the easiest trail in the area.  I still hung out at the dirt jump session and tried to jump the baby table tops. I think I got my wheels about 1" off the ground.  Definitely something to practice when I'm more energetic.  I was too tired to even consider running, at this point my legs felt like lead so I took it easy for the rest of the day.  It was really fun watching the BMX kids and the dirt jumpers just flying in the air, and it's really cool that we have these features here in Raleigh.  I think we had over 40 people try the dirt jumps for the first time, it was a huge success. 

Baby Tabletop jump

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Forged Gone Bad 9/28/13

On Saturday, 9/28/13, I did my third year of Fight Gone Bad at Forged Fitness.  The event felt even bigger this year!  Fight Gone Bad is a Crossfit WOD that we do to raise money for the Autism Society of North Carolina.  This year I raised $2040!  And I only had to work out for 17 minutes :)

The "before" picture
The WOD:
Every minute on the minute, as many reps as possible:
Push Presses
Row for Calories
Wall balls 14 lbs
Sumo deadlift high pulls 55 lb kettlebell (a lot harder than a 55 lb barbell!)
Box jumps 20" (I did step ups)
Rest 1 minute, Repeat for 2 more rounds!
Ready for Push Presses
Lockout on the push press!

 I started off with the push presses and belted out 36 push presses in 1 minute!!!! I felt so strong doing the push presses. Then I hobbled over to the rower and rowed a sorry 12 calories!  To be honest, I doubt I have ever rowed more than 12 calories in a minute, it's just tough for short people.  The wall balls really gassed me and the sumo deadlift high pulls (SDHP) were hard but not as hard as last year.  The steps have been pretty consistent from year to year, I managed to get 20+ per round.  In the end, I scored 261, in 2012 I scored 248 and in 2011 I scored 221. So there is improvement but I wished I had done even better.  I do know why I didn't score better though- I haven't been doing many WODs  and have been focusing on just pure strength.   This has hurt my conditioning a little bit and made me less efficient with less endurance.
55lb kettlebell for the sumo deadlift high pull!
Box jumps (step ups!)
3 rounds later and I'm done
I actually miss the WODs and will be trying to get back to 3 WODs a week since biking season is waning down.  Still, it was a great event, I'm glad I participated and I had a lot of fun.  Monica and Lisa were there to cheer me on and they took some great pictures.  Trina and Tushar missed the main action but they came later and I got to show them what exactly it is I do when I got to the gym.  For fun, I even flipped tires for them afterwards in the back parking lot. 
Scorecard 2013!

An hour later, with enough energy to flip tires for fun!