March 2014


Yesterday we were in Hilton Head and got to play with Frankie. She and I had contests to see who could hang from the monkey bars the longest and she always beat me. She is so strong. She hung on to the count of ten, and then sixteen, and finally twenty-one. Amazingly, I could only manage nine, fifteen, and twenty. That pleased her no end.

I haven’t had to get up early for nearly a week. Last Tuesday was the last time I had to set my alarm. It was really difficult to get out of bed this morning. Somehow, with perseverance and dedicated will power, I managed, but just barely.

I looked at the WOD last night and my back end is still so sore I knew I would have problems. But it is all scalable and we could figure something out. We always do.

Warm-up was a 400 meter run and a 500 meter row and we needed to stagger use of the rowers, so I rowed first and then I was too tired to run so I walked out and ran back. I hate running. Then we did other stuff to warm up our shoulders and I’m also not very fond of doing plank clocks in both directions. Although I must be getting stronger, because I can now at least do them as I dislike them.

Today’s WOD as written:
Baseline Testing-
Make a max effort attempt at muscle ups / pull ups / ring dips (all strict and in order). No more than one attempt at each. This is strictly a baseline test of where you are today. We are starting the next “project” in our strength/skill training focus and that is to see how many PR’s we can accumulate during the cycle. Post your total for each movement. If you use any scaling, make sure you’re not able to do more than ten of any of the movements.
then
Fire Fighter Michael Kennedy was a Marine Corps veteran and a Crossfit Level I coach at Crossfit Together. His box (gym) has put this workout together as a way to honor his memory. Today we will join them and remember him and all of those who quietly risk their lives so that we can live more safely.
MIKE “DORK” KENNEDY
33 BACK SQUATS (225/115)
15 Burpees
33 DEADLIFTS (225/115)
15 burpees
33 KB SWINGS (70/53)
15 burpees

Big Dork Rx – weights as listed above
Fast Dork Rx – BS/DL (135/95) KBS (53/35)
Little Dork Rx – BS/DL (95/65) KBS (35/20)

I knew my scores for the baseline testing were zero, zero, and zero. But then I had to figure out stuff for the assisted moves on the ring dips and pull-ups. Last week I got 13 with just the 2″ band for assist pull-ups. I tried the next two smaller bands together and managed 13 with that, too. I’m not sure if it was more or less help. I tried just the blue band and could only get 4 pull-ups. Then using just a perhaps 1.5″ band (it could be 1.25″) on the ring dips, I got my ten with my arms shaking and being a wimp and all.

Hanging from the bar and doing whatever I could to hoist my fat ass up brought me perhaps a half inch higher. I’m thinking I’m not really going to get a pull-up in four weeks. But maybe I will be closer and it sure can’t hurt.

Then the WOD. Hero WODs are always tough. But I could not do any of the moves because of my pain in the ass.

I knew that squatting with weight was horrible. I can’t clean or push press even the weenie weight and this wasn’t squats from the rack. But it didn’t matter because right now I can’t squat with that much weight. I was amazed by how much one uses one’s butt for a deadlift. I was thinking it was enough legs that I might be able to do just 53# for that. No such luck.

I had to do shallow squats and I had to get Coach Ryan to help me get the bar off my back because I couldn’t squat under it and I didn’t want to drop the empty bar. I thought I could hop a plank in and out for the burpees but I tried one hop and stayed down there and just did push-ups.

We set up paralettes for me to rest the bar on for deadlifts and even that was really hurting my behind. Then more push-ups. I had attempted a 20 pound KB swing and it hurt. I tried a 10 pound one and it nearly flew out of my hands. I had a 15 pound dumbbell there and when I tried one, getting it over my head was no problem. Controlling it on the way back down made me wince. No way could I do 33 of those.

I asked Ryan what I could do and he suggested icing my behind. I said I was talking about the immediate workout and not some recovery type thing. He grabbed me two ten pound dumbbells and I did push presses with them. And then I had the last 15 push-ups. I finished at 11.02

The WOD from Friday was 84 burpees and I substituted push-ups there and only managed 78 before my time ran out. There were another 45 burpees today. Again the substitution. But that means I did 123 push-ups in a couple days. Along with the push presses. I think I know why my arms hurt.

I did come home and use some ice.

And that is why it hurts

And that is why it hurts

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We went to Hilton Head Island today and got to play with Frankie. That was fun but nothing new or different. She got to pick a place to go out to lunch. She picked Five Guys.

I willingly went to a burger joint for lunch. That is certainly different and mostly unheard of. I did not have a burger, but still… My BLT was delicious.

We went for a walk in Azalea Park and had a lovely time. It poured this morning and it is supposed to pour again later this afternoon, but there were a few hours’ worth of just cloudy with some sunshine and we took advantage of that and took a walk. The flowers were beautiful but not in full bloom yet.

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Next weekend is the Flowertown Festival and there will be thousands of people coming into town before or after the Charleston bridge run. The Cooper River Bridge Run was listed as one of the 14 spring races every runner should try. There are something like 50,000 runners who compete and they and their entourage descend on the area. To take advantage of this influx of people, the YMCA has hosted this Summerville thing for a very long time.

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I’m not a big fan of crowds. For those of you have read this blog for a while now, I bet you thought I was going to say running because I’m not fond of that either. When we first moved here, we went to the Flowertown Festival a couple times and that is enough for me. It is chaotic and noisy and messy and crowded with too many people who are all tired and cranky and have even more tired and cranky kids with them. So we aren’t planning on going next week.

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Last year, winter was so mild and it was so hot so early, that the flowers had all bloomed and died before the big event. This year, it should be perfect there. Plenty of blooms were still on the bazillion azalea plants in the park. As long as the weather is nice, they should have a great time.

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We often go on walks over there and so it couldn’t be counted as new. But I had an idea. Dick said he would like to try Granny and Pappy’s Country Café some time and I said we should stop on our way home and get dessert and a coffee in the middle of the day because – why not. And, that would be my new thing. A new restaurant.

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The pie was great and we will probably go back there. The onion rings looked great and there is nothing on the menu over $10. All their pies are homemade (and mine was). There were a few things on the menu that looked good and so going for an actual meal doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

So, I have my new thing all done for the day! No stress involved today.

This has been looming over my head since I read about it on Thursday night. I needed to get past this but it scared me practically witless. My tail bone is really not up to the WOD as written, so I had to modify it and even with that, it was much more work than an old fart like me should do. Frankly, no matter what injury I may have, I wasn’t up to this WOD as written. I think the 84 burpees by themselves would have done me in.

I gave myself a nice little warm-up run of 200 meters – ish. I believe it was a bit more than 200 but I ran some and back and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Simple air squats were a bit ouchy which was probably telling me to not do this workout, but I successfully ignored it. I did other stuff that didn’t hurt.

I worked on more shoulder mobility stuff since I didn’t have the bars and bands to do some better stretching. Whatever it was mostly worked.

Today’s WOD as written:
From CrossFit Open 14.5
MASTERS WOMEN – includes Masters Women 55+
21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
45-lb. thrusters
Burpees

Craig’s intramural WOD had beginners (which would be me) using 25# and starting at 18 rather than 21. They could do squat thrusts and walk over the bar for the burpee stuff. They also had a 15 minute cap.

Since I don’t have the ability to make a 25# weight (my empty bar is 30#) and since I can’t squat right now for either thrusters or burpees, I figured that I should begin at the 21 reps and do my push presses and then I just did push-ups and hoped for the best. I gave myself a 20 minute cap since I was doing 42 more reps, but they were easier reps.

I got to 17 on the push presses and started beeping. I don’t know why I quit with only four more, since I could have managed them at this point. But I stopped and got my heart rate down. Each time I had to pick up the bar, it hurt my behind. Not making that happen more often would have been smart. I was already being dumb.

The garage was already too hot. I didn’t put in my contacts and had my glasses on with them fogging up now and again. I was going to have a rough time here, but there was no other option at this point. I was thinking I should have brought out a fan, but it was too late for such a good idea. See? Dumb! Right from the start.

By the end of 21 push-ups, I was already quite tired and had to break the 18 reps into sets of 6 for both moves. By the 15 reps, I was into sets of 5 for the push press but managed the push-ups in two halves. Then on to 12 and I managed two sets of six for both and then on to the 9 reps with not enough time on the clock. I started too soon and could only manage 3 so I powered through 6 to get to the push-ups. I got them done split up and got the push presses in with 12 seconds left. I tried to power through six push-ups, but could only manage 3 before that blessed buzzer went off on my timer. I had a score of 159. I know I could have finished the last nine moves if I hadn’t capped the time. I would never have been able to do this as written.

Somehow I managed to do some on all of the CrossFit Open WODs and even did one as Masters Women RX. I’m glad this is over and I hope my tail bone heals soon because I’m pretty tired of having a pain in the ass instead of just being one.

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I think part of the 100 Days of Different is getting out of my comfort zone. But my comfort zone envelops me and so it is difficult to leave it. Therefore, I have a problem. Not that I need to contact Houston or anything, it isn’t that much of a problem, but I’m going to have trouble finding 100 new things inside my house and I don’t get out much.

I’ve stressed about this most of the day. I finally decided I would find a new recipe for dinner tonight and that would be my something new. I found a new recipe and printed it out.

Then I started straightening up my office and I found an almost complete crochet project. Usually, anything I crochet is flat – scarves, shawls, afghans, bigger afghans, etc. I even crocheted the valences in my office. They are woven across a small curtain rod, so they hang in three dimensions, but they were crocheted flat.

However, I began a project some time ago that is three dimensions just because it is. But I hadn’t finished it. It has been sitting there and waiting patiently but nothing else has happened. It did not finish itself even though plenty of time was allowed for this to happen. And so, I finished it. It is the first time I’ve completed this type of project and now it is done and ready for use. So that was a first and something new.

That meant I could proceed with my dinner plans as I had envisioned them a couple days ago. I’ve been waiting to use the leftover roast beef to make Chinese type stuff over rice for Dick and quinoa for me. I would have done something different, but I proclaimed that finishing my crochet project was my new thing for the day. I can’t tell you how often a craft project gets started and never gets finished. I’m really great at not finishing them.

After dinner I went back to knitting my washcloth and lo and behold – another first. I had to learn how to unknit because I found out I had made an error in the pattern before too many stitches. I have no idea how many other errors went unfound, but I suspect they are legion.

Cheri’s first project was a baby blanket for Quinn. No one would even notice a mistake since there would be a cute baby involved. I’m not going to have any such luck. I just hope I can finish the thing before I give up in frustration and just start over. I need to remember that it is a washcloth and all the imperfections are completely unimportant.

On the CrossFit front, I’m still sore from yesterday’s 100 wallballs. Trying to do laundry today was a problem when I went to pick up full laundry baskets. I can squat without any problem, but lifting weight or squatting with it doesn’t quite work.

Today’s workout was CrossFit Open 14.5 which consists of 84 thrusters and 84 over the bar burpees in a descending rep scheme. Even lightening the weight was going to hurt my behind after my fall last week. The 84 burpees were daunting without jumping over the bar. It was hurting to get in and out of the little car again today. But in the middle of the night, when I was awake for a few minutes, I figured out what I would do.

I would do push presses and push-ups. Not quite the same, but no squatting over and over and over. It is something. But I also decided not to do this until Saturday to give myself a day off in between and hopefully not have such a achy butt before I even started.

Craig had his scaled and beginner intramural teams beginning at the 18 mark for both moves and a 15 minute cap. I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do. The beginners weight is 25# and I have a 30# bar here at home. Of course, they are doing thrusters and I’m not squatting. They can do squat thrusts and step over the bar and I’m tempted by that move, but I think that is going to aggravate my bruised tail bone.

I may still start at the 21 reps and do my two modified moves. But knowing how my heart rate goes, I may give myself a 20 minute cap in there, as well. It is so tempting to knock those back to just 63 of each move, but if I don’t do the larger number at the beginning, I know I will not do them at the end. So, it is better to start at 21 and have to not finish the last couple rounds.

So I have a plan for tomorrow, but it doesn’t really have anything new or different. Yet.

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I did not go to the box yesterday. I was recovering from two days of shoulders and arms and I don’t know what they did at the box, but getting dressed was difficult enough. I needed a rest day and I took it. I also started doing something new.

Today I did something new and different and I was sure it was going to be a big deal and it wasn’t. I went to the noon class for CrossFit. I went shopping with dirty hair and just too bad for them. No one kicked me out of the store or anything so that part worked.

I got the groceries put away and had something to eat and had to wait for time to go to the gym. That’s not a good thing. I can talk myself out of stuff really easily and this was scaring me. I didn’t want to have to go and explain to a new coach what I was incapable of doing. I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front a bunch of strangers. My peeps at 6 AM know me, my foibles, my weaknesses, and my age-related limits. It is really difficult to have to show all that stuff to a bunch of different people.

I was watching the clock like a hawk because often time gets away from me and I didn’t want to actually miss this opportunity to do something new – mostly because then I would have to come up with something else new to do today. I left the house a little early just because I figured the traffic would be worse at this time of day. It was, but not that much so I got there early. I was the only person there. I saw Kim’s car in the parking lot so that worry was abated.

Then a few more people showed up and we had a class size of four. Yesterday there were about a dozen people at the noon class. I was happier with just four. My back end is still battered from falling on the cement but not as bad as it was. I could lunge without problem. I could air squat without pain. Then we got to rolling around on the floor and that didn’t look good. I did something else. We were warm.

Today’s WOD as written:
Snatch (top pull only)
Spend 20 minutes working on the top pull progression of the snatch. Starting with and empty barbell and not moving on until your coach has approved. Find your weak point and work on it. Whether it is a mobility issue or a form fault, you must stay and work on your faults. If you have been approved, you can start to add weight but do not go beyond the top pull then find a 3RM from the top pull.
then
4 RFT
400m run
25 wall balls (20/14)
Heavy-
Carry your medicine ball with you during the run
5 burpee penalty every time the ball stops Rx’ing (walking, drops or not going unbroken in the wall ball)
Fast- (only if you cannot Rx wall balls)
5 burpee penalty every time the ball stops moving (drops or not going unbroken in the wall ball)

I really struggle with this move. We were supposed to just practice with an empty bar but that’s my working weight. I used a PVC pipe and did the reps of warming up or practice moves. It all seemed okay. Then we were supposed to take the empty bar and do some overhead squats. I figured I really can do them with a 33# bar and I only had a 22# bar and yet, a full squat really hurt my ass. I only did five and I wasn’t very happy with myself.

I practiced with just the 22# bar and worked from the high hang and only did power snatches because hurting myself didn’t seem like the best use of my time. This move always feels so awkward and so rife with potential harm from dropping the dang bar on my head. I need to improve strength so I have improved confidence because right now throwing the bar up over my head just freaks me out. I did it with the light bar, but man, this move is scary.

Then the WOD. For the heavy, once the time started, the athlete could not set the ball down until completely finished with the WOD. There was no walking during the run, but the athlete could rest before starting the wallballs. They had to be done unbroken.

For the fast, the runs were done without the ball and the athlete could rest upon returning to the box before picking up the med ball, but once started, the wallballs had to be done unbroken.

And for the old fart, I used a 10# med ball since that is master’s stuff anyway (and I couldn’t have done a 14# one). I mentioned that I could walk the whole thing but it would take forever. I couldn’t run and do wallballs without so much resting that it would take forever. What I proposed and what was accepted was that I would do a 200 meter walk and then the 25 wallballs.

I don’t think I did enough math before starting because somewhere around the 45-50 count on the wallballs, I noticed my poor battered behind was not liking this at all. But I was already committed and I am not a quitter no matter what time the class is, but especially in front of a bunch of strangers. So I was only half done but determined to finish.

My heart rate was fine on the first walk and I did all the wallballs as 13 and then 12. On the second walk, I was about 60 meters out before I finally stopped beeping. On the third walk, I was about 80 meters out before I stopped beeping. On the last one, I was about 120 meters into the walk before I finally calmed down.

By 13 wallballs I was beeping and I would try to get back to mid 160s before doing the last 12. I never saw a heart rate above 180. I was on the last set. Trevor, wearing all clothes that had fire department stuff on them, was done when I paused after 13 and he encouraged me to just finish. I said my heart rate was too high and he asked how high. I looked at my monitor and said, “174” and he said, “Oh, rest a bit.” I got done in 18.22.

It was new and different and scary but I didn’t embarrass myself and it was nice to try a different class. And as a bonus, I could still get into my little car after 100 wallballs so I put the top down on the go-kart and headed home.

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A good rule:

Don’t be too thin-skinned. Some forum members can be quite forthright in their criticisms (although personal abuse should not be expected or tolerated). Remember that, while praise is always nice, it is only through criticism of our work that we learn to improve. (highlight mine)

This is one of the rules Nick Daws, owner of MWC – the writing forum I belong to – put in a blog post. He was posting about reasons for authors to belong to a writing forum and the best way to benefit from belonging to one.

I read an article lately where an entire school district banned the use of red pens when marking papers because it was an angry color and gave the kids a sad.

We are trying to teach in schools and as far as we know, unless one finds out one was wrong in held assumptions or beliefs, there is no reason to change. Learning only happens when errors are pointed out.

Case in point: my niece used to call the vehicle used to transport critically ill people from out in the field to the hospital for treatment an AMB-lee-ance. She started that when she was just small and we all thought it was cute. She corrected a classmate in fifth or sixth grade and was mortified to learn the error of her ways. She also helpfully corrected her much junior cousin (five months younger) with this, “No, Craig. It is a CHEE chopper.” Her silly cousin had called it a tree chopper, which probably isn’t it’s official name either, but you get the idea. They were about three years old at the time.

Both of the cousins have grown up to be quite conversant in the English language with one actually teaching English to high schoolers and the other being a published writer. They learned. They corrected.

Without the red marks on the page, you don’t know that your word is misspelled or your math is a little off. The idea of learning without knowing the errors seems askew. The stuff that is correct can be ignored. You already know that. The red marks (or green or purple or whatever color is used) tell you where you need to study some more.

The “anger” of the red will become angry other colors. No one really likes being wrong. But we don’t (usually) let our children call bread a cookie or the floor the ceiling. As we teach our children to speak, we teach them (unless it is too stinking cute) the correct word for nouns and the correct grammar for English. Parents spend time with the irregular verbs and have to teach that we didn’t goed, but we went. We do this instinctively and the kids are eventually convinced to speak the language they hear around them so they can effectively communicate.

And then they get to school where the entire goal is to teach and somehow it is supposed to help if no one tells them where they are in error. This astounds and confounds me. If you don’t know how to add and subtract, life is going to be much harder than it really needs to be. If you cannot speak effectively, again it is tougher. Writing is an essential skill and spelling and grammar do matter – even in email and online. Teachers need to communicate, both for the student and themselves, where the errors are.

If two out of 25 kids get an answer wrong, those two kids need to learn the material. If twenty out of 25 kids get an answer wrong, the teacher needs to reteach it in a way that works because it obviously didn’t take the first time.

Trying to hide the mistakes by a different color ink or being soft spoken helps no one.

I have spent the last year and a half failing. You might think that I would know to not let my right knee fall inward when I’m squatting. And in fact, I do. But it is always helpful (although not always appreciated) when a coach says, “Knees out” and reminds me to watch my form. I’m not stupid. I’m not lazy. I’m not right – my right knee falls in when I’m not looking. I need to be reminded to look. It is a big, loud (has to be shouted over the music) red X. It helps.

The only way to learn something is find out that what you thought you already knew is not the standard way the world functions. It might be nice if 2 + 3 = 6 if you were being paid that way, but what if you were purchasing some stuff for two and three dollars and someone said they wanted six dollars from you and you were dumb enough to give it to them? That would be bad.

Spelling and grammar matter because when you do it wrong, you look like a dolt. History is unchangeable and yet new stuff comes to light and changes our perception, but there is a fairly standard agreement on what happened in the past. Science is growing by leaps and bounds, but the basic underpinnings remain the same. Geography borders change, but geographic features don’t.

There are no children who go out to play a sport and think that it is perfectly okay for that kid over there to not follow the rules because that kid doesn’t want to or doesn’t know them. Any time a kid is playing a game – sport, board game, card game, whatever – THE RULES WILL BE FOLLOWED TO THE LETTER. Why should school and learning be any different?

The only way to learn is to find out that what you already know is in error.

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