Saturday, June 25, 2011

Murph again

So to celebrate the summer solstice Crossfit Rise had Murph this morning followed by a BBQ. This was a lot of people's first time doing Murph, so I felt like an old salt having done it first three years ago (about 68 min without a vest), then a few months later (65:29 without vest), then two years ago (69:51 without vest), and later that year (80:23 with vest), and I did it on First Friday at CFOT a couple of months ago (can't find the time, but I think it was a little over an hour, with vest)

So this was my sixth time doing Murph, and I was definitely the last person to finish again. I have the time as 57:30, but I think that's wrong (they turned off the clock before I finished, ugh) Obviously if that was my time that's a nice PR, but there is also the thought that I was something like 72:XX. Perhaps I should work on a sub 45 Murph sans vest. I'm not sure, but I guess that's the way I should go.

It can be humbling to see people do Murph for the first time ever and get it done in 45 minutes, while you've been working on it for over three years and still do it in 1.5 times as long.

Push ups are definitely my weakness, but given what Bobby told me about my triceps being all kinds of locked up, perhaps I can start seeing some improvement. I did do pretty much every pull up and squat set unbroken, my shoulders were just shot when it came to the push-ups.

So here's to the seventh Murph, may it be under an hour!

Friday, June 24, 2011

feeling worn down, breakthroughs with technique, and having dreams

After seeing Bobby, I've been sleeping on my back every night so as to avoid effing up my shoulders and neck, yet I still find myself with tension and pain in those areas. Lately we've been doing a lot of dips, push ups, and overhead work. Perhaps I'm biting off more than I can press, and it's causing all kinds of problems with my shoulder. This Tuesday I took a day off, as well as today, and that is really uncharacteristic of me. I just feel, beat up. My hip is really starting to hurt, and my right knee is also starting to hurt. I just feel really tight, and all the foam rolling in the world doesn't seem to be doing much right now.

On a more positive note, I made a mental breakthrough with swimming. I've come to realize that I should be anchoring my hand into the water, and pulling myself around it. This is much like a rock climber pulling himself up. I think that really changed my technique of my arm placement, and I noticed an immediate improvement. This is good, as I'm still very, very inefficient in the water. ...I am so glad I am doing this, as I really think this zero impact work is helping me with my shoulder stregnth.

I'm also making improvements on Banded HSPUs. I'm now using only a step up from floss, so I'm very excited. I am trying so hard to keep a hollow body when I'm doing this, but so far it is still really a challenge. Keeping a hollow body is my greatest weakness, and I try to work on it with every single squat, pull up, push up, push press, anything. I'm doing 30-40 GHD situps a day now after every workout, all in the hope that I get better at keeping my core tight and improve the control over my body. I am trying to do HSPU's like Carl Paoli recommends, and they are tough as all get out. I guess I simply must keep doing them, I've already progressed fairly quickly from a super thick and short band to almost nothing, so I bet I'll be able to do a HSPU by the end of the year. *crosses fingers*

I'm also showing improvement with my Oly lifts. I am doing a better job of tightening up all of my back, and this is forcing my torso to rise up correctly on the first pull (aka my butt doesn't shoot up early). Having a time to work on these lifts every week without the crossfit intensity is great, working only on heavy triples at most is awesome, I love the focus on such a specific goal. If I ever move away from crossfit, I will probably end up as an Oly lifter.

I have a horrible physique for it, being tall and lanky, but it's not something I would do because I expect to hold records. It's something that I simply love doing. The lifts are so technically complicated that it keeps my kinesthetic awareness part of my brain entertained, if that makes sense. They are skills, and I can really appreciate that. ...I have a goal of snatching 90kg by the end of the year, and I feel at this rate I might actually get there.

I know I've talked before on this blog about my motivations for crossfitting, the main one being vanity. I wanted to look like a spartan, and when I learned they did crossfit then I figured that's what I would do as well. It's odd, when I think back and try to remember life goals I've had the only one I can remember is to have a great looking body. Not to be a fireman or President, but to have a six-pack. I know it sounds vain, and sometimes I wonder if I have something like an Adonis Complex, but I really don't think so. There are a couple reasons why I think this has always been a goal of mine, but I'll talk about that in a later post. My main point here is that we all have dreams, and we can't let concern of how they will be perceived get in the way of pursuing them. A dream is a dream, there's really not too much on what we can do about it. If you want something, go for it. I started out always finishing each wod last by a long shot, and if I had any concern with how others thought of me then I really never would have started this wonderful journey, and I never would be in the awesome, awesome place that I am right now.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Identified issue with the shoulders

For a long, long time now I have experience a lot of pain in my shoulders, especially my left one. The left one has been very tricky, I tore my suprispinatus in my first week of crossfit, and after that I started working out while still having inflamation, which lead to chronic tendinitis. I then found out that some of the pain was a phantom pain coming from tight scalenes pinching on a nerve.

So then I worked on my scalenes, and it worked, up to a point. I would sleep on my side/shoulder, and boom it would go right back to the way it used to be: painful. I would do as much self-massage as possible, but it was still painful for most of the time.

Since I've moved to Chicagoland I've started seeing a new massage therapist, Bobby, who is fantastic. The man is not ok with leaving things half-assed, and when he had issues getting my scalenes on my left side releasing he thought to check out my rhomboids, which were fine, and then my triceps.


It took Bobby 2.5 hours to get all of my shoulder and arm muscles to release. Two and a half hours and the man never got a chance to work on anything other than my arms, pecs, and shoulders. Appearently, my triceps are all kinds of locked up and have been pulling my shoulder joint out of whack, and my neck muscles tightened up in response, thus causing the pain. This also might help explain why I have such issues with the pushup, if my triceps are locked up I can't push them very hard.

Almost seems like an episode of House, similar to my hip (which still hurts, damn psoas is still tight all the time). Bobby mentioned that to be tricep dominant is very rare, should've told him that seems to be the only way I do things. My arms felt like wet noodles afterwards. Because two weeks seems to be too long, I'm going to see Bobby next week, and hopefully my shoulders won't be back to the way they were before I saw Bobby today.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Starting to see improvements in my lifting

So last week we found our 3 rep max in the deadlift, and I got up to 140kg! That's 308.6 pounds, which is by far more than than I've ever done with correct technique. I'm not sure if it's my core getting stronger, but I do know my technique is getting better.

I know my technique is getting better because although my squat has actually gotten weaker, I'm starting to get PRs in the Oly lifts and the deadlift. Since coming to Crossfit Rise I've been re-learning the double knee bend and it has allowed me to get a huge jump in my clean (from 205# back in december to 221# the other day) as well as improved my deadlift. True, I was able to DL 365#s twice back in '09, but that was with the worst technique ever.

I think it's been very benefitial for me to see a new approach to crossfit here in Chicagoland. There have been times were a trainer tells me to change my technique (straighten my knees more, etc.) and I want to snarl back, "back off I know what I'm doing", but I get ahold of myself and I recognize I still have lots to learn. So I take notes, do what I'm told, and lo and behold I am seeing results.

Sometimes I think it's a good thing to get a different approach on things. Honestly I think everyone should go to another gym for one or two months. I think that'd be a good thing for a local crossfit community to do. I recognize people don't switch gyms because it's a family and three are also contracts to consider, but what if a group of boxes decided to make an exchange program availible? For two months a member of one gym could go to another gym, and visa versa. I know it's never going to happen, but I think it would be pretty cool.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Being weak is a choice

"The only way to hurt the body is to not use it."
~Jack LaLanne

Done with swim class, I'm leaving Good Shepard fitness center, and an elderly lady is coming in on her walker. I hold the door open for her and her family helping her, and another patron waiting turns to me and she says, "that'll be us one day".

Honestly, no, I don't think it will be me some day. I actually take care of myself, stay active, eat healthy, and work on strength (just cleaned 100.45kg, or 221 pounds for a new PR!). I am not going to let myself rely on some tool to help me get around, for once you lose it, it's sooo hard to get back. Just take a week off of working out and see what I mean.

But what bothers me is the acceptance that such dependence and decrepitude is our fate. It's becoming so commonplace in American Society that we're now just accepting it as a fact of life. This "fact" is all a myth.

There are many reasons why I work out, although my main goal has been based in vanity there are other motivations. I want to be on this Earth for a long time, I want to be here for my family and friends. I want to be here as long as possible to spend time with my fiancee. I don't ever want to be a burden, instead I want others to be able to depend on me.

...And it makes me mad that others seem to just let themselves whither away, it just seems so wrong.