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From The Ashes - Part 2


Cardinal_22

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This is really a continuation of the previous challenge:  training for and performing in the CrossFit open.  Since the challenges only run 4 weeks and the open is 5 weeks long, there's no way that I can fit it into a single thread.  For the record, here's the intro and set of goals from Part 1.

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Most of you probably don't know me, but I was active on NF a good number of years ago.  It is true that I'm in the Warrior's guild and my first love is powerlifting - and for the record, I'm pretty bad at it.  But it's also true that I have a savage interest in CrossFit and was back to participate in the 2018 CrossFit challenge thread last year.  [We're doing this again, right?]   Sadly, a life event knocked me down pretty hard in November.  I had a skin biopsy come back bad, which required surgery to remove a moderate size chunk from my neck.  They cut deep enough to require two sets of stitches, internal and external.  This kept me out of the gym for 5 weeks and really destroyed my training base.  Since then, I've been slowly getting back into things, but up until last week I really haven't felt like my old self - no pun intended.

 

Those of you who are CrossFitters know that the open starts on February 21.  I don't expect to match my score from last year, but I'd still like to do reasonably well.  That means that full speed training starts today.  I need you guys to hold me accountable.  As such, I intend to do the following:

1.  Train like a madman.  The big focus right now is engine building, skill work (meaning handstands and rings), and stretching.  I also need to do enough olympic lifting to stay limber.  My training log is pretty far behind, so I'll try to record it all in this challenge thread for now.
2.  Eat like a boss.  More calories, more protein, and extra veggies.  Try to bring lunch to work every day instead of buying it there.
3.  Recover like Wolverine.  Make sure to get plenty of sleep, Bub.  'Nuff said.

For the record, last year I hit the 78th percentile worldwide in my age group (male 40-44), all workouts performed Rx, with individual workout scores as high as the 86th percentile worldwide.  After what happened, it is probably unrealistic to beat this score in February.  But I'd like to hit the 70th if at all possible.

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6'0" / 166 lbs.  Powerlifting Total:  940

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(This is copied from the previous challenge thread, with the week number changed from 5 to 0)
 

Week 0, Day 1:  Well, I got partial redemption today.  I repeated open workout 19.3, and took almost a full 2 minutes off my tiebreak time.  Still couldn't hit any HSPU's, but just the tiebreak change alone should be worth several thousand places in the world ranks.  So I guess I'll take it... not like I have much of a choice or anything.  =)

 

I made several adjustments that really helped out.  First, I spent a lot of time tweaking my arm position for the walking lunges.  It sounds dumb, but it really makes a difference.  The key for me was to focus on touching my bicep to my ear (or further back) while lunging and make absolutely sure my elbow was locked out.  This added a tremendous amount of stability.  (To wit: you have to carry a SINGLE 50 lb dumbbell locked out over your head while lunging, held in only one hand.  It's an inherently unstable position that will make your abs scream).  I switched arms every 25 feet, and this time I started with the weak (left) arm while I was fresh, so that I could finish with the strong (right) arm when my core was tired.  I also decided to wear a lifting belt.  This helped take a lot of pressure out of my lower back, given how tall and thin I am.  All of these changes took my 200 foot lunge split from about ~6:30 to about ~3:30, a much more competitive time.

 

I still had a lot of lactic acid built up in my legs, so the box step ups didn't go as well as they did on Saturday.  I feel like I could take another 30s to 1 min off my tiebreak split if I was fresh.  But I can live with this score.  It will still be low, but not 30th percentile low.  So I'm calling it a win.  Or maybe more accurately, it's not a huge loss anymore.  I guess we'll find out for sure on Thursday. 

 

I spent the rest of my gym time evaluating my strict handstand pushups.  I hit 16 of them (not unbroken) on a 15 lb plate with an ab mat on top.  That's about a 3 inch boost.  I can't get any lower to the ground than that, and my arms are really wide when I do them, which is essentially distributing the entire load to my shoulders.  In theory, your arms should be closer together so that you make a tripod position with your head and engage your triceps a lot more.  I'm guessing that addressing this particular weakness will be the focus of most of my summer strength training. 

Dinner tonight was maple glazed pork chops - thick cut and bone-in, of course.  =)  They were browned in a cast iron skillet and then popped into the oven to finish.  Served with grilled yellow squash and a sweet potato.  After dinner I snacked on the usual dried fruit.

 
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- Level 3 Night Elf Warrior -

6'0" / 166 lbs.  Powerlifting Total:  940

Member:  The 800 Club

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Week 0, Day 2:  I'm feeling pretty beaten up today.  One of my CrossFit friends told me that the experts are saying weekend warrior athletes really should avoid doing open workout 19.3, because the amount of stress it puts on your body is over the top.  I haven't actually searched online for the source...  but considering I did the workout TWICE in a 3 day period, I understand what they are talking about.  (For the record, I have no regrets.  Lol.)

I took a nice slow 3 mile jog today over the lunch hour today to try to get the lactic acid out of my legs.  Later, I had a 1 hour handstand class.  I've been trying to hit more strict ring MUs, but I've gone backwards since last week.  Two weeks ago, I had been able to hit 5-7 per workout.  Last Tuesday, I could only hit 3.  I haven't been able to hit a single one after that until today (I hit just one on about 15 attempts).  Not sure what's going on.  Maybe I've lost some muscle memory?  Maybe I just need a really good stretch?  It's going to be very  important to figure this out over the next few days, because pull-ups / C2Bs / muscle ups haven't popped up in the open yet, which means they will probably be in 19.4.  (For the record, we're also missing deadlifts, snatches, thrusters, and burpees).  My CrossFit open phone app mysteriously started working again, and it's placed me (so far) in the 63rd percentile for my 19.3 workout.  Final scores won't be out  until Thursday, but if the app is accurate I have a lot of ground to make up in the last two workouts.  Ugh.

 

I was on my own for dinner tonight, so I grilled some burgers, served with salad and sweet corn.  Snacked on the usual crackers and dried fruit.

- Level 3 Night Elf Warrior -

6'0" / 166 lbs.  Powerlifting Total:  940

Member:  The 800 Club

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11 hours ago, Cardinal_22 said:

experts are saying

 

I actively avoid the counsel of "experts".  Sometimes I do this at my own peril, but at least things stay interesting.  :-)

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  Level 46 Quasi-Human Ranger     

"Forget failure.  Forget mistakes.  Forget everything except what you're going to do NOW, and DO IT." - Lou Ferrigno

"Foxes Never Quit!"  -  Leicester City FC

KBO. - Churchill

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Week 0, Day 3:  My 19.3 score keeps getting worse as updates come in.  I've dropped from the 63rd percentile to the 61st so far, and nothing is final until tomorrow.  Ugh.  I really have a lot of work to do this summer to improve on handstand pushups.  Due to a time shortage, today all I did was the CrossFit workout.  Typically, we have a part A (strength or skill) and a part B (metcon).  This time, we had the equivalent of two metcons.  It was brutal.  The first one wasn't for time, but we were supposed to just keep moving.  The second one was normal.  Interestingly, we had a pair of college-age drop-ins, one of which was about my build and height, but only 20 years old.  Our metcon scores were pretty close.  It's always good to know that you can keep up with someone less than half your age.  (I'm 43 for the record).

 

I had extended family in town, so I ended up going out for dinner tonight.  I had steak, brussels sprouts, and mashed potatoes.  It was amazing.  Then I went home and snacked on crackers, dried fruit, and an outshine bar.

 

For the record, here's the workout.

A.  3 rounds (90 seconds on / 15 seconds off):

Bike Calories

KB Swings  (I used a 44 lb bell)

DB Full Snatches (I used a 25 lb DB)

Wall Balls (I used a 10 lb ball)   -->  this sounds light, but keep in mind it's 1.5 minutes of unbroken reps per set for 3 sets

 

B.  For Time:

2 Rounds of

30 Power Snatch (95 lbs / 65 lbs)

30 Row Calories

 

I got 9:35, scaled to 75 lbs.

- Level 3 Night Elf Warrior -

6'0" / 166 lbs.  Powerlifting Total:  940

Member:  The 800 Club

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Week 0, Day 4:  Ran a quick 3 miles over the lunch hour, then had a stretch session in the evening followed by rings class.  I had been having trouble with strict ring MUs over the last week.  I hit 3 of them two Tuesdays back (about 10 days ago), and then couldn't hit anything for about a week.  I finally got 1 (in about 15 attempts) two days ago.  I asked the coach to watch me.  Turns out that I had somehow lost my false grip.  The coach explained:  the point of false grip is that it puts all of the pressure on a point in your upper forearm / wrist joint.  Yes, it's uncomfortable.  But if you put the pressure on your palm instead, you'll have to duplicate this otherwise passive hand position by physically holding your wrist at a 90 degree angle using muscle... and very few people can actually do that, especially when just learning the technique.  Case in point:  after the class was over, I managed to hit 3 in about 5 attempts with the correct grip.

 

Open workout 19.4 has been released, and I'm not sure how this is going to go.  It's a combination of snatches from the ground, bar facing burpees, and bar muscle ups.  Normally I'd do pretty well with these movements, but there's a short time cap, forced rest, and a big sprint at the beginning... and I'm really not much of a sprinter.  So any advantage that I bring to the table of actually being able to do bar muscle ups for volume is lost because I'll have no time left when I finally get there.  I guess we'll see how it goes.  I really need a good score to make up for my poor performance in 19.3.  I may end up doing this one twice:  once on Saturday and once on Monday afternoon.

 

Interestingly, unless CrossFit HQ decides to repeat a movement, there's really only two left for week 5:  deadlifts and thrusters.  (I'm assuming OHS count in the snatch class, bar muscle ups count for the pull up class, and box step ups count as box jumps).  This is a VERY strange combination unless you are given two barbells.  Even a heavy thruster (say, 155 lbs) is far too light to be much of a deadlift.  A moderate deadlift such as 225 lbs would be an impossible thruster weight.  I suppose it's possible that the thrusters could be performed with DBs or KBs...  


Dinner tonight was mushroom risotto, made in the instant pot.  We served it with a salad. Finished up with the usual snacking on crackers and dried fruit. 

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- Level 3 Night Elf Warrior -

6'0" / 166 lbs.  Powerlifting Total:  940

Member:  The 800 Club

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Good job getting the MU issue sorted.  I hope 19.4 goes well for you!  Dinner sounds great.  Keep up the good work!  :-)

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  Level 46 Quasi-Human Ranger     

"Forget failure.  Forget mistakes.  Forget everything except what you're going to do NOW, and DO IT." - Lou Ferrigno

"Foxes Never Quit!"  -  Leicester City FC

KBO. - Churchill

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Week 0, Day 5:  Rest day.  The only thing I had was a stretch session after work.  Normally my gf and I have date night on Fridays, but she already had plans with some friends.  So I was bad and went out for pizza instead.  =P

 

Spoiler:  I did open workout 19.4 on Saturday morning.  Unlike last week, it actually went very well.  I had a 4:41 split/tiebreak time for the first three rounds, and then managed to make it through 19 muscle ups after the 3 minute rest.  That score is actually a little better than I was hoping for.  What makes me really happy is the quality of the reps.  Two years ago, we had a workout with bar muscle ups for volume.  Maybe workout 17.3?  I forget the exact number.  Anyway, I managed to hit about 12 reps or so, but every single one was "chicken wing" style, where you get one arm over the bar at a time.  While this is technically legal, it's really bad for your shoulders and also quite slow.  Today, all 19 reps were "quality", meaning both arms went over the bar simultaneously.  That's a massive improvement and I'm happy about it.

According to the preliminary analysis by Beyond the Whiteboard, 97 total reps puts puts me right at the 80th percentile among Rx men in my age group (40-44).  Unlike the official world rankings, this doesn't count the scaled athletes.  It only counts those who reported an Rx score.  To make up for my poor performance in 19.3, I probably need to average 75th percentile (world rank) between the two workouts.  This means I'd need to hit the 90th percentile in 19.4 to balance out my 60th percentile overall in 19.3.  Depending on how many people scale 19.4, with a huge slice of luck it's possible that I just barely made it.  I'll know for sure when the final scores come out on Thursday.

One thing I can say is this:  I don't think I can get a better score by repeating the workout on Monday.  So I think I'm one-and-done for this week.  Besides, I got a nasty case of "Fran Lung" from the workout, and (as of Sunday) I can hardly move the upper part of my torso.  It hurts when I push on my car door to close it.  Who ever heard of that happening?  Yikes.

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- Level 3 Night Elf Warrior -

6'0" / 166 lbs.  Powerlifting Total:  940

Member:  The 800 Club

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On 3/15/2019 at 11:05 AM, Cheetah said:

Good job getting the MU issue sorted.  I hope 19.4 goes well for you!  Dinner sounds great.  Keep up the good work!  :-)

 

 

On 3/15/2019 at 4:49 PM, Guzzi said:

I can only dream about the day when I have issues with my grip for MUs  **sigh**

 

Dude, you rock!

 

 

Thank you both for the kind words.  =)

- Level 3 Night Elf Warrior -

6'0" / 166 lbs.  Powerlifting Total:  940

Member:  The 800 Club

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1 hour ago, Cardinal_22 said:

Besides, I got a nasty case of "Fran Lung" from the workout...

 

I haven’t heard of this before, go on, give us a laugh (at your expense, sorry) and enlighten us :P 

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23 hours ago, Guzzi said:

 

 

I haven’t heard of this before, go on, give us a laugh (at your expense, sorry) and enlighten us :P 

 

It's a pretty nasty condition named after the famous CrossFit workout "Fran".  People tend to get it after really intense sprint workouts that involve heavy weights.  The first symptom is that you can taste blood after finishing a workout.  From there, you develop an ugly cough and finally start building up small amounts of fluid in your lungs.  Typically it goes away after 24 hours. 

 

There are a number of theories about exactly what it is.  Some people think it's a result of bursting capillaries deep in your lungs.  Others think it's a very minor case of exercise induced asthma.  Personally speaking, I'm pretty convinced that it has something to do with allergies:  it hits me hardest when I do exercises that put me near the floor (where dust and pollen build up), like burpees or push-ups.  Claritin seems to help me prevent it completely in most cases.

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6'0" / 166 lbs.  Powerlifting Total:  940

Member:  The 800 Club

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Week 1, Day 1:  Typical Monday.  I lifted weights first, followed by a CrossFit metcon.  We did a named workout ("Nancy") that I've never done before, so I managed to add a new time to the list.  My gf was at a CE course in the evening, so I was on my own for dinner.  Heated up some leftover homemade Szechuan noodles from the weekend for dinner, along with a salad and some yogurts for protein.  Snacked on the usual dried fruit and crackers.

 

Update:  As of Tuesday morning, preliminary results are in for Open Workout 19.4.  It looks like my luck didn't hold out.  I didn't make it. 

 

I needed to score in the 90th percentile or above.  I'm currently sitting at the 88th percentile for the workout, putting my overall at 79th.  These numbers always drop by a few points until they are final on Thursday, because the ones that aren't in the system yet are people who repeated on Monday in hopes of a better score.  This means that to improve on last year I'm going to need a fantastic performance in the thruster workout, like 80th or better, which is just highly unlikely to happen.  I guess all I can do is hope for the best and come up with a training strategy for next year's open.  Ugh.

 

For the record, here's my workout:

A.  Strict press (no belt)
5 x bar, 65, 75, 85 lbs.
5 x 95 lbs, 5 sets
1 x 105 lbs, 3 sets
1 x 110 lbs, 2 sets
1 x 115 lbs, 1 set
5 x 95 lbs, 1 set

 

B.  Strict HSPU negatives, 3 sec descent
5 reps, 5 sets

 

C.  DB Strict Press (no belt)
5 x 25 lbs DBs, 1 set
5 x 30 lbs DBs, 1 set
5 x 35 lbs DBs, 3 sets

 

D:  CrossFit Metcon
Nancy
5 rounds of:
400 m Run
15 Overhead Squat (95 lbs / 65 lbs)

 

I got 15:05, Rx.

- Level 3 Night Elf Warrior -

6'0" / 166 lbs.  Powerlifting Total:  940

Member:  The 800 Club

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24 minutes ago, Cardinal_22 said:

 

It's a pretty nasty condition named after the famous CrossFit workout "Fran".  People tend to get it after really intense sprint workouts that involve heavy weights.  The first symptom is that you can taste blood after finishing a workout.  From there, you develop an ugly cough and finally start building up small amounts of fluid in your lungs.  Typically it goes away after 24 hours. 

 

Jesus!!! That’s mental! 

 

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Do remember to be proud of what you've accomplished.  Those are really high percentages and you're doing a great job!

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  Level 46 Quasi-Human Ranger     

"Forget failure.  Forget mistakes.  Forget everything except what you're going to do NOW, and DO IT." - Lou Ferrigno

"Foxes Never Quit!"  -  Leicester City FC

KBO. - Churchill

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22 hours ago, Guzzi said:

 

Jesus!!! That’s mental! 

 


Yeah, I would definitely rank that as one of my least favorite aspects of the sport.  That, and the fact that your hands get completely ripped up.  Ugh.

 

 

10 hours ago, Cheetah said:

Do remember to be proud of what you've accomplished.  Those are really high percentages and you're doing a great job!


Thanks! 

 

You guys are the best.  Both of you.  =)    

- Level 3 Night Elf Warrior -

6'0" / 166 lbs.  Powerlifting Total:  940

Member:  The 800 Club

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Week 1, Day 2:  I have a bit of a setback to report.  Not what you might think.  In my intro at the top of the challenge, I wrote that I had a skin biopsy come back badly in November.  Well, I had my 4 month checkup today.  The good news is that the doctors are happy about the spot on my neck.  But... they found a new suspicious mole, on my left hip.  They did another biopsy.  I'll find out the results in two weeks. 

 

It's probably nothing.  But to say I'm a little bit nervous would be an understatement.  I can understand the spot on my neck - I get a lot of sun there.  But this new spot is in an area that is quite literally never exposed.  If I have melanoma there, it  would seem logical that it spread from somewhere else.   I could be in big trouble.  No matter what happens, I can state this with confidence:  getting old sucks.  I don't recommend it to anyone.  =(

I was supposed to go running today, but since they took a pretty decent sized chunk out of my butt (I exaggerate - it's about the size of a dime) I decided that might not be a good idea.  Got held up at work late and so I missed half of my handstand class also.  Plus, my open workout 19.4 score and overall world rank both dropped by 1% each.  Ouch.  Overall, not such a good day.  Dinner was pan sauteed chicken thighs, with roasted red potatoes, frozen mixed veggies, and a quinoa/rice blend.  I snacked on the usual crackers and dried fruit.

- Level 3 Night Elf Warrior -

6'0" / 166 lbs.  Powerlifting Total:  940

Member:  The 800 Club

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Aw crap man!  Fingers crossed that it’s nothing, but the next two weeks are going to be a bit crap with that hanging over you.   I’m not going to try and tell you not to worry, that “it’ll be fine” or any of that crap, but I will say that whatever the outcome, you are strong enough to cope with it.  

 

One of my favourite quotes for dealing with adversity in life is this...

 

Quote

 Accept - then act.


Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. This will miraculously transform your whole life. 

 

 

Eckhart Tolle

 

 

 

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Make Life Rue The Day                             Turning back the clock                                                Recipe book  14

 

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23 hours ago, Guzzi said:

Aw crap man!  Fingers crossed that it’s nothing, but the next two weeks are going to be a bit crap with that hanging over you.   I’m not going to try and tell you not to worry, that “it’ll be fine” or any of that crap, but I will say that whatever the outcome, you are strong enough to cope with it.  

 

One of my favourite quotes for dealing with adversity in life is this...

 

 

This quote is really good advice... even though it didn't display in the response.  Thank you.  =)

 

23 hours ago, Guzzi said:

Keeping all of my fingers (and toes) crossed for good news for you. 

 

 

15 hours ago, Cheetah said:

That sucks.  I hope it comes back negative.

 

Thank you both.  It's amazing how something like this can really bring you back to earth.  I'm honestly trying hard to stay positive.  I've had about 8 suspicious moles removed now, and only one biopsy ever came up bad.  Hopefully my luck will hold out...

 

On a funnier note, I put one of those waterproof band-aids over the wound yesterday, and now it won't come off.  Lol.  It's really stuck on there.  I tried taking a shower with it on last night, but apparently they really are waterproof...  This is embarrasing...

- Level 3 Night Elf Warrior -

6'0" / 166 lbs.  Powerlifting Total:  940

Member:  The 800 Club

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