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Kwesadilo starts late

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This is going to be mostly the same as last time. I'm getting a late start, but on Monday, I was shopping for fitness-related stuff, so I'll allow it. Tuesday was just drinking. Don't worry about it.



  • Lifting: Last time, I had lifting goals that, while perfectly plausible, were sufficiently optimistic to be thwarted the first time my program was slightly disrupted, which happened almost immediately. I will be more conservative this time. I intend to accomplish at least 2 of the following:
    • Squat 300x5x5 with good bar path. Long-time readers will note that I was already squatting 300 lbs. at the beginning of last challenge. I discovered a form issue, and I have deloaded a bit to correct it. I did 285x5x5 with acceptable form on Monday.
    • Bench 200x5x5. On Monday, I did 190x5x5.
    • Overhead press 125x5x5. I did 122.5x5,5,4 today. I just got other micro plates that will allow me to make 1-lb. jumps, and I may start using them during this challenge, but this will still be in reach if everything goes to plan.
    • Deadlift 345x5. This was my goal for last time, and I was able to do 340x5 a few weeks ago, but I've been on 345 for 2 workouts now. The first one, I couldn't even budge it, and this Monday, I got 2 reps.
    • Power clean 135x3x5. I haven't had a power clean goal for awhile, because my wrist has been sore, and I've been taking it easy, but my wrist seems pretty well behaved these days. I've gotten up to 135 before, but that makes the plates touch the ground at the bottom, and that throws off my whole movement. Obviously, this is going to be a problem going forward, so I need to figure out how to power clean from the ground. I did 125x3x5 today.
    • This is worth 3 STR.
  • Yoga: Do 2 full-length yoga session per week.
    • This is worth 2 DEX.
  • Running: Run at least once a week in weeks 2, 3, and 4. I just got a heart rate monitor, and I'm going to try to train at my ventilatory threshold. That's supposed to be pretty easy, if boring, so hopefully this won't interfere with my lifting.
    • This is worth 3 STA.
  • SICP: I almost got in a groove last time, so I want to keep up the momentum. 3 hours of reading and doing programming exercises per week.
    • This is worth 2 WIS.

I've set the point values for this challenge based on 10 points per level, because 15 felt like grade inflation for a lot of my goals, and they're totally made up.

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Week 1 update

  • Lifting:
    • I squatted 295x5x5 today. Some sets had OK bar path, and some were not great. I don't think any of them were really terrible. I still haven't exactly figured out what makes the bar come forward.
    • I benched 195x5x5 today. This was pretty solid.
    • I haven't done overhead press since my last post.
    • I deadlifted 345x4 today. I couldn't even budge rep 5 off the ground, but at least that's progress.
    • I haven't power cleaned since my last post.
  • Yoga: I did full-length sessions on Saturday and Sunday, and I foam rolled.
  • Running: Although I gave myself a pass for the first week, I actually attempted to run on Saturday. I drove to the high school track, but it turned out there was a track meet. Then I started to drive to another track in a park, but there was a traffic jam on the highway, so I just went back to my house. I did walk around for a little with the monitor on, and it seems to basically work.
  • SICP: I'm starting off with a bang. I did 3 hours and 45 minutes on Saturday and Sunday. For some reason, I felt much more focused than usual this weekend, and on Sunday, I was actually done with everything I intended to do hours before bedtime and could read and get to bed early. I went to bed around 1:00 am on Saturday morning, which is a little earlier than I usually go to bed on a weekend, so I woke up earlier than usual around Saturday. I think the early start might have helped. I wonder what would happen if I went to bed at 11:30 pm like I try to on work nights? (... he posted at 11:40.)
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Week 2 update

  • Lifting:
    • Squatted 295x5x5 again today, but almost all of my reps had good bar path. I focused on keeping my lower back tight, but I'm not sure if that was what helped.
    • Benched 200x5,5,4,4,3 today. I thought about just going up to 197.5, but I figured I'd give 200 a shot, since I've been making 5-lb. jumps for a little bit. Previously, 195 was the most I had ever benched, so the fact that my jumps get smaller after 195 shouldn't be surprising. I'm not sure if I should drop to 197.5 next week or try to get 200 again before I drop down to 2.5-lb. jumps.
    • Pressed 122x5x3 on Wednesday. It felt kind of lame to go down in weight, but hopefully switching to 2-lb. jumps was a good idea.
    • Attempted to deadlift 345 again today and could only get 1. I did some grip exercises yesterday afternoon, and that might have been a bad idea. Maybe I need more pulling volume.
    • Power cleaned 130x3x5 on Wednesday. I'll try 135 next week. Hopefully, the change to full-size plates won't mess me up to much.
  • Yoga: Two full-length sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Foam rolled on Sunday.
  • Running: Calculated my ventilatory threshold as 141 bpm, so I set my HRM to that and "ran" a little over a mile at a tragic 15:10 pace. I had to stop and walk every few minutes. Hopefully, I'll get faster before too long.
  • SICP: Did problems for 2 hours on Sunday, then got distracted. That means I have a 15-minute deficit, which is much better than I'm usually doing by this point.
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Week 3 update

  • Lifting:
    • Squatted 300x5x5 today. Some of my sets had OK form, but most of them were too far forward. For the past week or so, I have been using an especially low bar position. This seems to help the bar path a little, but it is also hard on my elbows and makes me feel like I am about to drop the bar. Today, I had the bar back in my trap "shelf," and it was more comfortable, but my form was worse. Given the bar path I'm observing, I think my knees might be coming too far forward. There are some interventions that I will try on Wednesday that will hopefully help.
    • Benched 200x5,4,4,4,3 today, which is one less rep than last time. Maybe I should just drop to 197.5. That worked well for overhead press.
    • Speaking of which, pressed 124x5x3 on Wednesday. The plan is working.
    • Same deal as last week. I followed it up with 2 sets of 8 RDLs to get more volume.
    • Power cleaned 135x3x5 on Wednesday. A fair number of the reps were awkward, and I ended up not letting the bar touch the ground between reps during some of the sets. Lacking bumper plates, maybe I should get comfortably above 135 using smaller plates, then learn to use big plates when it's an easy weight. I'm going to do 135 again this week.
  • Yoga: Did 2 full-length sessions, although one of them was late Sunday night. Did not foam roll.
  • Running: Ran 2 miles in the park on Tuesday. It was nice. I don't think I've run on a proper trail before.
  • SICP: I only got an hour done this week, so now I have a 5.25-hour deficit. On both Saturday and Sunday, I got up fairly early, went for a walk to warm up for yoga, and then sat down to read when I got back. I've started another self-education project, and I'm reading Don Quixote, which is actually pretty entertaining. However, it is not one of my goals, and I spent a significant amount of time that I could have been reading SICP reading Don Quixote. I'm still going to do some of it this week, but I need to devote more time to programming.
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Week 4 update and wrap-up

  • Lifting:
    • Stayed at 300 for squats today. My form isn't any better, and I don't really have any new ideas.
    • Benched 197.5x5x5 today. I knew it would be time to switch to smaller jumps after 200, and it will probably end up being faster to switch now. I believe this is the most I've benched for 5x5.
    • Pressed 126x5x3 on Wednesday. Triumph of the micro-plates! I just realized that my goal was erroneously 125x5x5. I have never done overhead press for 5 sets, and my intention for my goal was 125x5x3.
    • I finally deadlifted 345x5 today. My first attempt was with hook grip, and I only got 2 reps. Then I tried again with alternate grip and got all of them. Maybe the back-off sets of RDLs from last week helped? I didn't do any this week.
    • Power cleaned 135x3x5 again on Wednesday. This time, I only used little plates, so I started from the hang position and didn't touch the plates to the ground between reps. It was less awkward, and my height was OK, but my arms were getting a little bit tired from catching and hanging onto that much weight.
    • Got 3, and I only needed 2. +3 STR.
  • Yoga: Did 2 full-length sessions, with the Sunday one again being late at night. I foam rolled but didn't do the whole routine, because I wanted to get to bed at a reasonable time.
    • +2 DEX.
  • Running: I actually ran twice last week. The first one was on Tuesday. I ran about 3.5 miles on the sidewalks around where I work. It was significantly hotter and more hilly than my initial benchmark run. My average pace was 15:40, including several times when I had to stop for a few minutes at traffic lights.
    • +3 STA.
  • SICP: I did 2.5 hours on Saturday and 3.25, so I actually came out a half hour ahead. I also finally finished a long section that had been dragging on for awhile. Hopefully I'll be progressing more quickly now.
    • +2 WIS.

Overall, this went pretty well. I wish my squats weren't so funky, though.

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