Sunday, February 22, 2015

M-Cubed for 2.23.2015

M-Cubed (Monday Morning Musings) for February Twenty-Third, Two-Thousand Fifteen...a random smattering of thoughts that end up here on Monday morning.

- OK. I know it's Sunday but this next week is crazy busy and as always, I have plenty to say and while the Daytona 500 plays in the background, I have a few minutes now to spill my thoughts in advance of the week kicking off tomorrow. This post began as another iteration of my CrossFit journal but I decided instead to mix it up a bit.

- The OSCARS! Since I'm typing this prior to the Red Carpet tonight, I can't discuss the winners on Monday morning but no matter how much I want American Sniper to take the top honor tonight, I do not think it stands a chance. It is so politically charged that I see it impossible for the very liberal Hollywood to give the Best Picture to this movie. I don't think it will go home empty-handed but it won't take the big one. Boyhood stands a great chance, I think, along with Selma and The Imitation Game. I personally loved The Imitation Game.

- For any of my craft beer friends in the audience, I assume you saw Budweiser's snub at the craft beer scene during the Super Bowl. It was laughable at best. Since then, I've seen the founder of Dogfish Head, Sam Calagione, interviewed a few times regarding big companies like Bud and Coors gobbling up a few craft breweries. Great read here if this subject matter interests interview by Men's Journal.

- GREAT week of CrossFit and my 16th week. 4 months in and it has FLOWN by! This week had a few lows such as the day we were doing hang power cleans (I simply am horrible at them...but I keep trying) and a series of highs. I set new PRs (personal records) in the back squat (finally up and past my body weight), the sumo dead lift, and the push press. Walking into the box on Thursday morning, I knew it was going to be a big overhead day because Monday and Wednesday were big on squats of some variation. It began with a "1RM" strength workout for the push press. 1RM means 1 rep max. Work up to lift the very most you time. Upper body strength has been an uphill climb for me but it's been getting better and I'd been waiting for this. I ended up setting a 25lb PR in the push press and I know I truly found my max because I tried 10lbs more three times and couldn't lock it out over my head. The first photo below is me attempting that weight. #1: I couldn't lock it out over my head. #2 and a safety concern is that arched back. BAD. The great news here is that I hit a 25lb PR, regardless. I just couldn't get this one. Photos are awesome for self-critique. The arched back is such a no-no and a great way to get hurt. Later on after this, we had a birthday WOD. When it's your birthday, you can request certain movements for your birthday and our trainers will program it in. For this birthday WOD, we had 4 rounds of pike push-ups, atomic sit-ups, and 12 push presses. I went a little heavy (for me) for the push press and I knew it was going to suck big time as I got nearer to finishing all 48 push presses. I went a little higher than the women's prescribed weight but less than the men's at 95 pounds. The second photo below is my last (48th) rep. Locked out, head forward! That was an awesome workout and I loved pushing myself. The week ended on Friday, commonly called "Dead Lift Friday" with another PR, this time in the Sumo Dead Lift. All in all, a fantastic 16th week.
Attempting 150 pounds. Made 3 attempts. Failed at all. Arched back = BAD and dangerous.
48th of 48 reps of the Push Press. 95lbs and dead last in the WOD. AWESOME workout.
- So we returned just over a week ago from the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise to the Caribbean and this Friday, we are hosting another marriage retreat! My wife and I are really looking forward to it. We have 23 couples that will be attending down in Amish Country. When it comes to what we feel called to do as a couple, it is certainly to be one to encourage couples, equip them, come alongside them in the tough times, and maybe even mentor a bit. This time around, we'll be using material from Refine Us which is an outreach of Justin and Trisha Davis who have gone to the bottom more than once and today are doing awesome.

- "Oh, running, what are we doing? I feel like our relationship has gone from pure awesomeness to mirky to confused. What gives???" Last week, I mentioned that I made it in to the Bull Run Run 50 Miler in northern Virginia. Great news! (right?) It is but I have got to get my rear into gear if I'm going to actually toe the starting line AND finish...respectfully. Yesterday, we had a balmy 31F outside after the temperature rising a whopping 45 degrees from a MINUS 15 degrees the day prior. I had to take advantage of the temperature swing and the weekend and get out there. I ended up with 13.2 very tough miles. What made it tough wasn't the distance but country roads that hadn't seen a plow, yet, and we were on the back side of getting 5-6" of heavy snow. I wore my trail shoes but it was still a lot of work. Around mile 9, I received a phone call that I gladly took but the 20min on the phone caused me to cool down and get quite cold. Starting back up after that made it even worse. In the end, I ached and was tired of sliding in every direction, just trying to maintain forward movement. I reached out to a friend this morning who once did a ton of ultra marathons and 100-milers but switched to CrossFit a few years back. My question to him was how the running was going. Well...not much. I have heard that time and time again. Maintaining an ultra running "schedule" while doing 4-5 CrossFit workouts a week just isn't feasible for most. The irony is that I'm in far better physical condition than any other time in my life and my running is...well...barely existent. Am I willing to sacrifice the endurance and love of ultra running for this? That's a constant discussion/debate in my head.

- I don't talk about nutrition too often. I don't follow any Paleo, Zone, etc. diet but do follow some basic principles:
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • High water intake (goal is half my body weight in ounces per about 102oz a day)
  • Minimize simple sugar intake
  • Eat a lot of fruits and veggies....colorful, rich "earthy" foods
  • Recover right (Use Hammer Nutrition's Whey or Vegan protein after hard lifting workouts and Recoverite after long runs)
  • Rest: I can and will hurt myself. I target, on average, 6 hours of sleep per night.
  • Have eliminated my favorite chips from the cupboard, even if the label makes them sound healthy
  • Replaced all milk intake with almond milk
  • Flavor my coffee and espresso with pure maple syrup (just a little) and no longer use sugar or any kind of sugar substitute. If no syrup or honey available, then black.
  • Steer clear of drive-thru's. Prior to CrossFit, I was a big fan of the $1 items at Taco Bell. Oh my, some things were so good. I have not graced the drive thru of a Taco Bell since I walked into the box on November 4th. It is not a streak I intend to break! (or any other fast food joint)
  • Candy: I have but one chief weakness: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Occasionally, I'll indulge but usually freeze them so I forget about them so I eat them in moderation. Outside of that, I avoid everything else. They are a special treat.
  • Cheating: Well, I do love Outback Steakhouse and the fresh cut fries at Ray's Place in Kent along with their awesome sandwiches. I work hard and 95% of the time, I eat well but I do indulge and "cheat" from time to time. Eating is a great thing that humans enjoy and splurging from time to time isn't going to kill me, I'm convinced. If I did it often, I believe I'd squelch all of my hard work but as an "every once in awhile" occurrence, it's a price I'm willing to pay.
  • Alcohol: "You're a Christian, you're not supposed to drink!!!" Well, we can debate that up, down and sideways, if you'd like. Also, it's not very "Paleo," now is it? I'll just say this: I'm a bit of a "craft beer" snob and do enjoy them...extremely in moderation. I don't believe in getting wasted and stupid. I enjoy one here and there and am extremely picky as to what it is. Outside of that, that's about it. Water. That's my chief fluid intake 7 days a week. No sugary drinks, etc. Just water. 
- March! WE ARE READY FOR YOU!!! The 3-4" of packed snow and ice need to go! That's how we plow our driveway...we drive on it. We haven't shoveled it once!

- I finished my last book, "Embrace the Suck" and began my next book "Unbreakable Runner" that was co-written by the founder of CrossFit Endurance. From what I can gather, it speaks to those who wish to run distance, do ultras, triathlons, etc. along with CrossFit. I appreciated how it began by clearly stating that their way isn't the only way. Read it...glean what you may...make it your own...and go do it...whatever "it" is. I'm looking forward to it.

- To send you off properly, you need a quote, right? Well here you go. :) Have a GREAT week and FINAL week of COLD February!

"It's all too easy to accept lying down as your only option, or even just standing still. No one should ever be afraid of failing; it's being afraid to give it your all in trying that I urge against. If there is one thing I have learned, particularly in my life as an athlete, it is that our limits may not be where we think they are. And, even when we think we've finally reached them, the next time we go there exploring we often find that they've moved again."

– Chrissie Wellington, A Life Without Limits: A World Champion's Journey

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