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Posts Tagged ‘mood’

been a cold week

January 25, 2013 Leave a comment

It’s now been a 4 day stretch of temperatures about 10 to 15 degrees below normal highs and lows. So maybe that’s not super cold, but it’s noticeable in contrast to last winter and the winter we had been having here so far.

—-

I continue to do sets of squats when I get the time, every day. Yesterday, I think I ended up performing a total of 87 reps, some of them were bearhug sandbag squats, some front squats, and some back squats. It’s given me much more noticeable thigh musculature, much more than I ever had back when my primary focus had been deadlifts and I never really did all that much deep squatting.

It makes me hungry too. You start squatting 50+ reps a day with weights that maybe aren’t maximal, but of significance, it makes you hungry. And now these last two mornings the scale has come in at 156.2 lbs. So that’s about a gain of 4 lbs from the beginning of the year.

—-

4 years ago, I counted down the days to the first day of spring. It was an invocation of magic, maybe, a count against the dark and cold of winter, of the hopes that could be reached on the first day of spring. I still remember that first day of spring 2009 so clearly. It had an annoying cold start, a splash of light snow that tangled some things up and delayed what would be the most amazing moment of life later on that day, but it grew sunny. The world had such clarity that day. So I believed. I was as alive as I had ever been, I felt like power lines were plugged into my body, I felt almost like a crazy liquid broken glass and an iron resolve through all of my limbs and heart.

I remember pacing back and forth while I waited for that first moment. A moment which cannot leave me. No amount of past crying or whatever odd strange tears that might come again will ever wash that away. I never said another person’s name so loud as I said that one that evening upon the first sight. I’ll probably never again. It’s not in me to be loud. It’s not in me to love all that much. There was only that time of odd circumstance, of stray magic that nearly shattered the world I had known, and the world I’ve had to return to, if only to maintain the less than sturdy framework of sanity that I hang my life upon.

And eventually I will forget. That is the eventual function of death. But until then, I will not forget. I cannot forget how what might be the best in me, although it is meager and not substantial enough, what might be the best in me lived brightly then, cannot forget the other who brought that forth, no matter how much I may wonder now just how much it was real. But I tell myself that there is a core of good in most people, a core of good no matter how much we struggle with knowing what is real and true, how much we struggle with looking in our own distorted mirrors and knowing who and what we are exactly.

I may be forgotten. But I won’t forget.

It’s all silence in the end

January 22, 2013 Leave a comment

I had a bad long wakeup last night. A little after 2, I came awake, not needing to pee, not feeling any like my blood sugar was too low or too high. Just woke up.

And I realized how silent everything becomes. Think of the other kids you knew when you were growing up. Odds are that most of them now are forgotten and silent to you. I’m not the most social of persons, but even so, there are so many people that I once talked to or knew some. And now they are silent.

There was a bit of wind at times, that could be heard rapping itself against the windows and sides of the house. Then it would subside and I remained curled underneath a sheath of blankets. Mi pensadis. I was thinking and thinking. But nothing verbal came out of those thoughts and memories. I realized that they are becoming more profoundly silent with each day that passes, every night that I sleep through or ruminate through. That’s what will happen to each and every one of us. We will all be silent, and the memories that others have of us will too fade into whispers and then nothing, a fleck of ash that gets scattered into dissolution by wind.

I did later manage to slide back into sleep, and had a wicked nightmare.

—-

I’m beginning to think there can be some good benefits to doing some squats every day. Yes, every day. I started doing this last week when I got the new sandbag loaded up and set down in the bedroom. Every morning, I get up and after I’ve had the first cup of decaf coffee, I pick up the sandbag, and squat it, 5 or 6 reps. The later, before I head off to the shower, I pick it up again and squat it for 10 or more reps. The last set is done after the shower and I just try to do 15 or more. This morning I did 25 reps on the last set Zercher-style, breaking parallel on each rep and never pausing.

Later, before heading for work, I went down into the basement to get a broom so I could sweep away the light dusting of snow that had fallen overnight. The barbell was sitting on the sawhorses and I got underneath it in a front squat position and squatted that up.

I’m not feeling overtrained so far. Mostly what I’m now feeling is a sense of growing strength in the legs, along with the rest of the body. The body is adapting to this extra workload. It sure makes me hungry at times and I’ve gone from averaging around 3 eggs per day up to 6, as one part of the extra food being consumed.

I need to put more weight in the sandbag though. It’s getting too light now. If I put in another 10 or 15 lbs, it’ll be a sterner challenge again. And force my body to adapt some more again.

warm up

January 8, 2013 Leave a comment

We had a little stretch of colder weather, although really it was just about seasonable averages, and nothing super frigid. Now the forecast for the next 10 days is calling for temperatures some 6 to 15 degrees above average, so it’s going to be a bit of a mild run. Maybe I’ll be able to golf this weekend, the course was still shut down last weekend because things had frozen up enough and even though it had grown milder over the weekend, there was a think skin of muck on top of the frozen layer underneath.

—-

The deadlifts on Saturday went well. I went in to the last working set expecting maybe 8 or 9 reps if I was feeling right and pulling well. I pulled 10 and probably had 1 or 2 reps left in me still. If one-rep max calculators are right, I could maybe pull a 300-lb max single rep now. Not a bad improvement over when I got started again last November and my max might have been around 230 to 235 lbs. I’ve also added in a new wrinkle. After resting up some from the last heavy working set, I drop the weight down and then do a set of 20 reps with that lighter weight. It seems to work and feel good, so I’m going with it.

Then I did farmer’s walks after the deadlifts. Sunday I did chin ups, dumbbell swings, and barbell glute bridges.

Last night, in spite of it being a recovery day, I got bored some and did some sets of kroc rows. They should be a good upper body pulling and grip exercise for me to do.

Getting really close to finally closing the Captains of Crush #2 with the right hand. Also getting close to finally closing the #1 with the left hand. My left hand has always been weaker and clumsier. The disparity with the right is exacerbated some by the ring finger on my left hand — 5 years or so back, when I first tried training grip some, I overdid the number of reps with the left hand and it caused a trigger finger to develop in the ring finger. Over time, the swelling that the tendon sheath would catch on has gone down and the finger doesn’t catch anymore, but obviously, I want to be careful that I don’t create that again, plus I can feel a sense of the finger wanting to catch when I do close the hand and ring finger, just a slight feeling like there is still a tiny swelling in there — and that swelling does keep my left hand from closing with completely full strength.

—-

I had a bad dream last night where I dreamed I was being pulled apart on some sort of factory assembly line. The dream had this overwhelming feeling and theme of an idea how since the industrial revolution and the development of replacement and interchangeable parts, we human beings have come to view others around us an interchangeable, as replaceable. Maybe that’s even true. But even if it is true, it feels sad to me.

falling in love

December 12, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s maybe not all that spectacular. It kind of sucks almost. Going in a circle, just enough illumination to keep the darkness at bay. There’s a heavy weight and eventually the fingers begin to uncurl.

It’s the farmer’s walk. I’ve been using them 3x a week as a finisher to workouts, the first time I’ve ever made them a regular effort and I’m gaining appreciation for them. It has a side effect of teaching a person just how much their forearms can hate them. Mine hated me last night when I finally dropped the weights to the floor for the last time. I also felt finished. But most of all I felt the sensation that I am getting stronger again. You almost can’t help feeling that after having picked some heavy weight and carried it for some distance. Of course there’s a feeling of strength when deadlifting, but it gets deeper when you deadlift some heavy weight up and then walk around with it.

A couple of things that I’ve observed so far with FWs:

— a lighter weight sometimes produces more intense hatred from the forearms. Something about carrying it for a long period of time, even at the point where it’s getting to where just the fingertips hanging on, that seemingly causes your body to pump nearly your blood into the forearms and forget to pump it out again. The forearms then hate you with intensity.

— heavier weights really begin working the traps which have to stabilize the shoulders. Mine are a bit sore today after doing my heaviest FW yet last night. And the heavier the weight gets, the harder it is to turn, even if you’re using dumbbells and not farmer’s walk bars. It seems the most natural direction to go when you’re carrying a balanced heavy load is straight ahead. I’ll have to try some suitcase carries to see if that holds true when carrying weight with only one arm.

— I wonder if they’ve given me a metabolic kick in the pants some. The last time I had done strength training and put on weight I had gained a bit more fat around my belly than I had ever had in my life. I had lost some of that fat while I dropped weight this year down to the upper 140s, but not all of it. Now in the 3+ weeks of training, I’ve put on a couple of pounds, but can pinch less fat down around my waist. It very much looks like I’ve burned some fat and put on some muscle. I have suspicions that a lot of whole body tension under load and moving is a signal to the metabolism that you need to build muscle and burn fat. I’ve been eating a hell of a lot more food these past few weeks and it looks to me right now like I’m gaining muscle and losing fat. I suspect a lot of people could benefit from doing farmer’s walks 2 or 3x a week as a finisher to workouts, or even just as their workouts.

— FWs are excellent for grip strength. I’ve pretty much regained the grip strength I had lost. This morning, while my hands and forearms still feel slightly fried from last night, I grabbed the CoC gripper that I had been able to close at my strongest, but had since lost over the past 2 years. Mashed it closed this morning without having touched it prior to this for over a year.

—-

Did a longer stretch and mobility session last night too. I try now to do those once or twice a week, as just an effort to really work on things. I’m pretty well settled into a habit of using 10 to 15 minutes a day for a stretching/mobility session that hits most of the muscles and joints. It’s been paying off. I’m no Plasticman, but at least now I’m not Brittleman. It’s maybe even helped with waking up, as I don’t feel a godawful sense of immobility when I wake up now.

—-

Fortunately the sun reappeared yesterday, after around 4 or 5 straight days of being mostly cloudy to overcast and foggy. It’s still not nearly enough light, but it’s far better to have some light than to feel like you’re living in a cave.

Actually, I suppose one thing that can be really nice about winter and if you’ve had snow is it that it can make sunny days seem more powerful. The world can look bright and clear. When you have a winter without snow, the surrounding can be rather drab. Brown dead grass, brown dead leaves.

The other day I remembered the Cat Stevens’ song, “Don’t Be Shy.” So I went and listened to it on Youtube. It reduced me to tears. Good enough advice that I cannot practice.

the 3-week difference

December 10, 2012 Leave a comment

After 3 weeks of lifting again, there are some noticeable changes and results.

— Approximate increase of 18% with deadlifting strength, based upon using a one-rep max calculator on the AMRAP (as many reps as possible) sets of the 5-3-1 template I’m using.

— my body had taken on a kind of slack look to it from the lack of strength training. That slack look is gone. I’m on the skinny side again though. I lost weight during the year and now touch the scale at around 150 pounds.

— the left arm and shoulder looks to be regaining some muscle. That was one of the worst parts with the frozen shoulder, the arm and shoulder couldn’t do too much work and there was muscle loss.

—-

It’s still important to be patient. I see the improvements coming in and they tempt me — do more work! Hurry it along! But that might not be true. You need rest and recovery, so the body can rebuild, so the nervous system can recharge.

—-

I finally figured out a good way to do back squats without a rack, but with 2 sawhorses, along with the fact that my left shoulder won’t let me put my hand on the bar if it’s laying on my traps. I put the bar up on the sawhorses, and then I loop the lifting straps I have onto the bar. I squat down underneath the bar, then use my right hand to pull a strap into reach of my left hand, then grab the other strap with my right hand. With those straps I can hold the bar in position. Then I start the squat from the bottom. It works really nice and gives me a way to back squat instead of zercher squat. And thanks to the practice with goblet squats, I’m being very conscious of making sure I squat, rather than leaning forward and then doing a good morning. I also get to squat much deeper than I could with the zercher squats. And you know what? For the first time I think I’m getting a real good bit of work with the glutes.

I had tried the strap idea with front squats before, but I could never get comfortable with how for me the front squat bar position seems to sit very tight against my throat. Seriously hard to breathe. Maybe I’m just being wimpy about it, but maybe it’s also possible that my physical form does put the bar tighter on my throat than for others.

Anyhow, I feel good having found a way to do deep back squats in spite of not having a rack and a left shoulder that still has to thaw out. It’s pretty safe too, since if I can’t squat a weight back up, I just drop down until the sawhorses catch the bar.

—-

We’re approaching the bottom of darkness here in the northern hemisphere. Something I didn’t realize until a few years ago is that the loss or gain of time for sunrises and sunsets is not symmetrical. In fact, right about now, where I am, there is no more loss of daylight at sunset. By this weekend, the sunset time will start growing later. That’s the most important one for me. I hate, hate, getting home from work and it’s almost dark. I like to have some light left to me at the end of the day.

Of course that means it won’t be until some point in early January when the sunrises will reverse course, but that’s not as hard on me.

Still, today is going to be tough. Foggy, gray, dismal, dreary. It’s going to be one of those days where I will feel so thirsty for light it’s almost like the thirst I felt when I became diabetic almost 28 years ago. A desperate thirst for light, like my body might start wasting away

—-

Just got back my bloodwork results. A1c of 6.2%, first one I had over 6 in a while, but I don’t mind it. I’ve tried to be a bit more relaxed on things and also have fewer hypos. Lipids were good, total cholesterol of 183, HDL 75, LDL 97, and triglycerides of 54. So my doctor ought to be happy with those.

lopsidedness

December 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Yesterday I used up some of the last vacation time for the year remaining to take a day off from work. The weather cooperated nicely. After some fog and clouds of the morning vanished, it would warm up over 60 degrees.

—-

I lifted in the morning yesterday. Deadlifts were the main focus, I also did some burpees, db swings, and single arm db overhead presses. Then I finished off with a couple of farmer’s walks, really pushed the last one to the limit. When I finally and just barely placed the dbs on the floor before they fell from my fingertips, I noticed one, that my body felt incredibly light with the weight gone, and two, that my forearms now hated me intensely. The hate would take about half an hour to fade away. But luckily enough, the forearms don’t feel too bad today. A bit stiff, but that’s all.

Then about 5 minutes after that, I went out and roughly measured out a distance of 50 yards. Another workout I’ve been throwing in if I have time and feel good enough has been one of squat some weight 8x, then sprint hard as I can for some distance. I’ll do that 3 or 4x or so. The basic idea is to get a small bit of conditioning and also improve my top-end sprint speed. So yesterday measuring out that 50 yards of distance was just to give me a way to test a few sprints with a stopwatch, not actually do a squat then sprint workout. But yesterday I got my first measures of sprint speed. It kind of sucks. 8.47 seconds, 8.09 seconds and 7.94 seconds in the final one. If I calculate the numbers, that means my fastest sprint yesterday is still slower than the speed at which the fastest marathoners run marathons. Now I’ve always been slow, but it’s a little painful to realize how slow I am. Usain Bolt is nearly twice as fast as me at sprinting. But I think I ought to see some improvement. Maybe nothing ever all that fast, but hopefully at least fast enough that I could sprint alongside an elite marathoner for 10 to 12 seconds as they go 26.2 miles.

Another lift I’ve begun doing and plan on using them in the warmup with the workouts where I’m zercher or front squatting is Dan John’s goblet squat. It’s a brilliant setup and makes it stupid easy to practice squatting with proper form and hip drive out of the bottom. I also tend to feel a nice stretch at the bottom with them. And that’s good. I need that.

—-

I’ve always been kind of lopsided some. I’m right-handed and have always favored the right hand strongly. When I had frozen shoulder in my right some years back, it did help teach me to use my left side a bit more, with a bit more coordination, but now that I’ve dealt with frozen shoulder in the left for getting towards 3 years now, that’s exacerbated my lopsidedness. I’ve lost a lot of strength in my left arm. I can press a 60-lb db overhead with my right arm, but my max with the left arm right now is about 30 lb. Although I’m limited some there because I can’t quite get straight vertical with my arm and body line on the left still. It’s getting closer though. Every day now it feels like I have a bit more range of motion in the left shoulder.

Strangely enough though, I’ve found my left hip region is tighter than my right. There’s a noticeable difference in how deep I can get with piriformis and hamstring stretches. And the hip flexors. The left hip though is making quicker progress than the right side though. So hopefully one day I will have nearly equal flexibility on both sides of my hips.

—-

I felt the improvements in strength and flexibility while golfing yesterday. For much of the past 2 years, I golfed with a sensation that I was kind of stuck almost. Stuck while trying to turn, stuck while trying to shift weight. Yesterday for the first time I felt a really good sensation of my body having some freedom to it. Although in golf it doesn’t mean you want to begin waving the club every which way. It’s definitely showing up in my distances with the shorter irons, from the wedges down to the 7-iron about. Not quite as much or as consistent with the longer clubs, but maybe as I continue to unbind my body they’ll follow suit. And hopefully next year I might find myself longer than I’ve ever been with my clubs.

I didn’t shoot too badly yesterday either. 11 over through 14 holes. Got off to a real good start with a birdie at the first. Then I had a 3-putt bogey at the second. But another GIR and par at the 3rd. A little sloppy at 4 and got bogey. At the fifth, I caught up to the end of the line of the slow group chain out on the course and became the fourth of a foursome. I parred the 5th. The 6th hole, I was a little long and my ball ended up underneath a bush. I had to take an unplayable, but I pitched on and saved bogey. Got a bogey at 7 too, then parred number 8. Hole 9 I smacked my 4-iron pin high, but in the bunker to the right. I’ve got some real problems out of bunkers right now and I didn’t do this one right. I then ran a chip about 8-feet past and 2-putted for double.

At the 10th, I wasn’t able to pick a ball clean off a tight lie for my 3rd shot. I then hit a great chip, just far enough past the hole to make the putt not dead certain. Then I missed it and walked off with double bogey. Came back with a par at 11, a bogey at 12, then a 3-putt double bogey at 13, but parred the 14th and the daylight had run out.

One of the guys I played with said how he had shot a 74 on the course back in November. I just remember thinking after seeing him nudging his balls to better lies many many times that wasn’t any sort of real 74. I probably could have saved 2 or 3 strokes yesterday if I had nudged my balls into better lies for a couple of shots. I held my tongue though.

—-

I’ve also got one other kind of fun workout now. There’s some woods nearby with horse trails. I got out on them, walk some, jog some, but also when I come across some larger rocks, I try to see what ones I can move or lift in some way. No formal reps or anything. Just see where I can go and what I can move.

keep a rep in the pocket

November 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Perhaps getting back to lifting weights and regaining strength will help to stabilize my mood, which is necessary this time of year. Of course one thing I’ve thought about during the time that my physical activity level became rather low with the exception of golfing on the weekends and walking 18 holes, it’s that when my shoulder started getting dramatically better, that I would want to be cautious with how I resumed any sort of training.

If you lurk around enough sort of internet forums with people who are working out, you will all too often see stories about someone who had once had a decent level of fitness, got away from that, then came back and overloaded themselves. One factor may be they were once motivated enough to get fairly fit and strong, then the motivation comes back and they want to go as hard as they were back then. Plus there are the memories of what they were capable of. Even though they are now detrained, they want to be at that prior level. So they’ll push for that, even though they may simply be incapable of it, or in danger of where they can injure themselves in the process.

So I’ve been mindful of that as I’ve begun to resume some training. One very conscious thing I am doing deals with the final set of reps in the adapted 5-3-1 protocol I’m using. In 5-3-1, the last set is the max set, you lift the greatest amount of weight, and you also try to do as many reps as you can do. Or, in my case, I do about as many reps up to the point of where I feel I have at least one more left if I were to try. Maybe even 2 reps. The point is that I’m staying away from a failed rep, a rep that in my current state could be a dangerous rep.

I suspect this also gets more important the older one is. You get older, you don’t heal and recover as fast. I’ve maybe seen that some with how much more stubborn this frozen left shoulder has been about thawing. There’s just no fucking sense right now in starting some lifting and getting myself hurt with it. So be safe, I keep thinking, be safe.

Or when I go and look at Ross Enamait’s page about the Magic 50, I just smile and think, “Not now, not yet.” Beyond the fact I still can’t do snatch with my left-hand, even if I could do that, I wouldn’t do a full Magic 50. I would probably scale it down to a Magic 20. Just 2 rounds of the swings, snatches and burpees.

Oh, I did some burpees on Tuesday as part of my warmup before squatting. 5 of them. Then during my cooldown I did 5 more. 10 burpees. Which was 10 more in a day than I had done in a long time. Maybe tonight I will do a total of 12. I do that and next time, I will be a bit stronger, a bit faster, a bit more explosive. Build by bits, that’s the idea. One small step after another.

Maybe sometime next year I will be ready for some sterner stuff, to reach into the pocket and turn it inside-out. But for now, it’s keep a rep or 2 in there.

—-

I didn’t bowl all that well last night. Never got settled, got a little frustrated with how the bowlers on the other team weren’t very prompt about getting on the lanes and bowling their frames. I dislike slow play, in golf and bowling. I like things to keep moving.

Then later that night, when I was driving home, I came very close to hitting a deer that darted across the road in front of me. Fortunately, I was going slow anyhow on a backroad, about 30 mph, and saw it soon enough that I was able to brake short of it and it continued on its way, and I continued mine.

But all of that kind of rattled me some and I didn’t go to sleep easy later on. Then I woke up at 4 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. I felt frustration about this time of year, the huge amounts of darkness and the dreadful cacophony of advertisements bleating on about how happy you should be, it’s that time of year to be happy. Bullshit. I’m not happy. I’m doing my best to continue on, I go to my job, I do my work, I go golfing and bowling, I’m working on getting strong again. I watch a movie now and then and think about it. I read some, in English, in French, in Esperanto. My life is not empty. But it is not happy.

The only conversation I have is the one inside my head. And it’s a pale shadow to what a conversation could be. But while I may long for conversation again, that doesn’t mean I long for what’s involved in developing conversation with another person or other people. I just feel so lost with it. In some ways, I feel like talking with other people is about as useful as talking to dolphins for me. Something in my brain didn’t get formed properly when I was growing up. If I step into the social world, I’m lost. If I stand outside of it, I just get to see others from the outside of it.

Daylight stops receding in about 22 or 23 days or so. Just get me to March. If I can get there, things are better just for that. More light, more warmth again. Winter is a hell of a season, a hell of darkness.