Friday, September 28, 2007

+5 staph of Oozing.

On top of my rib issues, I have a second degree burn on my wrist with a staph infection. It's wasn't responsive to "triple antibiotic ointment" or rubbing acohol, so I had to go to the doctor when the the redness around the burn kept getting bigger, and I started having striations running up my forearm. I went to the doc, he gave me a big honken jar of topical antibiotic, a bunch of gauze, and some oral ABs. A med tech wrapped it up (badly, it was all wrinkled and misshapen. I have to wear this thing people! Have some pride. Obviously she'd never taped an ankle). I changed the dressing this morning, and the redness is going away, and I don't have any more striations on my arm. So I'm pretty sure I'm on the mend.

Heavy Upper workout:
1@235! (post op PR)
10@135 close grip (mostly for fun)


2X4 (each arm) @65 (stopped at 2 sets as this was killing my back/rib)

Fixed bar Triceps extentions (with the rope attachment):

Face pulls:
12,10,8,8 @ 80

No rows today as my back was pretty sore.

Went over to the boathouse to see the wife. She and several of her teammates were doing a circuit together. It was great stuff: Burpies, KB swings, Figure 8s with a lunge, lots of ab work, 45sec on 15 off. It's no secret why they're fast.
I tried to be unobtrusive, but I think I may have failed. I really try not to step on the wife's toes in those situations, but I get so excited being around people with such a high work ethic again. I tend to get caught in the moment. I decided to just walk away. I did some band pull-aparts, and hung out with our good friend who was doing some high volume work, and talked to her about some prehab stuff she's doing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Owie still an owie.

my back/rib still hurts. I took yesterday fully off.
Today I'm just going to do some intervals, so I can keep the weight off my spine.
Hopefully by tomorrow, I'll be able to move and breathe well enough to do my heavy upper body work.
More on that as it develops.

I've been a little lax on my diet of late. So I'm officially going to buckle it down. Just a lot of little bits here and there, and to be honest, I want to be more diligent. I am starting to get "old man fat" android adiposity inside my abdominal cavity. That's a red flag for insulin resistance, and C.V. disease. I'm 32, it's time to get that sorted out. It may hurt my PL numbers, but who the hell cares. Can't set PRs if you're dead.

I am in discussions with my rowing club to become the Strength and Conditioning coach for the men's team. I am talking to the head coach this weekend about it. The men's team has issues, they're mostly lightweight men (155 weight limit) but in master's rowing there are very few lightweight races. So when they race Open weight men, they have a built in excuse for losing (even though at most levels there is not a significant difference in speed between open-weights and lightweights). My goal as S and C coach (assuming I get the gig) is to create an environment where the guys are mentally tough, and trust in each other. I'll know exactly what's what on Saturday.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dream weaver..

Set the scene true believers:
You can go anywhere in the world (or in time) for some form of exercise (no competitions, you don't get to play linebacker for the 85 bears, but you can practice with them), where would you go?
Would you run to Athens with Phidippides?
Would you go for a workout at Gym Jones?
Go through a day of training camp with the Colts, running routes and catching passes?
Spend a Friday afternoon at Westside?
Lift with Arnold and Franco at Golds back in the day?
Drill with Dan Gable in '72 or Aleksandr Karelin in '96?
Would you want to test yourself against a "world's best", or a "best ever?" Would you want to just be there to see them train before their defining moment?

I think I would go with Karelin. The man once said "I train every day of my life as they have never trained a day in theirs." I'd like to get that perspective.

What would you do?

big day at the gym, and an owie.

Heavy legs:

1@315 (I was worried about this one, but I killed it)


Zercher lunges:
4x4(each side) @135

I left the gym feeling like all I wanted to do was take a nap.

Twinged something last week, and promoted it from a twinge to a pull last night. It's in my upper back from the outside of my ribcage on the left side down towards the mid-line. Hurts to arch or twist. I'm going to take er' easy for a day or so and see how it responds.
Foam roller and Ibu's for me for the next day or so.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Madness, Insanity, and a social life.

This weekend I was very social.
More on that in a minute. Lets get the workouts logged in:
Friday night:
clean, squat, snatch complexes: (clean, squat, lower the kb, snatch)
5x10 each arm.

all with the 20kg.

Speed Lower:
Squats (60 sec) rest:

all singles

(No accesory lifts, we were in a bit of a rush)

Friday night was low-key, we knew we had a big weekend ahead. So we decided to keep it quiet.
Dinner at the local mexican joint, and some T.V.

Saturday morning was our inter-boathouse race. I was supposed to race a triple, but one of the women in the boat ended up bailing out, so I just grabbed a couple friends and we rowed a mixed 4+. It was fun. We went pretty quick. My back is killing me from it even still, but WTF, you only live once.

After that we fired Bank Of America. I started with BofA years ago when I was moving a lot (St. Louis, CHicago, then out here) I needed a big national bank. So I got rid of my Credit Union checking account, and signed on with BofA. After ups and downs, and some horrible customer service, we're with BECU, and all is right with the world.

From there we went to the gym (see above)

Then to Costco, to buy some veggies for the big fancy rowing gala to be held last night. I bought some crimini mushrooms, some sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and tomatoes (we already had 2 small pumpkins). I got some spiffy courderoy pants (super comfortable, I'm wearing them right now!). We headed home to do some cooking. I peeled and cut the SP and Pumpkins into 1 in chunks. I doused all the veggies in olive oil and herbs de provence. I put the SP, and mushrooms in a 500 degree oven. I grilled the tomatoes, and pumpkins, and charred the Peppers under the broiler. I cut all this up doused with salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and Gorgonzola and brought to the big fancy gala.

The dish was a little mushy as I didn't quite have the oven space to cook all of the veggies, and so they got a little crowded, but it was such a hit, that I almost didn't get any.

I was looking very dapper dressed in my new charcoal grey cords, a white button down shirt with blue pinstripes, and a ridiculously nice blue Brooks Brother's blazer that my wife's grandfather bought for me. One that is so nice I want to wear it every day, but at the same time, I'm a little embarrassed by the price of it.
There was an auction, and awards, and a good time was had by all.

My pair partner got completely crocked at the fancy rowing gala, and while he didn't behave badly, but his best traits do not come out when he's drunk. He's normally funny and self deprecating, but when he's drunk he becomes a total clown. I won't air his dirty laundry here, but I will share some of how I feel. He's a good guy, could be a great guy, but he lacks a sense of himself (which makes it hard to be himself).

I can see and understand what he's going through, because I went through the same stuff (when I was 20). The guy is very smart, and funny, but when he gets around girls he completely melts down, and reverts to showing off, which as Steve Martin said "Is the idiots version of being interesting."

After the fancy rowing gala, we all went to visit a friend for her birthday. The group waiting consisted of 8 women, all attractive and well dressed. This was a great chance for my friend to talk to some girls, make them laugh and feel good about himself, perhaps get a number or two. From what I hear he did exactly the opposite. He acted badly, made a fool of himself and ended up distancing himself from a group of women some of whom were already his friends. I hope that he learns from this. I hope he learns that getting sh*tfaced, and trying to be cooler than you are is not a good way to be liked. If you succeed you have to keep being that guy, and if you fail, you look like someone who wants to be that guy.

People do that stuff when they're young, as a crutch, to hide who they really are, but once you get older it just pushes people away, everyone's seen it or done it, and knows it's a farce. My wife and I are two of a handful of people who really know the guy, and I'm disappointed that he continues to do things to keep everyone at arms length. I wish I knew what people had done for me to show that I really don't have to be something other than honest, and interested in other people to be liked. I wish I could show him how much people like the thoughtful and honest side of him that comes out when you strip away the dog and pony show that he shoves to the forefront, and what a pain it is to have to do so.

went over to my cousin's (actually my Step-father's second cousin, but who's keeping score here) and had a very nice meal with some of her friends. A little awkward, but fun. I played some soccer with my.. cousin's daughter.. second cousin.. I don't really know the whole thing is very confusing) Any way, I made a panzanella salad, and we had fun.
Hope your weekend was as entertaining.
Now if you're excuse me I'm going to not talk to anyone for a week.

Foggy morning..

This morning I got up and went down to the Boathouse, the folks I was to row the triple with determined it was too foggy, so I went back to bed, and It was good.

Last night's workout:
Heavy Upper:

Warm-up and scap. retraction stuff.



1A OHP (each arm):

BB Bent rows:

OH russian twists:
4xas many@45+

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I am getting stronger at a pretty exciting rate, however, my fitness has gone to pot. I've got to do some more energy systems work, if only to burn a few more calories.
This morning I got up a little early and did a light workout:

10/10 x10.

There will be more of this.

Tanks Coach!

This weekend, I was a little under the weather, and watched the Ultimate fighter season 5, almost in it's entirety. I was wondering how the heck BJ Penn got skunked so bad in the first round. Last night I was watching the prodigy fight Matt Hughes and I thought back to all of the coaches I've had. I don't think this is the case with BJ (after some reflection), but some (not all) of the greatest natural athletes make some of the worst coaches.

My high school wrestling Coach was a GIANT man, by the time he was my coach he was very fat, but you could tell that he had been a big strong kid in his younger days. He was mostly full of shit, but even taking the stories he told with a giant salt lick, you could tell that he'd been a pretty good small college wrestler. He absolutely stunk as a coach. He'd show a few moves and counters, and get you in shape for wrestling. He didn't spend any time on footwork, balance, set-up or any fundamentals. Because he'd never needed them. He'd always been able to overpower anyone he'd ever wrestled, and had been reasonably successful. He couldn't understand why that wasn't the case with everyone else.

The one of the best coaches I've had was my college rugby coach. He was (and still is) a detail guy. He was a good athlete, and able to play the game at a high level, but not so overpowering that he didn't have to execute. We were always prepared, and understood what we needed to do to win any game. Most of the time we executed the game plan and won.. occasionally we didn't, but we always knew what it would take, and where it went wrong. It is important for a coach to be able to play at, or ideally a level above where he's coaching. They have to have credibility with the athletes, and have to be able to execute/demonstrate skills and drills to reach the athletes. The man in question had all of those abilities, if he went to coach a men's program, I'd come out of retirement tomorrow to play for him.

Having watched BJ Penn fight, he has an incredible physical ability. He has a combination balance and flexibility like no one I have ever seen, so it made me wonder if such a natural could fall into the trap taking the fundamentals "as read," but I don't think that's the case. He's also a well rounded fighter. Well rounded guys don't overlook fundamentals. Also he seems smart enough that I don't think he'd overlook the details in coaching those guys. Do I know for sure that he doesn't fall into this category.. I don't have any idea. I wasn't on the mats with those guys. The only people who really know how good (or bad) a coach is are the athletes under him/her. We can't really even guess because other than one guy, I'd never seen any of the guys fight before, so we don't know where they started, or how much they improved. Also, the record was a little misleading. He had a few guys flat out give away fights, not listening to his advice. Which could be a matter of ego overriding coaching, or just a coach that either doesn't have the time, or ability to reach a particular athlete. With this fighter.. I think it was the former. What I am interested in is seeing Matt Hughes' camp. He's a guy know for being freakishly fit, and has said flat out "My guys will be in better shape than Matt Serra's guys." I'm interested to see how they get there.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

No wit or witicism just now,

Maybe later..

last night's workout:


Roman Chair Med. Ball throws:
12 lb ball
x20 x15 x10

stretch and go home.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I am shuffling my workout week around. Saturday is the day I'm most likely to get up and row, so I don't want My heaviest leg day to be the afternoon after I row. So things are going to go like this:

Monday: Speed Upper
Tuesday: ME Lower
Wednesday: KBs and stuff
Thursday: ME Upper
Friday: KBs and Stuff
Saturday: Speed Lower
Sunday: rest.

Last night's workout:
DE bench:
6x2 @ 185
this felt very light and easy. Great stuff.
Scap retraction work:
Band Pull aparts
Face Pulls
4-6 sets of 8 each.

Fixed bar extensions 4x as many. (an exercise I saw HERE, and really like)
Normally I'd do a few sets of snatches, but both platforms were busy, and I have been fighting a cold, so I called it a day.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The butcher's bill.

My post this morning got me thinking about all the injuries I sustained playing rugby for 12 years. so top to bottom here they are (this list does not include stitches or any "owie" that did not require medical attention of some sort).

Concussions (3): Three that were verified by a doctor and ended up with me getting a cat scan. There were several other knock outs, black outs and times when I got my bell rung.
Mandatory 2 weeks out.

Broken nose (twice): the first time I broke it in Aspen, CO. Damn thing bled for 36 hours. I set both of these myself, and so didn't technically require medical attention.. got it pretty straight too. No time lost.

Chipped teeth: my dentist, not happy about my rugby career. No time lost.

Dislocated Jaw (3x): see above. No time lost.

Torn Middle Trapezius: I considered myself lucky to tear a muscle here. I got High-lowed at a practice, and ended up landing on the left side of my head and rolling forward. So that my nose touched my right pec. I thought I'd broken my neck. Out for a season.

Seperated AC joint: Hit a steel sprinkler head with my shoulder during a game at KU. They have better fields now, but in the old days, this kind of stuff happened all the time. missed 3 full weeks.

Seperated SC joint: One of the most painful injuries I've had. This is one of the reasons my time in Chicago was so miserable. Took six weeks before I could do much of anything.

Torn Rotator cuff: this one ended my career.. once I decided to see a Doc about it. I played with the torn cuff for 2 years, mostly because I knew it would be the end. It's been 3 years since the surgeries to repair it and I'm still dealing with it. Two weeks out with in initial injury, end of career after repair.

Broken ribs: 2 or 3. Quoth the doc "Looks like you've broken a few ribs here." I didn't ask for a count. The pisser of this one was that I couldn't leave the game. I played 10 odd minutes of rugby with broken ribs because we didn't have any subs left. Luckily this happened in the last game of the year, so I had plenty of time to heal.

Torn Hammy (grade 2): Would that I discovered foam rolling when this happened. Missed 2 weeks.

Grade 2 lateral ankle sprain: This one was down right stupid. I rolled my ankle playing ultimate at a summer practice. I woke up the next morning with my ankle purple with a knot the size of a grapefruit on the outside of it. Spent 2 weeks on crutches.

Achilles Tendinitis: painful and annoying. See below.

Plantar Fasciitis: one of the most annoying injuries ever. Never hurt so badly that I missed practice let alone a game, but always hurt. I ended up taping my feet for the last two years I played.

September morn..

I am fighting off a cold.. but otherwise, it's fall in the northwest, which is a good thing.

Weekend recap:
Morning: I got up and rowed the triple with two women from the boathouse. It was actually pretty fun. I am a little gun-shy about rowing. I am genuinely afraid to hurt my back again. I have made so much progress. I am healthy for the first time in... 10 years? and I really am afraid to jeopardize that, it has taken me just on 3 years to recover from my shoulder injury. Part of me feels like I'm just being a baby, and to suck it up and get back on the water, but that part of me tends to sleep late, and the big baby part of me turns the alarm clock off while he's still sleeping. I have to get over that. I am hoping that the mobility work I'm doing to improve my squat will translate to the boat, so my back won't be in danger, but who knows. Maybe I just need to find something else.

That night:
Went out to sushi with my darling wife, that was fun.
Came home and watched The New World. Well written, well acted, and the absolute worst editing job I could imagine. It was awful. Two hours of my life, and several good performances RUINED.

Saturday: Slept in. Cleaned house, and watched Hoodwinked. Good story, funny bits, some good characters (I loved Twitchy the squirrel), piss poor animation. Worth putting on your netflix queue, but don't pay money to see it.
Did speed squat workout:

6x singles @ 315 deadlifts (technique)
I worked on getting my hips into it, pushing my heels into the floor instead of "jerking" the weight. Felt really smooth by the end, should help me move some more poundage.

Saturday night: Met some friends out for Thai food in Fremont. then went to the Wurst Festival in Wallingford. Which is really just a small church fair near my house. Loads of fun, we're going back next year for sure.

Sunday: The wife raced at the Row for the cure. I slept in. Watched some Survivorman. I was going to have a picnic with some friends, but it rained. So the wife and I went to cafe Ladro and read and had some of the best Punkin pie ever.
We bought some groceries. I baked some chicken for the wife, some salmon for myself, and roasted some pumpkin, some mushrooms, onions, and asparagus for supper. It was a nice winter meal. We were/are both a bit under the weather, so it was pretty quiet around the old homestead.
I hope you had a good weekend.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

short one.

Was in Vegas yesterday, lots of blog fodder there, and I have a few book reviews to do, but work is insane, as is the job search. More on all of that later.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


About 9-10 years ago, I got my first real "grown-up" job. I was working for a financial data company based in St. Louis. Right after I was hired my company bought a New York based company and sent me up there to learn what I could and bring the support of that company's products back to the river city. I lived in Jersey City and got on the train at harbor Pointe, and got off at the World trade center. I ate breakfast, and lunch there from time to time, even got my hair cut at the WTC. From there I'd walk a few blocks to the office. I lived out there for several months, and loved it. I got to go to a ticker tape parade when the Yankees won the series, I had my first sushi in NYC, my first falafel, and Thai food. I went to CBGB and spend god knows how much money on records, and fred perry shirts. It was a great experience. I went back to STL, and after a year or so was offered a promotion. I could spend two weeks a month in New York and two weeks at home. I wanted a more technical job. I wanted a job that didn't involve direct customer interaction, or a button-down shirt and tie. I turned it down even though it would mean less money. I got the job I wanted after a few more months. The guy that took the first job, Jason, is a great guy. He's much more of a salesman than I ever was, but a little flighty. The account I turned down was Cantor Fitzgerald.
6 years ago today, the account manager for Cantor Fitz had a 9 am appointment at their offices in the World Trade Center. Jason overslept, and it probably saved his life. If I had taken that job, would I have overslept? That one choice probably saved my life. I think about that choice every September 11th. I guess it goes to show, take the job you want.. the money's not worth it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Next stop recipe-ville.

Roasted Tomato and Crab soup.

tomatoes (I used about 18-20 golf ball sized tomatoes)
2 bell peppers
Crab stock 2 quarts (I made mine the last time we had crab)
apple cider vinegar and/or honey
beer or white wine 24oz
Plain greek yogurt 1 medium container
tomato sauce
1 large shallot
crab meat (a small handful per bowl)
Paprika (smoked is better than not) a good half dozen shakes.

Inspired by T-rif's tomato pasta I decided to do a tomato soup.
Roast the tomatoes for 4 hours at 300. Then set the oven to broil for about 1-2 minutes or so. Pull the tomatoes and put the bell peppers in to roast.
Put the crab stock and beer/wine (I was going to use white wine, but we were out) on the stove on medium/low in a stock pot, and add the shallots (chopped fine) Let this cook down for 20-30 minutes.
Add the tomatoes.
peel the bell peppers, coarsely chop and add to pot.
Add the tomato sauce, and paprika.
Take the immersion blender to this mix. ( strain if you want.. I didn't bother)
Add the yogurt (or sour cream if you can't find greek yogurt)
stir and taste.
add S&P to taste.
If it's too sweet add some apple cider vinegar, if it's too tart add some honey. If it's just right you can add a little of both, or neither.
When serving add a good handful of crab to the center of each bowl. You can also add a small glob of yogurt.
I made grilled cheese sandwiches with Gouda that went really well with this.

Is that southern, or country fried?

Friday's workout:
swings with the 20kg
20sec rest
40/cramped erector. (was supposed to be 40/40)
(supposed to be 50/50) but it never happened.

I drank some h20 and stretched out the cramp.
1 minute of snatches
1 minute off.

TGUs with the 20.

I woke up the next morning and my erectors were so sore I could barely get out of bed. So I switched my "off" day from sunday to saturday, and did a lot of foam rolling and stretching.
Sunday morning I managed to get through my squat workout:

good mornings

and call it a day. Checking through the archives I've been hammering away without a formal deload week for a good long time. I was going to postpone it until the end of this month because I have a wedding to go to, but it's not going to happen that way. I have to go to Vegas for work tomorrow and wednesday, so this week is as good as any. I am still going to get in some speed work, and some KB work, just no ME work this week. Hopefully I will no longer feel golden brown and delicious.

Friday, September 7, 2007

In which I flirt with the boundries of TMI.

Lets start with last nights workout:
Speed bench:
10x3@155 +bands
Hang Snatches:
60kgx1 (major accomplishment for me)

Close grip Floor press:

Roman chair medicine ball tosses:
10lb ballx 20/15/10

Ok last chance..
I mean it...
If Christine can talk about fem. hygiene products,
and SJ can talk about.. well, things that cannot be mentioned..
I can talk.. jock itch.
It's annoying, and I have it.
This means I have to trade my boxer briefs in for 2 weeks of tighty whiteys, and washing my wedding tackle with dandruff shampoo (which has remarkable anti-fungal properties, and leaves you feeling minty fresh.. As SJ would say "try some Today!")
Such is life as a biped.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

If you suck at something, it means you need to do it more.

I honestly believe that (at least in the world of fitness) .
I also believe that very few things in life can't be solved by "I will work harder." You just have to make sure you're working in the right direction.

I suck at KB snatches, so after a few swings and cleans to get a sweat going:
Snatches with the 20kg,
10x10/10: R-30sec
That one almost had me.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

You're a big LOSER!

I really like the biggest loser.. or at least I did when it was a meritocracy. It actually shows people, that 1) you can lose a sick amount of weight. 2) that sheeot ain't easy. Too many people want to drop lbs without the drop and give me 20. It's not going to happen. It takes effort. I really enjoy seeing people work hard, build self esteem and create a connection with their bodies. Good stuff.

Last nights workout:


all with 1 minute rest.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

In which I am a good american.

I feel like I spent a lot of money this weekend.. and I did.. for me.
Friday I bought a spanking new 20kg/44lb kettlebell. I put him to work that night:
1min rest
lay down on the floor and twitch.
I did 3-4 sets of 10, 2 handed clean and jerks with the 20 in one hand and the 16 in the other (switching every 5) Afterwards I nicknamed the 44 pounder "dirty Harry"

Saturday, was a pretty lazy day. No working out. We fired Bank of America for having crappy customer service, and Had dinner with some family.

Sunday, Big squat day:
Ohs 2x5@45
box squats 14" box:
1@335 (PR) total grinder, but I got it.
My legs still keep selling out my glutes so I have to do a "Good morning" to finish the lift. I have to work on my hip mobility, and get my glute strength up.
After the workout we went to REI and I picked up a new pair of Sanuk shoes.
Sanuks are great because they're a canvas upper on a flip-flop sole. Protection of a shoe, with the freedom of a flop.

Yesterday was heavy uppers:




Kneeling ball slams with 12 lb med ball
kneeling ball throws also with 12 pounder.

It's not ideal to do my two heavy workouts right in a row like that, but It had to be done.
I don't really feel all that much the worse for wear for it.
Hope you had a good weekend.