Fashion, Weight, & Workout 17.5 Redo

November 17, 2017

Thanks for joining me in my Follow Dave Journey, we have made it to week 15. This journey chronicles my attempt to be one of the Top 200 Fittest 50 – 54 year old males as measured by the CrossFit Open, which begins the end of February 2018. You can read more about the CrossFit Open here.

Weight

As you can see by the picture above I finally cracked the 200 lb barrier. This was pretty exciting for me since I had plateaued for the past eight weeks. It was a short lived excitement though as I jumped back above 200 lbs the next day. I’m still encouraged as this has been my pattern since I started trying to lose weight.

My pattern since the beginning has been to drop a few pounds literally overnight, only to jump back up the next day. I will then drop back down to the new weight sometime over the next few days or even a week later. It can be frustrating but at least I know what to expect.

Workout 17.5

I mentioned in last week’s post , Workout 17.5 would be my next redo. I’ve been looking forward to the redo of this workout because, I was optimistic that I would be able to do the workout in under 20 minutes, with a goal of finishing in 18 minutes.  My original time on the workout was 25 minutes and 22 seconds.  I remember being so tired while doing this workout that right in the middle of the exercise I sat down on the floor and rested, I never do that in a workout!  I was pretty sure I could resist resting in middle of this redo. (Big Smile)

As a reminder the movements for this workout are:

10 Rounds for time:
9 Thrusters @ 95 lbs
35 Double Unders

The video is of the 10th and final round of the workout. While the workout was tough and as usual I ended up laying on the ground gasping for air when the workout was completed, I finished the workout in 16 minutes and 20 seconds. I was able to improve my time by 9 minutes and 2 seconds. (WOW)

Like I said I expected to improve but this improvement really blew me away. When I compare this new time to the times posted by the other 50 – 54 year old males, from when they did it in March, my new time would have placed me 228th as compared to my original placing of 1,183rd out of over 6,000 competitors.

This result is really a positive shot in the arm, in my  Mental Side of Fitness post I talk about needing positive results along my journey.  My positives for the week are that I continue to lose weight, this allows me to workout harder and longer, which then causes a measureable improvement in my workouts.

Fashion

On a completely unrelated note, I’ve always worn short white socks when I exercise. Recently I looked in the mirror before I went to workout and all I could see was an old man with skinny white legs. Because of this I’m really trying to step up my sock game. Please notice my stylish gray socks in the video.

Thanks for following me on my journey.

Recap CrossFit Open 2017 Results

November 10, 2017

I was checking out the calendar today, oddly enough I do this often since I set my goal of being a Top 200 50 – 54 year old male in next year’s CrossFit Open. My calendar checking is driven by my fear of not being ready for the Open, also I’m checking to make sure I have enough topics to discuss on the blog before we get to the Open.

This post will be full of CrossFit and workout terminology, I apologize in advance. There are times when my love of numbers and my love of CrossFit collide, it causes me to geek out a little. I hope you bear with me this week.

As a reminder each year during the Open, the workouts are named by the year of the workout followed by the week that the workout was performed. For 2017 the five workouts were named 17.1, 17.2, 17.3, 17.4 and 17.5. Not very original nor descriptive names but it is what we have to work with.

17.1

When I first started the blog one of my original posts was going to be a review of last year’s Open workouts and how I did on those workouts. Hopefully, this would give me an idea of how much I needed to improve and what movements I needed to improve upon the most. I would then redo each of the five workouts to track my progress. I started this process with my redo of 17.1, which I wrote about a few weeks ago. If you haven’t read this update you can read it here.

A quick summary of that post is that I improved by 28 reps from when I first did the workout in February, but that I need to improve by an additional 38 reps. If I improve by the additional 38 reps I would have a certain level of assurance that if this workout came up again in 2018 I would at least be competitive with the Top 200 athletes.

17.2

This workout is a 12 minute workout that consists of 2 rounds of:

50-foot weighted walking lunge (carrying two 50 lb dumbbells on your shoulders)
16 Toes to Bar
8 Power Cleans (two 50 lb dumbbells)
Then 2 rounds of:
50-foot weighted walking lunge (carrying two 50 lb dumbbells on your shoulders)
16 Bar Muscle-ups
8 Power Cleans (two 50 lb dumbbells)

When I did this workout in March of 2017 I did 76 reps. This meant that I got through the first 2 rounds plus I completed the 50-foot weighted walking lunge in the 3rd round. It was at this point that I ran out of time, but running out of time really didn’t matter as I was unable to do Bar Muscle-ups, and for that matter I still can’t do them. For me to be competitive in the Top 200 I will need to get through 3 full rounds and then at least be working on the next set of Bar Muscle-ups.

Because of my inability to do Bar Muscle-ups this will be the last workout that I redo. I’ve begun to make progress on this movement and with a little luck and hard work I’m hoping that sometime in the next two months I will conquer the movement. As I write that I’m thinking that I’m being as optimistic as possible. This movement is really difficult for me. As I mentioned last week, prayer might be my only option for making this happen (smile, again).

17.3

This workout is an 8 minute workout that consists of:
3 rounds of
6 Chest to Bar Pull-ups
6 Squat Snatches @ 95 lbs
Then 3 rounds of
7 Chest to Bar Pull-ups
5 Squat Snatches @ 135 lbs

When I did this workout earlier this year I completed the first 3 rounds and then 7 Chest to Bar Pull-ups and 1 Squat Snatch at 135 lbs for a total of 44 reps. When I redo this workout my goal will be to finish 5 rounds in the 8 minute time frame which would be 60 reps. I’m eager to do this workout again, my Chest to Bar Pull-ups have improved enough that I’m confident that I will improve upon my original score and have a reasonable shot at reaching my goal. If I did this my score would be competitive with the Top 200.

17.4

This workout is a 13 minute workout with the movements being:

55 Deadlifts @ 225 lbs
55 Wallballs using a 20 lb wall ball
55 Calorie Row
55 Handstand push-ups

Earlier this year I did 165 reps of this workout. This means that I did all of the Deadlifts, Wallballs, and Rowing. When I finished the rowing portion of the workout I still had 1 minute remaining but because I was unable to do Handstand push-ups the workout was over. I’m still unable to do the handstand push-ups but I’m getting closer. When I redo this workout I still may be unable to complete any handstand push-ups but I’m confident that by the end of next February when the Open starts I will be able to perform this movement. Look at me being all optimistic again, but I’m really close on these and I see improvement every day.

17.5

This workout is very straight forward:
10 rounds for time of
9 Thruster @ 95 lbs
35 Double Unders

I plan on re-doing this workout next week and although it is a difficult workout I have confidence that I will make a fairly substantial improvement.

The first time I did this workout it took over 25 minutes to complete. Because of the improvements in my fitness and also my improvements on Double Unders I think I can reduce my time to under 20 minutes. This is by no means a guarantee but I’m feeling surprisingly confident.

Again, I apologize for the increase in CrossFit terminology and jargon this week, I hope you were able to follow what I’m trying to do.

Thanks again for following me on my journey.

Where do I Stand

November 3, 2017

Thanks for joining me in my Follow Dave Journey, we have made it to week 13. This journey chronicles my attempt to be one of the Top 200 Fittest 50 – 54 year old males as measured by the CrossFit Open, which begins the end of February 2018. You can read more about the CrossFit Open here.

In today’s post I want to give an update on my progress, where I think I am currently, and what I still need to improve on.

Weight

I continue to bounce around between 200.9 and 202.6 lbs. I’ve stated in the last few posts that I’ve lost 30 pounds since March but in actuality I haven’t quite hit the magic 200 mark. I haven’t lost weight for about a month now, this includes an eight day vacation the beginning of October. This has been a bit of a discouragement for me but I was encouraged the other day in reading about a CrossFitter that has lost 130 lbs, with the goal of losing 30 more. Her posts focused on the importance of being consistent, sticking to the plan in which she was having success, even during the times when the scales weren’t cooperating.

My goal continues to be 190 lbs, this is going to be tough especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas. I realize how hard it can be to stick to an eating plan during the holidays, and I have to be ok with indulging on some things I shouldn’t.  I also realize that if I plan my days carefully, I can still do this!

Holes in my Fitness

In week 3 I wrote about five areas that I considered to be Holes in my Fitness. These five areas all revolved around body-weight movements that I would need to improve upon to have a chance at being in the Top 200 Fittest 50 – 54 year old males.

Three of the movements I’ve made significant progress, Pull-ups, Chest to Bar pull-ups, and Toes to Bar. While I know that I will need to continue to improve these areas, I feel that if I continue on my current trajectory of improvement I will have the proficiency necessary to excel in the workouts that include these movements.

Of these three movements Toes to Bar have always been the most difficult for me. In 2015 the CrossFit Open included a workout where the Toes to Bar movement was prominent. When I did this workout in 2015 I wasn’t able to string multiple reps of this movement together, now I’m able to string 8-10 reps together. I believe that when the next competition starts in February I will be able to string together 15 reps, which will be more than adequate for the competition.

The other two movements, which I continue to struggle, are the Hand Stand Push-up, and the Bar Muscle-up. I have to confess that these two movements scare me. They scare me because I have doubts that I will be able to do them when the competition starts. I am a positive person, I want to exude positivity in everything I do, in fact one of my favorite sayings is “Happy Thoughts”. I don’t have “Happy Thoughts” when I think about Hand Stand Push-ups and Bar Muscle-ups, I have negative, nasty thoughts.

To be able to succeed at my goal I believe that I will need to be able to string together at least three Hand-stand Push-ups, and be able to do one rep of the Bar-muscle up multiple times, meaning its ok if they aren’t done continuously, I can drop off the bar between each one. I believe in prayer, please feel free to pray about these (smile).

Overall Fitness Level

In CrossFit you are encouraged to do certain workouts a few times a year so that you can track your progress. We call these Benchmark workouts. At Veneta CrossFit we have 12 benchmark workouts that we track during the year. Over a three month period we will do each of these workouts once, usually doing one per week.

This past week our benchmark workout was ‘Nancy’. Like the weather service naming storms that create havoc after women, CrossFit names the benchmarks after women because of the havoc they can create on your body. ‘Nancy’ is 5 rounds of 400 meter run and 15 Overhead squats with a 95 lb barbell.

Nancy has always been one of my favorite workouts and was the first benchmark workout I ever did in CrossFit. Three months ago when I did this workout I lowered my best time by over two minutes. This past week I was able to improve my time by another minute and 43 seconds.

As I wrote about in the Mental Side of Fitness post, the mind can work against you if you let it. I’m always questioning, Am I getting Stronger? Am I getting Faster? Am I getting Fitter? ‘Nancy’ came around at just the right time. In the past three months I’ve improved by almost four minutes. The improvements in this workout helped to renew my confidence. I am getting Stronger! I am getting Faster! I am getting Fitter! It’s going to be tough to get into the Top 200, but I’m excited to keep pushing.

Thanks for following me on my Journey.

Foundation of Fitness

October 27, 2017

Thanks for joining me in my Follow Dave Journey, we have made it to week 12. This journey chronicles my attempt to be one of the Top 200 Fittest 50 – 54 year old males as measured by the CrossFit Open, which begins the end of February 2018. You can read more about the CrossFit Open here.

I’ve always considered myself a pretty fair athlete. As a child I fell in love with all sports and enjoyed watching them and participating in them. At the time I couldn’t decide if I was going to be a baseball player or a basketball player when I grew up.

I played little league baseball from 3rd grade through 8th grade and played basketball from 4th grade through 8th grade. When I got to high school I made the basketball team as a freshman and played all four years. I also played football for two years in high school. For whatever reason my love for baseball started to lessen around this time and I wouldn’t play it again until I was an adult.

As an adult my love for baseball was renewed and one of the joys of my life happened in getting the opportunity to play slo-pitch softball. Darlene and I played together on Co-ed teams for about 20 years. As our kids got older they joined us on our softball team; one game our infield consisted of our son Casey at 1st Base, Darlene played 2nd base, Kendra, our daughter, was at 3rd base, and I played shortstop. This later was continued when Casey married Destiny and we played for four years together on my work team.

As an adult I played Church league basketball, which ironically enough was some of the roughest basketball I ever played. There is just something about a slightly over-weight young adult male that makes him think he’s the second coming of Michael Jordon. The inevitable happened right before I turned 40 years old, I tore my ACL. It was at that time I decided that I needed to be done playing basketball and then shortly thereafter I stopped playing softball.

It wasn’t long until I needed to find something to help keep me in shape. I had read about CrossFit and watched many videos of the workouts. What drew me to it was that you work out with other people, there is a certified instructor in every class, and they come up with a different work out for you to do every day. All I had to do was show-up.

When I started CrossFit in my mind I thought it was going to be a piece of cake. Like I said, I thought I was a pretty fair athlete so I was pretty sure it would come easy to me. Boy was I wrong, CrossFit has a way of being a great equalizer. Sure there were movements that I picked up quickly, but even after six years of doing CrossFit there are still movements that people brand new to CrossFit can perform better than me.

So that’s the background of how I got to CrossFit but why has CrossFit become so important to me? Although I realize that CrossFit isn’t for everyone, I’m confident in saying that anyone can do it. We can scale all of the movements to fit the needs of each person. It is common for us to have a class where we have a person in their 20’s working out next to someone in their 60’s. We’ve had multiple people in their 70’s join us for a workout…..anyone and everyone can do this.

I’ve already mentioned in other posts that I work out because I want to see my Grandkids grow up and I want to be able to play right next to them. Wouldn’t it be something if when Kaylee, my granddaughter, is 19 and I’m 69 I can play 1st base right next to her playing 2nd base. That would be the cherry on top of my sundae.

As exciting as that is it can’t happen unless I create a Foundation of Fitness. As we get older it is inevitable that bad things are going to happen to our health. To help combat these bad things we need to create a  solid foundation.

We need to spend time on our health and fitness every day. Spending time doing an activity that raises your heart rate is imperative to staying healthy. It can start as simply as walking every day, but know that it needs to extend beyond that, for most people, pretty quickly. At some point incorporating weight bearing exercise will only improve your fitness foundation.

When you start exercising it doesn’t take long to start seeing a difference and to start feeling better. When this happens it encourages you to want to talk with your family and friends about what you are doing. There is a saying about CrossFit, “The first rule of CrossFit is to always talk about CrossFit”.

Exercise is so much easier when done with other people. CrossFit has been built on working out as a community. In CrossFit you become friends with the people you work out with. These friends first become your support in getting healthy and soon become your support in being better at life.

I’m happy to say that all the people I work out with have become my friends. Some of these people I’ve worked out with for about six years now. They’ve been a support to me and to Darlene in good times and in some of the darkest times imaginable. I treasure these relationships and the fact that I see many of these people multiple times a week. I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to find a way to create a Foundation of Fitness.

Thanks for following me on my Journey.

Exercise and Diet while Traveling

October 20, 2017

Thanks for joining me for week 11 of my quest to be in the Top 200 Fittest 50 – 54 year old males as measured by the CrossFit Open outlined in the original post here. This competition begins in late February of 2018 and will finish the end of March 2018.

In the past three months of documenting how I’ve been doing towards my goal I’ve experienced a lot of positives. I’ve lost 30 pounds since March, I’ve become more successful in managing what I eat, I’ve set multiple PR’s (personal records) in my weightlifting, I’ve improved my cardio, I crossed the 100 mile bike ride off my bucket list, and I feel better.

Last week I wrote about a particularly rough workout where I didn’t meet my goals, but still saw improvement from the previous time I did the workout.

A few months ago before I started writing about my goal of being in the Top 200 we scheduled a vacation. While I didn’t realize it when the vacation was booked I think it came at just the right time (although I could make the argument that it’s never a bad time for a vacation).

The internal pressure I was putting on myself needed a bit of a break. I’m not saying that I didn’t want to remain diligent in eating right and getting exercise but maybe just taking the opportunity to loosen the strictness a bit would be a welcome relief.

The first three nights of our vacation Darlene and I met up with her Brother and his wife in Las Vegas.  I really enjoy Las Vegas.  It surprises people when they find out how much I enjoy going to Las Vegas, my demeanor is that of a Conservative Christian Accountant, which seems in conflict to someone that enjoys Vegas.  I don’t feel there is a conflict but I can see where the confusion may occur.

While in Vegas I had the opportunity to exercise at CrossFit MaxEffort. This is a CrossFit affiliate that has sent both individual athletes to the CrossFit Games as well as a Team to the Team portion of the CrossFit Games.  It also holds a lot of seminars and is considered one of the more impressive facilities.

I worked out with a group of eight people and other than the size of the facility the one hour workout was very similar to how we do things at Veneta CrossFit, so I felt very comfortable. The size of the facility was impressive, Veneta CrossFit is 3,000 square feet which meets our needs comfortably, I would estimate the size of MaxEffort’s facilty to be between 25,000 and 30,000 square feet.  I’m sure there are times they need this much space but at 7 a.m. on a Friday morning I was a bit overwhelmed by the size of the place.

The last five days of our vacation were spent in Thermopolis Wyoming on a 500 acre farm where Darlene grew up.  We always have a great time visiting the farm but because of the lack of population in Wyoming finding a CrossFit to exercise in has always been a problem.  Below is a video of one of the ways I worked out while in Wyoming.  I’m the second guy in wearing a red shirt.  No bulls were harmed in the filming of this video.

My responsibility was to run the back gate with my right arm, and then once the cow was in the chute I would use both arms to pull down allowing the chute to squeeze the cow, limiting their movement. After the Vet had done his business I would undo the squeeze right before the cow is let loose.  We did this 54 times in CrossFit terms this workout would have been: 54 cows for time.

I can’t say that each individual cow was physically taxing but the stress of controlling a 1,500 pound animal, with many of them kicking and bawling at you, would increase the heart rate.  Also, after 54 cows my shoulders and back were screaming with each pull.

Recently a CrossFit facility, Chopper CrossFit, opened in Worland Wyoming which is about 32 miles from Thermopolis.  I had the pleasure of visiting this facility one of the days we were there and had a great workout.  The coach of the session, Randall Homan, is also the owner of the facility.  The workout and other people I worked out with were top notch.  I look forward to working out there the next time we visit.

I had various levels of success in maintaining my eating habits while on vacation. Surprisingly it was easier than expected to maintain discipline while in Las Vegas as compared to visiting family in Wyoming.

The three days we were in Las Vegas I was able to have a reasonable breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast.  Because we weren’t eating breakfast until around 9:30 or 10:00 each day, limiting myself to one additional meal per day wasn’t a problem.  I ate more than I should have for dinner but overall I was happy with my diet.

Wyoming was a different matter.  Darlene’s family is typical for farmers.  They like there three meals per day and really push the desserts after each meal.  I was far from perfect or even good on this portion of the trip but I’m going to try not to beat myself up to much.

Overall I’m pretty satisfied with how I did on this eight day trip. I was able to get in three good workouts, eat reasonably well, and have a really outstanding trip.

The vacation was also successful at motivating me to get back to the eating and diet process that I have at home.

Thanks for joining me on my journey.

The Good, Bad, and the Ugly

October 13, 2017

Thanks for joining me in my Follow Dave Journey, we have made it to week 10. This journey chronicles my attempt to be one of the Top 200 Fittest 50 – 54 year old males as measured by the CrossFit Open, which begins the end of February 2018. You can read more about the CrossFit Open here.

This week the reality of how big of a challenge this is going to be for me really hit home.

I have decided that a good way for me to measure if my fitness is improving is to do each of the five workouts from 2017’s Open competition, held in February and March of this year. My plan is to do each of these workouts at least once by the end of the year, measure my results, and then try to interpret the areas that I need to continue to work extra hard.

I chose to do the workout labeled 17.1. If you mention this workout to people who CrossFit they will shudder. I love CrossFit, it has changed my life, there are times, even though I’m now 51 years old, I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life, but this workout makes me want to run away and hide. It hurts my soul and I was stressed out from the time I decided to do it again, until Sunday afternoon when I did it.

I started this blog to help keep me motivated as I strive to reach my goal of Top 200. It has already proven beneficial to me because there is a constant voice in my head telling me I have to keep pushing. I think about this blog every time I work out, it gets me through workouts when I’m ready to give up, it also helped me get to the 100 miles on the bike ride.

I also feel the pressure of this blog. I’ve made a commitment, I’m going to write a post every week. My hope is that these weekly updates would always be positive, they would be about something that I did well or something that I conquered, this is not realistic. The truth is not every workout is awesome, not every meal is healthy, not every thought is positive.

Workout 17.1 is, 5 Rounds for Time, the first round consists of 10 alternating one armed 50lb Dumbbell Snatch’s and 15 Burpee Box Overs. The second round is 20 alternating one armed 50lb Dumbbell Snatch’s and 15 Burpee Box Overs. The third, fourth and fifth rounds are the same except the Snatch’s increase to 30, 40, and 50, if you finish the workout you will have done 225 Reps. There is a 20 minute time limit on the workout so if you haven’t finished the workout within the time limit your score is the number of Reps that were completed.

To help understand what the workout looks like below is a video of the first minute in the first round.

Oh boy, it only got harder from there.

When I did 17.1 during the Open I completed 159 Reps within the time cap, this means that I did the round of 40 Snatch’s and 14 Burpee Box Overs, leaving me 66 Reps short of finishing the workout. My goal for Sunday afternoon’s workout was to complete all 225 Reps within the 20 minute time cap.

This workout stressed me out……I was concerned that I wouldn’t perform as well as I believe I needed to meet the standard of being in the Top 200.  I was also concerned that the readers of this blog would think my efforts are being wasted and that I probably wouldn’t meet the standards.  In my mind it would be the first time that I was truly vulnerable, and it scared me.

I didn’t meet my goal for the workout.  However, I improved by 28 reps, for a total of 187 reps. This means that I was in the round of 50 Dumbbell snatch’s and completed 27. Since earlier I included the first minute of the workout I thought I would also include the last minute.

Quit laughing……like I said it really hurt, if you listen close you can hear me say right after I fall to the ground “I hate that workout”. Ok even I had to laugh at myself a little bit.

Right after the workout I was pretty discouraged, my first thoughts were, I’m doomed I’m not going to make my goal, and why did I start this Stinking Blog (LOL). Then I thought maybe I just won’t write about this, if nobody knows then I can’t look bad. It’s crazy how the mind works.

After having time to reflect on my result I’m OK with it, here are my positive takeaways.

  • I didn’t complete the workout but I did improve.
  • The breaks I took during the workout were too long, sometimes lasting 15 seconds, they need to be quick five second breaks.
  • I’m still losing weight which will hopefully make me better at everything.
  • I’m having fun and I’m still motivated to keep improving.
  • I still have four months.

I also realized that although my goals are important they are not the most important reason why I work out.  I want to be healthy, I want to feel good, I want to sleep well, I want to be able to see my Grandkids grow up.

Recently Destiny, my Daughter-in-law, posted this on the Veneta CrossFit Facebook page:

“A little progress each day adds up to big results”.

We all need to remember that it’s a lifetime journey, and getting a little bit better each day at whatever you’re trying to do is an awesome achievement.

Thanks for joining me on my Journey.

100 Mile Bike Ride

October 6, 2017

Thanks for joining me in my Follow Dave Journey, we have made it to week 9. This journey chronicles my attempt to be one of the Top 200 Fittest 50 – 54 year old males as measured by the CrossFit Open, which begins the end of February 2018. You can read more about the CrossFit Open here.

As I mentioned in a previous post, CrossFit is great but doing CrossFit five days a week can be hard on your body, especially a 51 year old body, I have needed to find a few alternative forms of exercise that will assist me in increasing my cardio strength but be a little less stressful on my body. For the warmer months I have tried to get out and ride my bicycle at least once a week and sometimes twice.

This summer I rode the bike a little over 800 miles. I tried to ride one or two times per week and I would usually ride between 20 and 35 miles on a ride.

Living near Eugene Oregon, which is in Lane County, is very conducive to bike riding, Lane County has a lot of great bike paths that are very flat with very little foot traffic during the week. But even better is living in the country outside of the city. Just out our front door is many miles of great roads, with the majority having ample bike lanes or with minimal traffic, the only drawback is that there are a considerable amount of hills.

Since I started riding a little more serious last year one of my goals has been to do a Century ride, meaning to ride 100 miles in one day. I had planned on doing this last year but chickened out, and frankly I had started to think that I wouldn’t do one this year either.

Last week something finally clicked and I was determined to ride 100 miles on Wednesday September 27th. On Tuesday morning Darlene and I were talking about what needed to be done during the week and it became apparent that I wasn’t going to be able to make the ride on Wednesday. Darlene has this uncanny ability of making me follow through on my goals, especially the ones that take a lot of additional effort. She reminded me that my day was relatively free and with just a little effort I could make the ride. My first thought was Oh Crap…..So that’s how Tuesday September 26th became the day I did my first 100 mile ride.

I got a little bit of a late start, I wanted to leave my house at 9:30 but because of the change of plans I wasn’t able to leave until about 10:45. As I said there are a lot of great roads around our house to ride but to ride 100 miles just on the roads around our house would have meant more hills than I thought reasonable for one day. Because of this the first 25 miles were spent on these roads which then took me to the beginning/end of the Fern Ridge Bike path which connects to other paths that are in and around Eugene/Springfield.

My plan was to take a break every 12 to 15 miles, the picture below was taken from one of the bridges around Valley River and was at about mile 43. While the view was spectacular and I remember thinking how wonderful and beautiful it is to live in Oregon, I was also beginning to feel the aches in my body. My back and bottom really started to feel the effects of the ride, and I wasn’t even half-way done.

I thought that it was very important for me to make it over half way before I took a break for lunch. So after 54 miles of riding I stopped at Hawaiian Time for a quick break which included Teriyaki Chicken and Rice (somewhat healthy). The meal was great but I was starting to feel the pressure of running out of daylight, it was a little before 3:00 which meant I had been riding for 4 and ½ hours, I figured I could ride safely until about 7:20 which meant I needed to ride the same speed on the last 50 miles as I had on the first 50.

I posted about the Mental side of Fitness a few weeks ago, it is amazing how much my mind seemed to be working against me on this ride. It was at this point that I began to think I probably wouldn’t finish. I had to actively repeat to myself that I could do this, I just need to keep going. This wasn’t just a thought in my head, I was saying and repeating it out loud, “I can do this just keep going”.

I got back to the beginning/end of the Fern Ridge bike path at mile 72, I was really hurting, for some reason my back had relaxed a bit but the pain in my butt was making it very difficult to sit. I also realized that the course I had planned to get back to our house was going to be about 7 miles short of the Century mark. Now my mind was really talking to me, it was telling me that there is no difference between a 72 mile ride and a 93 mile ride and that I might as well quit. During our CrossFit workouts I’m always telling people to turn their mind off and just go, I really needed to put my words into action.

I had texted Darlene each time I stopped for a break, but on my break at mile 83 I gave her a call. For some reason, at this point, I was feeling good and for a moment had defeated my mind, I began to really think that I can do this. Darlene was at her friend Julie’s house when I called so it was helpful that I could hear Julie in the background yelling “get back on the bike you sissy”. She thought that she was teasing me but it really helped to hear the encouragement…..kinda.

At 6:49pm I came to a crossroads, I was four miles from our house but I had only ridden 89 miles, I was going to be seven miles short. My first thought was to go ahead and go towards the house and then when I got to the house just keep riding for another 3 and ½ miles and then turn around and go back, which would put me right at 100 miles. While I really wanted to get to the 100 mile mark I realized that if I took this path once I saw my driveway it would be really difficult for me to keep going, I would end up at 93 miles. Thankfully while I was thinking this there was another option, this option would take me down a different road which would take me further from the house and would force me to go the whole 100 miles. I chose this different path and I soon realized that I had won the fight with my mind, and that I was going to make it 100 miles as long as I kept a good pace and got home before dark.

 

As you can see by the picture of the GPS I rode exactly 100 miles, and as you can see by my picture it looks like I rode 1,000 miles.

The last four miles it started to get dark so Darlene followed me home to keep me safe, but I made it.  I realize that this is a small victory and in the grand scheme of things it’s really no great shakes. But I’m excited that I did it and I’m excited that I was able to use some of the mental skills that I have developed while working out at Veneta CrossFit. Me and my bottom are not eager to do this again anytime soon but I know the next time will be considerably easier.

Thanks for joining me on my Journey.

Weight and Eating Part 2

September 29, 2017

In the post last week, Weight and Eating Part 1, I talked about what I had weighed when I decided I needed to make a change, what I weigh currently, and my weight for where I think I need to be to reach my goal of being one of the Top 200 Fittest 50 – 54 year old males during the CrossFit Open. My post this week revolves around the plan that Darlene and I came up with in March of this year, which is my guide for what I eat and when I eat it.

Fact, I love to eat, I’m not sure if this is a blessing or a curse, but it is a fact. Fact, I hate vegetables, I get teased a lot by my family because I swear that when I eat vegetables I get the Shakes, it might be in my head but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t pass a sobriety test after eating vegetables because I’m shaking so much. Fact, I crave cookies, cake, doughnuts, and Little Debbie Swiss Rolls. Fact, I grew up drinking Coke and believed that drinking a Coke at meal time was the perfect beverage. Fact, I never want to be That Guy who doesn’t eat cake at a birthday party, or a bowl of Ice Cream when we are visiting friends, life is too short……But how do I reconcile the guy who wants to get fit and healthy with these facts in my life.

This will always be a struggle for me but here is the plan we put into action back in March:

  • Eat two meals a day, Breakfast and Lunch.
  • Don’t eat after 5:00 pm.
  • Drink a protein drink in the evening.
  • Limit when I have a glass of Coke to one or two glasses per month (Special meals).
  • Whenever I eat, I need to eat less.

That was it, I followed this plan for the next three months and had success, but it was SLOW. I lost about 10lbs over this time period.

In June I tinkered with the plan and I also added taking supplements into the plan. For me the jury is still out on supplements, I see how they can help but I’m still not sure of the value. Two vitamins that I will probably always take will be Fish Oil and Vitamin C, I’m also currently taking Creatine but haven’t decided if this will continue long term.

In case I haven’t given you enough reasons to laugh at me I tried something recently that is pretty silly, even by my standards. There is a supplement called Spirulina that was recommended to me because a recent blood test had showed my Cholesterol to be slightly elevated. Spirulina is something that has been labeled a superfood by whoever it is that labels such things. I went to the store to buy this and saw that it came in tablet form and in a powder, the powder was about half the price. If you’re reading this and don’t know me some people have been known to call me cheap, I prefer thrifty. So of course I buy the powder. One important detail about Spirulina, it is also known as Green Microalgae, also called Pond Scum. I knew all of this before I bought it but I still couldn’t spend the extra money on the tablets, I remember thinking “How bad can it be”. It’s pretty bad…….It is a black powder that when mixed with water turns the water black, and if you mix it really well you can almost get rid of the clumps. I’ve taken to drinking it outside so I don’t make a mess when I gag on it.

In all seriousness I believe that the eating plan I’m on is working well. I’ve been willing to try new healthy food options and have found some that I’ve been able to incorporate into my daily routine.

In August of this year the CrossFit Games were held in Madison Wisconsin, I had the privilege of attending for the sixth year in a row. Because of the crowds and how the days are organized once you get to the venue you don’t want to leave. Also because of the type of event, the food choices that are sold are slanted more to the healthy side. This forced me to try new things which for me meant that I got my lunch from a company called Paleo Nicks. The first picture below is of food bought at Paleo Nicks and is Sweet Potato, Pulled Pork, Avocado and Salsa. For me this was a big step and it was delicious. The second picture is a recent lunch that I made for myself, it is Sweet Potato, Pork Chop, Avocado and Salad, also delicious.

 

I’ve tweaked the original plan slightly but this is what I try to follow on a daily basis:

  • Eat a good breakfast. This really is the key to making the Plan work. My daily breakfast is either two eggs with 1-2 ounces of ham and a piece of Peanut Butter toast or I have 8 ounces of Yogurt, adding Blackberries and Granola with a piece of Peanut Butter Toast. Whichever option I chose I also add a teaspoon of Chia Seeds.
  • Lunch is 4 ounces of meat, a sweet potato, ½ of an avocado and a salad. This can all be made ahead of time, it just takes a little planning.
  • Two glasses of Chocolate milk. This seems to satisfy my chocolate craving. I usually have one glass with breakfast and one after working out.
  • If I have a snack it needs to be something small, I usually try to have fruit, but sometimes I eat a few nuts.
  • Don’t eat after 5:00 pm.
  • If we are having a get together it’s foolish of me to think I won’t eat something I shouldn’t, so I try to plan for what special thing I’m going to eat, maybe adjust what I eat during the day and then do my best.

There have been some unexpected positives from this plan.  I haven’t had any issues with Acid Reflux since I started, I seem to sleep better through the night, because I’m not eating after 5:00 the night food cravings are manageable which keeps me from eating everything in sight.

I would love to tell you that I have this all figured out, but I don’t, it is a constant struggle. For some reason these last two weeks have been really hard and I’ve eaten things I shouldn’t. What I need to do now is keep moving forward and stay positive, this isn’t a two week journey it is for a lifetime. We can do this.

Thanks for following me on my journey.

Weight and Eating Part 1

September 22, 2017

If you’ve followed every week of my journey so far we have made it to week 7. I’m attempting to be one of the Top 200 Fittest 50 – 54 year old males determined by the CrossFit Open which starts in February of 2018, this would allow me to participate in the CrossFit Online Qualifier. Here’s a quick recap of where we’ve been.

This post is going to focus on how much I weighed when I started this journey, to how much I weigh now, and where I need to be to meet my goals.

I’ve always considered myself a pretty decent athlete, not elite in anything but someone that is pretty good at most sports. As long as I kept my weight at a reasonable level I didn’t believe that the few extra pounds I had added was slowing me down. But once I hit 40 years old every extra pound I was carrying became noticeable in my ability to move around quickly and efficiently.
Also after turning 40 I found it much more difficult to lose weight. I had always been able to drop 5-10 pounds quickly and without much effort. I remember one month when I decided to not eat desserts or any Chocolate and was able to drop 10 pounds. Well those days are long gone.

December 26, 2015 is the day I remember being at my biggest weight. I had just retired from work and had really enjoyed the holidays. I stepped on the scales and I weighed 240lbs. Below is a before and after picture, the before picture was taken right about the time I weighed in at 240lbs and the after picture is from Monday September 18th, 2017. On that date I weighed 202lbs.

Since the previous year, when I had been at my all-time high, I had gained and lost some weight bouncing between 225 and 235lbs. On March 15th I weighed 230lbs, and decided that I needed to become more intentional with my weight loss. Together, Darlene and I put together a plan of attack. Although we have had to tweak the plan a little as we’ve gone along we seem to have found something that works for both of us.

In the last six months I have lost 28lbs, or a little less than 5lbs per month. While I’m excited about losing the weight and realize how much better it is to lose weight slowly, I’m a guy, I’m used to losing weight quickly, I’ve had to change my mindset.

For me to reach my goal of being one of the Top 200 Fittest 50-54 year old males, I believe that I need to weigh no more than 190lbs. At this weight I think that I will be able to perform the Body Weight Movements that are currently Holes in my Fitness, the real driving factor in everything that I’m trying to do is that I want to be able to do Pull-ups!!!

I’m an analytical person and the scale can drive me crazy, because of this I’ve tried to find other metrics that I can track. I still weigh myself daily, and it still drives me crazy, but I’m also watching my BMI, Body Mass Index, my PBF, Percent Body Fat, and my SMM or Skeletal Muscle Mass. It finally clicked in my mind that although I need to lose the fat I have to keep the muscle or being able to do Pull-ups!!! will still be a dream.

Tracking these other metrics is a little more difficult, currently a company called Inbody has a machine/scale that measures all of these metrics and more. Casey, my son, stumbled upon one while he was buying supplements at our local Complete Nutrition store. So far Complete Nutrition has been cooperative in letting me use their scale but I’m sure it’s helpful that I’ve bought product from them. Below are two examples of the report that the scale creates. These examples are mine and are from June 20th, 2017 and August 26th, 2017.

There is a lot of information on these pages but as I said earlier I’m trying to focus on what I consider to be the most important metrics.

  • Weight – This is in the top box labeled Body Composition Analysis, in June I weighed 220.9 and in August I weighed 210.0. At the time my scale at home had me weighing about 4.5lbs less, I attribute this to me weighing early in the morning.
  • BMI – This is in the middle box, in June my BMI was 30.0 and in August it was 28.5. BMI is an index used to determine obesity by using height and weight. If you were to refer to a published chart it would indicate that a 6 foot tall male with a BMI above 25 is considered Obese. I don’t consider myself Obese but it is still important for me to lose fat which will drive this number down closer to 20.
  • PBF – This is in the middle box, in June my PBF was 25.8 and in August it was 21.1. For me to reach my goal I believe that this will be a very good indicator. I will need to get my PBF below 15 and then reassess.
  • SMM – This is in the second box, in June my SMM was 93.7 and in August it was 95.0. When I got the report in August this was the number I was most excited about. I gained 1.3lbs of muscle while at the same time I lost 12.8lbs of fat. If I can continue to lose weight while increasing or maintaining my SMM it will go a long way towards making my goals a reality.

Next week I will share with you the weight loss plan that Darlene and I put together.

Thanks for joining me on my journey.

Improving the Mental Side of Fitness

September 15, 2017

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”
          Henry Ford

This quote from Henry Ford has had a profound impact on my life, I believe it to be true in just about every situation. In my life I have many examples of this, but one of my favorites is that I had the privilege of coaching my friend’s son and his fifth grade baseball team. One night the team played poorly and got behind very early in their game. If you’ve ever been around me on a baseball field you would know that I chatter (talk, cheer, instruct) pretty much non-stop throughout the game, so from the very beginning I was trying to pump them up and encourage them, trying to convince them that they could play better and still win the game. These were fifth grade boys though and they were stuck in the mentality that they couldn’t do it, by the last inning we were behind by eight runs. Fortunately the first boy from our team to bat in the last inning was a kid with an amazing attitude, he just loved to play baseball and was going to have fun no matter the situation, he stepped up to the plate and promptly got a base hit. The next kid steps up and also gets a hit. All of a sudden a few of the boys are standing in the dugout and have begun to chatter. The third boy up in the inning gets another hit which knocks in two runs, now all of the boys are up in the dugout, there is excitement, noise, playfulness, belief that they can do it. Just as quickly the fourth boy comes up to bat and strikes out, but a crazy thing happens, instead of discouragement the boys are full of encouragement, not just some of the boys but every single boy. There was no stopping them, we scored seven more runs to win the game. I still remember their faces, they went from unbelief, frustration, and failure to belief, encouragement, and success in just a matter of moments.

On the flip side negative thinking happens to me and to everybody everyday of our lives. An example of the negative thoughts that go through my mind and the impact that it can have on my life if I let it is my day will start out with the thought of, I’m going to workout today, which will lead to a thought later in the day of, my left hamstring is feeling a little tight today, to, I probably won’t be able to lift very much weight today, to, people are probably going to laugh at me because I can’t lift as much today, to, Jim really gets on my nerves when we workout and he starts to laugh, to, I’m just going to take a rest and not workout today. Does this sound familiar to you?

These same type of thoughts also seep into my mind while I’m working out. I can be in the middle of a workout, everything is going great I’m feeling strong and full of energy with the next movement being a set of five back squats, and out of nowhere my mind says, “You don’t have to lift it five times you can just lift it twice, it’s really heavy and you don’t want to hurt yourself”. If I don’t turn my mind off right then and push the negative thought out of my head, I’ve lost, I will shorten or stop the workout, and I’m defeated. How do we change this negative mental aspect and turn it into the positive thoughts and events like what happened with the baseball team?

This is a work in progress for me but I’ve found a few positive steps that I try and think about during each day as well as during my workouts:

  1. Create goals, both long-term and short-term. This includes my current long-term goal of being one of the Top 200 fittest 50-54 year old men, this goal has helped to create a drive in me to get in the best shape possible. My short-term goals revolving around fixing the holes in my fitness are important because until I can reach my short-term goals meeting my long-term goals is much more difficult.
  2. During the day or during a workout I try to focus on my long-term goal. This may seem counter-intuitive but this keeps me from being discouraged by small set-backs. I know that to reach my long-term goal I have to get a little better or more fit each day. To do this I have to put in the hours of training and working out, so even if I have a bad workout or on a more granular level if I miss a lift, the important part isn’t the lift or how the workout went, but that I’m putting in the effort each day.
  3. Being more intentional about my daily workouts, determine what I’m going to work on before heading to the workout. If I have the mindset that I’m going to workout today but I don’t plan out what I’m going to do ahead of time the chances of me blowing off the workout and finding something else to do are much greater. This is one of the reasons we post the WOD (workout of the day) on Facebook each night for the workout the next day.
  4. Workout with friends and positive people. So often I can go to a workout and just not be feeling it, it’s a day that I really don’t want to workout, but I know that when I workout at Veneta CrossFit I’m surrounded by people that want me to succeed, just like I want them to succeed. This comradery while working out is incredibly uplifting, and is really one of the big reasons that CrossFit is growing.

I’ve included one of my favorite inspirational videos, while it doesn’t focus on the Mental side of Fitness it does inspire us to Never Give Up. Eating right and working out is tough, we will all fail at times, but we have to keep trying, we have to work at training our minds to be positive and shut out the negative.

Thanks for joining me on my journey.