Saturday, December 29, 2012

PR: Front Squat

Today I set a new PR for front squat:  242.5 lb.  That's a 7.5-lb improvement.

Monday, December 17, 2012

PR: Snatch

I don't have good data for my personal records for multiple repetitions of the snatch, so I have to assume that what I put up today, puny as it it, qualifies:

  • 2 reps:  140 lb.
  • 3 reps:  135 lb.

PR: Back Squat

On 2012.12.14, I set a new personal record for the back squat:  277.5 lb.  The low-bar technique is really helping me out.  That's a 10-lb improvement, and I think 280 to 282.5 would have been possible if I'd had more time.  I'm resetting my long-term goal at 300.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

PR*: Fran

Today, I set a PR for Fran.*  My new record is 5:31, which is very slow by the standards of truly fit athletes, but it's a 12-second improvement for me.  For what it's worth, I did the pull-ups unbroken and broke the thrusters into sets of 11, 10, 5, 5, 5, 5, and 4 reps.  Next time, I'll try to break the second round of thrusters into sets of 8 and 7, and I'll try to rest less between sets.  I think 5 minutes should be my long-term goal.

* As of 2010, I'm only performing Fran by cleaning the bar from the floor, rather than lifting it out of a rack.)

PR: Back Squat

On Thursday, 2012.12.06, I set a new PR for the back squat:  267.5 lb.  That's a 22.5-lb PR, and it felt pretty easy.  I believe most of that improvement is due to my recent adoption of the low-bar technique.  I think 275 should be posible in the near future, and my long-term goal is 300.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

PR: Cindy

The day before Thanksgiving, 2012.11.21, I set a new PR for the workout named Cindy:  24 rounds plus 15 reps.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

PR: Back Squat

Today I set a new PR for 3 repetitions of back squat.  This also happened to be a PR for 2 reps and even 1 rep.  The new benchmarks were set using a low-bar or perhaps hybrid low/high-bar technique.  Even so, I think some of that improvement was due to greater strength.  Anyway, the new PRs are as follows:

  • 1 rep:  250 lb.
  • 2 reps:  250 lb.
  • 3 reps:  250 lb.

(I'm listing them all individually to make them easier to refer back to.)

PR: (Power) Elizabeth

On Monday, 2012.11.18, I set a new PR for the benchmark workout called Elizabeth.  Elizabeth consists of 21-, 15-, and 9-rep rounds of cleans (135 lb for men, 95 lb for women).  As originally written, the WOD calls for squat cleans, but and CrossFit Diesel have been relaxing the standard over the last year or so to allow power cleans instead.  The most high-profile example was in the final of the 2012 CrossFit Games.  For me, and for 135 lb, power cleans are much more efficient than squat cleans, so the new standard probably played a role in my improved performance   Still, my new time, 7:01, was just over 5 minutes faster than my old PR, so I don't think the power cleans explain all the improvement.

Friday, November 09, 2012

PR: Clean

Tonight I set a new personal record for the clean:  212.5 lb.  I believe most or all of that 12.5-lb improvement came from not even attempting any jerks as I ramped up my loads.  I gave up after just missing 215 because it was late and I was tired, so I think 215 or even 220 is possible in the near future.

Monday, November 05, 2012

PR: Nancy

Today I set what I believe is a new personal record for the benchmark workout called Nancy.*  The new time was 16:50, a 40-second improvement.  Like the PR I set for Nasty Girls on Friday, I'm a little disappointed with my performance.  Although I'm happy to have set a PR,  I'm frustrated at my apparent inability to push myself beyond a certain level of suffering.  I need to work on that.

* 5 rounds, for minimum time, of

  • Run 400 m.
  • 15 overhead squats at 95 lb for men, 65 lb for women.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

PR: Nasty Girls

On Friday, I set a new PR for Nasty Girls:  8:58.  I'm a bit ambivalent about this result;  while I'm glad to have set a 38-second PR, I was hoping for more improvement after just over 2 years.  I think that my squats, in particular, felt surprisingly week and slow.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

PR: Nasty Girls

I believe my PR for the workout named Nasty Girls is 9:36, recorded on October 28, 2010.  Next time, I'll aim for 9 minutes even.

PR: Lynn

On Tuesday, I set a new personal record for Lynn*:  88 bench presses + 123 pull-ups = 211 reps total.  That's an improvement of 17 reps.  I was quite happy with the bench presses, since I improved considerably, even though I'm 8.5 lb heavier than the last time I did the workout.  The pull-ups were a struggle, though, and I actually performed fewer of them this time.  Next time, I'll do fewer pull-ups on the first superset and leave a little more in the tank.

* 5 supersets for max reps of bodyweight bench press and pull-up.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

PR: Jerk

Today I set a new PR in the jerk:  225 lb, a 20-lb improvement.  For the record, the movement was a split jerk from the back.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

PR: Handstand Walk

As of today:  104.0 feet.  Woo-hoo.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

PR: Double-Unders

New personal record for consecutive double-unders:  100.  I won't be working on this one anymore, so, until a WOD calls for more, I won't be setting any new benchmarks.

PR: Handstand Walk

99.5 ft.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

PR: Handstand Walk

New personal record:  94.5 ft.  Closing in on 100.

Friday, October 12, 2012

PR: Double-Unders

My personal record for consecutive double-unders was set a few months ago:  67.  I've gotten halfway reliable at doing sets of 50, by which I mean I can do them about half the time;  50 is about as many as I expect to need to do in a WOD.  Perhaps I'll see if I can get to 100 in a row.  I don't think I'll try to go beyond that.

PR: Handstand Walk

I set a new personal record for handstand walking today:  93 feet.

PR: Snatch

I set a new snatch PR today:  150 lb.  That's a 10-lb improvement.

PR: Handstand Walk

Earlier this week, I set a new personal record for handstand walking:  83 feet.  I hope to reach 100 feet sometime this year.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

PR: Pull-Up/Wallball WOD

Last Monday, October 1, CrossFit Diesel repeated this unnamed WOD:

  • For minimum time, peform 21-, 18-, 15-, 12-, 9-, 6-, and 3-rep rounds of
    • Pull-Up
    • Wallball 

I set a new personal record of 8:40.  That's almost 5 minutes faster than my previous best of 13:25.

PR: Push Press

Lacking a post to the contrary and being too lazy to dig through my handwritten records, I'm going to assume my push presses today constituted personal records:
  • Push press, 4 reps: 165 lb.
  • Push press, 5 reps:  160 lb.

Monday, September 24, 2012

PR: Clean and Jerk, Clean Only

New personal records set September 22:
  • Clean and jerk:  195 lb.  (A 2.5-lb improvement.)
  • Clean:  200 lb (A 7.5-lb improvement.)
These PRs are only small improvements over the benchmarks set almost exactly a year ago, but given the injury, illness, and lost training I've experienced since then, I'm pretty happy with these results.

Since I'm skill-limited rather than strength- or power-limited on the clean and the jerk, I find ramping up in very small steps (2.5 lb) to be very helpful.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

PR: Grace

Tonight, I set a new personal record for the WOD called Grace*:  5:39.  That's a 34-second improvement.  Next time, I'll aim for 5:30.

* 30 clean and jerks at 135 lb.

Monday, September 17, 2012

PR: Grace

My personal record for the workout known as Grace* is 6:13, set on April 19, 2012.

* 30 clean and jerks at 135 lb.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

PR: Annie

Last night, I set a personal record for the workout called Annie (50-, 40-, 30, 20, and 10-rep rounds of double-unders and sit-ups).  The new record is 5:43, 27 seconds faster than my precious best.  Through some miracle, I managed to perform all my sets of double-unders (in addition to the sets of sit-up) unbroken, and it's that feat to which I owe all of that half minute of improvement.  Since I did the entire workout without breaks, I guess, if I'm hoping to improve my time, then I just need to go faster.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Adventures on the Shen

Here's a video I assembled to show some highlights from my recent track day on the amazingly fun Shenandoah Circuit at Summit Point Motorsports Park.  I spent about 100 minutes on track, and I managed to overtake every car I came across, with a single exception.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

PR: Annie

Today I set a new personal record for Annie*  6:10.  The 39-second improvement over my previous best was due entirely to better performance on the double-unders.  Some days I seem to take my double-unders with me into the gym; other, I leave them in the car.

* 50-, 40-, 30-, 20-, and 10-rep rounds of double-unders and sit-ups.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

PR: Murph

Absent records to the contrary, I'm going to treat my Memorial Day performance of Murph (without weight vest) as a PR;  39:11.

PR: 30 Muscle-Ups for Time

My records for my pre-CrossFit-Diesel days are all hand-written and thus not searchable.  I'm not certain of the best time I recorded at home for completing 30 muscle-ups, but I do know that it's easier doing them with the rings hanging only 2 or 3 feet from the ceiling, like they are in my basement, than the 15 they are at Diesel.  Since the CFD setup is closer to the standard of 10 or so, I'm going to use my recent best performance at the gym as my personal record.  Thus, my PR for 30 muscle-ups was set on May 23, and it is 4 minutes, 40 seconds.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

PR: Bench Press

As I mentioned before, I don't have good records for the bench press, especially since my best bench performances, until recently, were done in graduate school.  So, I'm treating today's results as personal records, which they likely are:

  • 3 reps:  225 lb.
  • 5 reps:  220 lb.

Domino, Brett Domino

Do you enjoy unusual musical instruments?  How about nerds who exaggerate their awkwardness?  If so, then Brett Domino and the Brett Domino Trio may be right up your alley.

Domino, twentysomething years old, from Leeds, is the alter ego of Rob J. Madin.  Domino is a musician who, alone or with trio performs covers, medleys, orignal compositions, and semi-original songs using unusual, mostly electronic, instruments, such as the stylophonekeytar, monotron, kaossilator, kazoo, and theremin.  The Domino performance persona is extremely awkward and stilted, sometimes almost lacking in affect.  I suspect this stage persona is an amplified version of Madin's own personality, but my only evidence is that the other members of the group act the same way.  I should point out that the band is now down to two members, but they've kept the Brett Domino Trio name.  Most of Domino's and the band's performances are YouTube videos, but they have also performed live.  Indeed, they appeared on Britain's Got Talent a few years ago and just completed an eBay auction of a live performance in the winner's home.

If you find Brett Domino and company amusing, you might want to subscribe to his YouTube channel.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Made-Up WOD: Angie in 10 Rounds

I enjoy doing the workout known as Angie when that WOD comes up.  Angie looks like this:
For minimum time, complete the following:
  • 100 pull-ups
  • 100 push-ups
  • 100 sit-ups
  • 100 squats
Like almost all CrossFit workouts, the athlete must complete the movements in the order listed;  all the pull-ups must be completed before starting the push-ups, and so on.  That's a great challenge to the endurance of the muscles in each exercise, but it's not a serious challenge to metabolic condition, and it can be a little frustrating breaking the first two movements into a large number of sets.  

So, a couple of months ago, I made up a WOD to see how fast I could complete all the movements in Angie if they were broken down according to a different scheme.  I call this workout Angie in 10 Rounds, and it does what it says on the tin
For minimum time, complete 10 rounds of the following:
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 sit-ups
  • 10 squats
This rep scheme really kept me moving, and I managed to complete the WOD, without trying too hard, in 13:01.  That's almost 4 minutes faster than my best Angie time.  I think I'll keep this workout in my quiver for future use.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Return to the Bike

I took the fixie out for a ride this evening.  It's been at least 8 months since I've been on a bike.  The Michael of 1992-2006 would be surprised and disappointed to know that.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

PR: Overhead Squat

I'm just posting to update my personal records for the overhead squat:

  • 1 rep:  185 lb, set yesterday, 2012.05.15.
  • 2 reps:  175 lb, set 2012.01.19.
  • 3 reps:  172.5 lb set 2012.01.19.
Clearly, I should be able to do more than 185 for one rep.  I'll aim for 190 next time.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

PR: Double-Unders

Double-unders are an inconsistant skill for me.  I feel as if I sometimes take them into the gym with me and sometimes leave them in the car.  It's not uncommon for me to only manage to connect 2 or 3 together in a set.  Last Friday, I did a number of sets of that size.  I also did several sets of more than 30 and a set of 67.  That 67 was a personal record.  Clearly, I need to practice more.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

PR: Weighted Pull-Up

My personal record for weighted pull-ups, 118 lb (plus bodyweight) was set on September 16, 2011.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Recent PR: Bench Press

One thing I don't like about CrossFit is the infrequency with which bench press appears.  I think the bench press is a great exercise, and I'm pretty good at it, at least for someone of my size.  One result of this infrequency is that my bench numbers have dropped off since I began CrossFitting in January of 2007.  I distinctly remember doing 250 lb in the gym at Georgia Tech in my grad-school days, but since I've been following the CrossFit protocol, I've mostly been mired in the 230s.  Last week, however, I managed a bench of 245, which is a PR for me in the CrossFit era.  So, I'll record that number here for future reference.  I hope to be back at 250 on my next bench workout, and then to be in new territory after that.

Friday, May 04, 2012

PR: Annie

My personal record for the WOD known as Annie was set on June 8, 2011.  It was 6 minutes, 49 seconds.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

PR: Mary

I set a new personal record for the workout named Mary* last night:  12 rounds plus 25 reps.  That's just over one complete round more than my previous best.  I'll aim for 14 rounds even next time.

* As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of the following:
5 handstand push-ups.
10 pistols (one-legged squats).
15 pull-ups.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

PR: Grace

Today I set a new personal record for the WOD called Grace (30 reps of clean and jerk at 135 lb, for time): 6:13. That's about 2.5 minutes faster than my old PR. I'll aim for sub-6 next time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Sea of Rails

The 50% of my readership that has enjoyed China Miéville's writing will be glad to hear that he has yet another novel coming out this May, 12 months after Embassytown was published. The new book, Railsea, is, as the blurb indicates, a recasting of Moby-Dick into a fantasy setting. What the blurb doesn't indicate is that the book is aimed at young-adult (and older) readers. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

PR: Elizabeth

I set a new personal record for Elizabeth last Tuesday: 12:02. That's not a great time, but it is a 4-minute improvement for me. As with many of the PRs I've set in the last few years, this record was not the result of improved fitness so much as improved technique and tactics.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

PR: Elizabeth

My personal record for the workout known as Elizabeth was set way back in July 13, 2010. It's 16 minutes, 10 seconds. I don't think I've done that WOD since then.

Friday, March 16, 2012

PR: Helen

Today, I set a new personal record for Helen: 10:26. That's over a minute faster than my previous best. Next time, I'll aim for 10:15.

PR: Helen

My personal record for the workout known as Helen was set way back on Thursday, July 15, 2010: 11 minutes, 34 seconds.

PR: Karen

Yesterday, while doing the CrossFit Games Open WOD 12.4, I set what I believe to be a personal record for the workout named Karen: 11:14. Next time, I'll aim for 10:45.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Music Comma Paired

Well, gentle reader, it's time for another of my updates on my lates musical fascinations. This time, I've found myself repeatedly listening to two or sometimes three songs from the same album, so I thought I'd frame today's post in pairs.

  • "End of Me" by Apocolyptica featuring Gavin Rossdale, and "Broken Pieces" by Apocalyptica featuring Lacey Sturm, both from the 7th Symphony album. You may recognize the featured vocalists as the frontpeople of Bush and Flyleaf respectively. These songs combine classical string instruments with contemporary style and lyrics. Of course I enjoy them.
  • "What You Want" and "My Heart is Broken" by Evanescence, both from the band's self-titled album. These two tracks have all the traits of Evanescence pieces I've enjoyed in the past.
  • "Immigrant Song" by Karen O, Trent Reznor, and Atticus Ross as well as "An Itch" by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross from the soundtrack to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. "Immigrant Song" is, of course, a cover, but I really enjoy the extra electronic sounds and "noise" layered on to this version. They really give it an unsettled, busy feeling that seems right. This track was used in one of the trailers and over the Bond-like title sequence of the film. "An Itch" has a completely different mood and tempo, but it still feels, as its name suggests, agitated and ill at ease. I like that. I wonder if Mr. Reznor has a second Academy Award in his future.
  • "Heavy in Your Arms" and "Dog Days are Over" by Florence + the Machine, both on the Lungs (Deluxe Edition) album. "Dog Days" is very up-tempo, which seems out-of-character for Florence and Company. "Heavy," which is not available on the regular version of the album, is much more sedate, and it's certainly the standout on the Deluxe Edition. I was a little disturbed to learn that it was used in the soundtrack to one of the Twilight movies. Because of (a) that discovery, (b) the fact that I was working my way through the Hunger Games books when I first encountered the song, and (c) that I seem to associate all female-led, young-adult novels with each other, this track has become linked in my mind to Katniss Everdeen and the nation of Panem.

So that's what I've been listening to recently. How about you, gentle reader?

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Scream, Expletive, Scream

One of the many internet memes that float about in the subculture of automotive enthusiasts is the video of a race-car driver taking his significant other, his mother, or a celebrity for a lap around a race track. Screaming, swearing, and wild gesturing ensue. Although these videos appear to reinforce the stereotype that women are afraid of driving fast, a few of them are actually pretty funny.

Here's a vid of former Formula One driver Riccardo Patrese taking his rather expressive wife for a spin in a Honda Civic Type-R. It's a street car, and they aren't wearing any safety gear, and, given Mr Patrese's relaxed and subtle smile, I don't think they are going all that fast. Still, Mrs Patrese is moved to offer her husband the traditional Italian gesture of love and respect.

In the below video, Rolex Sports Car series driver João Barbosa* took his bride for a lap in a Dayona Prototype. They are clearly wearing full safety gear (minus her gloves and probably shoes), the vehicle is a race car, and I've read that they reach 185 mph in the video, so Mrs Barbosa probably has a lot more to scream about. And scream she does. Indeed, its sometimes difficult to tell whether the high-pitched wails in the soundtrack emanate from her or the car's gearbox.

* And by the way, how crazy-cool is that first name?

PR: Box Jump for Height

Last Friday, I tied my personal record for the box jump for maximum height. I'm confident reached this same benchmark almost 5 years ago when I was learning parkour at Primal Fitness, but I didn't record the event then. That's why I'm doing so now. The new record is 48 inches, which I consider not bad for someone only 66 inches tall. A couple of guys at CrossFit Diesel have managed 50 inches. They are both about 74 inches tall, but I'd like to catch them, so that will be my short-term goal.

PR: Back Squat

Last Thursday, I set a couple of probable* PRs for the back squat:
  • 2 reps: 235 lb.**
  • 3 reps: 230 lb.
* I haven't been recording PRs for multiple reps of this excercise, so I'm not certain. But I will be in the future!

** I'm uncertain about this one and must recheck my notes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

PRs: Deadlift

On Monday I set a couple of PRs in the deadlift:
  • 2 reps: 325 lb.
  • 3 reps: 325 lb.

Monday, January 23, 2012

PR: 3-Minute Box Jump

Last Friday, I set a PR for maximum jumps on to a 24-inch box in 3 minutes: 86. That's not bad, considering that I had just done a number of heavy front squats. My long-term goal is 100.

PR: Front Squat

Last Friday, I set a couple of new PRs for the front squat:
  • 2 reps: 207.5 lb.
  • 3 reps: 205 lb.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

PR: Overhead Squat

Last Monday, just an hour before descending into a week-long pit of sickness, I set 3 new personal records in the overhead squat:
  • 175 lb for 1 rep.
  • 175 lb for 2 reps. (Yes, that's the same.)
  • 172.5 lb for 3 reps.