Archive for the 'health' Category

One Year In

Monday, December 27th, 2010

It’s been one year with crossfit, and I can honestly say I wish I had listened to my brother back in the CCIT days when he first told me about this stuff. This would have saved my twenties. For now, though, I’ll settle for it saving my thirties, fourties and fifties.

My come-to-crossfit moment came on a five round couplet of thrusters and a 400m run. It took me about twenty minutes. It felt like an eternity. In the lifetime I spent gutting it out those last rounds, I realized all the training I had been doing was obviously not working.

Something else about all that other training: it was breaking me down. I had knee problems and back problems and shoulder problems. Issues were stacking up so quickly that I could rarely put together three consecutive weeks of workouts before something flared up and I had to give it a rest for a week or two. The doctors had no answers for me. I started wearing knee braces and gave up on ever running more than three miles ever again.

Fast forward a year and all of my problems have evaporated. I’ve since run Ragnar, gotten a couple 10Ks under my belt and have dropped to sub-7 minute splits on four-milers. I’m faster than I’ve been since high school and stronger than in any other point in my life. More importantly, I’m actually functional now. I used to spend hours at the gym running and lifting, but when it came to something as simple as holding a door open, I’d get bowled over. That’s not the case anymore. The skills and exercises in crossfit have actual analogs in the real world which makes them transferable.

I won’t tell you that the past year has been easy–I’ve had to change the way I approach a lot of things. I will say two things though:

First, anyone can do crossfit. You don’t have to be super joe athlete, you don’t have to be a former high school varsity sports star. In fact, you’ll have less to unlearn and be skeptical about if you don’t have that background.

Second, if you’re not doing crossfit, chances are you’re not using your time as efficiently as you could be. I won’t proclaim crossfit to be the end-all-be-all, but I will say that I’ve achieved my results by spending the past year doing workouts of 3 to 30 minutes. I’m in and out of the gym in less than an hour and that includes warming up and cooling down.

This is my official endorsement. If you’re thinking about resolutions for the new year, find the nearest crossfit affiliate and give it a try. It’ll be one hour of your life that I guarantee will be more fun than running on a treadmill and could very well be the start of a brand new, balanced, functional you.

Ragnar

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Eat Strong

Just finished serving as 6th man for team No FOMO Runners (a.k.a. Team Eat Strong) in this year’s Ragnar Relay. 24 hours. 184 miles. 12 friends.

For posterity:
Leg 6 – 12:00pm – 4.9 miles – 36 min
Leg 18 – 10:40pm – 7.6 miles – 59:50 min
Leg 30 – 7:30am – 6.9 miles – 57:00 min

Total: 19.4 miles.
Average pace: 7:52

New firsts:
First time I’ve run 19.4 miles in 24 hours.
First time coconut water has ever tasted good.
First time calves have been non-functional.
First time Carmen has walked faster than me.

Notes to future self:
Train for it next time.
Advil and ice are your friends.
Soaking in a cold bath after 19.4 miles is priceless . . . as long as you get past the first 20 seconds.

You can re-live the experience at eatstrong.tumblr.com.

I can’t be your trainer

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Over the past two and a half weeks, i’ve gotten carmen running with me. Carmen’s friends are impressed. They tell me they’ve never seen her run before.

anyway, it’s been going pretty well. we’ve been running three times a week. started at 20 minute runs and have worked our way up to 25 minute runs. actually, i should say that we started out with two back-to-back ten minute pieces and have worked our way up to one consecutive 25 minute run. We’ve progressed decently.

Are we where I think we should be after two and a half weeks? not really. I’m impatient, i know. We haven’t quite gotten to doing core work, push-ups, and squats that i’d like to introduce. We haven’t gotten to the stuff that really hurts. I’d love to get there, but i can’t be her trainer.

I can’t be her trainer because trainers need the latitude to make you cry.

Maybe it’s the militant way I was brought up in sports, but the only way i know how to get results is by breaking down the walls of rational thought. Crying is a pretty effective mean to that end. It’s like breaking a horse . . . almost. It doesn’t sound nice, I know. And it’s not that everyone has to cry. It’s more about being able to push them to that point.

The thing is, I know if i do make her cry, i’m the one that’s going to be hurting in the end, and maybe even our relationship will suffer. how much can you love a guy who makes you cry all the time? well . . . i guess she could develop some sort of stockholm syndrome or something.

anyway, the other day, it sorta happened. we got into an argument right before our run and i sorta left her in the dust for a good half a mile as i ran off some anger. eventually i calmed down a bit and realized what i was really doing. suddenly, this image of what she was experiencing, what it was like to see me running further and further away from her, popped into my head and my better nature came through. It wasn’t the sort of crying that you want to see, though. it was the “my boyfriend is a dick” crying instead of the “i’m so tired i’m going to puke” cry.

It also wasn’t a pleasant experience. We usually chat about our day while we run. It was total silence yesterday other than the occasional “watch out for the dog shit” signals. We didn’t talk much the rest of the night either. All-in-all pretty uncomfortable for a while.

We did, however, run a whole lot faster. We got about a minute thirty past our usual halfway point landmark, which means we found three extra minutes in a 25 minute run.

Was it worth it? The irrational in me says yes–it would have taken multiple weeks to reach that pace otherwise. Imagine how fast we could have run if it was the puke-crying! The rational says no–look at the cost! Inner conflict is so lame. We smoothed things out eventually. I think the cornish game hens i cooked up for dinner helped a bit. cooked in bacon fat with pearl onions.

moral of the story: maybe there are other ways to get people to perform, but making them cry sure is effective. and, no, I can’t be your trainer.

sub-moral of the story: i can be a real dick.

Superhero Shape

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Being a superhero ain’t easy. I can say this with some degree of confidence.

First, there’s the whole decision to become a superhero. The long hours, always being on call. Crime never sleeps, blah blah blah.

Once the decision is made, you have to get the superhero body, and apparently even old dudes are pretty ripped. This part takes the longest so getting started early is recommended.

Then, there are the duds. Unfortunately unlike people, not all long underwear are created equal. Apparently most or made for fat men with short torsos, no wrists, and long pinkies. Also, if you get the wrong stuff, your girlfriend with high standards will just laugh at you and say things like, “that’s the scariest looking mask i’ve ever seen.” Luckily, there are ways around that when you live in a city. Namely, go straight to the rental store. And when you go to the rental store, go there in a car. It doesn’t help your secret identity or your self image when you’re waiting at a muni stop with your garb in a dry cleaning bag.

Next, there’s pleasing the public. There are all sorts of aspects to this one. The public is a strange beast. Sometimes they run away from you. Sometimes they embrace you. Sometimes they ask you to do crazy things like crawl up the side of a wall. Mostly, though, they want to go hang out with cinderella. And, y’know, you just have to do the best you can. Saddle up and say, “hi, im’ really friendly. there’s no need to be scared. I’m a superhero.” Or, “You know, i only do that wall crawling thing when there are bad guys around.”

Finally, you have to look good when people are trying to take pictures of you. This might be the hardest part of the entire job. I mean, it’s like you need to be aware of every body position you make because the last thing you want is to be caught on camera slouching. That would just totally ruin your superhero street cred.

But, in the end it’s worth it. You put the effort in (no drinking, see superhero body above), make the sacrifices (hey, pride, get back here this instant!), and make sure you come through for people that matter.

The Birds

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006

So, it’s not really a big secret that I have no love for birds. In fact, the only good bird is the dead bird i’m having for dinner. Today, my hate for avian creatures has grown just a little more. actually, hate is a strong word. Let’s say dislike.

Anyway, I’m on my normal run out in the sewage dump that is the Y! backyard. Midway between mile 2 and 3 I come upon a gaggle of geese. No big deal. They’re usually hanging around on that back stretch anyway. In fact, most of them kindly waddle out of my way. Sometimes they hiss, and i make sure i slow down and get on the far side of the trail to get by them.

But today, today would be different.

I’m running past this one bird who’s back is to me, and just as i pass by it flips around and hisses at me. No big deal, i’m already past the thing, so i keep running. Stupid bird. in five seconds it won’t even remember i passed by.

Well, maybe not. Before I take my next step, i hear another hiss directly in my ear. I turn my head and the damn bird is running at me hissing and squaking away. At this point, i’m thinking its nest is somewhere nearby, so i better try to scare it off. I throw my hands up and play like a big bad . . . human.

No effect.

Instead, it begins to take flight. Hmmm . .. not what i had in mind. I start yelling. I give it my angry yell. well, at least I try to give it my angry yell. It’s funny how angry yell while running sounds more like crazy, scared yell. It must be the doppler effect or something.

At this point, it occurs to me how stupid this all looks. I’m booking it so this bird won’t catch up to me, my arms and hands are waving in the air, and i’m yelling like a crazy-angry-scared person. Oh, and let’s not forget the goose flying after my ass.

The goose, by the way, is pissed. Probably thinking I’m mocking it. I’m sure it was insulted somehow.

I’m wondering how long i can continue in this manner. The goose is within an arm length. I figure i could keep this up for a mile, but that’s probably not desirable from an energy expenditure standpoint and, well, y’know, my pride is telling me i can’t be bullied by a damn goose. i begin to explore alternatives.

I turn my head to face forward and suddenly my mile gets a lot shorter. gaggle of geese, jason. gaggle, as in plural, gaggle as in two geese at twelve o’clock ten meters up. damn. The last thing i need is geese gang violence.
Well, so much for peaceful resolutions. In fact, aren’t we already past peaceful resolutions? I mean, i am being chased by a goose whose sole goal is probably to pull a reggie evans on me. Speaking of which: wtf is up with that? I mean ron-ron gives a little elbow and gets suspended. Reggie Evans purposely grabs a man’s testicles and only gets a flagrant 2? where’s the justice?

Whatever. getting back to the story, it’s about this time i begin to ponder how much force it would take to render a goose unconscious. I’m funny. I know. But, hey, I mean, i wouldn’t want to kill the damn thing cause, y’know, it has some little chickies on the way, but i need to get this damn bird off my ass quick before it turns into a three on one, man vs. gaggle.

After a split second, I decide I have no basis for judgement on how much blunt trauma to use and figure i’d just clock the damn thing and see what happens. I mean, it’s in the air just hovering there. I’m imaging either goose cartwheels with feathers flying all over the place or me whiffing badly and getting my cap peeled. Either way, something spectacular is about to happen.

I bring the arms back in, clench the fists. ready? three, two, one, and pou- . . . at that moment the goose settles down and waddles away. The geese ahead of me part to let me through, and all is well. No flying feathers or cartwheeling geese and i still have my testicles. damn straight. I bet that goose could feel my chi gathering to deliver it a deadly, five star blow. damn straight.
I guess the moral of the story is: any run is a good run if you come back with both of your testicles. damn straight.