Enjoying the Journey, Strength, Open Water Swimming, Recovery

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,

for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself,

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

The intense beauty of Istanbul is all well and good but it did smash through my workout plans for last week. There was little strength training beforehand and none out there at all although I did manage 7 miles on a Treadmill and a WOD that I’d programmed for long haul flights.

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Unfortunately, the run was in minimalist shoes…cue getting up for my flight the next day and collapsing in a fit of one-legged agony at 0430, my left calf as solid as the marble on the mosque roof on the other side of the dawn-bathed Bosphorus. It wasn’t exactly funny at the time but imagine the inevitable pain that comes another 24 hours later! Saturday morning, trying to get down the stairs to the Action Princesses was hysterical. Trying to get a cup of tea up to the Chief Warrior Princess was even funnier! It turns out that walking backwards up stairs isn’t very clever either (unless you like Early Grey covered carpets).

I want to highlight my last post. Before heading out to the continental bridge between Europe and Asia last week, I got a new Clean PR baby! 103.5kg! I kind of brushed over it in my last musings, covering the Level 2 CrossFit Trainer course instead. But hell, I got my first major PR in AGES! Boom and, indeed, SMASH! I put it down to the strength programme, CF Watford’s programming, good nutrition and adequate recovery.

Having a goal is really keeping me motivated at the moment. More than that though, I’m enjoying the process. I’ll be honest, I do enjoy weighing and tracking my food. I love seeing my power output in workouts and I’m pushed to keep writing this blog in the vain hope that someone might read it 😉

Anyway, back in to it today with Day 24 of the AMRAP Plus One Strength Programme and my first proper Open Water Swim training.

Strength

  • Cleans 5 x 1 @ 75% – 77.5kg
  • Cleans 5 x 1 @ 80% – 82.5kg
  • Cleans 5 x 1 @ 85% – 87.5kg
  • Clean Pulls 3 x 3 @ 90% – 92.5kg
  • Halting Clean Deadlift (3 x Knee), Finish (x1), Floating Clean Deadlift (x1) @ 87.5kg

I didn’t warm up completely this morning and felt it in the catch, in the lumbar. It took me all day to unknot it. However, each rep was strong. I’m enjoying this programme.

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Swim

1km Open Water @ Denham Water Ski

Time: approx 24 mins.

Nothing fancy, a chance to try on the new DHB wetsuit (which I love) and get in to the cold water (11C). I plodded around (is there a ‘slow swimming’ verb?) and made my way out in good order. Of course, what noone tells you (unless you actually read triathlon websites! – Ed) is that trying to walk after a 1km swim is REALLY funny! 😀 How I’m expected to run 15km, I’ll never know. Still there’s about 5 weeks until the event – plenty of time 😀 😀

Nutrition

  • Pre-Strength – Banana
  • Breakfast – Porridge, Whey Protein, Milk
  • Snack – Brazil Nuts and Cherries
  • Lunch – Turkey Burgers, 2 x Eggs
  • Snack – Seed Mix
  • Dinner – 2 x Organic Bramley Apple Pork Sausages, tonnes of carrots, broccoli and parsnips.
  • Post-Swim – Whey Protein & Milk, Chicken, Rice, Egg

Total Carbs: 202g (808 KCal)

Total Protein: 211g (844 KCal)

Total Fat: 73g (657KCal)

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Pistols in Turkey, Max Out at Home

Wake up with Determination

Go to Bed with Satisfaction.

Last week saw me traveling again, out to Turkey once more. Knowing the lack of gym, but abundance of space, I decided to make use of what was around and work on some of my weaknesses. As I mentioned in my last post, Handstand Push Ups and Pistols were on the menu. Both of these movements can be practiced anywhere and have considerable gymnastic, strength and agility benefit. However, I personally like to do them on top of a great hotel, overlooking a beautiful city.

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5 Rounds for Time:

  • 10 x Handstand Push Up (Strict)
  • 20 x Pistols (Single Legged Squats, Alternating)
  • 30 x Sit Ups

Time: 15:13 Rx

I really got the hang of pistols for the first time ever. The left leg is by far the most stable at the bottom but I got a good rhythm up; not fast but consistent. The Handstand Push Ups were unbroken for the first 2 rounds,7+3 in the third and then 5+5 and 5+3+2 for the final 2. All Sit Ups were unbroken.

And then a swim 😉

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Despite having fun out there, I didn’t get long and still only had 3 workouts last week. So, getting home I had to put in a bit of ‘catch up’ work. Again though, without being able to get to any equipment, it was a return to bodyweight work over the weekend.

  • Max Effort Push Ups (neither hands nor feet moved throughout, knees never touched the floor)
  • Max Effort Sit Ups (non stop, completely unbroken)
  • Max Effort Air Squats (non stop, completely unbroken)

115 / 300 + (I got bored) / 200+ (daughters got border)

That left me with a nice, relaxing Sunday before heading back to work.

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Monday

AM Snatch Work

20 mins to work to a 1RM

  • 5 x 45 / 45 / 50
  • 3 x 50 / 50 / 55
  • 2 x 60 / 60
  • 1 x 65
  • 1 x 70

After the confidence boost of last week’s Power Snatching, this was another. Ok, so 70kg isn’t a lot but 75kg is my 1RM and it was 0630hrs! Essentially, I’ve not become weaker over this year but have really increased engine. Superb.

PM CrossFit Watford

Strength

Strict Press 5/3/1

  • 5 x 60
  • 3 x 70
  • 1 x 75
  • F @ 80

Equaled my 1RM here. Content.

MetCon

In Pairs, For Time:

54 / 42 / 36 / 30 / 24 / 18 / 12 / 6

  • Thrusters @ 42.5kg
  • Over Bar Burpees

This is a pairs-version of a WOD that has come up twice in the Open. I completed the official version (half the numbers) in 19 mins first time, with considerable illness, and then 15 mins the second time. Doing this in pairs, and hitting 5 reps each time, was outstanding and allowed me to really keep up the pace. My partner struggled with lower back issues and it allowed me to add in a few extras too.

I tell you what….I’m as ready as I’m going to be and really looking forward to the Open!

Nice, Turkey. Rowing and Strongman Mornings. Fitness Not Firearms. 

 It has been quite a turbulent few days, locally and globally. We’ve had yet another horrendous act of Da’esh-inspired lone wolf terrorism, an attempted military coup in Turkey, a foolish gift  of Glock pistols to CrossFit Games 16 winners and…….a really bad attempt at Concept II sprinting by me!!

Nice Attacks – BBC Latest

Obviously, I jest and don’t deem to compare global mass tragedy to my own life. The events in Nice were incredibly scary and raise the prospect of similar attacks, given the simplicity, lack of coordinated activity, availability of tools and level of destruction, this is something we will see more of. Inspired, “lone wolf” attacks are extremely difficult to counter. Based on ideology, fuelled by isolation and propaganda, the current ‘whack a mole’ strategy in play in the middle east will never win. We need to understand and be more accepting. But we won’t and this type of attack will only increase. The attempted coup in Turkey is a symptom of the same overall problem; a country torn by moderation vs extremism. 

On a more isolated level, we have The Reebok CrossFit Games handing out Glock pistols to the winners. 

Those NRA-aligned within USA have turned on those with a more moderate, restricted view to guns across Europe and the Rest of the World. Unable to give a valid reason other than, “duuuuh, becuz da sekond amendment sez”, those with genuine concerns about the effect of guns on society coupled with the high profile of the CF Games are merely shouted down by foolishness rather than intelligent debate. We are being associated with guns simply by being CrossFitters and this is wrong. A petition has been set up at:  change.org that currently has over 19k signatures. Dave Castro has stated that as long as guns remain legal in USA, the prizes stand. There in lays the problem – CrossFit still sees itself as predominantly USA despite now being a hugely international event. And despite claiming it supports its affiliates, it doesn’t appear to give a shit. What can I do? Well, it’s relatively meaningless but I am considering not taking part in Open 17  and not taking any more CF courses unless there is a retraction or public disassociation between Castro and CrossFit. I cannot endorse such widespread use of handguns nor associate with an organisation that so blatantly ignores its community.
I will continue to use CF as a training methodology because I believe in it and may renew my CF Lvl 1 for coaching purposes. More to follow.

so………..

Wednesday Morning. …….

I wanted to attempt some rowing sprint scores but my technique is clearly garbage and needs checking. 

Morning Session

100m Rowing Time Trials

17.7 / 17.8 / 17.4 / 17.5 / 17.1

I noted in my last 100m TT attempt that I needed to review technique. So it is the same today. To have such a poor score (this should be around 15s for my 75%tile aims) is more a result of technique in Sprint Rowing than it is about fitness. Much to learn from Concept 2 before I try this again in a few weeks.

Friday Morning

Back in Plymouth,  I dropped in to CF Plymouth to make the most of their awesome facility.  Wanting a thrashing, I choose some basic strongman movements with the Prowler and Farmer’s Carry.

I tell you, pushing a 65 sled over rubber matting is no joke! I should have gone heavier on the carries though, perhaps 40. I really pushed myself through this, positive self talk throughout.

Op SUNSHINE 

Honestly, not great right now. My military annual report came in and it looks like I’ll miss promotion for another year despite truly best efforts. I’m feeling quite demoralised but scoping the adventure of a non – military future with all of the change, opportunity and excitement it might bring.

Cat town, Beautiful Istanbul, WOD

Prior to our conference, I had a pair of hours to make the most of. It would have been a criminal waste not to experience Istanbul and so got out and about.

Almost quite literally the very first thing I noticed when strolling in to town were the cats. Street cats. Tonnnnnnnes  of ’em. Quite comfortable within the bustle of such a wonderful city, they can be quite vicious when approached directly, especially the tiny kittens. Fed and watered by the locals,  they do make an unusual attraction.

Stopping to take photos, a street vendor approached and said, “You are from England?”. “Yes”, I replied, expecting to be pressed in to buying sugar – crusted bread things.  “Sorry about Europe”, he said, and walked off!!!  Hahaha!!!!! Pitied by the Turks for the collective calamity of a nation. 

Airport Bombing. Ataturk airport was attacked last night by adversaries as yet unidentified.Some 41 were killed, with 239 or so injured. Yet another terrorist incident designed entirely to attack the tourism and economy of this beautiful country. It reaffirmed my desire to fight this fight, to protect those who cannot or will not. Security about town is heavy but relaxed, vigilant but not oppressive, balanced. They’re getting it right. A determined adversary will always find a way through.

Beauty. I cannot emphasise enough the contrasting beauty of this city. Built and rebuilt by conflicting invaders and visitors over the centuries, the influences of the furthest reaches of Asia and Europe are clearly in evidence in the many, many Mosques, bridges and street architecture . This balance and acceptance of all faiths and beliefs is what makes it a target by some but is what makes it such an example to all. It must be supported to continue. 

Before my eyes were able to take in even the cats, the smell got me first. The humidity amplifies the smell of real life in a such a town. Not dirty, life, not sanitised. It’s a warm, musky blanket of sweet, spices, sour, sea salt, local trees and, quite likely, some cats. I have in fact been very taken by the very clean streets. So much effort is made to keep it clean, it us very impressive.

Turkish Delight. It would be quite churlish to visit Turkey and not take back some Turkish Delight.  In fact, I think it would be quite dangerous to return to Mrs Nomad or GrAnnie Nomad without some fresh TD. It’s just not a risk I’d like to take 😉 On going to pay, in broken English came the question, “From England?” Half expecting another Brexit sympathy pat on the back, I actually had, “Prince William? Kate? “. “Yes!” I smiled, leaving with 750g of Almond, Rose and Pistachio.

Workout of the Day

I had planned on visiting CrossFit Taxim but alas it is shut for Ramadan. The hotel gym has treadmills and some dumbbells but nothing else. Therefore, I quickly put put together :

3 Rounds For Time:

  • 10 x Pistol Squats
  • 30 x Push Ups
  • 50 x Mountain Climbers

Time: 7:56

Very staccato and broken.  Challenged by the single leg squats and the push ups today.

But what a view!