The Diane Challenge

Posted on Oct 26, 2014 under CrossFit | No Comment

I haven’t written about Crossfit in awhile.  I’ve still be going consistently about 8 times a month.  Recently Solcana held its first gym-wide challenge.  The  Crossfit workout called Diane was chosen as the challenge.  It is a two part challenge – complete it once in October and then we’ll complete it again in December.  Who ever has the most improvement based on an extremely complicated calculation wins!

So what is Diane?  First, many Crossfit workouts have women names, we don’t have space here to dissect that! Second, these workouts usually aren’t  easy (really no Crossfit workout should be easy). Finally, Diane is simply 45 deadlifts and handstand pushups done as fast as possible, broken down like this:

21-15-9 reps of:

  • 225-pound Deadlifts
  • Handstand Push Ups

Yea, so I can’t deadlift 225 pounds or do a single handstand.  My current 1-rep max deadlift is 185 pounds.  The recommendation was to do about 70% of that, so I used 135 pounds.  And then for the handstand pushups (HSPU), I’m still working on getting upside down for any length of time, let alone pushing up! There are many different steps to scale this down. I found this great article that talks about Diane in general and how to scale the HSPU’s.  For me I felt that I would be happy to get through the whole thing doing regular pushups!  They are right in the middle of the “scale” that we used.

All of this was timed.  It took me 7:30 to complete this workout! Hannah suggested an easy way to break it down which really helped.  Break each set into thirds and take a short break (walk to the wall).  So for me it looked like 7 deadlift, 7 deadlift, 7 deadlift, 7 pushup, 7 pushup, 7 pushup, 5, deadlift, 5 deadlift, 5 deadlift, 5 pushup, 5 pushup 5 pushup, 3 deadlift, 3 deadlift, 3 deadlift, 3 pushup, 3 pushup, 3 pushup.  Those last pushups were killer!

All of those numbers got broken down into a basic score that can be compared and improved on. My preliminary score is 63.  The range of scores was 48-89, my rank is 23/32.

Here is how the score is calculated, from the Solcana Facebook group:

The scores are calculated based on your deadlift weight, time and pushup style. Each one is given a fractional score based on your effort compared to the maximum possible effort. So, if 225 was possible deadlift weight and you did 185, your decimal score was 0.82 out of 1.

HSPU were scored as 2 points total per rep, and each other type of pushup was given a fraction of those 2 points.

HSPU w/ 1 mat = 1.75 pts
HSPU w/ 2 mats =1.5 pts
pushups = 1 pt
PU to 20″ = .75 pt
PU to 24″ = .5 pt
PU to 30″ = .25 pt

So let’s say you did 45 regular pushups, your score for the pushups is 0.5.

Lastly, your time is calculated as a decimal of the best possible time. Since zero minutes is not possible, I used 4 minutes as the best possible time. So your time is a fraction of that. For example, if it took you 5:57, your decimal was 0.9. Based on a range of 4-20 minutes with 4 minutes being 1 and 20 minutes being 0.

If you add those together, it gives you a total possible score of 3. Multiplied by 33.33 gives us a nice number out of 100 for your possible score.

At my request, Hannah posted a spreadsheet template so we could play around with improving our score.  Basically the most improvement is seen by actually doing Handstand Pushups and going faster!  Switching to straight HSPU’s for all 45 increases my score by 16 points, while increasing my deadllift to the Rx weight of 225 only raises it 13 points (both at the same length of time). Doing both 225 and HSPU’s in the same amount of time would increase by 30 points.  Really there are a million ways to play around with the points and I could improve pretty much across the board.

Pretty much to improve you’ve got to do everything heavier, less scaled, and faster! That is a tough challenge. We are currently doing a 12 week deadlift progression and working 3x’s a week on handstand pushups so there will be improvement. Will it be enough?

Here is a video of Kristan Clever setting the new world record for Diane in 1:54:

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Loosen Up & Run Better? Book Review: Ready to Run

Posted on Oct 22, 2014 under Book Review, CrossFit, Stretching | No Comment

readytorunI received an advance copy of Ready to Run by Dr. Kelly Starrett to read and review here.  Getting our bodies to a point of injury reduction and improved mobility isn’t an easy process but he lays out his philosophy in a pretty easy to read and understand format, that includes lots of pictures! This is not your typical running book that helps you fix a problem with your mechanics to make you a better runner.  Starrett takes a pretty broad view of running.  He has created a plan/system that looks at 12 “standards” that make us better runners. I think it is a valuable book for runners of all levels.  Some runners may be turned off by his references to Crossfit and terms that are thought of as being Crossfit related.  But the book is clearly for any runner and not just the “crazy” Crossfit type athlete.

The book is broken into 4 sections.  Part 1 is an introduction to his philosophy and some of his basic ideas about runners and running.  Part 2 is a more in-depth look at the 12 standards that are at the heart of Ready to Run.  Each standard has its own chapter in which Starrett goes in-depth about what that standard means and how to reach it.  Part 3 is a detailed explanation of each mobility exercise mentioned throughout the book.  Both Part 2 and Part 3 include a lot of pictures of the movements and positions to help the reader/athlete ensure they are performing the mobilization correctly.  In Part 4 Starrett highlights several major running injuries and details which mobilizations would be the most helpful to complete to help you overcome it.

Here is a quote from the preface of the book that I think really sums it up:

The ideas and framework that Kelly sets forth in this book are not just about preventing and dealing with injuries. A tremendous bonus to solving injury-related problems with solutions based on mechanics, position, and mobility is that it also frees up extra performance that you may not have known you had. The same tissue restrictions that are causing your knee pain may also be robbing you of some hidden flow of power output. By improving the positions you adopt and the health of the tissues involved and installing normal range of motion in your joints, you may find additional energy to help you run faster and longer.

The 12 chapters highlighting the 12 Standards are broken down into a few sections.  Each standard is listed as a question; “Can you squat correctly” is the 4th Standard.  Following the question is a brief introduction of the standard followed by why it is important or why you should be motivated to care about the standard.  The chapter also includes a list of mobility exercises to help you reach the standard, a more in-depth look at why the standard is important, pictures and steps to check to see if you meet the standard, sometimes a picture of bad form, and finally a section called Runner to Runner from co-author T.J. Murphy who shares his experience related to the standard.

The 12 standards include some common sense standards (and practical tips) like – hydration, warming up, and getting up and walking during the work day.  They also include some that might be seen as more controversial such as wearing compression gear or neutral shoes (he does recommend gradually working down if you aren’t already wearing neutral).  From my experience as a runner I think working towards most of the standards definitely won’t hurt!  After reading the book I’ve already noticed myself occasionally looking at my fight while standing around and putting them into a neutral position.

The standards are the meat of what it means to be “ready to run” but the bulk of the book is really about the mobilization exercises. Throughout Part 3 are written explanations as well as high quality pictures so that the reader can read and see what is supposed to happen.  Starrett also highlights some tools that are useful for the home gym.  He highlights some cheap tools like a lacrosse (lax) ball and then some higher end equipment as well.

I think we all know the value of being more supple or flexible and the ideas of improved mechanics.  Ready to Run actually lays out the tools and tips to get there.  The book doesn’t offer a specific training plan laid out over time, but it can allow you to build around your specific needs.  Starrett has a lot of resources (some free) available on his website Mobility WOD.

Ready to Run is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

Here is a video trailer:

Photos From Twin Cities Marathon Weekend

Posted on Oct 06, 2014 under Marathon, World Vision | No Comment

The kids participated in the annual Toddler Trot!

Caleb attempted his first race and made it maybe 10 feet on his own.  He was a little tired and tried to curl up for a nap when he fell down! So I carried him across the line!

Nadia on the other hand, was a professional and did a superb job.  I lined up with her and when they said “Go” she was off on her own.  I quickly walked around the outside to get her at the finish line. She was standing around in the middle of the sea of people contently waiting and looking for me!  We then picked up her hardware and found Felix and celebrated 3 athletes bringing home the medals!!

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Before and after! Nadia ran the race by herself like a big kid! Caleb didn’t really run very far! @twincitiesinmotion

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On Marathon morning, I definitely felt a little weird not running, but loaded the kids up and headed to Mile 16 to cheer on the runners! I saw everyone I was hoping to see except for one friend, but if you turn around for a second you can easily miss someone!

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Ready to cheer! #tcmarathon

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We arrived a little early and saw some of the wheelers and the elite crews. Lead men:

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Lead pack through 16 #tcmarathon

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The winning man is wearing the Orange jersey.  Tyler Pennel won in his marathon debut with  a time of 2:13:32. Lead women:

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Women’s leaders through 16 #tcmarathon

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These two women took 2nd (on right Heather Lieberg 2:34:08) and 3rd  (on the left Brianne Nelson 2:34:22) place overall. The eventual winner Esther Erb (2:34:00) was about 50 seconds behind them at the half way mark and about 30 seconds behind them at them at the 30k mark (18.6 miles). Lieberg and Nelson ran almost identical splits until the 24 mile mark (last split taken) and Erb was still 10 seconds behind them at the 24 mile mark.  That would have been a great finish to watch!

Stephen was competing in the inagural TC Ultra Looney Challenge (10k & 5k Saturday and Marathon on Sunday). He got 3rd overall for the Looney and was the 2nd Team World Vision runner that went by us.

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Nice job on the ultra looney! #tclooney #teamworldvision #tcmarathon

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I didn’t take a lot of pictures, but here is a good mid-pack shot of some Team World Vision runners:

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Go #teamworldvision runners rockin the day for clean water! #tcmarathon

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And the kids got a little tired with all the spectating! Thank Emily for helping entertain Nadia!

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Spectating is hard work! #tcmarathon

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Last year I took the time to list a bunch of pictures I liked on Instagram. That took a lot of work. Check out the #tcmarathon tag to see some cool shots! It was another perfect day for a marathon!

September into October

Posted on Oct 05, 2014 under 30Days | No Comment

Fall is here!! September’s Challenge was to read a chapter from the Book of Proverbs every day.  I did read all 31 chapters of the book, just maybe not on their prescribed day!  I’ve been using the YouVersion App which allows you to highlight and make comments while you are reading. It also has a lot of Bible reading plans.  I didn’t take the time to see if there is a Proverbs reading plan, but I’m sure there is.  You can see some of the verses I highlighted here.  This one is a little humorous and it jumped out at me:  “A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate.” Proverbs 15:17 But on a more serious note, there are a lot of good phrases there, even if you aren’t a person of faith. Next year I should probably actually pick a month with 31 days!

It appears I ran 9 miles in September for 2 runs…

I did bike almost 130 miles (128 recorded).  Which is slightly low as I didn’t record every 2 mile ride to church or Crossfit.

I did 9 CrossFit workouts.  I’ve realized that with Christy’s schedule I’m pretty much only able to go 4 times every two weeks without getting someone to watch the kids. We just finished up a 12-week Burgener squat cycle.  I might switch up my workout schedule so that I can go on the same days each week instead of missing every other week of M/F workouts.  I could go T/W/Th but I’m not sure my body could handle that, so I might try T/Th.  Thoughts?

The new job is getting better.  I’m feeling less overwhelmed on a daily basis.  I’m still not at a place where I’m comfortable to set some public goals.  But I am planing to have lunch with every 3rd grader (in small groups) over a 16 day period in October! If it goes well I’ll have lunch with other grades too.

October’s goal was:

30 Days of Core Work – Haven’t had a fitness challenge in a few months… Mix it up… 30 days of planks and push ups? or 30 days of planks and squats? Pick 2 or 3 areas and stick with it!

I had thought about changing this one, since I wasn’t planning to do CrossFit in January when I wrote the goals.  However, I know several people at the Box who are doing other “core” or body-weight workouts at home so I decided to leave it.  I’m planning to do at least 10 push-ups and situps each day.  I’m working on correct form for the push-ups so that I’ll stop getting corrected and have the strength to do a WOD with push-ups in it! Unforutnately (?) for my abs, they threw this at us on Friday!

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That was a little rough #crossfit

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No other goals in October! How was your September?

Commuting Routes: So Many Choices!

Posted on Sep 29, 2014 under Bike, Course Comments | No Comment

With a new job comes a new commute.  This new commute is more than double my old one so we were happy that we never got around to selling our old Honda Civic that we bought the summer before we said “I do.”  I wanted to keep riding my bike, but realistically I won’t be able to ride daily.  The distance is the big factor, but really it is the time it takes to traverse that distance! It took me 3-4 weeks but I’ve figured out the fastest driving routes and have it down to between 15-20 minutes driving (which is about the time it took to bike commute to my old job)!  Biking takes much longer.  I was committed to trying and finally got around to it September 18th.  I had actually biked to work earlier, but that was from a car dealership that was about 4 miles away and almost exclusively on trail.

Locally we have a geowiki called Cyclopath that helps you find bike routes.  You can choose the fastest, shortest, or “friendliest.” Friendliest is supposed to be the easiest overall ride factoring in hills and bike lanes, etc.  As a geowiki users can login and update route info or tag sections as friendly or ones to avoid. All of that goes into the outputted route(s).  Google Maps now has a bike feature that can help you find a bike route.  Both are continually improving, with Cyclopath having the most updated info. I didn’t compare their routes turn for turn, but generally speaking they gave the same routes.

But I’m smarter than the computer!! So I didn’t actually follow either maps routes turn for turn and added some of my own flair which in at least one case probably didn’t work out for the best!  I’ve commuted twice now and took a little bit different route on the way home so I’ve got 4 routes to compare so far.  I think I have a winner that I’ll continue to use regularly.

The shortest route was 8.6 miles and the longest was 8.9. The shortest amount of moving time was 39:08 and longest was 40:20. Most importantly, the shortest elapsed or overall time was 39:55 compared to the longest at 45:36.

I’ve put them in reverse order below, so you’ll have to scroll down to see my favorite!
Route #1 was pretty much straight up urban without any scenery except buildings! Way too much stop and go and while it was mostly on bike lanes too much traffic (especially downtown).

Route #2 was still pretty urban with lots of stops. It was a little bit more scenic and this one I think I made some silly choices but that meant I went through the Sculpture Garden at least! This was also probably the hilliest with several rolling hills with too many stop signs at the bottom of a hill!!

Route #3 is mostly on the River Road, but once that ended I stayed on city streets.

Route #4 is pretty much the same as Route #3, except that it rejoined a trail network instead of taking the streets. This was the flattest ride of them all.

For now I’ll plan on using the route #4 knowing there are innumerable ways to extend the ride for a better workout if I want. If you are ever up for a longer ride come up and we can ride home together!

30 Days: August into September

Posted on Sep 07, 2014 under 30Days | No Comment

August’s Challenge was to take a picture every day.  I wanted it to be something more artistic than just “oh crap I need a picture.” For the most part I feel that I did a pretty good job.  A few of them were definitely last minute, but I did get one every day.  I didn’t always post it on the day I took it, but that only messed me up once.  I like taking pictures, but with two kids it isn’t always easy to go somewhere and just take pictures.

It is a little embarrassing to post these mileage totals.  My biking was saved by Powderhorn 24 and I did run a half marathon!

Running: 18.8 miles – this means I only ran 6 miles outside of my race. Oops!

Biking: 135.2 miles – 85 of this was Powderhorn.  I didn’t work for the first half so I didn’t get many commuting miles in and I didn’t really get out for any longer rides since Powderhorn was looming!

Crossfit: It looks like I was able to go 9 times.  Most of my workouts were missed due to Christy’s work schedule, but we were also on vacation, and I missed a couple due to my half and Powderhorn.  My goal is 3x a week which for August meant I should have gone 13 times.  I have been going MWF, but I’ve thrown in a couple of T,R just to get the workouts in.  I even went in one day for an afternoon open gym since it worked with my schedule and I’d missed at least one workout that week.

I started a new job at the end of  August.  I had been looking for a School Social Work job all summer and had 6 interviews.  After I had started working my old job for 2 days, I got another interview and a job offer.  So now I’m a School Social Worker at Jenny Lind Elementary in Minneapolis.  Since I started about a week after everyone else I was a little behind and overwhelmed by so many new things all at once – new school, new job, new people, new building systems, etc.  It is slowly starting to feel like home and getting into a rhythm. I hope to still be able to bike commute, thought it will be at least twice as far as my previous commute.  As a result of this job change, I didn’t create any work related goals.  We also had already decided that we needed to stop our volunteer role as site coordinators for an Adult ESL program.  It was a hard decision but given the demands of our schedule we weren’t doing it justice and were neglecting our roles as parents and spouses!

My September 30 Day plan is:

Proverb a Day – With school in full swing it seems fitting to go back to the Book of Wisdom and read a chapter from the Book of Proverbs each day.

It is always good to spend more time in the Bible.  I don’t feel like adding any additional goals this month.  How was your August?

 

8/31 Costco’s Christmas Creep

Posted on Sep 07, 2014 under Uncategorized | No Comment

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Hard to believe Costco has Christmas and winter gear out before Labor Day. Ugh.

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