New Parallette Bars

So I spent my lazy Sunday making these fancy parallette bars for next to nothing in cost.

I went to the Home Depot and picked up the supplies I hadn’t borrowed.  All in, this is what was used:

10′ of 2″ pvc
4 elbows
4 t joints
8 end caps
pvc cement
duct tape (for grip)
black krylon spraypaint (for style)

You’ll also need a tape measure, marker, one piece of sandpaper, and either a hacksaw and vice, or a pipe cutter.

First, cut the two long pieces, where your hands will grab. I used 12″ for the measurement. Then, cut 12 6″ pieces for each of the smaller sections. Sand off all the burrs left on the pipe (if you used a saw, the pipe cutter will be cleaner). One segment at a time, cement the inside of the pvc to prevent the cement from seeping out when you attach them. If you want to be safe, and messy, you can put a small amount on the piece you plan to insert. This stuff dries quickly, so you’ll have to be moving with some speed. After inserting the straight section into the connector piece, give a 1/4 turn and hold it in place for about 10-15 seconds before moving on to your next section. It really doesn’t take very long, save for the pipe cutting, which kinda sucks.

Piece of cake! Now you’re ready to get strong as a gymnast!

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In the trenches

Yesterday my workout was long, and very repetitive. Our task was to dig a trench, 35 feet long, 18 inches deep. 8 hours of ditch digging in 80 degree (February) weather is a solid day. Essentially, your day consists of swinging a pick at Texas limestone, chipping, chipping, chipping, getting a big chunk off, chipping, shoveling out all of your rock fragments, and repeating. Started getting pretty sore this afternoon, about 20 hours after finishing yesterday.

Today our job was a little less taxing.  We finished the trench, taking maybe an hour.  For the next 90 minutes we had the pleasure of removing a chain-link fence that had been entrenched into the local vine population for at least 15 years.  What next, you ask?  The simple task of concrete slab relocation.  The 500# block wasn’t going anywhere quickly, so we decided to coax it to move with our picks.  After we broke and then moved the beast, our day was significantly calmer in the second half.  Mixing concrete is a little tough, but we set the foundation for a new fence (replacing the hideous one we tore out), which was pretty fun.

When I got back home, after completing The Warmup,
Bon and I did the Sunday Crossfit WOD
Five rounds for time of:
45 pound barbell (25# plate for her) Overhead walking lunges, 50 feet
21 Burpees

21:50 was my time.  I thought I did okay, but then I scrolled through the comments and saw that my time was sloooow, so I got bummed.  Then, I remembered that I normally have a tough time completing CrossFit WODs as Rx’d, and I remembered that I’d just done 17 hard hours of labor in the past 2 days, and I remembered that the important thing isn’t competing with anyone else in these events.  This is personal.  It’s about growth, improvement, progress.  I just want to do it faster next time.

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Man, this blogging thing can really get away from you when you get fatigued.  Time for some catching up.

Thursday 2/17
Crossfit “Annie”
50-40-30-20 and 10 rep rounds of:
5-4-3-2 and 1 rep rounds (each arm) of kettlebell clean and press (35#)
2 TGU each side (53#kb)

Friday 2/18
Ran with Bon at Town Lake.  Not my best effort.  Later, I went to Austin Rock Gym with 3 friends and we mashed out for an hour and a half.  I felt great at the gym and climbed pretty hard.  I’m really looking forward to climbing outside again, very soon.

Saturday 2/19
Took a rest day, other than setting up the slackline and working on balance for an hour or so. Finally seeing some improvement as far a the slack goes, I’m able to walk the line forwards and backwards, and completed a right-legged pistol. Still can’t turn around, though I’m close to being able to knee-touch.

Sunday 2/20
Another run, this one with much stronger pace and a better HR.  This felt really good.

Current Progress:  36.4 miles completed  ||  13.6 miles to run  ||  72% complete
The goal is close, and barring injury I know I’m going to complete it. After this month, I plan on cutting back the running a tad and getting back on my bike a bit more, I’ve really neglected it since graduating. In fact, I’ve only ridden my bike once (a gnarly trail ride at Walnut Creek) since December. That’s terrible. I plan on doing some barefoot sprint training with probably one long run a week, no more.

Measurement Updates Here
I had Bonnie take 2 sets of measurements through the day this time, and after averaging the two I entered the results. I’ll probably try and look into detail at this sometime soon, but for now I’m just glad I’m still on the wagon.

Rock and roll, we’re back!

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Slackline! and Wittman

So I set up the slackline again today, only this time I set a 16 foot line that had more tension and was easier for us to walk on.  Brady and I were on it for a solid hour, maybe hour and a half.  Lots of improvement, I even managed a few backwards steps.

Afterwards, since I was warm, I jumped right into the Crossfit WOD “Wittman

7 rounds for time
1.5 pood (53#) kettlebell swings x 15 reps
95# power clean x 15 reps
24″ box jumps x 15 reps

Time was 32:23, though we did have to stop for a few minutes to clean up broken glass and ceramics from box jumping on the picnic table when there were flower pots and a mason jar on top of it.  Definitely could have done it faster, I need to start working on my time now that I’m getting more used to the everyday gruel.

30 pullups and 50 pushups later (I didn’t do the proper warmup today), I’m ready to call it a night.

Here’s my slackline highlights

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Bull Creek and La Sylphide

Sunday was a weird day for running, as Bon and I headed to Bull Creek in an attempt to trail run.  What happened is found here and here, we started the first jog not on the trail (hoping to find it) and had to turn back.  The second run was a little slow due to a spill Bonnie took, but all in all it was an okay jog.

Afterwards we met up with our neighbor at the Austin Ballet for what was to be my first ever ballet experience.  We saw the production La Sylphide, a Scottish story about love and spite, and I was blown away.  The live orchestra was amazing, the dancers were fit and exciting, and the story was funny and gripping.  It made for a nice Sunday.

Yesterday, being Valentine’s Day, turned into our cheat day.  This was fine, since we hadn’t really eaten badly all weekend, so I changed that yesterday with a large Mangia heart-shaped pizza and a sweet cream and orea milkshake from Amy’s.  I didn’t do anything physical yesterday (other than setup my slackline for the first time ever), so I’m already excited about today’s work.  Still not totally sure what it’s going to be, but it will be comprehensive.

Check out the site for very helpful slacklining videos on setup and technique.  Plus, the dude who runs it is in Ghana right now, which is pretty cool.

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New Wall

Ohmanohmanohmanohmanohman…. AWESOME day!  Went out to New Wall on the Greenbelt for the first time ever today.  This place is great, and is my favorite wall I’ve ever climbed at (not saying much, Seismic at Greenbelt and Dead Cat’s at Reimer’s are the only two I’d done).  40 foot climbs everywhere you look, pretty high for someone that spends most of his time bouldering either in the gym or at Bull Creek.

First Route: Schoolboys Indirect (5.9)
PUMPY!!! This route is long, 50+ feet of climbing, definitely the longest route of my life. You start in a dihedral and work up to some good feet before traversing right and then up a crack until you find a ledge 25 feet higher where, not knowing how close I was to topping out, I decided to use the solid base to take a 3 minute or so rest because I felt like my forearm veins were about to burst open. Then you pull the roof and voilá.  Awesome. First time at New Wall, first route on, sent.  Very happy, forearms and all.

Considering that was about the limit of my climbing ability, it wasn’t necessarily an ideal warmup, and I wasn’t able to send Flintstones (5.9) because I couldn’t even make a snapping noise with either hand.  Didn’t keep me from trying, twice, but whatever.  I’ll take it, today was beautiful, the Horns won, and I climbed a new route.  Pretty nice little Saturday.

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Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Stay hungry, stay foolish.  Some good advice offered up by Steve Jobs in a Stanford commencement speech.  Definitely worth the fifteen minutes.

Those burpees yesterday have made me notice my chest and back all day.  Went to play tennis today, results were unimpressive.  Apparently that workout yesterday really gassed my quickness.  I feel pretty aware of my upper hammys from the lunging and box jumps, and I just didn’t have my lower half during the match.  We played for a while though, two and a half hours or so, which was fun and I’m glad we went.

After we got back to the casa I did supersets with KB Turkish Get Ups and Good Mornings.
Turkish Get Up 5 reps each side (35#)
Good Mornings 5 reps (45#)
Turkish Get Up 4 reps each side (35#)
Good Mornings 5 reps (55#)
Turkish Get Up 3 reps each side (35#)
Good Mornings 5 reps (75#)
Turkish Get Up 2 reps each side (35#)
Good Mornings (75#)
Turkish Get Up 1 rep each side (35#)
Good Mornings (75#)

I need to sack up and buy an olympic barbell soon, the EZ curl bar is just not wide enough to feel comfortable on a lot of these lifts.  It’s probably forcing me to use lighter weights and be more in control here at the beginning, which may not be a bad thing.  Also, I need to do more TGUs… definitely my favorite exercise right now.  Burpee-pullups are pretty gnarly, too.

Going climbing tomorrow Barton Creek Greenbelt, looks like it’ll be my first visit to New Wall.  I’m pretty stoked, New Wall is supposed to get pretty high and allow for some of the longest routes around.  Flintstones (5.9) is one of the area classics, and I imagine I’ll spend most of my day soaking up sun and trying to climb hard.  Rock on.

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Austin Rock Gym Groupon!

Half price for an adult full-day pass, c’mon Austinites!  Buy two!


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Everybody needs a little ukulele

Did you watch that guy? If not, do me a favor and click play on that video before you continue with this post.  Beautiful… thanks again, TedTalks!

I felt pretty good yesterday, but because of the full-body taxing from Tuesday I didn’t feel like there was a muscle group that really needed work. Favoring a more minimalist approach recently, I took the day off and left myself no excuses today.

I decided to test my theory about running combined with burpee-pullups, and what occurred was not fun.

After a dynamic warmup, I ran the mile to the Mueller development’s exercise station in 8:27. There, I had to create an exercise because the pullup bar was not high enough. In a perfect world, the bar would be roughly a foot out of reach. At Mueller, the bar is within standing reach for me. Having to improvise, I decided to jump and catch the bar at roughly chest-high before lowering myself, under control, through a full negative ROM. Let’s call it the burpee-negativepullup. I did 100 burpee-negativepullups and 50 sixteen inch box jumps, but I broke it up 50-25-50-25. Then I ran back home, at over a minute slower pace.

My initial reaction told me that I was struggling more during the burpees and box jumps than the run, but after examining the data on Garmin’s website I notice that my heart rate is actually vacillating around a lower mean when not running. This is pretty interesting since my perception of difficulty was higher during the burpees and jumping. Since I’m taxing my muscles significantly more during the burpees and jumps, maybe I feel more tired even though my heart isn’t pumping as much. Or maybe I “think” burpees and jumps are harder than running so I subconsciously conserve energy and fake being tired to myself. Honestly, I don’t even know if that’s possible, but it seems at least plausible.

Clearly, I’ll have to experiment. Expect to see me repeating this workout within two weeks, where I’ll attempt to un-psyche my thoughts on burpees. After a second run, I think we’ll have more definitive results.

Finally, I’m ahead of pace on February’s goal of 50 miles, and I’ve already figured out March’s goal! Hint: The goal is to be “injury-proof”

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Boredom’s not a burden anyone should bear

“i can help you change
tired moments into pleasure
say the word and we’ll be well upon our way
blend and balance
pain and comfort
deep within you
till you will not want me any other way
it’s not enough
i need more
nothing seems to satisfy
i don’t want it
i just need it
to breathe, to feel, to know i’m alive”

– Stinkfist, by TOOL

So yesterday I had to respond to the open challenge presented by Andy in the comment section of the Goal Setting post.  After meeting him up at the lake around 3, we turned in this effort, which I am particularly proud of.

Run Total: 7.01 miles  ||  1:06:17  ||  9:20 avg moving pace

Current Progress:  16.90 miles completed  ||  33.10 miles to run  ||  33% complete

The overall average was a 9:27 min/mi, but I stopped for 1:30 after the 5th mile to do: ten burpee-pullups, performed with the pullup bar approximately one foot above my head.  Burpee-pullups are what Crossfit refers to as a MetCon (metabolic conditioning) exercise, and you’ll notice that my highest heart rate (187 bpm) was achieved directly after finishing my set.  MetCons are the exercises that make you want to puke.  After examining the map of the trail, I think an awesome MetCon workout could consist of the 4.5 mile loop from the S. 1st Bridge to the Crenshaw Bridge, stopping at all 3 exercise stations along the way to perform burpee-pullups and dips.  The pullups and dips would work your AT (anabolic threshold) while the running would be your cardio/fat burning.  I’ll probably try this route later in the week, updates will follow.

Then we came back to the casa, and after a little refuel and 3 sets of the Warmup, we did the following:

Snatch Balance: 1 set warmup (25#)
Reps: 3-3-3-3-3-3-3
Weight: 45 – 55 – 65 – 65 – 75 – 75 – 85

Farmers Walk: 5 sets appx. 35 yards (53#)

Hyperextensions: 2 sets ; 6 reps ea (25#)

If you haven’t read the Dan John article on hypers (linked above), take five minutes and do so now.  Yesterday was my first attempt at Dan’s hypers, only lowering just past halfway and really focusing the slow squeeze with added weight.  Following Dan’s advice to only go until I felt my spinal erectors fill with blood, 6 reps was all that was necessary both times.

As for today, I feel GREAT!  Comfortably worked over across most muscle groups, I’m not quite sure what I’ll put together for later, but I’ll figure it out.  A full body workout day like yesterday surely triggered a high hormonal response, so today will more than likely be much lighter.

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