Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Well, it’s been a busy Fall so far. Lots of travel. I was quite enjoying the TACFIT Kettlebell cycle I was on. I got a good way through, but had to break for a couple of weeks due to travel for work and fun. And the Thanksgiving holiday, natch.

Whilst I was away on fun break (Costa Rica for a friend’s wedding), I did manage to get a bit of swimming in, along with (believe it or not) stunt kiting on the beach (rough life!) and just generally walking around a lot. When I wasn’t sitting in a well-shaded cafe on the beach imbibing either coffee or beer…

So anyway, I’m going to start another TACFIT Kettlebell cycle, but I thought I’d switch things up for a week or two before jumping on the highly structured program.

I needed a good jumpstart after laying low so long, so I hit the bells for the last three days, for some pretty good intensity. I added just a touch of the yoga-like recovery moves from the TACFIT stuff. That really seemed to help me out with joints and flexibility.

Friday was a fairly complex set, which I’ve detailed before. Using the Tabata protocol of 20 seconds on/10 seconds rest, for eight sets, I did three rounds, giving me a pretty heavy sweat session.

Friday (Fasting Day)
Round One
– Snatches, Tabata Set 20/10 (16 kg)

Round Two
– LCCJ, Tabata Set 20/10 (24 kg)

Round Three
– Two-handed Swings, Tabata Set 20/10 (32 kg)

Cooldown/Recovery Stretching

Saturday saw me doing the De Vany progression, light weight for 15 reps, medium for 10 or 8 (I think it was 10), and heavy for 5. I used the three kettlebells for that progression, obviously from lightest (16 kg) to heaviest (32 kg), doing military presses.

Round One
– Military Presses, 15 reps each hand (16 kg)

Round Two
– Military Presses, 10 reps each hand (24 kg)

Round Three
– Military Presses, 5 reps each hand (32 kg)

Cooldown/Recovery Stretching

Sunday I went even a bit simpler in one way; just two exercises and fewer reps and sets. This was from Pavel’s old “Power To The People” protocol. Normally I’d use deadlifts for the pulling/leg sets, but I just focused on legs more than pulling.

Sunday (Fasting Day)
Round One
– Military Presses, 5 each hand (32 kg)
– Squats, 5 on EZ Curl Bar (145 lbs)

Round Two
– Military Presses, 5 each hand (32 kg)
– Lunges, Squats, and Overhead Squats, 5-10 ?, on the EZ Curl bar (145 lbs)

Cooldown/Recovery Stretching

I left out a bit of stuff, but that was the core. In addition, I did some good heavy bag work, unarmed and with stick and waster. Also some combat stance-type stuff. I grabbed the big bar and deadlifted it partially, to see if I wanted to go for a set of those, but let it go. Later.

As sweaty as I was from Friday’s PT, I was noticeably less so on Saturday, and almost didn’t sweat at all (seemingly) tonight. But that’s not too unexpected, given that Friday was a heck of a METCON workout, whereas today was maybe technically more weight, but shorter and real short sets.

Also, the keen-eyed will note that I have periodization cycles (or “waves”) within periodization cycles. Not that Friday was hardcore METCON, a lot of intensity, many reps over a reduced time. Saturday was a “grind” workout with many less reps over all and not under the clock. There was no ballistic effort allowed in the strict military press, thereby enforcing a disadvantaged lift (making the weight seem heavier). Finally, on Sunday, I was basically doing a pure power/strength set with really low reps and heavier weight.

Within the workout on Friday, we also see that each set, by virtue of being Tabata, is periodized from high intensity, to no intensity, AND I went up in weight and lowered the rep count during the whole event. Saturday was similar, going from high reps/low weight, to low reps/high weight. Again, Sunday was a much simpler plan–no real “wave” going on with it, except I made sure to do the lower weight exercise first, then immediately follow with the higher weight.

So you can see that the overall three days was “waved” from high rep focus, to medium rep, to the final day with low reps, higher weight. And that progression was mirrored *within* the workout itself. Waves within waves. That’s similar in philosophy to the “Big Beyond Belief” system I’ve talked about before (and you can refer to on my workouts page).


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Back a couple of days ago from Colorado Springs, CO. Looks to be the last time in a while I’ll be back there, though you never know. Whilst I was out there, I managed three or four pretty decent PT sessions, with varying combos of bodyweight work, the cable tower they have there, and a couple of the cardio machines (recumbent bike and elliptical). With high intensity/short duration on the cardio machines.

Because there was a weekend in-between the two weeks I was there, I elected to head up to Pikes Peak. It was magnificent!! Gorgeous day, a little breezy. Was hot down on the plain, where the Springs sits, but up on the Peak it was perhaps 20ΒΊ F cooler. Nice.

Photo Op at Pikes Peak.

After running around there taking pix and getting into the Summit Center, I got back in the car and headed down about 1000 feet in altitude where there was a car pull-off. I pulled off and commenced about an hour or two hike up and down the trail at about 13,000 feet.

Hike from the road to past the far point at the top left of image, coming down off of Pikes Peak.

Headed back home to VA last Friday (24 September). Unfortunately, my last workout was the night before, and having had a really good PT, I somehow tweaked my knee when doing my cooldown. That kinda sucked for the next day running (limping) around the airports… The good news is that it seems to happen fairly rarely these days, it’s been only one knee (the same each time), I seem to have a lot of mobility and flexibility (except for hitting just that right spot), when it happens it’s not very severe, and I seem to recover better every time.

Unfortunately, that means I had to decline going on a hike this morning with some friends (which ended up being canx anyway for other reasons). Saturday was the local brewpub’s (Blue & Gray Brewery/Lee’s Retreat) Oktoberfest, so I ended up being all day on my feet, with only a few respites (with friends, which was nice) for my weary knee.

Pretty Girl, Pretty Dress, Pretty Smile

Beerfest Beermaid Serving Beer.

I had a great time; got to see many friends from olden times. As I am never a heavy drinker, I suffered no ill effects. Even though I was walking/standing all the hot day on the asphalt of the parking lot, at least it was flat and level. We headed inside the brewpub after dark and consumed some tasties (I had the fish and chips, as there was no shepard’s pie *sniff*. But it *waaaaas* wicked good!).

So today, I felt that I deserved a good workout or two, now that I’m back home with the tools I like: kettlebells. In addition, the bells don’t require a lot of linear space–I didn’t want to travel on wounded knee.

In the morning, I started off with staff work on the heavy bag (fairly gently) and empty hands/feet vs heavy bag, to get loosened up. The roommate came out to watch and stretch as I treated myself to a nice tabata set of one and two-handed swings with the baby bell (16 kg). After I was done, he jumped on to the baby bell for the same workout, tabata with swings. I grabbed the middle bell (24 kg) and joined him for a few. After that, we did various kbell stuff and some Systema stick work, then a stretch/cooldown. Not super long, or super-intense session, but I did get a sweat on. After I got a shower, we hopped out around 1230 or so for some brekkies.

This evening, I was feeling my oats a bit, so went back down to the Courage Corner and practiced some striking with the steel blunt, then grabbed the big bell for some work. A very quick tabata round (8 sets at the typical 20 sec/10 sec ratio) doing military presses for the first two sets (left hand first set, right hand second set), and then two sets of two-handed swings; rinse and repeat for the last four sets. For a four-minute workout, that turned out to be VERY intense. I had to really push to get that last set of swings in there. Out of breath and pumped! Whew!!

So, good stuff, yo!

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I’ve actually felt pretty good this trip out to Colorado Springs; no massive headaches or super-plugged up sinuses–things like that. As I left Virginia, it was just getting above 7 degrees F. Last couple of days here in the Springs, it’s been gorgeous; yesterday in the high 40s, today in the 50s, maybe above. I’m still a little dry in the sinuses, but nothing too terrible. I also haven’t PT’d until today. Don’t know if that has anything to do with the good health.

Or the fact that I took one of those fake pseudofeds the morning of my flight, then a couple prophylactic Nyquil liqua-gels the first night I got here. In any case, it was time to hit the little gym here in the hotel.

Nice little workout. I’ve been reading the Born to Run book by Christopher McDougall, and now that my ankle is so much better, I was inspired to do a little running. Just in socks, naturally, on the treadmill. Just a relaxed little jaunt about 10 minutes. It was nice, getting back into the swing of things. Ankle turned out fine, feet were just fine. At first I was concerned about my feet not being used to barefoot running anymore, but when I thought about it, I remembered that I almost *always* PT barefoot. So actually, my feet are pretty strong and had no problems at all. Felt great. And I only did 10 minutes, varying the angle of the treadmill and the speed at which I was running. Never made it a chore, just kept it enjoyable. So, that was nice.

After that, I did various bodyweight activities; pull ups, pushups of various flavors, v-ups, skipping (really), and some other stuff, built more around an interval, “play-style” of effort. Got a little out of breath there in the altitude, and a little sweaty, but it wasn’t a grind, do-or-die type session. Got some goodness with it though. Feel great now, and I’m on a fasting day.


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Well, according to the Wunderground weather site, it got up to a blistering 9.1 degrees F today in Colorado Springs. I typically walk from my hotel to the office building; today it seemed a little chillier than when I did it yesterday. Apparently, it was–around -6 F. It didn’t feel that bad, though. Really. But it was noticeably a little cooler on the walks to and from today. Noticeable, but easily tolerable.

For the PT today, I used the cable machine down in the sparse gym of the little hotel. I just did three rounds of upper body, abs, and lower body, in my typical cyclical fashion. I don’t know the weights, because they use arbitrary numbers on the weight stack (1 thru 16, I think).

After that, I hit the floor for several sets of Systema push ups, and mixed that in with Systema dynamic stretching drills. Good stuff.

And then, it was time for the jacuzzi… this one is nice and hot, a perfect fit for the cold weather. Wish they kept it this hot at my local Y. Ah well…

Oh, and today is a fasting day (or as Brad Pilon would now have it, a “break from eating period” πŸ™‚ ). Starting after lunch today, and will be breaking fast tomorrow with lunch. An easy 24 hour break from eating. As it was, I was starting to feel overfull, like I actually didn’t want to eat much for lunch or dinner for the last couple of days. So my body was kind of telling me now, “Hey, Brah, it’s time to take a break, and let me process all this chow you’ve been feeding me.” Or something like that…

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Well, ostensibly, this was to be a low-travel month for me. Indeed, we have gotten to the point where instead of two weeks travel per month for the job, I am to be traveling one week a month.

However. This was also family reunion month, so I headed over to see the family (both sides) for a week. And in truth, it was a good visit. Got a little football played, lots of eating abominably ( πŸ˜€ ) and the like. Other than passing and punting the football, my workouts were basically helping my dad move heavy stuff–particularly a home-made iron pedestal from someone’s house to Dad’s. And this thing is heavy. I guess the guy wanted stability for his hand-loading apparatus. Now if I can just get my dad to load some more .44 Magnum!

We did in fact, go to the range. Let’s see if I can link the video of me shooting some bowling pins…

There. Good fun, and required of our family (we are West Virginians, after all… πŸ™‚

My dad also got rid of some weights, by giving them to me. He and his wife Susan are hard-core stuff collectors, flea markets, garage sales, etc. He acquired a little while back an EZ Curl bar, sized for Olympic weights. He lived with it for a while, but he prefers (and has on tap) the weights with the small hole, vice the large hole Olympic barbell weights. Somehow, in some deal he also ended up with two 50 lb Weider (I think) disks, Olympic size. He finally ended up with the EZ Curl for the small size holes, so gave me the Olympic size, and the two 50 lb disks. Now, I normally don’t use the EZ Curl bar, and all my disks are the kilo marked ones–but, what can you do? This figures in a little later in the story…

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, so to speak, my time at my actual home has not been seeing a lot of hard core lifting or physical training for a few weeks. But I have gotten some things in, such as ruck runs, etc. And some time at the TopGolf golf range with some buddies. Also, when I’m around, I’ve been pretty focused on my longsword training on Friday nights. A couple of weeks ago we did dagger fighting, which is great fun, and then we went into free play with some training swords the instructor came up with, made from shinai. Also, lots o’ fun. πŸ˜€

Last Friday night, Chris, the instructor (and is my roommate as well) was down with a cold, so we didn’t have class. Next weekend he’s giving a dagger seminar at the University. My schedule now looks like I will be able to be there to help co-instruct. That should be fun. I do get such a kick out of both the doing, and the teaching of these things.

Now back to the continuing stoooory (for you Muppet fans) of the old/new to me EZ Curl bar and the weights. I finally got them out of the truck bed and into the house for a PT session. Good CFT-type sweat-fest.

First, I started out with 10 minutes or so of longsword against heavy bags, focusing on half-swording. I have two bags that I use, because it’s nice to work out tactical problems with two targets. This could be called the Pre-Fatigue phase.

For the Core of the workout, I started with 10-12 jerks with the EZ Curl loaded up with the 50 lb plates. Granted it’s only, what, 125 lbs, but it was a nice easy weight to throw overhead.

After that set, went for a round against the heavy bag, empty hand.

Then back to the bar for a few sets of clean and jerks with the same weight still on it. As expected, the funky curves of the EZ Curl made it… interesting, as you clean it up to rack, then jerk it to the top.

In between the sets I went back to the bag for some empty hand vs heavy bag.

Back to the bar for a few close-grip then wide grip curls. I’m not a curl maniac, but it just begged to be done.

For the “Post-Fatigue” phase, I finished up with a good session of heavy bag again, then cool-down and stretching.

I will be going to the University tonight to help coach for the first time this semester, so I wanted to be loosened up and having the fires already lit, if you know what I mean. It’ll be good to be back. I basically haven’t touched Olympic fencing gear (except for the mask) all summer.

Right now, I’ve pretty much recovered from the workout, and finished my tortilla. Mind you, I’m talking about a Spanish tortilla, not the Mexican one. See tortilla.

And for Rob–this was made with the Xpress Redi Set Go. πŸ˜€ It’s turned out to be quite handy, and easily and readily makes omelets, as well as a variety of other things, quite well. I actually have a series of photos I posted on Facebook detailing some of my experiments. This one today was beautiful. Hot sausage, four eggs, spices, yum!

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This one’s perhaps a little hard to understand without context, but here it is anyway:

Bill answers the Great Y

Bill answers the Great Y

I made it, then posted it on Facebook–and it amused me so much I made it my profile picture. Basically it representatively encapsulates a couple of conversations I had with a friend, lately.

But anyway, in other news…

Back from C Springs finally. I worked in the office there on Friday, then finally took off for the airport. However, the plane was delayed getting there, so we waited… It finally arrived an hour or two late, so we took off hoping we could make up enough time to hit connecting flights. My connecting flight from Chi-town to Richmond was waay gone by the time I got there, so after some dealing with a very nice United rep (thanks, Steve!) I got a free night in a nearby luxe Marriott, to await my next flight at 0718. Which meant that I got to bed around 2330 and got a wake up at 0400 to get ready and get to the airport on time.

An uneventful flight later and there I was at Richmond, Saturday morning, around 1030 or 11. Made it home a couple of hours after that. Yay!

Whilst in the Springs, I started staying at a different, cheaper hotel, the Quality Suites, where I got a two room suite for about 60 bucks less than the one room at Antlers Hilton. And it’s only an 11 minute walk to the office, so I didn’t drive at all (there’s also a shuttle from the hotel to points about town) except to arrive, and to depart to and from the airport.

Much more livable space for a week. The pool’s inside, but much more crowded with kids and families, so I didn’t get to swim, though I did do a morning at the jacuzzi. The “fitness room” is just newly made, small, and sparse. But I got use out of it anyway, of course. Tuesday, I think, I did a pretty decent workout on the cable machine–one of those you can configure for about any resistance exercise you can think of. Then that evening after work I did my good ol’ standard UAW (see right link for details). It felt good, blew the carbon out, etc. and was sorely needed after the flight there the day before.

Sometimes you just feel like packing two good PTs in the same day, you know what I mean? And I try to manage my week not to overdo it. Right now, I don’t think I’m in too much danger of over-training :D. (Though with the intense travel sched, maybe my instincts to not hit it hard as much are on target). And I did get a good ruck sprint on Friday night when I was trying to get from the C concourse to the end of the F concourse at Chicago O’Hare. No–not exaggerating. I picked up a flying partner while waiting for the plane at the Springs. A female Army Captain (who went to the Citadel on a full-ride soccer scholarship, by the way), who was there for a week-long class. She was flying back to Norfolk and we both had to be at F gates. Hers was F 1, and mine F 14. Her plane was supposed to leave before mine, but was delayed. Because we ran, she made it, but as previously stated, mine was long gone, alas.

And there you have it!

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I’m always a sucker for a nice rack… πŸ˜›

Zone Rack Pix One

Zone Rack Pix One

Zone Rack Pix Two

Zone Rack Pix Two

Brother Dahood took these pix of some bikes and their interesting racks.

I likes. Next time I head out to The Zone and have to fight off mutants and/or zombies and/or Tim Thomerson and his band of rag-tag adventurers/pirates whilst looking for my Cherry 2000, I want this.

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