November 2007 Archives

Trying to stay fit for the holidays

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On Wednesday night it was still light out when I returned home from work, so I quickly suited up and headed out for a run. I completed about 2/3 of my 14K/8.7M run before darkness set in, I was able to maintain a faster-then-marathon pace.

I think the worst problem I have this time of year is TIME! It gets really busy at work, plus the holiday season also includes lots of activities at home, it can get really hectic. So far I have been able to keep up my training, but its getting hard!

Wednesday run: 14K/8.7M at 5:34/K (8:58/M) average pace

Thursday night Crossfit:

10 Shoulder Press (62 lbs.)
10 Back Squats (62 lbs.)
10 Pull-ups (jumping)

3 rounds of:
10 Back Squats (84 lbs.)
10 Ring Dips (jumping)

3 rounds of:
10 Deadlifts (84 lbs.)
10 Pull-ups (jumping)

Short run, another Crossfit night

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On Monday I was late coming home from work so set out for an easy run in the dark instead of my planned tempo run. The moon was hiding behind a thick cloud covering, so it was really dark, I had to use my headlamp for much of the way. I completed the 9K/5.5M loop with about a 9:15/mile pace, not too bad considering the darkness.

I skipped Crossfit on Monday after the run, as my wife was already giving me strange looks when I came in well after dinner time from my run. Tuesday was a rest day from Crossfit, so I made up my own workout that night:

Warmup – two sets of:
20 Jumping Jacks
20 Toe Touches
20 Push-ups
20 Squats (no weight)
20 Sit-ups

Workout – for time, 5 sets of:
20 Squats (no weight)
10 Hang Power Clean (with 28 kg./62 lbs.)
10 Ring Dips (jumping)

I managed to forget to hit my stopwatch, so didn’t record my time.

Afterward I added a few more exercises:
20 Push-ups
20 Sit-ups
20 Jumping Pull-ups
20 Sit-ups
10 Wall ball (6 kg. medicine ball)

All in all a good workout, I’m still enjoying myself, I only wish I had more strength and could whip through normal dips and pull-ups. Patience was never one of my finer traits…

A Two and Half Hour Long Run

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Friday after work I headed out for an easy 10K run. My muscles were stiff from my cross-training activities, so I decided to keep the pace down. I finished the approx. 10.5K loop in 1:07:00, an easy pace in the dark.

Saturday morning I had an appointment for a haircut and did some shopping afterwards, so postponed my run until after lunch. My goal was a 2 to 2-1/2 hour run at marathon pace. I headed out over the flat bike paths and forest trails surrounding our town and managed to maintain a 6:00/K (9:39/M) average pace for the first two hours. By that time though I was running on empty, I only had water with me, so I backed off the pace a bit and slogged through the last half-hour arriving at my doorstep after almost exactly 2-1/2 hours – mission accomplished. According to Google Earth I also reached my distance goal of 24K/15M, not bad!

Saturday night we had dinner with friends, so of course ate way too much :-) In any case I was looking forward to my Crossfit workout Sunday afternoon. The workout called for 3 rounds (first round 21 reps., second round 15 reps., third round 9 reps.) of:
Clean 135 lbs.
Ring dips.

As I am old and weak, I downgraded the weight to 31kg/68 lbs. and had to do mostly jumping ring dips (jump up to dip position, lower myself slowly to bottom).

I survived this and still had some energy, so I added some weight and completed 10 cleans of 38kg/84lbs. I had to really struggle with the last few repetitions, but that’s what its all about, right!

I am so weak...

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Last night’s Crossfit daily workout called for 30 muscle-ups on the rings for time, something that I can’t do yet. The alternative was 120 pull-ups plus 120 dips. I was pretty warn out from the night before, but started doing the latter. I can only do a couple pull-ups on a good day, which yesterday wasn’t, so I did one, then switched to jumping pull-ups. I did 2 sets of 20 jumping pull-ups and dips (between two chairs) before collapsing.

I knew I wasn’t going to get much more out of my arms, so piddled around trying a few other things. I practiced my clean and jerk, bench pressed whatever was on the bar, tried some dips on the rings, then finally I finished off with 10 each push-ups, sit-ups, and box jumps.

I can really tell that I haven't done any serious weight training lately, say for the last 17 years - since I was in the military. I have a long hard road ahead if I want to reach the level of fitness that I see on the horizon. Tomorrow I want to run a longer run, around 2-1/2 hours or 15 miles, whichever comes first :-)

A 13K Run and Crossfit = Helen


Last night I decided to skip running with the running club and run earlier so I could get my Crossfit workout done too. I wanted to run at least part of my run at a faster pace, so decided to drive to the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (one of Europe’s largest science and engineering research institutes) and run around the outside of their fenced-in complex. The advantage of this 6,6K/4.1M loop is that it is mostly lighted, other than a few dark corners.

I warmed up with a 5-minute jog, then took off at near 10K pace, completing the first 4.1 mile loop at a pace of about 8:25/mile, a bit slower than I would have liked, but okay. I then tried to hold the pace for a while longer as I began the second loop, but started fading about halfways, losing about 3 minutes compared to the first loop.

I then drove home (8 minutes) and warmed up with two sets of:
20 Jumping Jacks
20 Toe Touches
20 Push-ups
20 Squats (no weight)
20 Sit-ups

Last night’s Crossfit workout was "Helen"
Three rounds for time:
Run 400 meters
1 1/2 pood Kettlebell X 21 swings (or 55 pound dumbbell swing)
12 Pull-ups

I skipped the 400 meter runs, having just come back from a 13.2K/8.2M run. I don’t have a Kettlebell, so used a dumbbell for the swings. At first I tried a dumbbell loaded with two-10kg. weights (around 48 lbs. with bar), but this was much too heavy (and bulky) to swing over my head down to a squat position and back again. I don’t have any 5 kg. weights, so had to go down to 2 kg., for a total of about 11 lbs., which was too light, but I did 42 swings instead of 21 each round.

I really struggled with the pull-ups, even though I was doing jumping pull-ups (e.g. jump and pull up until the chin touches the bar, then lower slowly down, repeat). My arms were totally destroyed from my first week of Crossfit and I felt weak as a kitten. On the last round I substituted a barbell row (approx. 40 lbs. total) for the pull-ups.

I was definitely ready for the showers by the time I finished, but could barely lift the soap to wash :-) This morning I am sore in a good way and looking forward to more torture this evening. I guess I need a few months for my muscles to get used to all this new attention they are getting.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the USA!

Crossfit Workout: Clean and Jerk

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Last night I tried the Crossfit daily workout, which consisted of 5 sets of 3 repetitions of the Clean and Jerk.


2 sets of:
20 Jumping Jacks
20 Toe touchers
20 Pushups
20 Squats (no weight)
20 Situps

I don’t come from a weight lifting background so I first practiced the Clean and Jerk using an 18 lb. barbell. Once I felt I was doing it right (according to videos from Crossfit), I switched to the other barbell with weights (total weight 62 lbs.). After two sets of 3 reps. I decided to increase the weight, but I only have 10 and 15 kg weights so had to go up to about 84 lbs. I struggled with this a couple times and decided to go back down to 62 lbs., as I deemed it more important to maintain good form at this point.

I finished off the prescribed workout, but still had a lot of energy. I decided to continue working the upper body with:

3 sets of:
10 Bench Press (with the 62 lbs.)
10 Jumping Pull-ups

I then added a few random things:
10 Wall ball shots
20 Box jumps
Several attempts at the ring muscle-up

Finally, with tired muscles I finished off with 20 push-ups, 20 sit-ups and 20 squats.

Under lessons learned:

I can really imagine how beneficial it would be to go through the Crossfit orientation and train with a group. I think this is especially important when technique plays a large role, such as with weight lifting. I think it will take a lot of practice before I start doing the lifts correctly, especially when I don’t have someone spotting my mistakes.

Why Crossfit?

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Yesterday I had intended on meeting a few people from my running club for a run, but got home late from work, so headed out on my own. I was hoping for a tempo run, but as I started out I knew my muscles were still aching too much from Saturday’s long run and Sunday’s Crossfit session. After 10-15 minutes my muscles loosened up some and I was at least able to run a few 8:00 minute miles before finishing my 9K/5.5M loop in the dark.

I have been looking at different cross-training possibilities over the summer and have decided to give Crossfit a try, which has become obvious if you have been reading my posts for the last week. I have tried to do weight training, supplemented with swimming but find lifting free weights to be a bit stale. The diversity of exercises that Crossfit offers, as well as the severity, is quite refreshing. I look forward to continuing the program at least until race season begins, and from there we’ll see.

Why Crossfit?

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Yesterday I had intended on meeting a few people from my running club for a run, but got home late from work, so headed out on my own. I was hoping for a tempo run, but as I started out I knew my muscles were still aching too much from Saturday’s long run and Sunday’s Crossfit session. After 10-15 minutes my muscles loosened up some and I was at least able to run a few 8:00 minute miles before finishing my 9K/5.5M loop in the dark.

I have been looking at different cross-training possibilities over the summer and have decided to give Crossfit a try, which has become obvious if you have been reading my posts for the last week. I have tried to do weight training, supplemented with swimming but find lifting free weights to be a bit stale. The diversity of exercises that Crossfit offers, as well as the severity, is quite refreshing. I look forward to continuing the program at least until race season begins, and from there we’ll see.

A Hilly Long Run and the Filthy Fifty


On Saturday I awoke at 6:00 a.m. and dragged my aching body out to the car and drove to Weingarten for my long run. As I approached my trailhead there was a sign posted indicating that there was a battue hunt in progress (where they drive the deer to the hunters). Not wanting to be mistaken for a deer (by any city slickers with an itchy trigger finger), I drove to the next town Untergrombach and ran up and down the hilly vineyards for almost 2-1/2 hours.

On Sunday I did another Crossfit workout, or at least gave it my best effort:

For time (see Crossfit for exercise demos):
50 Box jump
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45 pounds
50 Back extensions
50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
50 Burpees
50 Double unders

This workout has been named the “filthy fifty” by some, I don’t disagree. I modified some of the exercises as I am a beginner or lack the equipment:
- I don’t have a box for the box jump, so I stepped up and down on the stairway.
- I don’t have a 36 lbs. kettlebell, so substituted a dumbbell with about 20 lbs.
- My medicine ball for the wall ball shots is only 13 lbs.
- I did a modified knee to elbows, whereas I raised my knees as far as possible – I need to work on this.

I did pretty good until I got to the Burpees. A burpee is kind of like a squat thrust and push-up combined, whereas you jump up as you rise. My arms and legs were jello by the time I got to that exercise, so I ended up doing mostly squat thrusts. I also could not do many double unders with the jump robe, I was too pooped – I at least did 50 normal jumps.

Learning with Fran

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Tomorrow morning I want to go for at least a two hour long run on my hilly route in Weingarten. Let me stress the word WANT. I say that because tonight instead of chilling out and resting for my run tomorrow morning I was up in the shed attempting to my rendition of the Crossfit workout “Fran”.

Fran sounds easy enough 3 rounds consisting of repetitions of thrusters and pull-ups. The first round consists of 21 thrusters and pull-ups, the second round 15 each and the last round 9 each. A thruster is where you start with 95 lbs. at your chest, do a squat and then thrust the bar over your head until your arms are straight. Oh, and you are supposed to do all of this for time, e.g. as fast as possible.

I’m a wimp and only used 62 lbs. and I also had to break the sets up a little more, e.g. 3 x 7 thrusters. I also had to do mostly jumping pull-ups because I can’t do many correct pull-ups (jumping pull-ups are where you jump up to the bar and lower yourself down as slow as possible). Lastly, time doesn’t matter at this point, I’m still a wimp – we’ll start talking stopwatch when I can do the exercises correctly and at proper weight.

Anyway, my arms are still quivering 30 minutes after showering – tomorrows run should be really interesting. Hey, at least I didn’t use my legs too much…

Crosstraining the Crossfit way?

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Last night I decided to practice some Crossfit exercises. There are no Crossfit gyms in my area of Germany, so I am left to learn the techniques and program myself. If you don’t know about Crossfit, or aren’t familiar with all the exercises I mention below, I encourage you to checkout their website.

Anyway I did a warm-up including 20-each overhead squats, Samson stretch, push-ups and sit-ups, plus a few other callisthenics. Then I moved upstairs in the shed and practised my pull-ups (I struggle with just a few), ring muscle-ups (nearly impossible still), deadlift (30kg), push-press and back extension (using a table and a piece of rope) to try to get a handle on the technique.

I then went through three sets of 10 reps of air squats, deadlift, box jump and push-press. Finally I finished off with 10 (jump) pull-ups and five minutes on the elliptical trainer. I wanted to go longer on the trainer, but my legs were dead, along with the rest of my body.

In any case it was a kick butt workout, as evidenced by my aching body this morning. If I can stick with the training through the winter I am hoping I will eventually be able to perform all of the routines at the weight prescribed. In the moment I am doing the grandpa version with scaled down weights and technique – but you have to start somewhere I guess.

Running into Winter

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Last night I met my running club shortly before 6 p.m. for a run. It was cold (3C/37F), breezy and dark as I chatted with a few friends before the run. We were a smaller group, maybe 15-20 people, I guess the others have gone into hibernation.

I started out with my normal mid-pack group, but they were yo-yoing along and finally three of us decided to run on ahead. We quickly picked up the pace and were soon approaching the outskirts of my 10K pace as we ran along in the dark. After 15-20 minutes my side began to ache due to the cold and the pace, so I mentioned that I needed to tone down the pace a bit – the other two were fine with this so we continued on together finishing the 11K/6.8M loop in almost exactly 60 minutes. Not bad considering the cold and that we ran without a flashlight.

This morning I had an appointment at 8:00 a.m., so went into work later than normal. I decided to get my run out of the way before I left the house, so headed out at 5:30 a.m. It was a brisk 1C/34F and everything was frosted over as I made my way over an easy 9K/5.6M loop. I had a headlamp with me, but chose to run in the dark, navigating over the mostly asphalt bike paths by the light of the moon and stars. I was quite stiff from the run the night before, but I ran an easy pace (6:00/K, 9:39/M) and enjoyed the cool, crisp winter air.

Tonight I want to head up in my weight training room in the shed and practice some Crossfit exercises and work a bit with the elliptical trainer (mostly to stay warm).

Trying to get up to speed

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Yesterday I spent half the day trying to setup and run a couple plug-ins for my desktop publishing program at work. I finally got everything to work as it should just in time to catch my train home. I was definitely ready to let off some steam as I laced up my running shoes and headed out.

As I set out my legs felt good (despite running three days in a row), so I picked up the pace. Since cutting my knee in August I have had a hard time getting under 9:00/mile, so I was determined to set this right. I want to run at least one or two 10K runs before the end of the year, so a little bit of speed work would be helpful.

I ended up running 9K/5.5M at an average pace of 5:13/K (8:24/M), not bad for my first “speed” session in many months, but slower than I would have liked.

Tonight I want to stop at the swimming pool in Karlsruhe for some laps, then maybe do some weight training if I have any energy left.

Trade shows, rain and running


The title pretty much sums up my week. I went for a quick run on Monday night, around 6 miles at marathon pace. On Wednesday and Thursday I was at a technical communications trade show and conference in Wiesbaden, Germany – no training, but lots of walking.

On Friday after work I decided to do my long run as I knew I would have to work part of the weekend catching up on work. I decided to run to a research facility located about 3K/2M from us and run the 6.6K/4M loop around the facility. The advantage of this is the large facility is well lit (for security) and has an asphalt road surrounding it. In other words perfect for running at night! I ran 2+ loops and then headed home – I ended up with roughly 22K (13.6 miles) at an average pace of 5:52/K (9:27/M). This is about a minute faster per mile than I run my hilly long runs, which I was quite satisfied with.

On Saturday morning I woke up with really sore legs, a testimony to the quality of my long run maybe? Later in the day I decided I needed to loosen up the legs so I headed out in the rain for a run. I really didn’t have any particular distance in mind, I just ran. The first 10 minutes were quite slow as my legs felt like jello, but as I warmed up I found my groove, albeit slow. I decided to make it a recovery run and just enjoy the falling leaves and being outside. I ran around 12K/7.5M at a 10 minute/mile pace, a good recovery pace.

This morning I decided to try out the elliptical trainer. The trainer has six levels, I started out at the third level. I quickly worked up a sweat within a couple minutes and ended up dropping to level two. After a mere 8 minutes I decided that was enough to get my blood pumping and got ready for church – this short session was enough to let me know that the trainer has real potential for a workout, I’ll be heading upstairs in the shed for my first torture session later today. But first I have a date with DITA and single-source publishing, have a nice Sunday!

First run in the dark


Last night I got home much later from work as normal, so it was already dark outside. I warmed up, grabbed my reflective vest and flashlight and headed out the door for an hour run. This was the first time I ran in the dark since my 50-mile race in June, so it was a bit strange the first couple miles. I ran along a bicycle path around the fields surrounding my town and the next. It was a clear, crisp night so I was able to run by the light of the moon and the stars. At one point another runner and I almost collided as we came around a curve running in the opposite direction without lights – luckily runners have fast reflexes :-)

I finished the rest of the 9.5K/6M run in the dark without killing myself, I guess that was my initiation to winter time running. Next time I might have to try out my headlamp :-)

Tonight (Tuesday) I have to pick up a new used elliptical trainer that we bought on e-bay. Definitely not fitness studio quality, but I am hoping it will be useful as a cross-training device. Here is the e-bay picture:


Wednesday and Thursday I will be at a conference for work so probably won’t run again until Friday night. Have a nice week!

An Easy 2-Hour Run

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This morning I woke up shortly before dawn and drove to Weingarten for my first longer run since the 50-mile race. I warmed up with a relatively flat kilometer, than headed up the first hill. I was breathing heavily as I made it to the top, I still have a slight cold and congestion.

I wound my way around my 15K loop enjoying the beauty of the autumn leaves. I seemed to be the only one out today, I guess it is off-season for most this time of year. I finished the first loop and ran a shorter out and back to finish my goal of a two hour run. I was feeling pretty drained during the last half hour of running, I don’t know if it is my cold or because I have lost a lot of conditioning. In any case the run gave me some idea where I need to start off training for next year.

Running, Cycling, Swimming...


Thursday was a holiday in Germany so I went for a run in the afternoon. The sun was shining brightly, but it was a 13°C (55F) outside, I decided to through on a long sleeve shirt. I like to change my running trail each year, so I tried a couple new trails. My old route was 14K – I ended up with 14.2K with the new route – just about right.

Today (Friday) I took a day of vacation from work, I want to get a few things done around the house. This morning I worked on some paperwork in my home office for a couple hours, then rode my bicycle the 12K/7.5M to the swimming pool in Karlsruhe. It was a brisk 6C/43F, so I basically froze my butt off. I did get in my 1000 meters of laps and survived the cold trip back to the house. Now after some warm food I am ready to tackle some chores around the house.

Tomorrow I want to drive to Weingarten and run my first long run since the 50-mile race attempt about a month ago. I will start out conservatively, probably around two hours on my hilly route. I will gradually build this up to about 3-1/2 hours by the middle of January in preparation for a 50K race on Jan. 29th.

Have a nice weekend!


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This page is an archive of entries from November 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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