More Swimming

Last weekend Tom and I went camping at Lake Crescent. We swam in the lake all three days. I wore shoes because of the painful gravel, and had no goggles, so wore my glasses and left them on the beach in order to be able to open my eyes in the water. Being in a beautiful, clear lake, just with Tom, with nobody else in our space, helped me get a lot more comfortable and swim maybe 10 strokes without getting panicky. It also helped that I was able to play as much as I wanted, in other words dive under, pop up, duck under, swim under water, etc. in order to get comfortable being under and managing my breath for very short periods of time before even trying to swim the crawl. It was really great! The lake was such a beautiful experience, and also my swimming did make a little progress.

Yesterday here in Seattle I went to Seward Park beach with our friend George, a triathlete, for an informal swim lesson. After treading water for a while with him, I was able to swim farther than I expected without getting anxious. I did that a few times and did eventually have some anxiety where I felt I wasn’t getting enough air and had to put my feet down. But I did better than I had been doing in the pool before the lake experiences. I’m optimistic I can break through the panic sometime.

Overhead squats and…

Today: Overhead squats up to 5 at 90 lbs. Maintaining.

Then I did yesterday’s workout, which I was petrified of, and had no excuse not to have done yesterday:
400m run
30 goblet squats, 24 kg
21 pull-ups
3 rounds. Time: 17:37. Did my first round of pull-ups without coming off the bar. I do butterfly kips but I seem to only ever do two to four before pausing to restart.

The workout wasn’t as painful as I expected–but I was slow. Even my first 400m run took more than 2 minutes.

Fun outside today!

At Genessee park, I did some jogging, ran up a short hill a few times, then played on the low, zigzagging balance beam. I walked barefoot on it for a while and did several pistols on each foot. Then I stood to the side of it and practiced jumping onto it. It’s a foot to 16 inches high and surrounded by rubber chips that look like red gravel but are slightly easier on the feet. It was fun to be able to stick the landing, but with practice I should be able to do it from farther off. I also jumped onto the beam sideways, landing with one foot and then the other in front. Then I climbed a tree just a little way.

Then I did some barefoot running in the giant grass field. It didn’t hurt my compromised right foot and I didn’t seem to get winded as quickly. I was probably going really slow, but what seemed to be going on was that I was distracted by the feeling of how I was placing my feet, and how every step felt a little different, so that my breathing was a bit more relaxed. I probably went 800 meters. I was just making loops around various parts of this huge lawn, occasionally uphill or downhill slightly.

I ran to the kids’ playground and did a couple of skin the cats on various things. I did some pull-ups and some hand over hand on the rings. I tried to kip across this one structure but my feet were too close to the ground. I also half-heartedly tried to get on top of the equipment, but couldn’t. There was some stuff in the way based on how it’s all configured… but I should be able to get up there! I need to get somebody to go with me so I’ll try harder.

I ran through the park and across the road to the lake shore and did several sets of broad jumps up the slope to the road, pull-ups on a tree, and downward-facing push-ups. Then just to make sure I was tired out I ran along the shore and included three all-out sprints. (All-out is relative!) It felt great to play outside and improvise.

I had a lot of energy after our trip to Bellingham yesterday. We sat in the back yard after 7:30 when we got home, and I reverted to eight years old doing cartwheels on the lawn and practicing my handstands and backbends. I almost decided to go for a bike ride, but didn’t. I found myself thinking about working out today and looking forward to it. Usually it’s something I take for granted or feel nervous about. Why did I have such an urge to exercise? I learned at the AHS last week that it’s leptin sensitivity and leptin signalling that compels us to burn energy. Dr Lustig said “Energy expenditure equals quality of life.” When you don’t “have the energy” to exercise you feel crummy. Anything that makes you burn energy feels good. When your insulin is down and you are leptin sensitive, you get the urge to burn.

What I ate yesterday and Saturday, working backwards from yesterday:
Sardines, apple, almond butter, wine; bunless burger, loads of sweet potato fries, coffee; eggs, meat and spinach; (Saturday) Steak, broccoli, wine; sausage, kombucha, apple, almond butter; eggs, meat, spinach. Could it have been the extra carb on Sunday (sweet potato fries) that gave me all that energy??

Muscle Beach!

When Tom and I first discovered crossfit.com, sometime in summer 2004, we saw on the left sidebar a photo of the traveling rings on the beach. We didn’t know where they were or how they worked, but every time that pic came up in the rotation on the page, we were like, oooohh, we’ve got to see those in person. Eventually we found out they were somewhere around Venice Beach… turns out they’re near Santa Monica Pier, and we finally got our hands on them during the past three days. What a rush to travel down ten swinging rings, swing out at the end, and come all the way back! Some people could do it will all sorts of helicoptering with the legs, flying skin the cats and so on, but we stuck to the basics and were so exhiliarated! After that we went and climbed a rope that I’m sure was at least 25′ high.

We did the smaller set once, the large set once or twice, then came back the next day and did the large set a few more times. We rode bikes to Venice and played around on more equipment there. They have a balance beam in the sand, about 4′ high. I tried four times before I could get up on it and stand up. but once I did, I was able to do pistols and multi-direction single-leg half squats. Fun!

I saw people doing half-range pull-ups, so eventually I went to the bar and did five full-range dead-hang ones, and got a compliment from a bulky dude. He said to Tom (not to me), “Strong as hell, throwing those up!” These are the little things that make me feel so gratified–trying a new “stunt” and being able to do it on a basic level, and if a passerby is impressed, all the better. I don’t want to compete and beat people, I just want someone to impress. This is probably some sort of immature level of ambition, but at least I enjoy myself!

Deadlift, etc

“Workout 1” from yesterday. One of my five go-to workouts when I’m less than fully inspired.

Deadlift: 5 x 145, 5 x 165, 5 x 185, 3 x 200, failed on 215
Mixed in between deadlift sets:
5 x 5 ring push-ups at floor level
5 x 3 ring dips
5 x 3 handstand push-ups, down to an AbMat on two layers of change plates
Chest to bar pull-up ladder up to 5 and down to 1