I had two exercise sessions today: weights at Bull’s place, and then a walk. I wore the band for the first time in months. Below are notes I wrote in Evernote by looking at the band itself while trying to get it to sync.
I spent last weekend at CrossFit Belltown at the CrossFit Level 2 trainer seminar. The staff were Nadia Shatila, Todd Widman, Tommy Rudge, and Jesse Ward. They did a really great job of helping us trainees not to feel defensive and nervous — they weren’t just nice, but you could tell it was a deliberate, active effort to support us and make us as comfortable as possible. This was important because it’s hard to coach people under scrutiny from other trainers. This course isn’t graded, so it is really about the experience and the things you can learn about holes in your coaching.
I learned (not for the first time by any means) that I need to be more concise in cueing. When I make a correction while people are practicing what I have just taught, I need to slow down and stay with that person and that correction longer sometimes. This is to make sure they understand it, and have corrected it to the best of their ability, and that the others in the group understand what the point of the correction was (if I’ve pulled the person into the middle of the circle for them to see). I had to teach the push-jerk twice in a row specifically in order to slow down.
Earlier I had coached people in the press (I taught that one start to finish) and the med ball clean. Maybe the sumo deadlift high pull too, I’m already forgetting! In teaching the press, I used Rippetoe’s method. People found it surprising, but for me the point was to convey the information in an organized, effective, concise manner, and I find this method to be more technical and specific than the CrossFit method. Our coach for that session, Jesse, took this in stride but said it’s a bit nuanced for new trainees.
There was never any sense of defensiveness about information sources from outside CrossFit. In her wrap-up, Nadia encouraged us to look elsewhere as well as within CrossFit for training. I’m really glad I’ve always done that, because I’ve enjoyed it a lot and I appreciate that I have a pretty well-rounded body of knowledge (such as it is) because of this exploration.
Day 1 had small-group sessions where we worked on seeing, correcting, visual cueing, tactile cueing, praising, and one-on-one teaching. Day 2 had small-group sessions on group teaching and on programming. We’re supposed to “program for the best and scale for the rest,” so we invented workouts for Regionals-level CrossFitters. The weights and reps involved were so hard to relate to that if I’d been on my own, I wouldn’t have done a very good job. I would have been able to see and plug the holes in the sample programming they provided, but my workouts would have been too easy.
We had a fun workout at the end of each day. Day 1 it was, with one partner, do 100 wallball, then spend the remainder of 10 minutes doing barbell power snatches and see how many you can get. My partner was Christine from CrossFit RE, who I really liked. We used a 14# ball and did 59 snatches with 55 pounds. Prescribed was 65#. The idea of scaling was (1) not mentioned and then (2) scoffed at, but we did it because it seemed like a better idea.
My only criticisms of this seminar have to do with the teaching methods. For one thing, they never mention that we should provide context for each lift by explaining its purpose before we teach it. This is especially important because they use 5′ PVC pipes, or in this case varnished dowels, to teach all the barbell lifts. Trainees need to know how the lifts fit together among the other lifts and in the context of one’s overall training. This leads to my second objection, which is that you can’t teach a deadlift without a weight sitting on the floor. Taking a dowel at hip height and pushing it down to mid-shin and standing up again is not a deadlift, and they shouldn’t say that it is. A deadlift starts on the floor, or it’s not a deadlift. My third objection is that bracing — how to breathe to pressurize the trunk for a safe back — was never mentioned. At one point I realized this and I talked about pressurizing while teaching the push-jerk. It was too easy to overlook this critically important piece of safety information when we were using dowels that weigh nothing.
Because the trainees such as myself were already CrossFit trainers, it might be reasonable to assume that they know to teach bracing, and that they know how the deadlift works. But some of the trainees had very little experience as trainers, only months in some cases, so I think we should have been really hammering on how to pressurize and make sure everybody got it. It’s not an easy thing to see when someone demonstrates it. And regarding the deadlift, it is so fundamental and so powerful that it should be taught with more respect to safety and how it really works.
“These movements are a part of your DNA … One of the funnest things we do is teach the deadlift to people who’ve never seen it before” The people in the video below look like they’re new to it, but this talk by CrossFit founder Greg Glassman still inspires me:
Since my last workouts on Thursday Jan. 16, when I thought I had the slightest hint of a minor cold, I’ve had the flu followed by pneumonia. I’m on a five-day course of antibiotics (azithromycin – “you take them for five days, but they go on working for ten days”) plus codeine cough syrup as needed. I’ve taken that only at night. I don’t think I’d ever taken any kind of narcotic before. Its effect on the cough is maybe not huge but it is very relaxing and helps with sleep overall.
I’m pleased to have had such excellent health and fitness going into this; I know I’m not nearly as exhausted as people typically describe with pneumonia, and did not have as high a fever as people often get with flu. Nor was the flu as long lasting as often described. On the other hand, just by teaching (in a lackluster manner) ONE class yesterday and then going to the grocery store, I felt I had set myself back, and I sat/laid on the couch all afternoon and into the evening until dinner. I have to remember that this is going to be a longer recovery process than I’ve probably ever gone through. To the extent I’m not completely exhausted, I ought to be pleased, without thinking that means I have enough “battery” to do normal activities (full-on active teaching; karate workouts; and barbell and CrossFit workouts).
Until when? I don’t know how I will know that. This is a lung infection. People say if it relapses, it is worse. Starting in 48 hours I expect to teach my normal classes. I will do everything I can to keep my teaching as passive as possible next week. Monday will be a hurdle because I teach 7:30 AM, 9:30, noon, 4:30 PM and 5:30. Tuesday evening three classes, Wednesday morning four classes. That seems like a lot, based on my experience teaching ONE class yesterday. If I get through those with adequate rest during the days to avoid setting my recovery back, that will be an achievement. Let’s say I can avoid any demonstrating and moving any equipment — which is a stretch in both cases — just the amount of speaking is a LOT for the state I’m in. Of course, Monday is two days away. Today and tomorrow: indoors, no chores.
I also wonder how this will affect my health over the whole year. Will I be more susceptible to colds, or if I get one will it be worse? Hopefully not. I expect to take colds a bit more seriously and try harder to conserve energy when I have one, either way.
Symptoms I’ve had from day to day:
Thursday Jan. 16
Slight feeling in my nose/throat of getting a cold. It was easy to ignore, and I worked out, including heavy deadlifts in the evening.
Same as Thursday, until about 5-6 pm, when I realized I was feeling worse, but still as if I had a cold, now in the chest a little bit.
Skin hurting, 101.1 degree fever, slight backache, multiple naps. Didn’t leave the house, no teaching classes. Craved raisins and oranges and salted nuts (together) and didn’t eat “lunch” until Tom went out and bought those for me.
Slightly strange dreams. Skin hurting, 100-101 degree fever sometimes down to 99.5 and then up again when sleeping in bed. Shaking chills, twice when getting out of bed for the bathroom. Skin hurt, backache. Raisins, nuts, orange again.
Woke up coughing in the night. Nyquil helps. No fever to begin with, no skin hurting. Taught two classes and found it very tiring. Backache, ache all around torso. Fever 101 in the afternoon after sleeping in bed. Jaw aches. Raisins, nuts again.
Woke up coughing: Nyquil. No fever on Tuesday. Slept in and also took a 90 minute nap. Continued sedentary, no teaching classes. No fever all day; backache was less and went away after the nap. Coughing when talking. Severe compulsion to dry cough. Chest hurts, jaw aches from coughing. Robitussin takes the edge off. Raisins, nuts.
Taught at 6:30 & 7:30. Dry cough, weak, torso aches, jaw aches. While resting before the noon class, I had such a violent coughing fit that I realized that that symptom was getting worse, not better. I always get a cough at the end of a cold; but I’d had the flu, not a cold, and this cough was worse, so maybe this was something worse than just a cough at the end of a cold. Felt terrible, felt I was losing ground. I went to the doctor and found out I have pneumonia in my right lung. Azithromycin 5 days; codeine.
I wonder if the raisins and oranges craving (a sweets craving) was because of the pneumonia bacteria. How can I find out what the bacteria was (probably can’t) and then I could see if it’s known that they live on glucose.
Holding. Not losing ground. Unpleaseant cough but not enough to cause a headache or a jaw ache like previous days. Weakish, walking slowly to maintain breathing rate to avoid cough. One hour chatting on and off with Kyle was tiring to voice, chest, head, and made me have to leave because I was getting close to a big coughing spasm. Had cough spasms throughout the day but not so violent or out of control as yesterday.
Felt decent, had not coughed much all night prior (took codeine twice). Woke at 8:00 feeling could have slept two more hours. Gym at 9:15 for extra help class. Taught rowing, deadlift, pressurize, it was too much and made me tired and cough. Went to grocery store. Got home so tired, chest hurting, lay down and read, after an hour or so took some codeine. Feel like I set myself back. Lay down all afternoon. Better in the evening but tired, spacy, coughing but not enough to cause headache or jaw ache. Took codeine before sleep Fri night and did not wake up coughing; did not need another dose in the middle of the night.
Saturday Jan. 25
Woke at 9:00 refreshed. Same chest tightness sensation although I continue to be able to breathe more deeply each day. Sporadic dry or loose coughing. Showering, dressing, making breakfast was tiring. Rested and read on the couch or in bed a lot. Took a nap of about an hour asleep. Felt better and stronger in the evening. Slept well, took codeine but prob didn’t need to. Didn’t cough.
Sunday Jan. 26
Woke at 8:00 with Tom, went back to bed and slept until almost 10:30, felt awesome. Rested and read a lot, did not go out. Cough is occasional and often loose. Feeling a lot better.
Went to teach class at 7:30 AM, felt rested and good, my voice was good. I made sure not to move gear or demonstrate. I taught at 9:30 and noon as well. I felt worn out from talking, I was starting at noon to cough a lot more than I would like, and my chest starting to hurt a little bit. Arranged for Lance to teach the evening classes.
Symptoms I have not had: sinus/nasal congestion, nausea/vomiting, stomachache, lower GI issues.
I saw an “otolaryngology” doctor at UW to see if anything can help my vertigo. As part of that, I had some interesting hearing tests. I was put in a chair in a tiny, extremely quiet soundproof room. First, with headphones on my head, a device in the next room with the audiologist issued a series of beeps at different pitches and volumes in my right ear, then left ear. I was frustrated and kept wanting to tell her “turn it up, it’s too hard!” I had to say “yes” every time I heard the tones, but the sound of my own breathing or swallowing would drown them out. It seemed to go on for a long time without much opportunity to breathe normally or swallow.
Next, via the earphones, she said a bunch of words that I had to repeat, and they got softer and softer. They were all compound words like “greyhound.” That test was less anxiety-provoking.
Then the funniest one, a recording of a man’s voice. He kept saying, “Say the word ____.” And I had to repeat the word only. He talked fast and the words ran together like in a normal conversation, so although he wasn’t very quiet, I had to listen carefully. It felt more like a lesson in listening than like a hearing test. There was a noticeable pattern to the words he said: first a bunch that ended in vowels, then ending in consonants, then in consonants like r or n, then some plurals, then some that ended in soft consonants like F or TH. When the audiologist came back in the room, I told her I wanted to “say the word bossy” after repeating after the recorded man and his commanding tone. She then seemed to be in a big hurry and was not amused.
After that, I think (I’m not sure of the order), she tested bone conduction hearing, where I had something other than headphones on my head. I didn’t see what it looked like but it pressed into the base of my skull. I heard the beeps. There were long pauses during all the sets of beeps, and I thought, oh no, I am as deaf as a rock, but it turned out I scored 100% on the tests involving words, and totally normal and symmetrical on hearing the beeps. She said I have no sign of age-related hearing loss. I’m glad to find out I still have a chance to protect my hearing for the future.
The doctor’s maneuver could not induce my vertigo, just like my regular doctor could not. But if I got in bed and lay down, I’d have it, and again when I got up. Or if I did that thing on the rings where I pull up and tuck, tip back, and rock back and forth. Next I’m supposed to be referred to a physical therapist, who, amazingly, is in the same building as the gym.
There is no reason I should post this on FitNotes except that I think I’m so darn clever. I have a big new planting bed on both sides of a gravel path. I dug the bed and installed the path just this year and I’ve planted it with some dwarf/miniature conifers and some flowers and other things that are still babies–leaving lots of bare dirt that started sprouting weeds. The other day I did a lot of weeding.