Front squat, deadlift, box jump

Today: Front squat up to 5+ at 90% of 1 rep max. I believe my 1 rep max front squat is about 185 so I warmed up and did six reps at 165. It was really hard — I think my 1 rep max isn’t as strong as I thought it was!

WOD: 21-15-9 deadlift (155) and box jump (20″) for time. 10:44 Rx. A major struggle. My lower back was tightening up and almost feeling numb! Nothing hurt though so I kept going, but very slowly.

I hadn’t worked out in a week! I had karate twice since then and went camping. I did a lot of swimming in beautiful, isolated Blythe Lake. We swam mostly in our super fun inner tubes, with our fins, and kicked all over the lake. I also did some (for me) really good swimming in just my fins. I’m slowly starting to get better at relaxing in the water. It’s pretty satisfying, even though it is taking such a long time. I rarely get “quality practice” because for me, that means a nice peaceful lake where I can relax. Tomorrow I’m supposed to swim here in Seattle with Liz and hope I can swim well again.

Karate is awesome. Last Thursday night I had class for the first time with (sensei) Joanne, who had taught our self-defense class at the gym. She’s an excellent teacher. Also I’m gratified to see my balance improving a little on the kicks, and my memory a little bit on the blocks. Joanne said my left front kick looks like it will eventually have some good snap and power to it.

Front squat and shoulder press again


front squat up to 2 x 8 at 152
shoulder press up to 2 x 8 at 75 (intended), actual broken sets were 75 x 7, 75 x 3; 75 x 7, 75 x 5.
Then: EMOTM 15 minutes of 5 reps 65 lb hang power clean and push-press

Yesterday: Swimming at Colman Pool with Tom. Fun! We swam lengths rather than laps, at least that’s what I did–I can definitely swim 50 meters without stopping without fins, but only if I breathe every two strokes instead of every 3 strokes. I can do this on either side but left is best. After I got done steeling my nerve for each attempt at a length, I saw that a lot of people had left and so I put on flippers and kicked along on my back feeling like a motorboat.

Swimming in lakes = awesome

Tom and I spent four days at Lake Crescent and did a ton of swimming the first two days. The water was sooo good. Chilly, but the sun was really hot, I think it was around 90 in the afternoon on Thursday and Friday last week. We swam and snorkeled in front of the lodge, off the trail bridge across the lake at Devil’s Punchbowl, and off the big fallen log we swam on last year. Snorkeling was really fun (though I did not see one fish) because the water is clear and you can see the breathtaking drop so close to shore where the bottom just disappears. Looking down into the water when it was really deep was a deep blue like the sky in the early evening, amazing, but with nothing else to see I chose to stay close to shore in hopes of seeing fish under a tree or something.

I was comfortable snorkeling and swimming with other people around, and swam for short distances without getting too tense. Snorkeling is so much easier. Anyway, it was a great vacation for swimming. On the morning we left Seattle, we went first down to Leschi and jumped off the dock. Volunteer divers were cleaning up trash from the bottom, but it’s deep enough that we could swim around without getting in their way. I swam from the police dock to the private dock to the empty dock like I had the day before (no snorkel).

The water was great. We’re lucky to have such a beautiful lake so that on the rare day it is hot out, you can have these beautiful swims.

Today I swam with Liz off the south side of Seward Park at the kayak put-in. I snorkeled there for the first time today and there are no weeds until you get way out, most of the way to the buoy. The water is great. I took off the snorkel and swam with my normal goggles and did well! I decided to follow Liz swimming parallel to shore, and I found myself actually NOT thinking about breathing for several strokes. I am breathing every third arm stroke so the breathing side alternates. I get so nervous every time —  have I exhaled enough so that I can get adequate new air?? Etc. So when I could actually not think and just breathe for a short while, it was really nice! I eventually swam fourteen “breaths” worth of distance, breathing every three strokes. Last year I think I only did twelve. If I swim again this year in the lake I’ll make fifteen. To do this and move relaxedly and not panic is a big deal!


Yesterday I went in the morning to Seward Park, to the kayak put-in area on the south side of the park. It’s a gravel beach on the sunny side of the park, nice and clean, little or no weeds growing in the water. When we have hot weather the wind is mostly from the north for some reason, so this beach is sheltered and the water is like a mirror. It’s amazingly beautiful. With the calm water, I swam pretty well (able to stay more relaxed in the water). I easily swam past a landmark I chose as a target. The water felt sooo good! I was in for about fifteen minutes.

I dried off in the sun a little and then drove to the gym without changing out of my bathing suit. I went out on the big public dock and jumped in again. So nice… I swam across a short distance to some boat docks with no trouble, and back, without my fins. I got out and then jumped back in one more time. There were a few kids on the dock and swimming also. Two teen girls were swimming all over the place, just playing. Today I went back at 9:30 AM to the dock and had it completely to myself. The sun and air were warm and the water felt so good! This time I swam the whole triangle that I’d seen the girls do yesterday. I went to the boat dock, then out to an empty boat dock, and back to where I started on the police dock. These are not far distances, but for me to have the confidence to do it is really good.

Before I left, I walked out to the far end of the large dock and jumped off the short railing, paddled around in the swells for a minute or two, and climbed out via the ladder. It was all such a great experience! Swimming outdoors in a beautiful place is such a dream.

Mexico vacation

After practicing in the boulder-filled water near the hotel–which was a great place to see fish, including what I thought was a pufferfish (not puffed), I felt great going into an organized snorkel trip with a group. It took us to two places, Palancar Gardens and Columbia Reef. What they call a reef in Cozumel is really a stretch of water that has boulders here and there instead of sand and sea grass.

Wednesday we snorkeled at Money Bar. Lots of rocks and fish. Someone else saw a turtle but we didn’t.

Thursday we hiked the beach just north of where the east-west road meets the east coast of the island, at Meszcalero’s(?). I think that’s what it was called. We saw a rock and palm and shrub garden in the sand that we found out afterwards (by looking on our map) was a Mayan ruin. We took another look and it did seem some of the rocks were very old. We never found out anything more about how much of this site was a ruin and how much of it was just the way someone has chosen to tend the ruin. It was a very beautiful spot with slatted wood shelters for shade and a few hammocks and benches.

On the way back westwards from there, we stopped at a “cold coconut” vendor on the roadside just across the road from the entrance to the San Gervasio ruin. He was a nice guy who took our picture repeatedly, adding hats and flowers to us each time. We want to stop there again on our next trip.

Friday we snorkeled outside the hotel again, then north of town on the farthest north beach we could get to (scooter on paved road), where it was all sea grass and few rocks or fish. I did find a beautiful small conch shell that is pink on the inside. The sea grass on the white sand bottom was very pretty. Then we went back to Money Bar for a little while and saw more fish. By this time I felt like a seasoned snorkeler, with no fear of diving down and clearing my ears and snorkel. I loved it! And we loved scootering around the island in the warm weather. It was a great vacation.

Food notes: Corn chips were usually fresh-made, and I ate thousands of them, I think! More than I’ve eaten in the past several years combined, I bet. I ate a fair amount of fresh seafood that was great, often in the form of ceviche mixto. I drank a Sangria with lunch most days and then had two drinks in the evening. After the first day learned to avoid the sugary “tropical” drinks in favor of less sugary NorCal margaritas and caipirinha. The caipirinha had a little sugar, the sangrias were made with ginger ale (but were less sugary than the sweetened iced tea and lemonade otherwise available at lunch), and the bartender even added “a little” sugar to the NorCal margarita. I can understand he just wanted it to taste good. How often does he get a customer who is trying to turn a hard liquor cocktail into a health food!

CrossFit, swimming, etc.

Labor Day weekend was great. I worked out with Tom’s class on Saturday morning. AMRAP 18 minutes of 10 hang power cleans (65 lbs), 15 wallball (20 lbs). I finished two wallballs shy of 7 rounds. Then I went straight to the beach on the scooter and went swimming, near Madrona, at a little gravel “dog beach.” There was a little chop but I had a great time in the water. The previous day, Friday morning, I had gone to REI and bought a wetsuit and tried it out at my favorite Seward Park spot, the kayak launch on the south side of the park. I swam farther that morning without stopping than I had before. The wetsuit built my confidence and I swam parallel to shore between two obvious landmarks a few times. On Saturday I didn’t have any breakthroughs except that I really enjoyed it despite the little bit of choppiness.

Sunday I rode my bike to Seward and swam (no wetsuit) where the triathletes go, on the north side east of the beach. The water was almost as calm as a pool. I had a breakthrough that time–I swam 7, then 10, then 12 breaths’ distance straight out from shore without panicking. It was great to be so far out, unsupported, and know I could get back without getting anxious.

Monday Tom and I went for a really great hike to Cascade Pass and partway on toward Sahale Arm, just far enough to look straight down on emerald-green Doubtful Lake. Loved it! The air was so clear that day.

Then yesterday, Tuesday, I went swimming with Liz M. at Seward in our wetsuits. A little chop, no breakthroughs, but it was fun. We didn’t need the wetsuits at all because the water is so warm, but wanted to practice with them. (I got mine on backwards on the first try.)

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.

Took a hike

On Monday, Lovoka and I hiked Mt. Si. It was a lot harder coming down than I remembered. I hadn’t been hiking in a LONG time. I’m still a little bit sore from it. Today I did a strength workout.

Back squat and deadlift both x 5 at 95, 115, 135, 155, 165, mixed in with 21-15-9-6 toes to bar, followed by 8 x 2 tucked ring dips.

I forgot to post about my swim on Friday. I went to the pool for the first time since last September and found I still remember how to swim, to the extent that I can do it. I need lessons! And I love the fins. I swam several lengths, always with a lot of rest at each end, then put on fins for several more lengths, then took the fins off again for two lengths. I had pulled a small and deep butt muscle last Tuesday with the KB snatches and I started to feel this pull on my second to last length, so I stopped. I was ready to be done anyhow. I like the idea of swimming but I don’t really love the pool for some reason.

CrossFit plus swimming

Today we worked on handstands, then the WOD was:

Run 500m
25 bent-over rows (I used 33 lbs bar)
25 sit-ups
Four rounds for time: 17:11.

The workout was supposed to have push-ups instead of B.O.R.’s but now that I’ve been to physical therapy for my shoulders, I want to do more shoulder-blade retraction and less pushing for a while.

Notes from the therapist:

Shoulders set forward; humerus in the front part of its socket; hence my front-of-shoulder pain after pushing or snatching exercises. Left shoulder is lower than right.
Shoulder position affects the T-spine — I have a little flexion there that is not desirable.
Neck issues include habitual forward head posture and a hinge at the back left; neck issues affect my shoulders. Front neck muscles are too active, and I have two exercises to train the deeper ones to move and balance the head.
Front muscles such as pecs and delts may be a little overdeveloped at the expense of the back muscles.
I also have hip and gait issues that the therapist said “we will get to.” Wow! I have a lot of fixing to do.

Anyway, after the noon class  today I went swimming. I am sloooowly getting more comfortable with the breathing and better able to roll to breathe on the right–the left is the good side. But I’m definitely not gliding. It took me 27 strokes to go 25 yards today. It was the first time I counted; the first time I had the presence of mind to count instead of freaking out about taking my next breath or whether my last breath was adequate.

Swimming and snatching

I went swimming at the pool today. It is not nearly as fun as swimming in the lake… back and forth, back and forth, don’t bump into the other person in the lane… anyway, I hadn’t swam in two or three weeks, but it went well and I was less winded. I’m better and better able to make conscious choices about what to change from one stroke to the next — not that I can always execute my ideas — instead of just getting too flustered to think.  I rested outside the pool for five minutes and watched how several different people swam. There was one guy who was really gliding and everyone else seemed barely to progress compared to him.

In the gym I deadlifted up to 5 at 185, way off from a PR but oh well, that’s what happens when I don’t stay on my program. The lifts get so heavy that I get chicken (at anything over about 210) and back off the whole thing. Then the workout of the day was: 10 kettlebell snatch left, 10 right, 10 knees to elbows, 6 rounds. I used a 12-kg kettlebell and my time was 11:22.