Friday, July 27, 2012

In pursuit of 300

     This is part 2 of my deadlift series documenting my attempt at a 300 pounder by the end of the summer. This morning started with a 280 lb attempt, but my form was way off so I decided to drop back to 270 and try again. In part 1 I completed 1 rep at 260 lbs for a new PR, so if I can get 1 rep at 270 its still a PR.

     As background, I increased my 10 rep max from 200 to 210 about a week ago, so my thinking is that I have allowed adequate time for recovery.

Deadlift: Current Level
One Rep Max Strength Standards:
Body Weight Un-trained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
165 137 254 293 411 518

One Rep Max:
270 lbs on 7-27-12

Repetitions per given weight (10 minimum):
(PR Date / Most Recent Effort Date)

190 lbs-10 reps (1900 lbs) on 5-13-12  / 190 lbs-10 reps (1900 lbs) on 5-13-12
200 lbs-10 reps (2000 lbs) on 7-3-12    / 200 lbs-10 reps (2000 lbs) on 7-3-12
210 lbs-10 reps (2100 lbs) on 7-19-12  / 210 lbs-10 reps (2100 lbs) on 7-19-12

8-13-12 Update
     After a 2 week break from lifting to keep my muscles fresh for 2 triathlons 6 days apart, I got right back into my deadlift routine and surprised myself with this 280 lb deadlift. Form wasn't perfect, as I would have prefered to lock my back and hold the lift for a second longer, but I'll count it.

Deadlift: Current Level
One Rep Max Strength Standards:
Body Weight Un-trained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
165 137 254 293 411 518

One Rep Max:
280 lbs on 8-13-12

 8-20-12 Update
     So I recently decided to begin a 13 week training program for the Star City Half Marathon, and consequently have decided to delay my deadlifting progression until the my next strength training cycle starts in late Nov. I did go back to the deadlift today just to see what I had and 290 was a fail. Still, with a new PR at 280 lbs set on 8-13-12 it is hard for me to be disappointed. I know what to do when the time comes and I have no reason to want to rush anything. Technically, 280 is closer to Intermediate on the charts I use than it is to Novice, so I'm getting the upgrade!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Deadlift PR!

     If your goal is to dominate in the weight room, then I won't be able to offer much help since I lift mostly for the purposes of injury prevention and good all around muscular health. I don't employ any "science" or "programs" in my routine, but I do read lifting/bodybuilding advice and theories and I do employ knowledge from a variety of sources when I'm setting goals.

     A while back I made a long term goal of meeting intermediate strength standards in 4 key power lifts. I was making good progress, but decided to plateau any strength building attempts while I was training for the Blue Ridge Half Marathon.

     My Bench Press and Military Press have maintained at intermediate levels and are almost in the advanced range, but my Squats and Deadlifts are still clearly in the novice range. Today I am making my first attempt to set a new 1 rm PR for my Deadlift.

     Based on my recent set of 10 reps at 200 lbs I believe I could realistically do a 280 1 rm, however 1 rm testing is not to be taken lightly, so I'm starting out with just going for a PR. Currently, I have a 240 lb PR achieved in late Nov'11. This will be my first attempt to beat it and I'll be looking for a 300 lb 1 rm by the end of summer.

Update through August : HERE

Current Deadlift Stats:

Deadlift: Current Level
One Rep Max Strength Standards:
Body Weight Un-trained Novice Intermediate Advanced Elite
165 137 254 293 411 518

One Rep Max:
260 lbs on 7-11-12

Repetitions per given weight (10 minimum):
(PR Date / Most Recent Effort Date)

180 lbs-15 reps (2700 lbs) on 5-24-12  / 180 lbs-15 reps (2700 lbs) on 5-24-12
190 lbs-10 reps (1900 lbs) on 5-13-12  / 190 lbs-10 reps (1900 lbs) on 5-13-12
200 lbs-10 reps (2000 lbs) on 7-3-12    / 200 lbs-10 reps (2000 lbs) on 7-3-12

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

2012: Q2 By the numbers

    Continuing my quarterly tradition of posting a few health stats and training mileage has turned into one of my favorite things to post about. I look back on my years spent in obesity and declining health and I know that the greatest factor in "letting myself go" was simply not caring. Not caring about weight, not caring about BMI, not caring about Body Fat %, not caring about energy levels...just a lack of caring in general with regards to all things fitness and health.

     These quarterly posts serve as a self enforced "holding my feet to the fire" exercise for helping me remember to care about quality of life issues. My hope is that in addition to the benefit I get from subjecting my personal stats to public scrutiny, that some other person may one day try something similar and find that it works for them as well. Routine monitoring is not an obsessive behavior. It only takes a few minutes a day and its a good way to show that you give a frack about yourself.

     I started weighing myself differently back in early May. Most people are probably aware that their weight
fluctuates throughout the day and being aware of this I wanted to experiment some to see if I could gain a few pounds of muscle without gaining any fat. Basically, I started weighing myself 1st thing in the morning and recording that on my HealthMiles graph, then I would only record my post breakfast, post exercise, pre lunch weight on my Garmin graph IF my 1st thing in the morning weight was above 170lbs. (Previously I only recorded my weight after exercising when it was at its lowest point for the day.)
This chart uses different criteria for Jan-Mar than it uses for Apr-July, so only looking at Q2 stats I have to say my 1st thing in the morning weight is up about 2 lbs on average. Perfectly acceptable, and I intend to keep it in the 169-172 range moving forward.
This chart has also started using different criteria, but to a lesser degree. Prior to May I recorded my weight here daily, now I only record my weight here when I wake up above 170. The days that do not have an entry could be well reasoned to be less than the average.
BMI is essentially a worthless measurement for me since it does not differentiate muscle from fat, but I record it anyway.
Body Fat %
Looks like my Body Fat % has edged up slightly, but my strength is also up and I'm still way below my 12 month rolling average. I can be happy with this.
 Blood Pressure
No Meds! This is all clean eating and cardio!
You can see how my weekly run mileage dropped sharply after Aprils Blue Ridge Half Marathon.
Cycling mileage dropped sharply after Mays Storming of Thunder Ridge
Swim mileage is up by just a hair, but hardly enough to mention.
All mileage including swim, bike, run, elliptical, walking and hiking. I've really been taking it kinda easy since May to encourage rest and maybe a few lbs of muscle growth. All in all it seems to be working.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

2012 Wintergreen Adventure Challenge

     I had always looked at obstacle courses and similarly styled events as a legitimate alternative to the trail and street races that usually fill my calendar. Still, I had never actually done one until July 1 2012 because I wasn't entirely sure how to adjust my training schedule to prepare for it. Multiple circumstances surrounding my participation in the 2012 Wintergreen Adventure Challenge set a very accommodating atmosphere for me to view this event with more focus on fun and much less focus on challenging myself to achieve some arbitrary performance standard.

     In race circles a common expression is how over half the battle is reaching the start line. Usually this references the above average injury potential associated with  high intensity endurance training for longer distance races. My overall fitness is not exactly peaking right now, but reaching the start line turned out to be a major challenge for other reasons. A massive storm swept through the area knocking out power to the host Inn we were staying at, consequently the event organizers decided to cancel the Saturday event and only run the course on Sunday if power came back on.

     We had only planned to spend 2 nights at the resort, so our plan was to just buy our meals as we got hungry. With no electricity the restaurants did not open. Multiple sources informed us that it could be days before power was restored to some areas. Having spent a miserable night sleeping on the floor next to an open screen door and then waking up hungry with no accessible food, followed by the cancellation announcement...we decided to pack it up and head back to our air conditioned house.

     The ride home was an adventure too. Many stores were without power and many that had power were having problems processing credit cards. We did find some fast food shortly before arriving back home.

     Finally, arriving at home, we just enjoyed being in the AC and chillin' out around the house. Then came the announcement that power had been restored at Wintergreen and that the Adventure Challenge for Sunday was looking highly likely. I considered driving up Sunday morning to participate, but I called the hotel and they made me a sweet deal if I would come back and resume my previous reservations. We went for it.

     Turned out to be a huge adventure getting back to Wintergreen. Gas stations with no power, no gas, or operating on cash only made for a very high anxiety start to our journey. What should have been a 2 1/2 hour trip ended up taking 5 hours as we searched for gas and cash, then eventually decided to dine in town before setting out.

     Happy to say that Wintergreen's Mountain Inn was a super nice place to stay with the power on. We got a good nights sleep and I awoke ready to tackle the unknown stresses that participating in an obstacle course might present. 

     My strategy was to keep pace with Aaron C., who was doing the course with his wife Cheryl. He had done a Tough Mudder at this location and had a good idea of what to expect. We started with the 8:20 am wave and had a good time keeping a comfortable pace and tackling the obstacles as we got to 'em.

     I stayed disciplined in my strategy for the first 13 obstacles, but I just couldn't stop myself from wanting to test myself by running up the ski slopes. I never could go more than about 2/10ths of a mile before I had to fall back into a standard hiking pace, very humbling for a seasoned long distance trail runner like myself.

Click HERE for video.

     The 14th and the 16th obstacles were the big stamina zappers. I have ran so many miles over the years that it was almost inconceivable that terrain existed that could slow me down to what I'll estimate as a 30 minute mile. These 2 ski slopes were no joke. Just hiking it represented a huge challenge.

     I finished the 7 mile course in about 5 hours. I wasn't racing it at all and I don't need an "official" time. I suspect a hard steady effort could probably yield me a 3 1/2 hour time, but I don't see me ever doing it for time. I do recommend this course for anybody into endurance events though as I found it to be quite challenging and humbling. A great "just finish" event where time should be of no consequence. Do it with friends and/or family and just have fun with it.

     I will wrap up with a big "thanks" to the volunteers who were very courteous and attentive with plenty of water and bananas at the aid stations. As a suggestion I hope that in future years the event directors might see fit to add a few more food choices at every other aid station and a sports drink option at at least one aid station.