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Apr. 17th, 2014

Manhole

(no subject)

It's been almost a month since I've posted. Oops. Seems like my social media platforms are shifting, though I've been on LJ in some form for the better part of a decade. (Or, uh, more.)

So, here are five relevant things from the interim time:

(1) Bought our tickets home. We'll be back for good on May 9th, in the late evening. Powerful urges for home have set in, now that it's gotten close--but I also know I'm going to miss my CF box pretty fiercely, so I am sad about that.

(2) I have finished a draft of the thesis (60 pages / 19,000 words or so). So, from here til the end I have [1] revisions on the thesis and [2] two essays for class to complete. That's it. The long slog is almost over; I can see light on the horizon; etc. Of course, there's one more year of teaching and courses and writing at UofL when I get back, before -->

(3) I'm definitely taking a year off from academia and, if that works out, quitting the process for good. There are plenty of jobs that a person with two MAs can get in a university; I don't have to leave the culture or the community just because I might not ever pursue a PhD. I have a few people to talk to about my options, in this direction, and some thinking to do.

(4) Liverpool has been remarkably good for letting me get a taste of what the PhD process would be like: the relocation, the stress, the isolation, the continued grind on nerves that have been shot for a good three years now, etc. It has made me very sure I need the time off.

(5) I fractured my big toe, around where it joins the foot-proper. I dropped an empty barbell on it from chest height. Which, so you know, is excruciating. I'm on light duty for the next few weeks while it heals: have to do any olympic lifting with no jump, feet locked in place; no box jumps or running or jumping rope, etc. But I can still lift nice and heavy, and I can scale crossfit around the toes issue, so. I'm not couch bound. (I was for the first five days or so and it almost drove me insane.)

Mar. 15th, 2014

Manhole

(no subject)

The to-do list that preceded thesis work has been vanquished: essays and talks written, books reviewed, magazine work tackled. So, this week has signaled the start of the thesis-specific to-do list: lots more research reading, plus writing at least the introduction and an outline in the next week or week and a half.

I've been keeping up the close-to-book-a-day pace on the research this week; I've also gotten about 1,000 words drafted (though admittedly like 350 of those are just part of a later chapter that I got down in rough when an structural idea occurred to me). The introduction, if I work a bit per day while also finishing the research, should be done on schedule. Then there are four reasonably sized chapters to complete. Though the requirement is a minimum of 15k, I suspect this one will clock in around 20k, which is a range I work well at. (The Russ thesis was 21k.)

There has been... some panic, yes. Some rough days. But as of yesterday, there are only eight weeks left. Plenty to do during those eight weeks, but spring is approaching, and with it, home.

*

Regular CrossFit classes have been, by the way, a delight. I've been tackling fresh skills left and right, testing endurance and conditioning in more varied and intense ways, et cetera. It's a good group, too--the folks are friendly, open, and encouraging.

I regret not testing in sooner. If I'd had my mental game together over the fall semester, and been training properly, I would have been up to where I needed to be around, oh, December. Hindsight. In fact, if there's one thing I'll miss, it'll be this gym and the group there. Good coaching, solid companionship, fun work.

Feb. 22nd, 2014

Manhole

Log Week 2/16-2/22

Managed to have both of my feet cramp at once after standing up a squat wrong/awkwardly on Tuesday--so, that was unpleasant, and cut the day off short. Otherwise, a fairly straightforward work week: went a little heavier on bench, did some 5x5 deadlifts at 80%, etc.

The first two warmish days have been this week; I think it's no coincidence that I've started to feel like my volume is low and my body could do more-more-more. Slogging through the winter hibernation is tough, but with the onset of spring also comes a certain animal drive to be doing stuff all the time. I welcome it.

Also, I think I'll be retaking the CF assessment next weekend.

Log Week 2/16-2/22Collapse )
Tags: ,

Feb. 16th, 2014

Manhole

Log Week 2/9-2/15

Hit new squat and deadlift PRs this week; since there's no CF this weekend, I decided I could go a little heavier for fun and not have to worry about being too beat up at the end of the week's cycle. (I also failed a heavy squat and had to do the roll of shame out from under the bar, but so it goes.)

Trying to stay on track to retake the CF assessment at the end of the month. I need to shave a minute off of my conditioning time, and also get my endurance up on strict pushups.

Log Week 2/9-2/15Collapse )
Tags: ,

Feb. 8th, 2014

Manhole

Log Week 2/2-2/8

A decent-to-mediocre week; work getting done, but none of it exciting or fancy. I kept to last week's squat weight and tried to work on form--I did manage to mostly cull the lean to the left I was noticing, though I think there's a mild imbalance in strength between those two legs that only comes out when the weight's heavy. The answer: more single-leg work.

Oh, and I got in some time on the heavy bag. I was agitated as all fuck, and the room was empty, and--well. I didn't wear gloves. It was more important that I get in the time, trust me. Should have seen the bruises that blossomed out over my knuckles by that night! The pain was pleasant and appropriate--that dull ache with a raw overtone at the skin level--while I was hitting the bag, so it's no problem. My hands just aren't particularly tough. The bruises have shaded into a sort of pale tan-yellow now, but they were very visible for a couple of days.

I did ask, though, yesterday, about borrowing the gym's gloves next time. The staff member was amused. So was I.

Log Week 2/2-2/8Collapse )

Feb. 3rd, 2014

Manhole

Log Week 1/25-1/31

This was a positive week, namely because the workout of the day in CF last Saturday was a repeat of the "conditioning test" I failed when I initially took the assessment for the regular CF classes. And I shaved 2:30 off of my time between those two performances, so--yeah. 2:30. I often feel like I'm going nowhere fast with regards to my competence at CrossFit, but that's quite a drastic improvement.

Otherwise, had some minor squatting issues last week? So I'll likely stick to that weight this week, and pay extra special attention to standing up symmetrically; I favor the left side a bit sometimes when things get heavy, which makes my leg ache and cramp. No fun.

Week 1/25-1/31Collapse )

Jan. 23rd, 2014

Manhole

(no subject)

Hit a deadlift PR this week; first one in a long while.

It might have been an even bigger PR, except I tried to make a 5kg jump (from 80kg/176lbs to 85kg/187lbs)--forgetting that kg are heavier than pounds, and I should have done a 2.5kg jump. That one, I couldn't hit. I did get it off the ground but I couldn't clear the knees to stand it up.

Also, when I let it drop on the second fail, it sort of felt like I'd been kicked in the brain. And that was that for the day, more or less. But I still feel good about the PR.

Log Week 1/18-1/24Collapse )

Jan. 16th, 2014

Manhole

(no subject)

Back to the grind.

I've started a four day training schedule again: Mon/Tues/Wed for strength and Saturdays for CrossFit & Olympic lifting. I intend to keep this or accelerate it further throughout the semester, and see if I can hit some of my goals by the time summer rolls around and I'm back home. (Goals include: 200lbs+ deadlift, 165lbs squat, 135lbs bench press. Pull-ups.)

So, without further ado, more logs.

Logs from 1/8-1/15Collapse )

Dec. 11th, 2013

Manhole

(no subject)

Nearly finished with the last essay I need to have done before we head home; there's a messy draft, and today I intend to neaten it up as much as possible. This isn't the actual end of the semester's writing, weirdly, because one of the seminars' assessments aren't due until the end of January. However--as is probably obvious--I won't even be looking at/thinking about those until we're back in the UK. It'll give me something to focus on for those adaptation weeks so I don't entirely lose my shit.

*

I had some deep, intense sports therapy massage yesterday to start dealing with the inflexibility problem. My calf is still tender to the touch this morning, a sort of sweet-sore ache. On the positive side, the therapist said that she frequently sees calf/ankle issues in athletes and lifters because nobody likes to work on their calves--they're boring and painful, and not great to mobilize. (Guilty, here.) On the negative side, she described the state of the insides of my lower leg as sort of like a gummed-up block instead of a series of small and functional attached parts. Lots of adhesion to work through.

Apparently if you develop a lot of muscle mass, quickly, and don't mobilize it correctly and consistently, you have Problems. Surprise.

I'll obviously be doing more sessions when we come back from the break. We found several trigger points that were so bad she almost couldn't work on them; the worst was a tie between the side of my calf into the ankle/heel area or the back of my calf attaching to the Achilles and junk. (Probably going to come down on that last one: the sensation that my calf muscle was about to cramp so bad it would explode was very unpleasant, and that was what happened with the lower/Achilles area.) I was sweating and shaking by the end of the session. Super unpleasant, but super useful.

Dec. 8th, 2013

Manhole

Log Week 12/1-12/7

One thing I will say about how good this CF box is: they encourage--nay, expect--you to be doing a strength training program rather than simply "all CrossFit all the time." Of course, this is straight-up obvious to most folks who are doing CF who aren't from HQ, but still. Along with their focus on mobility, pre-habilitation, and strict standards for entry into their regular classes, I think this is probably a model CF box. Also, great coaching.

We have found a Problem, though. Once I fixed my footwork for the jerk, after lots of practice, it was looking good--until the coach checked the angle from behind and realized that my leading knee is caving inwards rather than pushing out like it should be. That's, you know, bad. So we tried to fix it, only to discover that I can't move the right way. When he tried to gently push my knee to the correct angle, it made my entire calf down into my foot on the outside cramp up.

Apparently, that's a sign of severe inflexibility through the ankle and one of those tiny muscles in the calf. So I have a lot of mobility and massage and work to do, there. (Crap.)

Week 12/1-12/7Collapse )

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