Kicking Up Gravel

Friday, April 14 | Dupont Forest

I sent my BFF Brian a text Thursday evening asking if he’d like to go for a walk the following day. I was delighted when both he and his betrothed, Danielle, expressed their availability. We met at Dupont Forest at 9 and walked and talked for the next two hours. It was wonderful! The falls were incredible — and loud.

I enjoy discussing politics, religion, and even sports with Brian and Danielle, as we all agree the three topics are strongly intertwined. At least in NC.

Luke was exhausted. We nonetheless went for our evening walk! As I mentioned to Jeff, Luke is spoiled and we are spoiled. He’s such an awesome, well-behaved dog!

Saturday, April 15 | Effortless

The Ragnar race is just two weeks away, so I decided to go for a 4-mile run focusing on speed, turnover, and breathing. I parked in the last marked space at the trailhead (can’t remember the name) and began my run. The trails at the Experimental Forest are well worn and sometimes treacherous. Just the way I like it.

I’m still surprised by the thoughts that go through my mind whilst running…

But first, ’twas a glorious morning! There were quite a few times when, whilst glancing toward my surroundings, my breath was literally (and I don’t often use that word) taken away. I ♥ the mountains. I truly do.

I ran mostly uphill and as I approached 2 miles I thought, “Run 2.5 and make it a 5-mile run.”

And it continued…

“Run 3 and make it a 6-mile run.” Run 3.5 and make it a 7-mile run.” “Run 4 and make it an 8-mile run.” I continued to run mostly uphill. I also wasn’t carrying any water or nutrition. Uhm, and I hadn’t yet eaten breakfast. “You must turn around at 4.5 miles. A 9-mile run is long enough.”

I made myself stop at 4.5 miles, as I knew that the was the only way that I’d make myself physically turn around. Yes, I was enjoying the run that much! This is not to say that the run was easy, as when the course was on single trails (about 2/3) the terrain was undulating, there many exposed roots and rocks, and there was often a steep drop off.

And I loved every single moment.

As I had been running mostly uphill for 4.5 miles this meant that I got to run mostly downhill for 4.5 miles. There were times, however, when the terrain was difficult to navigate and the hill was steep; thus, I had to put on the brakes just a bit.

However, when I ran downhill on the service road I let it fly. Not literally, but at times I felt like I could actually fly. As if often the case, I had to yell “Runner up!” to far too many mountain bikers who, for whatever reason, felt compelled to take up the entire road.

Also whilst running downhill on the service road I began to hear a noise as if someone was approaching. The sound was made by gravel hitting the ground. Yes, I was kicking up gravel. So that’s where that expression comes from! Me!

Monday, April 17 | Mo’ Deadlifts

I slept until 7 and, as rain was in the forecast, took Luke for a 90-minute walk on the grounds of the Biltmore Estates. Luke enjoys walking, chewing sticks, occasionally running, and pooping and peeing.

I wasn’t looking forward this workout as (wait, what?) the metcon included components of strength. Uhm, what wasn’t listed was box jumps interspersed with deadlifts.

The coach had us warm up with a 1K row and then some dynamic stretching, including burpee broad jumps, bear crawls, and inch worms.

Uhm, I took my time with the row, focusing on proper form and breathing, and was nonetheless the second person off of the rower. Catch, drive, finish, recovery.

Strength/Skill Development
Deadlift (5 x 5)

1st set @75%. Maintain or progressively build in weight.

I warmed up to first set @ 235, then completed sets @ 245, 255, 265, & 275. Yup, that’d be the weight of the deadlifts for the 4th round of the metcon.

We completed 5 box jumps each set, and I jumped 30, 31, 33, 35, & 36″. The coach said, “Perfect. You’re landing in a squat with a nice, soft landing.” He later said, “Begin your jump with a wider stance.” I replied, “This stance works well for me.” I wouldn’t begin a jump with my feet wider than, at the most, shoulder-width, so why would I do so for a box jump?”

The coach encouraged me to jump on the padded boxes. I did so, completing an additional set of 5 reps @ 36″. I don’t like the less-than-solid landing.

Running total:
40 deadlifts
46 box jumps

CrossFit Games Open 14.3 (AMRAP – Reps)

8-Minute AMRAP:
10 Deadlifts, 135# / 95#
15 Box Jumps, 24″ / 20″
15 Deadlifts, 185# / 135#
15 Box Jumps, 24″ / 20″
20 Deadlifts, 225# / 155#
15 Box Jumps, 24″ / 20″
25 Deadlifts, 275# / 185#
15 Box Jumps, 24″ / 20″
30 Deadlifts, 315# / 205#
15 Box Jumps, 24″ / 20″
35 Deadlifts, 365# / 225#
15 Box Jumps, 24″ / 20″

I’ll admit that in my haste I didn’t read the title of the metcon nor the time cap. I was relieved that we’d only had to work 8 minutes. In the dark recesses of my mind I remember having completed the workout more than 3 years ago. I didn’t, however, remember my score. Given that I’m building strength, I knew that the 275# deadlifts were going to be a struggle.

I turned my back to everyone, as I wanted to work at my own pace. It appears that I was being watched even if I wasn’t watching others.

I completed all rounds of box jumps in unbroken, rebounding reps. I also completed rounds of 10 @ 135 and 15 @ 185 deadlifts in unbroken reps. I did, however, drop each and every deadlift @ 225 from the top.

The coach had suggested that we not use clips. The plates were really getting away from me so, after completing just 4 reps @ 225, I put on the clips.

Deadlifts at 275 felt incredibly heavy, and I was only able to complete 3 at the most and usually just completed 2 at a time. I. Was. Being. Watched. As I had my back to everyone how could I know? When I rested I’d glance to my right and left. I. Was. Being. Watched.

With just 5 seconds remaining I completed the 20th rep @ 275#.

Score = 110

Dammit. I just looked up my previous score and it was 110.

The coach congratulated me, as did many of the athletes. I wasn’t sure why, as my performance certainly wasn’t my best. I’m still recovering, folks!

Running total:
105 deadlifts
91 box jumps

Tuesday, April 18 | Shopping for Bikes

I was unable to attend any of the morning sessions due to house projects. I was, however, able to take Luke for a nice, long walk on bike trails in the Bent Creek Experiment Forest. We love it there!

I’ve been researching mountain bikes. My BFF recommends that I get a full suspension bike with 27.5 or 29 ties. He’s smart, so I trust him. One bike reviewer stated that it’s as much about where you buy the bike than it is about the bike itself. I kept that in mind.

I stopped by Motion City Bicycle Shop and looked a Specialized bikes. It’s a HUGE store, yet they had no bikes in my size. Dammit. The shop also felt very much like a department store. Whilst I didn’t have a negative experience, I also didn’t have a positive experience.

I next stopped by Carolina Fatz. What a world of difference! The salesperson spent more than 30 minutes with me explaining all of the components of the bikes. Sadly, they also didn’t have a bike in my size. Dammit. I did, however, have a very positive experience. The salesperson informed me that he was a technician, and that the only day the owner wasn’t at the store was on Tuesdays. He invited me to come back another day. I’m drawn to the Santa Cruz Tallboy, although I fear it’s a misnomer. Uhm, my BFF has a Santa Cruz.

Next up was the closest store, Asheville Street and Dirt, located near Biscuit Head on Haywood. The music was incredibly loud, and I had a difficult time having a conversation with the salesperson. In addition, they didn’t have a carbon bike with full suspension, and he was only able to show me pictures and specs from the website. He recommended the Pivot Mach 4 or the Transition Scout. Without being able to physically see the bikes, well, I’m not so sure. The shopping experience was mildly positive.

With a name like Beer City Bikes, you know you’re in for a treat! I was the only person at the store other than the salesperson, Zac. (I remember his name for obvious reasons.) I asked, “Is the store dog friendly?” Zac replied, “Yes!” Luke enjoyed visiting, and most enjoyed when the FedEx deliveryman gave him a treat. Again, no Focus bikes in my size. Zac also couldn’t locate a catalog, so we both ended up looking at bikes on our iPhones. I was surprised by how excited he became when I told him about the other bikes that I was looking at. Uhm, a had somewhat positive experience at the store but won’t be purchasing a bike there.

The last place I visited was Mustasheville Bikes. Get it? Mustache? The salesperson’s name is Jeff. (Again, an easy name to remember.) Jeff was exceedingly friendly, knowledgeable, and approachable. I later discovered that he’s also the owner. He warmly welcome Luke, and he let me know that his wife is involved with rescuing boxers. Jeff showed me a Scott box in my size! I plan on test driving tomorrow.

So, it’s likely that I’ll purchase a bike from Fatz or Mustasheville.

Back to CrossFit, I suppose.

Whilst I could’ve worked out a noon I instead waited until 5:30 — so that I could work out with Jeffy!

Strength/Skill Development
A: Squat Clean (20min. to build to today’s heavy single. )

 B: Double-Unders (2 attempts at max reps )

Jeff cleaned 230#! That reminds me: I need to make an appointment to see my dentist. I cleaned 160, 20# shy of all-time 1RM. I didn’t even attempt a heavier weight. I’m being smart, folks. You should try it.

I started round of double unders with a double under, telling myself I’d warm up and then attempt max reps. Twenty-five, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50. I can easily complete 50 double unders. I kept going. Fifty-five, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80. “Keep going,” I thought. Eight-five, 90, 95. “Your PR is 113. Keep going. Don’t fuck it up.” One hundred, 105, 100, 111, 112, 113, 114, and 115. A PR!

Uhm, I didn’t even consider attempting more than 115.


2000 m Row (Time)

I had little interest in completing a time trial, so I set one and only one goal: Finish in 8 minutes. I kept strokes per minute about 20, and took 3 breaths per stoke. A relatively easy row.

Time = 7:58.3

Hate isn’t an emotion I experience often. I hate Donald Trump. And his progeny as well.

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