Of Stings & (ham)Strings

funny thing happened at work around 6:00 in the morning…I got stung by a wasp on the inside of my right upper arm. So that wasn’t exactly funny, except that being a barista doesn’t typically come with the risk of insect stings. It has been a very long time since I was last stung, as in my last sting was when I was young enough to forget all about it, even though I had a severe allergic reaction. Or perhaps I forgot because of the reaction!

Despite the allergy, I went through most of my life without further stings and without carrying an Epi-pen. When I was still a runner, I decided that I should probably carry an Epi-pen, because I ran by myself and sometimes encountered wasps and bees along the way. I never needed to use my safety net, and eventually my doctor hooked me up with testing to see if I was even still allergic. Two or three years ago I had a multitude of scratches inflicted all over my forearm to see if I was allergic to all varieties of flying, stinging insects. The result was that I was fine. Sometimes you can outgrow an allergy. Today I was glad that I was no longer allergic. My co-worker was also glad! But gosh darn it, does my arm ever hurt! Even now nearly 12 hours later, that spot on my arm is literally stinging with pain. Okay, so I’ve certainly experienced more painful things in my life, but why does a tiny little pest need to cause so much pain? Had I known that the wasp was crawling around on my shirt, I would have just brushed it off and gone on with my day. Instead, I had no idea it was on me until it stung me, and then I brushed it off and crushed it beneath my foot. I don’t even feel bad about that.

A sting, a crazy work day, and then a training session at the gym…

1. competition bench press (2-2×0) 5-7 reps

warm up: 45 lbs x 8, 65 x 8, 85 x 5

main event: 95 lbs x 7, 95 x 7, 95 x 7

2. competition squats (3-0x0) 5-7 reps

warm up: 45 lbs x 8, 95 x 7

main event: 135 lbs x 7, 135 x 7, 135 x 7

Today I had to focus on keeping the bar properly positioned over midfoot. I think the bar path was better than earlier in the week.

3. close grip bench press (3-1×0) 6-8 reps

95 lbs x 7, 95 x 6, 95 x 6

I’m not going to lie, but these felt a little tough after the fourth rep.

4a. back extensions 12-15 reps

x 12, x 13

4b. leg raises 12-15 reps

x 15, x 15

Somehow these last two exercises are always the most challenging. It’s not that they are particularly difficult…they just suck. I’ve been doing stiff-legged deadlifts every week on day 2 for the past 7 weeks, which means that my hamstrings are sore by the time I get to day 3, which means that the back extensions take that hamstring soreness and inflict more pain. Each set starts out feeling easy, but that is a complete lie. The leg raises have been challenging because of my lower back issues; however, as the back has been improving, the discomfort in doing the leg raises has decreased. To a degree. Still, I’d rather be squatting…

 

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10 Hours?!

It’s almost as if my body is gunning for new personal records when it comes to how many hours of sleep it can get while still being physically exhausted. I was yawning by 3pm yesterday. Last night I had 10 hours of sleep. Yes, I said TEN! While sleep is as precious to me as the ring is to Gollum, ten hours of sleep is excessive and not my normal. The trend of waking up reluctantly and still in need of sleep continues. It is now 11:00am, and I desperately want to close my eyes for a long winter’s nap, which would be quite easy to do since I am already practically horizontal. But I start work in two hours. I could be, should be productive with my time between now and then. Ha!

The only thing that did get me out of bed this morning was the fact that I had to go to the gym. At this point, I don’t think I am sick enough to skip going to the gym; however, I feel sick enough to recognize that my performance might be impacted.

1. competition bench (2-2×0) 5-7 reps

warm up: 45 lbs x 8, 65 x 7

main event: 90 lbs x 7, 90 x 7, 90 x 7

These felt solid today and easier than Thursday’s bench at the same weight. Of course, Thursday’s sets had a different tempo (3-1×0), which could possibly explain the tougher feeling; however, the pause was longer today. I don’t know! Today was a good bench day, I guess.

2. competition squat (3-0x0) 5-7 reps

warm up: 45 lbs x 8, 95 x 7

main event: 125 lbs x 7, 125 x 7, 125 x 7

The working sets today were 20 pounds heavier than the previous weeks, so I was anticipating a more difficult experience than what I had. The warm up sets felt okay, but the first working set actually felt better than the warm ups. Of course, the weight wasn’t really all that heavy. Sometimes I have to remind myself of what I can actually do.

3. close grip bench (3-1×0) 6-8 reps

90 lbs x 8, 90 x 8, 90 x 8

These were also decent today, although probably an RPE of 8/9 by the final rep each set.

4a. back extensions

x 13, x 12

4b. leg raises

x 15, x 12

Whatever battle is going on inside of my body, I sure hope it resolves itself before Day 1 of next week’s training week. Day 1 tends to be the day that takes the longest amount of time to complete and takes the most out of me physically. Actually, I’m thinking of pushing Monday’s training to Tuesday again next week, because Monday is a holiday. I start work earlier than usual that day and the gym’s hours are reduced, which would mean I’d be rushed and stressed trying to get my training done before work. Right now, I think I can squeeze in a short nap before work…I need it.

Wrestling Wifi

I’m blogging later than I had hoped to be tonight. Really, I’d much rather be procrastinating about getting myself ready for bed so I could get sufficient hours of sleep before my open shift in the morning; however, I’ve only been home for the past half hour and I spent all of that time trying to resolve a problem with my laptop’s ability to connect to most websites. I had no problem connecting to Facebook or Gmail or updating my training log on googledocs, but I could not connect to any other site. The problem started last night, but I didn’t want to spend all night messing around more than I did. I’m not a super techie person, but I’m not too afraid to poke around until I find something that works. I finally got everything working, I think, so now I can blog about tonight’s training before rushing myself into bed.

1. wide grip bench (2-2×0)

warm up: 45 lbs x 6, 65 x 5, 85 x 3

main event: 90 lbs x 5, 90 x 5, 90 x 5

2. high bar squats (3-0x0)

warm up: 45 lbs x 7, 95 x 7

main event: 105 lbs x 7, 105 x 7

3. close grip bench (3-1×0)

80 lbs x 8, 80 x 8

4a. back extensions x 15

4b. leg raises x 15

This is the end of my deload week, so there was less volume. Everything is generally feeling good. The left knee is still feeling wonky off and on, but I’ve got some exercises to do that should eventually work it out. The back still doesn’t feel perfect, but I’m able to arch with more ease as I’m setting up for my bench presses. I’ll take progress like that!

Fleeing the City

I am currently sitting in a motel room in Hope after consuming a delicious, late dinner at an Italian restaurant across the street. My husband had previously made plans for us to go to Harrison for the weekend to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Before he left for work this morning he said he’d really like to leave today and spend the night in Hope. Even though I am generally the sort of person who likes carefully laid plans, I am still able to be flexible and fly by the seat of my pants…even if I’m praying the entire way that we’ll be able to find an available hotel room! We did. It’s nothing fancy, but we have a king-sized bed and I’m drinking some wine out of a small glass that was wrapped in paper on the bathroom counter. And all of this is perfectly lovely! We aren’t high-faluting kind of people and, when this is your first kid-free, sporting event-free, multi-night trip away from home as a couple, well, let’s just say that we’re grinning like idiots. The rest of our weekend should be a little bit fancier, at least the hotel room, but we shall have a good time regardless.

Since we had already planned on heading out Friday morning, I knew that I’d need to get my final training session of the week done today. My work day was short and sweet, and I was at the gym within a half hour of finishing work.

1. wide grip bench press (2-2×0) 4 sets @6-10 reps

warm up: 45 lbs x 10, 65 x 6, 85 x 5

main event: 90 lbs x 10, 95 x 10, 90 x 9, 90 x 7

Surprisingly enough, the back was probably the least achy while arching in several weeks, which was nice and enabled me to pretty much do my normal bench set-up.

2. high bar squats (3-0x0) 3 sets @8-12 reps

warm up: 45 lbs x 6, 95 x 6

main event: 105 lbs x 11, 105 x 12, 105 x 8

Something is going on with my left leg/knee, sporadically and annoyingly. It began to be a bother again during these squats, mostly as I’d finish each rep and lock it out. Even with walking later it would randomly hurt. <sigh>

3. close grip bench (3-1×0) 2 sets @8-12

80 lbs x 11, 80 x 8

4a. back extensions

x 12, x 12, x 12

4b. leg raises

x 12, x 12, x 12

The leg raises were less of a bother on the back today as well! Can I call that progress?

 

Friday Fatigued?

It’s been a rather good day. With my current work schedule, Fridays are my Mondays. I don’t often get too caught up in negative feelings about particular days of the week. Sure I look forward to my weekends as much as anyone else, but Mondays have the same potential to be good days as any other day of the week. I slept okay last night but was awake more than asleep for at least an hour before my alarm, which isn’t a good thing when the alarm is set for 4:45 AM, but I got out of bed feeling mostly rested and ready for the day. Work was good, a smooth day with lots of laughter and connections. After work I hit the gym for my final session of week 3. This week was about incurring fatigue; however, for the most part, I felt stronger this week than I have for a while.

1. wide grip bench press (2-2×0)

warm up: 45 lbs x 8, 65 x 6, 85 x 4

main event: 100 lbs x 6, 100 x 6, 100 x 6, 100 x 6

2. high bar squats (3-0x0)

warm up: 45 lbs x 7, 65 x 5

main event: 95 lbs x 12, 95 x 12, 95 x 12

3. close grip bench (3-1×0)

75 lbs x 12, 75 x 11

4a. 45 degree back extensions

x 12, x 12, x 12

4b. leg raises

x 12, x 12, x 10

End of Week 2

I have now completed week 2 of my new training program, and I’m happy to say that this week was better than the first in several ways. I felt stronger. My reps felt and looked better, and there has been less muscle soreness.

1. wide grip bench press (2-2×0)

warm up: 45 lbs x 8, 65 x 6, 85 x 5

main event: 95 lbs x 6, 95 x 6, 95 x 6, 95 x 5

2. high bar squats (3-0x0)

warm up: 45 lbs x 8, 65 x 8

main event: 90 x 10, 90 x 10, 90 x 10

3. close grip bench (3-1×0)

70 lbs x 12, 70 x 9

I kept my feet on the bench for the second set, because the back was feeling achy with the arching.

4a. 45-degree back extensions

x 12, x 10, x 8

4b. leg raises

x 12, x 8, x 6

The leg raises were very uncomfortable on the back, which is why the reps dropped so drastically. But I think it was a good session overall.

Week One Done

The low back has been quite achy since Thursday’s deadlift session.  While still not as bad as it has been previously, I am frustrated by this reappearance and doing what I can to attack it. As I was warming up at the gym this morning, the ache and discomfort persisted and made me wonder how I’d be able to do my squat sets when I could barely do a body weight squat.

1. wide grip bench press (2-2×0)

warm up: 45 lbs x 6, 65 x 5, 85 x 4, 95 x 4

main event: 110 x 3, 110 x 3, 110 x 3, 110 x 2

The back discomfort made arching uncomfortable, so I minimized my arch during the warm up sets by having my feet on the bench…barely since the benches are not very long. I don’t like to do heavy sets without the use of my legs though, so I put my feet down and had a small arch for the working sets. Even then, I was a little slow getting up after each set.

2. high bar squats (3-0x0)

warm up: 45 x 8, 65 x 10

main event: 90 x 10, 90 x 8, 90 x 8

The weight was light, but the slower eccentric and higher reps made these sets anything but easy. The back was less bothered than it was doing body weight squats earlier, but it still wasn’t completely normal.

3. close grip bench press (3-1×0)

65 lbs x 12, 65 x 12

These were done with my feet on the bench again because of the back.

4a. back extensions

x 12, x 12, x 8

4b. leg raises

x 12 , x 10, x 8

The back extensions actually felt good on the low back, but my hamstrings were screaming in agony. The leg raises, however, were like torture on the back.

Week one of the new program is complete.