Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Nibble of Nara

The first time this year I've been on the Nara trails. Kirsten dragged me out there. I wanted to just sit around all day. Kirsten knew I needed to get off my butt and get outside. She was right, of course.

We skated the Nara, Ridge, Royalewood, Tanglewood and Homestead loops. With the combination of being leaner, stronger and a bit better technically, the many downhills were not too tough to handle. Last year, I didn't enjoy them at all. Uphills were still draining, but I'm getting up them more efficiently. I can do more hills before stopping and the recovery is faster. I still don't know if the Bear Chase goal is in reach, but both Kirsten and I have made great progress nonetheless.

Heres the data:
Name:A Nibble of Nara
Date:Jan 31, 2010 4:25 pm
Distance:5.85 kilometers
Elapsed Time:54:38.9
Avg Speed:6.4 km/h
Max Speed:25.2 km/h
Avg Pace:09' 21" per km
Min Altitude:130 m
Max Altitude:181 m
Start Time:2010-01-31T21:25:59Z
Start Location:
Latitude:47.102974º N
Longitude:88.518232º W
End Time:2010-01-31T22:20:38Z
End Location:
Latitude:47.102939º N
Longitude:88.518274º W

Click on this link to display the track in Google Maps. This link will be valid until Mar 2, 2010 3:06 PM PST.



Saturday, January 30, 2010

Just a little practice

First, a short ski. Kirsten went farther than I did, adding another 2.4k. Then home to review the 9 Basic Movements of Crossfit. We'll be attending a level 1 certification in a couple of weeks, so we reviewed some of the material.

Ski data:
Name:Just a Little Practice
Date:Jan 30, 2010 5:20 pm
Distance:2.96 kilometers
Elapsed Time:21:11.9
Avg Speed:8.4 km/h
Max Speed:16.5 km/h
Avg Pace:07' 10" per km
Min Altitude:222 m
Max Altitude:258 m
Start Time:2010-01-30T22:20:17Z
Start Location:
Latitude:47.107440º N
Longitude:88.552173º W
End Time:2010-01-30T22:41:29Z
End Location:
Latitude:47.107329º N
Longitude:88.552287º W

Click on this link to display the track in Google Maps. This link will be valid until Mar 1, 2010 2:49 PM PST.



Thursday, January 28, 2010

G.I. Jane & wax helps!

Today, a quick ski warmup. Short, easy loop, once around the wax hill and home. It shouldn't matter that it's only 4 degrees out and I last waxed for temps in the 30's, should it? Holy cats! It felt like the skis had brakes on them! We had to V2 going downhill! The last time I waxed for snow this cold things went much better. I guess I'll have to plan ahead for the next time.

The WOD was G.I. Jane, scaled.
Kirsten did 35 burpee-pullups in a time of 9:58. She was great!
I did 20 burpee-jumping pullups, using the small box. Time 4:06. Still taking things a little easy.

All for now.


Charles (with Kirsten and Baxter the Workout Kitty)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weights and Puppy "Lynne" WOD

We wanted to do some strength work, so we did 5 x 5 reps of deadlifts and shoulder presses. I came down with a cold yesterday, so I did minimal heavy breathing stuff. While I set up stuff, I sent Kirsten out for a short run. Some mobility work and we're ready to go.

CW 55, 65, 95, 115, 125
KW 45, 65, 75, 95, 95
Shoulder Press
CW 35, 45, 50, 55, 65
KW 35, 45, 45, 45, 50

WOD "Lynne" scaled for puppies is 5 rounds of max reps of pullups and pushups. After doing the weights, I had Kirsten do 3 rounds. Because I am so pitiful, I only did 2 rounds, jumping the pullups off a short box. Kirsten hit a new PR on her first set of pullups (woo-haa!)
Here's the scores (pullups/pushups)




Sunday, January 24, 2010

The 3 Bears

Saturday and time for another long ski at Swedetown. Adding Papa Bear to what we did last week gave us all 3 bear loops and an extra 3k. The conditions were a bit slower, but I felt good about our progress as a result of our lessons. (Thanks Kari and Eric!)

Here's the data:
Name:The 3 Bears
Date:Jan 23, 2010 11:15 am
Distance:12.4 kilometers
Elapsed Time:1:18:50
Avg Speed:9.5 km/h
Max Speed:22.3 km/h
Avg Pace:06' 21" per km
Min Altitude:249 m
Max Altitude:332 m
Start Time:2010-01-23T16:15:51Z
Start Location:
Latitude:47.238504º N
Longitude:88.465428º W
End Time:2010-01-23T17:34:41Z
End Location:
Latitude:47.238434º N
Longitude:88.464995º W

Click on this link to display the track in Google Maps. This link will be valid until Feb 22, 2010 9:42 AM PST.



Saturday, January 23, 2010

So Much To Learn

Last Wednesday night we went out with good friend Kari Lyle. Besides skiing herself, Kari has been studying coaching and is coaching with Ski Tigers. Boy, I wish I had something like that when I was a kid! Kari took us through the fundamentals of body position and balance. Emphasis was on weight transfer to a flat ski. We finished up on the gradual downhill at the end of the Oak loop, coasting as long as possible on each leg.

Friday night we had our first lesson with MTU Nordic Ski Club member Eric Volk. A freshman from Minnesota, Eric watched us ski, then would pick out a thing for us to change to improve. We went up the wax hill seven or eight times, each time adding another detail. Sort of like building an onion one layer at a time. Of course, with enough new things to work on, the earlier stuff falls off. We'll have to practice to get everything to fire at once. By the end, it felt like I used something like fifteen to twenty percent less steps to get up the hill. Cool! We finished up on the end of the Oak Loop doing... wait for it... V2 long glide drills. Great Minds think alike!

Here's the list of things we worked on, mostly on uphills:

Wider skis/knees

drive forward with the knees push skis into glide.

much lower stance

side crunch onto V1 pole

Arms closer to sides

Poles plant behind foot

Hips over toes (poles behind back in crook of elbows drill)

Keep elbow angle locked until near the end.

V2 long glide drill

Big thanks go to Kari and Eric for helping us work towards our goal. At the end, I asked Eric if he thought we would reach our goal of skiing the Bear Chase 26k skate. He said, "There's hope." Very encouraging. "There's always hope;" less encouraging... ;^)



Sunday, January 17, 2010

2 out of 3 bears ain't bad.

First, a correction: The movie quote about faith and common sense in yesterday's post came from "Miracle on 34th Street," not "It's a Wonderful Life." Around that time of year, stuff gets all smooshed together in my mind. And now, on with the post...

Today, all our workout partners fell through, so again we went to Swedetown, just the two of us.
Longer trail, but easier. We took the Valley Trail, Greenstone, Mama Bear & Baby Bear Loops; About 10k all together. Mostly V2 and V2 alternate on the way out, more V1 on the way in.

Temp this weekend has been above freezing, with below freezing nights. Snow has been icy, packed and moist or slushy. Yesterday was medium to medium fast. Today I'd say was medium.

Only one true hill on Baby Bear, not tall but fairly steep. I made it a point to continue after cresting it. Overall, it felt pretty good. We could both ski continuously with only a couple of breaks for water.

Good friend Kari Lyle had some great ideas for our training. I was thinking a lot about weight transfer to a flat ski. I've been working on arranging some lessons in technique for us, too. More on that another time. Here's the data:
Name:2 outta 3 ain't bad!
Date:Jan 17, 2010 2:42 pm
Distance:9.77 kilometers
Elapsed Time:59:17.1
Avg Speed:9.9 km/h
Max Speed:26.5 km/h
Avg Pace:06' 04" per km
Min Altitude:270 m
Max Altitude:319 m
Start Time:2010-01-17T19:42:40Z
Start Location:
Latitude:47.238308º N
Longitude:88.465035º W
End Time:2010-01-17T20:41:57Z
End Location:
Latitude:47.237956º N
Longitude:88.464952º W

Click on this link to display the track in Google Maps. This link will be valid until Feb 16, 2010 1:15 PM PST.



Saturday, January 16, 2010

Blind Faith

We missed all the excitement today; the 13K race in Houghton, the Ski Tigers in action at Swedetown. We arrived at Swedetown just as the kids were leaving. My goal today was to ski the tougher loops from the Bear Chase, Powderhouse and Birch (Marked Red Jacket on
this map.) These loops are part of the Bear Chase, though not arranged in the same way. Add to that the trip to and from town and the Bears and Greenstone and you have the Bear Chase. My goal is to complete the freestyle 26K on March 13.

Today's loops were about the toughest thing in the Bear Chase; downhills with turns, uphill climbing, some steep. Positives:
1. I handled downhills much better today, taking much more speed up the next uphill.
2. My climbing was better than it's ever been; technique is improving and so is stamina.
3. When presented with some easier terrain(Cedar,) I was able to recover and ski some more.

On the downside:
1. I have to stop after every big hill. They were exhausting!
2. There is still lots of room for technique improvement.

So, Goals to work on:

1. Long, flat workouts. Do the Bears and see if I can skate over the longer, easier terrain.
2. Work on stamina with weight bearing met-con workouts and skiing, medium length.
3. Lessons. The Michigan Tech Nordic Ski Club is offering lessons for the community at large. Kirsten and I took the Intermediate skate lessons last year. It would be great to get some knowledgeable eyes on our technique and show us where we can improve.
4. More consistent workouts. This may be hard.

At the last hill, I couldn't manage a V1; I herringboned most of it, with a little of that alternate poling thing (can't recall the name.) Later, I looked at my average pace. Over the 26k course, that would work out to almost 4 hours! Last year the slowest time for men was 2h, 18m, 26s; for women it was 2h, 25m, 7s. I realize that I should have a faster pace on the easier sections, but at the time, I felt like I wouldn't have any steam for the flatter parts of the course. It seems an impossible goal sometimes.

I'll keep working at it, even though I can't see the end or if I can even get there. I've got two reasons to give you:
1. Like the guy in "It's A Wonderful Life" said,
Faith is believing in something even when common sense tells you not to.
2. Even if I don't reach my goal, I'll be a lot further on than if I didn't try.

Here's the data. I forgot to turn the timer on until we'd done the first two hills of Powderhouse:
Name:Powderhouse & Birch
Date:Jan 16, 2010 3:24 pm
Distance:7.89 kilometers
Elapsed Time:1:09:42
Avg Speed:6.8 km/h
Max Speed:23.4 km/h
Avg Pace:08' 50" per km
Min Altitude:280 m
Max Altitude:342 m
Start Time:2010-01-16T20:24:33Z
Start Location:
Latitude:47.237540º N
Longitude:88.470112º W
End Time:2010-01-16T21:34:16Z
End Location:
Latitude:47.238598º N
Longitude:88.465393º W

Click on this link to display the track in Google Maps. This link will be valid until Feb 15, 2010 6:07 PM PST.



Monday, January 11, 2010

A Morning WOD

Three rounds for time of:
5 Muscle-up progressions (squat)
25 Squats

Just Charles today. Time: 4:35.

I'm a loooooooooooooooong way from a true muscleup. I did feel good about doing the whole thing without stopping. Except at the end, of course.



Sunday, January 10, 2010

What goes down...

...Must come back up if we are to get back to where we parked the car.

Kirsten's cold is getting better, my back is getting better, so we thought we should get in some skiing. Yesterday classic on a small loop - the Birch Loop; .5k, I didn' t get a time. Just to shake out the bones. Today we did the Balsam/Maple loop. Balsam's downhills were fun; Maple starts to get into the downhills that turn at the bottom. Of course the faster you can take them the less work you have to do on the following uphill. There's a couple of them to make life interesting.

The downhills were a bit intimidating for me, but success! No crashes. Several pauses on the way up to catch my breath, though. This was Kirsten's second visit to Maple loop; after starting out by telling me she might not be on her best form, she scooted right along, finishing well ahead of me by the end and in good spirits.

I tried the lower stance in the V1. It made some difference, but the steeper uphills seemed to negate that. I suppose practice will tell.

Here's the data:
Name:Balsam/Maple Loops
Date:Jan 10, 2010 3:25 pm
Distance:2.61 kilometers
Elapsed Time:25:48.2
Avg Speed:6.1 km/h
Max Speed:15.2 km/h
Avg Pace:09' 53" per km
Min Altitude:120 m
Max Altitude:232 m
Start Time:2010-01-10T20:25:57Z
Start Location:
Latitude:47.107819º N
Longitude:88.550870º W
End Time:2010-01-10T20:51:45Z
End Location:
Latitude:47.107454º N
Longitude:88.552198º W

Click on this link to display the track in Google Maps. This link will be valid until Feb 9, 2010 12:59 PM PST.



Tuesday, January 5, 2010

4 x double pole intervals or Who's Jealous Now?

Kirsten's down today with a cold. Rest, liquids, bundled up and watching "A Christmas Story" again. I took the opportunity to do one of the ski workouts that I missed before. Love those lighted trails!

Double poling only, up and down the Straightaway on the Oak Loop at MTU Trails (map.)
the GPS thingy says .35k each interval, 35m climb. (that seems a bit much.) It's 5 light poles from bottom to top. A 1 minute break between intervals.

It took right around 2 minutes to go up, but only 1 minute to come down!

Here's the GPS thingy data:

Name:4 x double pole intervals
Date:Jan 5, 2010 6:22 pm
Distance:1.38 kilometers
Elapsed Time:09:05.6
Avg Speed:9.1 km/h
Max Speed:9.9 km/h
Avg Pace:06' 34" per km
Min Altitude:220 m
Max Altitude:255 m

Start Time:2010-01-05T23:22:00Z
Start Location:
Latitude:47.106748º N
Longitude:88.552682º W
End Time:2010-01-05T23:31:06Z
End Location:
Latitude:47.106712º N
Longitude:88.552278º W

Click on this link to display the track in Google Maps. This link will be valid until Feb 4, 2010 3:44 PM PST.



Monday, January 4, 2010

CF WOD Mini-Cindy

12 minutes, as many rounds as possible of:
5 pullups
10 pushups
15 squats
CW 4 rounds, green band assist, no kips.
KW 6 rounds + 5 pullups

I made sure to just go steady, still easing back into life. It was fun and it got tough enough for now. Kirsten's kipping pullups look cool!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Skidder Loop Time Trial

O.k. Getting back into working out, not too much too soon, though. Today was a scaled CFE workout; an uphill time trial. We used the Skidder Loop at MTU Trails (map:JPG.) After a quick warmup scooping the driveway, we headed over to the trails. The downhill leg was fun to ski. Then we stopped at the bottom and prepared for the grind uphill.

It was almost all uphill back to the Core Loop. After the other day I was worried but determined to do the whole thing. With faster snow conditions it turned out to be quite do-able; not quite as difficult as a 10-minute metcon. That's how I approached it - steady rate, pause every once in a while to catch my breath and back into it. Very cool.

What I learned: at least in V1 uphill, I may do better with my hips lower down. Sort of a Groucho Marx approach to skiing. ;^=)

CW in 10:45
KW in about 9:45

My phone has a gizmo with a new feature; I can upload a GPS tracked workout. I sent it to my email address so I could copy it to here. There's lots of info, a photo of us, even a link to a map of our exploit. Let's hope it works! Here goes...

Where we've been:

Name:Skidder TT
Date:Jan 3, 2010 3:13 pm
Distance:0.82 kilometers
Elapsed Time:10:45.6
Avg Speed:4.6 km/h
Max Speed:4.9 km/h
Avg Pace:13' 04" per km
Min Altitude:167 m
Max Altitude:217 m
Start Time:2010-01-03T20:13:18Z
Start Location:
Latitude:47.105533º N
Longitude:88.537868º W
End Time:2010-01-03T20:24:04Z
End Location:
Latitude:47.106008º N
Longitude:88.547356º W

Click on this link to display the track in Google Maps. This link will be valid until Feb 2, 2010 1:46 PM PST.

The picture didn't come across, so I've uploaded it for you. Kirsten's baby blues are too cute to miss!



Friday, January 1, 2010

The Weather Outside...

But the skiing was so delightful! After a week of resting and stretching, I was going crazy.
Kirsten and I drove up to Swedetown for a couple of loops. Len's Loop and Pine Loop. (Map: Large file for viewing) A few hills here and there, they kind of wiped me out. Technique and conditioning. Kirsten, of course, had no trouble after yesterday's much steeper hills. I'm so far behind! Here I am wondering if I'll be up to my goal of doing the Bear Chase 26K, while Kirsten is contemplating a 13K race in a couple of weeks.

At times like this, I just have to put my head down and stick to the plan. Going forward is the way to reach a goal and I'll surely improve whether I reach my goal or not.

Temp. 8F
Wind 15-20mph
Snow 1 inch powder over groomed, medium slow.
2.52K in 24:17.

My back ached less after going skiing than before, so I count that as good. Stretch and ice after, of course. I'll have to remember to really ease back into working out, though.

Tonight we've got the stove going, and the fire is so delightful!