Monday, September 26, 2011

Jr. High 5K

So my oldest son needed some extra credit. The only offered way to get it was to run a 5K. So Saturday morning, I found myself and my son at his Jr. High ready to run.

Now by saying I was ready to run, I meant I was up and dressed. I've been working out a lot, but I have not been doing much running. Occasionally we'll do a 3/4 mile run as part of a cardio day, but nothing more than that.

This was the Jr. High's first 5K, and they had about 50 people there, so not too shabby. We started at 7:30, and since it is now officially fall, the weather was perfect for a run.

We started the run, and I kept us at a moderate pace, not that I can get that speedy. My son wanted to run faster, and I told him he could, but he hung back with me. We ran about the first mile, then had to slow down and walk for a block. We then ran about another half mile, then began alternating running a block, walking a block. It was about this time that my son looked at me and said, "I'm glad we've kept this pace, I'm tired!"

For the most part, I let him dictate when we ran and when we walked. We hit a running block on one of the only uphill parts of the run, and he quickly decided that we would run to a fence a few houses up, then walk for a ways.

We finished in 38 minutes, which isn't great I know, but since we hadn't trained I felt pretty good about.

When I first started going to my gym, our trainer had us walk/run three miles on our own time, and record the time. That was back in March or April of this year. All I remember is that my wife kicked my but on that workout, and that my shins and lower back hurt so bad that I literally limped over the finish line. I also know that the track we walked wasn't exactly a quarter mile, so we didn't get in a full three miles. It took me one hour and five minutes to finish the three miles five months ago. So I'm looking at it like I improved 27 minutes on my time, with even a longer distance, without actually training. I'm happy.

Our gym was having a special train in the part on Saturday as well. I knew there would be some vendors there, and was interested in what was going on. We finished our race just in time to get to the workout, so I dragged my son along with me. I made him do half the workout, and then we got a recovery drink from Max Muscle. As we were driving home my son told me that he might like to go to the gym on Saturdays with us, because it was fun.

My son also had to a soccer game that afternoon. I believe that this is the most active he has ever been. It was great for him. On Sunday morning he crawled up the stairs, he really did. My oldest daughter was trying to help him stand up, but he insisted on crawling. He crawled in our room and told me his legs were too soar for him to go to church. That was when I got to have one of those moments with my child. It might be considered the male version of the, "Mom, I have an unclean feeling." Obviously the male versions are much less embarrassing, and only involve Icy Hot. I lathered his legs up, and he was surprised how quickly he could get up and walk around.

Anyway, no it's Monday morning, and I have moderately sore legs. I wonder if that is an omen for the rest of today? Hope not.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Super Ab H@$#!!!!

Oh my, that is all I can say. I got up for a nice workout, and received Ab punishment instead!

I walked into the gym and started stretching, but didn't really pay attention to the board. We were all talking, meaning everyone was complaining about how tired they were. Then Jason stepped aside and giggled. It's never a good sign when your trainer giggles.

Here was the workout:
TRX Three Ab Combo—30-30-30 (reps)
Power Wheel Three Ab Combo—30-30-30
Three Ab Combo—50-50-20
Swiss Ball Combo—20-20-20
Swiss Ball Passovers—20
Bosu 4 Point—30
One Leg Plan—45 Seconds Per Side
Bicycle Crunches—100
Exercise Band Jackknifes—30
Heavy Bag 4 Point—40
Medicine Ball Jackknifes—30
Band Side Lunge—20 Each Side
Dumbbell Side Plank—30 Each Side
Tire Sit & Slam—40

As of right now, my abs don't hurt. I can tell they will hurt, but I have officially reached the "numb" stage. Tomorrow I do not think I will be able to straighten my spine.

I've documented most of these exercises before, but there are a couple new ones, so here we go.

The Swiss Ball Combo (by the way, a Swiss Ball is just a big exercise ball that you can sit on) involves holding the exercise ball between your ankles and doing leg lifts. After that, you sit on the exercise ball, roll down onto your back, and then roll as far back as you can (basically you want the ball as close to your behind as possible while you can still support yourself.) You then do crunches. After completing those, you put your feet on the ball, with your hands in push-up position and do pikes. By the time I got to these, my pikes weren't stellar.

The Swiss Ball Passover involves the Swiss Ball (surprise!) You lay on your back, with your arms extended over your head, holding the Swiss Ball. You then jackknife your body upward, and pass the ball to your feet. You then return to laying down. Each time you pass the ball counts as one. The key to this exercise is to not bring your legs to far up, they should be just short of vertical. If you go too far, you pin your crunch down, so you don't get enough of a crunch.

I've discussed Bosu Four Points before, but I'll quickly revisit them. You place the platform on the ground, so the exercise ball portion is facing up. You position your lower back on the top of the Bosu. You then spread your arms and legs, and then crunch up. This is an amazing ab exercise. Love it!

Exercise Bank Jackknifes are pretty good, but I can't get the timing right yet. You lay down, and place a light weight exercise band under your feet. You then cross the bands, so the handles are on the opposite side of your body. You then bring do a jackknife, and bring your chest and legs up, while pulling the exercise band handles straight out to the side. I end up doing a situp, or leg lift, instead of a jackknife. The key to this exercise is similar to the Swiss Ball Passover, don't bring your legs up to high, or you can pin your crunch to the ground.

Heavy Bag Four Points are just like the Bosu, except laying on a heavy bag.

Medicine Ball Jackknifes are a newer exercise for us. Similar to other exercises, you lay on your back with your arms extended above your head. You hold a medicine ball in your hands, then bring your legs and chest up and touch the ball to your legs.

Band side lunges are like starting a lawnmower or snowmobile. You hook a heavy exercise band around a punching bag. You hold both of the handles together in both hands (grab them both in your right hand, then grab your right hand with your left hand.) You step straight to the side and twist your body while holding your arms straight out. It's almost like a row, but your focusing on the twist.

Dumbbell side planks involve getting in a side plank position up on your hand. You then take a light dumbbell (like a 15 pounder) and put it in front of you. You use your top hand, hold the dumbbell and extend your hand straight up. You have to focus on twisting your core as you go.

The tire sit & slam was pretty cool. We have a bunch of regular size tires at the gym. You put one against the wall, preferably a brick wall. You put your feet inside the tire against the wall. You lay outside the tire and hold a medicine ball. You then do a situp and throw the medicine ball against the wall and catch it at the top of the situp. It's a very "Rocky" kind of exercise, but it was good.

Well, as I rely on my chair back to support myself, I will think fondly of not doing this exercise routine again today. I wont say I will never do it again, or Jason will bring it back on Monday. Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wednesday morning

So I've been feeling I'll an haven't hit the gym much in the past week. I started feeling better on Tuesday, and went to the gym in the morning. Then because my brain wasn't working, I went again in the evening with my wife. It was a pretty good workout, and now I'm pretty sore. Some of the highlights from yesterday were inclined dumbbell press, preacher curls, and triceps skull crushers.

Last night, I was laying in bed, getting my youngest to sleep, when my youngest daughter walked into my room. She had been asleep for awhile, and I asked her what was up. She just looked up at me, and started pulling her pants down. I said, "Whoa! This is my bedroom, not the bathroom! Get in there." So she just walked toward my bed and started pulling her pants down. I had to jump up, and walk her into the bathroom.

Then during the night, my youngest woke up. He's been sick, and his asthma has been acting up. When he woke up, he got the iPad, and then proceeded to watch children's shows. Since he is autistic, he just likes to watch the title sequence and the closing credits. Let me tell you, PeeWee's Playhouse and Looney Tunes are not your friends at 4:30 a.m.

Since I was up, I decided to go to the gym. (I would have got up and gone anyway, but I was sore from hitting the gym twice yesterday.)

We've been doing some new exercises this week. This is cool, because it shakes it up a little bit. Today was no different.

We started off by doing 40 "Rope Butt Touch Squats". This sounds pretty funny. We have four ropes hanging from the walls. You grab on, scoot backwards, and squat until your rear-end touches the ground. You then do your squats with a small jump at the top.

We then did a "dumbbell crawl" for two lengths of our floor. We took a 15 pound weight in each hand. Then got down in a plank position. You then do a bear crawl, almost like a moving mountain climber. The hard part is the floor is Sports Court indoor flooring, that means it is slick. We couldn't slide the dumbbells. This was pretty hard, and draining.

The third exercise was 20 "Push-up side steps". This involves doing a push-up, and when you are at the top you move your right hand over to your left hand, then move your left hand apart. While doing so, you move your feet behind your body. Then do a push-up, then move back to the right. This helps with your chest strength, but adding the movement on the back helps to work the back and shoulder muscles.

We then did 30 dumbbell walking lunges. Pretty standard.

Then my favorite, said in a sarcastic voice, 20 Burpee Bag Jumps. This involves doing a burpee (push-up, jump into a squat, then jump upwards.) Instead of jumping strait up, you jump over a heavy bag to the side of you. Then just repeat. This drains your energy.

We then did 40 "Bosu 4 Points". This involves laying the Bosu down on it's platform. You position your back on the ball portion where your body balances. You then extend your arms and legs, and bring them together in a crunch. This is a great ab exercise. The first time my father-in-law did these, he complained about his stomach for days.

Then we did something I haven't done since high school, "Fly's". In fact we did three sets of ten of "Swiss ball dumbbell fly's". Jason told us that after the dumbbells are above your shoulder, continuing the fly inward doesn't work anything. His solution is to have you rotate your hands, so your pinky's are together, and squeeze inward like you are trying to touch your elbows together. I could feel the extra work from the squeeze.

We then utilized the one machine we have in the gym, something which I have not used in the eight months I've been going there. We have a leg extension machine. Jason is worried that some of the muscles in your quadriceps do not get as much work from the strait squats and things we do. He wanted to make sure that all of the quads developed. The weight was "trainer's choice". When I asked how much he wanted me to do, his answer was, "The amount that lets you do 10-15 reps at one time." I ended up using 70 pounds, which I could get 15 reps at a time from. When I stood up from this, my legs kind of buckled!

We then did 100 mountain climbers with our feet in the TRX straps. I could only get 60 at a time.

We then did a new type of row, 40 reps of "band side lunge and rows". We hooked a heavy band around a punching bag. You stand with both of the handles together. You lunge to the side, and while in the lunge do a row. It kind of looks like starting a snowmobile. You alternate sides.

We then did 30 reps of dead lifts. We have these beams we use that are around 80 pounds. As an interesting aside, the last time we did this one of the ladies in the 6 a.m. class cried.

Now for the new, funky exercise. We did a one-minute "Medicine Ball Balance". This involved having two medicine balls. You put your hands on one, and your feet on the other and do a plank. I was actually able to do this, and so were a couple of the other guys. Most people found this pretty difficult because of the balance aspect. It's hard to balance on two balls like that. We had two minutes to try this, and if we couldn't complete it at that time, we moved on.

Now we moved on to kill our shoulders. We did 30-30-30 dumbbell circles. This involved just using five pound dumbbells. You stand in a T shape, and with your palms facing down, and your arms tight, move your hands in forward circles from the shoulders. We then turned our hands so the thumb were facing up and did 30 more circles, this time backwards. We then bent at the waist and turned our pinky's up, and did 30 more forward circles. It was tough, especially the last set.

Then to finish the core, we did 20 Power Wheel extensions. Grab the handles of the Power Wheel, get on your knees, and push forward from the hips. Once you have extended as far forward as you can, you pull back using your abs. And finally we did 35 leg lifts. If your legs go past vertical you start exercising your hips. So we get our legs vertical, and then give a little hop/crunch. This gives you a great ab workout.

Needless to say, I am tired. I think I'll spend the rest of the day being sore in my cubicle.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New project

My wife came home the other day and told me that I was going to help build a table. Now I really like carpentry, but this took me by surprise.

It turns out that her mother wants a table for the kids to sit at when we have a meal at their house. She now has 14 grandchildren, and she wanted to be able to seat them all. She envisioned it being for her birthday, but wanted to get started on it. She had a picture of a table that she liked. It was an older shaker/farm table.

First step, I took some measurements and drew up some plans. I knew she wanted to be "cost effective", so I thought we could make it out of Douglas Fir. I priced this table out right around $100. The table is big at eight feet long, and just under four feet wide. To put this into perspective, many tables you see in stores are around four to five feet long, and 30 inches wide.

The mother-in-law liked it, but I think the father-in-law was more concerned with how he could store this massive table when it was not in use. He liked the idea of built-in seating, so I drew up a new plan that would be the same size, but a trestle table. The trestle table has legs in the middle, instead of at the edges. Since we are building in bench seating, the legs will be able to slide under the bench, and we can tuck the table into the corner. This table should be a little cheaper to build, but I like it as it has an Arts & Crafts feel to it, not that I don't like Shaker. I don't have the final drawing of this, but here is an early version. The final version has a split upright leg. The legs are very "chunky" at three inches square. This is going to be a heavy table.

Monday, my father-in-law wanted to do something fun, so we started working on the table. He kept asking me what he should be doing as I worked on the table. I would do the layout, and he would make the cuts for me. That's nice, not to mention the amount of sawdust I made, and it wasn't in my shop!

This photo is the accumulated sawdust from thickness planing the top. We took it down about a quarter inch. We started with 6/4 stock, and now have a 5/4 top. With the beefy legs, the thick top should look good. Plus, since this is a table for kids, they probably wont be able to move it too much.

My wife took some photos, I'll get them and upload them later. My father-in-law was surprised that I was using Mortise and Tenon joinery as he had never made this joint before. I figured if you are going for an Arts & Crafts look you should use the right joints. I am going to take some short cuts and use my pocket hole jig for the top glue up.

We got quite a bit done on Monday. We put the two leg assemblies together. I still have to cut four more mortises for the cross member on the bottom. Then I have to make the matching tenons on the cross brace. The good news is that I thickness planed the cross brace to the size of the mortises, so I just have to use a jig-saw to complete the tenon. These are through tenons, so you will be able to see the end-grain of the cross brace. I'm still debating if I will put a "knock-down" peg through the end, but as I like the look it will probably happen.

After that it is just gluing up the top, and attaching the two. I see a lot of sanding in my future, and they still haven't decided how they want the finish to look.

After seeing this table, my wife has told me I will be building another one in the near future.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Seen on the train

So the camera on my phone is not the greatest, but pictured above is a student on their way to the U. He has a razor scooter and an Ewok in the side of his backpack. I'm going to guess computer science, engineering, or theatre major.

I was also privy to seeing three men on the train platform wearing guns, badges on their belts, and black t-shirts with "TSA Inspector" on the back. They were standing in a circle talking, not much inspecting going on. I wonder if they were there for Amtrack.