Tag Archive: Vacation


It’s always nice to revisit the past and while most people pull out old pictures and the like, most Crossfitters do workouts from the past.
Today was one of those days and as per the usual ritual at our box before the official Open workouts we have one day per week that we do last years workouts. This year it is every Friday for the next 5 weeks, last year it was on a Wednesday.
13.1 for those who don’t know, don’t remember or care to remember was a 17 minute couplet of burpees and snatches.
40 burpees to a 6″ target above your hands when your arms are over head, then 30 snatches(75/45/45), 30 burpees, 30 snatches(135/75/75), 20 burpees, 30 snatches(165/100/75), 10 burpees and finally as many reps as possible of snatches(210/120/120) – the numbers in brackets indicating the weights for men, women and masters men divisions(which is my division) and your score is the total number of reps you complete. Last year my score was 139.
I did not know how I would do this time around. I had slept in, 2 hours longer than usual, and almost was late for work, did not have my usual breakfast, thank goodness for the magic bullet I have in my desk at work and was able to whip up something healthy to scarf down before 10am. Thinking about the workout I thought of how I did last year and where I could have possibly made up some reps and had a plan.

The plan – “Don’t go out fast as I suck at burpees and that will kill me and don’t waste time on the light weight snatches.”

It worked! I may have been the last finishing the burpees but I finished the snatches second(another member beat me by a few reps). I did the first round of snatches in set of 15, 10, and 5, then back at the burpees. By the time it was over I had completed the 20 burpees and was changing the weights to 100lb when the 17 minute cap was reached. Total score was 150 beating my last one by 11 reps.

Maybe I am finally realizing what I have to do to improve, which is mobilize, and take “REAL” active rest days that focus on skills and technique. I have had a number of setbacks in 2013, have not worked on any real aerobic type stuff and I still beat my score from last year. I have changed only 2 things, diet and mobilization, nothing else and yet I beat my score from last year. Can you tell I am ecstatic with this improvement! This bodes well for me in the future and now I have to stick to the plan. Next week will be 13.2 and that one was a triplet of shoulder to overhead, deadlifts and box jumps.

Let see how that blast from the past works out.
Now I have to figure out this weight loss part maybe the diet part will start working in a few more weeks.

Remember to stick to the plan.

The last few days have been a real roller coaster for me. Right now I feel like I got the crap knocked out of me with the workouts this week. That should not be a surprise as I did mention in an earlier posting that the serious season will be starting up. We got the first warning when the post on the gym site stated not to do the strength rotation before the WOD. That is usually a great harbinger of nasty things waiting for you when you arrive. So far the two WOD’s have been ones that on paper you say “that can’t be that hard” and then when you have completed the first round you feel like it will be a long workout if you kept that pace up.

On Tuesday I almost puked after the workout and that is the closest that I came to feeling like that. The WOD today was a simple 3 minute AMRAP of a 3-6-9 set and then we had to do 5 cycles of this fun bad boy. I can tell you I was not a pretty site when I finished today.

The good part of the roller coaster has been the loss of weight and the increase in speed on some of the events. I have seen in 30 days since starting my wheat/gluten-free lifestyle. I have lost 7.4 lbs during the 30 days and have not had the usual craving for something to stuff my face into after I finish eating for the night. The loss of approximately 2 lbs per week is very encouraging as I don’t want to drop pounds like I was bulimic or anorexic. Ideally if I can keep up the number up around 1 pound per week in one year I would have lost 52 lbs.

The speed at which I now move if measured against my pre-W/G free time period has improved so now I don’t look like the geriatric in the gym. Do I expect to be on the same level with some of the people at the gym? not really, but I am not going to give up because it is the younger people that makes me want to go harder when the workout starts.

My goal for the crossfit games this coming year is to get into the top 200. I know even that will be putting me through my paces as I have to get a few movements completed i.e., skipping, pullups, toes to bar or I will be dropping like a stone out of the standings when we start the games probably in February 2013.

With the weight loss I have found that moving during the WOD is getting easier and the AMRAP workouts are much less tiring since changing my diet. I have had people at work stop, and ask me questions about the diet I am on and what I do after work. When I mention I workout doing Crossfit they just give me the blank stare as they try to figure out how and why am I doing that crazy type of workout and then the diet that eliminates bread made from wheat, all I get is “ooh! I can’t do that, no bread and working out”. All I can say after that is “how bad do you want to lose weight?” if you are serious then you will find time to prepare the food and get to the gym and work the diet like most of the diets out there, which is try it and if it starts working then maybe you need to get more information and start considering it, if it doesn’t work then don’t do it.

 

Here it is the first post of 2012. I was going to write something silly about New Years celebrating and all that, but after going to our new larger, spacious gym location I found out that the Crossfit Games 2012 are starting earlier than last year. It is now time for me to figure out where I stand and what needs to be improved.

I know I have a long road, as I have some definite weaknesses that will put a wrench in my spokes, however I have improved on some and will work that much harder on some of the simpler things (almost made me laugh out loud as nothing is simple) that I should be able to do and have not mastered, i.e., double unders, unassisted pull-ups, overhead squats (hell, just squats).

On the upside our new location is looking great and it will be a treat not doing wall balls standing in the street with temperatures around -10C (not that you noticed the temp with your legs burning). I do know that some of the people will enjoy the high ceilings when doing muscle ups so they will not have to bend their head forward to accommodate the low ceiling and when finished we will even have some lanes to do wind sprints. AWESOME!!

I hope that your 2012 New Year will be as good as my 2011, which was unbelievable. Last year at this time my wife was in the hospital with a revision being done on her hip, I was at 250 pounds, taking medication for high blood pressure and was hurting like hell from just 6 weeks at Crossfit Saint John by the end of 2011, my wife is walking without assistance and working out at the gym with me, I have lost 50 lbs, don’t take medication for high blood pressure, have travelled with my wife to Paris and to Thailand and am still sore from working out (but I love it).

Happy New Year.

Yes, it has been a bit since the last post, about 7-10 days, however I have a valid reason, I am injured. Nothing life threatening just a small slice on the right ring finger. As the title of this post says, injuries are a bitch but they are worse when they are stupid ones. No, I did not do this at the gym but where most accidents happen, the kitchen.

I was not paying attention to what I was doing plus I did not take proper precautions, when using the mandolin to slice potatoes for Au Gratin Potatoes. Good news, no potatoes were harmed and the gratin came out wonderfully. The bad news was that I could not type for a few days and workouts were a bit of a challenge, since we do a lot of olympic style lifting and hands are important for holding the bar. Luckily for me most of the workouts involved movements that did not require a lot of grip strength.

This tells me one thing, I need another vacation. I have started to enquire at work how the sabbatical program works and what I will be required to pay every week to take a year off. This would provide me with the ability to travel and get paid as usual. Maybe more people should check into what their employers have in place for a sabbatical.

As for the workouts I have started on a slightly different approach. I am cutting back the weights so that I can work on form more. This will help develop better technique for the future. If I am going to get to the Crossfit Games I will have to meet the standards that they have for how a movement is to be completed and counted. No point doing things twice as some things are bad just doing it once.

That is the update for today. Tomorrow I will be trying to beat my personal record of one double under in skipping rope so I think my Tourette’s will be acting again. Now that will be interesting…

Still feeling the after vacation blues after a week, though not as bad as the first day back. The workouts at the gym have a way of making you feel better even though your body is asking for forgiveness. I think that may the be the only thing that makes coming back to the cold worthwhile, other than the cats of course. This week has been rather bleak weather wise with not much sun and lots of cloud cover. In response to this I am looking at the vacation pictures of the great sunsets and sunny days that happened every day.

Karon Sunset - Phuket Thailand

These sunsets happened every night except for one where we had one of those monsoon rains that drop enough water to have four or five inches of water on the ground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At work we are now having the usual fundraising and donations that happen every year at this time and is it just me or does it seem to start earlier every year. Man, do I need a vacation…

Crashing surf - a restful sound

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other thing that I miss from any warm climate vacation is the colour that is so abundant in many tropical locations. I knew I was home as soon as I saw the drab greens, browns and black that the people wear in the northern climes. Even the basic beach umbrella is more colourful. This abundance of colour, from the flora and fauna to the clothes and even the food, lift the spirtit and make you feel better. If you dont think so, try a small experiment at work or with your friends. Wear something that is a bright colour, dont be outlandish, and see how people react. I bet they will smile and lets face it, it sort of gives you more energy and makes you feel happy.

Colourful Umbrellas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In another week or so I will have to get back into the workouts big time. I noticed during this last workout that I had some issues with weight that should not provide me too much trouble. That means I need to refocus on doing the Wendler Strength workout twice a week. Additionally we are having a 100 burpee per day challenge until the 25th of December and I have not signed up however I should make an effort to get some in to make room for the turkey that will be consumed that day.

 

One of the reasons that we decided to go to Phuket, actually it was just me, was that I wanted to go to a sun destination. The decision for this was made after having an enjoyable trip to Paris in April, however the weather when we arrived back home in New Brunswick Canada was not that great. We had 15C to 21C temperatures  in Paris and came back to temperatures hovering around 5C to 8C. My wife explained that she was not to keen on going to the Caribbean as we lived there for 4 years and it would be the same old, same old and it would be the same if we went to Florida, Las Vegas or any other U.S. southern destination.

After a few seconds of thought I said, “Let’s go to Thailand at the end of the year. We like the food, I heard that the beaches are great and we have not been there.” and at that point the decision was made. Little did I know I made a fantastic decision. The summer sucked big time in New Brunswick and the trip was even better, and it cheered both of us up leaving the dreary weather conditions at home.

The first thing we both did on arriving was take a quick shower and head to the beach as it was only 10am when we checked in to the room. It was a great decision even after 35 hours of flying and waiting. The reviews of the hotel location said that it was only a 5 minute walk to the beach and they were correct. We changed and went to where the sound of the waves were coming from, and lo and behold, a beach that went on for miles.

Karon Beach looking towards the south

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karon Beach looking towards the North

 

 

 

 

All the beaches were different as I think I mentioned it previously in another postiing. Karon Beach had big breakers and Kata Beach was more of a family beach with surf that did not want to beat you silly. Some of the outer islands had white sandy beaches, others had golden sand, and at all of the beaches the sand made a squeaking noise when you walked on the sand.

 

 

Below are some pics from the beach, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did when walking along them.

A View of Karon Beach from the @Beach Restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rows of chairs and umbrellas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun on the beach - some is going Parasailing

Soaking up the Vitamin D

 

The vacation is over, literally. The big welcome back to remind us that we weren’t in Thailand any longer was the foot of snow on the ground in Saint John from a large storm front that came up the eastern seaboard like a child on a temper tantrum after it has been told that they cannot do that because it is not officially winter until Dec 20/21. Mother Nature needs to get her kids in line, why are we getting walloped and not the little snot of a storm front. I mean, I do my part for the environment so should I not get some consideration for my effort. Come on Nature get with the program.

I am suffering from the apres vacation hangover. It is similar to the drink hangover, you feel like shit the next day as you realize that you should not have stopped drinking to avoid the hangover or you should not have done so much. To make matters worse, instead of just chilling for the fours days I had before work, I decide to go in to the gym to do a workout. I swear I had a hat on to keep the sun from baking my brain like a pizza.

confirmation that I had a hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The workout nearly killed me and it was a team event. Holy Crap, my body felt horrible, and the funny thing is our team had the best time for the workout for the whole day. During the workout when it was getting a bit rough on me, I kept thinking “why did I come back?” Then I heard this god awful noise and realized it was me breathing (not dead yet).  I need to get back to the beach where my only worry was making sure I did not step on the little beach crabs that run around on the beach.

My original goal with this blog was to track my progress towards qualifying for the Crossfit Games in 2012. At this point I am not even close to having some skillsets that I need to make this happen. That is not a problem, as I am a whole lot closer than when I started on this quest. It is the ultimate goal, but that does not mean I cannot have fun along the way. I mean I will be 55 in 2012 and I have placed myself in the best shape I have been in such a long time that I might as well forget what I did in the distant past.

This is now and I look forward to the future, dont dwell on the past as that I cannot change.

I have found that writing on different subjects makes me happy. I get to voice my opinion on what I think and no one can tell me otherwise. So expect a different take on things in the future on this blog, yes, I will post some things in regards to my progress, but realistically I wont be ready for the Games until 2013.

The last few days I have been slowly getting back to daily life around the workplace. It is a germ infested cesspool from people who send their children to daycare where all manner of germs mingle and become a super strain and then the parents bring that crap to work with them. Man, I need to go to HR as complain that they are in my scent zone whenever they decide they need my limited expertise.

Eventually I will become another Winston (Orwell 1984) and looks for ways to avoid Big Brother. December is another month and one can only hope for a sunny day.

 

I think I have gotten over the depression that sets in after coming back from a great vacation and knowing that eventually you will be sitting back in that cubicle at work wondering how to escape for the next one. Unfortunately that wont happen for at least a another year. North American work values are more Orwellian in nature. Big Brother wants you to work even while you are on vacation. It’s like the world will end if you don’t show up for work for more than 2-3 days. Maybe they need to take a vacation, in Europe, some countries have laws that say you must have 6 weeks PAID vacation minimum.

What are we missing here? Why can’t we have a global company wide vacation policy. My company is a global company that sponsors a FIA World Championship Motorcycle Team, and has employees in more countries than I care to think about. So why could we not have a standard vacation based on, if the minimum vacation is 6 weeks in some countries then why cannot I have 6 weeks. Do they not do the same thing I do?

Any way I am getting off topic. I was thinking about Thailand – the land of smiles and they are not kidding, even the Airport says it is the Airport of Smiles. The Thai people are some of the friendliest people I have met, always willing to answer questions, apologize if they cannot help you, and always with a smile. It is like I was in a Star Trek scene where Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty had to find out who Landrew was as everyone smiled and continued on.

Well, enough of that. Here are some more pictures that should make you smile or want to kill me if you are experiencing anything less than 25C temperatures.

Surf at Karon Beach

 

The surf rolling in on our first visit to the beach. It was such a nice site to see and the temperature (big sigh) never changed daytime 32C  – nighttime it was 25C and about once a week it would rain somewhere in Phuket and if you were lucky it was not where you were.

 

 

 

 

Me getting toasted by an 8 foot swell

 

Here I am about to be crushed by an 8 foot swell that just broke in front of me. You learn real fast to dive into them. I got caught with one that just about knocked the wind out of me. Felt like someone just decided to punch me in the stomach. Today would have been a great day for bodyboarding if I knew how to do it.

 

 

 

Fresh Daily Seafood - Prawn as big as Lobster

You just got to love going to eat fresh seafood every day cooked Thai Style. Yes, eat off the Thai menu as it is less expensive than American/European Style. Don’t ask me why, as it’s the same food, you just pay more.

Don’t you just love the size of those shrimp/prawn – same size as a lobster tail for less.

 

 

 

 

Long Tailed Boats at Kata Beach

These are the famous long-tailed boats. They were at Kata Beach which is the next beach over from Karon Beach. They are here as the surf is more gentle which was great for MP as Karon Beach would have taken her hips apart with their action.

These boats are here to take tourists away for 3-5 hours on tours around the Island of Phuket and there are many locations to visit and all are distinctive and unique.

 

 

 

The Elephant Man or Mahout

This is the Mahout or the elephant handler. As you can see – they smile and who wouldn’t if your work involved riding elephants all day. This was the start of the elephant trek through the forest we took. It is roughly around 3000 feet up the side of the mountain in a rubber plantation. We had some spectacular views looking out to Phuket Harbour (see below) and saw a neat tree spider. I believe his name was Tuuk and the elephant was around 30 years old, just hitting mid-life as they do live up to 50 years.

 

 

 

View to Phuket Harbour from atop an elephant

The view to Phuket Harbour. Trying to take pictures from the back of a moving elephant is quite the challenge as they have quite to sway. Now I know why the Mahoot sits where he does, he has less movement sitting behind the neck.

 

 

 

 

 

Tree Spider

The neat tree spider. I have no idea how bad the venom would be as all spiders have some sort of venom but like most people I was not going to let it get on me and provide a sample.

It was probably just as scared of us on an elephant as it skittered away down the tree pretty fast.

 

 

 

 

A Sunset in Thailand

This is the final pic of the day and I thought it would be fitting to have a Sunset. This vista happened on a regular basis and I don’t think I could get tired of it.

Tomorrow will be a beach day.

The trip to Thailand was to say the least, fantastic, wonderful, amazing and of course much needed. The only thing I would change and that is a maybe, is the date. The February blues for people in the Northern climes would be a great time to do a trip to Thailand especially Phuket Island and I would pick the second week of February and take three weeks that way I would be coming back in March and then spring does not seem that far away. Good reasoning I think. I mean what do you prefer:

This

Or this

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will not be writing much and just post some pics to make some people envious.

The Grand Palace

Roofs at the Grand Palace

Sunset on the first day

The postcard shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Beach Hotel amd Restaurant

 

Krabi and Elephant Safari

Took a bit of a break to enjoy the wonderful weather and take a trip to the Province of Krabi in Thailand. The elephant safari was great as we did a number of things on the tour including riding a cart pulled by a water buffalo in a rice paddy, then did some rice crushing, different things with coconuts and finally riding an elephant through some jungle around 3000 feet up a mountain. What can I say the Thai people certainly know how to entertain and they are all so polite.

I bought a large mortar and pestle that I have been trying to find for a long time to no avail, guess I had to travel half way across the planet to find something that will do the work I want to put it through. The nice thing about it was that after purchasing the item, which weighed about 5-7 pounds the workers carried it for the rest of the tour until we got back to go for the sunset dinner cruise. The weather was perfect, again, and sunset was another great one. I Know I am effusing about the weather but when it never changes by more than 2 or 3 degrees, it certainly marks a drastic change from the weather back home which can change in five minutes from rain to wind to sun, plus 10 to -3 or whatever, you get the picture.

There is only one thing that I can say about the trip to Krabi, wait for me to come back to post pictures. The scenery is just like the movies show it. I will not be recognizable at work or the gym as I will be 10 shades darker than when I left. I will also now be held accountable to make Pad Thai for the crew at the gym. I know there will be a few things that I will make that will bring sheer joy to a few people. If you like coconut cream or milk I have some new things to whip up.