Thursday, July 28, 2011


Progress in a strength program comes in fits and spurts. Kettlebells have been an interesting journey over the year I have trained with them. The past 6 months there have been ups and downs. Some weeks I can feel my strength in every part of me, other weeks picking up the 12kg bell seems heavy when it usually feels like a peanut to me.

But today...huge progress. Huge. I retested my 100 kettlebell snatches (you have 5 mins to attain 100) for the RKC snatch test. 16kg is the prescribed weight for a woman my size (>123 pounds). I can only use chalk for the test. I actually didn't know this prior to the test and thought I could use chalk or tape if I wanted to so I was well taped...ooops...but since the test is now at the end...if my hands are dead be it. The snatch test has been moved to used to be on Friday. This means that after 3 days of being beat down I get to do the snatch test. Sounds like fun...not.

But the last time I tested and passed the snatch test was about 5 weeks ago. You have 5 minutes to get 100 kettlebell snatches. 5 weeks ago = 4:54. This morning:


I totally crushed my goal times. 4:15 was a STRETCH goal...a post RKC goal...not a 5 week later goal. I was HOPING that maybe I could go sub 4:30 this round. But holy cow...

The thing is in the past few weeks I have FOCUSED on technique. Not a lot of high reps, just perfect reps. A few weeks ago we saw that I was 'casting' the bell a little bit too far out on the down swing. This in turn was causing pinching and callous issues on my hands. By adjusting my elbow a little bit I can now do the 'cast and catch' technique a little better and it seems I am saving my energy too. This time around just felt easier...yes I'm 5 weeks fitter, but it just seemed easier too. My HR didn't feel like it got into the high 170s/low 180s (that is total redline for me) which I know it did last time. If I were to guess, I'm guessing it was in the mid 160s/low 170s. The thing about when your HR gets high and you are swinging a heavy weight around the brain messes with you. That was the other thing I was more controlled about. My little brain was in the ZONE. I just kept calm and focused, my pace barely waivered and I didn't get nervous. When you get tired near the end the tendency is to get nervous and start using bad form.

The other thing. No resting. No wanting to rest. No putting the bell down. A few times I could start to feel the fatigue set in so I knocked the pace down a bit, but 4:15 is a pretty solid pace and time.

What's amazing is to see how far in 6 months I have come with just consistent work. Consistency is really key. I was laughing with my trainer this morning because he said: lifting weights is easy...just pick them up and put them down a bunch of times. And do it over and over. ;-)

One full week and a bit of heavy focused training and then partial taper for a week (lighter weight and a little lower volume) and full taper for the week after (mini workouts, but nothing crazy). Can't believe it is almost here. I'm excited.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

6 weeks and counting

That's it...6 weeks til my RKC...which really means 4 weeks of training and 2 weeks of taper. Or one week of psudeo taper and the other week of real taper. HOW does one taper for something like an RKC?? Guess I'll follow the same principle as a race...lower volume...keep the intensity.

Just got back from a small stuck back in my hometown due to plane delays but finally got in today. Found a few kettlebells when I was home at various gyms, but found ONE proper kettlebell gym and the owner was MORE than generous with letting me train there. That was nice because all the other kettlebells I found in town sucked. I tore parts of one finger up due to the roughness of one of the bells. Not a happy girl.

But hit a PR that is BIG to me. Going into the RKC one thing I have to pass are 2 x 16kg bell presses for 5 reps. Apparently women can drop down a weight for the press if they need to, but I WANTED to do the right weights. I could get to about 3 reps and then maybe half of a 4th...but that was it. I managed it not one time but two times!! Very exciting. I changed my feet position a bit which helped. I need a little bit more of a narrow stance it seems.

Plan from here out is 3 days on, one day off, 2 days on (predominately swing and snatch practice) one day off. One of my off days will = yoga the other will be OFF. The 3 days on are to mimic what it will be like at the RKC. Three days in a row of swing, clean, press, TGU, snatch, front squat. I will rotate with weights, some days heavier some days lighter...and try to practice outside. Motto being: Nothing new on race day. (The RKC is outside)

Between now and RKC, I do plan to do 2 more tests of 100 snatches under 5 mins. One of those is in a week. Both will be 'legal' with just chalk or tape. That would help boost the confidence going into the weekend.

Getting that nervousness that is like getting ready for an A race...focused, but a few butterflies flying around.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

And the new number is...

Practice test #2...100 kettelbell snatches in 4:52 minutes with the 16kg bell. RKC...i'm one step closer. 8 weeks to go.

I tested with some small knit gloves and I cannot do my actual test with them. Only chalk or tape. So from now until the RKC that's all it will be about...chalk and tape when I'm doing my kettlebell snatches. It's just hard to tape your hands when you train by yourself, but I am teaching myself and have purchased both johnson and johnson Zonas athletic tape as well as johnson and johnson Coach athletic tape. Difference? Zonas is supposed to be tougher adhesive and I couldn't figure out if it had Zinc Oxide (which a random blog about the RKC mentioned you wanted tape with Zinc Oxide in it...why?? I have no idea...but I"m trusting tribal knowlege on these things right now) in it or not...which is why i bought the Coach tape. So the ultimate question is what's the difference? I don't know yet. Haven't noticed much difference. But CVS brand athletic tape SUCKS. The adhesive will get all over your bell and stay there and the coefficient of friction on the tape is higher so while the J&J brands aren't perfect the bell does slide a little easier (not much) over the tape.

Still tricky with tape though. Tape bunches and still get hot spots on my hands...but it is forcing me to try to use the cast and catch technique which really just moves the callouses on your hands to your fingers. Those are actually a little easier to work with and don't hurt so bad when you rip them. Yes that is a WHEN not if statement. You will rip your hands from time to time. Just try not to do it too much. I file those callouses down regularly to try to save my hands from ripping.

And a rant about chalk. I would LOVE it if someone could intellectually explain why chalk is good for doing kettlebell snatches...repetitively. It makes no sense to me. I think i use the chalk to make the adhesive parts of my tape less sticky...not so much for my hands. But chalk are to HELP your grip...not make it lower friction. Climbers use it to hold on tighter to the rock...powerlifters use it to...GRIP THE BAR. So WHY would I want to use it for something that is repetitive like a snatch test?? I can understand a really heavy bell that you are only doing one or two snatches with, but...something that makes your hands sweat (hence you then make paste) and also increases your grip...which means MORE hotspots on your hands...not less. The callouses on my hands are because I can't get the bell off my palms fast enough. I don't want to increase that. I have tried putting it on the tip of my fingers and on the tape (to decrease the tacky factor of the adhesive...while chalk is a friction promoter...not as bad as tape adhesive). Confusing to me. I'm still playing with it...but intellectually it doesn't make any sense to me.

And on a non-kettlebell but related note. Branched Chain Amino Acids are AWESOME. I think it is actually magic fairy dust in a bottle. My recovery seems to be...possibly better??? is the the BCAAs? I have no idea, but I think they do make a difference. I'm using them on my rides as I'm not consuming much in the way of a sports drinks as my rides are usually only around the 2 hour mark and not that hard. But I use them during the ride and after...or after a hard kettlebell workout. They rock. Xtend is the brand I use. I don't recommend the's a bit sour. I've heard the grape or apple are ok. But buy it online...almost half the price!

Friday, May 27, 2011

And the number is...

Today was the first time I tried the RKC snatch test, 100 kettlebell snatches in 5 mins, at the prescribed weight for me...16kg/35lbs.

And the answer is...

97 close...but no dice.

That being said: 3 weeks and I'm having a rematch!

Still 12 weeks until my RKC. I believe between now and the RKC I will be able to pass some practice snatch tests 3-4 more times. And hopefully get my conditioning to sub 4:30.

My conditioning is *almost* there...three solid weeks of training and I'll should get it within 5 minutes. I had great pacing, but just rested too long around the 60-70 mark. Learning how to keep swinging the bell when you are that state of hypoxia is interesting. It would be like trying to run a 5K and mid race repeatedly picking up heaving weights and swinging them around with a 5K heart rate. Convincing yourself you have the strength when you are tired like that is tough.

Things that went well: pacing was good. I had a good pace even when I picked up the timing after breaks.

I fought hard at the end. At 4:15 I still had 20 reps to go and I FOUGHT to get them done in those 45seconds. My typical pace when I'm not tired is is 20 reps/50-55 being fatigued at that point I still tried to get back on pace and tried to even think about going FASTER than my normal pace which was hard at the end.

Live to fight another day.

Bring it! Fight face ON!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A newly minted Kettlebell instructor and now I have my own class!

I just got my HKC (Hardstyle Kettlebell certification) on Saturday. My instructor said it would be helpful to take before my RKC (Russian kettlebell challenge) in 12weeks.
I walked into that certification and laughed because I was the only non-health and fitness industry person in the room. I'm taking the RKC because it is a good challenge and I like training for things...not because I want to teach kettlebells...well that is what I thought until I took the HKC.

So when I walked into the HKC I just figured it would be good prep for the RKC. Learn about the layout and how it is run. Since the HKC strength requirements are minimal compared to the RKC, (15sec flexed arm hang for the women and I think 5 pullups for the guys) I figured I could just go and see what it was all about.

I left the HKC knowing HOW prepared I was for the RKC in terms of form. My swing is on track and well as my turkish getup and my goblet squat. Now...tomorrow I will know how close or far away I am from passing the 5 min snatch test with the 16kg bell and then the overall thing that freaks me out more than the snatch test are the 3 solid days of training 8+ hours a day, in the San Diego summer heat (it can get hot in Aug), with 2-3 workouts within each day. Errr...I'm not ready for that yet. 12 weeks to go.

But here was the funny thing...i passed my certification and was talking to a friend about maybe teaching a class or something. And I got to work and it practically fell in my lap. I now have my own kettlebell class at work 1 day week...possibly 2. Trouble is that I'm a little limited on bells at work both in weight (only 20pounds) and number (only 4). But we have had some discussion with people if they really like it they can buy a bell. So...i taught a few willing participants how to swing a bell properly on Wed. Very cool!

Kind of funny...esp since the teaching fell into my lap sort of accidentally.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2 PRs

RKC training is going...ok for the most part. Few little odd things here and there like: did you know that your ribs can 'pop' out of alignment sorta like your spine can get out of alignment. But usually they will pop back in...eventually. I managed to pop one or two of those suckers out last week. OWCH. Fortunately it was RIGHT before my massage therapy appointment where she is the queen of popping them back in. Painful...but I'm doing better now.

My strength is coming along...but it is something that takes time and patience. You can't cram strength like you can cram for a test. You just have to be consistent and diligent...push when you need to push and rest when your body is asking for it. And the reality is that with kettlebells they can really rip you a new one if you push too hard too fast.

But...i'm still not where I need to be for my RKC. True I have 15 weeks...but still...I'm nervous. I know silly because 15 weeks out from a big race you don't expect that you can DO that you? I mean if it is your first rodeo at that distance why on earth would you think 15 weeks out that you can actually be able to DO that...15 weeks out.

But there is more to my RKC than just passing the kettlebell snatch test (100 snatches with 16kg bell in 5 mins)...there is that whole 3 days 8+ hours of training that I also have to survive I'm also trying to increase training load to sustain that. Consistency...and trying not to injure oneself is the goal. Err the injuries...fortunately sort of minor, but really frustrating. The rib thing came at the tail end of two EXTREMELY awesome weeks of training.

But then yesterday I PR'd...two times. I finally got a turkishget up with the 16kg bell on both sides as well as I did a chin up. Pretty sweet on both fronts! The TGU is really awesome because I have some struggles with it due to my overly active hipflexors who like to get in the action (thank you cycling) rather than my core. So I tend to struggle a bit with them...16kg just seemed so HEAVY...but I knew I might have to 'test' with it when I do my I wondered how I would get there. And I DID. yea!!

And now it is time to get some good recovery sleep so I can train in the morning. :-)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happening again...

I happened again: Training Induced Narcolepsy.

A refresher on the term: Training Induced Narcolepsy : Random and sometimes uncontrollable bouts of sleep after a hard workout. (term...made up by me).

Two unplanned naps today happened. One of them was the: oh...i'm not that tired, i'll just lie down for a second but just in case...I'll set my alarm. 45 minutes later after being out COLD i woke up to my alarm. The second case, in the middle of a funny movie. I was laughing hard too and suddenly...asleep.

Today's bike ride was great. Roughly 45 miles. Nice burn lines on the quads to prove I went out...slow as molassas but feeling stronger. It's tough because I'd like to FOCUS on getting stronger on the bike, but my main goal this season really is kettlebells and the RKC in I can't really do over do the endurance workouts or my kettlebell workouts do start to suffer. I can do some, but you really can't focus on two things at once like that. can, but then both of them are just marginal.

But my legs are coming back and that is a nice thing.

Monday, April 25, 2011

17 weeks

17 weeks til the In two weeks I'm going to see where I am at for a 5 min snatch test with the 16kg. Considering today I smoked myself with 112 snatches in 10 mins alternating between my 14kg (new) and my 16kg bell. That doesn't bode well for the 5 min test...but the whole point of the test is to 'see' where I am at.

I found an RKC prep outline and decided to try one of the sets. Again...deceiving because you look at the list and think: easy...peasy....and then half way through the presses want to pass out. The whole set was pretty tough swing-clean/press-swing-clean/squat-swing-TGU-swing snatch-swing doing between 5-10 reps per movement. Everything double 14s (except the TGUs and snatches of course)

I got some new 'bells last week. Two 14 kg...for me right now they are perfect weight...not too heavy and not too light. They are a challenge for my presses but let me still get reasonable volume compared to pressing 2 x 16 kg where I do one...maybe two double presses before I'm done. I was able to knock out 5 clean and presses for two rounds...granted it was more like do 3 and then rest and do the other 2...but still 5. They make the snatches harder than the that is good because the 12 is sorta ridiculous at the moment. Weird thing is I have a 'harder' time with the lighter weights. I am told that my swings and movements tend to look 'better' with the heavier weight. weird.

So training is coming back. My transverse oblique is behaving itself. All good.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I thought it was my back?

2 weeks ago mid kettlbell workout my back started to hurt. Just on swing types of movements, not on presses, but on cleans and swings. And by hurt I mean: i couldn't breathe kind of pain. The kind of pain where you go to work after your morning workout. Look at the calendar, clear you calendar and head to the doctor's office begging for muscle relaxants.

I think managed to squeeze myself into get a massage as I was in so much pain I wouldn't have been able to work anyway and hoped for the best. I hurt. She inflicted a lot of pain and I continued to hurt. But the biggest thing was that twisting motion from side to side was where I was having issue and it was just my right side, right where my lat ends and it seemed to be my anterior seratus wrecking havoc.

A week went by, I had to travel for sleeping in hotel beds is not usually good on the back to start off with but now it was extra special. But I survived and finally this week got in to see my sports acupuncturist who discovered my right lat was still pretty pissed off and then started poking around...on my stomach.

And then she found the root cause: my transverse oblique(abdominus) was PISSED. A lot of not fun followed by a massage the next day with more non-fun has actually made me almost 100% functional. To the point that my body doesn't even feel like I endured the crazy pain. It's just not there anymore. Amazing what releasing a muscle can do.

Root cause: my right hip has a slight more anterior tilt than my left. This causes issues running (functional leg length issues), and so I have a 'plan' of what i need to do to help level the stupid hips out.

Stupid always give me some form of chaos in my life.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

crazy week on so many fronts

It's been nuts this week on a few fronts, some good some not so good as well as some EXCITING stuff going on over here. Crazy...but exciting. On a training front it's been a bizzare week. The last two weeks my training has been a little lackluster. Meaning...the workouts weren't that great. Every lift I did would feel HEAVY. Everything sucked. My kb snatch went to hell in a handbasket as well as my elbows started to be a little sore which meant i wasn't doing them right...which means: STOP DOING THEM. Ok...they weren't *that* bad, but they weren't good by any means. It was frustrating. It felt like my body was rebelling to the training. And then on sunday i woke up memories of last year exhausted. Which considering it has been about a year since all of that happened, slightly horrifying. But...fortunately after a couple days of rest I started to feel better. And I had an ok training day on Tuesday. And then I got to my session with my RKC instructor was awesome.

In order to pass the physical aspects of the RKC weekend a woman has to do a flexed arm hang for 15 seconds and depending on her weight has to do 100 snatches with a 12kg or a 16kg bell. Women weighing 123 and less use a 12kg and those weighing more than 123 pounds uses a 16kg. Considering I literally have 123 pounds of lean body mass on my frame at at the moment and I don't have 0%bf...I'm in the latter category.

Flexed arm hang...check. I could do it before I started training. But the 100 kb snatches with the 16kg. This takes a lot of cardio/endurance as well as strength. When I first started I could barely get close to 100 with the 12kg...but with time.... strength has a way of creeping in when you consistently train. Funny how that works. But the other component is training well... meaning doing only quality.

First things first was technique...i had to work on the technique so that I had efficient enough form to get me through the 100 reps. First my 12kg improved. But last week my 16kg looked bad, but the 12kg was fine. Mildly frustrating. I went and worked just on one arm swings because I was losing the 'swing' on the downward side of the snatch. And...weirdly...i didn't train as much this week. I just *thought* about the technique because I need to get my elbows to bend on the way down. And you know was fantastic. are a few milestones that I need in order to pass the RKC certification. Flexed arm hang for 15 secs and then 100 snatches in 5 mins with 16 kg. The milestones I think are good to get to that goal of 100/5 mins are these:
1)100 12kg any to do this a few weeks after I started.
2)100 12kg snatches in 5 mins...check...and now I can do it and it feels like a good workout, but not killer.
3)100 16kg snatches in any time. CHECK. I DID THIS TODAY!!! We planned out a 10 minute 100 snatches...5 each side and then rest the rest of the minute for 10 mins.


AND...form was great.

next milestone...100 in 5 mins with the 16kg.

After my body rebelling for a few days...this was an awesome thing today. That boost of confidence to know that I physically can handle 100 snatches with the 16kg is awesome. There is a cardio aspect of that now I have to improve to get to 100/5 mins as well as more strength...but I'll get there before Aug.

The flexed arm hang and the snatch test are the two physical requirements but there are other testing aspects to the weekend that I am working on strength for as there is a lot of two kettelbell tests and right now it seems we are trying to get me strong enough to test with 2 x 16kg. Those overhead presses are refusing to improve quickly, but progress is never linear. I find this true especially with weights. So one day you are kicking butt and the next you can't lift anything. It's interesting.

awesome...on a few fronts...happy training

Monday, March 07, 2011

Rest and recovery

Last week was a forced week of recovery. No kettlbells as I was out of town for work and work was CRAZY as it was. Considering in a 60 hour time frame I got about 6 hours of sleep...and not all at once, oye...vey. Not fun. But the day before that chaos started I did get to the gym (sans kettlbells) in a new city and mucked around for a bit. I always hate the first few times you go to a new gym because you just can't *find* anything or the equipment is just a little bit different or you don't quite know how to work something so you end up looking silly for a moment or two.

I did have some 15 year old guy call me beastly because I was doing pushups between my squat sets and apparently he couldn't do that many. I was only on set 2...which is only about 20 the comment was kind of funny although don't kids have to go to PE and do pushups on a regular basis? Then some other kid had to help me with the silly power squat rack as I was trying to do deadlifts and didn't realize it was one of those 'high tech' racks where you can just take these pins out and you have a nice place to put the bar so you can actually pull the plates off of the bar when you are done. I was appreciative, but felt silly all the same. Granted I got ten shades of stares between my turkish getups with a dumbell and my free weight lifting (apparently women with the free weights are a rarity). I have learned to just put the eyes down and ignore it...but sometimes it's hard not to fight the stares.

Since I've been focused on kettlbells I haven't been near anything but the kettlbells I have at my house (so much fun to be able to just workout in my living room!) I haven't played with a barbell in awhile. I wasn't trying to go for any crazy but was able to pull on my deadlifts @ 205 (93%) of my max (220) at 2 sets of 1 so that is a good sign!

Coming home after no kettbells last week I wondered how I would fare...and it went well. Definitely rested and stronger...did the most Turkish getups to date, did the most 16kg snatches to date, could press the 16kg 1 x on each side a total of 2 full sets before my left arm started to fail and could do it with my right side another 2 times. Sweet! 20kg one arm swings feel more controlled and less crazy.

Back to business!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

That just *feels* better

Practice doesn't make perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect. It's not about repeating something over and's about practicing perfect form until it is perfect. That is what I have been trying to do with the kb snatch...make it perfect. When it's not perfect my wrists are bruised,my hands hurt and frequently bleed and my elbows get a touch sore because it becomes a tough arm exercise and not a hip exercise. The snatch is really just an extension of the swing. After the hip snap...let the bell float up and around eye height (or a bit before), 'punch through' and stop at the top. Then reverse. So easy to say...not so easy to do.

But it's coming...

My training on Saturday started off brutal. It was hard. Everything felt heavy. I was just trying to do stuff with the 12kg and you would have though I was dragging around something much more substantial. 12kg is a little on the heavy side for me at the moment with turkish getups because my hipflexors like to take part in the exercise and I can't keep my leg on the ground as well...but I can do it. Just not as well as with an 18pound bell (which I don't have). But on Saturday the TGUs were HEAVY. I was dragging and i couldn't figure it out. I didn't have a heavy week of training...i chalked it up to low amount of calories for the day by that point and moved on.

But by the time I got to kb snatches...everything was right as rain. Did a quick warmup with the 12kg and form felt good. Moved on to 16kg for 5 sets around 3-4 reps per set, mixing in some swings/high pulls for technique and form...but the 16kg felt pretty decent. I wasn't smacking the bell as hard on my wrist. So just for volume sake and to focus on finer details I moved to the 12kg and did a 'half' 5 min test where I would do 5 per side and rest for the remainder of a minute for 5 me a total of 50 snatches. Nothing major, but right now is about perfect practice and perfect form...not volume.

And you know what...they felt great. Hip snap, punch through (almost there 100%), pulling the bell back down into the swing without 'throwing it''s coming together and 12kg feels effortless when the technique is correct. I love that feeling.

I haven't been on my bike this week which is a bit disappointing, but mainly my fault. This next week looks a bit gnarly on the 'life' front...ok...i take that back. The next 2 weeks look that way, but at least I will get to end the gnarly-ness with a with friends wine tasting and a visit to the spa...i need a massage. I think it will be well deserved by that point fo' sure. But the next week and a half will be a bear to get through. One breath at a time one step at a time.

But the next week and half has made me a good 'life reflective' way and made me just smack myself on the head and say: what are you doing silly? Lots to think about.

Monday, February 14, 2011

War Wounds...

RKC training is going pretty well. At the moment it is basically boiling down to I need to work on strength and technique with my snatch, more practice for my turkish getups (but they are coming along nicely), continual swing technique (but most people can use that) and everything else (cleans, presses, squats) are ok technique wise, but continual strength gains will be necessary. The reality is that the snatch is an extension of the swing, so really I'm working on my swing. Although some of my 'issues' are because I stop doing my swing correctly when I move into the snatch movement. Somehow my little brain gets confused and starts doing the wrong thing. Mainly I try to stop my swing before it has the chance to go fully back into the arc position under me. This means I'm not 'loading' my hips in the bottom of the swing movement. This, in turn, makes the snatch incredibly hard and turns it into a very unfun arm strength exercise instead of a hips exercise. Fortunately, I know what my body 'feels' like when it is doing this and I have mentally been correcting it wrong. So I now know how to correct it.

My left arm has a better 'groove' than my right. Probably more out of weakness than anything else. It *has* to rely on my hips because it isn't strong enough to fling the bell around so I actually do things correctly on that side.

My right arm can't figure out how to bring the bell in on the down swing. Ok...i take that back...a few times today it could figure it out, but I'm still working on this. My problem, i'm basically throwing the bell away from me mid-air. Not such a good thing to do to your elbows. Makes them kinda sore.

But my biggest problems are that since I'm casting the bell away from me and doing some other weird things, I tend to GRIP the bell too hard on the down swing. NOT GOOD. At the end of my session today I looked down to see blood:

Left hand has been giving me grief lately anyway, but I thought it was on the mend. Then I discovered half way through the day that my right hand has blisters on it. Oye vey.

And then there is this other little issue called: I'm not punching through at the right time during the snatch. Here is some proof I'm still wacking my arms with the bell:

Um...that's the beginning of a bruise, not a sunburn. Pretty don't cha think? (AND that is with arm protection bands on too. owchie)

I have turned some gloves into possible things that will help me protect my hands when practicing, although during the RKC snatch test I can't use gloves, so this is more to help when my hands are being fussy.

oh...and see my pretty pink new chucks in the background. FUN to use to lift weights in. (preferred type of shoe is one that's flat like Chuck Taylors or wrestling shoes or no shoes...which I prefer, but I was getting owies on my feet from my Turkish getups so I put my shoes back on. :-( )

And in the world of endurance sports...I managed to get on my bike not one time on this weekend but TWO. My only question at the moment is when is that 'point' where endurance exercise and anerobic exercise counter act one another. How long on the bike where it is a 'problem' for things like weight lifting? Trying to figure that one out because those who are in the world of weight lifting would say endurance sports are evil and counter to gaining strength...but there has to be some sort of happy medium? Right? Right? I am really re-bonding with my bike right now and hope I can continue to do so for awhile.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Take no prisoners

16kg of all all her glory...Tatiana will not be my master...I will be hers.

Training on monday I went through some finer details of working on my kettlebell snatch...mainly because I 'punch' through on the bell too late and let the darn thing whack me. Let me tell you...the bruised wrists from last week were not acceptable. So working on technique was welcome. The beautiful thing about this was that I knew once some of these details were worked out various things would happen a)12kg snatch would become effortless and b)snatches with the 16kg wouldn't freak me out (with my left hand) quite so much. As predicted, I knew once we went through some technique stuff when I got to trying my left hand, 16kg was do-able. HEAVY...but do-able. Training today I'm still a little sloppy on the arc on the downward swing with the the bell is still trying to swing me around (and not the other way around), but the right hand is so much better and the 12kg is wicked easy. No bruised wrists and I feel more confident I could whip through 100 in 5 mins with the 12kg if my left hand wasn't torn up right now. Still work on needs to be done on the down swing so i'm not beating up my left hand, but it will get better with time and attention.

Lately I have been doing with kettlebells what I do with many sports...put it in terms of physics. I was having a conversation with a friend of mine tonight at dinner about knowing now what you know...and trying not to say "i wish i had know XYZ...earlier"...because if I knew now what I know...I definitely would have done more with newtonion physics in undergrad. Right now I am fascinated with the angular momentum, torque and the amount of 'work' (in physics terms) of the kettlebell swing and snatch. Nerdy I know...but hey...that's me. Although the downside is I had the WORST physics teacher in undergrad and at the time I think I slept through newtonian physics and while my grad degree I did a whole heap load of physics, totally not related to this type. What I find funny is that when i take up a sport the ways I like to 'understand' them are in terms of physics. The number of articles (including journal articles) I read on aerodynamics, drag, and power with respect to the bike is sort of silly...but that kind of thing is bizarrely interesting to me.

But things are coming along as they will. The strength needed to get through all of the RKC requirements will take some training, but I can tell it will happen with time, and perfect practice.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

trying to find my groove

mmmmmmmm...tasty KALE smoothie. Tastier than it looks.
A bunch of in a FULL bunch you buy at the supermarket
1/2 cup of raspberries (more because I put them in first forgetting I was going make a kale smoothie. They don't have the strongest flavor, so can be omitted)
1 banana...this is necessary as bananas cover the strong bitter flavor of the kale
1/4c of pineapple
dash of lemon with the bitter
dash of agave.
1 scoop of egg protein "jay Robb" brand protein powder
1 tsp flax seed oil

Things I learned in this process: put the kale in first without any other ingredients. And put it in the blender in batches. You might need to add more water.

Kale is a vegetable that is a bit on the bitter side. Lemon juice does help with that but in the end i needed it a little sweeter for my taste and put about 1tsp of agave in with it. I think I would also then add the flax seed oil and egg protein and lemon juice and then the banana. Then I would see if the pinapple was necessary or not. I'm looking forward to trying this with spinach as spinach is a little on the sweeter side compared to kale.

I'm still in that 'futzing' stage with Paleo. My main limiter the past few weeks are I haven't taken the time to do some food prep during the week or prior to the week so that makes paleo a more challenging way to eat. But as eating paleo is pretty extreme in our overly processed society (no grains, no legumes, no dairy) because of my personality I thought it was better to just take things out while giving myself a bit of grace in it. Go for 80% of the time at the moment and then attempt to eventually get to about 90-95% by the end of Feb. So good. Seems I have lost a few pounds without focusing too much on it too and since I am focused on a better than pre-sick/OTS 2010 %body comp by Sept, I am headed in the right direction.

The thing so far with paleo is this...I feel better. I'm not even 100% on the paleo wagon as far as cutting out all sugar, and being SUPER nit picky or even eating it 90-95% of the time, but I just feel better. So...i'm going with that. This week will try to be more prepared.

RKC training...met with my trainer last week. I had a Functional Movement Screening and got a 13/ want to be at least at 14/ I'm decent as far as movement is concerned...some dysfunction, but ok. There is a hilarious test ( was hilarious to me since I can't do it and it SEEMS so easy) in part of it. You have this board that is about 6 inches wide and you have to put your hands on either side of it and grip it with your knees are in a 'tabletop' yoga pose with your hands and knees on the ground. THEN...lift both your right arm AND RIGHT leg out to the side. In Yoga...a lot of times they make you do opposite sides (i can do that fine)...but on my right side with both my right arm and my right leg I promptly topple over. Left side isn't great, but not as severe. Being the scientist that I am...I find it rather curious and wonder what underlying issue is causing that. Probably my stupid psoas who hates me on that side.

My trainer then looked at some of my kb moves...Swing is ok over all. He's nit picking on it, but I'm the personality type that I WANT nit picky, perfect form. Since I have enough time between now and RKC in Sept, I want all my form to be correct before adding the volume. Also when someone nit picks on my form, it helps me learn how to teach something. Granted my TGU (turkish getup), and kb snatch form needs a lot of help. TGU...I can't seem to roll onto my opposite arm correctly so that I am able to keep my opposite leg down. And the KB snatch...the punch through is too late and I'm WACKING my forearms. For awhile I thought I my form was alright, and then I started doing higher Bruising still with wrist bands. Bruised wrists/forearms is not the best look, but at least I can wear sweaters to cover my arms at the moment.

The only thing that really annoys me at the moment about KB hands. I know it is all about training your hands to grip correctly and holding the bell with your fingers like a hook, but like most people I develop callouses on my non-dominate hand more severely. It's about holding the bell looser...and I know its about holding it looser on the down swing (either the snatch or the swing), but trying to convince your head to do that...good luck. And this week in an effort to keep my callouses small...using a scary callous shaver I managed to CUT my hand...right in the spot that is one of my 'hot spots' on my left hand. Nice...just call me Grace...thanks. Fortunately the hand dermal layer regenerates at an amazing speed. Keeping it as bandaged and out of infection's way as best as I can.

Here are my 2011 goals in order of focus #1 and #2 are really my primary:
1)100 x 16kg kb snatches in 5 mins (my RKC requirements) by Sept
2)Pass the RKC in Sept
3)Get to lower than pre-sick/2010 %body fat levels by Sept. I was about 5 pounds away from that goal %body comp pre-spring 2010 sickness.
4)100 push ups...consecutively...and yes...the standard type of pushups.
5)one pullup

This should keep me busy. :-)

Friday, January 28, 2011

She's here!

Tatiana showed up this week. 16 kg, or 1 pood of beauty and brutality. I did a fun little workout today with my family of kettlbelles. I started with 15 minutes of half turkish getups with one and my pathetic getups. I think I need at least a 10kg, because while I can sorta do the 12kg, on my left side my right leg I cannot keep down. I have trouble keeping my opposite leg down partly because I'm not rolling onto my arm correctly. I think this is a pretty good demo of the getup

And from there I progressed to double 12kg clean and presses. And in 15 mins achieved 12 sets of 3 reps. Things to work on: when i get tired I do let the 'bells slap my wrist harder than I should. I don't tame the arc very well.

And then 10 fun minutes of 20sec on/40sec off of swings and snatches. I pulled in my 20kg for the swings at the end and attempted one set of snatches with my 16kg and the rest with 12kg.

So about that Really what I did was high arm pulls with the 16kg on my left and and did manage 3 on my right side, but I'm going to be honest (like I was in my last post), 16kg still scares me a bit. I'm meeting with an RKC instructor on monday to have a movement screen and I will work with him towards my RKC this I'm also feeling a little bit of a 'maybe I'll just work with him a bit more to get over this mildly irrational fear first'. I believe the way to move through this is found in the hip snap and the rest is mental.

What is interesting is lately I'm still reading (not commenting much) triathlon blogs and i love to hear what people are up to...what they are training for, what they want to do...but I don't have that 'pull' at the moment. But I do miss my bike (and bike fitness!!)and I do hope to visit the track this year.

The interesting thing I reflected on today is how 'easy' it is for people to come to triathlon or really anything with no background and no foundation for what they can do and what they are able to do. You sign up for your first race. You download a training plan (maybe). You follow it. You complete your race and you are all grins. Next step: new race, new training plan...and it keeps going. What you don't account for are the things that sideline you or taking a lot of time off.

I trained with my new kettlbell gym from July through the end of Sept when they closed. 3 months. Not a lot, but I had a good program that keep progressing every week. And I got stronger. And then the gym closed. And Oct when crazy, and November came around and I had my life back and I trained some...and sort of haphazard...and then there was December of more chaos in lack of focus for any kind of training and now I'm in January and I have lost that beautiful strength I had back in Sept. And what is hard for athletes is that constant thought of 'I used to not be here'. So I am letting it push me forward. I want my strength back from Sept but I also want something akin to 2009....I don't need to be in HIM shape...but this RKC certification process will put me in something equivalent. But this must happen without my body rebelling again like last year.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Some People name their kettlebells...other people don't. Some people name their cars, and other people don't. I'm someone who sometimes does these types of things when inspiration hits me. My car name in New Zealand was: Kermit. He named himself when I bought him. Little green Mazda 626, the minute I saw him I just thought: Kermit and it stuck. After I moved back to the states in 2002 I bought a Mazda Protege which I still have. Brown. Sorta boring, but a good little car. But not inspiring for a name. I've tried to name him...but it's too hard after the fact. Same with my bike. Gasp...i know...the closest I've come is 'George'...but it doesn't really stick. Poor guy...i do heart him so, and yet he is nameless. snif.

But my new family of 'bells? Yep. I bought them and their names pretty much surfaced right away: Borris for the 20kg...Tatiania is on her way (the 16kg), Vlad and Anastasia for the two 12kgs and time will tell if I get a smaller guy too. I talked through the good, the bad and the ugly with Katie B about RKC certification. I get the feeling there will be a few 'Come to Jesus' moments during the 3 day grueling process, but that is why I signed up. It will test my limits. In order to pass the physical I have to be able to do 100 kettlebell snatches with the 16kg in 5 minutes. That's no joke of a test considering (shh...don't tell my secret) I'm a little intimidated to snatch the 16kg bell at the moment. I know I have the strength to do it. I can one arm swing the bell and do high pulls all day long, but prior to my new kettlebell family (which is currently missing it's 16kg family member anyway) I trained at a standard gym at the moment where proper use of a kettlbell is looked at strangely. So if anything goes awry dumping the bell and getting out of the way would probably get me kicked out. I know it is purely mental and I am fine, strong and safe with it, but I think I would rather do it in the privacy of a park. You know...those private grassy parks with other random strangers. At least they won't kick me out of the park.

Although talking through the RKC certification process with Katie B., she also suggested if I could practice (once I had the strength) to train with a heavier bell then the 16kg so that effectively the test seems 'easier'...hmmm... RKC bells don't come in an 18kg variety, but it does seem that I can buy a 40 pound bell from some other random brand. His name would be John if I try this type of training. First I need to start with the 16kg 'bell and go from there.

One reason I like kettlebells is the simplicity of them and how brutal they can be. Yesterday...three bells, one evil ab wheel = BRUTAL workout. We were doing double kb work so 2 x 12kg on a variety of moves, snatches, presses, cleans and presses, an increasing type of ladder. big deal...except for the part where our instructor said: for 15 minutes. After 5 my arms were on fire and my grip was dying. What is brutal about kettlbells is that the workouts look really simple and almost (gasp) easy. And then after 5 minutes you wish it were over. Effective. Truly.

Onward and forward...apparently i'm in a blogging mood. Maybe it will stick?

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Trigger is Pulled

Meet the new additions to the family. I also ordered a 16kg along with...SIGNING UP FOR RKC CERTIFICATION IN SEPTEMBER.

No...i'm not eeeek...ok I lied...i'm really...really...excited.

3 very tough days to get certified to teach kettlbells and one challenging test to be considered to teach. The physical requirements are 15 second hang (for the ladies)...which I can already do since it can be either fist toward or away from you and I can at least do forward for 15 seconds (chin up style...maybe I should also make it my goal to be able to also be able to do pull up style...which is reasonable since one 2011 goal is to do ONE pull up). But the 100 kettlebell snatches with 16kg in 5 mins...oye...vey. Now THAT will be a challenge. I can probably do 100 already with a 12kg...but 16? 1 pood.

So...I bought 2 x 12kg and a 20kg today. They didn't have a 16kg on hand, so I ordered it when I signed up for the certification. Then my little kb happy family will almost be ready. Although i think i might need an 8 or a 10kg since my turkish getups are pretty pathetic at the moment....but where I can get them without shipping here in SD didn't have any 10kg on hand either.

I like goals. So this is a big one. I will probably also do a HKC certification in the spring as there is one here in SD and depending upon when the tactical strength challenge in the Fall is...I will probably sign up for that too. But I refuse to sign up for that until I can at least do 1 pullup. I doubt I will be ready this spring for that, but who knows. April is close...and far at the same time.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Piece by piece

This summer/fall I was back with some training, mainly doing weights and other things, but doing *something*. And then October hit...which came in to about 70 hours of work/week combined with two things I was working on...both my main job and other...and any type of training took a back seat. I've since been doing some kettlebell work and lifting, but not as organized as I have meant to be and it totally shows.

Of course I'm the silly one and decides to throw down 45 miles in the saddle after 4+ months of not riding. Smart one. I've actually been running this week..2x...i don't know what that is about...except molasses. I actually wore my Garmin both times, so i"m not lying on that. I'm actually kind of fascinated by how slow i'm running at the moment. Not thrilled, but sort of facinated.

So...the plan is to 'do something' 7 days a week. Yoga, kettlebells, trainer, running, swimming...are all legit. But right now I'm after 6 weeks of consistency. Consistency is what I need right now and it is usually the first 3 weeks that feel like hell in this training circuit after not doing stuff constantly. So...that's the plan.

Long term plan. Still working on the next 9 months. Until I pull the trigger on my thoughts I'm not ready to publish.

Paleo: this week 3 out of 7 days went ok. It's a bit of a change taking out ALL grains, dairy, one that need fore thought and planning. I also need to understand my energy needs. I'm reading Rob Wolfe's book as well as Joe Friel's "Paleo for Althetes" book. I'm possibly looking into some Primal books as well. I figure at the very least I will have some good recipes. I tried a paleo pancake this morning...meeh. More tasted like fluffy eggs...but trying to work on this. Too bad I A)hate grocery shopping and B)hate cooking. And by hate i mean...HATE. It's a challenge. I've given up trying to like it...because it is such an effort and chore to me. I had a friend try to show me the 'joy' in learning to cook. He somehow thought that by teaching me to cook I'd learn to like it. Here's the thing: I know HOW to cook...i just abhor it. So that is an added challenge to the Paleo cooking, but only in a little way. Eating paleo is pretty easy for main meals...meat, lots of veggies, healthy fat and if I'm recovering from a workout...some sort of starchy veggie (potato, sweet potatoes, pumpkin) and some fruit (again a good recovery source for workouts when you need carbs).

That's my random ramblings for now.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


It's been over 2 months since my last post: when writers block hits, it hits every area of my life.

Some days can be improved solely by going running with pigtails and a running skirt, fortunately today was one if them.

Pigtails might just be my 2011 "thing" although tough for under a helmet. I might be 33, in a career-y type of job, a professional degree of sorts, but pigtails during workouts might just be in order.

How do visors get stretched out? I don't let people with big noggins borrow them so why would they one day be too big? Oh the mysteries in life.

Thank goodness I still have a trunk like a chaotic athlete. I forgot my sports socks for my run but had a spare in my trunk. ( along with a myriad of random other things)

Want to strengthen those glutes? Pistol squats. Don't even weight them and don't worry if you can't squat all the way down (A2G) use a step bench (I've got 4 risers at the moment ~6inches off the ground) I promise stronger glutes. Or at least sore ones.

I need more Zen in my life. I wish I didn't hate yoga so much. I have to try not to hate it and practice being Zen.

I'm trying to go paleo: no grains, no dairy, minimal sugar. Today is day 4. Day 3 was a bit of a bust. Cake AND ice cream were involved.

I hope to be posting more in 2011, but I'm not holding my breath either. Happy New Year!