Monday, March 30, 2009

Mountain Assault

Due to some prodding by Tina Fink a number of us headed down to the Shenandoah Valley for the weekend to relax a bit and do some awesome hiking through the valley. Ross and two other friends headed out from Philly at about 7pm on Friday. We hit crappy traffic around the Ft. McHenry Tunnel and had to wait for about 45 minutes but we eventually got there around 11:30ish. Ellis, Jon, Tiff, and Tina were all pretty tired then so the four of us from my car hit the hot tub and then played some beer in hand doubles ping pong for about 3 hours until we went to bed around 3:30.

Saturday - We woke up around 10:30, had pancakes made by the lovely Tina and two cups of decent coffee. The weather was generally dry, but very, very moist in the air and there was TONS of fog. We headed out to the park for a long ass hike and found ourselves driving through fog that made it hard to see more than 20 feet in front of the car. We mounted up and headed out on the trail. While the "traditional" views were generally obstructed by all the fog I actually love weather like what we experienced. The next couple of pictures sort of show what we were dealing with. I'm waiting for the full compliment to be posted by the Finks.

Ross and I on a rock we climbed:

Making our way down part of the Appalachian Trail
One of the rivers we forded Oregon trail style.
We ended up hiking down and level for the first couple hours. What made this hike really, really hard was when we then started to hike up in a hurry over the course of about hour 3:30-5 or so. The hike got much more technical and much steeper and while Ross, Ellis and I tried to push ourselves up the hill (mostly Ellis) and eventually we pooped out after about 45 minutes of pushing ourselves really, really hard. Ross and I waited for the rest of our group and then we all caught up with Ellis and finished up the rest of the hike together. All in all it ended up being about a 5.5 hour hike for about 10 miles. We then went home, made BBQ, watched basketball, and sat in the Hot tub to recover for the next day.

Woke up a little earlier, grabbed some pancakes, eggs and coffee and headed out again to do a shorter, easier hike. We went about 5 miles round trip including a stop at an overlook:
And bask on the rocks lizard style (or do something weird with your shirt if you're Ross):

We then hit up a winery and then headed back to the house, watched a little basketball and headed home. Fantastic weekend overall. Definitely was great to get away from everything and especially cell phone service. Looking forward to Fools and Case Race 2 this weekend followed by Paganello the weekend after.

(211....pssst...Beer is not good for losing weight. I'll be back under 210 by Wednesday).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Urban Assault

Had a frustrating afternoon at work so I picked up and left early to go put a beating on my body.

1/3 mile warm up
2 2/3 mile urban track work out (hard one block, normal one block alternating)

Went over to the park,

Med Ball 200
20 circles
20 woodchoppers
20 standing russian twists
20 squat to press
20 med ball sit ups
20 rocky solo
20 toe touch
20 seated twists
20 suitcase crunch
20 diagonal crunch

Tabata box jumps (22" wall)

Tabata calf raises (thinking about the burn of the Italian sand the whole time)

(208) - Looking like I'm solidly below 210, hopefully for good. While I haven't lost all the weight I wanted to I've definitely done a good job of converting fat to muscle. The weight will still go down but I'm pretty pleased with my progress.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Paganello Practice

Met up with some of the Melons headed off to Paga in 3 weeks along with some of the Melons of prior years to start getting used to playing with each other again at Athlete's Advantage in Conshy.


Warm up

Watch Trey and my inability to complete a successful Mahler due to our bottom heavyness.

Run through plays
Run plays live 5 on 5
Play a bunch of games to 5.

I think this was really, really good for us. We started off playing kind of over aggressive indoor ultimate and eventually brought it back to chilly consistent Melons offense. What is Melons offense you might ask? Possibly the most boring offense you've ever watched that's ruthlessly efficient and grinds away at teams in order to score. Its incredibly effective at Paganello where the sand is deeper than anything you've ever played on and your legs burn out very, very early in points. We're still working the rust off, and it will of course be a whole other experience to not be able to run with cleats in three weeks in Italy but this was a good start. I hope to start tailoring my workouts more towards explosive quickness and lots of leg work in the next few weeks to help prepare for Paga.

On to Paga '09
Alea Iacta Est!
There is no way back.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

3/21 - Running with Sideshow

Saturday morning a group of us headed down from Philly to scrimmage with the UDel mens team to push them in games and also run some defenses/offenses against them for their benefit. Our old man team consisted of Dusty, NickM, Ellis, Nick Hiranet, Matt Glazer, Furf, Brandon Redding, myself, and a few other Del alums.

We started of just playing and the Del kids let their heads get in their own way. Clearly there was an intimidation factor as we just blew them off the field for the first 10 or so points. We then played a game to 7 and Del got their feet under them. They got a couple breaks, I was responsible for two terrible turnovers, mostly on dumps that could also be chalked up to players who aren't used to playing with the each other. They were up 6-5 until we rolled off three straight to win 8-6.

Delaware was having issues with their continuation cuts and the timing associated with them and also clearing out on cuts that were not thrown to. They'd complete a dump and a swing and then the next look would be too early, or too late. Their endzone patience was fantastic which was a significant issue for them the last time I came down and worked with them so that improvement was nice to see.

Delaware then asked us to give them a few points of really balls out hard defense. The result was probably a little more than they were looking for as we started the next game by going up 5-0 and they had a LOT of trouble moving the disc. They made it somewhat respectable by the end but the game ended 9-4 or 5ish.

Lastly we ran some zone against them in 5 pull which turned into like 8 pull. We ran some crazy zone that GW apparently ran against them that involved taking the up-deep and covering the swing handler on a trap. Either we weren't running it right, or UDel figured out how to beat it because once they got the disc up-field our lack of an up-deep made the middle of the field WIDE open and ruined us. It also wasn't that windy which made everything easier.

Ended up being a great day of ultimate and a beautiful day to be outside. Dusty, Ellis, Nick and I headed home, stopped at Dock Street Brewery, had a few beers and talked local politics for about an hour and a half. Times like these remind me of why I'm excited the season is getting going again. I miss my teammates.

Team First!

3/19 - Yoga with a degree of difficulty

Headed off to Yoga on Thursday. This class the teacher decided we should go for some more complicated pretzelly action. There was more than one kind of ridiculous pose that she wanted people to get into. The take home lesson from the class was that I have extremely tight hip muscles which is something I hope to focus on through stretching and yoga in the coming weeks/months. The other lesson was that I shouldn't have a cup of coffee at 4:30 and then go to yoga at 6:30. I can't sit still and focus. The first 10 minutes before I figured out the coffee was affecting me was kind of a mess. I then had to work extra hard on focusing to continue through the class.

Still had a lot of fun.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

3/17 - Ultisquash

Headed out to Ultisquash even though Tuesdays have become my off day. Had a very good run and definitely had forgotten the various other parts of your body that hurt after playing (ribs, hands, shoulders). We got to play a lot of 3 v 3 guys which makes the game faster and I felt pretty good about my overall play.

Total Workout:
2 hours ultisquash


Monday, March 16, 2009


As I keep putting a toll on my body it gets harder to push through and keep working out. I find that Mondays are especially difficult which is why I tried to plan something yesterday sending a workout to the team to see who was interested in joining. Tous was up for it but needed to go real early. Ellis contacted me at like 1pm looking to meet up so I thought I was set and would have someone to help me motivate.

Alas, Ellis got caught up in his 3 mile run prior to meeting up with me and was a bit late so I had to mentally push through the wall. Ended up with a pretty good workout.

1.3 mile run, the last .7 was of the urban track workout variety (hard for a block, normal pace for a block) finished in 9 minutes.

Then dug into the Pike vaults for an oldey but goody

A. Squat Thrust Workout aka 20/20/20
20 Squat Jumps
20 Squat Thrusts
20 Burpees (did the push up variety)
B. Basic Core Workout:
10 Crunches, holding at the top for 5 seconds in each rep
20 Lying Hip Swings
30 Seconds Straight Plank
30 Seconds Right Side Plank
30 Seconds Left Side Plank

Workout Proper:
Section A
1 minute rest
Section B
2 minutes rest
Repeat 3 times.

Ellis showed up at set three, did one set and then we threw for about 20 minutes.

Finished with a protein shake, 1/3 lbs of salmon with mushrooms and a ton of broccoli with light cheese. And a beer which was the only bad part of my dinner.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

3/14 - New Brunswick Pick Up

A bunch of us Philly folks headed up to New Brunswick to partake in pick up, see Raph who was back in town, and grab burritos with everyone who came out. I learned that I over extended my hamstring at yoga on Thursday which made accelerating and exploding a lot harder. That being said we got a decent run of pick up and boot in as our numbers dwindled. We all remembered how disjointed offense is at pick up as there's a mass of people as a stack or 5 handlers as no one wants to really work hard enough to play serious ultimate. That being said, good time had by all, great to see some of the NJ Pikers who I haven't seen in months (Dono, Raph, Walt).

I'm learning I miss the camaraderie of this team when I don't have it. And I'm really getting excited about this season.


Friday, March 13, 2009

3/12 - Yoga

I've never done Yoga and kind of always thought it would be beneficial for me to do. When I screwed up my knee and started rehabbing one of the things I determined I most needed to work on was my flexibility. Of course I spent months talking about how this would be a good idea and all that but I finally put those words into action yesterday.

I'll tell ya, yoga was a perfect mid week, off day, activity. I was certainly fumbling my way through some of the positions but my balance and strength were definitely tested and overall the class felt great. I was really able to stretch out my lower back which always bothers me and I was able to get a lot more extension on general stretches after focusing on my muscles throughout the class.

I'd recommend trying yoga at least once to anyone. I'll be heading back to the class next week and hopefully will keep it up through the season. I can imagine that yoga would really hurt on the Monday after a tournament but would make me feel much, much better.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

3/11 - Steps

Met up with NickO and Nick Purifico to do some stairs. Purifico was going to be late so Nick and I got to work. Its 80-85 steps at the Art Museum.

1 set:
every step
every other step
every step
high knees
every other step
left leg only
every step
right leg only
every other step
two footed hops, up two steps, down one, up two steps, down one.

We then threw for 5 minutes. Purifico showed up.

Second set as above.

Threw for 5 minutes.

NickO continued with Purifico and did a third set.

I finished by doing 2 sets of singles and 2 sets of doubles followed by 20 diamond pushups and 30 pike pushups.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

3/9 - Pushing it

At work Monday I felt pretty spent from the weekend but I knew I was going to have the time to hit the gym. I decided that I would go and work the parts of my body that didn't hurt, mainly my arms and core. I ended up pushing myself and doing more treadmill than I anticipated.

.5 miles at 7:30 pace
.25 miles at 7:30 pace with 2.0 incline
.15 miles at 7:30 pace with 4.0 incline
.10 miles at 7:30 pace with 5.5 incline

Med Ball 200 this time with an 8 lbs ball.
This was much less insane, but still KILLED my core. I love this workout.

.5 miles at 7:30 pace
.4 miles at 7:30 with a 2.0 incline
.1 mile at 7:30 with a 5.0 incline.

Ended up being a nice hour long workout or so.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

WL Finals

I won't bore people with nitty gritty details of the B pool of WL finals. I'll just note that we ended up playing 3 games with two guys subs (our girls were more awesome as they played with no subs) our first game was pretty ugly as we all seemed a bit discombobulated by the time change. By our second game we had our feet under us and our first game of Blockus 3D under our belts and we started to click. And by our third game we seemed to just want it a tiny bit more. That and moving to the bigger Downingtown fields allowed us to open up our throws a bit and really take advantage of real cutting and ultimate playing. And I figured out exactly how far away one endzone was from the other so I probably had 6-10 full field hucks to TC that were undefendable.

Ended the day 3-0.

I then went and saw Watchman. The movie was great. But read the book too (this is a monumental statement coming from me). The characters are better in the book IMO.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

3/6 - 3/7

3/6 - tough winter league loss to Trey's team tonight. I'm still sick which made playing as much as I wanted to very difficult. We ended up losing by 2 in a very tight game and now we're relegated to the B pool at finals on Sunday. Should be fun nontheless.

3/7 - Woke up and made it over to Ultisquash for two hours of running. I need to kick this head/chest cold because its really hard to bounce back from playing the night before. Had some good runs, seemed like the teams we were created kept ending up being oddly uneven which led to some blowouts. Still fun overall, WL finals tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Generally bad nocturnal decisions

So I felt a little left out by not going to First Night of Flight in Pittsburgh, the originator of this overnight indoor tournament idea, so I was pretty excited about the idea of this tournament up in north Jersey. Of course I also had scheduled to run a long morning practice with the University of Delaware men's team on Saturday morning. I dragged these college kids out of bed for practice at 8am and beat the hell out of them until 3pm. Had a lot of fun in the process and felt like I taught them a ton. I also ran around a bit with them. I'll probably end up helping them more throughout the season as they are a team with a ton of potential to make some real noise at College Nationals in the next year or two as they have a ton of solid young players.

Anyway, followed up practice with driving home, taking an hour nap, waking up and realizing that I definitely had not stretched enough prior to running around with Delaware. But I was getting picked up in 2 hours. So I scarfed down some food, packed up my bag, and got picked up for the 1:30ish minute drive to NJ.

Saw a ton of my Philthy teammates and other folks from Hawaii which was great as it kind of continued the overall high I've been on since getting back. As I kind of took stock of who all was at this tournament it became apparent that there was a lot of really talented people. Sadly...none of them were on my team. The two teammates worth mentioning were Ted Skaarup from Love and Erin Herzog from Puppet. Otherwise my team was made up of a bunch of people who clearly overranked themselves. The end result was an extremely average team.

I'm not even going to go into much detail because my body still hasn't figured out what day or time it is. I will say team was bad. Dusty's might have been worse. We commiserated a few times over beers about it at like 2:30 in the morning. Somehow, despite winning a total of two games all in our "losers" pool we ended up with a shot to play for 5th. To get there we had to play a team we'd already played with Jamie, and some other people on it and then we got to play Joe Smash's team from PoNY who's entire strategy was to just throw it up high to Joe. In an indoor setting this is an almost unstoppable strategy. When I would play defense on him I might get it as close to 60-40 in Joe's favor but never any better. The rest of my team had no shot.

We ended up somehow coming in 6th place. I would actually consider us lower than that considering we beat Jamie's team in a game that if we had lost we would have been done playing. Instead we got to play another game at 6am.

Overall the tournament was a lot of fun. I would have enjoyed myself more if my team was better. I can see how FNOF in Pittsburgh is better in that you can bring your own team but instead all I got was incredibly sick on Monday and completely messed up in terms of my sleep/health schedule. I'd recommend getting even more Pikes and other high level players to come next year so that the overall level of play could continue to go up.

Now I'm out of commission for a few days as far as working out because of how sick I am. Oh well....