Sunday, May 31

Another brutal MMA/Muay Thai training session, this time with a couple rounds of actual sparring, conducted at about half-speed.

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Published in: on May 31, 2009 at 11:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, May 30

I got back to squats and SLDL’s today, after last week’s machine interlude on Leg Day.  Squats: 8 x 135, 8 x 225, 8 x 255, 8 x 275.  SLDL’s: 8 x 225, 2 x 8 x 235.  All of these went well.  I then did some additional machine work for legs, namely Precor leg extensions: 8 x 175, 8 x 180, 8 x 185, 8 x 190.  After the leg work I did some addition chest work on the Hammer Strength decline press, 8 x 270, 6 x 300, 8 x 270, 8 x 250.  Making progress on these.  Finally, I ran one mile on the treadmill at 5.6 mph.

Published in: on May 31, 2009 at 11:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday, May 29

Another time when Medford came in handy

It was raining this morning when I got to Medford station to catch the shuttle.  A moderate rain, nothing too heavy, but by the time the shuttle got to Ronkonkoma it was a proverbial cats-and-dogs storm.  Had I driven to Ronkonkoma today, I would have been completely soaked, especially given the fact that I don’t do the umbrella thing.  Medford’s close-in parking is very nice indeed on rainy days!  As for my actual trip into work, there’s not much to say.  The 6:56 to Flatbush Avenue was using M-7’s yet again, so I took the 7:19 to Penn.  Ridership was on the light side in the mid-consist car where I usually ride.  Few if any of the middle seats were occupied, and even some of the aisle seats on the 2-across side were taken only at Brentwood.  That was the case for the seat next to me, with a tall but fortunately slim man in his late 20’s taking it and not being any bother.  I spent most of the ride reading, and in a change from the usual I actually took an A train to Broadway-Nassau instead of the 2/3.  It wasn’t too bad, but even so I think I’ll stick with the 2/3.

The trip home couldn’t have been easier, with a quick trip on a 3 from Fulton to Penn.  The 5:22 to Ronkonkoma was uncrowded, just like the morning’s train, with the seat next to me being occupied by a 50ish woman as far as Wyandanch, and empty for the rest of the trip.  For some reason I couldn’t get much into reading, so I played several games of Tetris. One or two semi-decent ones, the others were mediocre.  Still, I was happy enough for a delay-free ride, and the wait for the shuttle went quickly.

Gym: other things to do tonight, so the gym had to wait.

Published in: on May 31, 2009 at 11:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, May 28

Blessed solitude

Another day of driving to Ronkonkoma instead of taking the shuttle from Medford.  This time, it was because I was hoping to get out of work a little early, which doesn’t do much good if I’m parked in Medford and have to take the shuttle.  I got to Ronkonkoma about 7:20, unlike yesterday with no trouble finding a parking spot, and got the 7:32 to Penn.  It was about as crowded as usual, with a smallish but relatively squirmy woman in her late 20’s taking the seat next to me.  There’s little to say about the ride into Penn, no delays or anything else out of the ordinary, and my wait for a 3 train to Fulton was yet again quite ordinary, perhaps three or four minutes.

I pretty much worked through lunch and left work in time to get the 5:01 to Ronkonkoma.  It was a close call, for although my wait for a 2 train at Fulton wasn’t long, the train was absolutely jammed and this lead to long dwell times at the following stops.  I made it onto the 5:01 with a minute or two to spare, though it hardly mattered as the car was not even half-full.  It’s just a matter of time until LIRR management gets around to canceling the 5:01, I just know it.  In the meantime, however, I had an ideal ride, ideal because no one sat next to me the entire way.  If every trip could be so wonderful (sigh).

Gym: I ran another two miles on the treadmill, making a total of ten miles for the week ending tonight.  Very nice.  I ran the first mile at my usual 5.4 mph pace and picked it up slightly to 5.6 mph for the second mile.  My goal is to work my pace to 6 mph, a speed I’ve done before.  Shouldn’t be too hard.  Next, I did kettlebell swings, 3 x 10 with a 50-pounder, and finished with one-arm dumbbell rows, 3 x 8 x 125/125.

Published in: on May 29, 2009 at 2:51 am  Comments (2)  

Wednesday, May 27

I really don’t like that train

Being able to go into work a little later than usual today, I drove to Ronkonkoma to get the 8:31 to Penn.  It was surprising to see how jammed the south side lot was when I arrived about 8:15.  All the spaces were full, even the ones right by the woods on the east end, and I had to park on the mud dirt across the roadway which runs along the lot’s south end. There might have been some spots in the extreme southwest end of the lot, but parking on the dirt as I did was actually much closer to the platforms.  The economy-caused ridership declines of recent months seem to have gone away, although it’s possible that the construction work on one of the northeast lots is partly responsible for the south lot’s crowding.  Only partially, however, as the closed lot is only a small fraction of the south lot’s size.

My assessment of the 8:31 is that it combines the worst of both worlds.  It has the overcrowding of a rush hour train, yet makes the endless number of stops characteristic of an off-hour train.  It qualifies as a rush hour train because it’s scheduled to arrive at Penn just prior to the 10:00 am cutoff.  I have no doubt whatsoever that’s a deliberate move on the part of the LIRR, designed to get higher rush hour fares.  To his credit, at Hicksville and subsequent stops, the conductor announced over the PA to boarding riders that it was a rush hour train, and that there was an off-peak train with lower fares just a few minutes behind.  Somehow I suspect that LIRR management does not approve of such announcements.  Speaking of Hicksville, the train was pretty much packed by then and had standees, at least in the mid-consist car where I sat.  A man in his 30’s took the seat next to me at Deer Park and spent almost the entire ride talking loudly on his cell phone.  Fortunately my iPod was able to block out some of the sound, and in any event he was talking in a foreign language (from what the British would once call “East of Suez”) and therefore it wasn’t too distracting.  I had started on a new book, Evening in the Palace of Reason, and read a chapter or too.  While we got to Penn on time, I had to wait a long time for a 2 train to Fulton, something around ten minutes.  It was well past rush hour, so I can’t say the wait was too surprising.

No long subway waits after work.  In fact, I got a 2 at Fulton so quickly I was able to get the 5:22 to Ronkonkoma, instead of the 5:41 as I’d been expecting.  It was pretty crowded, though I found an aisle seat next to a 30something woman who for some reason was wearing a fairly thick coat even though it wasn’t cold at all in the car.  This detail is relevant as the woman was somewhat wide-bottomed, though not really overweight, and the coat made the space squeeze a shade tight for me.  I know, it could have been worse, and I took further solace in the fact that the ride was unlike yesterday’s and nicely delay-free.

Gym: it dawned on me as I was heading into the gym that I should have done deadlifts yesterday.  Doing them today would mean an 8-day gap.  To make matters worse, I just wasn’t motivated to deadlift tonight, and for a demanding exercise like deadlifts you really need to be motivated. I started out on the treadmill, running at my usual 5.4 mph pace, hoping to do two miles and therefore fulfill my weekly 6-mile quota.  One thing lead to another and I just kept running and running.  I ended up covering four miles, making eight for the week.  Cool.  I then did some Hammer Strength decline chest presses, even though it’s been only two days since I last did some.  It might be good to do chest work three times a week, using the Hammer Strength machine, until hopefully I’ll be able to do some decent free weight benching once again.  My session on the Hammer Strength represented some progress since Monday: 8 x 250, 8 x 270, 5 x 300, 6 x 250.

Published in: on May 29, 2009 at 2:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, May 26

Welcome back from the long weekend, LIRR-style

It was quite a welcome. You can be sure of that.  I got the shuttle from Medford, which was a few minutes late.  It was also quite crowded, which didn’t surprise me.  As the 6:56 from Ronkonkoma to Flatbush Avenue was using M-7’s, I waited for the 7:19 to Penn.  It too was jammed, with even some of the middle seats taken before we left the station.  I had a few anxious moments but finally found an aisle seat next to a man who was no more than about 200 pounds.  Anorectic, by LIRR terms.  It was an easy enough ride into Penn, well except for some of the people who boarded at Central Islip and all of those who boarded at Brentwood, who had to stand the whole way.  I had good timing at Penn, with no wait at all for a 2 train to Fulton.

Getting home, well, it started uneventfully.  My wait for a 3 at Fulton was in the 5-minute range, a bit longer than usual but tolerable, and I then got the 5:22 from Penn to Ronkonkoma.  It wasn’t quite as crowded as the morning’s train had been, which isn’t to say it was empty by any means.  I had a window seat and an average-sized woman of about 30 sat next to me.  For most of the ride I read, finally finishing The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and had a couple of mediocre games of Tetris.  We got to Ronkonkoma on time, and I waited on the platform for the shuttle to Medford. After a while it became apparent that the Hunterspoint Avenue train, the one which connects to the 5:23 at Jamaica, was running late.  Then it was the 5:41 out of Penn that was late.  Both are official connecting trains to the shuttle, so the shuttle can’t leave until after they arrive.  Finally, the station PA announced that both trains were delayed “due to police activity” at Brentwood.  That was something I was not eager to hear.  “Police activity” on the subway can mean any number of things, but on the LIRR it usually means that a train has tangled with a pedestrian or a car … which also means that it is sure to be a long delay.  It was likely that it had been the Hunterspoint train which was involved in the tangle.  Whatever had happened at Brentwood must have occurred just a few minutes after my train had passed through the station.  Another ominous thing was that the message signs were announcing that the trains were delayed, without saying for how long.  At some point I went to the ticket window and found out that the train had struck a car, fortunately the clerk said that 3rd-rail power was in the process of being restored.  He thought service would be back up within an hour.  Around 7:30, the 7:13 Penn Station train finally got underway, and the delays were announced as being  in the 45- to 50-minute range.  Both eastbound trains arrived within a few minutes of one another about 7:40, and the shuttle left shortly thereafter.  I ended up back in Medford just before 8, a delay of about 55 minutes.

Gym: day off tonight.

Published in: on May 28, 2009 at 2:29 am  Comments (2)  

Monday, May 25

An early trip to the gym, as it was only open until noon for Memorial Day and in any event we were having a cookout in the early afternoon (nothing elaborate).  So I arrived at about 10:30, hours earlier than I would have appeared on a normal day.  Being still a bit worn out from yesterday’s brutal Muay Thai training I only ran one mile on the treadmill, at my usual 5.4 mph. I then decided to use one of the Hammer Strength chest press machines in hopes of building back to a decent bench press level.  The plate-loaded Hammer Strength machines, despite being machines, are probably the closest to free weights in terms of exercise value.  Of the three machine types I chose the decline press as the handles seem to be at the best angle for me.  I put up some fairly decent numbers: 8 x 230, 8 x 250, 6 x 270, 4 x 300, 6 x 250.  This’ll give me some basis to chart what hopefully turns out to be steady progress.

Published in: on May 25, 2009 at 7:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sunday, May 24

Another Muay Thai/MMA session, two and a half brutal hours.

Published in: on May 25, 2009 at 3:54 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, May 23

I sort-of atoned for yesterday’s piggery by starting out the session with a three-mile run on the treadmill, once again at my customary 5.4 mph.  At some point I’m going to have to pick up that pace a bit, though not quite yet.  While today was my (delayed) leg session, I didn’t have much motivation to do squats and instead did some other leg work.  Life Fitness seated leg presses: 3 x 10 x 395.  Life Fitness seated leg curls: 8 x 185, 2 x 8 x 190.  Precor leg extensions: 8 x 175, 2 x 8 x 180.  In addition to the leg work I did one-arm dumbbell rows, 3 x 8 x 125/125, and finished the session with kettlebell swings, 2 x 10 with a 50-pounder.

Published in: on May 24, 2009 at 5:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, May 22

A double celebration today, with my stepdaughter’s college graduation and my wife’s birthday, so no work and no gym.  We went out to dinner at an upscale ($300 for six people) Mexican restaurant and I ate way too much.  It looks like I’ll be adding some treadmill work to tomorrow’s squats.

Published in: on May 23, 2009 at 4:47 am  Leave a Comment