Work, training, football, and the New Hampshire Primary

So far, work has been like CrossFit. One of my goals for the first week I accomplished on day 1, and another on day 2 (getting a PIN code system installed on the phones and getting Google Apps set up for the new domain for our non-profit, respectively).
Day 3 was exciting not because I was able to do what I had originally planned (which is fix up the content on the web site) but because I met with the teamsters who will comprise the core Hub team going forward and I think we have both a good mix of skills and competencies, and are all excited to actually build this into a business. I’ve often thought I might one day wind up a turnaround specialist. It’s easier in some ways than being an entrepreneur, and harder in others. In the meantime until we raise funding to ramp up the consulting business, that’s what I’m up to and it feels great.

Very up-and-down week physically. I re-strained my back a bit at yoga on Sunday. Not bad, but enough that I had to bow out of the prescribed CrossFit workout which was 5 rounds of 20 burpees and 20 toes-to-bar. It was a close one though, my pride kept getting in the way (injury? What injury?) but eventually I manned up and decided to play it safe. I’m glad I did, and I actually think my workout was harder (we subbed wall balls for toes-to-bar). Wall balls are one of the exercises I struggle with, and unlike toes-to-bar where you ‘get’ to wait for your grip or abs to recover you can always just pick up that ball again, so mine was actually quite a cardio intense workout. My first 20 burpees took me 49 seconds, my second set about 70. Yeah. But GOOD FUN.

Tuesday, I was severely lacking explosive strength in the morning (wonder if my legs were a bit tired maybe), but had fun doing clean drops, a few other things, and then some sets of front squats working up to 65kgs for 3 reps. Not bad since my 1 rep max from a while back is 70. What’s happening now is what always happens when I come back from an extended period of rest … once I get back into shape my strength SHOOTS up. Not that I plan on being injured for an extended period again; that’s one of my goals for this year.

Then in the evening at CrossFit did hang power clean technique work, and then did a grip-killer barbell sequence called The Bear. I had originally planned to get into the 40s but my ‘warmup’ set at 38 was appropriately challenging so I put on two more kgs only. I should have gone for 43; sigh. But it was still a PR by quite a ways …. Not actually sure what my old PR was and I’m sure as heck not looking back through my old paper-based system to find out.

So all was well until Wednesday when due to insufficient sleep the night before (was up late watching a downloaded version of the epic Steelers-Broncos game), I was feeling lethargic and then downright ill in the afternoon. Decided not to train but rather to go super hard tomorrow, and then take the next three days off (scheduled rest cycle, part of the above-mentioned not-getting-injured goal). Not sure if it was just the lack of sleep or possibly I’m far enough into the detox now because I’m starting to feel some strange things.

While we’re on the subject of football: I love football. I love football like almost nothing else on this planet. While I can understand the appeal of a test cricket match or the manly blood-and-gore that is rugby, and hey my sport is CrossFit, there is just nothing that I know of that combines the strategy of test cricket with the excitement of basketball. I miss a lot of things about America sometimes: friends & family, crocuses in the spring, autumn, the sparkle of street lamps on newly fallen snow, the sound of a snow plow clearing the road while you’re falling asleep, sailing on the Fourth of July, Dunkin Donuts, Whole Foods, cheap mobile phone plans, turkey burgers, ice hockey, and, well, football. I JUST love it.

What I don’t love are the NFL overtime rules. How it used to be was that the team that won the coin toss got the ball and it was sudden death. You score, you win. Touchdown, field goal, touch-back, it doesn’t matter. Now in college ball, each team gets one possession. Team A scores a touchdown, cool, Team B gets a chance to do the same. Now let me tell you that led to some tremendously exciting games: I seem to recall one Cal game going to five overtimes while the crowd was practically orgasmic with excitement. You can imagine, without even having to be there.

So we were watching this game and the Steelers manage to come back from a huge deficit to tie the game, then the announcers make this whole huge deal about how this is the first time in NFL history with the new overtime rules (we were a bit out of the loop over here and had no idea that there even WERE new overtime rules….). They were hyped as ‘no sudden death’ until they get into the fine print: it’s not sudden death unless a) the defense scores (fair enough), or b) the offense scores a touchdown. HELLO; WHY? And what on earth is wrong with the college rules? Shoot if one team scores a touchdown it’s more exciting to see the other team try and match that. Getting a touchdown in one drive is an appropriately challenging thing to do; doing so with a sword hanging over your neck, especially in the playoffs, well, you get my gripe. Funnily enough (or sadly enough, for a Pats fan, I would have much rather played the Steelers), the Broncos got a touchdown on their first damn play of overtime. Game was over like 8 seconds into OT. Good on them for the play, but I think the new rule is no better than the old rule.

Been feeling particularly nostalgic recently for a number of reasons. One is a cat. Another is the New Hampshire Primary. Kind of like a night football game on a late October evening, the New Hampshire Primary is like nothing else I know of in politics. For those that don’t know, the American Presidential candidates are chosen by the registered party members in a pre-election called the Presidential Primary. Not all states vote at once, and the states that vote earlier tend to narrow down the candidates because the ones who don’t do so well tend to drop out (no one wants to vote for a loser, after all). Due to historical quirks there is something called the Iowa Caucuses which is the first test, and the New Hampshire Primary is the second.

Some people hate it because it gives New Hampshire’s voters an unfair weighting compared to most other voters. While as a Massachusetts resident I was slightly resentful of the fact that my neighbours to the north (some of whom were co-workers; I worked about 25 minutes south of the border) had their votes count more than mine, as a political spectator I love it. It prevents what would happen in a national primary where the richest or most well-known name is much more likely to win than an upstart candidate. It forces the politicians to hobnob with the people. I myself, in high school, saw such things as Lamar Alexander on my high school stage, shook hands with Bill Clinton, and watched Pat Buchanan behind closed doors with his winter boots up on a table dripping slush, bitching about something or other and chowing pizza and Coke. Then again, I just like elections. The all-nighters, the media circus, the security details, the fun of seeing what you were working on as front-page news.

Oh yeah. Mitt Romney won. Still don’t care for that chameleon.

If only I liked politicians as much as I liked the fun of the competition. I haven’t quite figured out yet if I like winning more when I have to put myself out there and risk losing (and winning is almost a relief), or if I like winning more when I’m rooting for someone else and I’m a supporting player. Like chocolate and vanilla I suppose. Love them both but when it comes down to it, I sure as heck do have a favourite. And I thereby answered my own question.

  • “Set higher goals.” – Tom
  • “Well you don’t need to generate money with your power clean.” – Roland
  • “Yeah I knew I smelled wheat.” – Ellie
  • “Yeah, it’s called the stupid gene.” – Roland
  • “People are just completely lazy asses. Except for some people.” – Jobst

One comment

  1. I really like Jobst's quote…and he is correct!

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