Combine? Check.

OK ok ok! So I know some of you have been asking how the combine went yesterday. Let me begin by explaining what the combine is. Basically it is 8 events, and each is scored on a 100 point scale. So the max score you can possibly receive is 800 points. In order to be eligible to slide as a new slider, you must score a minimum of 650 points. Last year I scored a total of 727 points. This year I scored…

767!!

Boom! I am so pumped and am really excited for the season to begin. It’s practically September and I can’t wait to get back on the ice.

Let me give you a play-by-play of the combine.

So the first 4 scores are from sprinting. It consists of a 15m, 30m, 45m, and a 30m fly. You get the 30m fly time by subtracting the 15m time from the 45m time. I am going to give the event, the result, how much of a PR from the last combine it was, and then the total points I received from that particular event.

15m – 2.33 seconds (PR by .04) — 91 points
30m – 3.96 seconds (PR by .16) — 98 points
45m – 5.68 seconds (PR by .18) — 99 points
30m fly – 3.32 seconds (PR by .18) — 100 points

The 30m time is considered to be the most looked at mark of the sprinting events, and I was told that the team’s record for it from a skeleton female was previously 3.99 seconds. That’s a .03 improvement! And the 30m fly time is also almost a full .10 seconds off the score chart. For those of you who are unfamiliar with sprinting times, these increases are good. To PR by over a tenth in anything this short of a sprint is great. We had done some testing earlier in the summer and the times were marginally better. I felt pretty solid going into yesterday, but haven’t tested too much so I didn’t know exactly where I would be at. I can’t be more happy with the improvements.

Onto the next events:

Broad Jump — 2.62 meters/ 8’7″ (PR by .12 meters) — 90 points
Shot Toss — 13.74 meters/ 45’1″ (PR by… 1.84 meters) — 98 points

It is a bit funny to me that the broad jump is my worst event of the combine and I was actually jumper. But you know what? I’ll take it. It is not nearly as bad as it was last year. I enlisted a bit of help last week and that seemed to do the trick. But the shot toss… I have no idea where that came from. Seriously. No. idea. I mean, I just whaled it out there on the 3rd toss. Perfect trajectory. Did the trick.

Vid of a broad jump from last week:

After a brief hiatus, we took off to the weight room to partake in the last events. Power Clean and a 3-repetition squat max.

Power Clean — 80kg / 176 lbs (PR by 8kg) — 94 points
3-rep Squat — 100kg / 220 lbs (PR by 5kg) — 97 points

Vid for 79 kg from last week:

This was a PR last week (I know I posted a vid of 78 kg from last spring) but I just barely managed to get 80 kg up yesterday. On this vid, I irritated something in my right thumb, and the cleaning from yesterday inflamed the muscles quit a bit. I mean, the rep from yesterday could have been the messiest clean I have ever done in my life. But you know what? I ended up getting it. All that matters.

Finally the squats. I was pretty much beat at this point. I did 100kg because last week I did 95kg pretty easily. I thought I might be able to go a bit higher, but in order to get any more points, you had to jump up to 107kg. I picked it up off the rack, went down on the first rep and then began to ascend only to fall victim to 236 lbs and gravity. Ambrose (a strength coach) helped me hoist it back onto the rack and viola. I was done.

With a grand total of 767 points. I feel great. I can’t wait to get to sliding. I gave my sled to Don and will be getting a new saddle (the part I lay in) and pod (the plastic part on the bottom). I am going to have to re-pad it, but I will give her a nice tune up in a few weeks and get going on the ice as soon as it gets cold enough. As soon as that pod gets added, I will be able to add the names of Mark Armour and the Chang/Salmon family to the bottom of the sled for their generous donation a few months ago.

I will leave you with some push track vids:

And a second one with a better view of the load. There is definitely still work to be done here, but I do feel more comfortable now.

I will keep you guys posted with some more push track vids as they come! Thank you everyone for the support and good luck yesterday. It was an amazing way to get started.

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Summer is winding down… which means skeleton season starts soon!

Check out my Donors and Sponsors! A big thanks to these guys and EVERYONE else that donated on my indiegogo account. It was a huge success. I went in with a goal of $3,333 and came out well ahead at $4555. If you missed it but still want to contribute… don’t worry. Head over to the donate page and you are good to go.

But…. summer is just about over! Which means I actually have stuff to update you all with! I stopped work and and getting ready to head up to Lake Placid indefinitely. I have had some real highs and lows working out this summer, but I do think I am at a better place physically for the start of the season.

To summarize my summer workouts… Lift 4 days a week, sprint 3 days a week, 2 days of active recovery and absolutely NOTHING on Sundays. Oh how I look forward to Sundays… But here is a quick recap:

April: took the entire month off.
May: Great
1st half of June: Crap
2nd half of June: Great
1st half of July: Crap
2nd half of July: Great
August: Great so Far… lets hope it stays this way.

And by my eloquent “crap” I mean, workouts were much harder than they should have been. I have a combine coming up in a few weeks. I did a summary of the combine in the last post. But basically, this is my first big test and I am hoping to just blow it out of the water. But anything can happen so I’m just going to have to put my head down and grind out these last few weeks.

At the end of June I did some testing in sprinting, and it went pretty well. Improvements, which is good. So hopefully by this combine I will have even more. And at some point in July I did 3×5 squat at 93, 95, 95 KG. At the combine last year I maxed out 1×3 at 95. Hopefully this means I will be right around 100kg for a 3 rep squat max! But the squat is the last event for the combine, so I think fatigue will certainly play a roll. I really need to work on my shot toss and broad jump. I feel like these 2 events can be much better than they are right now if I work on my technique a little. I will be seeking some help in this matter once I get back up to Lake Placid.

I had my brother film a few of these awkward sled pushes today during my workout. I don’t have all the equipment/facilities that I need at home so sometimes I make up weird drills like this.

What else happened this summer? OH. Weight has been a big issue for me. I came home from Lake Placid in April at 142 lbs, the heaviest I have ever been in my life. But the time May was over I was at 126. Sure awesome if I didn’t do skeleton, where weight wasn’t such a huge factor! I’m back up to 132 which I feel really fast and fit at. I’m just trying to maintain this weight through my combine and then just start to put more on through Push Champs and Team Trials (I will go over what these are in another post). Lighter=faster sprints. But it also equals less momentum on the ice track for sliding. Big no-no. I feel pretty good about it right now, and I think long-term goals are reasonable.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I am going to start to update more frequently, but have the posts be smaller. I think that will be a good approach to the upcoming season. We will see if I stick to it.

Summertime Training

Well it has certainly been a while.  My season ended at the beginning of April with 2 America’s Cup races in Lake Placid.  They could have gone better, but it is certainly a learning experience and I value every run that I take down the track- good or bad.  It seems like so long ago since those runs and some big changes have been made since then.  I am currently living at home in my native Virginia in the off season. Doing what?  Well everyday is pretty much the same.  Let me break it down for you.  Also let me preface this by saying that I have never been a morning person.  Track practice from 9th grade through 4 years of college was always right around 3pm.  I’m conditioned to enjoy working out way later than I should.

Regardless, I pull myself out of bed every morning and work out.  Once I get out there, it’s pretty easy to remember why I got up in the first place. I generally try to split up the 2-a day workouts  into 1 morning session and 1 evening session.  Sprinting is 3 to 4 days a week and lifting 3 days a week.  Tuesdays and Thurdsays are active recovery days and Sundays are my off-day.  Workouts started April 30 (I got 4 weeks off where I did nothing.  It was great, even though I was antsy to get back at it.)   I started off on the right foot, but had a week or 2 of some not-so-stellar workouts.  You know…  the kind where you finish, but it wasn’t pretty and certainly was waaaaay harder than it should have been.  I’ve felt pretty good the last 2 weeks, so hopefully I can keep this pace up.

After the workouts I go to work.  The company I work for has been nice enough to let me come in at 11.  The busiest hours for my job are from 2-4, so it works out pretty well for everyone.  I’m working at the same place I did last summer- Beautyscope.

And… yeah.  That’s about it.  It’s a pretty boring and redundant life for now.  Especially since I don’t work out with anyone.  My brother typically comes out and keeps me company for the hill sprints and my dad joins me for Saturday’s track workouts.  But the gym is a lone effort.  It is tough to stay motivated when the season is so far away.  But I think I have done a pretty good job thus far of giving it my all for each workout.

Before I left lake Placid, I maxed out in my Power Clean at 171lbs.  At the combine last year, I maxed out at 160lbs.  An 11lb improvement is pretty significant!  Ambrose (strength and conditioning coach) set up the camera to capture proof of success!  Here’s the video.  I didn’t want to get into another argument with Windows Movie Maker, so I didn’t bother editing it and cutting off the last minute of the video.

Anyway, so the other night I went to the gym around 11pm because I needed to blow off some steam and finish up a workout from the morning.  Plus if you go at night, no one is there.  It is great not having to share equipment.  Anyway, I haven’t done a full clean since this video but I decided to fiddle around with it and see what I could do.  I was just supposed to be doing shrug pulls from the floor, but I decided to finish the lift and clean it.  Managed to get up 165 pretty easily.  This is really good news for what the future holds.  We are in the base/volume building portion of the program and  I haven’t done a full clean since March.  I am hoping to clean 80kg (about 176lbs) for the combine in August which will be good for 96 points.

Oh yeah, I guess I need to explain what this combine is.  I took it last year before I made  my blog.  Anyway the combine is like this big physical fitness test with 8 events.  Each event is worth 100 points and the minimum # of points you can get to slide is 600points.  It includes a 15m, 30m, 45m, 30m fly, broad jump, shot toss, power clean and 3-rep squat max.  I score 727 points on it last year.  I want to be around 750 for this years combine.  The most important parts of the combine are the sprints since they encompass half of the overall combine.  I can use some help in that 15m sprint but I am confident my training now more directly translates to this combine/skeleton than my track & field training did last year.

I’m going up to Lake Placid at the end of the month for a few days and Ambrose said we can do a little time trial to see where I am at thus far.  I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Other changes in my life?  Um, I started drinking protein after workouts.  Protein is hella expensive!  But I do believe it is worth it.  Hopefully it isn’t some placebo effect and it it actually helping my recovery.  But half of working out is mind over matter.  So even if it doesn’t do anything but my head thinks it does, I’m ok with it.  I also stopped eating wheat.  What whaaaat??!  I decided to try it out after hearing the case for no wheat from some friends.  It’s been pretty good thus far.  I feel better for  workouts.  I dropped a good chunk of weight right from the get-go.  But I am slowly putting it back on (the right way).  It is pretty weird changing my weight mentality from track to skeleton.  For jumping I always wanted to make sure I was as light as possible.  I mean, we’d wear these 10lb weight vests for practice.  The thought of jumping with that weight on my body was a big deterrent to eating poorly for me.  But you move up to Lake Placid and they tell you to put on weight because it’ll make you faster sliding on the ice.  There is obviously a happy medium between putting of so much weight that you are slow at the start and fast down times.  I’ll figure it out eventually.

That’s all for now.  I’ll update if anything interesting happens.  But I wouldn’t don’t bank on it.