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Old 12-07-2010, 10:39 PM   #1
Jon Harvey
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Zen and the Art of Open-Heart Surgery

Background
I consider myself a CrossFiter, and have followed the programming for about 2 years, but have always had some deficiencies in my performance/lifts/skills that make me feel like less of a CrossFiter. Prior to CF, I was a basic gym rat who never really got any bigger, any fitter, or had any goals; outside of martial arts, I didn't do any sports in high school, and have never been incredibly athletically gifted.

Without going into too much detail/medical history, I underwent open-heart surgery for a pulmonary valve replacement on July 30, 2010; this was my 2nd open-heart surgery, and 4th cardiac related surgery. Prior to this, i had lived without a pulmonary valve for almost 20 years, and still managed to run, do martial arts, CrossFit, and do a few triathlons.

I took about 2 months completely off: no running, no lifting, no stretching, no martial arts, only walking. In those 2 months I lost all my muscle mass and went from 150# to ~132# at my lowest. At 8 weeks post-op I felt like being a little more active, I began to stretch more, and slowly work back into wimpy isolation exercises; my newly ripped open chest and cracked ribs still ached with every movement or any heavy breathing.

At 12 weeks I felt good enough to earnestly begin my training again; I decided to start with a fairly lengthy cycle of Starting Strength, with a meager dose or running and swim drills to get some of my endurance back. Over the coming weeks I will be adding in metcons 1-2x a week, often scaled, in hopes of regaining my CrossFit-ability.

One of the things that made me feel like less of a CrossFiter was that I don't train in a Box, and I don't post on the Main Site. So I decided to try and make my usual logs public and more part of the CrossFit community.

So here goes!
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:49 PM   #2
Jon Harvey
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Re: Zen and the Art of Open-Heart Surgery

Goals
Short Term/Skill Based Goals:
-Regain Previous Strength Benchmarks
-Regain Previous Metcon Benchmark/Benchmark WOD Times
-Learn/Complete a Handstand Pushupp
-Complete a Muscle Up
-Complete a Pistol/One Legged Squat
-Learn/Practice Olympic Lifts
-Increase Running Distance/Speed
-Learn/Practice Total Immersion Freestyle Technique

Long Term Goals:
-Run a Half or Full Marathon
-Finish a Half or Full Ironman
-Complete as many WOD Rx'd as possible
-Decrease body fat %
-Eat Paleo

Stats:
Age: 25
Height: 5'6
Weight: ~144, pudgy.
Back Squat (5RM) 140
Deadlift (5RM) 160
Overhead Press (5RM): 70
Bench Press (5RM): 130
Pullups: 20
5K: 32min +
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:47 PM   #3
Jon Harvey
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Re: Zen and the Art of Open-Heart Surgery

12/8/10
Warmup
-Active/Dynamic Stretching
-Groin/Wall Stretch from MWOD x 2min
-3 Rounds of Cindy (untimed)

Strength
Back Squat:
Warmup Sets 5 x (95-115-125)
Work Sets 5 x 3 (135)

Bench Press:
Warmup Sets 5 x (95-115-125)
Work Sets 5 x 3 (130), Spotted on reps final two reps of all sets

3 x Max Rep Pullups (Deadhang): 15-13-17

K2E x 50

MWOD:
-Calf Stretch, Calf Rolling
-Groin/Wall Stretch

Comments
Back Squat: felt a little funky, I've handled 135 before and with more ease. My abductors were killing me from doing 1/2 Murph yesterday, hence all the groin/inner leg stretching. My back angle and stability also felt a little off, so I chose not to push it.

Bench Press: felt alright, I did 130 with about the same success last week, but again, didn't feel like pushing it due to fatigue/time off/soreness from previous day.
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:02 PM   #4
Jon Harvey
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Re: Zen and the Art of Open-Heart Surgery

12/9/10:

Took Thursday off, I had planned on doing a light metcon or swimming, but life got in the way. I did have a 4 month post-op checkup with my cardiologist. Without going into too much detail, he's fine with me doing triathlons and even muttered a "you're crazy" when I said I'm shooting for Half/Full Ironman. However, he strongly disagrees with me lifting, and I doubt he understands the concept of CrossFit. Our first meeting involved him telling me that I was "significantly shortening my life by lifting (heavy) weights." That's the only point we disagree on, I understand the physiology that he's referring to, but until he shows me evidence to support such a claim, I'd rather die doing something I love than live sitting around on my *** like my cohorts.

12/10/10
Warmup
-Active/Dynamic Stretching
-Elevated Pigeon Pose x 2min LR
-3 Rounds: 7 Pullups, 10 Dips, 15 Squats

Strength
Back Squat:
Warmup Sets 5 x (95-115-125)
Work Sets 5 x 3 @ 135

Overhead Press:
Warmup Sets 5 x (45-55-65)
Work Sets 5 x 3 @ 70

Deadlift
Warmup Sets 5 x (115-135)
Work Set 5 x 1 @ 165

MWOD
-Rolled Quads
-Couch Stretch x 1min LR
-Groin/Wall Stretch x 3min

Weight: 142

Comments
Back Squat: felt better than previous workout; legs don't feel as weak as before. Really trying to focus on keeping a tight midline and a stable back (my weak point on basically everything).

Overhead Press: this is my weakest and least liked lift. In the past I always dreaded it b/c I tended to overextend my back and end up with post-workout back pain. I've focused more on contracting my abs/back muscles as I press and getting under the bar, so far I haven't experienced any lasting pain.

Deadlift: typically this is my favorite lift, although I'm still pretty weak at it. Today felt good, felt a really strong pull in my hamstrings and glutes, but yet I always feel like my quads are tensing up as I set up for the lift and through most of the pull.

I'll admit that I've now taken to the habit of bring a pre-mixed protein shake with me to drink on the drive home. I always try to eat after a workout, but sometimes life gets in the way. However, I now feel like a meathead.
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:15 PM   #5
Benjamin Wheeler
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Re: Zen and the Art of Open-Heart Surgery

Jon- Love the log name. You've got yourself some solid goals and I look forward to watching you meet them. Inspiring circumstances! The programming is solid too! Good luck!
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:40 PM   #6
Jon Harvey
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Re: Zen and the Art of Open-Heart Surgery

Benjamin, thanks for the word of encouragement; it's these types of things that make the CrossFit community work. If you (or anybody else) have any comments or suggestions, feel free to post away; I love constructive criticism.

12/11/10
Warmup/Skill
-Active/Dynamic Stretching
-Jump Rope & Double Under Practice

WOD
CF Main Site WOD 12/8/10
3 RFT
400M Run
15 Pullups (overhand grip)
30 Squats
15 Pullups (cliffhanger grip)

Time: 14:59
Split Times (Run): 1:53, 2:06, 2:01 (I'm a slow runner, always have been, trying to work on it)

Comments:
Double Unders: I finally "got" these some time before my surgery, but the most I was ever able to string together was 10 before getting out of rhythm. I'm about to about 5 consecutive ones and I often mix in a healthy does of singles between them.
WOD: Picked this WOD from the mainsite for a few reasons; first, it plays into one of my few strengths, I can do bodyweight stuff, I'm light and have enough physical strength for it without having to scale much. Secondly, I'm trying to get back into running, and am also adjusting to my VFFs, I love them, but my ankles and feet still need serious conditioning; they don't give me knee pain though, so they're keepers. And finally, this WOD gave me a decent metabolic workout and I was able to do it with minimum rest between much of the work, which would happen if this was something like a Fran or Grace.

As for the WOD, felt good (in a sucky, almost puked in the street a few times sort of way). In retrospect, I could have done it Rx'd, but the last time I did 150 air squats was for a half-Murph the week before and it absolutely wrecked my legs, so I held off. This is only the 4th metcon I've done since surgery (1st was a scaled Helen, 2nd was a filthy-fifty with 400M runs between each set, and the 3rd was a half-Murph).

In short, feels good to be back, even if in a limited capacity.

It will be interesting to see my performance on some of the Benchmarks once I get into condition comparable to what I was in pre-surgery. Aside from hopefully no longer needing a transplant, I may get the secondary benefit of increased tolerance of higher heart rates; I used to slow down quite a bit once I hit about 172, and my average HR while running ran from about 162-165.

I used to wear a HR monitor during all my WODs, but it would often give me poor readings due to my heart's f***ed up electrical system and all the scar tissue around it. Since surgery, it hasn't given me any decent readings unless I'm sitting/standing/walking, so it resides in a closet; I'm hoping to find a better/more accurate one, but most medical professionals don't quite understand my predicament.

12/12/10
Rest day, as most Sundays are my usual rest day.
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Old 12-13-2010, 11:38 PM   #7
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Re: Zen and the Art of Open-Heart Surgery

12/13/10

Warmup
-Active Stretching
-Stick work for Shoulder and Push Press
-PT: Pullups (5-7-10), Dips (10 x 3), Squats (15 x 3)

MWOD
-Keg Drill x 2min
-Elevated Pigeon Pose 2min x LR

Strength
Shoulder Press
Warmup Sets 5 x (45-55-65)
Work Sets 5 x 3 @ 70

Back Squat
Warmup Sets 5 x (95-115-125)
Work Sets 5 x 3 @ 135*

Deadlift
Warmup Sets 5 x (115-135-155)
No Work Sets*

Pushups 3 x max reps: 40, 38, 35 (done between back squat sets)

Weight 144

Comments:
Shoulder Press: strongest I've felt at this weight; prior workouts I would fail at 3-4 reps and finish with 5 reps of Push Press at the same weight, which seems to have made my Shoulder Press stronger; my strategy for now is only to do PP when I hit a plateau or failure in a rep scheme.

Back Squat: my hip flexors were killing me during the warmup sets and I definitely felt them during the work sets; I've noticed a problem developing with my BS: I tend to lose my good back angle and my chest comes more forward than it should, causing me to turn my BS into more of a terrible looking good morning (obviously not good for the back). Hence, I'm being cautious with adding any more weight until I can solve this mechanics issue; I'm considering dropping down 10# or so and seeing if that allows me to maintain proper back angle, if so then I will build back up from there.

Pushups: wasn't initially planning on doing pushups, but I got to talking with a buddy who has a SEAL contract and ended up doing some pushups while he went through some grinder PT. On a high note, 40 is a PR for pushups post-surgery, prior to that my PR was 85 (2min time limit).

Deadlift: warmup sets felt good until I hit 155 and my glutes/hams didn't seem to want to fire. I'm not willing to risk back injury, nor am I stupid enough to do so - I cut my losses for the day, and gave myself a thorough stretching out.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:27 PM   #8
Jon Harvey
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Re: Zen and the Art of Open-Heart Surgery

12/14/10

Swim:
Spent 30 minutes in the pool working on body position drills/superman glide. Focused primarily on getting hips to rise and pressing my buoy.

WOD
"Fran"
21-15-9
Thrusters @ 55#
Pullups (Rx'd)
Time: 7:12

-Prior to the WOD I spent some time working on thrusters:
-5 x Thrusters @ 45, 55, 65, 75

MWOD
-Spent some post-WOD time rolling my calves, found a few sticky spots
-Lacrosse ball + Psoas = not fun, but needed
-Hamstring Band Stretch x 2 min LR

Weight: 144

Comments:
-I'm still struggling with being negative in the water and having my upper body sink to the point where I can't roll to breath, but instead must rise to the surface.
-I've forgotten how much I dislike thrusters, but I felt my form was pretty good and didn't see my knees shooting out over my feet like they used to.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:38 PM   #9
Jon Harvey
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Re: Zen and the Art of Open-Heart Surgery

12/15/10

Warmup/Skill
-Double Unders practice
-Active/Dynamic Stretching
-MWOD Squat Prep (Squat and hold, pigeon pose)

Strength:
Back Squat
Warmup Sets 5 x (95-115-120)
Work Sets: 5 x 3 @ 125

Bench Press
Warmup Sets 5 x (95-115-120)
Work Sets 5 x 2 @ 130 (unassisted), 5 x 1 @ 135 (spotted on final 2 reps)

Pullups (deadhang) 3 x max reps (17-14-12)

Weight: 144

Comments:
Double Unders: still struggling with timing and stringing more than 5 reps together without hitting myself.

Squat: intentionally dropped weight from previous sessions to check form, make sure my back angle was good, and primarily see if my chest/body comes forward under a lighter load; it did not. I will continue from this weight until my upper body mechanics allow for a safe and proper lift

Bench: I did my pullup sets between squatting, and by this time both my shoulders felt really tight. Warmup sets were a bit more of a struggle than they should have been, but with decent rest between sets and some band work, my arms and shoulder loosened up. I know SS calls for straight sets, but I've been stuck at 130 for a bit and felt amped enough to try for 135; @ 135 I felt a lot stronger than I expected and even the last 2 spotted reps were mainly lifted by me.

Pullups: nothing to report here, my last max rep attempt was 15 and I usually fall off by about 3-4 reps on each set.
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:13 PM   #10
Jon Harvey
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Re: Zen and the Art of Open-Heart Surgery

12/16/10

WOD:
Shovel Snow.
Time: ~1hr.

Comments: I really hate shoveling snow.
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