Strength Friday 1/18/13 (w/ Bonus Hell Week)

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In my quest for lean superhero-ness, I’m following the Wendler 5/3/1 strength training program. Twice a week, Dave and I are hitting the craptastic gym in our Converse to lift heavy and crank through a mini-metcon.

The Week From Hell

I’m so very happy it’s Friday because this week was grueling, frustrating, disappointing, exhausting, and, frankly, a total asshole. The yucky stuff that happened:

As some of you know, when we first released Well Fed, it was printed by CreateSpace, and when our orders were really high, they contracted out some of the printing and that printer wasn’t too good, and a bunch of our books fell apart in the hands of the people who bought them. Massive disappointment ensued. But we rallied! We found an awesome book printer and started printing Well Fed ourselves. We sold, like, 25,000 copies of those books with no problem. Until last week, when Amazon reviewers started complaining about pages falling out. Then Amazon pulled our book from the store. Panic ensued! After hours of phone calls and frantic emails, we’re back on sale at Amazon, and our printer has discovered that 4000 of the 5300 books we had in inventory are lemons. And here’s the kicker: THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO OUR PRINTER BEFORE. They have never had this problem with the binding. They think it was a bad batch of glue. For real. Bad glue. Anyway… we’re back on sale at Amazon and busted books are flying across the country to be re-bound and… blech boo blah.

Yesterday, in the midst of trying to sort out the book debacle, Dave’s laptop died. Just died. Perfect timing.

I tested 16 recipes in the last two days which meant seemingly endless chopping and washing. I also cut myself once and, while grating ginger, just about removed the fingernail on my right index finger. (Happily, my left thumb, the tip of which I almost cut off two weeks ago, has healed.)

I had half a cold this week, so I missed a bunch of workouts. I also, despite my better judment, did no kundalini yoga nor meditation. I slept a lot, which on one hand is good, but also meant I’ve gotten a late start every day this week, so I feel behind behind behind on life. I just dyed my annoying blonde+gray roots last week but, already, those pesky silver hairs are peeking out at my hairline. Smudge destroyed our wicker laundry hamper by using it as a scratching post, so we replaced it (with a solid bamboo model) and bought her a giant, deluxe cat scratcher which she, of course, WILL NOT USE.

Just now, while throwing a load of laundry into the washing machine, I dropped the lid/measuring cup from the detergent and a thin stream of blue liquid soap flew EVERYWHERE: the walls, the floor, my sweater, my jeans, my shoes, the laundry basket. And, while I’m whining and being totally honest, I’m supposed to be doing a strict Whole30, but I ate about four dark-chocolate-covered almonds yesterday (which I bought from the bulk section while I was grocery shopping. I KNOW BETTER! WHY DID I EVEN BUY THEM?! WHAT IS HAPPENING?!)

So, yeah. That’s my week. Expectations for my workout this morning were somewhat low, in accordance with the suckitude that has been January 14 through January 18. But then, miraculously, the craptastic delivered fun.

5:00 treadmill: started at 3mph and increased speed every minute til I was jogging

2 rounds:
11 jumping jacks
11 air squats
11 rotations
11 arm circles
11 arm criss-cross

static squat hold/ankle stretch
cat/cow + downward dog
hip & shoulder mobility


Back Squat:
3 @ 70% of max =110#
3 @ 80% of max = 125#
max reps @ 90% of max = 140# – I did 9.
Um, wow. I couldn’t really believe it while I was doing it, but I knocked out 9 back squats at 140. I like it.

Bench Press:
3 @ 70% of max =80#
3 @ 80% of max = 95#
max reps @ 90% of max = 105# – I did 3.
Yowza. That 105 was Heavy. The first two reps were challenging but smooth. The last one? I had to really fight for it, and it was a little noodle-y and uneven, but I pushed through it. Neener. (That’s an improvement but not a PR. The last time I did 105# was on November 12, and I got just 2 reps.)


2 X 5 deadhang pullups with a band
2 X practice wall walks
handstand holds at the wall with practice “move your feet away from the wall and don’t freak out”
The wall walks are super scary to me, so I only did two and I didn’t get my hands quite close enough to the wall… yet. Here’s what they look like when done by a pro:

My plan is to practice both wall walks and kickup handstands for maximum, supreme comfort being upside down.

I had a mini triumph on my wall handstands today: I got my feet away from the wall for a full second TWICE! Dave even saw it once. Maybe next week, I’ll have him take a picture!

So, that’s that. My week kinda sucked and kinda had some awesome moments (like when two of the recipes I was really excited about for Well Fed 2 worked!). I’m to be thisclose to Saturday yoga and a lazy Sunday of adventure planning and football viewing. This week was really an asshole.

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  • Julie says:

    ((((BIG HUGS))) to you Melissa! I’m sorry about your asshole week. Just so you know, I love my copy of “Well Fed” and it is holding up wonderfully despite it’s constant use and abuse!

  • Kathleen says:

    Oh YOWSA. That whole print / binding debacle had my stomach in knots. Also. Totally ate a couple squares of 88% dark chocolate last night. I’d like to think now that it was out of solidarity.

    I hope you guys have an amazing weekend to make up for a not-so-amazing week.

  • Jennie says:

    Sorry you had a sucky week! Think of it this way, you wouldn’t appreciate the fabulous weeks if you didn’t have the sucky ones for comparison. So you must have some majorly fantabulous weeks coming up. I actually just bought the physical copy of your book (even knowing the binding issues) and it is due to arrive tomorrow…can’t wait! I have the ebook from the bundle sale that ended on 1/14 but wanted to be able to write notes and whatnot. I was planning on taking it to Kinko’s anyway (now that I know they do spiral binding on books!). So excited to really get some weekend cooking done on this 3-day weekend. Hope things get better and that you can laugh (or at least find a smile) about this past week soon!

  • Melissa M says:

    Sorry to hear about your crappy week Mel! Hope all your stuff continues to improve, fast. It made me feel a little better to read about your week, since I was just internally griping about some annoying stuff going on with me this week. Like another poster said, got to have the crappy stuff to appreciate the good stuff.

  • Eek! What a horrible week. I’m so sorry you had to deal with all of that shit. If this helps:

    1) Yes some books fell apart, but it’s awesome that you have a book and it’s selling so well!

    2) Cutting your finger sucks! I still don’t have a finger print on one of my index fingers…But 16 recipes? Hells yes! You’re flying through those suckers so fast your fingers can’t keep up.

    3) Being behind in life is no fun. But when your body needs sleep, it must sleep. Otherwise you’ll be on time with life but UBER crabby (or at least that’s what happens to me).

    4) Grey hairs = getting older. At least you made it that far? I don’t know. That’s a little morbid…

    5) Smudge is being a pain. But I definitely wish I could have a cat for comfort on days that suck. Unfortunately I’m deathly allergic.

    6) Soap everywhere is annoying as well. But thankfully it washes out. I once dropped and splattered everywhere a bottle of nail polish right next to my laundry…yeah…

    7) Dark chocolate almonds…god I miss those.

    Anyway, my point with this comment is that sometimes when things go wrong, they drag us down into this “life sucks!” hole that’s pretty hard to bust out of. Then every single little thing that’s added to it feels just that much worse.

    Hopefully after some needed downtime this weekend you’ll wake up feeling better. If not, I recommend looking at cute pictures of cats. Especially one’s trying to fit in tiny boxes.

  • Madison L. says:

    Sorry you’ve had such a craptastic week. Yay for long weekends!

  • Susannah says:

    Oh my, what a perfect storm!! I can just see all the detergent splattering everywhere – that happens to me A LOT and always at the end of or at the height of a really bad time. So frustrating!!! I hope you and Dave have a good weekend planned and that it imcludes some safe cuddled up and reading a good book time.
    Oh yes, rub the scratching post with catnip. That has encouraged our cats to use theirs.
    I’m planning to make some delicous food this weekend from your fab recipes 🙂

  • Holly says:

    Well that week sounds craptastic! Hope you have some downtime this weekend to just rejuvenate! But at least you showed the walls in the craptastic gym who was boss. WALL WALKING MACHINE!!!

  • Amy Drorbaugh says:

    So sorry your week sucked! I got one of those random bad binding books but was so happy to have it and excited to cook out of it that I glued it myself instead of sending it back. Because I didn’t want to part with it! LOL So glad I found you. Starting my whole30 tomorrow.

  • Kay Hart says:

    Bless you. What a week. I suggest, after you do the big Saturday cook up, that you curl up with a good book. the best medicine there is, or have sex!!

  • Carly says:

    I hate weeks like that. :/ In good news, I just finished reading Well Fed virtual-cover to cover and I freaking love it! Already made the apple crisp and cumin carrots (which we ate last night with avocado-bacon stuffed burgers and Apple-Beet Kvass) and they were divine. Funny, when I was reading about your Prague adventures I thought, “she needs to read The Historian” and then I see it on your side bar. 🙂 Hope your weekend is not such a suck-fest.

  • Casey says:

    Me too, girl, meeee toooo – week from hell. So glad it’s nearly over! I’m glad to hear things are starting to look up for you. Hope you get the rest of the kinks worked out soon, and just think of how much worse it could have been if not for the extra sleep and cleaner-than-most-of-America eating!

  • Susan says:

    I know the feeling about the grey hairs. I’ve been noticing mine a week or two after coloring and I do it every 5 weeks. So for the past 3 weeks I’ve been cringing in the mirror!

  • Jennifer says:

    I have lurked here for a while now and have a well-worn copy of Well Fed sitting on my kitchen counter as I type. (Homemade mayonnaise has changed my life.) Your blog comforts me and encourages me, and is a place where I go when I need to feel like maybe I’m not such a freak in this world of people who eat and live with abandon with no thought to their health.
    Because you give me such joy and comfort, I would like to attempt to extend some to you, a gift from my job to me and then from me to you. I work as a physician in an emergency department where I often find myself frustrated but where I always am reminded that life can always be worse. Last night I had the pleasure of caring for a beautiful 76-year-old lady who had grown up in Holland. She was too sick to talk, but her lovely husband told me how she had lived just down the street from where Anne Frank hid during the war. Her childhood memories are of being shot at by planes as she rode her bike and watching as the tanks rotated their turrets toward their next target, hoping that her house wasn’t it. As he told the stories, she lay in bed, a machine helping her breathe (a bipap), smiling and nodding, her attitude and demeanor nothing but pleasant.
    Just before seeing her, I had admitted a gentleman who at the ripe old age of 38 had had a massive stroke which had stunted his left side and left him somewhat mentally challenged. As if that weren’t insult enough, he caught himself on fire lighting a cigar about a year ago and carried those scars over at least 60% of his body. Despite all this, he was a pleasant, smiling soul.
    I don’t tell you these stories to minimize your awful week, and it sounds like it was truly awful. Instead, I hope that they give you what the patients gave me–a smile amidst the frustration.

    • Mel says:

      Thank you so much for this! What you probably don’t know is that I’m very interested in the Holocaust, so this story hit me right in the heart. One of the reasons WWII survival stories affect me so much is the way people clung to life and love during what was such a horrible time. I always feel empathy and gratitude that those stories are teaching me the lesson to be grateful and brave.

      Thank you a billion times.

  • Michelle Tam says:

    Ai ya! I’m reaching out across the internet to give you a fierce bear hug!

  • Anne says:

    Aww man! I was half frowning, half smiling through that whole story because it’s so relatable! Oh, except for that book thing, that’s just awful! I, too have a (signed, which still makes me a bit giddy!) copy of Well Fed that’s now Well-Smudged with all kinds of good food, and still in one piece. But the universe sure has a thing for exploding liquids to mark the worst of times! Mine was full-fat, organic yogurt just last week (only problem I’ve ever had with dairy, hah) and it was on EVERYTHING. But at the same time, I’m snacking on carrot sticks and SUNSHINE SAUCE all through this never ending finals month so it’s not a total binge fest as usual. (seriously, thank you for that!) Oh and cats hate anything that you paid money for and that’s intended for cats. It’s in their honor code or something 🙂

  • Kate Dutton-Gillett says:

    Big hug from me in Menlo Park!! My copy of “Well Fed” is perfect and I am so looking forward to having “Well Fed 2” right with it! Remember that you make my life, and the lives of thousands of people better with your blog, your humor and your cooking and lifting!! Your overthrew the assholeness of the past week and have it in your rear veiw mirror! Best wishes to you!!

  • Kel says:

    Now I love my Kindle edition of Well Fed even more!

    I am sorry your week was an ass kicker. Focus on controlling what you can control. Know that the coming week will only get better!

  • AHKeatley says:

    Sorry you had a rough week. Sometimes those just happen. What makes us survivors is that we get up, dust ourself off, and try, try again. I missed the survey but I am super excited for “Well Fed 2.” I hope next week is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!!!

  • DivaHick says:

    It’s so weird that your week sucked (which I’m so sorry it did) but my was amazing because of my copy of Well Fed. (Which I bought on Amazon and has not fallen apart- although it would completely have the right too due to overuse.) True story.

  • Mel says:

    Thank you very much, all of you, for your words of support, commiserating with me, and allowing me to whine just a little bit. You are, without a doubt, the best readers on the entire internet.

    We’re emerging from the cloud of yuck and trying to stay focused on being grateful for all that is right — and weathering the lingering challenges of the stuff that blew up last week.

    Y’all are the best, and I’m VERY GRATEFUL for you.

  • Shannon says:

    Let’s focus on the awesome– 9 back squats and #140?!?!?! 90% my ass! This is so awesome and exciting! You’ll have to tell us when you do a 1RM!

  • Cathi says:

    Hi Mel,
    How awful to have such a disaster with your books! I have worked for 32 years at the “other end” of the book industry – I catalog all the books in the local community college library. I see a LOT of new books. They, by and large, are deplorable, physically. Sometimes I just shake my head about how shoddily they are made these days. If it’s not paperbacks like yours cracking and falling apart (oh and by the way, NEVER leave a book in the car in the heat – it will crack even faster), then it’s the dumba$$ publishers saving a buck and putting a very large heavy text inside of a cover that’s not strong enough to hold it. It’s like they are planning for ebooks to take over the world.

    Sorry about my rant, but for what people pay for books, the physical quality should be a lot better.

  • Robyn says:

    I did my first cross fit class Wednesday and my second class tonight. Let me tell you! I found muscles in my back that I didn’t know were there! Tonight I did my first ever wall hand stand! I got up there on my first try! Yay me! Not too bad for a 44 year old beginner! You inspire me to try new things! Thank you!