Friday, November 1, 2013

October 2013 Review

October went ok.

1. Learn the Ashtanga Primary Series - The injury to my left shoulder forced substantial backwards progress. I can tolerate 3-4 sessions of yoga per week, and I need to be very careful about when my shoulder is done. I had to modify back pretty far, but am finding slow improvement. I had a few practices that went through Marichasana A, but am far from pre-injury energy levels. I expect a full recovery will take through the end of the year, at a minimum.

I've been using the down time to learn. I took a few Iyengar classes at a couple new yoga studios, including using the rope wall prop for the first time. I learned side crow is now available to me. I have a variety of classes planned for November, including arm balancing, a 6 week yoga anatomy course and a couple day workshop with Maty Ezraty. My wife and I are also exploring the yoga offerings at a local studio that is heavily focused on Iyengar.

I took a video of my shoulders when I do chaturanga. My scapula wing out really far. Chaturangas done like this are called "shoulder shredders". I have ceased doing them and am working on correcting the problem. Maybe by then end of November, I'll be able to do one correctly? It's not going to be an easy change. I have a similar problem in up dog, and am approaching it the same way.

My yoga anatomy teacher says a common cause for the problem is a weak serratus muscle. Watching myself press overhead in the mirror, it's obvious I have trouble firing that muscle whenever I bend my elbow. If I concentrate very carefully, I can get it to fire all the way through the movement, with no weight. My plan is to setup a camera where I can see the video while lifting or doing yoga, then watch my back and side to figure what moving correctly feels like. If my arm is straight overhead, the muscle bulges, so I don't think this is just a strength issue.

I'll keep the home Ashtanga in place 1-2 times a week over the next month. I plan to do Mysore Ashtanga twice over the month, but take it very easy on adjustments and chaturangas.

2. Post a Class IV Powerlifting Total - This month, I intentionally cut my weights and food. The lighter weights have provided a much needed mental break. Eating less is no fun, but is making me lighter. After a month, I've got the food down to habit, and it's really a question of how long I'm willing to tolerate running on fumes. My current plan is to continue through November, then ramp up to maintenance calories plus creatine in December. I expect to bottom out around 156, then settle in at 160 fully fueled. Depending how I feel at the end of November, it's possible I'll decide to lift at 148 instead.

Lifting only bothers my shoulder while pressing. Overhead presses are much worse than benching. I've been doing one arm kettlebell presses and letting my left shoulder dictate how much work I do on each side. It's not strictly on the 5/3/1 program, but the bottom of a barbell overhead press is where I find the most pain. I dislike the sudden loss of strength that comes with all these changes in my program, but it's part of the process.

Supplementation went well. I took my multi-vitamin, D3, and on most days, my EFAs. I've been able to eat almost entirely from Aldi. I don't miss screwing around with protein shakes or creatine. I do miss the extra strength creatine provides.

3. Advance my Profession - My team's biggest software release to date was this month. Almost all my time was spent testing and administering client accounts. I did manage to squeeze some fun stuff in as I worked:

1. Heavy use of canned data sets and SQL scripts to do bulk, repeatable testing of changes
2. Imported an XML file blob into a database column via SQL Script
3. Used SQL to extract the distinct set of values from all instances of an element in that XML blob
4. Used SQL to do a cross apply of that data extract to all records in a table, getting the set of distinct values from all XML in the table
5. Introduced usage of a database schema comparison tool as a final fail-safe check for deployments
6. Initiated evaluation of RedGate database tools to improve DBA productivity, and potentially sophisticate deployment of database changes cross-environment
7. Followed up on implementation of the build server, where sadly, there is no progress

I have no idea what next month will bring here. I'd be happy to see the RedGate database tools start making an impact, and even better, initiate the switch over to a build server.

4. Connect - At this point, I'm still focused on resolving schedule conflicts with my wife. Whenever multiple people are involved, change is harder. We'll see how November goes.

October has seen big improvements compared to September. The new behaviors are becoming automatic, and I expect to hit my stride during November.