Session 7 of ASA's July MVP class


Today was yet another rough day at ASA Baseball's MVP training class. I don't know why I'm never quite able to do this class. I often feel I'm just completely, terribly and permanently out of shape. Either that, or I need to do more on the off days.

Started with the usual ladder drills. Now there's something I think I should probably start doing every day. Along with situps, pushups, chinups, stretching, hamstring exercises and having sex.

  • LR RL LR RL ...
  • L-in R-top L-in R-bottom
  • Fast rotate R foot first (outside, straddling the ladder, rotate 90° putting L in box 1, R in box 2; rotate back to straddling, advance to put L in box 2, R in box 3; continue), followed by L foot first
  • Straddle L-in straddle R-in
  • Straddle L-in straddle R-in straddle together
  • R-L traversals: R-L to the left side of the ladder, R-L inside a box, R-L to the right of the box - I can never get this one right.
  • Might have been another one in there...

We worked with the big boxes to start the session. With three aligned in a row with a 24" space between them, jump over each quickly, then sprint at the end. I was totally psyched out, and kept pausing between the boxes. When I did manage to keep going, I was totally flailing.

Our next box exercise was jumping off one onto the floor, then immediately onto two stacked up. 2 sets of 10. Kris managed to leap onto three stacked up for his second set, though he missed one and scraped his shin really hard on the corner of the top box (leaving hair and flesh caught in the grain - ew!).

Because we were unable to complete the box jumps, we did mini-hurdle runs.

  • Facing left, land each foot between two hurdles; repeat facing right.
  • Both feet together, hop over each hurdle
  • Facing left, feet together, hop over each hurdle; repeat facing right.

Next came 2 sets of 3 exercise rotation: sumo walks, side to sides with sprints, toe touches on the box. The sumo walks were walk the length of the room crouched down, back at a 45° angle, feet in a wide-wide stance, pushing a weighted ball. For extra goodness, we had to hold a rubber tubing loop apart with our feet.

Side to sides were the standard ice-skater like movements, followed by a sprint at the end. We did two for each set. I thought the point of this exercise was to drop deep into the stance. I was mistaken: quickness is the way to go. So, I did much better on the second set.

I also need to work on keeping my arms in when I sprint. My elbows go out, and my arms will cross over my chest to get going fast. Better to keep the elbows in and move them directly straight back & forth.

The toe touches weren't difficult. The usual. At some point, however, during these sets of three exercises, I stood up quickly and had a head rush. It lasted longer than normal (I'd say, 15 seconds, which is 12 seconds longer than my head rushes normally last), which was strange and a bit disturbing.

The abs workout was different. More ball work than usual. Our first exercise involved sitting next to each other, about six feet apart, and tossing the 8# ball across the body at the other person. After, eh, about 20 passes, we rotated 180° and threw at each other again, working the other side.

Next we put our feet together, facing each other (still sitting on the floor), and did chest pass situps to each other. G had to hold our feet down for a while.

Next were back-to-back ball passes. I passed down each time, Kris passed up. The first was Kris' left shoulder to my left hip. Then we switched to his right shoulder down to my right hip. Unfortunately, I moved into his shoulder as he passed the ball, and was smacked right in the nose with the ball. It hurt a lot. Stood back up and continued, though.

Next we did standing ball tosses, from the hips, push out at the person standing about 12 feet away. The 8# ball was a little too much for me, so G and Kris did the first set, and I did a second set with G and the 6# ball.

Regular abs after that. Bicycle, Russian crunches, V ups, lower back, regular crunches, stretch.

Lisa steps in with a plyo workout.


Today we did a session of Lisa's "Conditioning Program for Ultimate." The program is a Core/plyos/agility program, at the intermediate level for which base strength and fitness are assumed.

The focus of this session was:

  • Build lower-body explosiveness for optimal acceleration, change of direction, and jumping ability
  • Build core strength (esp obliques) for optimal performance and injury prevention

We started with a warm-up (approx 15 minutes):

  • Light cardio
    • Jog in place, for 60 seconds
    • Jumping jacks, for 60 seconds
    • Squat thrusts, for 60 seconds
      For these, start standing. Drop into a low squat, then place your hands on the ground. Next, thrusht your feet out behind you, so that you're in a push-up position. Hop back to put your feet back under you, hands still on the ground, then stand up.
    • Jog in place, for 60 seconds

  • Dynamic stretch
    Dynamic stretching is better for you when warming up than static stretching (where you ease into a position, then pull the muscles just a little past that position to stretch the muscle. Dynamic stretching is moving the muscles as you ease them into extended positions (like arm circles, leg swings, etc.). The trick, of course, is not to swing/stretch too far beyond the muscle's current flexibility (i.e. not more than a bare hint beyond).
    • Strides at 50% speed (4 x 100m)
    • Actively stretch legs, knees, ankles, hips, arms, shoulders, neck as needed

  • Form running:
    • High knees (2 x 40m, i.e. there and back)
    • Butt kicks (2 x 40m)
    • Side shuffle (2 x 40m, face same way there and back)
    • Carioca (cross-over grapevines) (2 x 40m, face same way there and back)
    • Exaggerated skip (2 x 40m)

Next we focused on Core work. The focus on this section was strong abs, flat back, and minimizing extraneous motion.

Although we did three sets of each of these, only one set was one of each at a time: one bicycle, then one of the three pushups, then one of the three planks. That's one. Do three.

  • Bicycle criss-cross (3 x 60 seconds)
    These differ from Gino's bicycles, and they are slow and controlled. Starting with the typical bicycle (lying on your back, hands behind head, lift left elbow to right knee, then switch lifting right elbow to left knee, repeat quickly), extend the lower leg out, touch elbow to knee, and breathe out. Then switch to the other leg. The trick on these is to extend the lower leg so that it is straight. That'll take time.
  • Push-up sequence (3 x 20)
    These were hard:

    • Regular
    • Rotational: start in a push-up up position. Balance on one hand and twist to put the other hand straight up into the sky. Look up. Twist back, returning to the original position. Switch arms and repeat. 20 = 10 left + 10 right.
    • Oblique: lie on your side, propped up on an elbow. Now, left your hips straight up and hold for 60 seconds. Ugh. Repeat for other side. If lifting from the feet is to hard, bend your knees so that when lifting you're balanced on knees and elbows.
  • Bridge sequence (3 x 60 seconds)
    The trick on these is to flatten your back before you lift up. That way, you've set your back position. If your lower back starts to hurt, this is bad. Drop back down to the ground, flatten your back to the ground, then lift back up.
    • static
    • lift arms overhead to the touch the ground over your head
    • alternate leg extensions - keep knees still!
  • Plank sequence (3 x 60 seconds)
    Lie on your stomach, then prop your elbows under you. Left your hips so that your body is straight. Yay!

    • set 1 = prone
    • set 2 = left side
    • set 3 = right side

And then we came to the meat of the workout, the plyometrics. Lisa had us working hard in this part! The focus of this part was power, balance, single-leg strength, and eccentric strength.

  • Jump-sprint combo: cycle through 2 sets of 5 each; sprint 40m after every 5 jumps
    • Knee tucks (2 x 5) : drive knees upward to chest
    • Squat jumps (2 x 5) : explode up as much as possible
    • Star jumps (2 x 5) : spread eagle: feel your massive hang time :
    • Split jumps (2 x 5) : land with same foot forward
    • Alternating lunge jumps (2 x 5) : land with alternate foot forward
    • Lateral bounds (2 x 5) : push off outside foot (single-leg)
    • Side hops (2 x 5) : back & forth jump over imaginary cone (double-leg)
    • Dip & sky (2 x 5) : grab the low disc then the high disc

  • Lunges and squats:
    • Lunge twists (2 x 40m) : twist outside for one set, inside for the other (single-leg)
    • Frog jump squats (2 x 40m) : standing broad jump: go for distance and soft landing (double-leg)

The last section of the workout was the agility section. It focused on acceleration and change of direction, both critical in ultimate.

  • Shuttle runs (10 x 5-10-5m) : stay low, push off hard
  • Explosions (10 x 40m) : from sprinter's position, accelerate, through finish-line tape at 25m, then coast

An active cool-down is important in preventing "pools" of blood from forming in muscles from a sudden cessation of exercise (the heart is pumping hard to get blood to the muscles, then the muscles suddenly don't need it).

  • Strides at 50% speed (4 x 100m)
  • Easy jog (5-10min)
  • Stretch, throw, drink water

Lisa had some extra notes in her summary of the workout:

    "In general, rest between reps should be close to zero. Rest between sets should simulate ultimate: sometimes longer, sometimes shorter. Use your judgment, but try not to always recover fully before moving to the next exercise."



Funny thing about gardening: you never quite know what you're going to get. You plant these seeds, you water, you weed, you try to keep the "bad" bugs from eating everything. You may even have to fend off your dogs, or the local raccoon or armadillo. And even then, you may not know what you're going to get.

I've been harvesting the bounty from my garden for a few weeks now. I'm getting mostly zucchini and cucumbers (anyone want a few pounds of pickling cucumbers?), because the one dog has eaten all my raspberries and strawberries, and the other has eaten all the ripe tomatoes. So, zucchini it is for me.

Last year, when I had zucchini, I went through, oh, I don't know, a billion zucchini bread recipes trying to find one I liked. Most tasted like bland cake, oh, with a few little green things in it. Most were pretty awful. James Pine decided to come to my rescue and offered me his zucchini bread recipe. As James doesn't offer recipes unless he really likes them, I was confident this would be a good one.

Last Saturday night, I decided to use the recipe and make two loaves of zucchini bread. I used the medium sized zucchini I had, which grated nicely into 3 cups of grated zucchini, exactly what the recipe called for. Like all good cooks, I tried some of the various ingredients, noticing the zucchini didn't taste too good. However, I didn't know this wasn't normal (when's the last time you tasted raw zucchini?), and made the loaves anyway.

After an hour of baking, the first one was ready. Out of the oven it came, out of the loaf pan it came, into several pieces it broke, with one going straight into my mouth.

And onto the floor.

It was the most god-awful, horrible, disgusting, bitter, nauseating piece of food I had ever eaten. It was bitter beyond belief. And the taste didn't go away. It lingered after two glasses of water and an apple turnover. It was horrid!

It was so bad, even the dogs who oh-so-carefully-so-that-momma-doesn't-notice took a piece out of the trash can, tried it, and spit out out across the room. PHOOEY!

It was bad.

The next morning, Sunday, I woke up to the world spinning at least 3 revolutions a second counter-clockwise. I was so dizzy, I fell on the way to the bathroom. Great.

After stumbling around, I made it back to the computer where I googled for "bitter zucchini." Lo and behold! What do I find? References about how bitter zucchini is really bad, and how eating zucchini that tastes bitter can make you ill. "Occasionally, a zucchini will contain a compound called Curcurbitacin E which makes the zucchini taste incredibly bitter. This bitterness should be a clue to stop eating said zucchini, unless you enjoy cramps, diarrhea, and collapsing.


After trying a few more zucchini from the only zucchini plant I have, and finding out all of them were bitter, even the really small zucchinis (large and over-ripe zucchinis are typically the bitter ones, not the small ones), I unsuccessfully called Kyle to let him know about the bitter zucchini (mostly in hopes that his family hadn't partaken of the evil, evil squash.

No such luck. Today, Kyle told me that pretty much his entire family was struck down with bitter zucchini diarrhea. His mom had cooked part of the zucchini earlier in the week, and the other part later in the week. Because the first batch was okay, they assumed the second batch was spoiled by the other squash they had purchased to go with the bitter zucchini of my garden.

Here's hoping they like banana bread, which will be my peace offering. I'm in trouble if they're allergic to walnuts.

Baked Oatmeal

Hmmmmmmm... Maybe I'll implement the recipe.module for this site. For now, Kris' family's recipe for baked oatmeal. Mmmmmmmmmm........

3 eggs
1 C oil
2 C milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 C brown sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon
4 tsp. baking powder
5 C uncooked oatmeal

Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately.
Add wet to dry while stirring.  Pour into greased
casserole dish and bake at 350º for 30 minutes or until
golden brown.

Jen comments, "We usually put some milk on it and heat it up (if it didn't just come out of the oven). Shaun even adds more cinnamon or brown sugar sometimes. Whatever floats your boat. Enjoy!!! By the way--this makes quite a bit so if you aren't having company and don't want to eat baked oatmeal for several days, I would half the recipe."

Zucchini bread

From James Pine

Zucchini Bread

Bowl 1 {medium bowl}:
3 cups flour
1 and one-half cups sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
4 and one-half teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Mix well.

Bowl 2 {big bowl}:
2 eggs and 2 egg whites
two-thirds cup canola oil
3 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel or 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Mix together eggs and oil.  Fold in the zucchini and lemon.  Stir gently
until the zukes are well coated with liquid.

Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Grease TWO loaf pans.  Stir bowl 1 ingredients
into bowl 2 ingredients just until mixture is moist.  Divide mixture
between two pans.  Bake 45-60 minutes until pick inserted in center
comes out clean.  Run spatula around the edges of the bread.  Remove
bread from pans within 10 minutes.  Place breads on cooling rack.

James comment: "ok, that's clipped in all its gory detail. I didn't want to send you the
contents of the shorthand index card, so I found the original. enjoy."

Words of wisdom from my female friends

Here are the pearls of wisdom I received at my bachelorette party from my female friends. It's been a long time since the party. Lisa hosted it. It was a great party.

  • The way to a man's heart is through is stomach
  • Life is funny. Laugh together often.
  • Make sure you each have "alone time." Very important!
  • Be selective about the sentimental items from his past that you allow him to keep.
  • Hiring a cleaning person will help you maintain a happy, healthy marriage.
  • His favorite move is "plaid schoolbus." Trust me.
  • Smooch often!
  • Don't argue over dirty dishes.
  • Hire a cleaning lady!
  • Talk about it! (Don't mind-read - ask!)
  • Keep track of your underwear!
  • Don't surface too quickly.
  • Sing like no one is listening.
    Love like you'll never be hurt.
    Dance like no one is watching.
    Live like heaven on Earth.
  • Be comfortable enough to fart in his presense. But don't abuse the privilege.
  • Always remember your love will help you overcome any obstacle between you and Kris.
  • I'll give you some advice for your man,
    Let him scrub every dish, cup and pan.
    When it comes to your cooch,
    Don't be a mooch,
    Let him linger as long as he can.
  • Argue naked.
  • Hold hands every day.
  • Happiness is a pedicure after an ultimate tournament. Happy feet equals a happy marriage.
  • Always make time for at least one date night a week.
  • Surprise each other!