Thoughts of spring: At least my brain isn’t sore

Cliff swallow

Spring begins at the Mission San Juan Capistrano in California in mid-March when the cliff swallows make their annual 6,000-mile trek from Argentina for the summer.

Many Iowans mark the coming of spring by looking for the first robin of the season.

In Muscatine, you can also tell summer is approaching when Tom and Ann Meeker get their Pearl Button in the waters of the Mississippi River. They did so on Tuesday this year.

The 45-ton paddlewheeler — which the Meekers bought, renovated and first launched in Muscatine in 2009 — completed 85 cruises last summer. The boat is not super fast, but it offers a fun and inexpensive way to spend some time on the river.

For information, or to make a reservation, call 563-263-5057 or 563-299-0917.

Today’s quote: Ask five economists and you’ll get five different answers – six if one went to Harvard. — Edgar R. Fiedler, American economist (1930-2003)

CrossFit Chapter II: My phone beeped at 7:50 a.m. today with a text message from a friend who wanted to know how the second workout had gone at Warrior CrossFit Muscatine. Another friend with the same question sent a tweet at 8:34 a.m.

The short answer: I survived. And don’t tell anyone, but I even enjoyed it a bit.

What I am experiencing is a good hurt. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Jacob Garvin, who owns the gym with his wife, Sarah, tells me I have a solid squat, which is apparently a big first step in the world of CrossFit.

“You are now armed with all nine of CrossFit’s foundational movements (air squat, front squat, overhead squat, overhead press, push press, push jerk, deadlift, cleans and sumo deadlift high pulls),” Jacob wrote this morning in an email.  “Everything technical we do with weight is derived from those nine movements.”

One of those nine movements — and I’m not even sure which one — has already made what I think is the brachioradialis muscle in my forearms pretty darn sore. In fact, I’d like to use a stronger adjective for the soreness I’m feeling, but I know Jacob’s grandmother is going to read this.

After some more orientation with Sarah, which was a bit of a workout in its own right, she had me do an actual workout called the Barbell Complex. It was pretty similar to this video except I didn’t  look nearly as good doing it and I did it with a lot less weight.

I did about 35 rows on a rowing machine, followed by six repetitions of the following lifts: Deadlift, upright row, cleans (I think), front squats, push press, back squats and push ups. I did three sets of all of that. It took me about 12 minutes and 30 seconds. And I’m not sure how much weight Sarah put on the bar. I think somewhere around 40 pounds. I didn’t look.

My motivations for trying all of this are pretty simple: To get lighter, stronger and faster on a bicycle.

In the long run, that may happen if I stick with it. But the short term is another matter entirely. I managed to ride 19 miles Wednesday night with some friends from the Melon City Bike Club. Let’s just say the hills were a challenge and I felt really slow even though I averaged a decent 13.6 mph.

I’m supposed to teach two cycling classes Friday morning at the Muscatine Community Y. That could be interesting.

But what really will be interesting is to see what happens in the next couple of months.

“If you average three classes per week, you will see big gains over the course of two months,” Jacob told me, calling his promise “the old Garvin Gaurantee.”

Only time will tell. Stay tuned.

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