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Monday, October 29, 2007

Some followup...

Well, it's been two weeks, and I've heard from two AF2 (Arena Football League 2) teams, the Florida Firecats and the South Georga Wildcats. I've heard from three AIFA (American Indoor Football Association) teams, the Columbus Lions, The Augusta Spartans, and the Florida Stingrays.

Still nothing from the Storm or the Force.

I don't know what this means in regards to the AFL teams... Except not much of anything. As far as the AF2 and the AIFA teams, all 5 of them said that I showed great field awareness, athleticism, and knowledge of my position, and that they'd like me to come try out for their teams at a closed tryout. The problem...

All five are greater than 100 miles from my home, and the AF2 pays 200 dollars a week... The AIFL, even less.

I can't leave my home and go play for a team for $2400 a year. I mean... I love football. And if they were here in my city (or even close to me), I'd do it just to play. But I can't really afford to make a commitment that takes me away from my home for less than it costs to feed my cats and dogs each year (and take them to the vet... Our cats are fat, but not $2400.00 of Purina Cat Chow fat).

I heard from a few guys I met during the tryouts (there were 2 guys who were with me at both Tampa and Georgia, and we've kept in touch) that neither the Storm nor the Force have yet to contact them - and all three of us heard directly from the Offensive Coordinator of the Force that we'd hear back from them.

So for now, I'm just waiting. And I know that all three of the people reading this are waiting (hi mom and dad... And whoever you are, LostinAlbuquerque837...), so I thought I'd just check in with you and let you know how it's going (or more correctly, how it's not).

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Day 53 - The Georgia Force Tryout

I'll cut to the chase - I feel like I did very well. But I won't know anything for a few days.

The Force ran their tryouts differently than Tampa did theirs. First, they split out the "fast guys" and the "big guys" into two separate sessions, ours starting at 10:15 AM and ending at noon. Second, they didn't do any cuts today at all - instead, they videotaped the entire field during the entire tryout from four cameras, one on either stands' pressbox and one at each endzone. They will evaluate the tapes and get back to us for a 2nd workout if they want to see more.

There was a huge difference in today's tryout and the one I did in Tampa, and that came down to just pure confidence. In Tampa, I knew I'd worked hard but had NO IDEA what to expect at all - from how things would run to who I'd run against, to what the heck the coaches were looking for. Today, though, I had at least a rough idea of what they'd be looking for and how I needed to perform to stay viable.

So having said all of that - I cut nearly a full second off my time in the Short Shuttle today, I ran a 5.7 forty yard dash, and I kept my head up, my butt low and my hands right in the chest of every guy I went against. I hustled everywhere I was asked to go, volunteered and stepped up for every single drill, and overall just made sure they knew I wasn't there to waste time (or 80 bucks).

After the tryout, I went up to the offensive line coach and thanked him for the day, and he said "Hey, great job from you today - you had the best hands I saw all day (meaning I got my non-snapping hand out and locked my guy every single time... Oh yeah, if I didn't mention it before, I play Center). We'll be in touch."

I have no idea if that meant "hey, we're going to call you about the 2nd workout" or if that meant "bye, take care, we'll call you if we're interested!" But I'm hoping the first :)

So what now?

Well... I'm not going to stop working out. I'm not going to stop training. I'm going to treat this like I didn't get anything whatsoever from Tampa or Georgia, and that the real deal is in December. I'm going to keep updating this journal with my workouts and possibly make another video or two.

I'll probably find other things athletically that pique my interest, and if nothing comes from the pro team guys now or in December, I'll just jump on something new and make the best out of it. It's been, oh, 8 years since my last Judo tournament - maybe that'll be next?

Who knows. Overall... I'm just glad I didn't go out and look like a 30-year-old moron with Sunday Dreams and a lot of talk.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Day 52

Well...

Tomorrow's the day. 53 days from the day I first strapped on my brand new cleats and ran around a field with a parachute.

I think I'm ready.

I realize there's probably another tryout coming in December, and I realize that if I don't get a call after the one I'm doing tomorrow, I can just do that one... So this isn't actually "the end" or whatever. But it is the day before the milestone - the purpose behind this whole journal. So, I feel it appropriate to thank you for reading all of this... For following the journey and sending your support.

I actually didn't realize I was going to get any readers of this thing. I've been keeping the log mostly for historical purposes, so when I finally write about the experience, I have a log to point back to and provide a day-by-day look at how I was feeling and what I went through. I put tiny links to it on my existing sites simply to establish it in Google, and to get a small glimpse at who pays attention to the tiny little northern parts of my webpages.

But I have to tell you, hearing from everyone who's been reading this thus far has been fantastic. And I really appreciate the support.

I'll let you know how tomorrow goes... Tomorrow :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Day 50

Today's Notes:

The power class felt really good tonight - I think it's finally 'broken' and I'm used to it - instead of being fatigued and feeling sore the next day, I feel appropriately tired, and tight the next day, but not like I damaged myself. And it's done HUGE things for my normal workouts - there's so much endurance built in to that class, I don't ever feel winded or tired while doing my circuits and stacked lifts.

Crazy... Something that works as advertised. What a rarity these days.

****************************************

The Workouts:
(You can read descriptions for all of these exercises here)


Evening Session (weights + aerobic stuff)

Insane Power class:
Squats - 30 @ 175lbs slow burn (2 / 3 secs down, 2/3 secs up)
Lunges - 25 each leg @ 150 lbs slow
Lateral Shoulder Raise - 30 @ 140 lbs
Military Press - 40 @ 140 lbs
Bent-over Rows - 30 @ 140 lbs
Chest Press - 30 @ 180 lbs
Tricep curl - 30 @ 70 lbs
Bicep curl - 30 @ 70 lbs (slow)
Abwork - Planks, crunches, situps, more planks, hip lifts... I STILL hate this part of the class.


HOW I FEEL:

Really good. I honestly feel like I'm as ready as I can be for Saturday - I didn't slack, and I trained hard. I know that with another few months, I'd stand an actual chance of making a real show at the tryout, but where I stand now and how I feel, I think I'm going to do as well as I can.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Day 49

Today's Notes:

I don't really have too much to say, except that I'm really just ready for Saturday to get here. It's supposed to be 68 and sunny - perfect weather. Signups begin at 8:30 and go until 10:30, which is when testing begins. From what I can determine and what I've heard from some folks, the Force do tryouts differently than Tampa does - they don't just group everyone together and run everyone through the same drills, then break out. They actually break out at sign-up and test everyone by position.

Anyway.

****************************************

The Workouts:
(You can read descriptions for all of these exercises here)


Evening Session (weights):

Monday: Chest + Tricep day - heavy day

Bench Press - 4 sets: 1 set x 20 reps @ 135lbs, 3 sets x 10 reps @ 285lbs

Incline Bench Press - 3 sets x 12 reps @235 lbs
SUPERSET with: Tricep Extension (cable) - 3 sets x 15 reps @ 95 lbs

Decline Bench Press - 3 sets x 10 reps @ 285 lbs
SUPERSET with: Reverse Overhead Tricep Curl (cable) - 3 sets x 15 reps @ 87.5 lbs

Dumbbell Flys - 3 sets x 15 reps @ 50 lbs (per hand)
SUPERSET with: Skullcrushers - 3 sets x 15 reps @ 80 lbs (bar)

4 mile run (treadmill)

5 ULTRA super mega ultra stair sprint + 40 (YES FORTY) yard dash + touch and go (AKA OUCHES)

HOW I FEEL:

Not too shabby. It felt great to go up even more on the weight.

5 more days.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Day 48

Today's Notes:

Well, I took the past 3 days off. I intended to take two off, and ended up taking the third just for safety's sake.

Now, I know it seems kinda wimpy to take that much time off for a twisted ankle, but the truth is, it's a bit more serious than I thought. Not much, but a bit. The area around the twisty bit is now all purple, indicating to me that I really gave it a good tweak. And when you get some damage like that, you really gotta rest the entire body.

Why? Well, I'm no doctor, so don't quote me - but I've been told about this a few times throughout my life, so I feel pretty confident in sharing it with you.

When you lift weights, essentially you're ripping your muscles, damaging them in small ways throughout the fiber groups. Your body heals those rips, which builds more muscle. So, even though I hurt an ankle and it would make sense to just not run or sprint on it, it's actually important that I took enough time for my body to focus only on that one spot for a few days. If I'd lifted during that time, it wouldn't do any direct damage to my ankle, sure... But my body would then have several areas to concentrate on for healing.

And tryouts are in a week.

I needed to make damn sure I'm okay for them. Which is why I spent today doing some slow-mo drills, then working my way into full speed. I did the long-style stair sprints with the touch-and-go added on, I did the drill that got me hurt in the first place (the lateral run over the reebok step things), and some in-and-out shuttle drills.

I think I'm ready.


****************************************

The Workouts:
(You can read descriptions for all of these exercises here)


************

Morning + Evening Session (weights + drills):

Sunday: Back + Bicep Day

Upward Iso Row - 3 sets x 12 reps @ 270 lbs
Superset with Bicep Curl (bar) - 3 sets x 12 reps @ 75 lbs

Lower Iso Row - 3 sets x 12 reps @ 270 lbs
Superset with Dumbbell Curl - 3 sets x 12 reps @ 45lbs each hand

Iso Row - 3 sets x 12 reps @ 280lbs
SUPERSET with Iso Lat Pulldown (super slow contstriction isolation)- 3 sets x 12 reps @ 150 lbs


HOW I FEEL:

Really, really good. I have REALLY missed the gym. It seems odd, but when you've been working out regularly, when you stop, your body actually craves the workout. I kept feeling like I was going to burst out of my office and go running down the street just to get some energy out.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Day 44

Today's Notes:

So I met with Cris this morning. It was... Intense.

Dude is a total sadist. But thank god for that - I learned a lot.

We did a leg series, but it was different from what I've been doing lately. We started with a 10 minute jog to warm up, then did squats - and in between each set, i had to run 3 sets of stairs.

OUCH.

Anyway, the actual workout is below - but one thing I have to mention is that during the high-step cross run (a sideways run over the step platforms, one foot in, followed by the other foot, then one move to the next one - fast, with high knees), I thought I'd try to look all cool, like I knew what I was doing, so I raised my head and looked forward instead of watching my feet (what you're eventually supposed to be doing, but I wasn't used to the spacing and the size of these steps), and I tripped and twisted my left ankle.

So that hurt. And i looked silly.

****************************************

The Workouts:
(You can read descriptions for all of these exercises here)


Morning Session (weights)

Wednesday: Leg Day + speed training

10 minute warmup jog

Squats - 3 sets x 20 reps @ 225lbs
SUPERSET with: Stair runs x 3 each set

Leg Press - 3 sets x 20 reps @405 lbs
SUPERSET with: Wall sits - 60 seconds each set

Leg Extension - 3 sets x 20 reps @ 125 lbs
SUPERSET with: Leg Curl - 3 sets x 20 reps @ 125 lbs

High Step Slow Run - cover minimal distance with high-knee steps - down and back (40 yards) x 4 sets

Carioccee hip twist run - down and back, down and back (40 yards) x 4

High-step bag drill (sideways) - down and back, down and back (7 steps / hurdles, about 15 yards) x 4

In-and-out shuffle-step drill - down and back (7 steps / hurdles, forward one, back the next, about 15 yards) x 4

30 minutes treadmill hill climb @ 2.5 mph, incline of 15

HOW I FEEL:

It was TOUGH, but good - I can definitely feel a much deeper ache (good pain) in the legs. Cris was very complimentary of my initial session, saying that there's a lot of work left to do, but that I'm on a good course. I think I'm going to hire him to work with me when I'm in town.

************

Evening Session (drills and whatnot):

Iced my ankle. That's it.


HOW I FEEL:

Blah. I hate it when I do this. Again, I really, really hate injuries. Especially knowing I have a week before the big show. I think I'll be fine - I'm mobile and direct pressure isn't hurting me. It's the side-to-side stuff that twinges, and that's the majority of what I'll be doing at the tryout.

Braces, bandages, ibuprofen, and the grace of God willing, I'll be okay.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Day 43

Today's Notes:

I'm now doing the power class thing twice a week. I've been shifting from pure power weight training to a majority of endurance weight training, and I can tell the difference.

One week to go.

****************************************

The Workouts:
(You can read descriptions for all of these exercises here)


Morning Session (weights + aerobic stuff)

Insane Power class:
Squats - 30 @ 175lbs slow burn (2 / 3 secs down, 2/3 secs up)
Lunges - 25 each leg @ 150 lbs slow
Lateral Shoulder Raise - 30 @ 140 lbs
Military Press - 40 @ 140 lbs
Bent-over Rows - 30 @ 140 lbs
Chest Press (somewhat like bench, but on one of those Reebok Step thingers) - 30 @ 220 lbs
Tricep curl - 30 @ 70 lbs
Bicep curl - 30 @ 70 lbs (slow)
Abwork - Planks, crunches, situps, more planks, hip lifts... I STILL hate this part of the class.

************

Evening Session:

Light run of about 1.5 miles


HOW I FEEL:

Not too bad. I dunno... Not a lot to say today.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Day 42

Today's Notes:

Today was pretty intense. Lots of hectic crap going on in life in the morning, but I did manage to escape in the evening for a bit of gym work. And man, did I need it... Stress levels are high right now.

I went up in reps on the tricep extension and tricep curl, mostly because I can't go up on weight with them. It felt pretty good, until my arms started freezing in this crazy gorilla-guy locked out thing... I felt like I looked like those guys who wander the gym with their arms all poked out to look big.

I ran into one of the gym's trainers, Cris. He and I started chatting, and I told him about the tryouts in Tampa and how I was now working toward October 13 for the Ga. Force tryout. He offered to help me out with the quickness and agility on touch and gos in my drills, so Wednesday morning, I'm meeting him at 7 AM to see what he has in mind.

Finally, I am trying to work quick cuts and touching lines in lateral movements to my sprints and drills, mostly because that's where I suffered the most in my drills at the tryouts. Yes, it was a bit rainy and the grass was all torn up by the time I got on it, but on both the short shuttle and the L drill, I killed more time than I should have just stopping, touching the line with my hand, and starting again.

Quick cuts.

I was one of the fastest big guys out there, but I can't help feeling like I MUST do better. Tampa saw me making the cut, but I haven't heard anything about training camp or anything else... Come October 13, I want to make a serious showing. This will help.

I hope.

****************************************

The Workouts:
(You can read descriptions for all of these exercises here)


Morning Session (lifting + cardio)


Didn't have time today to do anything like that, so I slammed everything into my evening session.

HOW I FEEL:

Lame, but hey, I worked hard in the evening.


************

Evening Session (weights):

Tuesday: Chest + Tricep day - heavy day

Bench Press - 4 sets: 1 set x 20 reps @ 135lbs, 3 sets x 10 reps @ 275lbs

Incline Bench Press - 3 sets x 12 reps @225 lbs
SUPERSET with: Tricep Extension (cable) - 3 sets x 15 reps @ 95 lbs

Decline Bench Press - 3 sets x 10 reps @ 275 lbs
SUPERSET with: Reverse Overhead Tricep Curl (cable) - 3 sets x 15 reps @ 87.5 lbs

Dumbbell Flys - 3 sets x 15 reps @ 45 lbs (per hand)
SUPERSET with: Skullcrushers - 3 sets x 15 reps @ 75 lbs (bar)

4 mile run (treadmill)

8 super mega ultra stair sprint + 20 yard dash + touch and go (there has GOT to be a shorter name for this...)

HOW I FEEL: