Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Biltong/Jerky batch 4

Really close now.


  • I used fast fry rump steak, cut back the sugar (left it out of several layers actually, I forgot) and upped the salt.
  • I also didn't bother with laying any coriander between the meat in the bowl to marinade, it all washes out when you slop the worcester sauce and vinegar on so I can't see the point.
  • I rubbed some dried coriander on the meat after I dried it out after the marinading step and liberally sprinkled cracked black pepper on, then pressed them in before slicing the meat into strips to put it in the dehydrator.


  • Upping the salt was a mistake. The salt:sugar ratio was wrong the last time, but the fix was to drop the amount of sugar, not up the salt. It's wound up extremely salty.
  • I probably don't need to slice fast fry steak into strips before drying it, it's kind of hard and brittle. Some people like it that way, I like it a little moist.
  • Liberal application of cracked pepper is not good.

Next time

  • Less salt or a thicker cut of meat to offset the intensity of the extra salt. Probably the latter and keep slicing it.
  • Less cracked pepper!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Saturday at CFNZ

Darren can't quite make it to the gym after the session in the park so I opened up.
Checked where everything was, wiped down the outside pull-up bar, wrote the workout up on the board (a partner Murph), pretty much twice with all my erasures trying to make sure the handwriting looked nothing my often illegible whiteboard scrawl.

I researched Murph's story using my phone so I could write a little note up there too and so I could tell it in case anyone asked.

The 0800 class barely needed any help to get started, I just had to explain how the partner aspect worked and stop them gossiping. In fact they told me how the 800ms normally worked at CFNZ. Thanks ladies.

Darren arrive at about 0830 and I'd managed to figure out how to get something other than some boring talkback radio station on the stereo by then. I used the time while they were running to good effect. :-)
Amanda did the workout on her own. A full Murph, Cindy style and the first time she had run it, having rowed it following her hip surgery the last time. Gutsy effort. I really felt for her on the push-ups.

The second class I had planned to join in, but was a little worried about that much volume in my current state of (un)fitness and I really wanted to be join in with the Olympic Lifting class afterwards. Fortunately Darren needed to train so he partnered with Michelle, who was nice enough to carry him through the workout. :-) Lynette arrived partway through after catching the train, also for the O. Lifting class.

We trundled off for a coffee. I wound up with a chai lattee which turned out to have milk in it. I thought it was like the chai tea I had a while back and liked. Like I know what these fancy coffee things are!

The O. lifting. Darren ran us through an hour of snatch drills, which I sorely needed. And did sorely. I'm tight after Nancy and that hour was hitting everything that was hurting. I think I did better toward the end.
I tend to jump a little too wide and I hope I'm not pulling early any more. I tried putting little plates outside my feet to keep them closer and all I did was kick them sideways. Next time I'm using bigger plates.

Then Lynette and I had lunch and went to a movie. Fun.

Oh, the movie was Transformers 2. Sucked.
It was a good story but they had to add way too many silly bits into it. A "kid's" movie doesn't have to be childish. They need to look at JJ Abram's handling of Star Trek to see how to tell a science fiction based story.

Friday, 26 June 2009



15 x 20kg OHS


400m; About as good as I expected, i.e. pretty sucky. I didn't quite degenerate to a plod, stayed off my heels and didn't walk, but my stride was short and I was planting my foot in front of my hips. I did take an unseemly delight in actually passing Michelle on one lap. I'm like a foot taller than her, legs twice as long as hers and I just pass her on one lap. Yay me!
OHS; I tried 30kg before the WOD and dropped back to 20. As with other things recently. although the leg strength was there, I'm not able to stabilise the weight overhead without a lot of conscious effort and I knew that wasn't gonna happen during the WOD. I really struggled to pin my shoulder blades back, I just couldn't engage the scapular retractors, so I'd sand there with the bar overhead more or less randomly contracting muscles back there until I'd get the ones I wanted to fire. With my shoulder blades back the OHS was easy.
So 40kg would have been quite doable if I could get everything tight, but I couldn't rely on that, hence 20kg.
During the WOD Darren pulled me up for the same thing Jeff did, holding the bar too far behind me at the top. Jeff didn't get time to watch me OHS during a WOD or I'm sure I would have nailed it then, but with Darren watching and telling me when I was doing it (always my problem, establishing when I'm doing things wrong and right in the heat of the moment so I can establish a memory of what the correct groove feels like) I got it. To me it almost feels like I have to hold the bar forward and assume a hollow position to get everything to line up. That tallies with the way I've seem myself stand in videos, so I think, maybe, I might have it.

Then because I was there, Darren got to do the WOD and I ran the 1830 class. I'm very pleased when I can do that. I know how hard it is for trainers to have time to train, so if I can give them an opportunity to jump in with the class that makes me feel very good. It's like a vote of confidence? It tells me that Darren trusts me to coach him, which is a great confidence booster.

Unfortunately I couldn't actually find anything to correct him on damnit. :-) Darren's dislocated shoulder makes OHS a challenge and while I saw his left shoulder getting a bit loose in the last 2 rounds it was only the difference between being completely solid and slightly relaxed. Other than that his form was impeccable.

Afterwards dinner at Lone Star with Lynette. A very nice benefit to training at the same gym and the boy being out at a party.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

CFNZ Saturday WOD

For time:
35 Sit-ups
35 Walking Lunges
35 Knees to Elbows
35 Burpees
35 Leg Raises
35 10kg Wallballs
35 Sit-ups


The KTE were the worst and so were the Burpees and the wallballs were even more worst.
I had plenty of leg oomph on the wallballs, but my shoulders tired, well I practise squats all the time even when I don't get to the gym and almost never work shoulders so hardly a suprise.
Walking lunges were easy, well that's a first! Presumably squat proactise kicking in again.

My hip flexors took the biggest hit on this.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Biltong/Jerky batch 3

Batch 2 was much more successful. It's actually edible and has been part of my morning snack this week.
This batch was primarily soy sauce based, using steak I had cut into slices first. I can't remember what cut of meat I used, but it wasn't rump steak this time.

The flavour is still not what I'm after, so I'm trying this recipe this weekend with some topside steak

Hopefully that will get me something closer to the true biltong taste.
Definitely much closer to the biltong taste, but it wound up being sweet, which is just wrong! Or American.
When I'm layering the meat and sugar and salt in the dish a little bit of sugar goes a long way, while the salt barely contributes. I'll be be barely dusting it with sugar and pouring the salt on. It doesn't soak in as much as I'd thought.

Zoning in on the correct flavour.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

CFNZ Fitness challenge

What a great day!
CFNZ had a fundraiser for Tamaryn's trip to the CrossFit games. I have no interest in competing, I suck as an athlete and competing brings out a side of my personality I don't want seeing the light of day, so I stuck my hand up to do anything else that was necessary. What that meant was that I spent my day judging/counting and loading between rounds. I figured I could handle it, I knew how tiring it was spotting and loading at powerlifting contests, but I reckoned without the mental component of having to adjudicate form on the workout. At powerlifting meets I only had to worry about getting the right weight on the bar and making sure the lifter was safe, someone else worried about whether the lift was good and no-one had to worry about counting reps, or rather the count was either 1 (a good lift) or 0 (failed). With 40+ competitors we had 6 rounds and 3 workouts. 2 back to back then the third after a 2 hour break.
I was on the go the whole first two workouts, I think I was the only counting judge who was on for every round and I was definitely the only one doing that and loading between rounds. Darren and Tamaryn were head judges and running the event and they loaded the bars, but that didn't involve actually being responsible for counting every single rep and ensuring they were all good. The mental effort involved in that meant I had to concentrate hard the whole time and in the last couple of heats of the second workout I made some mistakes. One funny, one not good, one just plain awful.
  1. Apparently while judging Jason from CF Auckland who also came across for the day, I had my butt right in Alex' face.
  2. I walked into Amanda's rope when she was doing her double-unders and messed up her rhythm.
  3. I apparently made Dave C do 4 rounds of the workout instead of 3. I was sure it was 3, but Dave and Tamaryn thought it was 4.
    In case you can't tell, that was the really bad one. So embarrassing!
    I don't know how I can ever make that up to Dave.

By then I was right on the edge of having my brain shut down and if we hadn't stopped then I think I would have just walked out. I honestly couldn't think at all at that stage.
I'd been on the go flat out for a bit over 3hours, intense concentration, no water, no food and no breaks. Dehydration was definitely an issue and that and not having had a snack were my completely my own fault. So if you read this Darren or Tamaryn, I'm whining and I admit it. It's my blog and I'm entitled to feel sorry for myself on it if I want to. :-) I also admit that the problems were largely due to my not looking after myself.

The lunch time spread probably saved my life. Great barbecued sausages from Avon's butchery, Karen brought along big bowls of the nut and seed mixes her company, Delish foods, sells and they had yoghurt (supplied by someone I can't remember) and fruit. I unashamedly made a pig of myself as Darren, Tamaryn and me were the last to get into it after unloading the bars and stacking them out of the way of the last workout. I then wandered down to the service station next door and bought the big bottle of water I should have had with me from the start. Dumbass.
I should have got Tamaryn one too, she spent the entire break furiously battling with Excel trying to work out the cumulative times to derive the start order for the finals of the last event. Not easy when you have to take into account scaled and unscaled workouts and Excel's quirks with time based calculations. I tried to help, but couldn't remember what the trick was, see earlier bleating about brain fade. I used to do an enormous amount of this when I was munging data capture from monitoring equipment in my laboratory days and I knew it was a matter of entering the minutes and seconds in the right way, but could I remember it? So Tamaryn and I were doing base 60 math to come up with the staggered start times and got it slightly wrong for the women. Emma D. sorted that out for us, she remembered how she did it for water ski racing. Oh the trick is to enter a dummy 0 for the hours and separate the numbers with colons, so 6 minutes 32 seconds becomes 0:6:32. When Emma told me afterwards I remembered it.
The last workout got us rained on a little. I was too busy talking to people who had discovered that we had the women's start times wrong to hear the briefing for the workout and started counting having no idea what the reps were, especially if the person was using jumping pull-ups instead of full. Fortunately I figured it out before I made another screw-up.

So aside from my mewling about having to work hard?

The events were:
Workout 1
10 overhead press anyhow (40kg men/30kg women)
20 KB swings 24/16kg
30 air squats
200m sprint
3 rounds for time with a 10 minute time limit.

Workout 2
10 Deadlifts (100kg men/60?kg women)
25 Double Under
3 Rounds

Workout 3
400m sand bag carry after each round

I had the same athletes through the first two workouts and a slightly different bunch for the last one. I didn't have Dave C, maybe he complained about me? Don't blame him! :-)
Great people, not a one that didn't want to be told if they weren't doing legal reps. No-one complained when I pulled them up and we even had a few jokes in mid workout.
Emma D. changed her flight back from the states and came straight from the airport to clonk herself on the forehead on the way back down during the presses. You have to move your head out of the way of the bar on the way down as well as the way up Emma! Her reaction, "It worked out well. My head hurt so much I forgot how much my arms were hurting". CrossFitters are strange people. She'll have an interesting story to tell at work on Monday.
Dave C threw me completely when he abandoned double-unders to switch to 3 times the single-unders. It may well have been while I was trying to subtract 3 complete double-unders from 25 and multiply the remainder by 3 through the fog of dehydration and low blood sugar that I missed that round. It makes a darn good excuse anyway.
Several people struggled with DUs with legs tired from the previous workout. There were some quite dismayed faces as people got themselves tied up in the rope.
The traffic coming in and out of the driveway was much heavier than I've seen it before. Everyone took the cars in true CrossFit style as just another condition of the workout.
Both Blair (finals of the last workout) and Jo G (all rounds) are going to monster these sorts of workouts when they get their pull-ups sorted out. Both are strong and only lack a fluid kip to bring them up.
I don't know her name, but the lady who manned the laptop, entered the results and managed the results sheets is my saviour. Many times I'd do a last minute sprint to her to get the sheet for the next round after loading the bars and she'd always have it ready and know who I was judging. Twice I think she came looking for me with my judging sheet when the loading took a bit longer.

Tamaryn was a machine. She kept things moving all the way through, organised the loading and stations, bullied people into the right places and as I said, spent her break battling her way through getting the staggered start sorted out. She and Darren have very different approaches to things, but both of their contributions are equally important. I hope they keep that balance going for a long time to come.

My real regret is that I didn't get to hop about with a video camera. The event deserved to be captured and the athletes have their performance recorded. Oh and having seen the bottlenecks that the spreadsheets became that I didn't help with that earlier. I couldn't think how the formulas worked at the time, but given a bit of a head-start I could have structured the the worksheets for them to make everything easier.

So a few things to digest for the next time something like this comes along.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Darren's noodle-less pad thai recipe

I finally had a crack at Darren's recipe.

1/4 head of white cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, grated
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
250g pork mince
2 TBS red curry paste
1/2 can coconut milk
1 TBS peanut or almond butter
handful of raw cashews
fresh coriander to taste
black pepper
splash of fish sauce, lime juice and sesame oil

Fry the mince, add the coconut milk, curry paste and peanut butter. Add cabbage carrot and pepper and heat through, Add cashews, fish sauce, sesame oil and lime to taste

Except I left out the coconut cream (forgot to buy it), the sesame oil (couldn’t find it in the supermarket) and the fish sauce (for some reason we were storing an almost empty bottle in our pantry and it wasn’t on the shopping list (angry), so really it was just the pork mince, veges and cashews stir fried with peanut butter and red curry paste. I have instructions to remember how I made this version so when I “mess it up”, ie make it according to the recipe, I know how to make it “properly” again.

I asked and Darren does like it hot, so I think it's always going to be a bit scaled. Lynette may be able to cope with as rx'ed, it will always be beyond me.

Mr. Joshua

Mr. Joshua, scaled out of all recognition

30 abmat situps
15 x 650kg deadlifts


The deadlifts were too light. I tried 80kg in the warm-up and it was a real struggle to set my back. I think after the run and sit-ups I would have been looser and made a better job of it. Should have been 70kg at least.
The runs were a slog the first round, got better as I went on.

The lesson was to do a bit more of a run based warm-up I think. Oh well.

40 pass throughs on the parallettes. Kept hitting my big feet on the horizontal supports.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Hey Kempie

I don't imagine you'll read this, but I finally got everything lined up to make some wooden training plates.

Only 2 years after you suggested them to me?
I do listen, the execution is a little slow is all.