Friday, June 17, 2016

Team Spartan ... it's a bit meh.

I've been waiting for this show for weeks... and I have to say, I was a bit disappointed with the execution.  It's clear that there's not a huge budget for this show, which is fine, but I feel like it's kind of been slapped together to take advantage of the rising popularity of American Ninja Warrior instead of being created and developed as a project of love.

The concept of this appeals to me way more than Ninja Warrior... the two Tough Mudders that I ran in, I got this overwhelming euphoric feeling of companionship, both with my team and with random Mudders out there.  I've got a good jump on me, and so I'd often heave my 10 strong team over the walls, and then run and jump and pull myself up and over.  On one of the last walls I no longer had the strength to pull myself up, I was exhausted, and then suddenly I was pushed over my persons unknown. It was incredible.  That helpful mudder got no praise or thanks, just helped me when I really needed it.

With Team Spartan, I really wanted to watch teams bond and perform together, against obstacles that no person could accomplish by themselves.  That's exactly what I got, but I dunno, the whole thing seemed a bit pokey.  The little background motivation pieces followed the same formula as American Ninja Warrior, and a whole heap of other competitive television shows, but I kinda didn't want my heart-strings tugged at yet again.  In this first episode, I loved the background piece on American Dream, it wasn't sappy, it was just some random people that found each other and have now become really good friends.

I think my main problem was that the editing was really odd to me, and the camerawork felt almost amateurish.

The format of the show was 3 teams run the course.  Another 3 teams run the course.  The winner of those two heats, plus the fastest runner up then compete to get an eventual winner.  That winner then competes in the finals to win $250,000.

In this first episode, we came in after one heat had already been run, we got a confusing background rundown on maybe two of the teams, and then we're off.  It seemed like some teams got assigned an Obstacle Course Champion, and maybe some didn't... it wasn't obvious.

The commentary was almost similar to the wacky UK Ninja Warrior, MXC or Wipeout. I'm really not a fan of that style where the commentary team are laughing about people getting accidentally smacked in the face.

I want Team Spartan to have the same feel/camera quality as American Grit, I'd like a brief overview of all the teams at the start, maybe highlighting fitness accomplishments. I don't want any sob stories.  I think I'd prefer a mini-map detailing where the teams are in relation to each other. I loved that in this first episode it all came down to the last obstacle, the Slip Wall, it looked easyish on the first run, and then devastatingly hard on the 2nd run. 

I just want the show to be everything it says in the photo at the top of this post.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, June 11, 2016

American Ninja Warrior Training - First attempt on a salmon ladder

For those that don't know, the Salmon Ladder is an obstacle on American Ninja Warrior that's been around since the start, is incredibly hard, is in every version of the show and forces veterans and rookies alike to get dunked in the water.

I tried it myself for the first time last Sunday, and it is so much harder than I ever imagined!

For those that don't know, basically, you grab hold of a bar, and then with a kind of pull-up jumping motion, you jump the bar (and yourself) to the next rung. My trainer only has 3 rungs, and it's a metal bar on metal rungs, so it's loud.  It echoes throughout the suburb.

Surprisingly, I didn't struggle on the strength requirements, it was the coordination that did me in.  My left side found the rung every time, but my right side often missed... which is weird because I'm definitely stronger on my right side.  I didn't actually make it up all three rungs, and my very first attempt was easily my best....  it's brutal on the hands,

I now have even more appreciation for the athletes that compete on the show, and given how unco my attempt was, I think it's crazy to try and compete without mastering the Salmon Ladder first, strength is important but technique is everything!

Labels: , , , , ,

Training for ANW but also the rest of life.

One thing I've been struggling with for quite some time is how to fit in the rest of life, with my training. I'm sure it's literally what every competitor, every athlete, every musician, everyone who is trying to upskill themselves to the exclusion of pretty much all else.

I struggle, not for my own benefit, but for my partners.  I honestly don't care for fancy food, I don't crave deliciousness nor partyingness or ever really need to drink.  Honestly, I'm happiest when I'm training hard, resting well and eating properly.  All the things that make a great athlete.

However, my partner is not wired that way at all, she doesn't care about what she can or can't do, she cares about what she can experience.  She loves amazing food, it's almost orgasmic for her, she loves a great white wine, she's very social and loves to be out, to see bands, to experience restaurants and bars.

Since moving to America, she easily put on 20 pounds from sampling all the new cuisine available to us, and is now working hard to get back to her pre-America weight.  I try and be supportive and take her out to nice places, but it so feels like a huge waste of time, money, energy and calories.   Not only that, but because I see my trainer on Sunday mornings, I train my hardest on Thursdays so I'm recovered for Sunday.  Saturday is my rest day so I work hard on Fridays too, which means by Friday night (tonight!) I'm totally beat.

We've been invited out by some of my partner's work friends, that she really does want to be close to, but one of them won't arrive in town until 9pm, so the funness doesn't really start by then. It's barely midday now and I'm already ready for bed.  I've always laughed at party-girls that really want to hook up with professional athletes, who probably don't quite understand that their lives are diametrically opposed.

I can see why athletes often end up marrying other athletes, because they both understand the sacrifices required.  I want to be a good partner, but I'm also really worried that compromising just leads to mediocrity.  It's a tough call...

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Jigsaw puzzles - now on

Soooooo, for the long weekend that we spent down at the coast, being the crazy drunken party animals that we are, we attempted two jigsaw puzzles, both going late into the night as five of us remembered that you grab all the edges, and start from there.

The jigsaw puzzles were already at the holiday house thingo we grabbed through AirBnB, and so it was total devastating dismay that at 1am in the morning, after everyone else had gone to bed that my partner and I only got this far:

I had an inclining early on that there wasn't nearly enough pieces since we couldn't get all the edges and therefore didn't know how big it was... so I lost interest... but after everyone else went to bed, we just wanted to get as far as we could.

It was fun and super frustrating all at the same time. 

The next night, a Saturday night no less, after being completely amazing by the little pub we found with the blind Hawaii piano player, and our server who stopped service for a while to play the entire Chicken Dance song on liquor bottles, we started a new puzzle.

Again, fun, then frustration hit us at 2am.  Look at the beaver's face.  LOOK AT IT.

That one felt so much more personal.. someone stole that piece on purpose.

So, with an itch that needed to be scratched, I went in search for a puzzle that couldn't be ruined by jerkkids, and found this... and OMG, suddenly competitive puzzle solving is now in my life:

I present to you, Jigsaw Puzzles Online, found at :

How anyone finished this in 22 seconds is absolutely beyond me, but it's definitely got the competitive fires burning in a dude. Also, best thing ever, check out these bad boys:
You can add your own jigsaw puzzles!!!! So good!

Lucy really gets me y'know:

I've got 3 puzzles, you can access the photo of me here. The photo of young Kacy smashing obstacle courses here... AND a special puzzle just for you gentle blog reader.  Click on me.

So, the message of this little post is, is so good!  Get on it!



Labels: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

American Ninja Warrior - NOW ON HULU!

I cannot tell you just how great it is that ANW is now on Hulu.  The struggle that we've faced to watch this show over the years has been great.  Australian television has only just started broadcasting at Season 8, and with all the regional restrictions with NBC, Esquire, YouTube and Amazon, I basically had to find people in the US to buy it for me, get it shipped to their place and then have them send it onto me.

I thought being in America would make it all so much easier, but we haven't subscribed to a cable package, instead just using digital platforms Hulu and Netflix.  Since both and Esquire were advertising they were showing full episodes, I didn't think it would be a big deal to hook my laptop up to the TV and watch it that way... but the day after the premiere Season 8 episode, neither website had the full episode available, just a heap of spoilerific clips for me to quickly try not to look at.

My apartment building does have a cable TV available for residents,

Then, thanks to Hulu's advertising splash screen thingo, it was right there for us, all set to use the normal TV remotes and watch it all commercial free.... so so so happy.  It's the little things really.

So, to all the people that made American Ninja Warrior Season 8 on Hulu possible, I am hugely appreciative.  Go Team!

Labels: , ,

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Emotional Fail in Training

I had one homework training task to complete when I got back into it after my 5 days off over Memorial Weekend.... and I couldn't do it.... for emotional reasons.

After taking nearly a week off, the task assigned to me by my personal trainer was after doing a bunch of rock climbing and/or bouldering, and after my hands were cactus, I was to climb a really difficult climb that would kind of force me to fall at least 3 times.  He wanted me try and complete the climb, but basically push myself hard enough that I fell off.

Couldn't do it.

I've yet to fall off a rock climbing wall, if I feel like I'm not going to be able to make it, I centre myself, get my balance right, sit back in the harness and let my belayer know that I want to come down.

I'm not scared of heights, I'm more than happy to stand on the edge of a cliff while everyone else is freaking out, but when I was a teenager I went rock climbing with my buddies, my harness wasn't put on super well, it was loose and twisted, which I didn't care about because I just wanted to climb... I didn't have a crazy fall like you're probably thinking, but when I hit the top and my mate started to lower me, he totally let me free fall for most of the way and then jerked me to a stop inches from the ground.  It hurt.  It hurt in all the places dudes are most sensitive and while I was totally winded, I laughed along with my buddies because he got me good.

That little joke though, kinda broke something inside of me, and so I've been a nervous nelly at the top of the wall ever since. I know the rope and the knots are tied tight, I know my belay partner is great and looks after me, but I just can't help but be incredibly nervous each and every time... and falling, I just can't seem to do it.   It's insanely limiting... you get better by pushing yourself, falling off and trying again until you get it.

Rock climbers have what they call a project.  It's a climb that is too hard for them, that they work and work at, climbing until they fall until days, weeks, months later they finally conquer it.  I haven't let myself do that, and so I'm not going to get better at the same rate who doesn't have this insanely nervous reaction. 

It's nuts, it's entirely entirely psychological and I'm honestly not sure what to do about it.


Labels: , ,

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Pretty much my two favourite things - together at last!

There's literally nothing more I can add to this, except bravo!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 02, 2016

American Ninja Warrior - STARTS TONIGHT! WOOOO!

Before I start, Jessie Graff (who is flying through a new obstacle called the Tic Tac) is the best.  I totally starting watching Supergirl because she was doing the stunt work for it.  I'm really hoping she does well this year.

Anywho, American Ninja Warrior Season 8 starts airing on NBC and Esquire tonight. Neither are super handy for those of us just rocking the online guys Hulu, Netflix & YouTube, but we'll manage to make it work for sure.
I am pumped for this season.  I'm really glad last season had two rock climbers win it... not only because they are incredible athletes, but I'm also happy to have less forearm centric obstacles and more jumping type obstacles which is way more my strength.  Watching this teaser clip and this little intro thing has done nothing to quell my own doubts about my abilities though, everything just looks so epic and amazing AND insurmountable. Guess I'll just have to become x10,000 times more mighty, it's really the only answer for it.
I don't want to sound like a ridiculous fanboy, but get up on this show, it's just so great!  I will no doubt be blogging about the various episodes because greatness.


Labels: , ,

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Training - Taking a few days off

I haven't seen my personal trainer for a few weeks for various reasons, and so eventually when I caught up with him over the phone, he was concerned that I had taken on all his recent exercises plus my usual exercises plus a new rock climbing course... I was kinda complaining that my hands were always tired and sore, and when he mentioned it was way way too much, it totally dawned on me that I was heading thick and fast towards injury.

I always do this, I get so involved with what I'm doing and making progress, that I don't really let my body heal.  And the whole mattress thing hasn't helped. I tend to only take breaks from training when I get sick and I'm forced to take breaks.

I think part of the reason is that I don't see myself even close to being ready for American Ninja Warrior and so I'm pushing pushing pushing to get to a good place.  I need to remember that I've still got 9 months or so before I have to actually prove myself... and so I have time to progress without pushing myself to injury.  It's hard, my enthusiasm is probably my best skill and my most dangerous quality.

I always struggle with the concept of resting, 'cos, that's what everyone else is doing all the time right?

So... with my personal trainer totally alarmed, we decided that I would take 5 days off over the Memorial Weekend (30th of May).  I was going away with some friends down to the coast of Oregon over the long weekend, so it all worked out perfectly.

In the few times I've taken a break from training for reasons of injury, after about the 2nd day I'm raring to go, and my back hurts from lying around and my legs are jumpy just crying out for some jumping.  This time (somewhat alarmingly to me) I've hit day 5 and I still don't feel ready to get back into exercising.   Did I get fat and lazy?  I totally took a break from my diet, so I might just be feeling the effects of Sudden Carbs and Secret Sugar, but yeah, weird.

I hope my body has enjoyed rest time, because mentally, I am ready to punch it again... especially with ANW kicking off tonight.   Yeewwwwwwwwww!

Labels: , , ,