Climbing the ROP Ladders Again; Six Week Self-Assessment


Eight weeks into press ladders, six since the last assessment, its time to see where I am now.

  • Sixty one-handed swings after I realized I should to push it a little to get into the five-minute window needed to progress.
  • Get-Ups, same reps, more weight now with four sets done with the 44lb kettlebell and only the one with the 28lb kettlebell.

Clean & Presses? I have reached the point where I stalled out at close to two years ago. Four ladders of 1-2-3 and one ladder of 1-2-3-4 for 34 reps. I am using what I have learned in the past and some self-experimentation to avoid the plateau again. One way is a post on Original Strength titled Original Strength for Brute Strength on using OS Resets to help the press. Through trial and error, I found Baby Crawls were the ticket. The second is another post I read on StrongFirst, where I am going to do Heavy Dead Stop Swings every day for 5 singles with my 70lb kettlebell to power up my clean. The kettlebell clean gets you tight for the press so you are stronger. It will teach me to be tight, or else.

Moreover, the most important thing, plenty of rest between the presses. The focus is strength so it is okay to take as long as needed on a training day.

I have also been ravenous lately so obeying my body’s signals I have been eating more calories any way I can cleanly. Adding ½ tablespoon of butter to my coffee nets 50 calories, more protein, even creeping over 150 grams of carbs occasionally due to activity level. Did it make me fat?

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.2                 14.12               -0.08

Shoulders             43.25                   43.75            +.50

Chest                      37            37.25                 +.25

Waist                             32.25                  32.25            0

Biceps                    12.37                 12.43             +0.06

Forearms                   10.71               10.87          +0.16

Thighs                         21.8                 21.81       +0.01

Calves                          13.75                   13.81         +.06

Weight                  152lbs          151.6           -0.4

Body Fat %                15.2%                15.3%         +.10%

Lean Body Mass    128.9lbs            128.4           -.5lbs

A little growth and some density added is my guess, looks like weight just shifted around. Either way, I’m not arguing with the results.

Why Is It Taking So Long For The Book?

Cover by Ronin and Ralkski (

Cover by Ronin and Ralkski (

Ronin’s Journey has been taking a while to write and I would like to explain why. I have four other commitments along with writing it, and keeping the blog updated; full-time husband, full-time job, Wicked Jester, and volunteering. Writing fills the spaces it can; fortunately, work does not require me to think so the time waiting on the presses to open is filled with writing, research, and finding shirt quote/quote ideas for WJ.

Then there is the writing process itself. Since the accident, I have kept a journal that I write in almost daily. After a week passes, I will look at it again with fresh eyes to see what stands out that I want to expand or delve deeper. I am almost constantly introspective and digging deeper into what sources I can find to help me understand. To help me process it I write it out into essays in a notebook. The weekly excerpts I posted a while back and current blog posts came from that.

For the book, I have to go back to the relevant journal entries in an attempt to put the reader into my shoes at the time. Then guide them towards the direction I went showing the lessons, tools, what worked, what did not, for them to try on their journeys. I tend to get wordy so I write it out on paper first, and then type it later to make it flow better. From there it goes to the Grammar Goddesses/Editors, Audrey, and Nay.

When I get it all back and correct my manuscript it will be formatted for an E-Book on SmashWords. Money from the sales will go to a rotating list of gun safety programs so I will not see a dime of it. That is why it has been taking longer than usual; I want to get it right.

One Year Later

There comes a time when you have to move on, places filled with toxic patterns and/or bad memories. Everything you see and hear serving as a reminder, especially since it has been a year ago today since the accident. In that time, we have been technically living in half of a house, the other part practically cordoned off and used for storage. The flashbacks, once rare, have returned with more frequency; pictures causing me distress and bad memories, I cannot remember any of the good times like there is a block in my head. When I look at the big, empty front yard, I see emergency vehicles, police cars and friends’ vehicles.

Truthfully, I will never forget that day, it is a constant presence. I remember that instant, and the fear of the unknown. Everything immediately after is as vivid as a movie. The burden of being the bearer of bad news, the aftermath, and fear of what was going to happen next.
The hatred.
The moment I went numb, drained of all energy as shock settled in after the adrenaline trickled dry.

I bear it with a bit of sadness and a sigh since dwelling just feeds it. It is better to learn and use it to become better than before, someone we both would like. Stoicism helps to a degree, along with preparing to move clearing my head with the more downsizing I do.

The idea of a smaller place as the captains of our own Destiny is relieving after not having as much control before. Another city, new places, and routines.

A fresh start.

The Calm Before and After the Storm

Last month was a first for me, I had never flown before, and after watching a plane take off I wondered if it would feel like a rollercoaster. I hate rollercoasters so when the time came I did a little diagphramic breathing on a four count to take the edge off of my heart starting to race. That was it, outside of sweaty palms it was great, something I look forward to again.

A few times that weekend I thought about the calmness in the face of things that terrified me before. Plane crash, crazy drivers, hit by a train (crossing tracks in a buggy), drive off into the lake; a lot of it crossed my mind while riding in my father-in-law’s Kawasaki Razr. Ripping through fields and over hills my adrenaline barely trickled if at all. I don’t think it’s caused by burn out either.

Is it a result of having dealt with the past year?

Is it the experience of facing actual danger and dealing with primal fear?

Is it the application of the Stoic Trichotomy of Control where I know where I am powerless so I don’t “what if” myself into panic?

I kind of think it may be all of the above, my scales adjusted to a point it takes a lot to move the needle. Things falling into the categories of a problem to be solved and if it’s something I can’t handle then it is what it is. How I respond is the only control I truly have.

Different, but Same

While on vacation my mother-in-law suggested we make a trip to Niagara Falls, which of course piqued my curiosity for many reasons. First, I have never seen it before. Second, never been that close to Canada before. Lastly, the people watching, in any group I am in I watch out for trouble and that situational awareness makes for interesting observations.

Among everyone, I saw Hindus, Sikhs, and many people from the Orient, and pinged on a few individuals that broke the pattern. One person had a quiet intensity in the way he carried himself, not tense but experienced, his hat marking him as a Vietnam veteran. Another was a stocky individual that moved with a hitch, he was not at home in his body, think sick gazelle if you want to bring it to how a human predator looks at the world. Then there was the heavyset person giving me dirty looks for some reason. I remarked to my father-in-law about all the different cultures that were present, I will just say he was not as appreciative of the colorfulness as I was.

Days later flying home I stared at the ground 6 ½ miles below thinking how everything is so small. It gives a sense of perspective looking at the Earth and not seeing the interpersonal differences, property lines, or borders, it is all tiny, and fleeting compared to the age of the ground it sits on. When I saw the different cultures, I was noting the similarities they had with me, the gawking, some stressed, some worried about where to go and staying together. Just like any human, you focus on the similarities the differences just become interesting stories.

I try not to judge others by anything more than harmful behavior towards me; it is the only issue that can affect me.