8 weeks out, back from Hawaii and back in the gym

Weeks 10 and 9 were unscheduled deloads.  Most of that time was spent in Hawaii where I had to travel unexpectedly due to the death of my Grandmother. Since I have many relatives still there and hadn't been back in 6 years, it was as much  family reunion as it was for all of us to honour the life of Grandma.

Grandpa and Grandma with my mom (in back), Uncle Harold, Aunty Gail, and Aunty Sandy in 1957
Aunty Sandy, Uncle Harold (holding Grandma), Aunty Gail, and Mom as they look today

While sifting through her pictures and scrapbooks she left behind, my brothers and I learned things about her early life that I don't remember learning before.  Turns out she was born in Hawaii but moved back to Japan for schooling.  While there, she was introduced to my grandfather as part of an arranged marriage.  My grandfather's family had land on the Big Island so both came back after their wedding to settle in Kapoho.

There were interesting stories about living in Hawaii during the outbreak of WWII and the subsequent internment of my grandmother's brother simply because he was dressed too well.  Turns out he had just returned from Japan and because my grandmother's father had some money, he came with three tailored suits.  Back then as it is today, wearing suits in Hawaii is pretty rare.  In the xenophobia of the post-Pearl Harbor attack, locals surmised that only a spy financed by Japan would have one tailored suit much less three.  He was taken to an internment camp on the island and later re-located to a camp in Utah.  Embittered by his experience he renounced his U.S. citizenship and was sent back to Japan.  His father's land was in Hiroshima and he lived through the atom bomb. He still lives there to this day.

In addition to Grandma's service, there was much time spent eating all the things.  Hawaii culture is very much about gatherings of family and friends and food.  Lots of food.  I probably had at least one of everything--except saimin from Shiro's, I was playing golf with Uncle Arnold and his Wednesday crew when the rest of the family went for lunch.  I didn't miss much because Uncle's crew brings snacks to eat under the trees at the 11th tee box (the course is virtually empty on weekdays, a stark contrast to courses right in Honolulu that are always busy).

11th tee picnic, meat jun, kimchi, sushi

Poi donuts from Kamehameha Bakery
Hawaii has a surprising selection of local pastries.  The poi donut is a local delicacy that still sells out and in most cases requires placing an order when they open at 0300 hrs (on sat/sun) if you want to be able to pick up donuts later that day.  It is an amazing combination of light and heavy.  Very hard to describe because it weighs a ton and is fried but the donut itself is light and chewy (and purple from the poi).

Other delicacies include the coco puff from Liliha Bakery.  It's a creme puff filled with chocolate cream and topped with chantilly frosting.  It's like a regular creme puff except these go to 11.

assorted coco puff picture from Liliha Bakery's website
Other things I ate included napples from Napoleon Bakery (found next to Zippy's) and malasadas from Leonard's Bakery.  Those were just the desserts.  There was also a plethora of main dishes, appetizers, salads, and snacks that I also ate.

my takeout lunch from Nico's Pier 38
A grilled ahi sandwich and furikake pan seared ahi from Nico's Pier 38.  Yes, I ate them both.  For lunch.  And it was delicious.   Apparently this restaurant was featured on an episode of "Drive In's, Diners, and Dives".  In any case, it was 'off the hook'.

In addition to foods bought from local establishments, there was also a whole bunch of home cooked awesomeness.  Too many things to mention that I ate firsts, seconds, and sometimes thirds.  After all was said and done, the time in Hawaii had left 7 lbs of evidence.  I'm pretty sure that was actual weight not just water retention.  Actually looking back, eating only 3600 calories a day beyond maintenance was probably and under-estimation.

Mid-way through the bulk with my brother after getting shave ice from Matsumoto's
learning how to stand up paddleboard
My cousin Kathi and her husband Chad were generous enough to take my Aunty and I to the beach to teach us how to stand up paddleboard.  That picture is one of the few with me actually on the board.  I think it's close to impossible for normal people to fall off those things but I'm clearly abnormal.  I fell off that thing as easy as I fall on skates, snowboards, or skis.  The only consolation was the beach water was warm and soft.  I got more exercise swimming after the board but that was good too.

Almost all of the cousins and children of cousins
In the end, the trip was about family and it was amazing seeing everyone again after so many years.  I hope to return sooner and to bring Vivian to meet everyone.

So that basically brings me to tonight's workout.  19 days since my last training session so I didn't expect to be able to pick up where I left off but on a positive note, my joints felt pretty good.  I like to think connective tissues take longer to adapt to chronic stress than the muscles or nervous system so I like to visualize my joints 'catching up' to loadings during these long deloads.  That may not be how it happens but envisioning the alternative where my gains dissolve after 19 days away from squatting, benching and deadlifting would not be productive at all.

I went through tonight's session at a fast pace and worked up to a grindy single in the squat of 455 and a slow, paused single with 315 in the bench (along with a miss with 325).  Things felt great and all the weights felt very comfortable but the muscles were a little de-conditioned.  I expect to be back to normal by next week when I'll be pushing more volume at lower intensities and re-introducing the chronic stresses that will lead to new PR's.

Squats:  135x10, 225x5, 275x5, add belt, 315x5, add wrist wraps, 365x5, 405x3, 455x1, 385x3

Bench Press:  all reps paused, 135x10, 185x5, 225x5, 255x3, 285x2, add wrist wraps 315x1, 325x0, 275x2, no wrist wraps 245x3x3 sets

Back Extensions:  12, 12, 12

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