Author Topic: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal  (Read 32202 times)

Offline Eli Kurtz

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No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« on: September 18, 2008, 06:15:34 PM »
Here I find myself, starting a training log after starting my actual training about a year ago.

I'm 20 years old, a male, and a junior at Drury University.  I'm in pretty good shape--I'd say great shape, but I have horrible cardio.  When I was a kid I let asthma keep me from being active, and now I'm paying for it.  I found out about parkour a little over a year ago, and I've been learning a lot about it since then.

Here's some info about my history:
  • Going on 8 years of street self-defense training.  I hold a 2nd degree black belt in Aam-Ka Jutsu.
  • Had a more-or-less mysterious and very complicated low back injury in high school that--at it's worst during my Freshman year of college--made me look and feel like an 80-year-old, arthritic man.  Now things are better, but I'm taking it easy.
  • Moderate weightlifting for the past 5 years.  The figures are unimportant, I spent most of the time dorking around between machines.
  • Serious weightlifting for the past year.  Started out doing one of Bruce Lee's original workouts, then cooled off for a few months to specialize/work on muscles I thought needed working.  Then I heard about Starting Strength last Spring, and changed my routine.  Then I actually read Starting Strength about a month ago, and again I changed my routine.
  • Started Parkour about three weeks ago.  Revived the Springfield, MO weekly jam, and try to practice on my own at least once more during the week, for a total of at least twice every week.

Some of the obstacles I know I'll have to overcome during my training are:

  • Lack of flexibility
  • Poor cardio - I've never been able to run a mile
  • Inexperienced - but not for long
  • Tendency to over analyze/second guess myself

That said, here are some of my goals for right now.

  • Run 2 miles without stopping.
  • Do muscle-ups easily.  I want to shoot for 10 muscle-ups on a pull up bar.
  • Perform a free standing handstand for 30 seconds without falling.
  • Perform an L-sit for 30 seconds without stopping.
  • Be able to wrap my hands around my feet in a sit and reach.  Eventually, I would like to introduce my forehead to my knees.
  • Perfect rolling.  For whatever reason, when I come out of a roll my hip always hits harder than I feel it should.  I may not be tucking enough.
  • Develop parkour skills, starting with the diving kong, precision jump, wall run, climb up and cat leap.
  • New Squat 1.75x my body weight (@175 lbs.) (305 lbs.)
  • New Deadlift 2.0x BW (@175 lbs.)(350 lbs.)

Thanks for checking out my training log, guys!  I hope to include my weight training as well as parkour stuff, to keep track of not only how much my skills are improving, but also how my strength is developing.  Here we go!
« Last Edit: October 06, 2008, 09:38:52 PM by Eli Kurtz »

Offline Eli Kurtz

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2008, 06:58:57 PM »
9/18/08


  • Afternoon Workout:
  • Warmup (Really abbreviated APK Warmup.  It was hot and I was anxious to get going, so I figured my muscles were already warm enough.)
    • Body Squat - x15
    • Push Up - x15
    • Pull Up - x6
    Workout
    • Squat Warmup - 145x5, 175x5, 195x5
    • Squat - (215x5)x3  (heh... math.  Also, a new record.)
    • Dumbbell Chest Press Warmup - 40sx5, 50sx5, 55sx5
    • Dubmbell Chest Press - (60sx5)x3
    • Deadlift Warmup - 145x5, 175x5, 205x5
    • Deadlift - 225x5 (New record)
    • Press warmup - 45x5, 65x5, 75x5
    • Press - (85x5)x3

    Today I've started QM at home, as I've heard from a lot of people on here that it's the best way to train it.

    I guess I should also mention that I've been keeping track of my workouts in an excel document for the past four months.

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2008, 08:04:19 PM »
are you doing starting strength?

Offline Eli Kurtz

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2008, 09:04:14 PM »
Yeah... more or less.  I've never had to occasion to learn the clean, because I'd like to have someone to watch me.  I'm actually meeting with a guy this Saturday to get the basics down.  Also, I know the suggested programming for SS is alternating between the 5 exercises, doing 3 each day for 3 days per week.  Right now I'm doing the 4 that I know two days per week, then going to a weekly jam for my third workout day.

I've been doing a half-hearted SS for the past 4 months, and I've only just a few weeks ago actually read the programming section of the book, so I've been a little off.  Do you think I ought to start over, or just move on?

Offline Eli Kurtz

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2008, 08:52:45 PM »
9/19/08

  • Late night Workout:
       
  • Warmup
             
    • Body Squat - 20x
    • Push Up - 15x
    • Pull ups - 10x  Not really an intended part of my workout.  I saw on an APK muscle up tutorial that 15 pull ups and 15 dips equals one muscle up, so I wondered how far I was from that goal.  10 was pushing myself, but I probably could have done 12-13.
    Workout
             
    • Rolls - 20x each side in the grass.  For my dominant side, I tried a few diving rolls, and from my non-dominant side I tried a few from a slight hop.  Also, I only counted the rolls that felt great, so I probably did about 30-35 rolls on each side.
    • Cat Leap - 20x, 10x with another cat leap away from the wall, into a land and roll.
    • Wall Run - 10x, no measurement on my jump height, it was dark and I didn't have a partner or measuring device.  Note:  Maybe find some sticky   tack or tape to slap onto the wall to determine heights.
    • Cat Balance - 30 feet, poorly. I'm at the beginning of what seems to be a pretty long road here.  Note: Maybe practicing on wide surfaces, and gradually working down to narrower ones would be useful.
    • Precision Jump - basically 3 or 4 broad jumps.  It wasn't an intended part of my workout, but I saw a small patch of flowers (about 7 feet wide) and wondered if I could standing jump over it.  I could, but just barely.

    Total workout time: about 45 minutes.  My girlfriend called my in the middle of training, so I talked to her for about 15 minutes before getting back to business.

    I've been easing myself into doing QM all around my dorm.  I'm an Resident Assistant at my University, and while my residents' opinions isn't the most important thing to me, I'd rather not be too contrary all at once.  I'm fine with one being "that guy who crawls around the dorm," but I don't mind taking it slow, either.  That, and it's hard!
« Last Edit: September 20, 2008, 12:41:05 PM by Eli Kurtz »

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2008, 10:11:18 PM »
don't start over, necessarily, but fix your program to be consistent with Rips, especially once you learn the clean.  You can do the day of cleans without cleaning very much weight, also...

drink your gallon of milk a day, too

Offline Eli Kurtz

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2008, 12:32:19 PM »
9/20/08

  • Late Morning/Early Afternoon Workout:
       
  • Warmup
             
    • Body Squat - 15x2
    • Push Up - 10x2
    Jam
             
    • Rolls - 10x dominant side in the grass. 
    • Cat Leap - 15x, 10x with another cat leap away from the wall, into a land.
    • Wall Run - 20x, no measurement on my jump height.Note:  Bring a measuring device to jams for broad jump/wall run/etc.
    • Precision Jump - Drilling one various distances and on various surfaces, probably about 15 times total.
    • Hanged from a rough concrete wall and shimmied without the use of my legs for 30 feet overall.  By God, I'm going to have some magnificent calluses one day.
    Total workout time: about 1:30 hours.

    Today was the weekly Springfield, MO jam, and it was a little light.  Usually there are about 8 guys and girls that come out, but this week it was just four of us because of scheduling stuff.  While I was practicing cat leaps in one area of our training space, some guys were practicing cat landings at another end of the park and had a little bit of an accident.  They picked an especially rough wall to jump for thinking it would help their feet grip better, but one guy tore a pretty big gash in the palm of his hand.  He may have to take it easy for a few weeks. Note: Have first aid on hand at every jam. 

    I got about four hours of sleep (4:00am-8:30am) the previous night, so I was feeling a little lethargic.  I need to hammer down a nice bedtime for Fridays at the very least, although it would be best to extend it to every night of the week.  I also didn't remember to stretch when I was finished, so I'm going to try to get some exercise in this afternoon/evening for an excuse to stretch afterwards.  I'll probably try to work on kongs and cat balances, although I need to start running soon.


Offline Eli Kurtz

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2008, 05:14:56 PM »
drink your gallon of milk a day, too

Quote from: Mark Rippetoe
One of the best ways to move in the direction of [high calorie numbers] is to drink a gallon of milk a day, most especially if weight-gain is a primary concern.

The only problem I have with this is that weight gain is really not a primary concern for me.  For the record, I'm 6'0" and 165lbs.  At the very most, I'd be comfortable weighing 175.  It seems to make so much sense that in parkour, a person's weight is an important factor of their ability level.  A person may be able to squat 400 lbs., but how hard is it to apply that sort of strength to a wall run or long jump if they weigh 215?  I've noticed this is in my training recently, because I'm about as strong as my 5'10", 135lbs. friend, but it's like I'm training in a weight vest compared to him.  He's capable of reaching places I'm not and konging heights I can't, simply because he's got that much less weight to move. 

Ideally I think I'd like to settle in at a magnificent, chiseled 155.  One of the first strength training books I ever read was Bruce Lee: The Art of Expressing The Human Body, and it had a lot of interesting information.  Most notably, it said that at the height of Bruce Lee's training (when touching his skin was once described as touching "warm marble") he was 5'7.5" tall and weighed 135 lbs.  If I applied the same ratio to myself, I would weight right around 144 lbs.  Because I'm pretty sure my bone structure isn't quite the same as Lee's (his lowest waist measurement was 26 inches and I don't think my bones will let me shrink past 31) I think 155 is a pretty reasonably scaled goal.  Even if my strength only grows marginally over the course of the next year, if I compact that strength down into a 155lbs. body, I would be so much more physically capable.

P.S. - Chris, this is by no means an attack on you or anything.  Since this is my training log, I'm going to be putting goals down on here as I think of them, and your gallon of milk comment just got me thinking about it.

Offline Kyle Ryan

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2008, 05:42:14 PM »
Quote from: Eli Kurtz
If I applied the same ratio to myself, I would weight right around 144 lbs.  Because I'm pretty sure my bone structure isn't quite the same as Lee's (his lowest waist measurement was 26 inches and I don't think my bones will let me shrink past 31) I think 155 is a pretty reasonably scaled goal.  Even if my strength only grows marginally over the course of the next year, if I compact that strength down into a 155lbs. body, I would be so much more physically capable.

I know exactly what you mean right here, bro. This is EXACTLY my goal. I weigh a good 172 right now and I am wanting to get down to around 150-155. Why? If I get down there I will be so much more capable of things. The way I see it is if I keep doing "light" strength training, then I will be able to drop the fat off my body without gaining too much mass in muscle. Because if I was to "bulk up" I don't think it would help my parkour life, mainly because you need more muscles to keep the same routine at higher weights. It's basically simple physics haha.

Anyways, I digress. I know what you mean by wanting to drop weight. Because I am in the same boat. We both want to keep about the same muscle mass, only in a smaller weighing body. This will allow us to move with much more power than people would think. Bruce Lee was a physical science genius and I think no one will be able to replicate what he has done for quite some time. If you watch his video's you will see a very small man, but once you see him flex you will be in awe. He managed to put a bodybuilder's strength into a smaller man's body. That is why he was capable of doing things that many would not expect him to do. Examples: Elevated V-Sits for 30+ minutes, his one-inch punch(which I am a practitioner of) able to knock men twice his size off their feet with ease, his one finger push ups. He was a freak of nature, in a nutshell. He was a man that should be remembered for coming the closest to breaking the laws of physics.

Sorry for the off-topic rant on Bruce, I am just an admirer of his. Like you said, we are basically the same person haha. I think I have superior cardio, whilst you have superior strength. I think that we should hold a few little competitions between ourselves. :P

Good luck with your training!

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2008, 06:26:35 PM »
drink your gallon of milk a day, too

Quote from: Mark Rippetoe
One of the best ways to move in the direction of [high calorie numbers] is to drink a gallon of milk a day, most especially if weight-gain is a primary concern.

The only problem I have with this is that weight gain is really not a primary concern for me.  For the record, I'm 6'0" and 165lbs.  At the very most, I'd be comfortable weighing 175.  It seems to make so much sense that in parkour, a person's weight is an important factor of their ability level.  A person may be able to squat 400 lbs., but how hard is it to apply that sort of strength to a wall run or long jump if they weigh 215?  I've noticed this is in my training recently, because I'm about as strong as my 5'10", 135lbs. friend, but it's like I'm training in a weight vest compared to him.  He's capable of reaching places I'm not and konging heights I can't, simply because he's got that much less weight to move. 

The issue here is absolute vs. relative strength.  As a traceur, you want to monitor your relative strength and ignore absolute.

An example of this is as follows...
220# Man can DL 400# -- he can lift 400# (WOW) but thats only 1.8x his body weight.
180# Man can DL 370# -- Less absolute strength since he can't lift the height amount but he can lift over 2x his bodyweight.

Think these numbers are unreal?  Jim from beastskills.com can DL 500# with a trap bar and weighs around 170 (thats almost 3x his weight!)

If you gain weight but monitor your relative strength, you can see when you will peak, then stop gaining weight.  The strength gains will slow but your relative strength gains will continue up at a steady pace.

This is why football players can have 11' broad jumps.  They lift heavy things explosively and don't gain much weight.

In short, if you want to gain weight, you need to keep track of your relative strength and bodyweight skills like broad and vert jump along with progress on BW skills like pushups and pullups.

But, why would you want to gain weight?

When your muscles are bigger it allows for 2 things:
1) Bigger muscles can generate more force, even when isolated from the bone in ex-vivo studies (when they rip the whole muscle out and stimulate it to test contractile strength)
2) Bigger muscles allow the muscles to pull on bones in-vivo (in the body) at a more advantageous angle causing increased force production through the whole ROM.

The key for someone like us is to get as much muscle mass as we can before the added weight starts negatively impacting performance....and this amount of muscle is a lot higher than most people think.

Following the gymnastics scheme for elite athletes, someone who is around 5'5 would need to be at around 135# to be elite.  Every inch, add 7-10#.  That means that someone at 5'10 with the same proportions would be 175-185#.  Someone at your height may be closer to 190 since your bones are longer and require bigger muscles to pull on them from more efficient angles.  This is why you don't see 6 foot tall gymnastics...their kinesiology makes performance more difficult.

Now, I am not trying to change your mind.  If you simply want to get strong and don't want to gain weight, then just do SS without the milk.  However, you will see great relative strength gains, which are the more important ones, if you put on a bit more mass.

Hope I wasn't overwhelming with this.

P.S. - Chris, this is by no means an attack on you or anything.  Since this is my training log, I'm going to be putting goals down on here as I think of them, and your gallon of milk comment just got me thinking about it.

I'd have to be pretty silly to take offense to that :P  You are approaching your training with intelligence which is the best start.

Happy training man :)

Offline Eli Kurtz

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2008, 06:32:19 PM »
Absolute vs. relative strength is a pretty intuitive concept, but I had never thought of it before.  I was looking through your training logs a few days ago, and noticed that when you listed your goals, instead of saying "I want to squat x weight" you put it in terms of how many times of your own bodyweight that was.  I recognized it as a good idea at the time, but I didn't really bother to think about it until you put it in these terms.  I think this is the direction I want to take my training, but I don't know that I really want to shoot for 190.  Obviously gymnastics is a pretty legit place to pull parkour fitness levels from, so I'll do some looking around and see what I can find.  Thanks for the info!

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2008, 06:39:30 PM »
Keep track of your vert and broad jump as well as weighted pull strength.  These will be good indicators of your relative strength, aside from the math you will be doing on your lifts.

Another note is that you WILL put on fat.  This is almost inevitable with weight gain.  While I put on 21#, I put on 15# lean and 5# of fat.  That's 75% lean gains.

You can lose some of that excess fat when you hit your relative strength goals with some Metabolic Conditioning to supplement your strength work, which will bring up your relative strength through fat loss, not weight gain.

190 may be a bit high, thats why its kind of a gray area with people who are taller.  Just be on top of your relative strength and you will figure it out man :)

Offline Eli Kurtz

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2008, 05:58:12 PM »
9/22/08

Note: Sundays are officially my rest day.

  • Monday evening workout/benchmark:
       
  • Warmup
             
    • Body Squat - 10x2
    • Push Up - 6x2
    • Pull-Up - 5x2
    Jam
             
    • Broad Jump - 8'7", 8'4", 8'9"  - Brett Hiebert's (a friend) best was 7'8"
    • Pushups - 35 - Brett Hiebert's best was 35
    • About 2:00 total on a balance trainer.
    • Cat Leap - 15, approx. 5 with an explosive push away from the wall.
    • Climb up practice: 8 leg-assisted pull ups on a wall.
    • Rolls - 10 times dominant side.

    Total workout time: about 1:00 hour.

    I was a little tired today, so instead of anything too intensive I decided to benchmark for the weights and measurements thread.  I was going to go for the max push ups in one minute as well, but didn't think I was recovered enough to take an accurate measurement.  It'll probably be 35.  :P

    QM is becoming more commonplace.  I showed two of my residents how to do it in three different ways (cat, lizard, and rabbit), and they said I looked like a panther when I did it.  ;D

Offline Eli Kurtz

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2008, 12:55:30 PM »
9/23/08


  • Afternoon Workout:
  • Warmup
    • Body Squat - 2x20
    • Push Up - 2x15
    • Pull Up - 2x6
    Workout
    • Squat Warmup - (45x5)x2, 95x5, 135x3, 185x2
    • Squat - (225x5)x3  (new PR.)
    • Dumbbell Chest Press Warmup - (20sx5)x2, 30sx5, 45sx3, 55x2
    • Dubmbell Chest Press - (65sx5)x3 (failed on last rep of the last set!  Does this count as a new PR?) Note: Right elbow felt damaged.  Chris, any thoughts?
    • Power Clean training.  I haven't been able to get with anyone yet, but I re-read the Power Clean section of SS, and I practiced the racking position on the top of my delts today.  I stopped before too long because of discomfort in my right elbow.

    Not much QM thus far today.  I've got to get with it!
« Last Edit: September 23, 2008, 04:51:21 PM by Eli Kurtz »

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2008, 01:29:14 PM »
Note: Right elbow felt damaged.  Chris, any thoughts?

What do you mean by damaged?  Do you still experience pain after the bout?

Offline Eli Kurtz

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2008, 04:45:57 PM »
Yeah, I should have been more descriptive.  I don't feel pain anymore, but at the time (while I was doing bench press, and practicing power clean) it felt like a really ugly, deep muscle soreness.  It almost felt like I needed to pop it like I would my knuckles, but I thought that was probably a bad idea, so I didn't try.

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2008, 05:16:06 PM »
if no residual pain its likely you have nothing to worry about.

report if this happens again.

why aren't you doing your bench/chest press with a barbell, btw?

Offline Eli Kurtz

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2008, 06:46:03 PM »
I don't have a spotter and would rather not take the risk.  From what I understand, bench press with dumbbells does a good job of working stabilizer muscles also, which is useful, I think?

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2008, 06:58:52 PM »
I don't have a spotter and would rather not take the risk.  From what I understand, bench press with dumbbells does a good job of working stabilizer muscles also, which is useful, I think?

DB Press is superior to BB press in that it works stabilizers.

Though, you won't get the raw amount of strength the barbell will produce...meaning you will have lower numbers but higher stability.

Not really a problem, i was just wondering why you made that choice. 

It makes the most sense to me to stick with one thing (BB or DB) and be consistent throughout the period of linear gains...

Offline Eli Kurtz

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Re: No limits, only plateaus - Eli's Training Journal
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2008, 11:24:16 PM »
9/26/08

My girlfriend and I are going to try out for our college's new track program, so we decided to start conditioning together today.  It will be really nice to have a reliable accountability partner to keep me motivated about running.  After running, I gave her crash tutorials on the parkour movements I've working on right now, because she'd like to get into parkour also.

  • Night Workout:
  • Warmup
    • None.  Forgot about it.
    Workout
    • Running.  200mx6, 45s each, with a 45s rest between.
    • Landing - 10 times from standing position, 8 times from a small hop.  Landed both with arms in and arms out.
    • Rolling - About 10 times on my dominant side.  My girlfriend will need to get used to the movement.
    • Cat landings.  About 10, none of them from a leap of more than 4 feet.  Just showing her the ropes.  Note: the 2-3 climb ups I did during training--while slow and unrefined--felt much better and easier than they ever have before.
    • QM - showed my girlfriend the lizard, cat, rabbit, and what I call "Gorilla Gallop."  She said she felt ridiculous, but also felt that her arms would be sore tomorrow.
    • Cat balance - About 10 feet.  I was just giving her an example to show her how much it takes getting used to.
    • Kong Vault - I konged as far as I could about 5 times, and noticed that my form has slacked off since I haven't trained it in about 2 weeks.  Get back on that horse!
    • Speed/lazy vault - drilled the speed/lazy vault progressions for about 15 minutes.  My girlfriend did these progressions, but not for the kong.  She wanted to start easy, so she will learn this one first.

    Stretching afterward for about 10 minutes.  My hamstrings and calves were SO tight, almost certainly from running (which I haven't done for about four years).

    Workout time: right about 2 hours.  Rough.

    I did QM around the dorm three times today, and I feel much more fluid when I do it, but it still takes the wind out of me.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2008, 06:52:21 AM by Eli Kurtz »