Hey folks. On my third week of ROP with the 20k after doing the PM with the same for about three months (with a bit of time off here and there from travel or a hand injury where I modified my activities to what was possible.) I'm enjoying it a great deal. Will start on 5x4 next week, doing it alongside the pullups. I have been taking a super slow approach to my sets, inspired by the "blank stare of the invulnerable" bit, just kinda doing my rung, chilling out, looking at the trees in my backyard enjoying the morning, pullups, chill, listen to the birds some more. Takes time but keeps me fresh and gives a certain zen pleasure to the whole experience. One of the things that sold me most on this whole approach was the non-rushing non-straining approach. I sometimes feel I should speed it up to not waste time but I'm loving it and it works so why change it? I was doing fine but hit a bit of an overtraining wall yesterday (my light day.) The day after my heavy day I was in the downtown core after my weekly progress meeting on my work project and was killing time before Systema class uptown. I ended up trying to practice my handstands. Something I would like to get in the long term is the ability to pop up into a handstand and do a freestanding HSPU but I take it easy and just practice once a week or so for a few goes. Went well, can really feel the difference the ROP is making for my shoulder mobility. Then I went to Systema and couldn't resist doing what I'd done last time and cleaning and pressing their 24 on each side just to prove to myself that I can do it and that it's not that hard. Then had a killer class. Was already a bit tired from my heavy day (monday) and the handstands and then ended up partnered by one of the craziest older russian guys in the class. I like going to tuesdays because there is this core of mid-40's to 50's russian guys who are clearly ex-military or something and are just really damned strong (in a way that SF would approve.) They're not the calmest folks and so not always the best for developing my skill but I just feel that I need another shot of getting a bit banged up by some tougher, stronger, more experienced guys. Not something to make a habit of but I had some of my best insights from getting beat up by the elite amateur boxers in my gym in my late teens and like facing up to that kind of challenge when I can. Anyway it was all smooth sailing until this guy just beat the crap out of me...was really skilled and strong but not at all calm and just kept getting excited and well, I had a doozy of a fight on my hands (this was not "training" anymore) and it took all I had to keep from just getting beat up/choked out. Completely wore me out, went home and crashed and woke up with every part of my body completely exhausted. Did my light day ROP work and went back to bed. Fortunately I work at home on a delivery-based payment system so I can sleep extra when I need to and I'd just completed a large chunk of work through the weekend so felt justified. Anyway, the point of all this is I'd been feeling like it was all smooth sailing but it just showed how close to the edge I was running with my training and I just tipped over a little bit too much with the handstands, practice and sparring with the mad russian. I also realized more fully the importance of strength. The guy was skilled, no doubt, but his skill was much more serious because he had some serious strength to back it up and unlike what you're really supposed to do during training, he didn't mind using it on me. I didn't even bother trying to hit back full force because when I did his "armour" just grabbed my force and shifted it around perfectly. Normally I can penetrate inside people's chests and make their organs sting or put them off balance a bit but this guy was impregnable. A good goal to aim for. Mikhail Ryabko put it well something along the lines of "your best friend as a training partner is the one who wants to beat you up." Anyway, I shifted into serious recovery mode yesterday, sleeping as much as possible and just eating whatever I could - ice cream, chips, ham, nuts, yogurt...whatever I wanted and whatever would have lots of calories. Normally I can get by without eating too too much but I was on a mission yesterday and it worked out. Should be good to keep moving with my medium day tomorrow and then have the weekend to recover for my first 5x4 heavy day on monday. I love the program and am going to stick with it for the forseeable future. Think I'm gonna try to switch to the 24 in about a month or two and hopefully get to the 32 before winter sets in and my paramedic program starts up with the (mandatory) deadlift training and then just get back on to the PM with whatever bell I'm pressing and just ride out the winter that way until spring brings back the possibility of greater gains and harder training.