You Ain’t Got No Alibi

Jack led this morning’s session, and the focus was on the second, 4-week cycle of Wendler 5-3-1; specifically the press.

Max once again asked me to play some tunes. I mixed things up a bit and went with a “Workout” mix consisting entirely of upbeat songs. While perusing the playlist, I noticed a song that reminded me of Stew, which I then announced to the group. I began singing when who but Stew should walk through the door!

You’re scary
You’re hairy
I heard about you
You’re the main attraction at the city zoo
You’re so fat and ugly with a belly full of flab
When you wear a yellow coat people shout out “cab!”
You ain’t got no alibi
You ugly
Eh! Hey! You ugly!

From U.G.L.Y. by Daphne & Celeste

Stew didn’t appear to be in a particularly good mood this morning. He can be such a bitch.

I was delighted when Renee asked if she could work in with me for the press. Renee always carefully observes form and provides feedback. (Jack ignored me this morning. This makes me sad. He used to think I was pretty.)

As we were to add 5 lbs to previous 1RM (actually 90% of 1RM), I based percentages on 120 lb.
5 reps @ 40%, 50 lb
5 @ 50, 60
3 @ 60, 70
5 @ 65, 80
5 @ 75, 90
Max @ 85, 102.4, 5 reps completed

I sense improvement with form, and the press from shoulders to elbows locked now looks and feels smooth. I did struggle with last max rep, but did manage to lock elbows. Renee noticed that went up on my toes.

Max approached and asked if I was finished with the press. I will admit that I wondered why he was asking this. Did he want me to change the playlist? Did he want me to sing? Did he want to tell me I was pretty? He then asked if I would show him how to do a ball-up on the rings. But, of course!

As a BIG aside, I’m reminded of a quote by Francis Xavier: “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” When I was seven, I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. While others were playing with their Tonka trucks (Phillip) or G.I. Joe action figures (Gabe) or Barbie dolls (Michael Kelley), I was pretending to be a school teacher. I then wanted to be, in chronological order, a cartoonist, clarinettist, band director, pianist, kindergarten teacher (1.5 years of college devoted to this), and finally communication specialist. Yet what I do on a daily basis is teach, whether it’s with my employer or at CFD. I suppose I take great pleasure in telling people what to do. I can’t deny that! I do also take pleasure when I see people improve, whether it’s with form, consistency, or intensity. Most people who see me workout (or read my at times scathing blogs) think that my coaching style would consist of belittling people and/or stating a continuous stream of negative remarks. Not true. Other than an occasional “That ass isn’t going to kick itself, Amy!”

Back to Max. I demonstrated the ball-up, and then helped him as he gradually worked on and and then successfully completed a vertical hold. Keep the abs tight and the back straight, Max—and look at your belly button, not the floor. I’m not going to tell you again. I mean it.

I knew going into the metcon that I wasn’t going to do what was posted, as I tore the palm of my left hand doing pull-ups yesterday. Jack suggested that I do Open WOD #2, and I did seriously consider doing just that. My concern was that others would be doing an AFAP as I was doing an AMRAP. I discussed with Jack, and decided upon the following:

4 rounds for time of 5 kettle bell dead-lifts (about 145 lb), 10 skin the cats, and 15 hand-release push-ups.

WTH? How in the world did I come up with this? The dead-lifts were easy, and I completed all sets unbroken. In hindsight I probably should’ve increased the weight or the reps. Skinning the cat in a metcon is just freakin’ brutal! I did the first 3 sets unbroken, but had to break the last set into reps of 7 and 3. Why? Because I was becoming not only oxygen-deprived but also dizzy. It was thus challenging to drop to the ground for push-ups. Oh, and skinning the cat is a shoulder-burner. I completed first 2 sets of push-ups unbroken, but not so the last 2 sets. Jack reminded me to not “snake” up but to keep my core tight and firm. I’ll remember to do just that this Saturday.

Time 5:17

As I finished so much faster than Stew, I was able to cheer for my 6:15 peeps. I’ll give praise to one person in particular, for FINALLY getting his chin above the bar at the top of the pull-up. Yeah, Punky Drewster! It took you long enough. Next time you “beat” me when a metcon includes pull-ups I’ll have confidence that you’re doing pus with full extension AND getting your chin above the bar. Don’t be such a Stew.

We finished early yet again. (Jack, you already had your hair did. Did you have an early appointment to have your nails did, too?) I gave Naomi a 10-minute C2 rower lesson, and called it a day.


This is going to be short and sweet. Like me. Stew led today’s session, and the focus was on gymnastics skills.
75 Hollow rock (3 sets of 25)
30 V-ups (2 sets of 15)
50 Supermen (unbroken)
I did one set of hollow rock on the floor, and my coccyx began to hurt. I retrieved my Manduka yoga mat from my car.
Meaghan: You always have to use your own stuff, don’t you, Paul.
Me: Yes. This mat is thick and firm.
William: That’s what she said. Saying “That’s what she said” doesn’t really work.
Me: Unless your name is Matt.
William: Well played, Paul. Well played.
Metcon—10 and 10 for 10
AMRAP in 10 minutes of the following:
10, 50% bodyweight dead-lifts (70, I lifted 75)
10 db push press (I substituted pull-ups)
Dead-lifts were far too easy, and went very, very quickly. First sets of pull-ups were unbroken, and then my hand started to slip off of the bar—even though I repeatedly chalked. I finally resorted to using bar with tape. BIG mistake. I tore skin on the palms of my hands. I nonetheless completed most sets of pull-ups in reps of 6 and 4, and by the last sets 4, 4, and 2. A fun WOD; I only wish it lasted longer than a mere 10 minutes. 11 rounds + 10 dead-lifts.
Today’s blog is almost as boring as Michael Kelley.

You Might As Well Jump — and Row and Run!

LLJ led today’s session, and the focus was on de-loading the back squat. Max requested that we listen to “American Idiot”. Yes, it was the Broadway and not the Green Day version. My people like show tunes.

I teamed with New Guy, and lifted 5 reps of 85, 95, and 112 lb. Not much to say other than lifts felt solid and easy. (As an aside, I heard Sting’s “Moon Over Bourbon Street” just yesterday. We saw a moon over Geer Street today.)

Jack immediately had us set-up for the metcon. I think he had plans to have his hair did or something, as it was a 15-minute workout, yet we started at 6:40. (As another aside, Jack needs to have his hair did.)

On the minute for 15 minutes, alternating movements each minute:
12 box jumps (24”)
Max rep double unders

I changed the playlist to songs from Glee just before the start of the metcon, and sang along to most of the tunes. My favorite is Gwyneth Paltrow’s version of Cee Lo’s “Forget You”, only I sing “Forget Stew”.  I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this metcon. I enjoyed it, and I think I know why… Double unders are kinda sorta possibly maybe perhaps coming together, as I was able to complete as many as 30 unbroken. I completed as few as 38 (last round) and as many as 54 (first round), and completed a total of 304 dus. I didn’t take this metcon as seriously as I could (or should?) have in that I stopped dus after 50 seconds and I didn’t start box jumps on the minute. In other words, I rested more than I should have. Sue me. Better yet, Sue Sylvester. I hate Michael Kelley.

Lindsay, Tripp, Gwen, Kristen, and Will rowing and Erin, Elisabeth, and Jack “biking
Tripp rowing hard!

As it was only 7 when the meton finished, I quickly decided to do a modified version of last night’s endurance metcon, which I’ve named “Chaka Khan”. Last night’s awesome endurance athletes completed the following Paul Potorti original metcon:

Row 10 calories
Run 100 meters
Row 20 c
Run 200m
Row 30 c
Run 300m
Row 40 c
Run 400m
Row 30 c
Run 300m
Row 20 c
Run 200m
Row 10 c
Run 100m

As I’m coaching during the endurance metcons on Mondays and Thursdays, I’m not able to complete it myself – and I really wanted to try this one! (As still yet another aside, we also did an 800m fartlek last night. Much fun!)

For a total change of topic, I did the following metcon prior to coaching last night’s endurance session.
75 air squats
40 pull-ups
20 ring dips
50 sq
30 pus
15 dips
25 sq
20 pus
10 dips
This was modified from the main site. I had planned on doing 50, 40, and 30 pull-ups, but I feared that I would once again destroy my hands. I haven’t yet recovered from Death By Pull-ups. I did all sets of air squats unbroken, but not (and not at all surprisingly) pull-ups or (but surprisingly to me at least) ring dips. Time was 10:38.

Back to the endurance metcon… I asked if anyone would like to join me. Jack couldn’t, as he was having his hair did. Renee and Kristen were all in, and let me say this – they were both amazing!

Row 10 calories
Run 100 meters
Row 20 c
Run 200m
Row 30 c
Run 300m
Row 30 c
Run 300m
Row 20 c
Run 200m
Row 10 c
Run 100m

We didn’t row 40 calories and run 400 meters. This was much, much fun! My time was 10:10. Kristen and Renee were neck and neck for most of the metcon, but Renee kicked it into high gear the last row, and had almost a 50m lead by the time Kristen started her last run.

Tripp won last night’s metcon, pulverizing Carlos’ brother and Renee won this morning. Amy and I challenge Tripp and Renee to the 2012 Valentine’s Day Smackdown!

I Got To Coach!

Colin, once again tied with Jack as my favorite coach, led today’s session, and the focus was on the handstand. There were just four of us in attendance, including Kerry, Kristen, and a late-arriving Gabe. (BTW Gabe, why are you always late?) My shoulders and quads were sore from yesterday’s push-ups and lunges, respectively. My senses of sight and sound are still sore from watching and hearing Michael Kelley plod.

Colin led us through a push-up warmup. Ouch.

I have been practicing handstands against a wall (attempting to keep one and then both feet held away from the wall for as long as possible) and occasionally with a spotter, and that’s what I had planned to do today. I should’ve known that Colin would teach a new way. (Colin also taught me the correct way to pronounce Parkour.) I began in a yoga “crow” and then pushed my head through my shoulders as I kicked my feet up. I still have a long way to go.

4 rounds for time of 400m run and 500m row

I recall doing this or a similar workout with the 6:15 group, and I most remember Stew’s “coaching”. Specifically saying to me during my third row, “Drew and Griff are catching up with you. You’d better row faster!” I already had a 400m run on the two of them, so this comment made me laugh — and slow my rowing.

Colin was gracious enough to allow me to demonstrate proper rowing form, and was humble enough to welcome my direct criticism. He (like you, Sarah) pushes his ass back before he pushes with his legs. Colin’s a very quick learner, and significantly improved by the end of the day. More about that in a moment.

Running and rowing. It doesn’t get any better! I felt strong from start to finish, and had an even split, finishing in 14:54. After I commented how much fun I had, Colin said, “I’d like to do this workout.” “Then do it with the 11 am class, Colin,” I said, “as I’ll be more than happy to hang around until after folks practice handstands and coach this workout.” Much to my delight, he said “Yes.” He might have actually said “Good.”

This also allowed me to witness firsthand the awesomeness that is one Chad “clown AND gymnastics school” Sanders. He walks on his hands! Effortlessly! Very impressive.

Colin once again allowed me to demonstrate proper rowing form for the 11 am group, that also included Jed and Brad. Colin showed me how to set the clock. I’ve forgotten everything he said.

I’m very involved when I coach, maybe even too involved. I made sure everyone was off to a good start, and gave each person her or his first 400m split time. Colin was the first to finish the run with a time of 1:28, if I recall correctly. That was 14 seconds slower than my first 400m, but who’s keeping score?

I encouraged and provided direction to folks as they rowed. Chad is a strong rower, as are Jed, Colin, and Brad (until his last 500m, that is). Colin still led the second 400m run, and I ran most of it with him. Colin still had a slight lead at the start of the third 400m run. As Chad got off of his rower and began running, I ran to and ahead of him and said, “I’m running with you, Chad. Keep up!” To which he replied, “Oh, shit.” I heard you, Chad.

Chad rowed a very strong and fast third 500m, and was the first to begin the last 400m run. I ran with Colin this time. We had run about 250m when I said, “See that bus stop, Colin? I’m going to kick your ass if you don’t start running much faster than you’re doing right now when we get there.” He did pick up his pace and nearly caught Chad.

Okay, Chad has more height (and width; yes, I said it) than Colin, and as I mentioned, he’s a strong rower. Chad called time at 15 minutes and change, and Colin called time at exactly 16 minutes. Did I mention that I finished in 14:54? Not that anyone is keeping score. My time might have been today’s fastest, but again, who’s keeping score? Certainly not me.

I absolutely love the Minimus shoes! I absolutely hate Michael Kelley.

Maximum Minimus

Rich led today’s session, and the focus was on my new, orange, New Balance Minimus trail running shoes with Vibram soles. As Shayne and I discussed, CrossFitters are obsessed with shoes. So, many women, most gay men, and all CrossFitters are obsessed with shoes. Rich, Mats, and I all wear a size 8.5, so I was kind enough to allow Rich and Mats to wear my shoes for a test run. The consensus is that the shoes are awesome! I’m the first of the men to own a pair. My people are trend setters. I’m a fan of the Nike Free, and this shoe is right up there in terms of fit, comfort, and style. Did I mention they are orange? Orange is my favorite color. By the way, Bull City Running is the place to purchase, and tell Jim and Kason (actually Kim and Jason, but I always say Jim and Kason for whatever reason) that I sent you. 

There were many in attendance at the 9 am session, including Max and Audrey, Mats, Amy, and Punky. Rich walked us through a warmup consisting of the inchworm, burpee broad jump, high knees, and ass-kickers. (Remember, Amy, that ass isn’t going to kick itself!)

Michael Kelley was also there, and he hugged me again. He even said he missed me. Sickening, isn’t it? He’s so needy.

Workout – Max rep push-ups

Perform 1 push-up every 5 seconds. You must hold your hollow/plank position at the top between pushups – any break in your back, butt up, or knees down to rest and you’re done!

Punky positioned himself at a 90 degree angle from me, so that he could keep an eye on his competition. (Mats, you’re no competition.) About 3 minutes, i.e., 36 push-ups, into the workout, Punky’s core started to shake, he started to sweat, and he began making Max DAL noises. The shit-talk began.

Me: Punky, you’re starting to look weak.
Punky: (Silence.)
Me: You’re shaky, Punky. 
Punky: (Silence.)
Me: You’re going to fail soon. 
Punky: (Silence.)
Me: Look, Punky, I’m doing this push-up 1-legged!
Punky: (Silence, but he did finally look in my direction to confirm that I did actually perform the push-up 1-legged.)
Me: You’re weak, Punky!
Punky: (Silence, but he did attempt a 1-legged push-up.)
Me: You might as well give up, Punky.
Punky: Arghfstr. (At least that’s what it sounded like to me.)

Punky finally gave up at about the 3.5 minute time, i.e., 42 push-ups. I continued.

Me: I could do this all day, ladies and gentlemen.
Amy: Do a clapping push-up this time!
Me: I’m stopping at 4 minutes

And that’s what I did. Yes, I could’ve continued and completed more than 48, but everyone knows I’m not one to show-off. I pride myself on my humbleness and humility. 

Upon completion, I stood up and proclaimed, “The Gay wins yet again!” 

For time:
40 wall ball shots, 20 lb wall ball, 10′ target
30 walking lunges holding sandbag on shoulders, as heavy as you can handle (for me that was about 65 lbs)
20 burpees
30 walking lunges
40 wall ball shots

This was grueling, yet invigorating. I looked around the room and could sense that both Punky and Mats thought they might be able to win this one. Ha! I completed the first round of wall ball shots in reps of 30 and 10. I was the first to begin lunging, but both Punky and Mats weren’t that far behind. I had more difficulty getting the sandbag over my shoulders than I did lunging, but did complete set (and next) of walking lunges unbroken. I was still neck and neck with Punky and Mats. Burpees, how I truly love burpees! I quickly completed all 20 unbroken, dropping team Munky-Pats. Yes, the second set of walking lunges were far more challenging, as were the last set of wall ball shots, completed in reps of 15, 12, 7 and 6. I was NOT the first to call time, as that honor goes to Audrey! I was the first man to call time at 5:35. I didn’t say it, but I certainly thought it: “The Gay wins yet again!”

I was spent at the end of this metcon. I nonetheless caught my breath and cheered for Amy and assisted a new attendee, Paul, with his last set of wall ball shots.

I spent the next 10 or so minutes answering questions about the Minimus, and even called Jim/Kim to see what colors and sizes she had in stock. It appears that I’ve become Bull City Running’s pimp. By the way, the colors are orange/black (AWESOME!) and yellow/black (look too much like a bumble bee, IMHO).  

I was just getting ready to teach Michael Kelley a thing or 1000 about running when Jack asked if I would be his counter for WOD #1. I had been so during his first attempt, and had posted on Facebook that I would be honored to do so today – but he didn’t reply so I thought he’d prefer someone who wasn’t so emotionally invested in the outcome. I was pleased that he asked me to do so today, and he improved his score rather dramatically. If I recall correctly, Jack completed 5 rounds + 15 power snatches + 12 (or more) double unders. 

The 10 am class arrived, and I just couldn’t resist… I joined them for the workout. I was bound and determined to make it past 4 minutes, and my goal was 4:10, i.e., 50 push-ups. It was far more challenging the second time around. Imagine that! At about the 3.5 minute mark Rich said, “I’m going to explain the metcon as Paul continues with his push-ups.” I chuckled, and almost lost form. I stopped at 4:30, i.e., 54 push-ups, for a total of 102 push-ups for the day. The 10 am class was kind enough to give me a round of applause. I need the encouragement, because I’m so humble and modest. I truly am. 

I had postponed having to spend time with Michael Kelley (never “Mike”, never just “Michael”, always “Michael Kelley”) for as long as I could, so I finally told him I was ready to help him with his “running”. I put running in quotes because Michael Kelley plods more than he runs. Jack joined us. We ran an easy 800m, stopping for drills, including running 1o steps striking heels and then 10 steps landing on forefoot. Michael Kelley and Jack then ran another 800m, and I observed form and provided coaching. Jack is already showing much improvement. Michael plods, and he has very slow turnover. Here’s a comparison of the three of us.

PLOD                  PLOD                   PLOD                   PLOD                   PLOD
Michael Kelley
Strike          Strike         Strike         Strike         Strike         Strike         Strike 
Step     Step     Step     Step     Step     Step     Step     Step     Step     Step

Paul “posing”
I was hungry, so I got a double cheeseburger from King’s Sandwich Shop. Anna and I discussed the man, the myth, the person who puts both “i”s in idiot, Stew. Anna said, “I call Stew an ass to his face.” I replied, “I call Stew an ass to his ass.” Little did Anna know we were both talking about Stew’s face. 


My favorite coach, Jack, did NOT lead today’s session. Stew led today’s session, and the focus was on Stew. He has increased the quantity and improved the quality of his witty remarks. My gayness appears to be rubbing off on him.

I am unwilling to share our initial verbal exchanges, as I risk offending readers. Suffice it to say that both Stew’s mother and my mother were mentioned…

Max asked if I would play songs from my iPhone. At first I thought he was kidding, as everyone knows I’d play songs from Glee. I grabbed my iPad instead, and decided upon Beck. The first song was “Loser”. This was appropriate.

We are de-loading, and today the focus was on the dead-lift—my favorite lift! I once again teamed with Nick, who is an all-around nice, young man. Stew tried (unsuccessfully, as this was Stew) to get Nick to say negative things about me. As I had to remind Stew, just because I’m a middle-aged gay man doesn’t mean I’m a pedophile. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am one of the least threatening people you could meet—although I did tell Stew I wanted to punch him in the throat. He said I couldn’t reach his throat. Stew is well on his way to replacing Michael Kelley as the person I focus all of my hatred upon. Will you miss me, Michael Kelley?

5 reps of 135, 165, 175, 190, and all lifts felt easy and solid.

Metcon: 21-15-9 DB cleans (35 each hand) and KTE
I attempted cleans, and my right arm immediately began to hurt. I am indeed completing stretches that I’ve been taught, but this doesn’t seem to be working. It may be time to see a PT.

Me: What’s a substitute for cleans?
Stew: Cleans.
Me: My arm still hurts, so I can’t do cleans.
Stew: Then do thrusters.
Me: That will still hurt.
Stew: Then do kettle bell snatches with your left arm.

I got a kettle bell as was ready to go. Stew began counting down from 10, and I had a sudden urge to mix things up a bit, so I grabbed a 52 lb kettle bell. I substituted kettle bell swings for cleans. Wow, swings were very challenging today, as my arms were still a bit sore from yesterday’s 64 swings. I nonetheless completed the metcon unbroken with a time of 3:21.

As I had time to spare, I rowed 500m as others completed the metcon. I did, of course, cheer for them. That’s just what I do.

As Stew was “stretching” and talking with his boyfriend, I casually mentioned that I wished there was a coach who could help me with kipping muscle-ups. Stew ignored me. It hurt. I hurt badly.

I asked my second favorite coach (still tied with Uberlin Colin) if she would coach, and, being Ashley, she did just that! She first watched me attempt to perform a kipping muscle-up, and had to remind me to keep the rings close to each other and then attempt to shoot my chest through the rings. Stew then suddenly showed interest, as I know he’s jealous of the relationship I have with Ashley. (I am NOT, however, jealous of the relationship Ashley has with Michael Kelley.)

Stew: Think of it as an inverted row.
Me: What?
Stew: You know, get your body parallel, and then do an inverted row. That way you’re only lifting half of your bodyweight.
Me: Half of my body weight isn’t very much.
Stew: Just do an inverted row.
Me: You’re going to have to show me what you mean. Remember, my only personal trainer was Michael Kelley, so I don’t know very much. He isn’t a very good trainer.
Stew: It’s all about physics.
Me: I have a degree in communication.
Stew: I think all CrossFitters should have to pass a physics test before they can join.
Me: I think all coaches should have to pass a communication test before they can coach. You’d fail.

Ashley and Stew did provide excellent coaching. Practice, practice, practice!


The awesomeness that is Coach Jack led today’s session, and the focus was on… There really wasn’t much of a focus, as we are de-loading. I set-up a rack for press, and placed my WOD books on the platform. Stew picked up a weight bench and walked toward MY rack.

Stew: Is anyone using this rack?
Me: Yes, I am.
Stew then took my WOD book and placed it beneath a leg of the weight bench.
Stew: I heard about yesterday’s blog. There. (He pointed to my book.) I win.

Stew is such a bitch. He had better watch out or the “e” and “r” are going to removed and I’ll add an “e” on the end. Let’s see how long it takes him to determine what I mean. Chiropractors aren’t very smart.

3 x 5 press, 40% (45 lb), 50 (55), 60 (70)
Not much to be said. I focused on form, and lifts felt very easy.

I completed a back lever, and can now accurately sense when I’m parallel, i.e., I don’t have to ask anyone. Jack attempted as well. Stay stiff, Jack! (That’s what she said.)

3 rounds for time of the following:
Run 400m
21 kettle bell swings (52 lb)
12 pull-ups

The last time I completed this my time was 9:20. I couldn’t recall the time this morning, so I set goals for form instead of time. Ideally, I wanted to complete all reps of KB swings and pull-ups unbroken but would be happy if KB swings were completed unbroken.

My legs felt very tired after last night’s rowing endurance WOD, and my running was less than stellar, actually less than average. Stew’s boyfriend, Troie, sensed this, and raced me the first 400m. He beat me to the turnaround, and then I dropped him like a bag of stinky, steamy Stew. All sets of KB swings, while challenging, were completed unbroken. Yeah! My hands are still a mess from Death By Pull-ups, but I nonetheless completed first 2 sets of pull-ups unbroken and kipping. Max began the second 400m ahead of me, but I managed to catch and pass him. He’s too freaking fast on the KB swings and pull-ups, though, so I knew I still had my work cut out for me. Max had a good 50m on me before I started that last 400m and I never caught up with him, even on the downhill. Damn tired legs. Damn metal rooster. I was on my way to completing last set of pull-ups unbroken, and probably could have if there wasn’t a cluster fiesta at the pull-up bars. All but 2 stations had boxes below them and/or bands, and Max and Troie were all over the middle, high bars. I couldn’t kip without kicking them, so I did 2 sets of 6 dead-hang pull-ups. Ugh. Now that I can kip, I hate dead-hang pull-ups. Max called time first. If I didn’t like him so much I’d really hate him.

I called time at 8:52, a PR by 28 seconds. I’ll take it.

Awesome Jack and I discussed my performance afterwards. He thinks (and I agree) that I need to work on completing swings and pull-ups faster. I’m so focused on doing the skills that I’m “just not doing it.” For example, when swinging I think, “Heels grounded, swing from the hips, arms overhead, head through window” for each and every swing. For pull-ups I think, “Swing hip, arms up, arms away”. Any suggestions for improving will be greatly appreciated.

An Inspiring "Terrorist"?

Are those bombs or 2.5 lb weights?

Jeff joined me @ LFF. His foot is still hurting, so he joined me for a C2 rower lesson.

David, one of the trainers, approached me as I was stretching and said, “Did you wear a weight vest when you entered the gym?” “Yes,” I replied. “Why do you ask?” He smiled and said, “Some woman reported you to the front desk. She said you looked like a terrorist with a bomb strapped to your chest.” Haha! Again, I don’t think a weight vest would ever be mistaken as an explosive device at a CrossFit box. 

I taught Jeff how to set the flexfoot and damper, and the mechanics of rowing, i.e., catch, drive, finish, and recovery. He caught on very quickly.

I used the opportunity to warm up, and found that I needed a higher damper setting than normal. I set the damper @ 7.5.

C2 Rower
100m, :22.6, 1:53/500m pace, 50 s/m
15 sec rest
200m, :44.9, 1:52.2, 35
30 sec rest
300m, 1:06.6, 1:51.0, 33
45 sec rest
400m, 1:30.1, 1:52.6, 31
1:30 rest
500m, 1:53.2, 31
2 min rest
400m1:27.3, 1:49.1, 34
1:30 rest
300m, 1:05.4, 1:49.0, 35
45 sec rest
200m, 44, 1:50, 35
30 sec rest
100m (I didn’t record, but it was fast! I know I was rowing @ 1:39/500m)

I wore a 25 lb, non-explosive weight vest for added intensity. While rowing the first 200m, one of the men who work at the front desk told me more details about the women reporting a terrorist. We all had another laugh.

During my rest after the 500m, a man kept looking at me and then finally approached. He said, “I just want you to know that you inspire me. After seeing you do intervals, I started to do them on the treadmill. I’ve gotten much faster, I feel fitter, and I’ve lost weight. Again, you’re an inspiration.” Jeff listened to the entire conversation, and said he wasn’t at at all surprised. He said, “See, you inspire people.” He didn’t roll his eyes, so I think he was serious. I’m not sure what to make of this…  Haha!

Back to the WOD. This was tough! This is the first time I’ve rowed with a weight vest, and it certainly adds to the workout. As the recovery time was generally short, it was challenging catching my breath and getting ready for the next rep. Jeff asked me or more than one occasion if was okay. I kept saying, “I’m doing reps! I don’t care if people hear me breathing hard!”

I just asked Jeff how my breathing sounded when I was rowing. He replied, “You were loud. And it was kind of scary. It sounded like you were running out of air.” Oh, interval training, how I adore thee!

I Heart Stew

Stew “Coaching”

I noticed Stew reading the e-mail message from Dave listing this week’s WODs. “Stew,” I said, “today is practicing double unders and then 4 rounds for time of 20 burpees and 500 meter row. I get the WODs from Dave now, too.” Stew snarkily said, “I know, you’re and ‘endurance’ coach. Everyone knows endurance isn’t important.” “Stew,” I said, “all of your lady friends might tell you endurance isn’t important, but believe me, it is.”

Score:  Stew 0, Paul 1

I don’t recall the actual topic of conversation, but Craig said, “Paul, you’re gay? I thought it was just a fad.” “Ha ha, Craig. If it’s just a phase, I’ve been in the phase for a long time. My mother thought I’d grow out of the phase, too.” Stew had to add his two cents. “I bet she did. I bet she did.” I replied, “That’s not at all the case. My mother is awesome.” Stew replied, “Yes, she is, Paul. Yes, she is.”

Score:  Stew 1, Paul 1

After yet another “dynamic stretching”, i.e., yoga, warm-up Stew had us grab our ropes to practice double unders. He observed that I was using my shoulders too much and my wrists not enough. My dus immediately improved when I focused on keeping my arms stationary by my sides and using my wrists to rotate the rope.

Score:  Stew 2, Paul 1

Stew then walked us through a series of tabata, consisting of single unders and single under/double under combination. “It will help if you get a ‘ditty’,” said Stew. “The ditty can be as simple as one-two, doing a single under on the ‘one’ and a double under on the ‘two’.” “I know what my ditty is, Stew!” I said. “Stew Peters, Stew Peters.” It worked! Stew said, “My ditty is Troie – Paul, Troie – Paul.” We each earned a point.

Score:  Stew 3, Paul 2

Stew then described how he and a “jabbing” partner (I’m not sure what they were jabbing, but I have some ideas) say the other person’s name when they jab. Stew demonstrated. “Stew! Tom!” (I’m not sure if the name is correct.) “Thanks, Stew! I now have an image to think about later tonight.”

Score:  Stew 3, Paul 3

Stew instructed us to grab a C2 rower, and that’s what I did. I then quickly used the restroom, and by the time I returned Nick had confiscated my rower! “Nick,” I said, “you took my rower!” “Uhm, I didn’t know it was yours. It was just here.” I was really looking forward to rowing, as I’ve done this metcon before and I wanted to see if I could improve upon my time.  Stew said, “Why don’t you just run instead.” “Okay,” I said, “but 500 isn’t going to be long enough. How about if I run 600?” Stew agreed.

While everyone else completed burpees and rowing inside, I got to spend the morning outside and enjoy the nice, cool weather.

After completing the first round of burpees, I hit my foot on the metal rooster outside of CFD. It hurt—and my foot still hurts over an hour later. Stupid metal rooster. I nonetheless completed all rounds of burpees unbroken, and immediately ran after rounds of burpees. Thus, this was a continuous metcon with no rest. I will admit that the uphill run after the burpees was difficult. Stew informed me that I was at 7 minutes just as I started round 3. I finished in 13:39 (3 seconds after rower-stealing Nick), and was pleased with the negative split.

Coach Stew provided “good” coaching today.

Final Score:  Stew 4, Paul 3.  At least it wasn’t a knockout!

Dumb Waiter

Jack led today’s session, and the focus was on the back squat, specifically week 3 of Wendler 5-3-1. I claimed a rack, determined weight to lift, and quietly said to Nick, “You’re lifting with me.” Here’s why: last week he and I teamed for the WOD consisting of 30 bodyweight back squats and 500m row. Nick had casually mentioned that he had never completed a back squat, but, since he was skilled with the overhead squat, he was confident that he could complete all reps. I should have encouraged him to NOT lift bodyweight, as he struggled mightily during last 15 or so reps, and his form was not good. This is not meant to be a disparaging comment toward Nick, as he’s a very nice young man, and is always eager to learn. “Nick,” I said, “I’m not the person to go for direction regarding how to snatch or clean and jerk. I can, however, provide direction on the press, dead-lift, bench press, and back squat.” I enjoy coaching, and am always looking for opportunities to do so. (It is, after all, what I do for a living…) I made sure that I confirmed with Jack any and all guidance I provided to Nick. I was pleased that Jack and I agreed. For example, instructing Nick to keep a neutral neck, track knees over toes, drive with heels, etc. Yay, me!
Back squat
5 reps @ 40%, 65 lb
5 @ 50, 95
3 @ 60, 110
5 @ 75, 140
3 @ 85, 160
Max reps @ 95, 175, 6 reps completed
I asked Jack to observe last set, and he was kind enough to do so. He reminded me to keep my weight in my heels. I asked him afterwards if I had squatted deeply enough, and he said “Yes.”
4 rounds for time
“Waiter’s” walk holding 50 lb sand bag overhead
35 squats holding 50 lb sand bag
There was quite a bit of discussion concerning what bags weighed 30 and 50 lb, as it appeared that NO bags weighed 50 lb. I placed 2, 10 lb sand bags in a sack along with 30 lb (or at least I thought it was 30 lb), and asked Jack for guidance regarding how to carry the bag overhead. Jack suggested holding straps at the ends of bag. This became an exercise in futility, as the 2, 10 lb bags kept shifting. It also became a matter of grip strength, as it was very challenging to hold the ends of the bag. Ugh. Can you tell that I did not like this metcon? I became so frustrated that I ended up just resting the sandbag on the top of my head during half of the 3rd and all of the last 200m walk. After completing back squats earlier, completing an additional 140 squats holding a 50 lb sandbag on my shoulders was just plain misery. I was able to complete as many as 25 unbroken—and that was during the last rep, when I wanted to at least finish under 10 minutes. I finished in 9:57, but I’m not going to call it Rx, as I didn’t hold the bag above my head with locked arms.
[Insert comments regarding inconsistency of weights of sandbags, i.e., some 50 lb bags were lighter than others.]