Holla! (Dedicated to Chad)

Today’s endurance WOD was the benchmark “Death by 10 meters”, and Kim, Chad, and Stew attended. With a continuously running clock, sprint 10 meters the first minute (each time resting the remainder of the minute), 20 meters (down and back) the second, 30 the third, and repeat until you are unable to complete the number of 10 meter down and back efforts required for the round.

I got a bit of a workout myself, as I ran all but one of the rounds (more in a moment) with athletes, counting off each 10 meters complete and also giving finishing time. Chad informed me that he thought he could make it to 20, i.e., 200 meters. Uhm, that’s quite an accomplishment for anyone, and I’m confident Chad can accomplish this in the future. This was, however, the first time he had ever attempted the WOD, and as Marshall McLuhan say, “The map is not the territory.” Chad did a great job, and during the round of 15 through 17, I acted as his “rabbit”, running slightly faster than he did while providing direction and support. For the round of 18 I said, “Chad, you’re on your own.” It was his weakest round, but I told myself if he made it with at least 5 seconds of rest I’d run the round of 19 with him. He did make it and with just 5 seconds left. For his round of 19 I began by running ever so slightly faster than him, and then I picked up the pace. Unfortunately, he was unable to keep up, and was just a few feet away from the finish when I called time. Next time, Chad!

I attended the 10am session, and the focus was on practicing gymnastics skills. There’s been much of this as of late, which I always enjoy, but as both a coach and a participant I prefer more structure. I practiced muscle ups, front levers, vertical holds, headstands (YouTube link), and handstands.

Metabolic conditioning
For time:
Run 400m 800m
75 pushups
Run 400m 800m
75 Abmat sit-ups
Run 400m 800m

I went forth and back as to what I wanted to accomplish, contemplating increasing distance of runs, reps of pushups and sit-ups, and/or both. As the clock counted down, Troie joined me on the sidewalk across the street from CFD. Troie always likes to start the met-con with a race. Ha! When “Go!” was shouted, I immediately turned around and ran in the opposite direction toward Foster, having decided at the last minute to run 600m instead of 400m. Uhm, instead of turning at Briggs I kept running and instead took a left at Washington, i.e., the 800m loop. Thus, I ran 3 intervals of 800m. Oh, well, you can never run too far or too fast.

I completed the pushups in reps of 30, 10, and then the last 35 in reps of as many as 5 and as few as 2. I completed all sit-ups unbroken.

Time = 14:54.

About 16 or so attended the Community WOD. Today’s skill was kettle bell swings, and the WOD was 12, 11, 10…3, 2, 1 KB swings, Abmat sit-ups, and burpees with a 15-minute cutoff. Oh, how I love burpees!

Tomorrow is a rest day, but I will be coaching one session at 11am. The WOD? A 5K race! Yeah!



I didn’t set my alarm last night. Was this my subconscious telling me to sleep in at least one day during vacation? Alas, I did awaken at what must have been 4:09, the time my alarm first sounds, but I was so relieved that the alarm hadn’t sounded that I fell back into a light sleep – even though Meg and Zac were pawing at my arms and legs and walking all over my chest and stomach. I finally grabbed my iPhone and glanced at the time – 5:25. I thus took my time getting ready, thinking that I’d join the 7:15ers. I even stopped at McDonald’s and purchased an English muffin and a cup of coffee. Paleo Schmaleo.

When I arrived at CFD at 6:35, folks were just beginning the workout. I asked Coach S. if I could warm up on my own and join the group, and he (somewhat) graciously agreed. He teamed with Craig and Troie while Michelle and I set up our own benches and bars.

Today’s WOD was a benchmark.

5 rounds of the following:
Max rep bodyweight bench press
Max rep pull-ups
Rest as much time as needed between rounds

The last time I completed this workout was September 18, and I achieved a total score of 125.

Uhm, I didn’t really warm up all that much, merely completing a couple of bench presses with the bar and then 95 lb. I did, however, weigh myself, and I still can’t seem to break 143 lb. Thus, I put 143.6 lb on the bar. I completed 8, 8, 8, 6, and 5 bench presses for a total of 35. I completed 24, 24, 21, 18, and 18 pull-ups for a total of 105.

Bench pressing is a weakness. The fourth round was the most challenging, as I didn’t center the bar between my grip, and I kept having to bounce the bar up to try and get it balanced – which I was never able to do. I usually completed the last 5 or so pull-ups with a brief pause whilst hanging from the bar followed by a big kip. I also could’ve rested more between rounds, as my forearms and biceps were aching after the second round. Wah, wah. I sound like a big baby. Even though I won’t mention his name, you know whom I’m referring to. Hint: his ass is HUGE.

Total = 140. This is a 15-rep improvement, so I’m somewhat satisfied.


Canadian Swings

I once again coached the 6:15 session and attended the 7:15 session. Today’s skill was 20 minutes of gymnastics. I warmed up the 6:15ers with shoulder mobility and then kettle bell swing practice, focusing on keeping the elbows bent and using the hips. Here’s how it worked: athletes merely held the KB and lightly extended hips, and then on my count they exploded their hips three times. Why? To see how high the KB would go. Craig’s KB went so high that it went past vertical. “Craig,” I said, “that swing was so past American that it was Canadian.”

I spent most of my time during the 6:15 session with the lovely and delightful Meaghan and Michelle, both of whom did a wonderful job progressing on handstands and handstand pushups. Craig worked on dips, and Stew and Troie did what appeared to be weighted ring dips. Or line dancing. When it was my turn, I worked on headstands and vertical holds (both held for 2 minutes) as well as muscle ups. For the first time ever I completed a kipping muscle up from da flo! No more boxes for me.

13, 12, 11…3, 2, 1
Kettle bell swings (52/35, American or Russian)
10-minute cutoff

Stew was the only athlete from the 6:15 session to complete within 10 minutes, with a time of 9:44. Impressive. He and Troie both chose to do American KB swings. Speaking of Troie, he had but one burpee to go when time ran out. All of that line dancing must have exhausted him.

I thought carefully about my goals for this workout. First and foremost, I wanted to work continuously, i.e., to complete all rounds unbroken. Having watched the 6:15ers, I often observed resting at the top of the KB swing and between burpees. I decided, then, to complete Russian swings, as there most certainly would be no resting. I did, however, use a 55 lb KB. In addition, I decided to rest no more than 2 seconds when transitioning from swings to burpees and/or from burpees to swings.

This was quite a challenging workout. I did complete all reps unbroken, and I rested no more than 2 seconds when transitioning. KB swings seemed easy – compared to burpees!

About those burpees… For just about every round I was at my most exhausted and most tempted to stop and rest when I was completing the second to the last burpee, e.g., the 12th of the round of 13, the 8th of the round of 9, and even the 2nd of the round of 3.

I completed the workout in 8:15. Thanks, Doug, for your coaching and support!


Night & Day

Coach S. led today’s session, and there were but four of us in attendance: yours truly, Holly, David, and Jacqui. After leading us through a warmup and review of proper form, we moved to today’s strength.

Front Squat

My current FS 1RM is 200; thus, I set my goal at 175, i.e., 87% of 1RM. I warmed up with 75 and 95, and then did 3 reps of 115 and 135, and I asked Coach S. to observe lifts at 135. Afterwards he said, “Night and day between now and when you first started CrossFit.” I replied, “It’s because I can now squat below parallel.” Coach S. said, “And you’re not afraid of heavier weights.”

They may not be entirely true, as I’ll readily admit (as I often do on this blog) to being frightened of heavier weights. The fear isn’t paralyzing, but I can be somewhat debilitating.

Anyhow, back to the lifts… Front squatting 155 became a bit more challenging, particularly on the wrists, but the lifts were nonetheless successful. I put 20 more lb on the bar, and determined that even though it was the fourth set, as it was 87% of 1RM it would be my last set. Upon reviewing, I am pleased with how deeply I’m squatting and how I am much better able to keep my elbows up. Yup, night and day. You be the judge (link to YouTube). Coach S. once again observed and gave direction, and then said, “Do another set. Put fives on.” I does what I’s is tolds.

For a slight change of pace, I’ll record my self-talk in italics. I rolled the bar to the front of the rack. Two fingers; no more no less. It’s not that heavy. Rest the bar on the shelf. Damn, my wrists hurt. I squatted. Don’t rise until you feel like you’ve gone past parallel. Drive, drive, drive. I squatted a second time. Damn, this is feeling heavy. Up, up, up, up, up! Whew, that was close. Uhm, you’re probably not going to get this last lift. It’s okay if you fail, just be sure to drop the bar and jump back. Frack, I’m out of breath. How does that happen? I squatted. Drive, drive, drive! You’re almost there. Up, up, up, up! I’m suddenly very dizzy.

Front squat 3×185 – a new PR (link to YouTube!

5 rounds for time
Row 250m
6 Turkish get-ups (3 each arm)
Rest 2 minutes between rounds

I estimated that this would take more than 20 minutes total, and I was right. Yet again. My goal was to row in the 30s for strokes/minute, and to row each 250m slightly faster than the previous round. My second goal was to focus on form for TGU; thus, I used a 35 lb kettle bell. I achieved both goals.

While I didn’t record specific times for 250m (and the computer on the rower was acting funky), I nonetheless know that I rowed all 250m in less than 50 seconds, and the last 250m in about 37 seconds. I increased s/m, beginning with 32 for first 250m and ending with 41 for last 250m. My splits were 3:02, 3:01 (8:03), 2:58 (13:01), 3:02 (18:03), and 2:38 (22:41) for a total 14:41.

Holly had been taking my name (as she was kicking my ass) for the first four rounds, and I at least wanted to give her a run for her money. I called time just 1 second ahead of her! It’s friendly competition, so don’t starting hating in me for taking pride in beating a woman. And, Holly is an excellent rower.

I weighed myself after the workout, and I’m still just below 143 lb. Uhm, most people gain weight during the holidays. WTF (What the Frack?)

Holly gets two PRs!

I’ve said I before, and I’ll say it again. I usually feel very weak after a rest day, and today was no exception. Caveat: while I did rest from CrossFit yesterday, I helped Michael Kelley assemble the pull-up rig for CrossFit Zeal. Keep your friend close, and your enemies closer. I’ve also taken Luke for a 2-mile walk every day for the past week.

My plans were to coach the 6:15 session and attend the 7:15 session. I opened the doors to CFD at 6, and patiently waited for folks to arrive. I waited, and waited, and waited. I had decided that if no one were to attend that I would do yesterday’s WOD (100 pull-ups, 1K row, 100 burpees). At about 6:14 Holly knocked on the door. Yeah!

We warmed up, went over the movements for press, push press, push jerk, and split jerk, and then we both began. I didn’t want Holly to have to do the strength – and certainly not the met-con – alone, and she was grateful for the company.


I was more concerned with observing and coaching Holly than I was about completing the strength segment myself, and Holly and I conversed throughout. I jerked 95, 105, 115, 125, 135, and failed at one attempt at 145. My forearms were sore from so much ratcheting. Stupid Michael Kelley.

During Holly’s second or third lift she said, “Jess and I were talking about how when you first join CrossFit you have a PR just about every day. I haven’t had a PR in ages.” I replied, “I know. I can’t recall they last time I had a PR.” Holly continued to lift, and many of her lifts were very good. After her fifth or sixth lift I asked, “How much weight is on the bar?” She did the math, smiled, and said, “One hundred pounds.” Uhm, that was 10 pounds more than her 1 rep max! “Congratulations!” I exclaimed. “Put five more pounds on the bar and lift it again.” She did just that. A 15-pound increase is incredible!

10-minute AMRAP of the following:
5 jerk (70% of 1RM)
7 ball slams (as heavy as you can go)
9 pushups

I settled on 105 lbs for jerk, and 30 lbs for ball slams (the heaviest I’ve attempted).

This was rough. I completed the first 3 rounds of jerks unbroken and as push jerks, the fourth and remaining rounds as split jerk, with the fourth and fifth rounds unbroken, and the sixth round almost unbroken. I didn’t lock my arms at the top and dropped the bar to the floor. Fortunately, Don from the 7:15 session had arrived and I yelled, “Don, run over here and help me, please.” Don started walking over. I yelled, “That doesn’t look like running!” He ran over and helped me lift the bar to the racks. I did the fifth rep. I completed the seventh round in reps of 3 and 2, and my last set in reps of 1 and 2.

I completed all ball slams unbroken, although I had to redo the first slam of the first, fifth, and sixth rounds as I didn’t catch the ball on the first bounce. Thirty pounds wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be.

I completed the first through sixth round of pushups unbroken, and the seventh round in reps of 5 and 4. My shoulders were aching by that point.

When all was said and done, I completed 7 rounds + 3 jerks. I. Was. Spent.

I purchased the first season of Battlestar Gallactica (for a mere $14.99) at Target today, and was addicted from the first episode.

“The Grinch”

Dave was kind enough to allow me to coach a session at 10am today, Christmas day, at CrossFit Durham. I was pleased that seven people attended, including Kim C. and Paul Pi. (who both completed yesterday’s workout) and three of the MacLeods – but not Nick! I was hoping to sing “Jolly Young Not-So-Saintly Nicholas”. I shall do so next year.

My good friends at CrossFit908 posted and completed “The Grinch” yesterday, and I suggested to Dave that we do at CFD today. He thought it was a great idea. Most All of my ideas are.

12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 of the following for time:
Dead-lifts (225/185)
Ring dips
Wall ball shots (20/14, 10’ target for both males and females)

Uhm, I had planned on resting today, or at the very least just working on skills. I just couldn’t help myself, and I did indeed do the WOD prior to the 10am session. I did, however, go somewhat easier than I typically would.

My one and only goal was to complete all rounds of activities unbroken. I knew that I would need to dead-lift less than 225 lb. and to also increase my rest time between activities, and that’s exactly what I did. I settled on 205 lb. for dead-lifts. I achieved my goal. The rounds of 10, 9, and 8 dead-lifts were particularly challenging, ring dips weren’t the least bit challenging, and wall ball shots were somewhat annoying. Why? I shot three air balls, and had to redo. One of the those air balls was the first rep of the round of 3. Ouch.

I rested a long time between many of the activities, often leisurely walking to the water fountain for a drink, putting a band-aide on a cut on my leg, opening the door for folks as they arrived, and singing along to Ru Paul’s “Ho Ho Ho” Christmas album. I completed the workout in 20:54, and was completely exhausted after having done so.

Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night!

The 12 Day of Crossfitmas

It’s Saturday, folks, and you know what that means: I coached endurance WOD, WODded, and coached community WOD.

I went forth and back (I never say “back and forth”) regarding what the endurance WOD would be. 100m sprints x 20? 200m sprints x 10? 2-mile time trial? Death by 10 meters? I was going to allow athletes to help me decide, when – just 10 minutes before the start of the session – I had one of my awesome ideas that I’m so known for. Awesomeness and modesty are what I’m best known for. And my good looks. And intelligence. Wait, I almost forgot strength and speed.

First, today’s traditional WOD was the “12 Days of Christmas
1 – Burpee pull-up
2 – Turkish get-ups
3 – Knees to elbows
4 – Wall ball
5 – Kettlebell swings
6 – Box jumps
7 – Push press
8 – Medicine ball cleans
9 – Double unders
10 – Jumping lunges
11 – Pushups
12 – Pull-ups

The first round is just one burpee pull-up. Then the second round is 2 Turkish get-ups and 1 burpee pull-up. The third round is 3 knees to elbows, 2 Turkish get-ups and 1 burpee pull-up. This continues so that the 12th round incorporates all 12 movements.

Endurance athletes ran 200m each round, i.e., after each burpee pull-up, for a total of 12 times (2400 m or 1.5 miles). Will, Rebekah, Sarah, and Nick joined in the festivities, and while there were some modifications of activities, all did splendidly. I did, however, enforce a 50-minute cut-off.

The WOD looked so incredibly fun that I did the same thing at the 10am session, and Kim C. joined me. My goal was to complete all rounds of activities unbroken, and I came this close to doing so. What tripped me up, literally? Read on, dear friends. Read on.

I completed all 12 rounds of 1 burpee pull-up with a dead-hang pull-up, bringing my chin well above the bar. Fifty-three lb. was posted for Turkish get-ups, but I chose to use 35 lb. No problem. Three knees to elbows? Well, I don’t mind if I do! Four wall balls shots with 20 lb. ball and 10’ target? While this shouldn’t have been a problem, I didn’t hit the wall for 3 shots during different rounds; thus, I had to redo. I have come a long way with 53 lb. kettle bell swings, and these presented no problems.

Six, 24” box jumps. Ugh. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get into a rhythm; try as I might. During the fourth or fifth round, I missed the box. Yes, I missed the box. Not only did I have to redo that jump, I became cautious for remaining jumps. During the twelfth and final round, I had to pause for more than a brief moment between jumps; thus, I can’t call all rounds of box jumps unbroken. 

I thought 7, 75 lb. push press would present a challenge, but I seem to have gotten stronger. However, 8 20 lb. medicine ball cleans became the activity that I most dreaded, although I did complete all rounds unbroken. Nine double unders were usually done unbroken, and I certainly didn’t rest when I missed and I only counted successful jumps. My legs, however, were becoming fatigued due to all of the sprints. Ten jumping lunges are all kinds of fun. I did mistakenly begin round 8 with jumping lunges instead of medicine ball cleans, so I did end up doing an extra 8 walking lunges.

Both rounds of 11 pushups were done unbroken, as was the round of 12 pull-ups. All 12 rounds of 200m runs went well – except that last 200m. I. Thought. I. Was. Going. To. Die.

I completed the workout in 40:24.

Just 6 people attended the Community WOD, and they completed a modified, much easier “12 Days of CrossFit”.

This is the fifth day in a row that Luke and I have gone for a 2+-mile run. I’m once again enjoying running! We passed numerous runners, as Luke likes to run fast. Very, very fast.

Your ass is funny.

Today was a breakthrough day! I was determined to complete 95 lb thrusters as Rx and to complete as many muscle ups as possible as Rx, i.e., not beginning the muscle up with a jump. While I can complete a strict muscle up, I’ve never done so during a met-con.

First, let’s do the math. Ninety-five pounds is 65% of my bodyweight. In addition (as faithful readers know), squatting is not a strength of mine. Uhm, full squats Wednesday, yesterday, and today… More about the met-con in a moment.

Today’s skill was focused on the rings. Coach S. politely asked me if I would demonstrate some of the skills for the 6:15ers, and since he said “please”, I was more than happy to do so, including the vertical hold, skin the cat, back lever, and front lever. Meaghan accomplished a near-perfect vertical hold on her first attempt, and this didn’t surprise me in the least. She was also kind enough to record muscle ups and progress with front lever. I only wish I also had her record back lever, as I’ve just about mastered it. By the way, Michael Kelley can’t skin the cat, let alone do a back or front lever. His HUGE ass is a detriment, I’m certain, you know, because of physics and all.

For muscle ups, I used a box to stand on to grab the rings in a false grip, and then to attempt to kip and, well, muscle my way up. I asked Coach S. if this was cheating, and he said it was not, as my feet we off of the box and the ground when I began the muscle up. Coach S. demonstrated muscle ups, and for the first time I can recall he gave this suggestion: lower yourself to the rings, i.e., do a ring dip, and then, kip for the next muscle up.

While warming up for the met-con, I said, “I’m going to use 75 lb for thrusters; the masters weight.” Coach S. didn’t say a word, although I heard an exhalation. Little did he know that I was using 75 lb just to warm up. I didn’t, however, exchange the 15 lb plates for 25s, but instead added 10 lb plates, you know, just in case I needed to lower the weight to 75 lb.

My goals were to not only complete thrusters as Rx, but to complete all rounds unbroken, and to complete as many muscle ups as possible strict, i.e., not jumping. I did tell myself, however, that I could substitute 3 jumping muscle ups for 1 muscle up if need be. And damn it if I didn’t eventually need to do just that…

Just before we began I said to Coach S., “I’m not going for a fast time; I’m focusing on form. Do not hesitate to call ‘no rep’ if I don’t do a thruster or muscle up correctly.”

5 rounds for time:
4 muscle ups
5 thrusters (95 lb)

I completed all 5 rounds of thrusters not only as Rx, but unbroken. Yes, I know 5 reps aren’t very many, but 5 reps of 95 lb thrusters – done correctly – is a challenge for me. Coach S. observed most if not all rounds, and when I saq his nearby I asked him if I had completed thrusters correctly. Each time I asked he confirmed that I had.

Using Coach S.’s suggestion of completing a ring dip prior to attempting an additional muscle up, I am exceedingly happy to report that I completed the first 2 rounds of muscle ups (wait for it… wait for it…) unbroken! I completed the third round in reps of 3 and 1, and the fourth round in reps of 2, 1, and 1.

And then it happened. My muscles were completely fatigued, and I began to struggle mightily. For the final round, it took me 3 attempts to complete the first muscle up, and another 3 (or more?) attempts for the second muscle up, and at least 4 (or more?) for the third muscle up. And I just could not complete the fourth and final muscle up. I tried and tried and tried and tried. It honestly wasn’t psychological; it was purely physical. I finally gave up and completed 3 jumping muscle ups. Thus, I did not complete the workout as Rx. Damn it. Should I have rested longer between attempts? Would this have helped? I do not know.

A few additional details, if you please. First, Coach S. coached me throughout the workout, and it was much appreciated. In fact, I had another breakthrough in that during the third or fourth round he suggested that I begin each kip by thinking of it as knees to elbows – and it worked! He also consistently reminded me to look at the floor as I rose, and to keep my elbows close. Second, for the third, fourth, and fifth rounds, after dropping from the rings I would walk counterclockwise around Meaghan, who was working to my left. At one point I said, “I enjoy walking around you Meaghan, as it’s much needed rest.” Third, everyone was very supportive of my attempts at muscle ups, and I consistently heard “Go, Paul!” Meaghan, in particular, would often look up at me as I was resting at the top of the muscle up and say, “Nice!” Fourth, Michael Kelley was foam rolling and none-so-secretly watching my every move. We all know how I hate Michael Kelley, and this was quite a distraction. He also has a HUGE ass, so I kept thinking that he was going to flatten the foam roller. Fifth, I often swore when I failed an attempt at a muscle up, and I swore loudly. And the word was a very, very bad word. My apologies to anyone I may have offended, and I’ll attempt to not do so in the future. Sixth and finally, this was one of the most successful days I’ve had at CFD in ages, and I left the box feeling energized and motivated. I shook Coach S.’s hand and thanked him for his excellent coaching and guidance. See, I’m not a dick all of the time, just most of the time.

Doug was kind enough to allow me to join the 7:15ers for ring work, and I was once again able to demonstrate the skills, coach, and show off a little bit. (Katie, let’s first work on getting vertical. Jayme, I forgot to ask you if lowering the rings helped any. Don, great job going vertical! Chad, as a clown, the rings should be – and will become – second nature.)

At the end of the workout I covered my hands in chalk and slapped my own ass. I asked Brad to take a picture, and I loudly proclaimed, “I’m suing Coach S. for sexual harassment, and here’s the proof.” He replied, “I never slapped your ass.” I said, “I know. I had to slap my own ass. That’s harassment, as you should be the one slapping it.”

Finally, between sessions, bootcamper Diane said, “Your ass is funny.” I thought she meant that I was funny. I said, “I’m sorry if I may have offended anyone, and thanks for thinking I am funny.” She said, “I meant your ass if funny. Literally. The hand prints on your ass make your ass look funny.” Ha!

OHS Progress

“I’m here at CFD on a vacation day at 6am because it’s overhead squats, and you’re coaching, Jack.” Those were my words as I entered CFD, the first to do so. Jack said, “You might be the only one here today, as very few people have been attending the 6:15 session, as many are out of town and others choose to attend a later session.” In my gut I knew that Meaghan was going to be there – and she was! Also in attendance were Kristen, Michelle & Craig, Holly, and Griff.

I still find the overhead squat to be a particularly challenging lift. I still lack shoulder and hip flexibility, I don’t practice the lift nearly enough, and (like with the jerk of last night’s clean and jerks) I find it frightening to have a large amount of weight over my head, particularly when I’m, well, in a full squat. Nonetheless, I’m finally committed to improving my lifting abilities and increasing my strength, and Jack has graciously agreed to help me do so.

I set up my area at the far end of the box, placing my iPhone on a 17” box and resting it on my foam roller (to record all lifts), and placing a medicine ball behind my area (to ensure that I was squatting deeply enough). Just before my first set, Jack came over and kicked the medicine ball away. He said, “You’re not going to use that today.” I asked, “Is it because you want me to make sure I’m squatting deeply enough without relying upon the medicine ball?” Sayeth Jack, “Exactly.” Fair enough.

Today’s skill was to be 5 sets of 3 reps of overhead squats. I warmed up with the bar, and then did a set of 65 lb. They weren’t pretty, and Jack provided feedback: keep my shoulders engaged; keep my weight in my heels to avoid going up on my toes; and try to avoid pushing my knees too far forward. I, of course, was spending much time getting properly set up, reminding myself to push my hips back, and also reminding myself to break parallel. I did another set, and my form had already improved. I did another set of 65 lb, and my form improved

I said to Jack, “I think I’ll keep the weight at 65 pounds and just focus on form today.” Jack replied, “No. I want you to increase the weight until you lose form. That way we can tell what we need to work on. Increase the weight incrementally, though. Just add 2.5 lb plates to the ends of the bar.” That’s what I did, and this is what my second set of 70 lb looked like. I then increased the weight to 75 lb, and my form fell apart. Here’s proof. See how much I’m wobbling? (That’s Griff’s smiling face at the beginning.) Jack said, “Decrease the weight to 70 lb and try again.” I did 2 sets of 5 reps of 70 lb, and it felt very good. Here’s my second set. I grabbed 4, 1.1 lb plates to place 2 on either end of the bar. As I was doing so, Jack said, “I was going to suggest that you do that.” Great minds think alike, Jack. Michael Kelly would have never thought of that. He also doesn’t know the difference between “it’s” and “its”. Here is my second set of 5 reps of 72.2 lb.

By this time I had decided to focus on OHS and skip the met-con. I said to Jack, “I did an exhausting workout just about 12 hours ago. I’m not going to do the met-con.” He agreed. I instead increased the weight to 75 lb, and this is what it looked like. Slight improvement, wouldn’t you say? Notice how others are preparing for the met-con as I’m lifting.

With less than a minute to go before the start of the met-con, I had a change of heart. I grabbed a 20 lb slam ball, moved my belonging off of the box, and decided to do at least 1 or 2 rounds.

10-minute AMRAP of the following:
5 pull-ups
10 pistols (5 each leg; I squatted to the box)
15 slam balls

I hadn’t taped my hand, so pull-ups hurt somewhat. I nonetheless did all rounds unbroken. During the fourth or fifth round I noticed Jack observing, and I said, “My pull-ups are very good.” Jack smiled, and said, “Yes.” I suppose if I’m able to converse during a met-con, perhaps I’m not working very hard.

At Griff’s suggestion, for pistols I grabbed my toes with the same side hand as my extended foot when squatting to the box. I will admit that the first round was not good, as I rested my ass on the box before rising. For remaining rounds, however, I touched my ass ever so lightly on the box, and then quickly rose. I didn’t count reps if I rested on the box (after first round) and/or if I lost my balance before rising. I didn’t count 8 or so reps.

I did all rounds of slam balls unbroken, ensuring that I grabbed the ball on the first bounce. These have gotten significantly easier. During one of the last rounds, I said to Jack, “I’m kicking ass on the slam balls.

Meaghan and I were neck and neck most of the time. She would get a bit ahead of my on pistols, and I would pass her on slam balls. We would occasionally give each other a high-five. As I wasn’t recording rounds, I constantly said, “Make sure you’re counting my rounds, Meaghan!” She did, and I completed 6 rounds + 5 pull-ups + 9 slam balls.

I changed into my Eat More Kale tee shirt, and Griff was kind enough to snap my picture.  I took Luke for a 2.5 mile run when I got home.

It’s not that terrible

Although Zac and Meg awakened me at 4am, I was unable to attend the 6:15 session, as my VW Golf TDI had been recalled and was being serviced. While I could have borrowed Jeff’s Mercedes, I really don’t like driving that car. I’ll never understand the appeal. Just saying.

I instead attended the 5pm session led by Dave. This makes two days this week that I’ve attended Dave’s session. I’ll never understand the appeal. Just kidding.

Today’s WOD was untimed, and I’m growing to like these kinds of workouts.

Run 400m
Clean and jerk – 1 set x 5
Run 400m
Clean and jerk – 3-3-3
Run 400m
Clean and jerk – 1-1-1-1-1
Run 400m

I had determined that I would wear a 25 lb weight vest for all runs, and that I would wear my weightlifting shoes for C&Js. I wasn’t, however, quite sure what weights I would attempt to lift; thus, I was looking to Dave for guidance.

I ran 400m in 1:28, and I had forgotten just how uncomfortable is it running with an additional 25 lb strapped to my chest. I felt unbalanced and my legs felt heavy. I do, however, need to challenge myself when a WOD includes running – if for no other reason than to add variety. I also work Brooks Green Silence and my New Balance Minimus were wet from earlier walk with Luke. I don’t know how I ever ran in a shoe with a cushion.

I entered the gym, took of my weight vest, and then bended down on one knee to take of my running shoes and put on my weightlifting shoes. Dave observed and asked, “Are you Tebowing?” Ha! That Dave can actually be funny on occasion.

I chose to lift 95 lb for the set of 5. Lifts felt relatively solid. I then set up my iPhone to record remaining lifts.

I ran the second 400m in a slow 1:34. I wasn’t focusing on running fast. I should have.

Prior to lifting the 3 sets of 3 reps, I asked Dave, “How heavy should I go? I just lifted 95 pounds. Should I lift 105 or 115?” Dave, in all his knowingness, said, “You decide.” What a douchebag. I put 115 lb on the bar and lifted 3 times. The lifts felt solid and – dare I say – light. I asked Dave, “May I increase the weight for the rounds of three, or do I need to keep the same weight on the bar?” Dave said, “You can certainly go heavier.” I put 125 lb on the bar. Both Dave and Rich observed and both gave very helpful guidance, although Rich’s suggestions (avoid donkey kicking, don’t lift foot when jerking but instead slide) were better than Dave’s (don’t land so loud, keep your arms straight). I put 135 lb on the bar and lifted my last three reps. The weight was starting to feel very heavy, and I was sweating quite profusely.

I ran the third 400m in 1:31. Not great, but not bad.

I once again asked Dave if I could attempt to increase the weight for the last round of singles, and he said that I could make today a “heavy day”. I lifted 145, my current bodyweight, and then 150. Dave observed the 150 lb C&J and I asked for his feedback. He said, “It’s not that terrible.” I walked to my notebook and recorded It’s not that terrible beside that lift. I then said, “Hey everyone, Dave said ‘It’s not that terrible.’ How’s that for positive feedback?” I then gave him a round of applause as quite a few of my colleagues joined me. (For casual readers, it’s my obligation to tell you that it’s all in good fun. No offense was taken by Dave or me.)

I put 155 on the bar – and failed. I failed twice. I was becoming physically exhausted but even more psychologically exhausted. As I’ve mentioned before, lifting and holding more than my bodyweight above my head makes me somewhat frightened. Should it? I think so!

I lowered the weight to 145 and lifted a fourth rep. I increased the weight to 150 – and failed. I paused all too briefly and attempted to lift 150 again – and failed again. Dave said, “There’s the law of diminishing returns.” Thanks, Dave. I needed that bit of encouragement. No, really. I was, however, determined to complete the final lift, and determined to lift 150. I rested a full minute – and clean & jerked 150 lb. Yeah!

I put the weight vest on one last time, and ran the last 400m in 1:27, my fastest interval. Yeah!

It was a rainy day, so Luke and I only got to go for a 1-mile walk in the rain this morning, and we didn’t get to play in the backyard. As soon as I got home, we went for a 2-mile run. Luke doesn’t just like to run; he likes to run fast.

3 reps of 135

1 rep of 145

1 rep of 150

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