“You look miserable.”

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I’m exhausted. There, I said it. Yes, I need a rest day.

For the first time in a very long time, I’m sore. I do believe this is because of the stress the accessory work is putting on my body. It’s quite a good feeling…

As there were more than a dozen in attendance, I once again had the honor of sharing a rack with Woody. Again, I very much enjoy working out with Woody, as we are of similar heights and lift similar weights. He also is very responsive to coaching, and immediately implements suggestions. At one point I patted his shoulder and said, “I’m going to start charging you for one-on-one coaching.” Ha! I would very much like to provide grammar one-on-one coaching for Michael Kelley. He continues to say “like” excessively and incorrectly. It’s not like I want to punch him in the throat. I want to punch him in the throat. And I may very well do so.

Take 15 minutes to work up to a 3RM

I successfully pressed 3 reps @ 75, 95, 105, & 115#. I almost lifted 3 reps @ 125#, but failed on the third lift. Oh, if only there had been a coach present to provide direction and support, but there was not.

Nonetheless, all but the last lift felt solid.

50 KB pushups
5 Rounds
15 KB high pulls
15 KB swings
15 KB goblet squats

Uhm, yeah, so there weren’t enough 52# kettle bells to go around, and someone had claimed the 60# kettle bell. Michael Kelley instead insisted I do the following:

50 KB pushups
5 Rounds
15 dumbbell cleans
15 dumbbell jerks
15 dumbbell squats

Michael Kelley said, “You can use the 30 or 40 pound dumbbells.” He’s a dumbbell if thought I’d choose 40# dumbbells.

No one had claimed the 70# KB, so I got to use that for pushups, i.e., I had to use the thickest KB; thus pushups were more challenging for me than for my peeps.

Michael Kelley announced that there was a 20-minute time limit. My goal, then, was to complete in less than 20 minutes. This was a dreadfully awful metcon.

I liked the KB pushups, and completed in reps of 15, 10, 5, 5, 5, 4, 3, 2, & 1. Yes, my shoulders began to get smoked by the 40th rep.

Dumbbell cleans were challenging. I completed rounds 1 – 4 in reps of 14 & 1, and the last round in reps of 10 and 5. Yes, I usually completed the 15th rep as a single so that I could then immediately jerk.

I completed rounds of jerks in reps of 15 for round 1, 10 & 5 for rounds 2, 3, & 4, and reps of 7, 5, & 3 for the last round. Yes, that means I did additional cleans.

I completed all rounds of dumbbell squats unbroken, although I struggled with placement on my shoulders the first round.

I began doing split jerks by the 3rd round, and Michael Kelley had to remind me to not bring the dumbbells back down to my shoulders until after both of my feet were under my hips.

I was very tempted to take off my shirt, but I did not do so. Next time, perhaps.

I completed in 18:19, and was completely spent. I give this metcon a 2 for enjoyment, 9 for difficulty, and 8.5 overall. No, I don’t have to add the scores and divide by two. It’s my scoring, and I’ll do whatever the hell I want to.

Many people were visibly exhausted when they finished the metcon. Michael Kelley said, “This is our last long metcon in a while. Starting next week we’ll be doing metcons that are heavy and short.” “Like you, Michael Kelley,” I quietly said. Michelle heard me and guffawed, and this made me giggle like a school girl. Michael Kelley, please notice that I correctly used the word “like”.

Prior to picking up Luke from Doggie Village, I completed accessory work.

Sled Pulls
3 x 3 straight-legged forward, backwards, and dead-lift

I put 65# on the sled, a pound less than 60% of 110#, the weight I pulled just yesterday.

While the pulls were easier than yesterday, I still find pulling that damn sled exhausting. Leah observed and said, “You look like you’re miserable when you do that.” I said, “I am.” Michael Kelley, notice that Leah also used the word “like” correctly. Leah later asked, “If you’re so miserable, why do you do it?” Good question, Leah. Let me get back to you on that one.

50 weighted GHD sit-ups and back extensions

I held a 15# plate. I completed sit-ups in reps of 10, 8, 9, 8, 8, & 7, and back extensions in reps of 15, 15, 15, & 5.

I had pizza with pepperoni, spinach, and mushrooms for dinner tonight, and it was wonderfully delicious.

Coach, coach thyself!

It was quite a fun morning at CFZ. Michael Kelley and I are actually getting along quite well, and I don’t feel the desire to punch him in the throat nearly as often as I usually do. This can’t last long…

I received a HUGE compliment from a certain someone this morning, and I’ve been smiling about it all day long. I would like to share, but I’ll have to ask that certain someone if this is acceptable. I did share with Michael Kelley if for no other reason than to make him feel inferior, if that’s possible.

Low Bar Back Squat
65% x 5; 120.5|120
75% x 5; 138|135
85% x 3; 157|160
95% x 2; 175|175
105% x 2 x 2 x 2; 194|190

All percentages are based on last weeks 5RM (This is taken directly from CFZ page. Michael, “week’s” is possessive, not plural.)

I based percentages on 185#. Michael Kelley said, “Lift 190 for your last reps.” I should’ve checked his math, as I would’ve lifted 195 instead of 190#.

I shared a rack with Woody, and I’d do so again, as we worked well together. All lifts felt good.

I need to focus more on myself and less on others. I know, right? I’m for too altruistic. I need to be much, much more selfish. This will be a challenge for me, but I’m willing to give it a try.

For whatever reason, I have gotten out of the habit of putting my thumb over the bar when doing back squats. What? When did this happen? I looked around me and noticed that most athletes were also putting thumbs under the bar. What? How did the coaches let this happen? As I only coach strength one day a week, Wednesdays, and we’ve been doing nothing but dead-lifts, it is quite obviously Michael Kelley’s fault.

5 Pull-ups
7 Toes-2-Bar
9 Box Jumps

In celebration of Alex’s successful defense of his doctoral dissertation, Michael Kelley created a metcon consisting of Alex’s three favorite activities.

I contemplated not doing this metcon, and had communicated my desire to not to do so to Michael Kelley last night as well as this morning. He didn’t believe me. It was once again a big hot mess this morning, as there were a dozen in attendance. Uhm, we have about 7 or 8 boxes. Michael Kelley somehow acquired a 30” box for me, and I thought, “What the hell. Have fun with it!” And that’s what I did.

I completed all rounds of pull-ups unbroken, as well as the first three rounds of T2B. I remained on the bar for T2B for all rounds, although I only completed 3 T2B the last full round before having to drop from the bar. I completed all rounds of box jumps unbroken. However, I didn’t focus on quickly rebounding off of the floor until the third round, when it dawned on me that I wasn’t doing so. I blame Michael Kelley. Less playing with your junk, more coaching, please.

This was quite a challenging metcon, and I tried to lighten the mood – and share my misery. I kept an eye on the clock, and when just two and a half minutes had passed I yelled, “Only eight and a half f@cking minutes left, folks!” Later I yelled, “Six and a half minutes. We’re not even halfway f#cking there!” This continued until the hell was over.

I completed 9 rounds + 5 pull-ups + 1 T2B.

I am very tempted to say something in regard to apples and oranges, but I will bite my tongue instead.

It’s Monday, so it’s accessory day. I got to work at 5:40.

Sled Pulls
3 x 3, straight-leg, backwards, and dead-lift

I put 105# on the sled, and it felt very, very heavy. To make matters worse, I had to turn the sled around two times for each rep, as there was a group of people kicking around a soccer ball at the far end of the parking lot. Damn it. I did get a drink between rounds, as I desperately needed the rest.

As I was completing a round of dead-lifts pulls, with straps between my legs and hands very close to my junk, Nathanael said, “It sure would be nice if you had two hooks to hook the end of the straps on.” “Or a larger penis,” I replied.


I completed these on the pull-up bar rig as the 5:30ers were doing the metcon. I completed holds of 10, 10, 10, 15, 15, & 20 seconds. My abs (of steel) were on fire.

I had the pleasure of being sandwiched between the always delightful Nicole and Inez. Inez and I shared a moment, and Michael Kelley got very, very jealous. I’m not sure, though, if he was jealous of me or jealous of Inez.

Separate intention from impact

Warning: I’m going to vent. Leave is you so choose. You can always visit another time. I won’t vent until the end of this blog, though, so feel free to continue reading until you get angry.

Jeff and I watched the women’s Olympic weightlifting finals. For the first time in my life I actually knew what the athletes were doing. Jeff excitedly said, “They’re doing snatches? I know what that is! They’re doing clean & jerks? I know what how to do that!” I couldn’t help but yell at the screen, “Lock it out! Lock it out!” I also had an opportunity to watch some of the men’s gymnastics. Again, I know so much more about gymnastics than I did just four years ago.

CrossFit. Yes, CrossFit.

A very bad stormed passed our way last night and took down a pear tree in our front yard. First thing this morning Jeff and I spent about two hours removing the tree, including sawing, throwing, heaving, cutting, clipping, sweating, and swearing. The two of us work well together. It was actually somewhat fun to accomplish this task. Fun, but exhausting…

Luke was impatiently waiting for me to finish this task so that I could then take him for his Sunday walk. As the weather was cooler than it has been, although still quite humid, he had no interest in walking, and we began our 4-mile foray with a 1-mile all out sprint. We did fartlek the next 3 miles, usually running but sometimes walking between sprints. I love to run, but Luke loves to run. It was a very fun run. Fun, but exhausting…

I immediately went to CFZ for skill building, working on snatches and, for a change of pace, clean & jerks. There were quite a few present. I only offered assistance when I thought and/or felt like it was wanted. This included wall ball coaching for Brooke and Claire and kipping pull-ups coaching for Brooke. By the way, very nice job, Claire and Brooke!

Michael Kelley observed a few lifts and recordings of lifts that I shared with him, and provided much appreciated guidance. For whatever reason, I’ve been forgetting to look straight ahead when I do snatches. That one thing, looking at a fixed target on the wall, immediately helped my performance. I showed him a recording of a 125# clean & jerk. He said, “You need to open your hips a little sooner. You need faster elbows.” I said, “If I were a coach I’d say, ‘You’re showing significant improvement, Paul! Your timing is much, much better, you’re waiting to bend your arms, your squat depth is incredible, and you’re very explosive on the jerk. You could improve by opening your hips just a little more and by getting your elbows under the bar just a little bit faster.’” He replied, “At this point in your lifting you only need negative comments.” You are so very, very wrong. Nonetheless, I appreciate the fatback. I mean feedback.

I don’t say it often (or perhaps often enough): Thank you, Michael Kelley. Now shave that damn beard, as it makes your face look that much fatter.

I treated Michael Kelley to dinner last night. He had a salad, a porterhouse steak, a lobster tail, a grilled chicken breast, green beans, and a sweet potato. I kid you not. I took the opportunity to broach a topic that I’ve been reluctant to discuss with him, specifically my concerns regarding CFZ. He’s the head coach, and I don’t want to tell him what to do. Okay, that’s not entirely true. Nonetheless, I thought he was going to react negatively to my suggestions when in fact we were in complete agreement.

Thus, going forward I have permission to state to all in attendance that only coaches may offer coaching, particularly doing metcons. Quite a few folks have taken it upon themselves to coach others. Yes, I know their intentions may be sincere, but it can lead to confusion and contradictory information for the athletes.

I’ll take yesterday as an example. During the 10:30 WOD that I coached there were a few people who had attended the earlier session who were milling about during the metcon, i.e., in the midst of the athletes. I found myself often having to walk around them. I said, as I’ve said in the past, “You my cheer, but you may not coach.”

Thus, going forward only folks who are participating in the session will be allowed to be in the area where people are working on skills or conditioning. As there is plenty of space at the entrance to the box, athletes will be asked to wait there. Again, everyone is welcome to cheer.

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However, not everyone wants to be cheered for – including yours truly. For example, when I was doing the metcon yesterday quite a few people provided encouragement. My immediate thought is always, “This isn’t a competition. It’s just a metcon. I know what I’m doing here, and I don’t need anything from anyone but perhaps the coach.” Going forward, any athlete may request that they not be provided encouragement. This would include encouragement from folks attending the same session as well as folks standing by. You merely need to shake your head “no”. Coaches, of courses, will continue to coach. Coaches, of course, will continue to provide direction and support.

I have visited quite a few CrossFit boxes and I’ve never been coached by anyone who wasn’t a certified CrossFit coach. As a coach, I’ve never offered coaching at any other box unless it was explicitly requested, e.g., a Running Clinic.

I know, I know, everyone means well. We need to separate intention from impact.


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An enjoyable, productive day at CFZ! I worked out solo from 8 to 9 – and I liked doing so.

3 x 3 sled pulls; forwards, backwards, dead-lift

My goal was to do all rounds unbroken and with fast transitions, and I did just that. For whatever reason, I find the backwards to be the most exhausting.

Maximum rep floor presses; 30# dumbbells
25 pull-aparts; blue band

I completed 30, 20, 15, & 20 presses. I wasn’t, however, able to complete more than 15 unbroken pull-aparts. Those are tough!

Jeff says that I now have a chest. I like to save I have chesticles.

Michael Kelley appeared shortly after 9. He really needs to shave. He looks like a hippie. Or a singer of country music. He then taught me how to speed bench. I had to remind him that I’m an auditory learner, and that he had to not only demonstrate but also explain what he was doing. Nonetheless, I think I’m going to enjoy speed press, and I’m anxious to try with weight on the bar.

I attended the 9:30 session coached by Michael Kelley.

Every minute on the minute for 10 minutes
3 burpee muscle-ups

We were allowed to choose our own bodyweight activity, and burpee muscle-ups were an obvious choice. I did indeed complete all 30 reps, and felt strong from start to finish.

My good friend Paul A. was struggling with muscle-ups.

Me: Paul, use your hips! This will improve your lovemaking abilities as well.
Paul A.: But you don’t use your hips!
Me: I know. I don’t have to. I merely need to remain stationary to please my partner. I just stand there. I’m that good.

I really wanted to do the conditioning consisting of running 400m with a medicine ball, wall ball shots, and pull-ups. When the WOD was posted last night I replied, “I claim the 30# medicine ball.” K. stated, “Woah woah woah. I didn’t know I needed to call dibs. I’ll rock, paper, scissors you for it.” I’m a coach, and I should defer to the needs of the athletes. I stated, “It’s yours. I’ll just do the wod solo later today or tomorrow.” And that’s what I intended to do. When K. arrived he asked if I wanted to use the 30# medicine ball, and said that he’d do the WOD at 10:30. I’m not going to get into a pissing match. You want it? You use it.

I completed a modified version of the main site WOD instead.

4 rounds for time:
30 jump and touch (jump to a target 1’ above reach; for me that was a pull-up bar)
20 dead-lifts, 185#
10 HSPUs

This was grueling. Jump and touches were relatively easy, and once I got into the swing of things after the first 5 or 6 of the first round, I completed the remaining rounds unbroken. I was nonetheless winded after each round.

I took a smart approach to dead-lifts in that I completed all rounds in reps of 10, 6, & 4, resting as long as I needed to before stepping up to the bar. I was also occasionally pouring cold water on the top of my head. Each time I finished a set, even sets of 4 reps, I felt light-headed.

Oh, and I took off my shirt about 3 minutes into the metcon.

I should’ve known better than to attempt HSPUs after doing so many muscle-ups just moments earlier. I did the first round in reps of 4, 2, 2, 1, & 1. I completed 2 the second round, and then switched to negative pushups using 45# plates. Even though I had completed 2 HSPUs, I did 10 unbroken negative pushups the second and remaining rounds.

I will admit to being exhausted from the start of this metcon. I was facing a group of folks when doing dead-lifts, including Jeff and Burt, and they had no choice but to observe. Burt’s hilarious, and I truly enjoy joking with him. As I approached the dead-lift bar for the third round, I pulled down the front of my Lululemon shorts to just above my junk. Keep in mind that I was shirtless, so all present got a good look. I don’t know what overcame me. I truly don’t.
I completed the metcon in 13:10. I was done for the day.

But wait, I wasn’t done for the day, as I coached the 10:30 session, and, like the 9:30 session, it was a full house of probably 16 or so folks – including Ashley Thompson Denton. Yes, Ashley Thompson Denton! She looked as awesome as ever, and can that girl squat.

Amy used a 14# ball for wall ball shots. Nice job, Amy! (She really wanted a mention on my blog, so there it is.)

I was most proud of Jeff (not my Jeff) for challenging himself with wall climbs for skills, Nicole for powering though the last round of pushups, and Burt for carrying a 45# plate for 400m runs. That’s hardcore.

I led the Community WOD, attended by six visitors as well as Kristin (who’s not a bitch), Nicole (who’s also not a bitch), and Jeff (who can sometimes be a bitch). It was called “Burpee Hell”, and Jeff says it was the hardest Community WOD I’ve ever led. Four rounds with a minute rest between rounds of burpees jumping on plate, burpee with plate press, and burpee box jumps. It looked fun!

Uhm, I jokingly called Kristin a bitch, and she thought I meant it. Folks, if I’m angry or upset with you, you’ll know it. Don’t believe me? Ask Michael Kelley.

I joined a group for lunch, including Ashley Thompson Denton. Yes, Ashley Thompson Denton! Michael Kelley and I, even though seated just a few feet apart, exchanged sexts. CFZ is going to begin offering an 8am session on Saturdays, and I would very much like to coach that session. I’ve stated unequivocally that I do not want to coach three session on any given day, and that I’d be happy to coach 8am, attend 9:15, and coach 10:30 am session; thus, I wouldn’t coach the Community WOD. For whatever reason, Michael Kelley doesn’t enjoy coaching the Community WOD. He suggested that I coach the 8am session, attend the 9:15 session, do accessory work, and then coach the Community WOD.

What should I do? I’ll let all of you decide.


No, Thomas and Michael Kelley, the title of this blog does not refer to the two of you. Tied-for-my-favorite-person-in-the-whole-wide-world Claire and I both wore our CrossFit Invoke shirts today! Claire was the first to notice. She smiled at me, pointed to her shirt, and exclaimed, “Twinsies!” The only reason I like Alex is because he’s dating Claire.

I think I might be allergic to facial hair. Not my own, but Michael Kelley’s. I’m congested and my throat is somewhat raw. He needs to spend less time shaving his back, sack, and crack – and chest – and more time shaving his face. He is also in desperate need of a haircut. And he listens to country music.

While warming up, Amy (I think she’s a PT) asked, “Do you think it would be okay if I showed you and Michael Kelley some mobility exercises we can use?” I replied, “You’ll have to talk with Michael Kelley, as I’m no longer going to be coaching here.”

Speaking of Michael Kelley, he saved himself from the full brunt of my wrath this morning. Here’s what happened…

I planned on doing sled pulls, and he damn well knew that. I looked for the sled, but it was nowhere to be found. I asked, “Where’s the sled, Michael Kelley?” “Oh, that’s right. Paul A. has it,” he replied. Paul A. has a friend who is a welder who is going to make some sleds for CFZ. “I’m going home, then. Better still, if I leave right now I can make it to CrossFit Durham.” “Wait, wait,” he squealed, “I have an idea.” He grabbed the lid to a large garbage can, a 35# plate, and the sled strap. He threaded the strap through the plate, placed the plate inside the upside down lid that was on the pavement, and said, “Give it a try.” I did, and it worked. You’re a genius, Michael Kelley; a fat genius, but a genius nonetheless.

Wait, I take that back. Not the part about you being fat, just the part about you being a genius. I said, “That’s fine, but I need one hundred pounds.” He placed another 35 and a 25 plate on top of the 35# plate. Uhm, that’s only 95#, Michael Kelley. I came to my own rescue and placed a 5# plate on top of the stack.

I completed 3 x 3 different types of pulls.

Straight-legged pull.

Backwards pull.

Dead-lift pull. I had to be very careful of my hand placement for this one.

Quite a few times a rock got stuck under the lid, and this made the pulls just a bit more challenging. And that’s okay.

Thanks for taking the pictures, Burt!

No matter how easy the first pull feels, all pulls get progressively more challenging. I did focus on a quick turnaround as well as fast transitions.

This is what the lid looked like when I was done.

I then completed 4 x 25 GHD sit-ups and back extensions, alternating between the two skills. Having done this just Monday, I knew what to expect. My goal was to do 3 of the 4 sets unbroken. Instead, I did all of the sets unbroken. It may have been because Michelle was nearby, and she gives off good mojo. I may have been because Michael Kelley was nearby, and the gravitational pull of his ass helped to ensure full range of motion.

Michelle noted that I was full of piss and vinegar this morning. Perhaps I was…

I was talking trash about Michael Kelley to Michelle when he said, “I don’t listen to anything you say, Paul.” I said, “Michelle, he listens to every word I say.” She nodded her head in agreement. “His ears are as big as his ass,” I commented.

As folks began to set up for the metcon, I said, “This looks fun. Too bad I’m not doing it.” Michael Kelley replied, “You’re not doing the metcon?” “No,” I said, “I haven’t had a day of rest since a week ago Wednesday. Today was just accessories.” He seemed genuinely disappointed, and I think I might know why…

I think Michael Kelley would rather I do the metcon with the group than interfere with his coaching like I did today. As I’ve stated repeatedly, I have a very difficult time not coaching when the opportunity presents itself. Thus, when the 6amers began the metcon, I almost immediately began offering direction and support. “Woody, no need to hold the kettle bell over your head, and be sure you stand up on the top of the box. Jeff, use your hips for kettle bell swings. Amy, full extension at the top of the box. Lauren, what exactly are you doing over there? John, your presses are exceedingly fast! Michelle and Claire, you are both awesome and can do no wrong!”

My coaching style is different from Michael Kelley’s in that I observe and loudly shout direction and/or support whereas he observes (when he’s not texting, biting his nails, or adjusting his junk) and more quietly and less frequently offers direction and support. That doesn’t mean my style is better than his or vice versa, we just have different styles.

During the metcon Michael Kelley approached me and said, “You should always work out at 5 so that we can coach the 6am class together.”

Not gonna happen, Michael Kelley. Not gonna happen.

I rescued a turtle.

Please don’t take off your shirt. I mean it.

Dear Readers,

I’m not quitting. I merely wanted Michael Kelley to think I was. Why, you ask? Because he told me that I could not. His exact words, via sext message, were: U can’t quit.

Michael Kelley, the only time you may use the word “quit” in my presence is when you say to me, “I wish I knew how to quit you.”




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Yes, the individual did cry last night. Michael Kelley had a long talk with her. He failed, of course, to inform me of this until today – and even then I had to ask him. It appears that she cried because she was embarrassed by her performance. She also told Michael Kelley that I pushed her too hard. I suppose that only she can determine if this were indeed the case.

I am nonetheless often tempted to quit coaching. Here are my reasons:

1. I “coach” weekdays from 8 to 5, as I am the director of a training department.
2. Coaching takes away from my own training. If I’m serious about competing, that time might be better spent on working on my own weaknesses.
3. Even when I’m not coaching others, I’m often coaching myself. I often workout by myself, and self-reliant when I’m working out with others.
4. I hate Michael Kelley.

I haven’t rested since Wednesday of last week. I did intend to rest today, but instead did tomorrow’s strength. I did, at least, arrive at the box extra early, 5:30 to be exact, to work on mobility. I began squats at 6, and had the honor of being joined by Michelle, Lauren, and Timmy.

Front Squats
Work up to 3 reps heavier than last week.

I warmed up with 95 and 135, and then lifted 3 reps @ 175, 185, and 195#. I recorded all of the sets.

As I was lifting the set @ 175# I thought, I lifted 170 as my three rep max at the Fitness Challenge held just two and a half years ago. Now it’s a warmup set. How times have changed.

The last rep @ 195# felt heavy, and it was a struggle to lift – but lift it I did! I sent the video to Michael Kelley, and his one-word response was “nice”. Thank you, Michael Kelley, for that meaningful and constructive feedback.

Uhm, that’s 88% of 1RM and 134% of bodyweight.

High Bar Back Squats
20 reps heavier than last week

I’m getting pretty close to being so done with this. I wrote “175 or 180” in my notebook, as I had lifted 175# last week. I put 180# on the bar. To ensure that I achieved proper depth, I began by doing two reps at a time. I’ve reviewed the recording quite a few times. Reps 1 & 2 were good. Reps 3 & 4 were as well. Reps 5 & 6 were questionable, although I do think I broke parallel. Reps 7 & 8 were much better, as I had rested longer before starting. The bar nonetheless remained on my back. Believe me, I was very, very tempted to rack that damn bar. It took every ounce of resolve not to. I kept telling myself, Make it to ten reps, then you’ll be halfway there. Rep 9 was good. What? A single? Indeed, and all remaining reps were singles – and all were good! After the 15th rep I thought, That’s it. That’s all you have. Rack the damn bar. Fortunately for me, Timmy began to observe. I wasn’t going to rack the bar if he was watching me. No freaking way. For my 17th rep he provided encouragement. “Come on,” he said. I replied, “Two more.”

After I completed the last rep, racked the bar, and yelled, “Dear, God!” I kneeled to the floor. Perhaps CrossFit is my religion.

Uhm, that’s 78% of 1RM and 124% of bodyweight.

Michael Kelley arrived and began to clean the bars. I practiced headstands. Today was a great day for headstands, as I felt weightless when I was vertical! I called to Michelle, “Michelle, am I vertical?” Michael Kelley, thinking he was humorous, said, “He wants to know if he’s straight. He’s not straight.” That’s as witty as he gets. Sad, but true.

As I did tomorrow’s strength today, that means I get to do sled pulls tomorrow!

I was honored to coach a group of newbies, along with Jeff, during open gym tonight. Jeff, Shin, Patrick, Angela, Jane, and Parijat. The certainly got a feel for CrossFit! They completed four, 3-min rounds of AMRAP of 3 burpees, 6 box jumps, 9 KB swings, and 12 air squats. They rested exactly sixty seconds between rounds. The women kicked asses and took names. I forgot to take a “before” picture, but I took some during and after. Enjoy!

I’m a quitter.

For a slight change of pace, today’s blog is going to focus more on my coaching inabilities. You read that correctly: inabilities. More in a moment, so keep reading…

I started my morning by coaching the 6am session, and, as has become the norm, there were many in attendance. How many? Fourteen, including two visitors from Georgia, Dan and Karyn.

We started the day with Daft Punk on Pandora and some new or not frequently done activities, including duck walks, opposing arm swings, bear crawls, and one-legged holds – with eyes closed.

We reviewed proper form for dead-lifts, and then athletes attempted to complete 3 reps heaver than last week. I saw some impressive lifts, as well as some form breaks. (I won’t mention any names, Burt. Oh, wait, I just did.) I’m enjoying getting to know and coach some of the newbies, including Timmy (of course he’s first on my list!), Chad2 (I refer to Chad A as Chad1), Amy, Will, and Heather. I remember when I was just starting out, and how important is was for the coach to provide direction and support. I promise to continue to do so – if I continue coaching.

A strength I have when coaching is keeping control of the session. Even though there were many present, the metcon went smoothly.

Except, that is, for my lack of correct instruction for the plate burpees. Having done what were called plate burpees in the past, I instructed folks to do a burpee and then jump and land on the plate. Uhm, I was immediately corrected by the regulars who evidently had done plate burpees in the past. I have no recollection of having done so. Anyhow, you do a burpee, lift and press the plate overhead, bring the plate to the floor, lather, rinse, and repeat.

I should have tendered my resignation at the moment. I would have avoided the debacle that happened later. Let’s call that my first strike. Everyone knows that when you get three strikes, you’re out.

The metcon looked tough, and I tried my best to encourage people. Nonetheless, I asked for a show of hands at the end of the day for those present who thought I should be fired. All hands were raised. (This may or may not have happened.)

As I was unable to leave work in time to make it to the start of the 5:15 session, I decided that I would do the metcon when the 5:15ers, including Jeff, started, and dead-lifts afterwards.

4 Rounds for Total Reps
1 min Plate Burpees
1 min Toes-2-Bar
1 min Double Unders
1 min rest

I used a 45# plate and substituted toes through ring for toes to bar. Why, you ask? Because my damn left shoulder is hurting, just behind that bumpy thingy. Know what I mean? Ugh.

I had no other goal than to work continuously, and I did not achieve this goal. Whaaaaaat? I. Did not. Achieve. This goal.

Jeff and Brooke (read her blog!) have become BFFs, so I didn’t want to come between them. Jeff was to Brook’s right, and I was to her left.

The first round of plate burpees began, and it seemed as if everyone was going at the same pace, for I could hear the plates being placed (or dropped) on the floor. I think I completed 14 reps the first round, and I do believe that Brooke completed almost if not as many as I did. I completed the first round of toes through rings unbroken, although I can’t recall how many. My damn jump rope was tangled, and it took me a good 15 seconds to untangle. I also once again struggled getting double unders started. Once I did, I went on and on. I completed a total of 100 reps total for the first round.

Plate burpees went smoothly for the remainder of the rounds, and I completed a minimum of 12. My mistake was dropping from the rings – when I really didn’t need to do so. It was always a struggle to grasp the swinging rings.

Oh, as an aside, Paul A. was doing “Fran” and he was directly across from me during the first two rounds of the metcon. I was as focused on him as I was on my own performance, and there were many times when I had to keep myself from coaching.

As another aside, I shall not comment upon the Kristin-Thomas interactions. You two really need to get a room, albeit a room with a GHD machine.

Double unders went reasonably well the last three rounds.

I completed 100, 90, and 92 reps for a total of 382. (I can see you smirking now, Michael Kelley. You are an ass.)

I’m frustrated. There, I said it. I lifted 225, 255, 275, and 315#. I attempted 325#, and failed. I lowered the weight to 320#, and failed again. I also realize that at this stage of my development my gains are going to be incremental and not exponential (as my gains were when I was beginning).

For whatever reason, I was compelled to offer to coach the 6:30 session metcon. I know not why. Michael Kelley, of course, quickly took me up on my offer. Imagine that.

There were at least three people present that I don’t recall coaching, although I might have done so during a Community WOD.

During the third round I said, “Write down your time and rest for a minute” – after toes to bar! Athletes were smart enough to correct me as they completed double unders.

That’s strike two.

One of the individuals that I know I haven’t coached before spent time at the beginning of the second round putting her hair up in a rubber band. “Well, then,” I thought, “that’s a waste of time.” She did the same thing at the start of the third round, and I said, “You need to spend less time fixing your hair and more time working.” Ouch. That must have hurt.

At the end of the WOD I saw her crying, and I think it’s safe to assume that it was caused by my harsh words. Let’s see, I have masters in Communication Studies with an emphasis in interpersonal communication, I’ve been a teacher/trainer for well over twenty-five years, and I’m a huge proponent of Situational Leadership. And I said, “You need to spend less time fixing your hair and more time working.”

Strike three. I’m out. Out, out, out.

I know that no one can make someone feel an emotion – it’s merely a reaction to something someone has said or done. In this particular instance what I said and did.

We’re starting Westside Barbell next week, yet I feel the overwhelming urge to take a one- or two-week hiatus from all things CrossFit.

Oh, earlier today Michael Kelley asked if I was a quitter. Uhm, I quit running races, and not just marathons but all races, about two years ago. So, yes, I’m a quitter.


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That’s “Fran” spelled backwards, in case you were wondering.

I was the first to arrive at CFZ (surprise, surprise!). When Michael Kelley arrived he asked me if I’d be willing to try out a dynamic mobility activity. I’m game, as is Michael Kelley. (For both of us, the “m” in game is silent.) The activity consisted of my assuming a plank position, throwing my legs in the air, Michael Kelley placing a large rubber band around one or the other of my legs, and then thrusting me from side to side. I liked it. I liked it a tremendous amount.

Michael Kelley should never tuck in his shirt. He was wearing red shorts (size XXL) and a black shirt, and when he pulled up the back of his shirt all that I could see was ass. Bulbous ass.

I shared a rack with Thomas today for no other reason that I could not think of a reason not to. I’ll have to try harder next time.

Work up to 4 x 5 heavier than last week.

I like homonyms. The homonym of “week” is “weak”, and that’s what I was feeling this morning. My goal was to lift 4 sets of 5 reps @ 115#. I lifted 1 set of 5 reps @ 115, struggled with the second set and only completed 4 reps, and completed the last two sets of 5 reps @ 110#. The very last lift was a struggle, but I managed to lock it out overhead.

Thrusters, 95#

There was no way that I was going to do “Fran” this morning.

Sled Pulls
3 x 50m alternating reverse sled and dead pulls, 55#

After having completed this just 12 hours prior, I knew this was going to be painful – even if the weight was 35# lighter. My goal was to complete all rounds without stopping at the turnaround and with far less rest time between rounds than last night. I did just that, and I was a sweaty, heaving mess when I finished the last round.

I think Michael Kelley is afraid that I might leave him. He was kind enough to place a floor mat, two 30# dumbbells, and a thin resistance band outside, and then to provide instructions for what I was to do next. I probably will am likely to may not may leave you and then come back and then leave you again won’t leave you, Michael Kelley.

4 rounds
Dumbbell floor presses, max reps
25 pull aparts

This, too, was challenging. I’m attempting to stay focused on form, and not concern myself with time. I completed 25 presses the first round, and 15 the remaining rounds for a total of 70 presses and 100 pull aparts.

I think I’m going to like this Westside Barbell programming…


After a wonderful long weekend of vacationing, I worked out solo at CFZ yesterday evening. For perhaps the very last time, I checked in via Facebook. Almost immediately upon doing so, Michael Kelley posted, “Get out!” I replied, “Does this mean I’m fired? If so, this has been the best vacation ever.” I haven’t yet heard a definitive response, so I’ll assume that I’ve been fired.

Overhead squats and snatches

Form, form, form. I completed 5+ reps of snatches @ 65, 70, 75, and 80#, focusing on depth of squat, as this is something I’ve struggled with in the past. I recorded all lifts, and sent quite a few to Michael Kelley for his review. He says that he didn’t receive them until well after I sent them, and he blames the air. Yes, he blames the air. When he finally sent feedback, he began by focusing on all of the things that I did wrong. I quote: Arms bent a little early. Hips were not fully open. Arms shouldn’t bend til hips are fully open and you’ve shrugged. Try a snatch pull then, followed immediately by a snatch.

Wow, way to bring a man down…

His last message was: Depth and timing are much better.

Well, thank you, Michael Kelley, as that one positive comment more than made up for all of the negative remarks! Truly it did. I mean it. I’m now motivated to work on snatch form, and I can’t wait for the opportunity to do so. I mean it. Truly I do.

As fast as possible and with correct form complete 30 reps of the following:
GHD sit-ups
Walking lunges with 40# dumbbell in each hand; front leg vertical to floor, back knee touches floor
30” box jumps; both feet landing completely on box and no resting on floor
Unbroken double unders

This was much more difficult than I thought it was going to be and much more difficult than it should have been.

I completed all reps of GHD sit-ups and walking lunges unbroken, and then things began to fall apart. For the most part, box jumps went well, although I had to redo 2 jumps as both feet did not land on box, i.e., my heels were off of the box. Uhm, double unders were a big hot mess, and it took me four attempts before I was able to complete 30 unbroken. Yes, four attempts. Worse still were pull-ups, as I completed in reps of 10, 5, 5, 5, 3, and 2. Huh? I also had to redo three pull-ups, as my chin did not go above the bar. Thus, a workout that should’ve taken me less than 6 minutes took my 7 minutes and 41 seconds to complete.


I arrived at CFZ this morning at 5:45 and was kind enough to unlock the box, open the garage door, select the Pandora playlist, and turn on the fans, including the Big Ass Fan. Michael Kelley arrived at 5:55 and the first words he said to me were not “Good morning” or “Thank you”; instead his first words were “The fan doesn’t need to be turned on this high during the morning hours.” I replied, “Good morning, Michael Kelley, and you’re welcome.” He’s the best manager ever. Best. Manager. Ev. Er.

Warm up, mobility, blah, blah, blah.

Low Bar Back Squat
Work up to 5 reps, heavier than last week

My goal was to lift 185#.

There were far too many people in attendance this morning; thus, we were asked to share a rack. I offered to do so numerous times, yet no one took me up on my offer. Perhaps they thought I wasn’t sincere?

Here are, in order, the people (of the regulars) I would be more than happy to share a rack with and the reason why:

Michelle and Claire (tied) because they are both awesome
Lauren because she’s awesomely strong
Timmy because he’s Timmy
Thomas because I can’t think of a legitimate reason not to

Here are, in order, the people I would not be more than happy to share a rack with and the reason why:

Chad, John, Burt, and Alex because they are all too damn tall
Michael Kelley because he’s fat

I lifted 5 reps @ 155, 165, and 185, although the reps at 185 didn’t happen like I planned. I know, I know, I’ve done this before…

I thought I had placed 45, 15, and 5# plates on the bar for a total of 175#. I had mistakenly left a 10# plate on the left side of the bar. I felt no difference when lifting, and was surprised when Alex, Michelle, and others noticed that the bar was leaning to my left. Thus, I lifted 185# for my last, albeit, uneven set. I called it a day.

Michelle had earlier informed me that she had “called” me for partner glute ham raises, and I was delighted that she had. Nice progress, Michelle, even from just last week! We both did 3 sets of 8 reps. I focused on not merely pushing myself off of the mat, but instead continuing to engage my firmly and incredibly cute glutes and hamstrings.

10-min AMRAP
Power clean(s), 80% of 1RM
10 V-ups
Perform 1 power clean the first round, 2 the second, 3 the third, etc.

My 1RM for power clean is 145, so I put 115# on the bar. I (along with Alex) positioned myself at the far end of the box in front of the garage door. Just before we began, Michael Kelley said, “Make sure you’ve chosen a weight for the power cleans that’s challenging. You shouldn’t be able to do even three unbroken.” I looked at him and said, “I’m going to be doing many more than three unbroken.” I was lifting 90% of 1RM. Was I to have lifted 90 or even 100%?

This was a surprisingly fun workout, even though I had done V-ups just two days ago and I’m usually not very fond of power cleans.

Just after completing three unbroken power cleans, I made eye contact with Michael Kelley and said, “That’s three.” I did the same after rounds of four, five, and six, of course saying “Four”, “Five”, and “Six”. He happened to be watching me when I was doing the round of seven – as I failed the final lift. He smiled. There are no words to describe my thoughts and feelings regarding this behavior. Oh, wait, there are: You are an asshole, Michael Kelley. To make matters worse, I failed my seventh lift of the round of eight, and once again Michael Kelley smiled. To gain pleasure from my failure speaks of your character, Michael Kelley. Is it any wonder I hate you so?

The only positive thing I can say about you is that you were kind enough to remind me to push my hips back when I’m doing power cleans. I have this vivid mental image of you in my mind when I do power cleans, and as your ass is so big it’s difficult for me to distinguish when you’re pushing your hips back or merely standing upright. Also, given how huge your ass is, is it even necessary for you to push your hips back? I’m surprised you don’t fall on your ass more frequently. With that being said, I can only imagine that it doesn’t hurt when you fall on your ass. You probably bounce. Like Tigger.

I completed 8 rounds + 7 power cleans.

Michael Kelley and I exchanged sexts this afternoon regarding the possibility that I might coach a 5am session, ending in this exchange…

MK: You’re my #2
PP: Uhm, who’s #1?
MK: Me
PP: Makes sense. You’re my #7.
MK: Nice.
PP: You’ve gone up 1 spot.

Training for the 2014 Games has begun in earnest; thus, I arrived at CFZ at 5:30 tonight for my first accessory workout. My VFF (Very Fat Friend), Michael Kelley, was kind enough to share some programming with me.

Sled Pulls
3 rounds of pulling backwards facing toward and away from sled

This is the first time I’ve used this particularly type of sled, so Michael Kelley was kind enough to demonstrate. His belly jiggles like a bowlful of jelly when he did. I sometimes feel the urge to poke his belly.

Michael Kelley determined that the distance would be to the bushes by the sidewalk and back, roughly 50m.

I put a 45# plate on the sled, pulled it, and determined it was too light. Michael Kelley said, “Add a 25 pound plate.” He said this as I was adding a 45# plate for a total of 90#. This was fun, exhausting, and exhilarating! I enjoy trying new skills, and this was particularly enjoyable.

Michael Kelley then said, “Next is core. Do four rounds of 25 GHD sit-ups and 10 wall balls, using the 30 pound slam ball. No, wait, we’re doing ‘Fran’ tomorrow, so don’t do wall balls.” “Michael Kelley,” I said, “I was planning on resting tomorrow. I’m definitely not doing ‘Fran’.” He rolled it eyes as if to say, “You’re doing ‘Fran’.” He then said, “Do four rounds of 25 GHD sit-ups and 25 GHD back extensions.” So that’s what I did.

GHD Sit-ups
GHD Back Extensions
4 rounds of 25 reps

I did the first and last rounds of sit-ups and back extensions unbroken, and the second and third rounds in reps of 25 and 10. As the rounds were not timed, I didn’t push myself, and all 200 reps were good. Not a false story.

As  I was leaving Michael Kelley said, “Westside Barbell programs slide pulls on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays, so if you’re doing them tomorrow do at 60% of today’s weight.” I replied, “Good. I can do that instead of ‘Fran’.” He rolled his eyes yet again.

Just you wait, Michael Kelley. Just you wait.

Vacay WOD


I, along with Jeff, attended the 8am session at CrossFit Coastal — if for no other reason than to see our very good friend, Kelly!

Patrick led the session, and he is a good coach — and from what I hear a very good athlete.

That being said, I didn’t much care for today’s WOD. I think I’m spoiled, for lack of a better word.

For example, I have come to embrace the pain and wonderfulness of structured mobility. Fortunately, we arrived early enough that I could work on some problem spots. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough time.

The warmup consisted of 3 rounds of 10 pushups, 15 sit-ups, and 20 air squats. Uhm, most present treated this as a metcon, i.e., they went fast and hard. I saw some very shitty form, e,g., chest not to floor for pushups, no use of Abmat sit-ups, and not breaking parallel for air squats. It’s my issue, I know. I’m too focused on form, I know. I have issues, I know. I know, I know.

I teamed with Jeff for a partner WOD, and I’ll try to explain as much as I can from what I recall. All rounds were 3 minutes with somewhat of a 1-minute rest between rounds.

For the first round, Jeff ran 200m as I completed as many 135# dead-lifts as possible, and then we switched. If I recall I completed 30+, ran 200m, completed 25+, and ran just shy of 200m. I carried Jeff 50m using downed person’s carry, and then he piggyback carried me 50m.

For the second round, I completed 15 burpees (on the pavement) as Jeff completed as many v-ups as possible. We of course then switched. I completed 30 burpees and 50+ v-ups. We all sprinted 200m. 

For the fourth round, I completed American kettle bell swings as Jeff rowed 200m. As the monitor wasn’t working, we instead rowed 20 hard strokes. I completed 40+ KB swings and rowed 2 times. We all did a 100m bear crawl.

For the last round, Jeff did 10 pull-ups as I did HSPUs, and then he did dumbbell presses as I did 10 pull-ups. I completed 30 pull-ups and about 15 HSPUs.

Most reps are estimates, as I honestly can’t recall how many of any activity I completed. I guess what I liked least about this WOD was that there wasn’t any means of scoring and/or measuring success. Were we to keep track of reps? If so, reps of what? For example were we to count burpees and v-ups or just burpees? 

I mean no disrespect to CFC! My friend Zeke is the owner, and he’s a great guy. I just didn’t much care for this particular WOD.