Triple Dipper

Much to blog about today, ladies and gentlemen and Michael Kelley.

I attended open gym at CFZ yesterday morning with the sole purpose of working on recently neglected overhead squat form. What I enjoyed even more than working on OHS was spending time with Timmy. Don’t tell Michael Kelley, but I plan on making Timmy my new CFBFF. Great job stringing together muscle-ups, Timmy! You’re welcome for the awesome coaching that I provided.

Back to me. I had planned on keeping the weight low and working only on form, but managed to achieve a new PR of 110# instead. That’s a 5# improvement. Michael Kelley observed and/or reviewed recordings to ensure that I squatted deeply enough. I failed two attempts @ 115# — and that’s okay.

Lal at Athletic Edge Sports Massage Therapy worked his magic on me yesterday. I see Lal on a monthly basis, and the man is a genius. Yes, a genius. He always asks me what my trouble spots are, and he always finds some that I wasn’t even aware of. At my request, I asked him to focus on my left shoulder. I said, “You have permission to make me cry.” While I didn’t cry, I did have an overwhelming desire to punch him in the throat. It hurt. It hurt reeeaaaaaal good.

Michael Kelley treated me to dinner last night as a way of apologizing for being such an asshole earlier in the week. Michael Kelley has very good table manners – except for the fact that he is a triple dipper. Yes, not just a double dipper, he’s a triple dipper. He would dip a chicken roll, take a bite, place the just chomped upon end into the dip once again, take another bite, and one last time place the chomped upon end into the dip. That’s just nasty, and that is why I didn’t eat any of the appetizers. I’m telling your mom, Michael Kelley.

Back to today. It was a full house, blah, blah, blah. It was nice to see Nicole H. at a 6am session! She’s a wonderful pornographer photographer, and took the posted pictures.

Today was all about Dynamic Effort. Given how heavy the lifts at times were and felt, many parts of the workout seemed like a metcon. In a show of protest, I wore my “CrossFit Zeal | Pursiuing Fitness” shirt inside-out.

We began by completing 3 x 5 kneeling jumps. And I liked them. I said, “My knees haven’t been this sore since I visited the Air Force.”

Dynamic Effort Lower

Box Squat
8×2 @ 75%

I partnered with Alex. He’s tall and good at math. I am neither of these two things. Given the negative criticism I received from Michael Kelley last week, I was reluctant to lift 175#, 75% or 1RM, and I communicated this to him. He said, “Give it a try and see how it feels. If you can’t do the box squats with necessary speed, you can take weight off of the bar.” I had him observe quite a few sets, as he’ll only coach me when requested. Because he’s fat. He confirmed that I was completing the lifts with correct form and with speed by saying, “Good job, Paul.” Uhm, that’s it, Michael Kelley?

Speed Dead-lift
8×1 @ 55% + band

Again, I was reluctant to lift 185#, as last week Michael Kelley said the bar was getting caught above my knees. I once again requested that he observe, and once again he said, “Good job, Paul.” Oh, yeah, I used the green band. (Speed dead-lifts did feel much better today than last Friday. Perhaps I should rest on Thursdays.)

Back Squat
3×8 (70-80% 1RM)

Michael Kelley began by saying, “Attempt the first set at 80%. If that weight feels too heavy or if you can’t complete the set, reduce the weight.” I put 180# on the bar. In the not so distant past, that was my 1RM. I completed the first set. While the last couple of reps felt difficult, at no time did I think I wasn’t going to be able to complete the lift. “Michael Kelley,” I asked, “should I keep the same weight?” He replied, “How did the first set feel? If you think you can do another set with that weight, do so.” “Will you watch me squat and make sure I’m squatting deeply enough?” I asked. He did, and confirmed that I was indeed squatting deeply enough. Michael Kelley,” I asked, “should I keep the same weight for the last set?” He replied, “Was the second set harder than the first set?” “Of course it was, Michael Kelley,” I replied. “Shouldn’t it be?” He said, “If you think you can do another set with that weight, do so.” And that’s what I did. I was very much out of breath when I completed the last set, and just may have seen stars and felt like I was going to pass out.

3 Rounds
15 Hang Power Cleans, 55% 1RM P. Clean
15 Burpees

As my 1RM power clean is a mere 135, I put 2, 15# plates on the bar.

My goal was to do all rounds unbroken. I won’t make you wait in suspense – I achieved this goal.

What made this metcon challenging was that I had to use a fat bar, as all of the regular bars were taken.

I felt compelled to take off my shirt, and to roll down the band of my shorts, i.e., a “cheerleader” roll.

Seventy-five pounds felt light the first round, heavy the second round, and very heavy the last round. As I love, love, love, LOVE burpees, I enjoyed this metcon immensely. I completed in 3:38, or about a minute and 14 seconds a round.

I finished the morning with 3, 60m 180# forward sled pulls. That’s the heaviest weight I’ve pulled to date. Add the weight of the sled, 10#, and it’s just 30# lighter than Michael Kelley. He’s fat. I may have already mentioned this. I completed 10, 20, and 30 GHD sit-ups after rounds 1, 2, and 3, respectively.

I then visited fellow 6amer, Chad, at Anderson Chiropractic. Chad is also a genius. After just two sessions, I see a remarkable improvement in the range of motion of my left arm. Most importantly, I’m not experiencing such excruciating pain. I can actually sleep on my left side, and I haven’t been able to do that for months! I love when he snaps my neck like a twig. And then snaps it again.

Tonight was core and nothing but core. I completed 4 x 25 banded Abmat sit-ups. For me to say that they were painful means, well, that they were painful. I completed 5 x 10 unbroken toes to bar, and then 10 weighted toes to bar. I don’t much like weighted toes to bar.

I practiced headstands while Michael Kelley tapped my feet, calves, thighs, quads, and junk while I maintained the position.  In other words, he was throwing me off balance to see if I had enough core stability to remain upright. This was quite challenging as well.

I finished the day with 3 x 10 banded GHD glute ham raises. There are no words. I just hope I’m not allergic to latex, because if I am I’ll have an interesting band around my neck.

How close?

I coached the 6am session at CFZ this morning, and there were 13 in attendance, including the Kelley twins. The last part of the warmup consisted of partner shoulder massages, and as there was an odd number of people I partnered with Thomas, i.e., I massaged his shoulders. I said, “Let me know if I’m being too rough.” “No, you’re not being too rough at all,” he replied. I think there may have been movement. Not from me, but from Thomas.

Sorry about confusing RS with Bradford press this morning, folks. Thanks for keeping me honest, Burt.

Michael Kelley and I had a rather heated exchange this afternoon of a personal nature. While I won’t provide the details of our conversation, suffice it to say that I was angrier with him than I have ever been.

It’s not often that I get to work out with Jeff, so I attended the 5:15pm session for no other reason than to be able to do so. Michael Kelley be damned.

Maximum Effort Upper
Single “Board Press” – 1RM

It was much fun partnering with Jeff! I’m very proud of his significant improvements in both strength and fitness.

An Abmat was used for the board press. My goal was to bench press 160#. Given my shoulder issues, I thought this would be a challenge. I lifted singles @ 135 and 155. I thought, “What the hell. Go for 165.” And that’s what I did. And the lift felt easy. I added another 10#, confident that it would be a struggle. Nope, 175# was quite easy as well. We were running out of time and I kinda sorta wanted to fail, so I put another 5# on the bar for a total of 180#. Even though I wasn’t speaking to him, I asked Michael Kelley to spot for what I was convinced would be a failed attempt. Nope, it was once again an easy lift, and Michael Kelley said, “That looked easy.” Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time for another lift. Nonetheless, 180# is the heaviest I’ve ever bench pressed, and is 125% of my bodyweight.

My question is this: Is a 145# man bench pressing 180# stronger than a 225# man bench pressing 225#? Your opinion matters.

RS Press 4×5

Jeff is much better at this than I am. I mistakenly did the first round @ 120#. I did the remaining rounds @ 105, 110, and 115#

Barbell Bent-over Row 4×5

I lifted 135, 155, 160, and 165#.


5 Pull-Ups
7 Dumbbell Push Press
9 Kettle Bell Swings

I completed chest to bar pull-ups, and used a 60# KB. I began with 40# dumbbells, but the first press hurt my left arm somewhat so I switched to right-armed presses using a 40# dumbbell. My goal was to complete all rounds and reps unbroken, and I came this close to doing so. Unfortunately, I was only able to complete chest to bar pull-ups in reps of 4 & 1 at the start of the 8th round. I completed 7 rounds + 5 chest to bar pull-ups and 7 push presses.

I completed 100 tricep banded pull-downs for accessory.

Speaking of this close… I often joke about quitting CFZ and/or opening my own box. I came this close to actually quitting. Yes, this close.

Pain-free snatches

After just one treatment, I can notice a significant improvement with the range of motion in my left bicep and shoulder. While not 100% healed, the pain has almost subsided, and today was the first day of lifting in as long as I can remember where I wasn’t in constant pain. Yup, it’s been that bad. Yup, I have an exceedingly high threshold for pain. Thanks for your chiropractic services, Chad!

It was a full house yet again at CFZ. I’m seriously considering attending an evening session. I’ll have to train the cats to sleep until 6. That might be an issue…

Olympic Lifting
1 Snatch Deadlift + 1 Hang Power Snatch + 3 Overhead Squats
7 sets, up to heaviest weight, rest 45 seconds

Uhm, yeah, so like I lifted in my spot; thus I couldn’t easily see the whiteboard. I distinctly remember asking Burt the number of reps, and I distinctly remember him saying, “One, two, three.” I completed one snatch dead-lift, two hang power snatches, and three (or more) overhead squats. I checked with Michael Kelley this evening, and he confirmed that he had “changed things”.

I asked Michael Kelley the heaviest weight I should attempt, and he said, “Eighty pounds.” When I asked why he said, “Because I’ve seen you comfortably overhead squat eighty pounds.” My goal, then, was to complete the series at 85#, if for no other reason that because Michael Kelley thought I couldn’t.

I completed sets at 45, 65, 70, 75, 80, and 85#. I know that’s only 6 sets. I’m very good at math.

On quite a few occasions I asked Michael Kelley to observe my form, particularly the depth of my squats. He likes looking at my ass, as it is firm yet not bulbous, you know, unlike his. I was enjoying the attention so much that I completed 7 OHS at 80#. Hey, if he’s going to look then I’m going to perform.

Snatches felt awesome today. Read that sentence again.

1 Snatch, heaviest
10 Pistols
20 Bar Hops

Michael Kelley explained the scoring. I quickly lost interest, and decided that I wouldn’t even keep track of rounds. I decided upon 75# for snatches, and placed a 45# plate on a 12” box for pistols.

Again, snatches felt awesome, and Michael Kelley even complimented me on the speed of my snatch. I do snatches fast. Read that last sentence again.

I’m also pleased with pistols, in that I did not hold the toe of extended foot, and I did not alternate legs. Lateral bar hops are just plain damn fun, and I only wish we were required to do more than just 20.

As Amy and I were going at about the same pace, I asked her how many rounds she had completed and she told me 6. That sounds about right. I was 10 lateral bar hops short of completing a final round.

Weighted Planks 5 x Max Hold (at least 30 seconds), heaviest weight possible

As I used 80# just last week, my goal today was to use 90# and hold for 60 seconds. Michael Kelley was kind enough to place 2, 45# plates on my back while looking at my ass. I held the plank for 70 seconds. When I asked Michael Kelley to place the plates on my back once again, he said, “You need to go heavier. The weight wasn’t heavy enough if you were able to hold it for more than a minute. Hold this plank for at least 30 seconds.” He added a 15# plate for a total of 105#. Timmy was directly in my line of sight. “Timmy,” I proclaimed, “I’m holding 105 pounds on my back. Are you impressed? I eventually want you to be my best friend. That’s why I’m trying to impress you.” I held the plank for 40 seconds.

We were encouraged to rest a short amount of time between planks. I informed Michael Kelley that I could probably go a little heavier, and I asked him to grab a 5# plate. He said, “No, I’m getting a twenty-five pound plate.” And that’s what he did, placing the 2, 45# plates and a 25# plate on my back. That’s 115 pounds, bitches. I once again held the plank for 40 seconds.

Michael Kelly had constantly prodded someone to sit on my back for planks, so as folks were getting ready for accessory work I asked, “Do any of you females weigh 120 pounds or less?” Krista said, “I do, and I’ll be more than happy to sit on your back.” And that’s what she did. Michael Kelley then handed her a 15# plate to hold overhead, and he took a wonderful picture. Thanks, Krista!

Michael Kelley sent me a picture of his held plank with the lovely Mandi on his back. This is our exchange:
MK: 60sec @ 120#
PP: I don’t give a f@ck. It’s not a contest — or a level playing field. U r such a copycat. Hi mandi! Ur awesome! I hate u Michael Kelley.
MK: I was just showing u
PP: Showing off.
MK: How, u did the same
PP: I know it, u know it, the world knows it. That’s different. I’m allowed to. Because I’m me.
MK: Oh. Nvm
PP: I follow a different set of rules.
MK: I’ll never seek your approval again
PP: 2nite I will plank hold YOU for 60 seconds! That’s 220#.

This was only the beginning of the exchange. I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination.

I arrived at the box this evening after the 5:15ers had already begun to work. I completed 5 x 10 unbroken toes to bar and 50 GHD sit-ups. (Great job, Nathanael!) Using green bands through opening of 35# plates, I completed 2 x 200m farmer’s walk. That. Was. Tough. My fingers were tingling when I set down the plates after the second round.

You know where this is going, right?

“Michael Kelley,” I said, “come sit on my back.” Lux was kind enough to snap a few photos.  Michael Kelley couldn’t seem to remain still, and it was quite difficult to maintain the plank position. He had been on my back for about 15 seconds when I asked him to remove his fat ass. “No,” he said, “you have to hold the plank for sixty seconds.” Again, he kept moving about, and at one point wrapped his legs around my waist and was getting pretty damn close to my junk. I held on for the full minute. “Okay, you win!” exclaimed Michael Kelley.

He then weighed himself, and informed me that he weighed only 181 lbs. That’s 125% of my bodyweight.

Kabool asked, “How much weight should we be able to hold for the plank?” Michael Kelley replied, “Your bodyweight. Unless you’re, Paul.”

Like I said, it’s no contest, Michael Kelley, for I have abs of surgical stainless steel.

I do, however, need to lose about 5 pounds…

Nathanael made me blush.

I coached at CFD yesterday, and I was like the prodigal son returning to the fold. Kill the fattened calf, people! It was wonderful seeing folks I hadn’t seen since last I coached there. It was most wonderful hugging Amy and kissing the top of her head.

I wisely chose to not work out yesterday. I did join both sessions for the warm up and cool down stretching. How’d you all like the banded yoga?

A particular exchange continues to provoke thought. As I was coaching bench press, one individual did not touch the bar to his chest, and I informed him of this. He said, “Don’t be so voyeuristic. I don’t like it.” Uhm, I’m supposed to closely observe form and provide redirection when needed. One of my pet peeves is when a coach doesn’t pay attention to the athletes. More in a moment.

I present to you today at CFZ.

Mobility Focus: HAMSTRINGS (Why shout at us, Michael Kelley?)

Partner Glute-Ham Raise 3×5-8

As much as I wanted to partner with Michelle, as there was an odd number in attendance I did my own thing, namely GHD back extensions.

ME Lower
Bent Knee Good Morning 3RM

This is the first time I can recall doing bent knee good mornings. Michael Kelley demonstrated, emphasizing pushing one’s ass back before bending over. Read that last sentence again.

I partnered with Homer’s dad, Alex, and completed sets of 95, 105, 115, and 125#. Alex observed my last set and said, “Nope. Your ass wasn’t high enough.” I was finally able to get Michael Kelley’s attention (less stretching others, more coaching me) to observe another attempt at 125#. Angela got all up in his business, though, so he didn’t even observe the first rep. When he finally did pay attention to me, he said, “You’re bending your knees too much.” Weren’t we supposed to be doing bent knee good mornings? Remember, focus on what I should be doing, not what I shouldn’t be doing.

1 ¼ Front Squat – up to heavy double

Again, this was the first time I had attempted 1 ¼ front squat. Michael Kelley once again demonstrated. Yeah, demonstrated. I completed doubles of 95, 135, 145, 155, & 165#. Michael Kelley finally observed very last set and said, “Blah, blah, blah, I’m hungry, blah, blah, I’m not fat I’m big-boned, blah, blah, you’re pushing up twice, blah, blah, blah.”

On the Minute for 10 Minutes
5 Thrusters, 60% 1RM Thruster
Max Double Unders for remainder of each minute

Score is total number of Double Unders

I had originally set up my bar beside Burt, but as he was pining for Lux (and as I feared I wouldn’t have enough room for double unders) I moved my bar and rope to “my” spot, i.e., in front of the open garage door. This was a big mistake.

Yup, left arm is still sore. As I only lifted 115 last week, I put 2, 10# plates on the end of the bar and settled on 65#.

I quickly completed the first round of thrusters, grabbed my jump rope, and struggled to get even 2 unbroken double unders. The rope kept hitting my left leg, and for the life of me I couldn’t understand why. It was only as I was doing the second set of thrusters that I realized that the fan was blowing the rope toward my left leg. Damn you, fan! I completed the remaining nine rounds of double unders outside, and was constantly worried about the asphalt destroying and possibly breaking my rope. Damn you, asphalt!

I didn’t record double unders at the end of each round, and instead kept a running count. Ha! Like I could really accurately keep a running tally in my head. My best estimate is between 205 and 225.

Unlike some people, I began thrusters at the top of each and every minute. Even 65# began to feel heavy by the last rounds, but I nonetheless did all rounds unbroken. Michael Kelley even said, “Good, Paul.” He didn’t exclaim, he merely stated.

I finally made the time to visit Anderson Chiropractic Clinic, owned and operated by my fellow CFZer, Chad Anderson, and I’m very happy that I did! I can’t speak highly enough of the service I received today. Staff members are knowledgeable and friendly, the diagnosis was thorough, and the treatment spectacular. I was there almost 2 hours. My left shoulder already feels much, much better! If you’re in need of excellent chiropractic services, visit Chad.

Michael Kelley programmed accessory work, and it was my favorite workout to date. I pulled the wonderful 90# sled 10 times, pulling forwards, backwards, and forward with the strap between my legs. Between 60m pulls I did 10, 34″ box jumps. Michael Kelley, he of little faith in my box jumping abilities, suggested that I only jump 32#. Uhm, that’s 100 box jumps, bitches.

My goals were to do all box jumps unbroken — and to not miss a box jump. I was surprised by just how challenging box jumps are after pulling the sled, although in retrospect I shouldn’t have been. I did achieve this goal.

I’m evidently very loud when I do box jumps. Don’t believe me? Ask Nathanael or Leah.


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A great day at CFZ! But, first, about last night…

Jeff finally came home from another week in Chesapeake. As exhausting as his week was, I was surprised when he informed me that he would be going to the box at 6:30. I joined him. How could I resist?

I completed 3, 30m rounds of forward sled pulls pulling 170# (not including sled) and bear crawls pulling 45#. The weight is getting heavy. I’m pleased with how quickly my body is adapting, and how stronger I’m becoming. Bear crawls are a bitch, and the palms of my hands are raw and sore. I completed 17 pull-ups after each round. Why pull-ups? Because doing pull-ups actually seems to lessen pain in left shoulder. Why 17? Because I’m tired of doing sets in multiples of 5.

As I completed this work with time to spare, I joined the group with the metcon. If you recall, I found this metcon to be exceedingly boring. Tonight was not much different, although I did complete full squat cleans instead of front squats, and used 85#, just a little more than 50% of 1RM. My legs felt very tired after sled pulls, so I didn’t feel as light on my feet as I normally do while running. I completed in 6:39.

About today… I arrived at the box at 7:30, and Michael Kelley and Britt arrived shortly thereafter. I coached the 9:15, attended the10:30 session, and coached the Community WOD.

I led the 8amers through a yoga warmup, while Michael Kelley had the 9:15ers do Tabata sit-ups/KB swings. We were instructed to work the entire 20 seconds. I nonetheless wanted to get the same number of reps each round. I completed GHD sit-ups and 60# KB swings, and completed 11 and 12 each interval, respectively.

Abs count = 44

Choice Push-Up (Ring, Parallette, Weighted, Handstand)
3 sets of max reps (stop 1-2 reps shy of complete failure)

I was commanded to do this as part of the 8am session. Michael Kelley did not ask the 9:15 group to do so. When I asked him why he hadn’t, he merely batted his eyes. His ass looks HUGE when he bats his eyes.

Dynamic Effort Lower (ß Really, Michael Kelley? Proof your damn work.)
Press 9×3 @ 65% (vary grip)

I attempted a press with a mere 85# on the bar, and it hurt. I lifted just the 45# bar instead, and it still hurt. Yup, it’s time for me to see Jay and ask him to use his tools on me and/or see a chiropractor.

Close Grip Bench Press
10 minutes to work up to heavy set of 5

I had the pleasure of working with Paul A. and Thomas, who both bench pressed much more than did I. I did sets of 5 reps of 95, 105, and 115#, and then called it a day. Yup, left shoulder hurt each and every rep.

Tabata Pull-Ups
Tabata Shoulder-to-Overhead, 50% Push Press Ring Pushups

Okay, so I loved this metcon. Loved, loved, loved. My goal was to complete exactly 10 unbroken reps for all 16 rounds, and I achieved this goal. At no point did I complete pull-ups and/or ring dips to failure. For pull-ups, I had as many as 8 (first round) and as little as 1 (last round) additional seconds of rest. For ring pushups, I had no less than 6 additional seconds of rest. Yup, I probably could’ve gone for 11 or even 12 reps each round. I completed 80 pull-ups and 80 ring pushups in 7:40.

Next up was sled pulls, and I completed 3 rounds of 30m forward, backward, and strap between the legs, pulling 90 first two rounds and 100# last round.

Between the first and seconds rounds, I joined the 10:30ers for the Tabata, and this time did only GHD sit-ups. My goal was to start at 5 and add a sit-up until I worked up to 10 reps – and then see how long I could hold on! I was able to hold on until the very end, although just barely. Thus, I completed 65 GHD sit-ups.

Abs count = 130

I completed 80# weighted plank holds after rounds 2 and 3, and held for 60 and 90 seconds, respectively. Burt was kind enough to place the plates on my back. Thanks, Burt! You’re a gentleman and a scholar and a saint and an above average person.

(I did coach Nicole C., Margaret, and Terri on bench press. And I’m allowed to do so.)

More Tabata? Why not! I joined the 10:30ers and completed 5 toes to bar each interval. I was able to complete 5 unbroken until the 13th round. And then my lats and abs just gave out. And that’s okay. I completed a total of 80 toes to bar.

Abs count = 210

Michael Kelley, always the consummate coach with keen observational skills, said, “That’s a lot of core.” As you’ve stated, Michael Kelley, I have abs of titanium. Or maybe I’ve stated that.

Michael Kelley touched my penis.

There were about 15 people who attended the Community WOD. That’s quite a crowd! In addition, there were about 10 regulars who also completed the WOD, a 12-minute AMRAP of 50m farmer’s walk, 10 dumbbell burpees, 50m farmers’ walk, 10 toes to bar. Rough, I tell you.

A group of us met for brunch at Bass Lake Ale house, and at Burt’s suggestion I had an Allagash White beer. It was perhaps the most delicious beer I had all day. Thanks, Burt! You’re a gentleman and a scholar and a saint and an alcoholic.

Reminder: Only coaches need coach others. I continue to hear folks say that someone has instructed them during the WOD, e.g., correct form for split-jerk, change foot position for burpees, etc. CrossFit is difficult enough without getting conflicting information. Let the coaches coach. If you can’t be an athlete, you’re more than welcome to be an athletic supporter.

You’ll always be my favorite, Michelle.

Blech. That’s how I felt this morning. If I didn’t have to drop off Luke at Doggie Village, I would have stayed home.

I did skill work yesterday, consisting of OHS practice and 10 x 10 GHD sit-ups and toes to bar. Exciting shit, yes?

I’m about to go off on a tangent. You have been warned.

My father was a wonderful, caring, and loving man. He could also hold a grudge like no one I’ve ever known. I can recall times when someone – even a good friend – would anger my father, and he would never speak to that person again. I didn’t understand or admire this quality.

You can argue that it is nature or nature or a combination of the two, but I seem to have inherited and/or modeled one particular behavior of my father’s: the ability to excommunicate someone. (Perhaps I may have also learned this from my Catholic upbringing.) My friend Deedie once noted that with me it is “punishment by omission”. In other words, I don’t say or do anything that could be perceived as hateful – I just don’t communicate with the person at all. I don’t acknowledge their existence, and I manage to see right through them, even in a social gathering. Others may notice and may even question me about my behavior, yet I am convinced that I have done nothing wrong. How could I, when I’m doing nothing at all? That’s awesome logic, if I do say so myself.

Okay, so even I realize that may not be the most mature behavior. I shall forever act spoiled, as I am the youngest child and I will always be my mother’s baby.

Which brings me to my next issue… As I was the youngest of six, my five older siblings would constantly tell me what to do, and would often boss me around. I was small and weak, so this was very easy to do. As an adult, I do not like being told what to do. You may ask me to do something, and I may or may not comply. However, if you tell me to do something, rest assured I will not do what you ask. Ask me to pick you up at the airport? Sure! Tell me to pick you up at the airport? No. Find your own damn ride. Ask me for a loan? Why, yes! I’ll probably not even ask for the money in return. Tell me that I must loan you money? Talk to a bail bondsperson. Ask me to apologize to you or someone else? If an apology is appropriate, I’ll gladly do so. Tell me that I must apologize to someone? Not on your f@cking life.

I’m going to once again ask for your patience here. I’m going somewhere, I promise. Burt, are you still with me? Burt?

If you tell me to do something, I will unequivocally inform you that I will not do what you request – for no other reason than you’re telling me what to do. If you insist upon continuing to tell me what to do, I will very quickly excommunicate you. It’s that simple, and for me it’s also just that easy.

I sound like an asshole, don’t I?

What I decided that I would never do is hold a grudge. I honestly believe that if you’re going to forgive someone that you should start with a clean slate of sorts. Yes, I’m saying you should not only forgive, but forget.

I can turn from hot to cold and/or from cold to hot in an instant. I realize this. I’m offering no apologies.

Whew, that was exhausting.

Today’s workout consisted of one-legged box jumps. I do not like these, and I’m not going to risk injuring myself doing them. I did hand Michael Kelley a post-it note stating the following:

Michael Kelley,
Please excuse Claire from box jumps.

Next up? Box back squats. Michael Kelley had asked me who I would partner with, and I initially said Burt. As Lux was there, I didn’t want to interfere with whatever it is that the two of them having going on. (I saw that hug, Lux.) I said, “I’ll work with Thomas.” Thomas, however, has gotten used to working with Lauren, and as I told Lauren’s husband, Tim, “I’d worry about what’s going on between Lauren and Thomas – if Thomas weren’t so gay.” Hugs, Thomas!

Thus, I had a rack and a box to myself. My hips felt incredibly tight, I felt incredibly weak, and I was completely disinterested. I put 170# on the bar, Michael Kelley observed, confirmed that my legs were vertical, but said that I wasn’t going fast enough. He said, “Take the two and a half pound plates off of the bar.” So I took off the 2.5, 5, and 10# plates and completed about a dozen fast box back squats with just 135#. Take that, Michael Kelley!

Speed dead-lifts were next. I used 185#, and was once again informed that I wasn’t going fast enough. Michael Kelley said, “It’s getting stuck above your knees.” When I asked him to demonstrate, he said he wasn’t warmed up enough to do so. Huh? Really? Piss poor excuse, Michael Kelley.

Conditioning consisted of 5 rounds for time of full squat cleans and running 200m. I was given permission to substitute 135# front squats for squat cleans, and that’s what I did.

This metcon was so boring that I almost fell asleep during the very first round. I completed in 6:19.

I got my keys to CrossFit Durham from Dave today, and I’m looking forward to coaching there Sundays at 10 & 11! Will I see you there? Will I? Will I?

Thanks for the hug, Dave! I must really like you.


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I had ever intention of going for a 1RM push press early this morning, and arrived at the box at 5am in order to do so. Alas, I am experiencing pain in my left shoulder and bicep once again. I knew this almost immediately, as I was unable to push press the 45# bar without experiencing excruciating pain. I was able to manage 3 x 8 Bradford presses using only the 45# bar. Damn it.

I spent 45 minutes stretching and working on mobility.

I coached the 6amers, and most, if not all, achieved 1RMs. Nice job! That is all.

As I was once again picking up Luke from Doggie Village, I joined an evening session, and was one of five in attendance, including Leah, Heather, Sarah, and Cheri – and the only male. Michael Kelley was kind enough to work on my left arm and bicep, and (while painful) it did help. Nonetheless, my left arm still hurt, and I suggested that I do front squats instead. Michael Kelley would have none of that. Damn it, Michael Kelley! Thus, I set up a bar on the rack, and got to work. I set a realistic goal of push pressing my body weight, and that was all that I was able to achieve. I attempted 155# two times, and failed on both attempts. My left arm hurt.

I completed 3 x 15 each arm of bent-over dumbbell rows. I used a 30# dumbbell this first round, but as that felt relatively easy, I used a 45# dumbbell for the remaining rounds. Uhm, activate your shoulder before rowing, folks. I don’t want to have to tell you again.

Today’s metcon was a half a “Nate.” Lux, always the comedian, had early asked, “A four?” Get it? Half a Nate?

I attempted a handstand pushup, and it hurt. I grabbed the rings to attempt a muscle-up, and it hurt. I positioned the rings to do ring pushups, attempted a few, and it didn’t hurt.

Michael Kelley and I discussed substitutions, and I said, “I’m thinking heavy dead-lifts, maybe 275 pounds, ring pushups, and heavy kettle bell swings.” He asked, “How about wall crawls? Did they hurt when we did earlier during warmup?” “No, no pain there,” I replied. Michael Kelley said, “Do two wall crawls, four heavy dead-lifts, and eight heavy kettle bell swings.” “Okay,” I said, “I’ll use the seventy-pound kettle bell, and do Russian swings do I don’t hurt my arm.”

I put 225# on the bar, and did one lift. I thought, “This feels plenty heavy enough.” Michael Kelley walked by and said, “I thought you were going to do heavy dead-lifts? Didn’t you say 275?” Damn it, Michael Kelley! I added 2, 25# plates to the ends of the bar.

10-minute AMRAP
2 wall crawls
4 dead-lifts, 275#
8 Russian kettle bell swings, 70#

My goals were to complete 6 rounds and to do all activities unbroken. Guess what? I did not achieve this goal, although I came pretty damn close…

I completed all wall crawls with full range of motion, with my chest touching the wall, and walking both down and up the wall, i.e., not flopping off of the wall.

That first dead-lift is always tough, and today was no exception. I was delighted that I completed all rounds unbroken, as I was not at all confident that I would be able to do so. As I said repeatedly during the metcon, “Two hundred and seventy-five pounds is f@cking heavy!” For perspective, 275# is 190% of my bodyweight and 82% of 1RM. After the metcon Michael Kelley said, “I was getting ready to tell you to do one dead-lift at a time.” Why, Michael Kelley, why?

Uhm, the kettle bell swings were the most challenging part of the metcon? Why, yes! I completed all but the last round unbroken. Unfortunately, I didn’t chalk my hands, and I lost my grip after 7 reps. Damn it, Michael Kelley!

I completed 6 rounds – plus 1 wall crawl! Yup, I far surpassed my goal.

I’m Not Ready To Make Nice

I discovered that one acceptable definition of “quagmire” is “anything soft or flabby”.

Quagmire led this morning’s session, and the focus was on, in a word, form. And I liked it. I liked it real good.

Olympic Lifting
1 Power Snatch every 30 seconds x 5 minutes
1 Clean & Jerk every 30 seconds x 5 minutes
Use 50-60% of your max at each movement.

I feel much more confident with snatches and clean & jerks after attending the recent Olympic Lifting seminar. I lifted 75 for snatches and 85# for clean & jerks. The bar is no longer traveling away from my upper body, and is staying frighteningly close to my personage. I might have bruises on my ‘tween. Quagmire observed a clean & jerk and said, “Good. It’s amazing how that one cue, toe instead of heel, makes such a difference.” Remember that for future coaching, Quagmire.

Skill Conditioning
10 Pistols, alternating legs
30 Double Unders (Advanced – Unbroken)

Something amazing happened. Are you ready? Amy was attempting to find a jump rope that was sized correctly, and I said, “Here, Amy, you can borrow mine.” I don’t normally like people using my shit, and I seldom allow – let alone offer for – someone to use my shit. I must like you, Amy. Don’t tell Michelle.

I didn’t want to do, nor did I need to do, a metcon, so I instead practiced pistols for 8 minutes. I began with 2, 45# plates on the 8” box, then decreased to a 45 & 15, then 45, then just 15# plate. I also did not hold a toe for last 4 minutes. Pistols whip me. Ha, ha! I’m so funny.

Sled and Core
With a partner, work back and forth for 15 minutes

I chose to partner with myself. I didn’t mind pulling that damn sled nearly as much, as I was only pulling 90#. I pulled forwards, backwards, and with straps between my shapely legs, and used a 35# plate and completed 4 rounds of 20 – each side – Russian twists. I used a 45#, however, for last 10 reps. Because I could.


I’m blogging about yesterday’s Olympic weightlifting seminar as well as today’s exploits at CFZ. Why? Because I can. Today I wore a shirt with horizontal stripes. Why? Because I can.

Pete Haas from CrossFit Downtown Winston led yesterday’s seminar, focusing on three lifts: snatch, clean, and clean & jerk. Pete began with a brief overview of the four components of a lift: positioning, movement, speed, and load.

What I very much liked about the seminar was the hands-on approach, and Pete made sure to observe everyone and make corrections as needed. I also like that he focused on form – and not on lifting heavy shit. (I intentionally separated myself from those oozing testosterone, sweat, and other bodily fluids. You know who you are.) I partnered with Kevin. Britt was to my left, Will to my right, and Michael Kelley directly across from me.

I learned far too much to include in this blog. And I don’t care to do so, anyhow. I’ll merely include the most important things I learned.

1. When positioning myself for the snatch, don’t bring the bar to my legs. Instead, position the bar over my mid-foot, squat, and when my shins touch the bar that means I’m at about the right position to start the lift.

2. I squat too low at the start of the snatch. Whaaaaat? In the past I’ve not been able to squat low enough.

3. When snatching, when the bar hits my ‘tween that’s my cue to bend my arms. Not that ‘tween, folks. The bar hits below my belly button and above my junk; thus, ‘tween my junk and my belly button.

4. While my snatch grip remains very wide, my clean grip is wider than what I’ve used in the past.

5. It’s more than okay to use just two fingers to hold the bar when front squatting; however, I need to use three fingers. If I only use two fingers, I can’t “pop” the bar at the top of the front squat to reposition my hands for jerk. It appears that I have inflexible ring and pinky fingers, particularly the left-hand ring and pinky fingers.

5. At the finish of the clean & jerk, instead of focusing on pushing my back heel out I should focus instead on turning the toes of my back foot inward. It sounds like the same thing, but it’s not.

I found it interesting that most people split by putting the opposite foot of their dominant hand forward, e.g., left foot forward for right-handed people. As I’m amphibious, I should expect to be an exception. I write with my right hand (most of the time), draw and mouse click with my left hand, wear my watch on my right arm, and do something else equally well with either hand. I place my right foot forward when I split-jerk.

I am seriously contemplating having a one-on-one Olympic weightlifting session with Pete. Should I? Should I? Well, should I?

Most folks then met at Rudino’s to celebrate Nathanael’s 29th birthday. I bought him two beers and gave him a hug. I honestly don’t know what’s come over me, but I have a (dare I say) need to hug people that I genuinely like/love. I think/feel that Nathanael and Johanna (his wife) are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Michael Kelley is fat.

For this morning’s warmup, we were given the choice of doing 5 minutes of Oly lifting, double unders, or box jumps. I chose seated box jumps, jumping from a 12” to a 30” box. My hips felt incredibly tight. In all honesty, I would’ve preferred another 5 minutes working on mobility.

Maximum Effort Lower
Box Squat – 20 minutes to hit a 1RM

Burt left me for another man, namely Lux, and I felt all empty inside. Then I felt jubilation, as this meant I got to have my own damn rack and go at my own damn pace. After warming up, I lifted singles at 155, 175, 195, and 205#. My first attempt at 205 was performed with improper range of motion, according to Michael Kelley, i.e., my shins weren’t vertical to the floor. He allowed me to attempt again, and said, “Better.” I’ll take it.

We were told to aim for 80 to 90% of HBBS or LBBS 1RM and 205# is just about 85% of that – so I’m content. Not ecstatic, but content.

Michael Kelley and I have this thing that occurs when I’m attempting lifts close to or at my maximum. He’ll spot me, and as he’s doing so I sense his gravitational pull presence. I fear that he won’t let me complete the lift, so as I’m rising I’ll repeatedly say, “I got it.” Today it sounded like this. “IgotitIgotitIgotitIgotitIgotitIgotit.” He said, “I knew you had it.” Well, of course you did, Michael Kelley, for I repeatedly told you so. Thanks for paying attention.

Thruster – 7 minutes to hit a heavy single (NOT max)

My upper body is trashed, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to go very heavy. I also didn’t know that no rest was allowed until 5 minutes into the activity – when Michael Kelley informed us so. Good coaching, Michael Kelley. No, I mean it. Srsly. I thrusted 95, 105, and 115#. I could’ve gone heavier but had no desire or time left to do so.

20 BB Reverse Lunges (Front Rack Position), 50% of Thruster single
10 Grasshoppers

Wow, this was a tremendously challenging and fun metcon! I can’t recall ever doing barbell reverse lunges, so I liked the change of pace. Even though 50% of 115 is 57.5, I rounded up to 65#, if for no other reason than to be able to drop the bar.

As this was just a 7-minute metcon, my goal was to complete all activities unbroken, and I did so. Just barely, but I did.

I was the first to complete the reverse lunges, but noticed that a few others started the second round of lunges before I did. I thought, “What the f@ck just happened? Oh, silly Paul, you forgot to do the crickets quickly!” Yes, even when I talk to myself I swear and I mistakenly refer to “grasshoppers” as “crickets”.

I completed 5 rounds + 14 barbell reverse lunges.

I finished the morning by completing 5 x 10 banded kettle bell swings using the green band. I did two rounds using the 35# kettle bell, but Michael Kelley made me use a 44# kettle bell for the remaining rounds. Michael Kelley is mean.

I completed sled pulls this evening. Yes, I pulled that damn sled yet again. Each round was 60m pulling forward and then pulling dead-lift, and I pulled 150/135, 155/140, and 160/145#, respectively. Leah requested that the back door be opened for no other reason than to see my facial expressions; wickedly painful facial expressions. Next up were 150 banded hamstring raises. I don’t like these very much. I completed the day with a 2K row in 7:55 averaging 25 strokes per minute.

On a completely unrelated topic, this season of “Breaking Bad” is spectacular.

It makes my lady parts tingle.

Reminder that titles of blogs are contextual.

Today was an exhausting, rewarding, and (dare I say) fun day at CrossFit Zeal.

I do worry, however, that I haven’t hated Michael Kelley in what seems like forever. I suppose I’ll have to change boxes or open my own box if I ever want him to never speak to me again. It’s tempting.

I led the 8 and attended the 9:15 session. I arrived at 7:30 if for no other reason to work on my own mobility before I worked out. And I’m glad I did, as I led the warm up for both sessions. You’re welcome, Michael Kelley.

The warm up consisted of 5 somersaults, 400m run holding light plates, reverse flies, lateral raises, running drills, and 3 minutes spent upside down. A good time was had by most. Since, as I mentioned yesterday, I’m self-centered and egotistical, I’ll focus only on my own performance.

I did at least put athletes’ names on the board, and at the top of the list was Mike Hunt.

Deload Effort Upper
Speed Bench, 9×3 @ 60% (3×3 at wide, neutral, and close grip), 30-45 sec rest

I had the good fortune of partnering with The Other Paul, who pressed 115 while I pressed 105#. My shoulder was nagging me a bit, but I’ve learned to deal with the slight pain.

Choose 1:
5×5 Pull-Ups (weighted if necessary)
5×5 Muscle-Ups
5×5 Kettlebell or Dumbbell Single Arm Row

Uhm, like I wasn’t going to choose muscle-ups? I successfully completed 5 rounds of 5 muscle-ups, and I look good doing so.

On The Minute for 12 Minutes
10 Push Press (60-70% 1RM)
5 Burpees
The push press should be unbroken, but heavy enough so that the last 1-2 reps of each round are difficult. Score is total completed rounds (max of 12).

Having coached this earlier, I knew what to expect. Only Amy achieved 12 rounds, and I’m confident that she could have gone heavier and still completed all rounds.

I set up my bar in my usual space, i.e., in front of the open garage door so that no one could get all up in my business. This blog posted on Again Faster (that I posted on Facebook) has generated some interesting conversations, including one with The Other Paul, who was positioned 90 degrees to my right – so that he could watch me out of the corner of his eye. Don’t deny it, Paul. I know it, you know it, Heather knows it, and Michael Kelley is fat.

I settled on 75#, 60% of 1RM. I did not want to go heavier for fear of reinjuring my left shoulder.

My goal was to compete only with myself and to ignore others as much as I could. This was somewhat difficult to do, as I could always hear the sound of barbells dropping to the floor, and I could often sense The Other Paul looking in my direction. I was confident that I could complete 10 push presses and 5 burpees within 1 minute, so that wasn’t a goal. Instead, I told myself that if I couldn’t do 10 unbroken push presses that I was allowed to rest a round – regardless of how much time was left in that round.

The first 6 or so rounds were relatively easy, and Michael Kelley actually complimented me on the speed of the push presses, although he did remind me to not jump. By the 7th or 8th round, that barbell started to feel very heavy, so much so that it caused me to rip off my shirt. I was still completing rounds with no less than 25 seconds to recover. I was still doing push presses and burpess unbroken as well, but I was getting rather winded.

I had quite a conversation with myself during the 10th round. It went something like this: Shit, 75 pounds feels heavy. Just try to get through this round. One, two, three, four, five, six – I don’t know if I can do another rep. Seven, eight – you can stop if you want to. Nine, and ten. My god, that was miserable. Oh, wait, I’ve got five burpees to do now. Just rest the next round. You’re only competing with yourself, so it doesn’t matter how many rounds you do – or do not – complete. It’s getting quite slippery. One, two, three. Perhaps I shouldn’t have taken off my shirt. I like that even when I’m talking to myself I don’t end a sentence with a preposition. Four, and five. Don’t do the next round. Rest, and finish strong. Wait, did Michael Kelley just say, “Thirty seconds”? You don’t have to do the next round. I’m thirsty. Michael Kelley has razor stubble on his chest. That’s weird. My mid-thigh looks like I shaved, but that’s from doing cleans. Shit, he’s counting down from five. That’s okay, don’t do the next round. Shit, I told myself that I could only rest if I didn’t complete a round unbroken, and I did complete that last round unbroken. If the only person I’m competing with is myself, then I’d better pick up the damn bar and make it through another round.

And that’s what I did. I did not, however, complete the push presses unbroken, and dropped the bar after 7 reps. I nonetheless completed the round with about 20 seconds left.

And then I heard these words come out of Michael Kelley’s mouth: “I’m not fat; I’m big- boned! Everyone has to do the last round. You should all be able to finish within the minute.”

Damn it. That meant I had to complete the final round. I did so, but started at 5 or so seconds after the top of the minute. I once again completed push presses in reps of 7 and 3. I was also, I believe, one of the last to complete that round, although I did so with 10 seconds to spare.

I enjoyed this metcon tremendously, if for no other reason than it was very challenging, and I exceeded my expectations.

I’m not sure, however, if my score is 10 or 12, as I did not complete the last 2 rounds unbroken. Michael Kelley? Michael Kelley? You can sext me the answer.

Burnout Accessory
Seated Band Rows 100 reps
Seated Upright Row 3×12-15

Uhm, I completed 100 reps of both activities. Stupid Michael Kelley.

As the 10:30ers worked out, I continued with accessory work. That could only mean one thing: that damn sled. Michael Kelley programmed today’s workout, and he’s as handsome as he is fat. That’s pretty damn handsome!

3 x 400m pulling the damn sled forward, 70# + sled
3 x 60m sprints pulling the damn sled backwards, 45# + sled
15 GHD sit-ups between rounds

Burt, The Other Paul, and Heather were kind enough to “join” me for the first 400m pull. I left them in my dust. True story. M goals were to complete 400m pulls with just a brief rest at the turnaround, to truly sprint the backward pulls, and to complete all rounds of GHD sit-ups.

I completed this grueling workout with just 5 minutes to spare before the start of the Community WOD. There were 15 or more in attendance, including quite a few regular as well as the lovely, Lululemon-wearing Christine! As Christine is a yogi, I included held planks in the WOD: 12-minute AMRAP of 5 pull-ups, 10 box jumps/KB swings (alternate rounds) and a 30-second plank hold. It appears that this was a popular workout, and quite a few sang my praises. No need to, folks, as I’m well aware of my awesomeness. I remind myself of it daily.

I said many funny things today, none of which I’m going to share. I’ve become aware that I am a member of CrossFit Zeal for entertainment purposes only.

I drank a beer. And it was good.