2nd Annual “Xander” Tribute


I can’t believe more than a year has passed since I lost Xander. Today was quite an emotional day, but fortunately I was surrounded by many, many friends who helped both keep me distracted and help ease my pain.

Today was the 2nd Annual Xander Tribute WOD held at CrossFit Durham and with all proceeds being donated to the Animal Protection Society of Durham. A HUGE Thank You to Dave Rubin, owner and proprietor of CFD, for once again hosting the event. A HUGE Thank You to CFDers, Zealots, and friends, including Kelly, Patti, Doug, Karen, Christine, Jamie, and Jay and Josh. I estimate that 70+ athletes attended one of the WODs, and many went out of their way to do so. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Like last year, I did 6 rounds of the WOD solo, modifying slightly. Also like last year, I’m glad no one was around, as I was an absolute wreck, particularly while running. For those of you who know me, the reasons are obvious.

Complete 6 rounds of 13 reps of the following (except running) as fast as possible:
boX jumps, 24”
wAll balls, 10” wall ball & 10’ target
kettle bell swiNgs 52#
Dead-lifts, 170#
Run 400m

I completed the WOD in 44:47 last year. Like last year, I ran 1200m at the end to make sure that I ran 2 miles total. I set my goal to complete burpees unbroken and to complete the WOD in less than 44 minutes. I knew it was going to be tough, and it was.

I used the first round as a warm up, and this, in retrospect, was a mistake, as I was unable to complete wall ball shots unbroken. I did, however, complete remaining rounds unbroken.

I completed all rounds of box jumps, kettle bell swings, and burpees unbroken, but struggled with dead-lifts. I didn’t take any more than 3 rounds per round to complete, and completed last round in reps of 7 & 6.

I was very tempted to not do the last round of burpees unbroken. I had to count down from 3 to prevent myself from stopping. I was that spent by that time.

I completed rounds between 5:45 and 6:30, and completed the entire WOD in 40:12. I thought of Xander the entire time, and doing so often brought me to tears.

I then led sessions at 10, 11, and noon. I am thankful that all athletes listened to and followed directions, that most scaled appropriately, and that all finished within the 45-minute time cap. I led each group through a run-through of the WOD including proper form, gave them 5 minutes to strategize, and started the WOD at 10 minutes past the hour.

In teams of 2 alternating activities EXCEPT running

8 rounds of 13 reps of the following as fast as possible:
boX jumps (24/20)
wAll ball shots (20/14; 10′/9′ target)
sNatch (53/35 KB; r-hand rounds 1, 2, 5, & 6; l-hand rounds 3, 4, 7, & 8)
Dead-lift (170/130)
Run 200m (both teammates run and must start and finish ALL rounds of 200m together)

Why 13 reps? Because he lived 13 years.
Why 170 and 130 lb for dead-lift? Because I weighed 170 lb before we started running together and 130 (actually 129) lb when I joined CFD.
Why 200m? Because teams would run a combined distance of 2 miles, the minimum distance Xander and I walked/ran every day.

Kirk and Josh from CrossFit Brier Creek posted the fastest time of 27:24. Amazing. Our good friend, Kelly, traveled from Wilmington to once again participate this year, and she and Jeff completed the WOD Rx. Impressive!

Other observations:

  • Amy and Sandra were my favorite team for no other reason than they are 2 of my favorite people.
  • Claire and Alex were the most consistent from start to finish.
  • Lauren and Tim were the nerdiest cutest couple.
  • Paul A. and Jeff were the nicest, as they alternated rounds with Erica during the noon session. Very gentlemanly!
  • Paul K. and Nick were kind enough to attend a weekend session, be in a team of 3, and let Paul’s son, Whirlwind, run with them!
  • Mandi partnered with Paul A. For this she is a saint.
  • Nathanael completed dead-lifts with the most ease.
  • Christine and Chad as well as Kristin and Krista were the most supportive of each other during the WOD. Imagine that!
  • Nicole and Johanna looked the best from start to finish. Not in terms of form, they just looked good.
  • Very few of last year’s CFD participants did the WOD this year. Why not?
  • Leah, Heather, Kabool, Britt, and Michael Kelley, while not participating as they are all recovering from yesterday’s competition, were nonetheless there to offer support.
  • Leah and Jeff took some great pictures!
  • Dave has lost some weight.
  • Michael Kelley is my best friend.

I’m hoping that with online donations we’ll match last year’s donation of 2K!

75 Burpee Pull-ups

For whatever reason, there were only 5 and 6 athletes who attended the 9:15 and 10:30 sessions, respectively, at CFZ. And I liked it. Quite a few are at a competition in Winston-Salem, it’s a rainy day, and the metcon was 75 burpee pull-ups. I suppose it isn’t any wonder, then, that so few people attended. And I liked it.

One of the people competing is my BFF, Michael Kelley. I sent him the following email message early this morning:

Subject:  Good Luck!

Don’t embarrass yourself. Or me. I don’t have enough time to look for a new BFF.


I arrived before 8 and did the WOD solo. And I liked it.

Dynamic Effort Bench Press
3, 3, 3 at 75% of Floor 1RM

This is the same weight as last week, but the very first rep was sloooow and felt heavy. Thus, I decreased the weight from 135 to 115, and focused on form and speed. And it was good.

RS Press
Work up to 5 heavy reps

I did sets @ 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, and 110. Yes, I focused on form; thus the high number of reps.

I seriously considered not doing today’s conditioning, as 75 burpee pull-ups provide little challenge. I decided instead to challenge myself, so I completed dead-hang pull-ups.

I had one SMART goal: to complete within 10 minutes.

It’s somewhat difficult to complete a metcon like this by myself, as I’m completely dependent upon myself for direction and support.


75 burpee pull-ups

Here’s what transpired…

I completed burpee pull-ups in reps of 15 & 10, and then all remaining burpee pull-ups in reps of 5. All reps were completed with full range of motion, i.e., chest to the floor for burpees and dead-hang pull-ups with chin well above the bar. No chicken necking for me! I also rested no longer than 5 seconds between rounds. Most importantly, and no time did I feel like I was reaching muscle failure.

Completing dead-hang pull-ups certainly added an extra challenge!

Time = 9:47. Yes, I achieved my goal. Are you the least bit surprised? You shouldn’t be.

I finished the day with 3 x 12, 135# barbell bent-over rows.

I had much fun coaching today, and was pleased to see people push themselves.

Just before the 10:30 session metcon was to begin, Jeff asked, “How many pull-ups and burpees do we do if we can’t do all of the 75 burpee pull-ups?” I didn’t hesitate a moment before responding, “You’re either in or you’re out. You’re either doing burpee pull-ups or you’re doing burpees and pull-ups.” He looked surprised, as did Kristin. I said, “It’s similar to what I say about double unders. What’s the substitute for double unders? Double unders.” I think it was Kristin who asked, “How long do we have, then?” I thought for a moment, considered how long it took me, and added 5 minutes. “Fifteen minutes. If you’re doing burpees pull-ups, do as many as you can in 15 minutes.”

It appears that this was all of the motivation that both Jeff and Kristin needed, as they both finished well within the 15-minute time cap. Kevin, who just last week did his first set of unassisted pull-ups, completed 65 burpee pull-ups in 15 minutes. Awesome job all of you — and that includes Craig, Margie, and Colleen from the 10:30 group and Tom and John (who completed Rx) as well as Nicole and Rochelle from the 9:15 session.

Today’s Community WOD was also challenging.

12-minute AMRepsAP
OTM 5 burpees
Max reps kb swings
Max reps box jumps
Max reps toes to bar or knees to elbows

That’s 65 burpees plus as many reps of the remaining activities as possible. Fun times!

She’s my – wait, bitch! | Kate and The Coach

My heart is heavy. I miss Xander very, very much.

Fortunately, coaching the 6amers at CFZ provided a welcome distraction. There were 15 in attendance, including the one and only Michelle – who was sporting a new ‘do!

For a change of pace, I led the group through a warm up consisting wall stretches and Tabata squats with a surprise.

While coaching high bar back squat, it appeared to me as if Michelle were working alone, and I asked her if that was indeed the case. She replied, “I’m working with Danielle. She’s my weight bitch.” Just then Danielle arrived carrying plates.

Carefully read the title of this blog.

Speaking of Danielle, I was very pleased with her performance during the metcon, as I challenged her to clean into a squat instead of completing a power clean and then squatting – and she did! I was the least pleased with a certain someone for spending far too much time looking at the bar, wall ball, shoe laces, fingernails, etc., as well as far too much time engaged in negative self-talk. It’s not an issue of endurance; it’s an issue of will and determination.

While I don’t enjoy attending a crowded session, I do enjoy coaching a large group of people, as it’s a true test of control and time management, both of which I have in spades. Yes? Yes.

Coaching 6am CFZers

As I’m taking a half day off from work, I attended the 7:15 session led by my BFF and attended by just Jeff, Travis, and yours truly. Uhm, we each had our own rack. Hell, we could have each had two or three racks each.

My BFF helped lighten my heart. He surprised me by giving me gifts — a plethora of low-fat, organic chocolate milk and a bag of dried blueberries! He’s very thoughtful. And quite handsome, strong, and somewhat smart.

Gift from my BFF

Burt also helped lighten my heart by giving me a big, sweaty hug. It’s no wonder why he’s one of my favorites. True story.

Dynamic Effort Lower
Low Bar Back Squat, 8×2 @ 75%, rest no more than 60 seconds
I squatted 165#. The weight is starting to feel heavy. Given that it’s 114% of my bodyweight, I suppose it should. Yes? Yes.

Deficit Deadlift, 8×1 @ 50% + Band, rest 30 seconds
I used a 4”+ deficit (I was wearing my weightlifting shoes) and lifted 165# with green band.

Now comes the fun part.

5 Rounds
10 Cleans, 80# (50% of 1RM)
10 Wall Ball, 20# & 10’ target

I continued to wear my weightlifting shoes. I set up my bar with my back to the clock and with Jeff to my right and Travis to my left.

Athletes, mathlete, and Thomas, humor me if you will. I encourage each and every one of you to set SMART goals before every workout, particularly before the metcon. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound or Trackable. Your goal should never be to “just finish”. For example, my goal today was to complete all rounds of wall ball shots unbroken, to complete first round of cleans without releasing the bar, and to complete remaining rounds of cleans with no more than a 2-second pause between reps, i.e., enough time to reposition and re-grasp the bar. Goals did not include breaking parallel, as I do this consistently – and it’s only a squat clean if you do so. My goal was not to squat below parallel and hit the 10’ target for wall ball shots, as that’s what’s required. See where I’m going with this? A goal was to complete the metcon in less than 10 minutes, as there was a 15-minute time cap.

Specific? Yes. Measurable? Yes. Attainable? Yes. If I had cleaned 135 instead of 80# the goal would likely have not been attainable to reach within 10 minutes. Realistic? For me, of course! Time-bound? Most definitely.

Start making SMART goals. Don’t be, well, not smart.

I surpassed my goals in that not only did I complete the first round of cleans without releasing the bar but I also completed the first 5 reps of the 2nd round without releasing the bar. I then heard Michael Kelley encourage us to drop the bar when we finished the clean. As he’s the Head Coach and all, I followed his direction.

Wall ball shots were a welcome relief from cleans, and I didn’t have a single air ball and/or miss of the target. Yes, rounds of wall ball shots were done unbroken.

I completed the metcon in 8:52; thus I had 1:08 to spare. I was a sweaty, heaving mess, and most definitely exerted much effort. Jeff finished shortly after I did. Nice work, Jeffy!

As I was leaving, I commented that it odd that my power clean and push press 1RMs or 155 are the same. Michael Kelley asked, “You can push press 150 pounds?” Uhm, yes. Pay attention, please.

I was a guest coach at CrossFit Invoke this evening, leading the 5:30 and 6:30pm sessions. So that I could get a lay of the land, I attended the 4:30pm session led by my exceedingly tall and good friend, Mitch. CrossFit Invoke has moved to a new location on South Saunders Street, and the box is huge! What a dramatic change!


While I generally don’t like partner WODs, I did enjoy participating and then coaching the WOD this evening — if for no other reason than it included partner carries, bear crawls, rowing, and running. I also had the pleasure of partnering with Katherine. As she is 135 and I am 145 pounds, we were comparable. She certainly had no difficulty carrying me on her shoulder!

In Teams of 2 complete 8 rounds:
Partner A bear crawls to the end of the box and back while Partner B rows 200m
Both partners run 200m together
Partner A carries Partner B to the end of the box and back
Partners switch bear crawling, rowing, and carrying, but always run together

Katherine and I completed in 24:24. She wrote Kat and The Coach 24:24 on the whiteboard. Ha!

I was once again a sweaty mess, so I quickly changed shirts and got ready to coach. I led both sessions through warm up and mobility. I then ran with athletes for 400m and gave direction on pose running, rowed 200m+ and gave direction on rowing, demonstrated bear crawls, and finished with demonstrating partner carry. In both sessions I carried a 200# male. Effortlessly, I might add.

Both sessions had exactly 10 attendees, and as Invoke has 5 rowers this worked perfectly!

Thank you, Mitch, for inviting me to coach, and thank you, athletes, for making me feel so welcome! I’d be more than happy to coach at Invoke again! (It was great seeing you in particular, Jillian!)

CFI Whiteboard

You dropped the ball, but then recovered it.

Yup, I’m still in a funk. It was difficult getting my ass out of bed this morning. I knew I had to do so as Thursday, after all, is Back Lever Club Day!

I was the only member of The Club who attended. I arrived at 5:45 and the only other person who made an appearance was Michael Kelley, and he was only there to work on mobility. We exchanged pleasantries, and then I was off to work out on my own.

Good Morning Squat
Determine 1RM

While I enjoy squatting, I’m not the biggest fan of good mornings. I worked up to 135# and called it a day.

As I needed to leave before 7, I started the metcon at 6:30. It’s an original.

20-min 1, 2, 3…
Box jump, 24”
Abmat sit-up holding 20# medicine ball
Toes through rings

One box jump, one sit-up, one toes through ring, two box jumps, two sit-ups, two toes through rings, etc. My goal was to complete 15 rounds. I aspired to do all rounds unbroken, and once again came this close to doing so.

I expected toes through rings to be the most challenging activity, but I didn’t expect weighted sit-ups to be so difficult. I kept telling myself that if I made it through the round of 10 toes through rings unbroken that I could break up remaining sets. I managed to complete all rounds of toes through rings and sit-ups unbroken.

I was beginning the round of 10 toes through rings at the 10-minute mark. I knew I’d have to push myself to make it through round 15, so that’s what I did. And that’s why I missed the 6th box jump during the round of 15. Damn it. I did, however, complete the round of 15 and managed to complete 16 box jumps and 3 sit-ups.

That’s a total of 136 box jumps, 123 sit-ups, and 120 toes through rings. No wonder I was a sweaty mess! I also had a negative split, i.e., I completed more reps the last than the first half of the metcon.

Michael Kelley commented that he knew it was a tough metcon as he could hear me both grunting and swearing.

I really needed a hug from my BFF. Alas, I received not a one. I texted him and let him know of my disappointment.

I invited Mengran and Hajar to visit CrossFit this evening, and Jeff, Margaret, and Nicole C-O-X joined in on the fun!

Michael Kelley redeemed himself, and gave me a HUGE hug, lifting me off of my feet. Nicole also gave me a long, warm hug. I nearly cried when receiving both hugs.

The group completed a 15-minute AMRAP of 5 deck squats, 5 air squats, 5 kettle bell swings, and 5 wall ball shots. It looked grueling. Hee! Jeff completed 10 rounds.

Tomorrow is the 1-year anniversary of Xander’s death. It’s going to be a very rough day. You have all been warned.

“You’re not your usual, jovial self today, Paul.”

I stop by Bruegger’s most mornings on my way home to shower after working out. The owner knows me by name, and today he commented, “You’re not your usual, jovial self today, Paul.”

I was awake well before my 4:30am alarm sounded. Why, you ask? As the weather grows cooler, the cats grow closer. I emanate heat, and both Meg and Zac are drawn to me. I sleep on my side, and Meg sleeps in the space behind my bent knees while Zac sleeps by my chest cradled in my arm. As I don’t like to disturb them, I hardly move the entire night. I need to learn to flail in my sleep.

Even though I was wide awake, I seriously considered not attending the 6am session and instead attending the 5:15 or even 6:30pm session.

Yup, I was in a mood this morning, and it was immediately obvious to all who aren’t clueless. As I’ve mentioned before, my “normal” behavior is communicative and enthusiastic. When I’m quiet and subdued, people quickly notice. And then they won’t leave me the hell alone. “What’s wrong?” “Are you okay?” “Is anything bothering you?” Having to address these questions makes me that less communicative and/or enthusiastic. I think to myself, “I’m acting the same way that most of you do just about every day. Why is it okay for you to act this way, but it’s not okay for me to do so? Leave me the hell alone.” I am also not always careful about how I respond to people. One person said, “You’re quiet today.” I replied, “I’m allowed to be.” She then became apologetic for being intrusive.

Michael Kelley knows me well, and he quickly discerned that I was, well, in a mood. He said to me as I was leaving this morning, “I know to leave you alone when you’re like this.” You’re smarter than most people give you credit for. And you’re quite handsome with your new haircut. I think that for Halloween you should indeed dress as Hugh Jackman – buy as Peter Allen from “The Boy From Oz” instead of Wolverine from “X-Men”. Okay? Okay.

So, anywho, I arrived at 5:30. I selected a playlist from Songza, and began to warm up and stretch, focusing on shoulders and lats.

At 6:01, Michael Kelley said, “Okay, everyone, grab a foam roller.” He then made direct eye contact with me, and I knew exactly what he was thinking: “Paul is going to hate this warm up.” Again, you’re smarter than most people give you credit for. While I did participate in the foam rolling activity focusing on the lats, my back was to Michael Kelley and the 6amers the entire time. This was intentional. Did I mention that I was in a mood? I haven’t yet mentioned how many f@cking people there were at the 6am session.

It’s my blog, so I get to say whatever the hell I want.

Mitch, if you don’t let me know what Friday’s WOD is I’m going to punch you in the throat.

Maximum Effort Upper
Close Grip Bench Press 1RM

Uhm, I wasn’t in the mood to share, and Michael Kelley made sure to loudly announce this fact. I elected to not do bench press with the group. A clueless person asked, “Will you be joining us?” “No,” I tersely replied. I instead worked on weighted pull-ups.

Pull-Up, 5×3 @ 60% of last week
Uhm, I mistakenly thought it was 3 x 5, so that’s what I did. I completed 5 reps @ 35 & 40#, and 4 reps @ 55#. I failed on the last attempt. And. I. Did. Not. Care. I used my own weight vest. No, you may not borrow it.

As I had already completed pull-ups when most folks were just beginning, I completed 3 x 11 strict toes to bar. Why eleven? Because life doesn’t always happen in reps of ten.

20 Hand Release Push-Ups
20 Kettlebell Swings

I used a 52# KB. We have 2 new 52# KBs. Michael Kelley would be upset if I didn’t mention this. There, I mentioned it. My goal was to complete 5 rounds, i.e., 100 reps of KB swings and HRPUs, yet I knew it was going to be difficult to complete that many HRPUs. I completed the first and last rounds of KBs swings unbroken, and the remaining rounds in reps of 15 & 5. I completed the first round of HRPUs unbroken, the second round in reps of 10, 5, & 5, and the remaining rounds in as many as 10 and as few as 2 reps. It was truly down to the wire and I had to really work hard to complete 5 rounds within 8 minutes, but that’s exactly what I did and without a second to spare. I heard Michael Kelley telling the class that he expected some folks would get 6 rounds. Well, okay then.

Maximum Effort Upper
Close Grip Bench Press 1RM

Ah, I finally had the box almost to myself. I set up my own bench and my own bar, and patiently waited for Jeff to arrive so that he could spot me. Michael Kelley offered to do so, but he was “busy” and I didn’t want to disturb him. He said, “I love you, Paul.” “I know,” I replied. I love you, too, Michael Kelley. Happy now? I completed warm up sets of 3 reps @ 75, 95, and 115, and then a successful single rep @ 135#. I attempted 155# – quite a leap in weight – and failed. As I didn’t have a spotter, I merely dumped the plates. I obviously didn’t place clips on the ends of the bar.

Jeff spotted me and I successfully pressed 145#. He needed to stretch, so I didn’t bother him again. I did, however, politely request Michael Kelley’s assistance, and he kindly obliged. I then successfully pressed single reps at 150 and 155#. I failed 1 attempt and then completed 1 rep @ 160#, my current 1RM for neutral grip bench press. I chose not to attempt 165#.

There were but three people attending the 7:15 session. Just three.

I bought two new pair of Lululemon Response shorts, and that helped improve my mood. Somewhat.

I arrived at CFZ at 5:45; thus I only had 45 minutes to work out before picking up Luke from Doggie Village. I was still in somewhat of a mood, and people once again quickly noticed.

I quickly retrieved my weight vest and sled and escaped. I wore 35# on the vest and pulled 90# on the sled. I completed 7, 60m sprints with the strap held between my legs and a 1-minute rest between rounds.

I next completed 10 x 3 weighted pull-ups, wearing 25#, with 10 second rest between rounds. I also sang “Moves Like Jagger”. The musical selection in the evening is pure shit.

Last on my list was 5 x 10 deck squats. I only counted successful decks squats, so about 6 or 7 didn’t count.

It’s almost 7:30 pm and I’m still in a somewhat foul mood. I need one or more of the following: a hug, a kiss, massive quantities of food, a nap, an “I love you”, an episode of Project Runway.

My lady parts

I had every intention of attending the 6 AM session at CrossFit Zeal this morning; however, I was far too tired to do so. Yesterday’s travel to Chicago took its toll. My nose is still sore and my sinuses are a wreck.
I instead attended the 5:15 PM session (along with Jeff). Michael Kelley got a haircut! He looks mighty handsome. I made sure to tell him so. I also made sure to wear my CFZ T-shirt inside-out.
Today’s skill was the dreaded snatch, or what I like to call “my lady parts”. We were to work up to seven rounds of 1 power snatch followed by five overhead squats. I hadn’t yet set up my bar when the clock began counting down from 15 minutes. I did one warm-up round with the 45 pound bar. I then did rounds at 65, 75, 80, 90, and 95 pounds. My current one rep max for overhead squat is 110 pounds. I was already getting pretty close to that, but for 5 reps.
I successfully did a round of 1 power snatch followed by five overhead squats using 100 pounds. I was pretty excited. I put another 5 pounds on the bar. I had 2 failed attempts at a power snatch using 105 pounds. I got it on the third attempt and then successfully completed 5 overhead squats. Michael Kelley observed quite a few rounds and his feedback was generally positive. 
I’m pretty certain that the most I have ever power cleaned has been 135 pounds, and that was doing a recent metcon. My current one rep max for a full squat clean is 160 pounds. This is important shit people, so pay attention.
Today’s metcon was to have been 4 rounds of 5 power cleans at 75% of power clean 1 rep max followed by 200m run. 75% of 135 is a mere 95 pounds. I informed Michael Kelly that that was what I was going to lift and he said, “You lifted 110 or 115 pounds last week so do that today.” I put 115 pounds on the bar. The clock began. I somewhat easily completed the first 5 power cleans and they felt good and solid. That sounds like a bowel movement. I wasn’t the first to begin to run but I quickly took the lead. I was certain that we were to run 400m, so that’s what I did. I realized my mistake when I turned around at the 200m mark and everyone had already turned around and was heading back to the box. 
I increased the weight to 120 pounds for the second round and then ran another 400m. I increased the weight to 120 pounds for the third round and then once again ran another 400m. On my way out of the box I asked Michael Kelley to increase the weight and I may have said by 10 pounds. I can’t quite recall. When I arrived back in the box I noticed that he had placed 2, 10-pound plates on either end of the bar for a total of 135 pounds. Keep in mind that I struggled with just 1 rep at this weight during a recent workout.
With little fanfare or struggle I completed the 5 reps and then ran another 400m. My time was 9:01. I was the last to finish. Granted, I ran an additional 800m.
As the power cleans felt so good, I wanted to try a heavier weight. And that’s what I did. I completed single reps at 140 and 145 pounds. Michael Kelley closely observed my performance, and provided positive feedback once again. He put 10 more pounds on the bar, and I completed a power clean at 155 pounds — a 20-pound PR. I had 2 failed attempts at 165 pounds, and that’s okay. 
I finished the day by practicing double unders using my older, heavier jump rope, and it that seems to do the trick. I am no longer hitting the back of my head with the jump rope. And that’s a good thing. 


Another Sunday and fun day at CFD! The only thing that would have made my day more wonderful would have been seeing Ms. Amy. Sigh.

I completed grip hook dead-lifts yesterday as Dave (owner of and Head Coach at CFD) had programmed just that for today. It appears that somewhere along the way he changed his mind, and I didn’t discover that dead-lifts were to be of the sumo variety until I saw the posting yesterday evening.

So that I may better coach lifts, I usually like to perform the workout at 9 before the first class begins at 10. Thus, I completed sumo dead-lifts today. I love dead-lifts, so I certainly didn’t mind doing two back-to-back days of said dead-lifts.

There were 12 at 5 athletes in the 10am and 11am classes, respectively, including Christine and Nadia from Lululemon! I’m getting to know more of the regulars, and continue to enjoy coaching at CFD. So that I might time everything, I did the same 10-minute warmup (including yoga) as the CFDers. And it was good.

Sumo dead-lift
Establish 1RM

Just like with hook grip dead-lifts, I couldn’t remember the last time I did a sumo dead-lift, and/or what my 1RM was. Given that until very recently my dead-lift 1RM was 315#, I set this weight as a goal – as I know I never sumo dead-lifted as much as I dead-lifted. Make sense? Good. Going on…

I completed 3 reps @ 135, 185, & 215, and single reps @ 250, 285, 305, & 315#. PR achieved! As the lift felt solid, I decided to go heavier, and originally planned on lifting 320#. I thought, “As you’ve already achieved a PR, why not go heavy?” Yes, I talk to myself in the third person.

I attempted a 325# sumo dead-lift and, for all intents and purposes, failed. Here’s what happened. I got the bar off of the floor, up my shins, and above my knees. As I was locking my knees and pushing my shoulders back, I lost my balance, took a few small steps, and dropped the bar – as I fell on my ass! It was quite a sight to behold, and I laughed out loud at myself. I briefly considered lowering the weight to 320#, but as I had just about completed the lift I thought this was a copout.

I attempted the lift once again, and while it was a struggle, i.e., my legs quivered and I was seeing stars, I successfully completed the lift. My second PR of the day, bitches.


6 rounds of 6 burpees/6 pull-ups
Run 400m
5 rounds of 5 burpees/5 pull-ups
Run 400m
4 rounds of 4 burpees/4 pull-ups
Run 400m

I briefly considered substituting wall ball shots for pull-ups, as I’ve done so many f@cking pull-ups in the past couple of days.

To keep track of rounds, I stacked 6, 1# plates. As I completed the round of 6 I made a new stack of 5 plates, and as I completed the round of 5 I made a new stack of 4 plates. Thus, at the end of the WOD the plates were lined up as a single, single, 3, and a single. This certainly helped keep me focused!

My goal was to complete all rounds of burpees and pull-ups unbroken, and that’s just what I did.

I finished in a time of 14:33. Given that, I determined that I would allow folks up to, but no more than, 20 minutes to complete the metcon. This allowed time for a 10-minute warmup, 5-minute review of sumo dead-lift, 25 minutes to establish 1RM sumo dead-lift, 5 minutes to set-up for and remaining 20 minutes to complete metcon. Dave, are you mad that I set a time cap?

Next Sunday is the 2nd Annual Xander Tribute WOD. I hope to see you there!

A$$ Lake Male House

Michael Kelley “coaching” hook grip dead-lift.

I felt incredibly weak this morning. Yes, I know why. I must resist the temptation to do the same metcon twice in one day. Lesson learned? Unlikely.

My weakness might also be somewhat caused by this damn blood clot in my nose.

I coached the 8amers. I thank each and every one of you for paying attention from warmup through metcon. If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, then I’m flattered. (Michael Kelley did a similar warmup for the 9:15 and 10:30 sessions.)

I held a headstand for over 2 minutes, and could most certainly have held it longer. I challenge Burt to a headstand contest.

Dynamic Effort Upper
Speed Bench, 9×3 (vary grip), 75%

I didn’t have to share a bench! I pressed 135#. While presses felt much better than in the past, I nonetheless continue to struggle with – and dislike – the bench press. And I don’t care. I really don’t want nipples that point to the ground.

Bent-over Row – up to heavy 5

For whatever reason, I don’t at all struggle with bent-over rows. I did sets @ 95, 135, 155, 165, and 175#. Thus, I can row more than I can press. Huh? This just shouldn’t be the case.

4 Rounds
10 Handstand Push-Ups
15 Pull-Ups
40 Double Unders

This was a big, hot mess. I tweaked my left shoulder on the very first HSPU, but continued nonetheless. I completed the first round in reps of 6, 4, & 2. I only did 6, 4, and 2 HSPUs the remaining rounds, and did negative hand release pushups for remaining reps.

I mistakenly did 20 pull-ups the first round, completing 15 & 5. Huh? I completed second round (of 10) unbroken, third round in reps of 10 & 5, and last round in reps of 9, 4, & 2.

I’ve lost my ability to do double unders, and it has everything to do with my damn left shoulder, as I now overcompensate and hold my right arm even father away from my body then I’ve done in the past. I also did dus outside, and didn’t realize how windy it was. The most unbroken dus I completed was a measly 21. Huh?

Big. Hot. Mess.

Hook Grip Dead-lifts
Establish 1RM

I can’t recall ever having done hook grip dead-lifts, so I was anxious to try. I was surprised by just how different a feeling it was. I did warmup sets, and then singles @ 205, 225, 275, 305, and 315#. I failed at 325, and wasn’t the least bit disappointed. I am not at all used to the hook grip for dead-lifts (although certainly comfortable with hook grips for cleans, snatches, and overhead squats), and have gotten perhaps too used to using a mixed grip for all dead-lifts above 275#.

I then completed the Community WOD as the 10:30ers did the metcon.

Every minute on the minute for 15 minutes
5, 6, 7, 8, & 9 pull-ups until minute 5
10, 11, 12, 13, & 14 pull-ups minutes 5 through 9
15, 16, 17, 18, & 19 jumping air squats for remaining time

This was quite fun, and I even did a bonus round of 20 additional jumping air squats. That’s a total of 35 pull-ups, 60 pushups, and 105 jumping air squats. I completed all rounds unbroken.

Uhm, I did 95 pull-ups today. That may be too many. Uhm, I did 100 pushups (including HSPUs) today. That may be too many.

My new BFF, Matthew, attended the Community WOD, as this was the highlight of my day week month year.

A group of us had lunch at Bass Lake Ale House. I couldn’t quite remember the name; thus, the title of this blog.

I will be coaching the 5:30 and 6:30pm sessions at CrossFit Invoke this coming Friday. Will I see some of you there? Will I? Will I?




Nothing Compares 2 Me

It’s been two days since I blogged. Did you think I had gone on sabbatical? I did work out yesterday, but didn’t have an opportunity (or the desire) to post.

As many readers know, I’ve been once again suffering from nosebleeds. I was hoping beyond hope that, you know, the nosebleeds would just stop. No such luck. As Tuesday’s nosebleed was so intense and because the repeated occurrences had the potential to impact so many other things in my life, I finally saw an ENT doctor yesterday afternoon. He confirmed what I suspected: I had to have my left nostril cauterized.

I had this procedure performed at almost this same time — to the day — lat year, although I honestly thought my right nostril had been cauterized. It appears that last year’s procedure didn’t “cover” all of the problem areas. The doctor informed me that he would indeed “cover” everything.

The doctor stuffed a cotton swab covered in a topical anesthetic in my left nostril, and then once my nose (and front teeth) was numb, he injected yet another anesthetic. He then used forceps to spread open my nostril and he then went to town. He said, “This will take 30 seconds.” I counted down from 30. He pulled out what I can only describe as a soldering iron and said, “Let’s do another 30 seconds just to be sure.” I clenched my teeth and began to sweat. He once again pulled out the soldering iron and said, “One last time. This will just last 30 seconds.” I thought I might pass out. It felt like he had a pickaxe up my nose, and that one slip of the hand would result in a pickaxe to the brain.

I have a massive blot clot in my nostril, and I so very much want to blow my nose. Alas, I may not do so.

Oh, you want to know about yesterday’s workout? Fine, then. I attempted a low bar back squat 1RM and failed. I matched previous PR of 235, but had 2 failed attempts at 240#. I was feeling incredibly weak. Let’s see… massive blood loss, a 16-hour workday the prior day, and 4 hours of sleep. I suppose I have a legitimate excuse. Yes?

Next up was weighted pull-ups, and I haven’t attempted these in quite some time. Using my weight vest, I did single reps at 30, 40, 45, & 55#. Then, while still wearing 55# weight vest, I strapped a belt around my waist and attached kettle bells and/or plates and did single reps at 63 and 68#. I attempted a pull-up at 78 and failed, so I lowered weight to 75.5# and barely got my chin over the bar. Thus, I pulled-up 220.5#. (Burt, I weigh 145#.)

I had no interest in doing 100 burpees as, in all honesty, I don’t find doing so the least bit challenging. I instead created this metcon:

15-minute AMRAP
1 burpee
1 bodyweight dead-lift (Burt, I weigh 145#.)
1 linear jump over bar
1 burpee – from where feet land after jump
1 chest to bar pull-up – from where feet land after burpee, i.e., a jump to the bar and then do a chest to bar pull-up
1 burpee after dropping from bar and turning around
1 broad jump over bar – from where feet land after burpee

Sound confusing? It wasn’t. I used chips to keep track of rounds, and kept track in rounds of 5. I kept a steady pace from start to finish, and completed 40 rounds + 1 burpee and 1 dead-lift. That’s 81 burpees, 41 dead-lifts, and 40 linear jumps, broad jumps over the bar, and chest to bar pull-ups. I was a sweaty, happy mess.

I had intended on doing a double, but I had my left nostril cauterized instead. See above.

I did, however, attend the Zeal Meal in celebration of Johanna’s birthday! The best part of the celebration was that I got to sit between Nicole Cox and Nathanael. Unfortunately, my BFF was seated at the far end of the table, and I didn’t get to spend much time with him. A group of us, not including my BFF, had an ice cream at Coldstone Creamery afterwards. As I was enjoying my salted caramel and chocolate ice cream, my BFF began texting me.

MK: U home
PP: Homo but no home.
MK: R u DVRing Glee
PP: Yes. U r welcome 2 come 2 house & watch 2nite or this weekend.
MK: 2 nite!

Notice that my BFF did not use punctuation until that very last text. We did enjoy last night’s Britney 2.0 episode. We didn’t, even though he promised to do so, spoon while watching said episode. My BFF can be such a tease.

I arrived at CFZ at 5:30 this morning to coach the 6am and attend the 7:15am session. I’m trying not to be “That Yoga Coach” so today’s warmup consisted of lots of squatting, kettle bell swinging, and upside-down hanging. Yes, there was a large crowd in attendance, and I’ve become quite adept and crowd control. Get your own damn bar, bitches, as you’ll need it for the metcon!

Dynamic Effort Lower
Low Bar Back Squat, 10×2 @ 70%, 45 sec rest

There were only four in attendance at the 7:15 session this morning, including yours truly, Travis, Johanna, and Heather. I don’t like anything pumpkin-flavored except pumpkin pie. I lifted 165# and lifts felt solid – as well as heavy.

Deficit Dead-lift, 8×1 @ 50% + Band, 30 sec rest

Yeah, I know we’re supposed to lift 50% of 1RM, but I chose to go heavier. I settled on 205#, a bit more than 60% of 1RM. I used a blue band and a 4” deficit. Just as we were beginning, I realized that I was still wearing my weightlifting shoes. Thus, the deficit was closer to the length of Michael Kelley’s penis 5”. Wearing weightlifting shoes while doing dead-lifts felt peculiar, and certainly added an extra challenge. Lifts felt solid.

3 Cleans (full squat) On The Minute x 8 Minutes @ 65%
1 min Rest
1 min max Cleans (full squat) @ 65%, immediately followed by:
2 min Max Double Unders Later Bar Hops

I am genuinely enjoying full squat cleans. Huh? When the hell did that happen? As my current 1RM is 160#, I put 105# on the bar – but I had 2, 2.5 plates at the ready. As the first 2 rounds felt good, I increased the weight to 110# for the remaining rounds, and perhaps should have gone to 115#. I focused on form, form, and form, particularly opening my hips and not pulling with my arms.

I continued to wear my weightlifting shoes, and then quickly changed into 150s during the rest time. I completed 9 full squat cleans during the max rep minute.

I was concerned that jumping rope would exacerbate my nose issues. My BFF suggested burpees, but just before the start of the last two minutes I decided to do lateral bar hops. This also meant that I had to very quickly determine a goal, and it was to do lateral bar hops in reps of 25 and to complete as many lateral hops the second minute as I completed in the first. I completed 75 just as my BFF said, “One minute.” I completed 88 in the remaining mute, for a total of 163 lateral bar hops.

I worked out again this evening, as my soon-to-be former BFF led the 5:15pm session. I first focused on core.

Toes to bar
5 sets of unbroken max reps

I completed sets of 20, 15, 11, 10, & 1o reps

Russian twists

I completed 2 sets of 25 reps holding 25 and 35# plates, and 5 sets of 10 reps holding 45# plate.

3 sets of unbroken max reps

I completed reps of 26, 15, & 9.

I was getting tired, but I wanted to try that damn metcon with 115#, so that’s what I did.

The box was crowded, and I was originally stationed between Ines and Kristin. I said, “Kristin, I’m likely to fall on my ass, so would you mind switching places with me?” You kindly agreed to do so.

And I did fall on the second clean attempt! Nicole said, “You just wanted to show us how to fall on our asses, right?” She’s as smart as she is pretty.

I had planned on stopping after 8 minutes of cleans, but I was feeling very strong, so at the last minute I did 1 minute of max reps of cleans — and once again completed 9 reps. I thought, “Well, then, try to do more lateral hops.” And that’s what I did, completing 165.

As I was directly facing Kristin, I couldn’t help but provide some coaching, including the importance of keeping the bar close to the body and looking at a spot on the wall in front of you when cleaning.

We were having much fun, and at one point she called me a bitch. I said, “I’m telling Thomas that you called me a ‘bitch’. He’d better send you a text telling you not to do that. He’d better stick up for me, as I can’t stick up for myself.”

Insiders know this story. Thomas then later said that he doesn’t compare himself to me. “I know,” I said, “because you can’t compare to me.” I then starting singing my own version of Sinead O’Connor’s song.


I woke up well before my 4am alarm, and I’m glad that I did. I had a very bad nosebleed, and had to spend a good 15 minutes with a cold compress on my forehead and tissues packed up my nose. I will finally give in and see my ENT doctor upon my return to NC.

The drive to Berkley Heights was miserable, as it rained heavily and drivers didn’t give a shit. I was tempted to open the rear door of the Traverse and let folks drive right through.

Pat led the 6am session at CF908 this, and I always enjoy interactions with Pat. During one of my visits earlier this year, Pat observed me complete a muscle-up. He said, and I quote, “That’s the ugliest muscle-up I’ve ever seen.” Little did he know how much that comment stuck with me, and how I’ve been working on improving my muscle-ups – if for no other reason than to please him. (That’s not at all the reason, but we’ll let Pat think that.)

After warming up with yoga, Pat reviewed today’s WOD and had each of us practice a few dumbbell thrusters. (Uhm, why all of the dumbbells, Tim? Why? Why?) Men’s Rx was 30 or 35, so I settled on 30. And that was plenty heavy enough.

5 rounds for time:
Row for calories
Max reps dumbbell thrusters
Max reps burpees
Rest 1 minute

I had originally planned on recording calories or reps after each activity, but Pat encouraged us to keep track of calories/reps per round. This made much more sense. Pat is smart. As he’s no likely to hear this very often, I’ve recorded it for posterity.

My goals were peculiar, even for me. For rowing, my goal was to keep strokes per minute at 24 or below, and to stroke a calorie each stroke. I modified this goal slightly during the WOD in that I attempted to row the same number of calories per round. For thrusters, my goal was to, well, just struggle through. This wasn’t a very good goal, and I allowed myself to put down the dumbbells. Uhm, not a good idea. As I love burpees, my goal was to just complete them unbroken.

I was most pleased with rowing, as I rowed 19 calories all but the 4th round, when I rowed 18. So close. Thrusters were a big hot mess, and I honestly can’t tell you how many I completed each round.

Burpees were, as they always are, just plain damn fun. I paused a moment at the beginning of the very last round of burpees so that I could catch my breath as well as have enough energy left to complete the round unbroken. As I was standing there ever so briefly, Pat said, “Come on, Paul. Get started.” That is all of the motivation that I needed. I did indeed complete all rounds of burpees unbroken.

My totals per rounds were 55, 53, 48, 46, & 46. The decrease in quantity was due to my suckage at thrusters. My Grand Total was 248.

I sweated more than anyone there. Winning.

As I was getting ready to depart, I pointed to my head and said, “Pat, your comment about my muscle-ups being ugly has stuck right here.” He replied, “Those were ugly muscle-ups.” “I’ve gotten better, Pat,” I said. “Show me” he replied. I went to grab a box to stand on and Pat said, “No, don’t use a box. Just jump on the rings, show me one swing, and then do a muscle-up. Don’t even use chalk.” Well, okay then. I walked to the rings, jumped up, changed grip to false, swung my hips forward just once, and did a muscle-up. Pat said, “Now that’s a pretty muscle-up.” I asked, “May I quote you, Pat?” “Yes,” he said, “you may say ‘Pat said my muscle-ups are pretty.’”

Pat said my muscle-ups are pretty.