You’re very welcome.

(The title refers to a “Thanks for that” comment I received this morning.)

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “blech” and 10 being “fabulous”, I woke up this morning feeling like a 2.75. I sincerely hope that I’m not coming down with something. I was up until rather late last night reading “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”, my body is adjusting to re-introducing yoga into my workout routine, and the colder it gets the closer Meg and Zac like to sleep pressed against me, particularly in the area of my junk. Yes, my junk.

I had no interest in doing today’s WOD, but as I was wide awake at 4:30 I went anyhow, stopping on my way at Dunkin’ Donuts to get a large cup of coffee with extra cream. I did, however, take “The Girl…” with me, and as others were warming up solo and then as a group, I read the very last pages. I’m kind of sad that I’ve finished the last book in the trilogy. All three books have been wonderful, and I’m going to miss Lisbeth.

I had decided that if more than 10 people attended the session that I would not do “Diane”. Guess what? It was once again a cluster f@ck.

Today’s strength was 3 reps of bench press. Michael Kelley counted how many people were there and said, “Since there are five benches, let’s have the men use two benches and the ladies use the other three.” I detest when anyone refers to males and females and men and ladies, as the terms are not parallel. “Women and men” or “ladies and gentlemen” are appropriate. I also detest the bench press, and it’s my least favorite lift. I rowed 2k instead.

As I was rowing, Michael Kelley approached and asked, “Are you rowing because your shoulder hurts?” I glared at him as I continued to row. “Oh,” he said, “I know why you’re rowing.” I rowed 2K in 8:06, averaging 2:01.5/500m and a mere 23 s/m.

Michael Kelley asked, “Are you going to do ‘Diane’?” Uhm, that’d be a “no”. I set up the bench and warmed up the press. I completed 3 reps @ 115, 135, 145, & 155, just 5# shy of 1RM. I then did singles at 160 and 165#, a new 1RM. Not very heavy, but as I didn’t have a spotter I didn’t want to attempt much more than that. I know that many people can bench press much more than that, and I don’t really care. Keep in mind that 165 is 113% of my bodyweight.

I practiced front squats at 135#, and then finished the morning with weighted pushups with a 25# plate on my back. I did reps of 20, 15, & 10.

I didn’t break a sweat all morning.

Michael Kelley asked, “What did New York do to you?” “What do you mean?” I asked. He replied, “You’re different.” I keep having to reassure Michael Kelley that I’m not upset with him. “I would like to take a two-month break from coaching at CFZ, though,” I said. He stated, “That’s not gonna happen.” Uhm, you’re not the boss of me, Michael Kelley. Well, you kind of are, but not really.

Here are the reasons that I want to take a break from coaching at CFZ:
1. Just because I have a level 1 cert doesn’t mean that I’m really qualified to coach this shit. I am much more qualified to coaching running and endurance, and perhaps should do that instead.
2. As I truly enjoy coaching at CFD on Sundays – and for just two hours – it would be nice to have part of my Saturday morning back.
3. I’m not a very good cheerleader, and some people would rather be cheered on than coached.
4. Perhaps most importantly, I don’t like coaching anyone who has no interest in being coached. What’s the point? Yes, I know that I often do my own thing at CFZ, but Michael Kelley knows that I heavily rely upon him for coaching. While I may record and review lifts, and often also review them with him. I ask him questions, and I generally listen to his feedback. I trust him.

I’ll stop there for the time being.

On a related topic, I dislike being around consistently negative people. We all have our good and bad days and our ups and downs, me included. I also dislike people who set themselves up for failure. If there is a time limit and you are unable to complete the required reps at the prescribed weight and/or without scaling the movement (e.g., using bands, Abmats, a box), then use a lighter weight and/or scale the movement. It’s that simple. Don’t exhaust yourself attempting to lift a weight you can’t handle or attempting to complete a skill that you can’t do for the requisite number of reps. Again, it’s that simple. And don’t waste your time staring at the weights, hanging your head, and sulking.

Regardless of whether I’m coaching or merely participating, I find this behavior annoying, and I have an overwhelming desire to remove myself from the environment as quickly as possible. I even considered doing so this morning, and I was neither a coach nor a participant.

As an aside to the aside, I don’t much care for sandbaggers either. That’s a topic for another day.

I’m getting bored with CrossFit, with the programming, and with the routine of it all. That’s one of the reasons that I’ve taken up yoga once again. It’s also a reason why I’m considering taking off a week or two from CrossFit altogether. I’ve done this in the past.

Bull City Running announced that registration for the Uwharrie Mountain Run 40-, 20-, and 8-mile races will be opening soon. I thought, I could run 20 miles tomorrow with no fear or worry. I can’t, however, say the same thing about the upcoming Fitness Challenge.

I shared my thoughts with Michael Kelley this afternoon, and after lengthy discussions we’ve arrived at a compromise solution: I shall continue to coach the Friday @ 6am and Saturday @ 8am sessions (until a replacement can be found) as well as oversee open gym Thursday @ 6am. This Saturday will be the very last time ever that I coach the Community WOD. I feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. This means that I’ll be able to work out Saturday mornings before coaching and be home by 9:30.


I’m still recovering from our trip to New York, both physically (CrossFit and walking) and emotionally (9/11 memorial and “Once”). I am grateful that we were able to leave the city before Sandy struck, and my heart goes out to folks who were or are in the storm’s path.

This is going to another post that’s all over the place.

As we were waiting in the airport for our flight home, I received a text from Michael Kelley, who had just attended a nutrition seminar.

MK: I just found out I’m fat. I have too much estrogen. And I’m a girl (based on my fat legs). U would have loved being here.
PP: I knew that already. That would explain ur boobs & mood swings. And high-pitched voice. And long eye lashes. I think u might be a lesbian.

I arrived at the box yesterday at 5:30am, and Michael Kelley had already parked his SUV in my spot. I didn’t see him when I entered the box, and as the bathroom door was closed I assumed he was dumping a load. I then began to freak out, as the music was blaring, and it was a song about love and Jesus and all of that shit. I thought, “Is Michael Kelley here alone and having a religious experience? Do I have to listen to this? Should I just go home and pretend I wasn’t even here?” I could stand the music no longer, so I called his name and walked to the iPod to change the playlist.

Michael Kelley came prancing (yes, prancing) through the door. He ran toward me, and gave me a big hug. I questioned him about the music, and he informed me that he had merely selected “A Cappella” as the Pandora playlist. Well, okay then.

I probably shouldn’t have even attended the 6am session yesterday.

We were to establish a new 1RM for snatch and clean & jerk. That just wasn’t going to happen, as my shoulders were incredibly sore. I snatched a mere 95#, albeit with shitty form, and only clean & jerked 135#. Everything felt heavy. Very, very heavy. We were then to complete 30 heavy KB swings. I didn’t have any interest in swinging a heavy kettle bell, so I didn’t. I instead completed 4 x 25 GHD sit-ups and called it a morning.

I didn’t even work up a good sweat. I dislike going more than a day without a heavy sweat, as it clears my pores and my mind.

Thus, I worked out yesterday evening. I created my own metcon.

1, 2, 3… 9, 10
Box jumps, 24”
Hang dumbbell cleans, 30#

Not a very challenging metcon, but I did at least begin to sweat. I completed in 9:09.

10 x 100m; 30 sec rest

Pace ranged from 1:43 to 1:47/500m, s/m from 36 to 41 and time from 20.7 to 21.5. Finally, I worked up a very good sweat!

The opposite of love isn’t hate: it’s indifference. I also think and feel that the opposite of like isn’t dislike: it’s also indifference. When I no longer like someone, I become indifferent toward them. It’s as if they don’t exist. I can see right through them.

I arrived at 5:30 this morning, and had the box to myself for about 10 minutes. I needed the extra time to stretch and roll, particularly my still somewhat sore shoulders.

There was yet again a full freaking house. Sleep in, people.

High Bar Back Squat – up to a heavy single
2 reps @ 80%
2 reps @ 85%
2 reps @ 95%

I warmed up, and then did singles @ 165, 185, 205, & 215#. I recorded and reviewed singles. Michael Kelley, in the future please say “Hips forward” instead of just “forward”. Be specific, for when you said, “forward” I had to stop and think about what you meant. Eyes? Feet? Shoulders? Knees? Junk? Michael Kelley did compliment me on my speed. He didn’t however, compliment me on my hand positioning, even though I pointed out that I was now gripping the bar in my clean instead of snatch position. That’s a significant improvement, Michael Kelley, and you should shout it from the highest mountaintop.

I don’t like to be cheered for, and when I was told, “You got it!” I immediately said, “Don’t do that!” – even before finishing the lift. Please ignore me when I work out. Except you, Michael Kelley. At the very least, don’t ever cheer for me, as I find it very, very distracting. I take this shit seriously.

Doubles felt easy, and I completed @ 175, 185, and 195#.

Upper Accessory
4 Pull-Ups On The Minute x 8 Minutes (strict)

I did strict chest to bar pull-ups for the first 5 and strict chest to rings pull-ups for the last 3 minutes. Michael Kelley asked, “Why didn’t you challenge yourself?” Uhm, I’ve done enough freaking pull-ups in the very recent past, and I knew I’d be hanging from the bar in just a few moments. I take this shit seriously.

10 Toes-2-Bar
30 Double Unders

I had little interest in doing this metcon, but as I knew it was important to my BFF that I do so, I acquiesced. (You should already know the meaning of that word, Michael Kelley. Text me if you don’t.)

My A goal was to complete T2B and dus unbroken, my B goal was to complete all rounds of T2B unbroken, and my C goal was to crush everyone.

Just before we were to start, Michael Kelley asked for a show of hands of folks who were good at dus. I raised my hand, as did a few others (and 1 person who should not have raised his hand). We were instructed to start with dus.

I completed 2 rounds of dus unbroken, including the first round, and completed as many as 28 unbroken as well. I found dus to be somewhat challenging for no other reason than constantly having to worry about hitting someone with my rope. At one point I thought Michael Kelley was mocking me, as he was imitating my jumping with his arms spread wide. How wide? As wide as his ass, that’s how wide.

I completed 5 rounds of T2B unbroken, the 6th round in 8 unbroken and 2 singles, and the last 2 rounds in reps of 7 unbroken and 3 singles.

I completed 8 rounds + 11 dus. I take this shit seriously.

I attended yoga this evening, and once again very much enjoyed the session. I’m more flexible than I’ve ever been, but I have a looooong way to go.

The woman directly behind me was annoying and disrespectful. She placed her iPhone on her block, and constantly checked her messages and/or sent texts. So, while I was in downdog I could see her sitting on her ass texting. When I was in triangle pose with my head turned to the back of the room I could see her glancing at her phone, then picking it up to read messages. Uhm, she needed the exercise. Just saying.

I’m having yet another phase of having no motivation. For example, we are doing “Diane” tomorrow, and I have little to no desire to participate. I may very well not do the benchmark WOD, for no other reason than I really don’t see any purpose in doing so. Michael Kelley’s not going to like what I’m about to say next: I think I need a break from coaching at CFZ as well. Take this shit seriously.


Last night we saw “The Book of Mormon”, and it was spectacular! I dreamed about the musical all night long — but it wasn’t a spooky Mormon hell dream. This afternoon Jeff & I saw “Once”. I purchased tickets for row BB thinking it was the 28th row when in fact it was the front row. We were practically on stage. “Once” was also an incredible show. Tonight we saw “Evita” starring Ricky Martin. Yet another great show!

I know, I know: enough about Broadway.

This morning I had the pleasure of visiting CrossFit Virtuosity located in Brooklyn and by invitation of Deirdre, a former CFDer. Thanks, D!
Virtuosity is an awesome box, and I’m very glad we visited. We arrived almost an hour early and were immediately greeted by Blanco, who later coached the 10am session we attended. As I was still sore from Thursday’s WOD, I needed the extra time for mobility.

In addition to Blanco, there were two coaching assistants. As there were but a dozen athletes at the 10am session, there were more than enough coaches!

Blanco did a great job of structuring the warmup to fit the WOD. The warmup consisted of broad jumps, running, front squats, and presses. Blanco and the assistants then reviewed the requirements for the WOD. We were also encouraged to go heavy for thrusters. As I had only planned on going as heavy as 95#, I needed the motivation.
Blanco gathered the group around the whiteboard and then wisely made this a partner WOD. I of course partnered with Jeff.

As prescribed…
Hero WOD “Bill”
25-min AMRAP
7 muscle ups
11 155# thrusters
14 toes to bar

Partner Hero WOD “Bill”
25-min AMRAP
8 muscle ups
12 thrusters – heavy
14 toes to bar

Blanco asked who among us was able to compete unassisted muscle ups, and when I raised my hand he seemed somewhat surprised. I demonstrated that I could do a muscle up, and I was good to go.

Jeff & I settled on 115# for thrusters. We were then allowed to compete activities how we saw fit, as long as both partners did about half of the reps.

For all rounds, I began with 4 and then assisted Jeff with 4 muscle ups. My goal was to complete all 4 unbroken, but during the last round my hand slipped (due to my own sweat) and I lost my false grip on the 4th muscle up. Damn it.

For the most part, Jeff & I alternated thrusters. There were a few times when I did 2 or 3 in a row to give Jeff a break. 115 didn’t feel too heavy the first 3 or 4 rounds, but then it began to feel very heavy. I missed 2 consecutive thrusters the 6th round. Damn it.

Another goal was to complete 7 toes to bar unbroken, and I was able to do so, and very quickly.

It was great partnering with Jeff, as we communicated very well with each other throughout. The 25 minutes passed very quickly.

We completed 6 rounds + 8 muscle ups & 8 thrusters. Thus, I did 28 muscle ups, about 50 thrusters, and 42 toes to bar.

Oh, I almost forgot: Deirdre looks fit and strong!

After the WOD, Blanco once again had the group gather around the whiteboard and asked us the number of rounds we completed, if we had chosen a challenging weight for thrusters, how assisted muscle ups went, etc.

I then took the opportunity to say, “I’ve visited many CrossFits, and I want to let you all know how excellent the coaching is here at Virtuosity!” We all gave Blanco and the coaches a thunderous round of well-deserved applause.

Erin and “Angie”

Note: It’s difficult to edit blog using iPad.

Jeff and I spent the day sightseeing and shopping in New York. This did, of course, include a visit to lululemon! I purchased yet another pair of Response shorts as well as an overcoat and Christmas presents for Jeff.
We were reminded of how small a world it is, as while walking on Lexington Ave. we heard a familiar voice call our names. It was Ms. Vitt!

There are quite a few CrossFits in New York. I chose to go to Reebok CrossFit 5th Ave. for a few reasons: 1) I wanted to visit an official Reebok box; 2) We’d get to work out with Erin; and 3) “Angie” was the scheduled WOD.

The box is in the basement. There is ample room and a large pull-up station, plenty of rings, kettle bells, bars, plates, etc. I liked that the kettle bells are color coded. HINT!

We arrived early and were warmly greeted by the receptionist, Val. I had an opportunity to observe the 5:30 athletes complete “Angie”. I was immediately disappointed, as I saw lots of people with shitty form and the coaches not really doing much coaching. (Remember, it’s my blog, so I can say what I think.)

The 6:30 group was instructed to spend 4 minutes warming up, and then we were asked to form 6 lines to do a group warmup. The warmup included bear crawls, crab walks, V-ups, etc. It was an okay warmup.

There were quite a few posers.

The coaches did not review expectations, i.e., proper form for activities.

100 pull-ups
100 push-ups
100 Abmat sit-ups
100 air squats

Air squats had been mistakenly posted as being completed before sit-ups. I, along with a few others, finished with air squats as prescribed.

I did not look up my previous time for this benchmark WOD, as I didn’t want to push myself too hard, as I am on vacation. Don’t hate.

I completed pull-ups in 3 sets of 10 and then is reps of no less than 2 and no more than 8.

I completed push-ups in 3 sets of 10 and then in reps of no less than 3 and no more than 8.

I began sit-ups and air squats by completing 50 unbroken and then 5 sets of 10 reps.

My time was 15:45 — a PR!

Now comes the ranting…

There was a poser, we’ll call him Bob, who I was neck and neck with most of the WOD. However, I go on record as stating unequivocally that Bob completed the WOD scaled, yet he was the first to put “Rx” on the board. As he was stationed beside me for pull-ups and in front of me for other activities, I had little choice to observe. I question if his chin went above the bar for many pull-ups. Okay, then. Push-ups were fine. For sit-ups, he positioned the Abmat in front of a load-bearing column — and braced his feet against the wall. WTF? That makes sit-ups a hell of a lot easier. But wait, there’s more…

He used a medicine ball for air squats. I know, I know, using a medicine ball ensures proper depth. It also allows one to “bounce” off of the ball, and that’s exactly what he did. I also argue that an intermediate or advanced athlete shouldn’t need a medicine ball to determine depth. Am I wrong? Let me know.

So, is it up to the coaches, the athletes, or both to ensure proper execution? I ensure you that every last one of my reps was legit.

I’ve finished ranting.

As we were departing, who should I see but Lynn, a friend from work! Again, it’s a very small world. Lynn, it sucks that “Angie” was your first WOD post fundamentals.

It was awesome working out with Jeff and Erin! Erin, you are a beast. You, too, Jeff.

Michael Kelley’s Day Off

What an exhausting and satisfying first day of vacation! Yes, vacation. As a favor for my BFF, I took a vacation to from my full-time job and coached all but one session at CFZ, and I did it pro bono. This allowed Michael Kelley to have the whole day free to do whatever he pleased. He graced me with his presence for lunch. Lucky me. I paid. Lucky him.

I coached the 6, 7:15, 8:30 & 9:30am sessions as well as the 5:15 & 6:30pm session.

I participated in the warm up for all six sessions, and I needed it. Last night’s power yoga session left me feeling sore, particularly in my shoulders, but in a very good way.

I had a bagel at 5:30, and then didn’t eat until lunchtime. I should know better than to exercise on a somewhat empty stomach.

I attempted push-jerks, but only managed to lift 125#. That’s my press 1RM! The outside of my shoulders ached, and I probably shouldn’t have even attempted.

I was, however, in the mood for a metcon.

10-min AMRAP
200m run carrying 20# medicine ball
9 bodyweight dead-lifts

My only goal was to have an even split. I completed all rounds of dead-lifts very fast and unbroken. I carried medicine ball on right shoulder for first and on left for second halves of runs. I was one dead-lift shy of completing 3 rounds at the 5-min mark; thus, my goal was to complete 6 rounds. I pushed myself to ensure that I did, and completed 6 rounds with 10 seconds to spare. Uhm, I didn’t even bother to run during the last 10 seconds.

I arrived at CFZ again at 4pm, as I wanted to at least practice push jerks. My shoulders were feeling better, so I focused on higher reps at lower weights. I focused on form. Yup, form. I recorded all sets, and worked up to my bodyweight.

I then recorded crow pose to headstand to crow pose, with LUX as my witness. I’m glad that I did, as on the first attempt I didn’t attain a vertical headstand. On the second attempt I most certainly did. I made sure I began and finished with crossed ankles, and that I held the poses for a few seconds. The most difficult part was raising my head after going from headstand to crow pose.

Okay, now some shout outs (in no particular order).

I most enjoyed coaching the 8:30 session, as Maggi, Terri, Danielle, and Maureen are a delight to coach. They are all incredibly strong as well, and all four of them don’t give themselves enough credit. Yes, Maggi, that includes you. Paul A was there as well, but he was doing his own thing, although I’m not quite sure what that was. I think I’m forgetting someone, too. Damn my memory! (Note: Danielle reminded me that she attended the session. My apologies, Danielle!)

Tim G. is one strong man, and his form is near perfect. I still like Lauren better.

The Coopers are a strong lot. I am, as always, most proud of the youngest Cooper. He used a 52# kettle bell for the WOD – the first time he had done so. Impressive.

I am most proud of Leah, for she completed the WOD Rx+, using a 52# kettle bell and doing all pull-ups unassisted. She also ensured that each rep counted. The time cut-off was 10 minutes, and she completed the metcon in exactly that time.

I always enjoy coaching Margie if for no other reason than to see her smile.

I now like Ashwynn more than I like her husband, Burt. That didn’t take long.

One last thing to note: I can dislike someone and still be an effective coach. I learned this during my years of teaching college, as there were quite a few students I truly disliked, yet who had no idea that I did so. Now that I think about it, I probably learned how to smile and not mean it during the Summer I worked at Walt Disney World.


I had a vivid, lucid dream just before my 4:30 alarm sounded. In the dream, I had just awakened with the realization that I would have to work from home, as overnight a heavy snow had fallen. I glanced out of the window and saw six or so inches covering the ground and trees. I got out of bed, put on some pants, and looked out the window again. The snow had turned to rain, and the backyard was a muddy mess. In the dream I thought, “I’m dreaming of water. This must mean that I have to pee. I might as well wake up, then, and pee.” So that’s what I did.

Fascinating, yes?

I did toss and turn from side to side last night, for no other reason than my shoulders are sore. No, I’m not in pain like before. I’m just sore, and I like it. Given that I completed 30+ rings dips, most of them weighted, I think this is to be expected.

For those of you who doubt that the 105# weighted ring dip wasn’t legit, here’s a screen shot of the bottom of the dip. Notice that my delts are below my shoulders.

Here’s a screen shot of the top of the dip. Notice that my elbows are locked.

I was, once again, the first to arrive at the box. I focused on stretching my shoulders, as I knew what was programmed – and I knew I’d need loose shoulders. It was slightly chilly in the box (and I’m almost but not quite bald) so I placed the hood of my sweatshirt over my head and pulled the strings together somewhat tightly.

Michael Kelley, while lying on the floor playing with his junk stretching said, “Don’t mess with Paul today. He’s in one of his moods.” I approached him and said, “No I’m not.” I straddled him, leaned over, and kissed his forehead. He said, “You’re still prickly.” I’m not sure, however, if he was referring to my facial hair.

Olympic Lifting
1 Power Snatch + 1 Hang Power Snatch + 2 Overhead Squats

Michael Kelley did a very nice job of reviewing proper form for the snatch. My only qualm is that when he demonstrates and has his back to me I see nothing but ass.

I lifted the 45# bar… and it felt like it weighed 145#. Ugh. I feared it was going to be one of those days. I completed four rounds using just 65#. I did, however, record and review all rounds. Michael Kelley reminded me to keep my legs straight, i.e., not push my knees forward, and to land with my hips, i.e., ass, back. With his coaching, my performance improved. Is it any wonder that I love him so? All of the 15# and 5# plates were taken, so I had to wait quite some time to lift 75#. I completed just two rounds at this very, very heavy weight. Then it was time for the metcon.

30 Double Unders
15 Power Snatches, 75#

I don’t know what happened exactly, but things finally fell together today. For double unders, I focused on keeping my left arm extended so as to not hit the back of my head with the jump rope, and it worked. I was the first of the 6amers to complete 30 double unders. I also completed one round unbroken and got as many as 28 unbroken during another round.

What surprised me the most was the 10-minute progression of power snatches. I completed all 15 power snatches as singles during the first round. Uhm, yeah, so that liked slowed me waaaay down. I thought, “Why the f@ck don’t I at least string 5 or so together?” So that’s what I did. I strung together between 5 and 3 for remaining rounds.

I completed 5 rounds + 30 double unders & 1 power clean; that’s 75 power cleans.

This evening I worked on pistols. I hate pistols. I suck at pistols. I hate pistols because I suck at pistols. I suck at pistols because I hate pistols. I did sets of 5 each legs using 45, 35, and 25# plate placed upon 12″ box. Michael Kelley noted improvement, and I mentioned that I was concerned that once I didn’t have a box to squat to that I wouldn’t be able to use my arms for balance. He handed me a very light dumbbell and said, “Hold this close to you as you squat and press it in front of you as you rise.” It worked! Why the hell didn’t he make this suggestion ages ago?

Row 300 m
15 box jumps, 33″
30 ball slams, 30#

Michael Kelley had completed this metcon earlier today, and warned me that it was rough. I had no idea just how rough. My goals were to do all 300m rows in less than 30 strokes, and to do all box jumps and ball slams unbroken. Guess what? I achieved my goals. I completed rows in 25, 26, 27, & 28 strokes. Box jumps were very challenging, and I can’t recall jumping 33″. I also can’t recall doing more than 10 ball slams unbroken.

I was very tempted to break up the reps during the third and last rounds, but I didn’t. I completed in 10:40. Guess what? Michael Kelley completed in 11:59. Ha ha ha ha ha!

I attended my first yoga session at LifeTime Fitness, led by the always lovely and delightful Heather. I broke down and re-activated my account, and for no other reason than to attend a yoga session at least once a week.

Uhm, it was hot in there, as Heather had set the temperature at 75 and didn’t turn on the fans. I was a sweaty mess, as was my yoga mat.

I was concerned that I had forgotten most of what I had learned, as it’s been a year or more since I attended a session. I am pleased to report that most of the poses felt like second nature. I’m also much more flexible than I was when I was running and practicing yoga.

The highlight of my day was when Heather directed us to go into crow pose — and I remembered how to do so. She then challenged us to bring our toes and then our heels together, and finally to cross our ankles — and I did! The next challenge was to go from crow pose to a handstand — which I did! Heather than challenged us to go from a crow pose to a handstand and then back to crow pose — which I did! Three times!

I’m looking forward to practicing yoga on a regular basis, and incorporating more yoga into CrossFit and coaching.

You. Have. Been. Warned.

Coach Paul

I coached the 10 and 11am sessions at CFD this morning. I don’t typically blog on rest days, but I feel compelled to do so today.

There were 12 in attendance today, including two drop-ins, Bradley and David. Today’s WOD included 15 minutes of practice on the rings and then conditioning of 40 handstand pushups, 40 pull-ups, and 40 kettle bell step-ups for time. I once again used Coach’s Eye to reinforce feedback for skills. I also challenged athletes to challenge themselves. Bradley and David responded very well to feedback, and both were able to achieve an upside down vertical hold on the rings. Amy attempted a ring dip with the thinnest band, and although she didn’t complete the ring dip, she did at least try. (By the way, I love Amy, and she can do no wrong.) Nate continues to show improvement with muscle-ups, and it’s only a matter of time until he gets the timing right.

I began both sessions by stating something like the following: The only person you are competing with today is yourself. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, and don’t race anyone else. Challenge yourself. If you can do 20 or more unbroken pull-ups, then do chest to bar or dead-hang pull-ups. Use the heaviest weight possible for step-ups. Start handstand pushups with two mats instead of three. Do all 40 handstand pushups before pull-ups, and all 40 pull-ups before step-ups. This metcon is for you to challenge yourself. My only goal is for each of you to complete the metcon in 20 minutes or less.

Athletes were allowed to scale all activities, and to break up the reps however they saw fit. I encouraged athletes to chip away at handstand pushups throughout and to not discount the difficulty of step-ups.

I observed form and if a skill looked too easy, I challenged the individual. For example, Luke’s Aunt Sandra was completing step-ups with far too much ease. I encouraged her to grab a heavier set of kettle bells. When she didn’t, I grabbed a slightly heavier pair, set them by her plyo box, and moved the lighter pair away, although within sight and reach. She did an awesome job of “stepping up” to the challenge! Prior to the metcon I strongly urged (i.e., didn’t give any choice) Amy, Nate, and Jeff to use very heavy kettle bells. All three did, and all three were spectacular. Nate started with kipping pull-ups and then challenged himself with butterfly pull-ups. Well done, Nate! Kristin, as I would expect, fought for quite a few reps of handstand pushups and kipping pull-ups. She never gives up, she’s always positive, and she listens to her coaches. She’s a coach’s dream coachee! Bradley started with kipping pull-ups and did the last 10 or more as chest to bar pull-ups, and with near perfect form.

I’ve only coached Melissa a couple of times. I was, however, the most proud of her today. She began pull-ups using two green bands. I said, “That looks too easy.” I removed one of the green bands and got a blue band ready to use if needed. She completed the remainder of her pull-ups using just one band, and sometimes doing just one pull-up at a time. She also began to kip. When I encouraged her to mix her grip and occasionally do a chin-up, that’s just what she did. She completed modified handstand pushup using a box. I encouraged her to move her hands closer to the box each round, and again, that’s exactly what she did. She used a challenging weight for the step-ups, and was struggling by the end of the metcon. She didn’t argue with me when I challenged her, she incorporated my feedback immediately, and she even smiled when I praised her.

Melissa had the slowest time of the day.

Another individual who I’ll call Tim (obviously not his actual name) was a different story altogether. I attempted to provide coaching and it fell on deaf ears. For example, I began by reminding him to touch his head to the ground for modified handstand pushups. His head never touched the ground. As in the past, I reminded him to fully extend his arms at the bottom of pull-ups and to ensure that his chin went above the bar at the top of pull-ups. Not once did he full extend his arms and I seldom saw his chin go above the bar. In fact, there were quite a few occasions when his chin was inches away from the bar. And yet he counted every rep. And he never contemplated using a band for assistance.

Tim had the fastest time of the day.

I think you know where I’m going with this.

I truly enjoy coaching when someone is coachable. I’d rather not even be there if someone is not coachable. Better still, I’d rather someone not attend a session I’m coaching if they think or feel that my coaching is incorrect or inadequate, have a negative attitude, or just plain don’t like me. At CFD, there is always open gym. I wouldn’t be the least bit bothered if an individual chose to do the WOD – without my coaching – on her or his own.

One last thing: I don’t coach for the money.

Okay, one very last thing: I know my coaching style isn’t for everyone. I would, however, rather over-coach than under-coach.

I promise, this is the very, very last thing: Michael Kelley.


You’re prickly

I arrived at CFZ at 7:20 and Michael Kelley arrived at 7:45. He did not, however, speak to me until exactly 9:17:29. When he finally did say hello, the topic of conversation immediately turned to him. “I overslept and I’ve been running late all morning.” By this time I was in one of my moods, and I didn’t want to have much to do with him or most anyone else.

Fortunately, I was in a relatively good mood while leading the 8amers. There were more than a dozen in attendance, and most were very good about following directions. Thanks, folks!

I usually discuss my own workout. For a change of pace I’ll discuss a few musings.

1. I genuinely think/feel that most athletes enjoy the addition of yoga to the warmup, and quite a few people have told me so. Unlike a previous coach (who shall remain unnamed), I don’t do the same yoga warmup each and every time, and I let athletes know when we’re doing something different.

2. If you can’t full extend your arms at the bottom of a pull-up, well, then, extend your damn arms at the bottom of a pull-up.

3. If you are attempting chest to bar pull-ups and you can’t get your chest to the bar, well, then, use a damn band.

4. When I instruct you to count down from five and pick up the damn bar and/or kettle bell or start your bupees, well, then, count down from five and do just that.

5. Catching your breath while resting with your hands on your knees while still standing is acceptable. Sitting down is not. Ever. Until the end of the metcon, that is.

6. Straighten your damn arms and lock your damn elbows at the top of a press and/or kettle bell swing.

7. Proper form and execution will always trump a fast time. Always.

Michael Kelley led the 9:15ers through a warmup, and I participated in some of it. My shoulders are beyond the point of soreness and almost to the point of pain; thus, I wasn’t going to do any wheelbarrow.

Push press
6 x 2 75% of 1RM

I lifted 100#, and lifts felt surprisingly good. I focused on explosiveness.

Chest to bar pull-ups
5 rounds of strict max reps, 30 seconds with 30 seconds rest

Pull-ups didn’t feel as good as they have in the past, probably because I’ve done so many as of late.  I completed 9, 6, 6, 6, & 4 for a total of 31. I missed 1 rep the 3rd and 4th rounds and 2 reps the last round. Dammit.

5 push-jerks @ 65% of 1RM
10 burpees with lateral bar hop
15 kettle bell swings
15 push-jerks
20 burpees with lateral bar hop
30 kettle bell swings
15 push-jerks
30 burpees with lateral bar hop
45 kettle bell swings

There was no way in hell that I was going to do push-jerks, so I substituted 225# dead-lifts. I used a 53# kettle bell. Here’s what happened…

I completed 1st round of dead-lifts unbroken, 2nd round in reps of 6 & 4, and last round in reps of 4, 4, 4, & 3. Dead-lifts felt heavy, but manageable. I completed the 1st round of burpees with lateral hop unbroken and remaining rounds in reps of 10. I completed 1st round of kettle bell swings unbroken, 2nd round in reps of 15, and the last round in reps of 10, 10, 10, 10, & 5.

This was a very challenging metcon, and I felt winded throughout. I can usually blow through burpees with a lateral hop, but was only able to string together 10 at a time. Huh? I had planned on doing all dead-lifts with overhand grip, but had to switch to mixed grip the last round. Huh? Kettle bell swings became grueling, and I had to force myself to keep focused on extending my arms and locking my elbows. Huh?

I completed the metcon in 12:39. Michael Kelley saw me drop to the ground and said, “12:41.” Uhm, no.

I spent the next hour working on skills and focusing on core. I began by pulling that damn sled. I completed 60m sprints with 45, 60, 70, 80, and 90#. I had forgotten how much I hate pulling that damn sled.

I put on my 45# weight vest and held a plank for 3 minutes, adding one-legged and one-armed holds. The last minute was the hardest, and I had to grit my teeth in order to hold the plank. I recorded and reviewed. I did hold a good plank throughout. The most noticeable accomplishment, however, is that I finally have an ass. It took almost three years, but I finally have an ass. A rather nice and shapely ass, I might add. I showed the recording to Jeff, Michael Kelley, and anyone else who would watch, and snapped a picture. Yes, I had drawn an arrow to my ass.

I then did 25 “walking” planks and 2 x 10 toes to bar while wearing weight vest. No, fools, I didn’t wear the weight vest for walking planks.

I led the Community WOD which consisted of 13, 12, 10… 3, 2, 1 kettle bell swings, Abmat sit-ups, and wall ball shots.

Michael Kelley was nice to me during lunch, so I forgive him for being such an ass. CrossFit Zeal treated me to lunch! Thanks, Tom and Michael Kelley!

Ambassador Dave

I coached at CFZ this morning, and had a marvelous time doing so. I have excellent time management skills. I’m also good at herding cats. Yes, 6amers? Oh, and I’m funny.

I attended the 8:30 session at CFD led by the always lovely Ashley Denton. My sole purpose for being there was to help lululemon athletica Durham welcome my good friend, Dave, as an Ambassador. Congratulations, Dave!

Back to me: I wore Lululemon Response shorts and my “To the Second Tree and Back” shirt. I looked resplendent. (Did you just learn a new word, Michael Kelley?)

Ashley was kind enough to allow me to do modify the WOD to fit my current programming.

Front squat
2 x 8 @ 75%

I warmed up with the bar, 95, 115, and 135, and then completed sets @ 165#. Ashley observed and commented that my range of motion has improved. Thanks for noticing, Ashley! Thanks for helping me with my flexibility, Michael Kelley! I recorded many of the sets, and used Coach’s Eye app to analyze. The bar is moving in a straight line, and I am squatting below parallel. As Tracey was observing the video, I drew a line to represent the path of the bar. She said, “You’re so straight, Paul.” I looked at her and jokingly said, “Don’t ever call me that again. You’re gaycist.” She didn’t quite know how to respond, so I explained what a gaycist is. We all had a laugh, and all agreed that I might be bi-curious.

I was fortunate enough to be working at a station beside the always bubbly Lexy, who was attempting a front squat PR. I provided some direction and support, and recorded both of her PRs. Her final lift was at bodyweight (I’m guessing 78#) and I’m confident she can lift an even heavier weight.

Dave finally arrived and asked, “What are you doing here?” I expected him to ask that very question. I replied, “You said I am always welcome.” “I didn’t mean it literally,” he said with a smile on his face. Oh, Dave, you’re such a soft-tittied douche bag. I love you nonetheless.

“Dave” WOD
20 thrusters
20 pushups
20 Abmat sit-ups
Run 800m

I’ve done more than enough upper body activities this past week, so I wasn’t in the mood for thrusters. I substituted 30” box jumps. I also completed plyometric pushups and GHD sit-ups. It’s also likely that I ran farther than others.

My goal was to complete all activities unbroken. Uhm, not a lofty goal, but as I had already upped the ante by substituting plyo pushups and GHD sit-ups, I wasn’t sure what else I could do.

I did get enjoyment from letting Dave know my progress. “Dave, I just completed 20, 30” box jumps. You’re still doing thrusters? Dave, I did plyometric pushups. What are you doing? Dave, I just did 20 GHD sit-ups, yet you’re still doing pushups. What the hell is wrong with you?” I couldn’t tease him during the run, well, because I left him in my dust. Right, Dave? Right?

I completed the metcon in exactly 7 minutes, and then helped cheer for Dave as he accepted his proposal. I also gave him a big hug.

I coached the 5 and 6pm sessions at CFD this evening for my friend, Erin. I had a wonderful time doing so, and saw quite a few people I haven’t seen since I made the move to CFZ. There were more than a dozen in both sessions.

Lexy attended yet another session, and got yet another front squat PR, yo.

I received quite a few compliments on my coaching, and that made me feel very nice and appreciated. Thanks, CFDers!

(Dave, I enjoy substitute coaching at CFD. Keep that in mind. Okay?)