How long have you been sitting on THAT one?

Michael Kelley attempting to row backwards.
Michael Kelley attempting to row backwards.

I don’t understand why so many CFers are enamored of “Fran”. I have been asked my Fran time far too many times. When I then ask someone her or his mile time, I get an empty stare. Fran is overrated. There, I said it.

Uhm, guess what benchmark WOD was scheduled today at CFZ?

I nonetheless attended the 7:15am session, and Michael Kelley was kind enough to allow me to do my own thing. I did participate in the warm-up that included rolling a 45# barbell on biceps and forearms.

As Michael Kelley, upon reviewing a recording of my attempt at a 125# OHS said that rep didn’t count as I didn’t break parallel, I wanted to attempt OHS at that weight but in his presence. I had forgotten about his gravitational pull. More in a moment…

Overhead squat

Work up to heavy single

I completed 5 reps @ 75, 95, & 105, and then singles at 115 and 125#. Yes, 125#.

I did, however, complete 7 reps @ 95#. While attempting the 3rd rep of the first set @ 95#, Michael Kelley walked toward me. The gravitational pull of his, let’s just go ahead and say it, ass pulled the bar I was holding overhead toward him, and I fell on my own ass. I said, “Don’t look at me when I’m lifting, Michael Kelley.” He replied, “I’m confused. Sometimes you say you want me to watch and sometimes you say that you don’t want me to watch. Which is it?” “You should know me well enough to be able to know what I want, Michael Kelley,” I replied. “Can’t you read my mind by now?”

So, 125# is my new new 1RM. My goal is to OHS my bodyweight by the end of June 2013.

I was still working on OHS as the 7:15amers began “Fran”. I was kind enough to provide direction and support to the athletes, as Michael Kelley was busy chomping on a turkey leg.

Michael Kelley was kind enough to suggest the metcon, and I hate him for doing so.
Burpee with lateral jump on 24” box

I can’t recall having done lateral box jumps as part of a metcon, let alone with a burpee before each jump. Lateral jumps were very challenging, and for whatever reason more so when jumping to the left. I’m left-leg dominant, so this surprised me.

My goal was to complete all rounds of burpee lateral box jumps and pull-ups unbroken, and I kinda achieved this goal. For the last 2 reps of both the round of 15 and 9 pull-ups, I paused briefly while hanging from the pull-up bar before completing the pull-ups. I did not, however, drop from the bar.

Nicole H. and Jeff were kind enough to time me, and my time was 6:51.

Michael Kelley has taken to wearing Lululemon shorts. Now I understand why the fabric has and needs so much give. As I was departing I said, “Lululemon has a new line of clothing, Michael Kelley, and they want you to be the spokesperson. It’s called “Muumuulemon.” I picture Divine as Edna, Tracy Turnblad’s mother in “Hairspray.” (But not as John Travolta as Edna. Just so you know.)

Plank you very much

As I often say, if your back is sore the day after dead-lifting it’s not because you did heavy deadlifts. It’s because you have shitty form. My glutes are sore today. This obviously means I have spectacular form. True story.

CrossFit is constantly varied. I get it. Life, however, is not always as varied. Thus, I sometimes do the same activity on back-to-back days, and today afforded me that opportunity.


I warmed up, and then did sets at 185, 225, 275, 305, and 315#. I recorded all sets to ensure that my form was indeed spectacular. Confirmed.

I then coached the 10 and 11am sessions at CFD. Dave had programmed a fast and furious metcon. As I knew I’d have ample time, I included a (non pre-approved) skill session. On the whiteboard I wrote:
A. Warm up
B. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 KB swings (70/53) and box jumps (24/20)
C. “Plank you very much”
D. Cool down

There were 18 and 16 and the 10 and 11am sessions, respectively. Wow. I’m glad that I’m skilled at crowd control. I very much like having 15 minutes for a warm up! Was yoga included, you ask? Why, yes! As I was in the center of the circle of athletes, quite a few people got a very good look at my ass. You’re welcome. You in particular, Jules.

I was very pleased that athletes listened to me so carefully and followed direction so well. I’m referring to proper form for KB swings and box jumps. Well done, athletes!

I very much enjoyed coaching this metcon, as I like when there is somewhat of a level playing field. I provided very clear guidelines, e.g., only American swings, all rounds unbroken, hips extended at the top of the box, no rebounding off of the floor, etc. Some athletes helped level the playing field by jumping on a 30” box, completing Rx, or going somewhat heavier with KB swings.

Uhm, there almost weren’t enough boxes to go around. Ms. Amy Scott kindly substituted lunges for box jumps (due to an injury and her awesomeness) and Kevin and Pete (visiting from NY) shared a box. Sharing is caring.

“So,” you ask, “what the hell is ‘Plank you very much’?”

10-minute held plank, including plank variations. If athletes can no longer hold plank, there is a mandatory 30-second rest. Score is total time of help plank; thus a perfect score is 10 minutes.

The variety was very much the same for both sessions. We began with a 60-second held plank. Side, forearm, one-legged, one-handed, one-legged and one-handed, and “walking” planks were included.

Sadly, only one person from each of the sessions was able to hold the plank for the entire 10 minutes. Happily, that person was me!

You can wash laundry on these abs, folks. I kid you not.

Both sessions completed a 5-minute cool down, focusing on the lower back and shoulders, and I still had 5 minutes to spare. Yup, I had planned it this way. As athletes don’t often get an opportunity to rope climb, I provided instruction and then allowed anyone who wanted to give it a try to do so. Nice work those of you who climbed the rope for the very first time!


26aI had a very enjoyable time coaching the 8am CFZers, and there were quite a few in attendance – including the birthday girl, Shari! Today’s focus was the dead-lift, and all except Mandi, who is recovering from an injury, achieved a new 1RM PR. Shout outs to Maggi, Johanna, Kelvin, Shari, Jeff, Mike W., John, Margie, Debbie, and Wes!

Michael Kelley took me aside as folks were setting up for the metcon and asked, “Can you coach the 9:15 session?” I asked, “Why?” “Because I’m in a really bad mood. Did you see how late I got here? I haven’t even been able to work out yet.” As Jeff I and drove in together, I let Michael Kelley that I’d have to ask Jeff if this was possible. Jeff, who isn’t on his period, ensured me that arrangements could be made.

I coached the 9:15 am session as well. Only one shout out, and that goes to Cindy who achieved a 30# PR. Well done, Cindy!

Having only eaten a half of a peanut butter and banana bagel, I was getting very, very hungry by the time the 10:30 session, led finally by Michael Kelley, began. I wore my new Batman socks that Jeff got me for Christmas. Or maybe Michael Kelley got them for me. I can’t remember. Michael Kelley led us through mobility, including sideways steps using a green band. As there weren’t enough bands for all present, he gave both Nicole and me one of his very own green bands to use. I immediately used mine to floss between my ass cheeks.

I just wasn’t feeling it this morning as far as dead-lifts, and was not able to achieve a new 1RM. I shall attempt again in the very near future, but on a full stomach.

12-min ARMAP

X power cleans back squats
5 chest to bar pull-ups
10 burpees

As my left elbow is still sore, I substituted back squats. The number of back squats increased by one each round. I had originally planned on using bodyweight (as prescribed for men for power cleans) but Michael Kelley insisted that I use 155#, i.e., 11# more than bodyweight. When I asked him why he said, “Midol just isn’t working for me this morning. I feel bloated, and my ankles are swollen. I also want to eat everything in sight. And I’m very, very moody. I cried this morning on three separate occasions. Hold me. No, don’t touch me. Do you think I’m pretty? Do I look fat?”

My goal was to complete all rounds unbroken. I lined up 8 chips (thinking I’d get at least 7 rounds) in a line beside the squat rack, moving a chip from the left to the right at the start of each round so as to keep track of how many back squats I had to do that round.

I completed all rounds unbroken. The back squats were by far the most challenging activity, as my heart was certainly racing after each round of burpees. As the metcon progressed, I set the lofty goal of completing 8 rounds. I did so with 30 seconds left. Dammit. I rested 10 seconds, and completed 6 additional back squats. Total = 8 rounds + 6 reps.

I lapped you twice, Nicole.

Toll Road

Paul's at the bottom of the snatch, yo.
Paul’s at the bottom of the snatch, yo.

Jeff and I spent a couple of hours driving around industrial parks and looking at potential locations for CrossFit Surmount. I’m pleased that we’ve already discovered a few promising sites. More details soon. In the meantime, please keep your fingers crossed.

A few people have suggested that I be more secretive about, well, just about everything. I see no reason why I should do so. I’m opening a business, I know there are competitors, and I know I’ll be successful. If anything, I’d like to work with other CrossFits to form an even larger community. I’m not actively trying to steal members from other boxes. I am actively looking to introduce even more people to the wonderfulness that is CrossFit, with an emphasis on the “fit”.

Michael Kelley texted me early this morning letting me know it was “safe” to work out at 7:15 or 8:30. I informed him that I would be going to CFD this morning, knowing full well that I would indeed be working out at CFZ.

I entered the box along with Leah. Michael Kelley said, “You lie to me all of the time.” I don’t lie; I’m merely not completely honest. There’s a difference.

He greeted me with a warm hug. I think that our genitals may have touched.

Uhm, my BFF may not be very smart. The new extension of 540 is open from 64 in Apex to 55 in Holly Springs. Signs clearly indicate that tolls will begin January 2, yet he is convinced that that section of THE TOLL ROAD will not have, well, tolls. “The signs say that tolling begins at 64.” Yes, Michael Kelley, tolls do begin at 64 – until January 2. Nothing anyone said to him could convince him of this fact. I would like to be present when he opens his first bill.

On a related note, there will soon be an opening for a BFF. Please send your resume and references. Specifically, I’m looking for someone who has common sense as well as intelligence.

Michael Kelley led us through mobility, and by led I mean started the clock. Oh, wait. I did that. He kept track of the time and let us know when to switch arms or legs. Oh, wait. I did that. He does at least know the difference between static and dynamic. Good job, Michael Kelley! Part of the warm up consisted of PVC pipe OHS practice. Michael Kelley said, “Pause at the bottom.” I heard “Paul’s at the bottom.” Michael Kelley said, “Pause at the top.” I heard “Paul’s at the top.” Thus, each time I squatted I said, “Paul’s at the bottom.” Each time I stood I said, “Paul’s at the top.” Perhaps I’m versatile.

Today’s focus was on the snatch. The dreadful snatch. I have received so much coaching on this lift from as many as a dozen different coaches, and it’s difficult for me to even remember what to do. Does the bar touch or not touch my legs? Do I squat to parallel or do I begin with my ass slightly in the air? How far should my feet be spread at the start? How far should my feet be spread at the finish? Gah!

For a change of pace I listened carefully to what Michael Kelley said, and I followed his direction. For the most part, I was successful.

With 65% of 1RM on the bar, we completed 1 snatch and 1 hang snatch OTM for 8 minutes. Sixty-five percent of 100 is 65. Even I could do that math in my head, yo. I continued for another 8 minutes as my fellow CFZers worked on cleans. Yup, my elbow still hurts. Dammit.

I am much more proficient with hang snatches then I am with snatches from the flo’. Michael Kelley suggested that I briefly pause when the bar is just above my knee. I shall try that.

3 rounds for time
10 OHS (50% of snatch 1RM)
15 toes to bar GHD sit-ups
20 KB swings, 53#

As faithful readers know, I sincerely believe that Michael Kelley incorporates toes to bar into far too many metcons, and I’ve repeatedly told him so. He granted me permission to substitute GHD sit-ups.

My goal was to complete all rounds unbroken, and I did just that. I used 65 instead of 50# for OHS, and even Michael Kelley said that my OHSs looked good. Yay! That made my day! Michael Kelley’s opinion is soooooo very important to me. No, really. I’m not being sarcastic. Or am I?…

As my back was to the clock for KB swings, I actually yelled “Time!” That hasn’t happened in quite some time. Sometimes I yell “Time!” (That was fun.) Oh, my time was 6:35.

I overheard Mike telling Michael Kelley that he struggled with stringing together toes to bar. I said, “Let me show you how.” He replied, “But my arms are a little tired.” “That’s the best time to practice, Mike,” I said. I demonstrated kipping toes to bar, gave him some direction, and let him try. Mike is a very good athlete, and quickly got the swing of things.

As I’ve stated before and as I’ll likely state again, “I should coach this shit.”

I really should.

Emoticons may be misinterpreted

26aMy BFF knows what the title references.

Short post today, ladies and gentlemen. I attended open gym at CFZ this morning, as Luke is spending the day at Doggie Village. I arrived at 5:45 and was immediately joined by Claire. Yes, lululemon addict Claire! Then who should my wandering eyes see but Sara! Yes, logo-creating Sara! John and a newbie were also in attendance. Good time, good times.

Today’s focus was on the split jerk. After warming up, I did 3 reps @ 75, 95, 105, 115, 125, 135, & 145. While I did occasionally allow my left foot to take a step back whilst dipping, for the most part I was able to keep this under control. As the weight got heavier I found it more difficult to land in a long lunge. Yes, ‘twas out of fear. ‘Twas.

Having not done so in a very loooooong time, I working on Turkish get-ups. Thank you, muscle memory. I completed reps (both arms) @ 26, 35, 44, & 53. For whatever reason, I’m moving my foot away from my butt just before beginning the get-up. This is why I record my activities. You should, too.

I wanted a fast and furious metcon, so I created the following:

5 round for time
10 ring dips
50 parallette lateral hops

The parallette is a little over 1’. My goal was to note time at end of first round and then complete even splits. I completed the first round in 1:02 and the metcon in 5:10. You can’t get much more even than that, ladies and gentlemen.

Surmount. Overcome. Scale. (Very appropriate term.) Prevail. Conquer. Triumph. Vanquish. Transcend. I’m trying to create a tagline for CrossFit Surmount using synonyms. If you have any brilliant ideas, send them my way!

Now that 540 from Apex to Holly Springs is open, it takes me a mere 12 minutes to get to Zeal; thus, it’s the closest CrossFit to our house. Dammit.

Doin’ a Double

I attended open gym at CFD this morning, arriving at 8:45. Dave arrived shortly after 9 and immediately asked, “What are you doing here?” I replied, “You said that I’m always welcome. I have the text to prove it.” Dave then explained why, although he liked the film “Les Miserables”, he enjoyed the stage version more. Dave is one of the gayest straight friends I have. Michael Kelley is the gayest straight friend I have.

I created my very own metcon. I’m just that damn talented.

Dead-lifts, 185#
Burpee pull-ups
Plate pushups, 45# plate

My goal was to complete all reps unbroken, and I achieved that goal, completing the metcon in 12:11. While not particularly challenging, it was an exhausting workout nonetheless. Perhaps I consumed too much sugar yesterday.

I talked briefly with Doug and Troie, and finally got around to asking Troie why he and Kristen were no longer together. I have a right to know, don’t I? Well, don’t I? (If you’re reading this know that I miss you, Kristen.)

Luke and I got caught in a downpour during our afternoon walk and we both enjoyed running in the rain tremendously. I none-so-secretly love the smell of a wet dog.

Jeff and I saw “The Hobbit” and I detested almost every minute of it. What a HUGE disappointment! Blech.

Jeff and I attended open gym at CFZ this evening, arriving at 4:45. Jeff surprised me by suggesting that we bench press together. Jeff might be the straightest gay man I know. I completed 5 reps @ 95, 105, 115, 135, 145, & 155, and singles at 165 & 175, just 5# shy of 1RM. I attempted 185# twice – and failed twice. I know I’m not going to complete the lift when I excessively arch my back.

I once again created my own meton. Once again, I’m just that damn talented.

20-minute AMRAP
1 rope climb, 15’
5 GHD sit-ups
10 knees to elbows
15 box jumps, 30”

This was both challenging and exceedingly fun.

I double-bagged my left leg, i.e., taped my leg as well as my sock. I’m very much beginning to enjoy rope climbs and my technique continues to improve. What I didn’t particularly like, however, was just how many CFZers watched me each and every time I climbed the rope. As I’m in a forgiving mood (to all except one), I forgive you all (except one).

I completed all rounds of GHD sit-ups unbroken, ensuring that tops of hands touched the floor and fingers touched my toes each and every rep.

Why knees to elbows instead of toes to bar? For a change of pace. Michael Kelley includes toes to bar far too frequently in metcons. I hadn’t done kipping knees to elbows in ages, but fortunately I hadn’t forgotten how to do so. I did the first 4 rounds unbroken, rounds 5 through 7 in reps of 7 and then singles, and the last round in reps of 6 and then singles.

Going from abs (GHD sit-ups) to abs (knees to elbows) was an unexpected journey. (I hated that damn movie.)

I completed all rounds of box jumps unbroken, and this came as a delightful and unexpected (there’s that word again) surprise.

If you’ve been doing the math, it appears that I completed 8 rounds. I almost completed 8 rounds. I was working at a very steady pace, and had completed exactly 4 rounds at the 10-minute mark. I set my goal to have an even split; thus, to complete an additional 4 rounds.

At the 2-minute mark I asked Jeff to count down the time for me. I really gave it my all during the last box jumps, but had only completed 14 as Jeff counted down from 3. Dammit. I almost completed 1 last rep to say that I did, but really, what useful purpose would that serve?

I enjoyed talking briefly with Lauren, although I missed seeing Tim. I also very much enjoyed talking with Margaret, who is always a bundle of energy and a very positive person. I like that! She also gave me a hug, although I was on the floor on all fours and was a sweaty mess. Yes, it was post-metcon.

Until CrossFit Surmounts opens (date TBD), I have to decide what to do about my own workouts. Jumping from box to box can wreak havoc on my body, as the programming is differs from CFBC to CFD to CFZ. What should I do? I’m asking this question, and I want a response.

To the right.
To the right.
To the left.
To the left.
Uhm, I'm left-foot dominant. Can you tell?
Uhm, I’m left-foot dominant. Can you tell?
Look at that kip!
Look at that kip!
Full extension with shoulders behind bar.
Full extension with shoulders behind bar.
Notice flat back and neutral neck.
Notice flat back and neutral neck.

Thong Song

I worked out at CFD from 9 to 10 and then coached the 10 and 11am sessions. For a change of pace, today’s workout didn’t include a metcon. Say whaaaaat? No metcon.

I recorded all lifts and from a variety of angles. Not angels, angles.

Low bar back squats with 3-second pause at bottom of squat

I completed sets of 3 reps @ 135, 165, 185, & 205#. There’s no doubt that I’m breaking parallel, and my knees certainly don’t track in. Holding the squat was certainly a challenge, and I often had to struggle to stand up after the last rep.

Front squats

I completed sets of 2 reps @ 135, 165, 185, & 205#. Lifts felt very solid today. I focused on pushing my hips forward so as to not first raise my very shapely and firm ass.

Overhead squats with 3-second pause at bottom of squat

I completed sets of 3 reps @ 65, 75, 80, & 85#. As I reviewed the recordings I can clearly see that I still have a tendency to look down. Gah! OHS felt shaky today, and I can be heard saying “This is not fun.” I completed one last set of 3 @ 85# wearing Inov8s instead of weightlifting shoes, as I think that weightlifting shoes may very well push me on my toes. I’ll have my BFF (TBD) view recordings and provide feedback.

That was a whole lot of squats! It’s no wonder that my ass is so firm and shapely.

Jamie touched my heart today, although if she wanted to she could’ve also touched my ass. She surprised me with a present – an orange Lululemon water bottle! And a thong. An orange thong. Thanks, Jamie!

I was delighted that 8 and 7 people attended the 10 and 11am sessions, respectively, including two visitors at the 10am session, Charla and Jessa. As has become the tradition, today’s WOD was “The Grinch”. Having completed this WOD as recently as a couple of weeks ago, I was curious to see if anyone could beat my time of 17:10. My good friend, Einar, came the closest at 18:40. I shall call him “Max”. Most people struggled on the ring dips, which I found to be the easiest part of the workout. It was nice to see Nat, a recent Foundations graduate. Nice work, all! A shout out to Ann, who attended the 11am session. As I said to her wife, Claire, Ann is always consistent. She wisely chooses a weight that she can handle and scales activities based upon her skill level. Another shout out to Rona, who never gives up. Niiiiice! I will continue to warn Claire about keeping a flat back and Erica about keeping a neutral neck. Again, nice work all!

I was once again surprised by yet another gift, this one from Rona and Einar. A beautiful picture frame! I can think of the perfect picture worthy of framing. Yes, it’s one of me wearing an orange thong and showing off my shapely and firm ass.

One last thing before I go… Charla gave me a wonderful compliment. She said that the warm up that I led the sessions through had the best focus on mobility that she had received at any box she has visited. Thanks, Charla! As I always say, the more focused the warm up, the better the WOD.

IMG_0946 IMG_0943 IMG_0248 IMG_0255 IMG_0249

12 Days of Christmas

Merry Christmas Eve, Folks!

I am publicly admitting that I was disappointed in my third place finish at the Naughty or Nice 10K. I should’ve caught the second place finisher. I am reminding myself, though, that the first place finisher is 17 and the second place finisher is 27. Even this body gets slower as I get older. Sigh.

I am also public admitting that I was disappointed that so few people congratulated me on the race. It appears that my Facebook settings were modified and my post wasn’t displaying on my Timeline. Gah!

Prior to coaching at CFD yesterday, I worked on OHS form. I was able to successfully squat 125#, a PR by 10#, but I just couldn’t seem to break parallel when attempting 135#. Sigh.

As there were only 4 and 5 at the 10 and 11am sessions, respectively, I modified the metcon so that folks could complete in teams of 2. Less reps is seldom a bad thing.

Amy Scott completed 53 unbroken double unders! She’s super fantastic.

Michael Kelley was under the false impression that I was out of town for the Holidays, and he was quite surprised when I offered to coach at CFZ. Tom and Michael Kelley have been very generous and understanding (regarding opening CrossFit Surmout), so it was the least I could do.

I didn’t, however, expect so many folks to attend! There were 17 and 21 at the 8 and 9:30am sessions, respectively. That’s quite a few people. Today’s focus was on the front squat or back squat. The metcon was 2 rounds of 2-minutes of max reps of air squats, hand release push-ups, Abmat sit-ups, and kettle bell swings, with a minute rest between rounds.

I’m a stickler for form, and I don’t ever hesitate to correct poor form. As Travis was doing hand release push-ups, I noticed that he was only lifting the palms of his hands, i.e., his fingers remained on the floor. I said, “Release your entire hand from the floor, Travis.” He looked up, smiled, and said, “My shoulders are so big that I can’t release my hands.” I paused a moment and said, “That’s why I can’t get my hips to the floor.” Think about it. Got it? Good. Going on.

I created my own “12 Days of Christmas”. My goal was to complete all activities in unbroken reps. I thought it was going to be easier to do so than it was, but I did achieve my goal nonetheless.

1 100m run
2 wall crawls
3 ring dips
4 toes through rings
5 pull-ups
6 KB swings, 52#
7 wall balls, 10’ target, 10# wall ball
8 box jumps, 24”
9 hand release pushups
10 front squats, 95#
11 air squats holding 45# plate
12 push presses, 95#

For those unfamiliar with the workout, some explanation… I ran 100 meters. I did 2 wall crawls and ran 100 meters. I did 3 ring dips, 2 wall crawls, and ran 100m. Get it? Good. Going on.

As I got tired, the wall crawls presented the biggest challenge. Even though I only did 3 rounds of 10 fronts squats at 95#, fronts squats were also challenging to complete unbroken. Push presses were also very challenging, as I was quite tired by this point of the workout – and the wall crawls were smoking my shoulders.

1200m run
22 wall crawls
30 rings dips
36 toes through rings
40 pull-ups
42 KB swings
42 wall ball shots
40 box jumps
36 HRPUs
30 front squats
22 air squats
12 push presses

Time = 31:12.5

It was nice of me to coach, yes?
It was nice of me to coach, yes?
Post 9:30 metcon.
Post 9:30 metcon.


Paul's 12 Days of Christmas
Paul’s 12 Days of Christmas
Cursive, just to piss off Michael Kelley.
Cursive, just to piss off Michael Kelley.
Yours truly coaching the 8amers.
Yours truly coaching the 8amers.
My BFF is gaycist.
My BFF is gaycist.

Naughty or Nice 10K

Location: Wilmington, NC
Place: 3rd overall
Time: 40:06
Pace: 6:27 mpm

It had been 2 years, 3 months, and 11 days since I had run a 10K, and I was somewhat anxious when thinking about how I might do after having not raced is such a very long time. It was a chilly 35 degrees this morning, and I don’t like to run when it’s cold. Wah, wah, wah.

I wore Inov8 Bare-X 150s, 2XU calve sleeves, Lululemon shorts, CrossFit Invoke tee shirt, Moeben arm sleeves, Mizono hat, and Brooks mittens. My toes and fingers didn’t thaw until miles 5 and 5.5, respectively.

I didn’t wear a watch if for no other reason than I didn’t want to get caught up with my pace. My one and only goal was to breath no more frequently than every third step; thus, this was a race based solely on perceived effort.

The race started at about five minutes after 9. The horn sounded and the first place finisher took off, with the eventual second place finisher, Devin and me not too far behind. We ran about .2 mile and took a left turn – into a very strong headwind. I wanted to quit. I thought, “Just step to the side and walk back to the start. There’s no reason that you have to run this race.” I continued.

I could see Devin ahead of me the entire race, and I was catching up with him mile by mile. More in a moment.

I found my pace by mile 1.5, and even began to enjoy myself. I looked behind me a few times and there was never anyone in sight; thus, I didn’t feel compelled to push the pace.

At the 3-mile mark I thought, “I should’ve registered for the damn 5K.”

There were quite a few times when we ran directly into a very strong headwind, and I’m certain that it slowed down my pace. I found myself actually bending at the waist and looking at the ground. Huh? What about posture, lean, and lift?

I had constantly had Devin in my sights and was confident that I could catch him. Just past the 6-mile mark, we took a sharp right turn, ran around a cone, and then ran back. When Devin saw me catching him, he took off! Dammit! I probably wait too long for my finishing kick. He finished just 10 seconds ahead of me.

Jeff ran the 5K and finished 3rd in his age group. Our friends Scott and Kelly ran the 10K. Scott and I talked just before the start of the race and he told me that he’d ideally like to break 50 minutes. I talked with Devin briefly at the finish, and then ran back to find Scott. I found him just before the 6-mile mark and ran him to the finish. I was bound and determined that he would achieve his goal, but I knew he’d have to dig deep to do so. He finished in 49:45! I ran back to run in Kelly and found her at just about the same place as I had found Scott. Kelly also did a spectacular job and finished 4th in her age group.

I kinda enjoyed myself today. I’m kinda leaning toward actually running the Umstead Marathon.


Post-race beer. Served in a plastic cup.
Post-race beer. Served in a plastic cup.
Jeff, Paul, Kelly, and Scott
Jeff, Paul, Kelly, and Scott
Third place overall. Not too shabby.
Third place overall. Not too shabby.
Naughty. Not nice.
Naughty. Not nice.

You may call me “Sir.” Or “Sir Mount.”

Elf off the shelf!
Elf off the shelf!
100# snatch.
100# snatch.
Back it up!
Back it up!

My gift to all of you this holiday season? I very lengthy post.

Nikki (!) led this morning’s 6am session at CFBC, and while we were talking about Wednesday’s WOD I was reminded of a childhood event.

As part of a parent/teacher assembly the second graders at St. Joseph’s Elementary School were to perform a variety of activities that we learned in (our very limited) gym class. Sister Mary Henrietta, my teacher, selected me to demonstrate how to climb a rope. Keep in mind that I was the shortest boy in my class, yet somehow I always managed to climb to the top of the rope the fastest. The day before the BIG EVENT, we held our very last practice run. I, however, had forgotten my sneakers (that’s what we called them in New Jersey) at home, and had to attempt to climb the rope wearing my patent leather dress shoes. Perhaps needless to say, I failed to climb to the top of the rope. I became exceedingly upset, and even cried a little. Yes, I cried. I was only 7 years old, so give me a damn break! Sister Mary Henrietta tried to encourage me, and I tried to convince her to not make me climb that damn rope during the next day’s assembly. She sternly told me that this was not an option.

The day of the BIG EVENT arrived, and it was all that I could do to keep from throwing up. It was finally my turn to demonstrate my rope climbing abilities. I did remember to bring and wear my sneakers! I was introduced. I walked to the rope. I looked up at the rope. I bowed my head. I made the sign of the cross. I said a Hail Mary. The audience erupted into laughter, and I was convinced that they were laughing at me and thinking, “How can that little boy climb that rope!” I finished my prayer, grabbed the rope, and quickly climbed up and slid down. The audience erupted into very loud applause, and some people even rose to their feet. I smiled a very wide smile and felt very, very proud. I didn’t realize at the time that the audience was laughing at me saying a Hail Mary and not at my height and perceived physical abilities.

I should remind myself of this, you know, because I’m so insecure and all.

I coached the 6 and 7pm sessions at CFD yesterday evening, and discovered that I can be quite talkative when I coach. The focus was on the dead-lift, and athletes completed 5 sets of 2 reps @ 85% of 1RM. I explained my rationale for doing so, and then had each athlete perform her/his reps solo, asking the other athletes to observe form and provide feedback. Gwen and Rebecca have near-perfect form. Andrew is strong – when he keeps a neutral neck. Katie and Amanda are also very strong – when they don’t round their backs. Two of my favorites, Sandra and Rona, were also in attendance, so I had a wonderful time coaching! (I’m still not sure, though, why folks attending open gym insist upon working out in the main area instead of off to the side where the barbell club takes place.)

I just had a thought. Stay with me on this one.

I’m loud when I teach and/or coach. I know that. I offer no apologies. When I first began teaching as a 23-year-old at NCSU, I would close the door as soon as the class began so as to not interfere with the teaching going on in the other rooms. Almost every day that I taught, the door would be opened; evidently by someone in the hallway. I would close the door. The door would be opened. I began to become very insecure, thinking that people were listening to my teaching and then reporting bad things to by boss. It wasn’t until the end of my first semester teaching that I discovered what was happening. At the end of my very first performance review my boss asked, “Do you who keeps opening your door when you teach, and do you know why?” “I have no idea,” I replied. “The other teachers have heard such great things about your teaching that they make it a point to stop by and listen. I hear nothing but wonderful things about your teaching abilities.” I’ll leave it at that. No I won’t. I won the Teacher of the Year Award every year that I was eligible. The awards are packed in a box. I might have to hang them on the walls of my office.

Aaaaaand, I’m back.

Today’s focus at CFBC was the snatch and nothing but the snatch. And I liked it! I might be 20/80.

Nikki did a wonderful job of leading us through the requirements of the snatch.

Snatch Balance

I warmed up, and then successfully did sets @ 75, 80, 85, 95, 100, and 105#. Nikki provided great direction. Michael Kelley reviewed the set @ 105# and even he said (with his trained eye) that the snatches were good. “I can’t believe how quickly you dropped under the bar!” said Michael Kelley as he = wiped donut crumbs from his mouth.


I warmed up with 75 and 85, and then completed singles @ 90, 95, and 100#. I failed an attempt at 105#. And that’s okay. Uhm, I just realized that my previous snatch 1RM was 85#, so I got a PR today, bitches. A 15# PR. Bitches.

Perform 2 snatches at 85% of 1RM every minute for 5 minutes

Eighty-five percent of 100 is 85. I’m that good at math. I successfully completed all 10 reps, although quite a few were power snatches.

Today was the most secure that I have ever felt with snatches (of any kind). Maybe I’m 21/79.

My former (I haven’t told him yet) best friend, Michael Kelley, asked me to stop by Zeal this morning so that he could  give me something. Let you imagination run wild, as mine most certainly did. I quietly entered the box as he was providing “coaching” to an athlete. He was, of course, seated on a box as he was providing this “coaching”. When he stood up and walked to the other end of the box, I quietly sat down where he had just been seated. He turned around and eventually noticed me – and almost peed himself. “I’m an elf on the shelf. Did I surprise you, Michael Kelley?” I asked. CrossFit Zeal gave me a gift certificate to Starbucks. Thanks, Tom! (And Michael Kelley, too, I suppose.)

Get ready for some very good news! CrossFit HQ accepted my affiliation request, although the name “Apogee” was taken. I was asked to submit up to 3 additional names, and asked my friends to offer their suggestions. They ranged from the stellar (Culmination, Leviathan, Centaur, and Errantry) to the sublime (RamRod, No Rep, Van Damme). After I sent my request, my good friend, Darren, suggested CrossFit Surmount.


  1. Overcome (a difficulty or obstacle).
  2. Stand or be placed on top of.
Synonyms:  Overcome – vanquish – master – overpower – get over – top




How awesome of a name is that? I modified my request, and the name CrossFit Surmount was approved. I can’t begin to communicate how exciting all of this is.

Now I just need to find the location. If you have any specific suggestions, please send them my way!