My view whilst pressing.
My view whilst pressing.
I love this dog.
I love this dog.

It may take you a while to understand the meaning of the title of this blog.

I weighed myself this morning, and came in at a whopping 140 pounds.

I worked out with the 8:30 am athletes, led by Coach Deborah. I usually take Luke for a walk at this time and work out at 9:30, but I didn’t want to eat before going upside down 50 times. I’m just that smart.

Every 90 seconds for up to 15 minutes (10 rounds maximum) until power jerk failure 
1 press + 1 push press + 1 power jerk

I had one goal in mind: establish new press 1RM. I completed sets (press + push press + power jerk) @ 105, 115, 125, and 135. Lifts felt good, so I put 2.5# plates on the ends of the bar and went for it. Here’s what happened: I completed a press @ 140. Read the previous sentence. It took about 2.5 seconds to do so.

The press, however, took a little longer.

To give you some sense of how long it took to complete the rep, I’ll share my self-talk from just prior to placing my hands on the bar to finishing the lift.

Okay, Paul, there’s no time like the present. Deborah, just a 3-second count down? I need a 5-second count down. Hands on the bar. Rest the bar on shoulders, extend the wrists. Lock your knees, lock your knees, lock your knees. Deep breath. Squeeze your ass. Up, up, up, up, up. Oh, shit, I might not get this. The bar is still ascending. Fight for it, fight for it, fight for it! Shit, you’re stuck. Bring the bar to your shoulders. Oh, wait, the bar is still going up! Fight for it, fight for it, fight for it! Almost there. Lock your elbows. Do it. Lock your elbows. I just pressed my bodyweight! I just got a PR!

And then I said aloud, “That’s a PR, bitches!”

I finally pressed my bodyweight! It’s been a goal of mine for well over three years. How f@cking awesome is that?

Benchmark “Marguerita“

50 reps for time 
Burpee/Pushup/Jumping Jack/Sit-up/Handstand

Deborah said, “Claim your spot on the wall.” I did just that, but as I was putting my weightlifting shoes away someone else claimed my spot. Dammit. I wanted to be able to see the clock. I moved to the only spot now available — that happened to be one of two spots where one can’t seem the clock. Dammit.

I made stacks of 5 (for individual reps) and 10 (for rounds of 5 reps) poker chips. Or at least I thought I did. I thought, I’ll make two stacks using the five poker chips, starting with the stack by the wall, making a new stack, and then moving that stack farther away from the wall. ‘”Farther,” not “further. When I do that twice, move a poker chip from the stack of 10.

Uhm, that’d be 100 reps.

My goal was to have no failed reps. I came one rep shy of achieving that goal. Dammit.

But back to the counting.

I completed one rep and moved a chip. Two reps and moved a chip. Three reps and moved a chip. Four reps and moved a chip. Five reps and moved a chip.

But there was still a chip remaining. I had made a stack of six instead of five chips. I threw the extra chip far, far away. I call this “The Felicia.”

I made a new stack of chips, again, moving the chips farther away from the wall. Once I had moved all five chips I moved one chip from the stack of 10 and thought, Wait, that can’t be right. That’s 10 rounds, not just five. I don’t need a stack of 10, I just need a stack of five. But how can I be sure that I’ll know what stack of five I need to move? I should’ve used two different colors for the stacks. Dammit. 

I continued completing reps, working a very steady pace. I knew I was going to get a PR, as I was completing all handstands as prescribed and wasn’t wasting time re-doing.

Until the 30th rep, that is. Dammit. That threw me off. Read on.

I completed 5 more reps, making a stack a little away from the wall. I began the next five and then as I competed thought, Is this the second stack of five? The chips don’t look far enough away from the wall. Have I completed 40 or just 35 reps?

Dammit, dammit, DAMMIT.

I began what was, in retrospect, obviously the last two sets of five reps. I completed five reps and moved five chips. I yelled to Deborah, “I’m going to be calling ‘time’ twice. Record them both!” I thought she nodded her head in agreement. I finished my 50th rep and called “Time!” I then completed five more reps and once again called “Time!”

I was spent. I went to the board to see recorded times, only to discover that Deborah had only recorded the time I called after completing 55 reps, that time being 16:56.

I knew then that I had completed 55 reps. Deborah said informed me that she heard me say something, but she couldn’t hear me.

Dear Deborah,

First, I love you dearly. Second, if you don’t hear what an athlete has said (even if that athlete is me), please be sure to approach them and, you know, ask them what they said. What if I had said, “Deborah, I’m dying. Please call 911. As you do so I’ll, you know, get in a few more reps. ‘9-1-1,’ not ‘9-1-9,’ Deborah. That’s our area code.”



Here was my solution. I completed another 5 reps, recording the time it took me to do so: 1:21. I then subtracted that time from 16:56 for a time of 15:35. That’s a PR.


Aside One

A member recently shared their thoughts with me. (I’ve edited so as to help keep some anonymity.)

I feel like sometimes you miss some of my great achievements because you’re a tough critic.

Okay, I own that. At least the last statement. As I coach my focus is always much more on direction than it is on providing support and encouragement. It’s both a strength and a weakness, as some athletes need much more encouragement than do others. However, every single athlete needs direction.

Regardless, I cannot conceivably compliment every athlete on every accomplishment, as I don’t always know that they’ve achieved a goal, conquered a fear, passed a milestone, etc.

And I don’t think that I should even have to know this, as, with well over 100 athletes, it’s nearly impossible for me to keep track of this. Even with a spreadsheet.

Most importantly, I do not think/feel that I should have to note every accomplishment. According to Pavlov, intermittent positive reinforcement is more effective than continuous positive reinforcement. There’s such a thing as too much of a good thing.

When I offer a complement, it’s a sincere compliment.

Kelli, excellent job today! Your freestanding handstands were a sight to behold! That’s a sincere compliment!

Aside Two

As the M/W endurance athletes and I were walking back to the box after completing a workout a few of them shared with me that they thought I seem happier when I’m coaching endurance than when I’m coaching daily WODs. At first I took offense and became defensive, saying, “I enjoy coaching both!” They clarified what they meant, saying that I smiled and laughed more when coaching endurance, and that I always seemed to be enjoying myself.

Uhm, it’s hard not to smile when I’m running. Running = unadulterated joy.

Did you figure out the meaning of the title? Did you? Did you?


One thought on “PPPPR

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