A neck brace and progressive lenses do not mix well.

For the first time in as long as I can remember, this post is not about CrossFit or running, as I haven’t worked out in more than a week. Yup, I had the anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery. It’s just been six days since procedure and I’m well on my way to recovery. Yay!

The diagnosis was multilevel degenerative changes along the cervical spine with disc dissection, mild heterogeneous marrow signal, and endplate osteophytosis is redemonstrated. Findings are most prominent at C5-7.

I was the first surgery that took place the morning of Friday, November 18. I arrived at NC Speciality Hospital at 6 am, waited briefly, and was wheeled into pre-op bay. I changed into a gown, met with doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologist, had IV needle inserted, and waited patiently for procedure to begin. I was wheeled into the OR — and then remember being awake and being handed a cup of ice to chew. I was parched, as I hadn’t eaten or had any fluids since 10pm the previous evening. Nurse Dee took very good care of me. I was in some pain and discomfort but was able to speak and make requests. Yes, I’ll have a popsicle! Cherry, please!

As the procedure took place so early in the morning I thought that I might get to go home that evening. My hopes were immediately dashed, as I was informed that they’d need to monitor drainage from wound and I’d need additional antibiotics in my drip due to previous case of MRSA. I was also informed a number of times that all of the private rooms were occupied and that I’d likely be spending the evening in the same bay.

It was too fucking loud, as I was directly across from the nurses’ station. It was particularly too fucking loud at every shift change. It was as if all of the nurses were hovering over me and screaming at the top of their lungs! I let Nurse Dee know that I wasn’t able to rest, as I was very sensitive to sound.

I had to pee but insisted that I be allowed to use the restroom. Nurse Dee got a wheelchair ready and I insisted that I walk. Whilst I was peeing a nurse opened the door to check on me. Uhm, that’s a good way to stop a stream.

Dr. M check on me about 4 pm and informed me that the procedure went very well. He informed me that I would be spending the night in my current location. I said, “I haven’t been able to rest. It’s far too noisy and uncomfortable here. I have to get assistance to travel to the restroom.” “We’ll get you a room,” he replied.

And I was transferred to a room at about 6 pm. Nurse Jackie attended to me once, and then I never saw her again. I was having vitals checked every two hours but I honestly don’t think she did so. Nurse Beth arrived at midnight, and she graciously attended to my needs, bringing me extra iced tea and fruit cups, and allowing me to use the bathroom unassisted each time my vitals were taken.

So that I could get some rest, I listened to music on my earbuds. The Piano Guys, The Bee Gees, Barbra Streisand. I probably managed to sleep a total of 3 or at the most 4 hours. Gah!

I attempted to guess my blood pressure (least accurate guess), temperature (never greater than 98.2), and pulse (most accurate guess and usually hovering right at 60) each time vitals were taken.

At least a dozen staff commented on my low body fat. I suppose it’s unusual for the patients to be in shape.

I was told a number of times to walk slower and each time I’d reply, “This IS slow.”

I was prescribed Oxycontin. I hate Oxycontin, particularly the side effect of constipation. I like breaking out into a sweat when I work out, but not what I take a shit. Oxycontin also decreases my vocabulary and ability to form cohesive and meaningful sentences. It’s as if I suffering from dyslexia of the spoken word.

To speed up recovery I’m wearing neck brace when up and about, as prescribed. I slept on my back with upper body elevated for the first few evenings but slept on both my right and left sides (the first time I’ve slept on my left shoulder in months) last night. The feeling is already returning to my left thumb and index finger.

I weigh 135 pounds, down nine pounds since day of surgery. I’m (hyper)concerned that I’ll gain excessive weight since I’m not exercising. I don’t want to once again look like a tick about to pop.



Yup, I’m addicted to “Justified.” I need a cowboy hat. And possibly boots.

I rested on Friday as I felt I was getting a chest cold. I got it, all right. Dammit. I did run 2 miles around the neighborhood at 7:40 mpm pace just to get the heart pumping. We had a lovely dinner with Kevin, Meg, Claire, and Patrick.


Metcon (4 Rounds for reps)

A. 5-min AMRAP
– 5 SDHPs (95)
– 50 double unders
~ Rest 5 minutes ~
B. 5-min AMRAP
– 5 S2O (95)
– 25 lateral bar hops
~ Rest 5 minutes ~
C. 5-min AMRAP
– 5 knees to elbows
– 10 calorie row
~ Rest 5 minutes ~
D. 5-min AMRAP
– 3 pull-ups
– 5 pushups
– 10 air squats

I  coached at 8:30 and 9:45 and worked out at 11. There were but 5 of us in attendance, so there was plenty of room to set up my workstation, this time at the Speal bar closest to the garage door.

A mere 60 seconds into the workout I felt a tremendous urge to quit. My heart was racing wildly and I couldn’t catch my breath. I’ve never moved poker chips more slowly in my life.

I completed all rounds of 5 SDHPs in unbroken reps and quite a few rounds of double unders in unbroken reps as well. I completed 4 rounds + 5 SDHPs & 43 double unders for a total of 268 reps. The 5-minute rest was much needed.

I knew I’d struggle with S2O but was pleased that I was nonetheless able to always complete all 5 reps without dropping the bar, starting with a power clean & jerk, then completing 2 push presses, and finishing with a power jerk. I completed all rounds of lateral bar hops in unbroken reps. I completed 7 rounds + 5 S2O & 18 lateral bar hops for a total of 233 reps.

I hate rowing. I particularly hate rowing for calories. I did string together all but one round of K2E in unbroken reps but missed the last rep of a later round. Yup, I redid. I completed 5 rounds + 3 K2E for a total of 78 reps.

I was exhausted and coughing wildly. I wanted the workout to be over. I worked steadily and completed 11 rounds + 1 pull-up for a total of 199 reps.



Front Squat (10-5-3-1-1-1-3-5-10)

Enter weight of heaviest lift and total weight lifted

As I’m still recovering from a chest cold, Coach Evelyn was kind enough to lead the 7 am session in my stead. I coached at 8:30 and mistakenly thought I was also coaching the 9:30 session. Uhm, Coach Marni always leads that session. I was happy that I got to stay and work out.

I’m currently watching President Obama’s news conference. He’s well spoken, articulate, and often eloquent. Certainly can’t say that about the President-elect.

10 @ 145, 5 @ 165, 3 @ 185, 1 @ 195, 200, & 190, 3 @ 175, 5 @ 160, & 10 @ 140 for a total of 6,140#. What I lack in strength, I make up for in stamina.

Metcon (Weight)

Enter total weight lifted
Metcon (AMRAP – Rounds and Reps)

11-min AMRAP
– 11 hang power clean & jerks (@ 65% of hang power clean 1 RM)
– 48 Abmat sit-ups

I was quite winded and considered going home. In retrospect I probably should have, as I almost tossed my cookies. Yup, I almost hurled.

I started off strong and ended exhausted, completing the first round of HPC&J in unbroken reps, the 2nd set in reps of 6 & 5, the 3rd set in reps of 4, 4, & 3, and finished that reps in mostly singles. Gah!

I completed all rounds of Abmat sit-ups in unbroken reps.

Score = 3 rounds + 8 reps


I intended to work out Tuesday but, alas, life got in the way. I coached from 6 to 10:30, took Luke for a walk, and then headed to pre-op appointment for ACDF surgery.

Nurse: Let’s get your weight.
Me: I’m 143 pounds.
Nurse: We’ll need to confirm. Get on the scale.
Me: One forty-three.
Nurse: We’ll also need to take your temperature, blood pressure, and pulse.
Me: Temperature is 97.6, blood pressure is good but I can’t provide exact number, and pulse if around 60.
Nurse: Temperature is 97.6, blood pressure is good, and pulse is 58.

I’m not the least bit concerned about the surgery. I am, however, tired of hearing non-doctors provide opinions.

I won’t be able to lift anything heavy for 3 or more months, and this is a good thing. I will be able to return to running before I return to lifting, and that’s also a good thing.

I could’ve worked out at 6:30 but just wasn’t feeling it. When the body — and the brain — tell me to rest, I rest.

Enough about Tuesday. Wednesday it is!

A: Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)

Partner WOD
35-minute AMRAP
Alternate activities
– 25 burpees
– Rowing for calories

– You MUST rest minutes 5-6, 11-12, 17-18, 23-24, & 29-30
– Partner may not begin burpees until partner begins rowing
– Row as many calories as possible whilst partner completes 25 burpees
– If partner takes break from burpees or rowing, partner must take break from rowing or burpees

Coach Marni led the session. She took my lead and partnered individuals based upon her or his entry into the box. I was the first person in the box, obviously, and Amy was the first of the 9:30amers to enter. Yay! I hugged her around the waist. Well, kind of, as I hugged her from behind.

At Amy’s request, I began with burpees. I’d much rather do 25 burpees than row even 25 calories. I’d much rather do 50 burpees than row even 25 calories. I hate rowing.

We completed 3 rounds the first 5-minute interval, although I completed the last 5 burpees very slowly so that we wouldn’t waste time on an unnecessary transition.

Amy and I worked very well together and completed 15 rounds of burpees (that’s 200 burpees for me) and rowed 397 calories. As it took Amy a little longer to complete 25 burpees than it took me to do so, I’m certain that I rowed more calories, and certainly more than 250.

Score: 375 burpees + 397 calories = 772 reps


Rowing AND Double Unders


Dianne, Iris, and Einar joined me for a trail run at Lake Harris Park. Uhm, as I wanted to get in mileage I arrived early and ran the loop twice, first clockwise and then counterclockwise. I’d much rather run the course counterclockwise.

As I knew I was going to be running another 4.9 mi, I didn’t run all that hard the first time around.

Time = 40:20 
Pace = 8:13 mpm

I changed shirts, described course and provided guidelines, e.g., don’t look down at feet, stay constantly focused, etc., and we were off.

Einar took the lead, I followed him, and Dianne and Iris we not too far behind. I did stop on occasion to ensure that everyone remained on the course. Once we got to the single trails, however, I ran on my own. Dianne said, “You and Einar can now run together.” “I’m going to drop him like a bag of dirt,” I replied. Ha! I did. (Great job, Einar!)

Whilst I did run a minute slower than the last time I ran the course in this direction, I did run the first mile at a much slower pace. That meant that I ran the remaining miles at a much faster pace!

Time = 38:36
Pace = 7:50 mpm

I arrived at the start/finish to wait for my friends. I also posted a few pictures and jokingly said that I was going to order a pizza and eat a few slices.


I wore New Balance trail shoes. Whilst removing socks I noticed that the little piggy on the left foot that had eaten roast beef had bled! No damage to toenail. I hadn’t noticed any pain. Again, I have an exceedingly high tolerance for pain.


Metcon (Time)

3 rope climbs
Run 400 metersUse a 15-ft. rope, and each round perform one of the 3 climbs without assistance from your legs.

I was able to complete rope climbs! Even legless rope climbs! Surgery is a week from Friday, so I’ll enjoy it whilst I can.

This was a very tough workout, and even the running felt laborious (due to running just 15 hours earlier). I rested when needed. I’m smart like that.

It was cold! I lost all sensation in my hands during the first 400m run and my hands didn’t warm until later in the day. Attempting to climb a rope whilst not being able to feel your hands is a surreal experience.


Time = 17:49


Deadlift (10-5-3-1-1-1-3-5-10)
Enter weight of heaviest rep
Metcon (Weight)

Enter total weight lifted

My legs are still tired.

10 @ 275
5 @ 305
3 @ 315
1 @ 325
1 @ 330
1 @ 325
1 @ 320
3 @ 275
5 @ 265
10 @ 225

I started heavy and then listened to my body; thus, my heaviest single was my very first single. Could I have gone heavier? Perhaps. Would I failed a lift? Perhaps. Better safe than sorry.


Metcon (Time)

Walking overhead lunges* (45)
Burpee box jumps** (27)

* L + R = 1 rep
** place plate on box

More lunges! Yay! Who comes up with this shit?!

Did I mention that my legs are tired?  Both the lunges and the box jumps were laborious. I did, however, complete all rounds in unbroken reps, although I really wanted to rest during last round of 10 lunges.

Time = 7:49


Metcon (AMRAP – Rounds and Reps)
Complete as many rounds as possible in 40 minutes of:
Row 500 meters
100 double unders

For consistency, each meter = 1 rep

I rested Wednesday. I am truly distraught by the outcome of the presidential election. I fear for what may happen to all of our unalienable rights. Could it be that my marriage is invalidated? It saddens me that the strongest voice was by those who encourage racism and sexism. Going on…

As I coached at 6, I invited folks to join me at 7. Only Darren took me up on the offer. It was nice to have company, although I wasn’t much aware of him as I was rowing or jumping.

I truly enjoy endurance workouts, and this workout took stamina. (That word will forever remind me of our should-be-president Hilary.)

My strategy was to focus on strokes per minute whilst rowing, to count the number of strokes it took me to row 500m the first round and then try to match that number the remaining rounds, and to complete double unders until I missed a rep, but not rest until I hit marks of 25, 50, 75, and 100. In other words, if I had completed 48 reps and failed 49th, I repositioned jump rope and immediately begin completing reps past 50 and until failure. I usually completed 100 reps in 3 rounds, often completing more than 50 at the start.

The first round of double unders, however, was a big hot mess. I hadn’t warmed up efficiently. Is this a lesson that I’ll ever learn? Remaining rounds went much better, and I was able to complete as many as 75 unbroken reps but never less than 20. Yay!

Round | Time | Strokes/Minute | Pulls
1 | 2:07 | 21 | 39
2 | 2:07 | 2o | 39
3 | 2:06 | 19 | 38
4 | 2:05 | 19 | 38
5 | 2:03 | 19 | 38
6 | 2:04 | 19 | 37
7 | 2:07 | 19 | 37
8 | 2:05 | 19 | 37
9 | 2:05 | 19 | 37
10 | 1:43 | 23 | (Final 411 m)

I looked at monitor for feedback, focusing on roundness of power output curve as well as strokes/minute. I also focused on pulling only when hips were open. This worked, and I am quite pleased with the consistency of rowing.

Score = 9 rounds + 411 reps

That’s 900 double unders and almost a 5K row.

Marni had arrived at the box to lead Foundations and she was kind enough to take a few pictures. Luke, as always, was close by.


I met Darren and Heather at (you guessed it) Harris Lake Park for a 4.9-mile trail run. What a beautiful day for a run! Uhm, my legs were still a bit tired from this morning’s rowing and jumping, but I nonetheless managed a time of 39:16 (8 mpm pace).

This Is Us

I did indeed run Wednesday. Jaclyn met me at Harris Lake Park and we planned on going for a 4+ mile run. Unfortunately, she fell midway through the run. She’s swolt. Her ankle, that is. (Plenty of time to recover before Ragnar, Jaclyn.) I ran 2.5 miles, but I’m not even going to log…

I needed the distraction, as I dropped off Luke at the vet for his surgery. I’m an emotional wreck when he’s not with me, I truly am. I had a very sleepless night. I was counting down the hours until 10 am when I could pick up Luke.


I didn’t want to stray far away from the vet, so I decided to go for a run at Bond Park. It was whilst running that it dawned on me why I run at Bond Park so infrequently: running at the park reminds me of both Maddie and Xander. The first home that Jeff and I shared was very near to the park, so I Maddie and I often went for walks there. Xander and I went for many, many runs at the park, and it’s impossible for me to not be constantly reminded of him at every turn.

I ran a little over just under 5.5 miles at an 8:19 mpm pace. As the terrain changed, so did my pace, as mile 1 was @ 9:02 (although Garmin may have been inaccurate as it often is when running winding trails) yet I ran mile 4 @ 7:35 mpm pace. Two men and their two off leash dogs were on the trail and one of the dogs starting following me. I stopped, greeted him, and walked him back to his owner. I also stayed and chatted a bit, but didn’t stop my watch. Ha! Average pace was probably closer to 8:15, and that’s not bad for this trail.

Why do I say that? Because the trail has changed dramatically since when I used to run there regularly, with many more exposed roots and exposed terrain. I liked it!

I miss Maddie and Xander terribly. I did break down a few times whilst running.

I picked up Luke and 10 am (the earliest I could get him) and spent the rest of the day with him. Mere words can’t describe how relieved I am to have him once again by my side.


Metcon (AMRAP – Rounds and Reps)
25-min AMRAP
– 25 steps single-arm dumbbell overhead lunges (35#)
– Row 25 calories
– 25 weighted sit-ups (35#)

Alternate arms each round, i.e., you may not switch arms whilst lunging

I’m so happy that Luke is home and on the mend! I moved the twin bed to the family room and Luke slept by my side. I coached at 6, 7, & 8:30, spent time with Luke, had a very nice lunch with a friend, spent more time with Luke, and then worked out at 4. At 4! I seldom work out at that time. Coach Marni did a great job leading the session, and I was joined by both Coach Nick and Coach Jay. Yay! I haven’t worked out with either of them in quite a long time, and it was nice to have a little friendly competition.

I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to hold the 35# overhead, particularly with left arm. I was happy when, after warming up, the dumbbell felt secure.

I worked out closest to the garage door. Nick began his lunges at the other end of the box whilst Jay began lunges beside me. (I’m not sure why, as his rower was closer to the other side of the box.) I completed the first round of lunges without resting, i.e., lowering the dumbbell, as did Jay and Nick. Thus, we were all on the rowers at the same time. I began lunges with left arm thinking that I might be able to 6 rounds (some folks completed 5 rounds and began 6th). I ensured that I held dumbbell overhead with left arm for odd- and right arm for even-numbered rounds. I’d lunged toward the front of the box 14 or 15 steps, turn around and rest my arm for a moment, and then lunge toward starting point.

I hate rowing. I particularly hate rowing for calories, for try as I might I am unable to consistently row a calorie per stroke. Most rounds it took me 27 or 28 strokes to row 25 calories. Dammit.

If there’s one thing that I can do both quickly and consistently, it’s sit-ups. Holding the dumbbell, however, was a little challenging, as I often felt like I had to protect my junk. I’d find myself cupping the bottom of the dumbbell. I completed all rounds in unbroken reps. I forgot to use Bodyglide, so my ass is chapped.

It’s hard not to be competitive when you notice others occasionally glancing your way. Or was I glancing toward Nick and Jay? I took the lead during the 2nd round and kept the lead to the finish.

I mentioned that I began with weakest arm. I also ended with weakest arm, as there was a little more than 2 minutes remaining when I completed 6th round. I lunged toward the front of the box 14 steps, rested momentarily, and managed to lunge toward the start the remaining steps. With less than 30 seconds remaining I quickly got on the rower and managed to row 6 calories.

Score = 6 rounds + 31 reps

The time went by quickly, and I enjoyed this metcon much more than I thought I would.

I find that making a fist helps me keep tight whilst lunging.


I met Alex and Brian and Harris Lake Park for a loop run, and it was fun! Brian had a much more reliable GPS device with him and recorded 4.9 miles. I knew I was running fast and completing the course in 37:37, a 7:40 mpm pace. Even if the course was 4.8 that’d be a 7:50 mpm pace. What if the course was a conservative 4.7, you ask? That’d be an 8 mpm pace. I’m pleased.

I wore CFS tee, bright yellow shorts (so that Alex and Brian could possibly see me better), and Altra trail shoes.

I had contemplated running the course again but instead headed home, deciding at the last minute to avoid 1 and 540 and instead take the side roads. Uhm, and I just so happened to drive by an entrance to the American Tobacco Trail. I thought, “Why not go for another run?”

I had changed shirts but still wore shorts (obviously) and Altra trail shoes. The trail shoe certainly did kick up the dirt and gravel! I set a goal to run 7:45 mpm pace, and did indeed run the first mile at exactly that pace. I became a little peeved with myself when I ran the second mile in a slow 7:58 mpm pace. Dammit. I picked up the pace and ran the third mile in 7:12 and the last tent of a mile in 44 seconds. Time = 23:39 and pace = 7:38 mpm. Not blazingly fast, but I also wasn’t running a race.

I can tell that Luke is quite bored and very annoyed with the cone. I look for opportunities to remove the cone but can only allow him to be cone-free until he starts licking the staples. Poor baby!

Opening It Up


I coached the 9:30 session, observed CrossFit Kids (Coach Nick is an excellent instructor), went shopping at lululemon, shared a delightful lunch with the in-laws, went shopping at Bull City Running (best speciality running shoe store in the Triangle), and then went for a delightful trail run at Lake Harris Park. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel, as I ran just yesterday, but today’s run was marvelous. Yes, I said “marvelous.”

I wore new NB shorts and NB shoes. A shirt, socks, watch, and glasses, too, if you were curious.

I ran counterclockwise for a change of pace, and it seemed to change my pace. (See what I did there?) I ran the course in just over 40 minutes a few days ago and ran it today in 37:30. Again, the Garmin Forerunner was off, but it still clocked mile 4 at 8:10. This is likely because I focused on running fast and hard whenever the trail was straight, i.e., no sharp turns or switchbacks.

I’ve fallen in love with running. Again.


As it’s Halloween (my least favorite holiday) I dressed as a unicorn.

Metcon (AMRAP – Rounds and Reps)

20-min AMRAP
100 double unders
100-ft. walking lunge

I’ve programmed a week of main site WODs. I thought this was going to be a hell of a lot easier than it turned out to be. I worked out at 6 am with my nemesis/muse/favorite, Jaclyn, as Coach Nick skillfully led the session.

I worked out near the front of the box whilst Jaclyn worked out near the garage door. She kept her eyes on me during the first round and then when it was obvious that I was crushing her like a tiny little bug, well, her eyes were downcast. Ha!

I began with a long string of double unders. I thought, “If you make it to 100 keep going and go for a PR!” It was at the very moment that I thought that that I missed the 93rd rep. Dammit. Still, 93 unbroken double unders is something to write home about. Double unders continued to go well, and I began each round with a string of at least 50 and even completed 75 unbroken reps the 6th round. Yay!

I cleared a lane under the pull-up rig for lunges. Luke often walked by my side and a few times even insisted that I play pull toy. Uhm, this made lunges a little more difficult but I nonetheless completed all rounds without stopping, i.e., I’d lunge 50′, quickly turn around, and then lunge another 50′. I kept reminding myself to swing my leg like a pendulum, and this worked very well.

Whilst the first round took me 2 minutes I wasn’t able to keep up the pace.

Score = 8 rounds + 100 reps

That’s 900 double unders and 800′ of walking lunges.


TUE NOVEMBER 01, 2016 | 10 RFT

Metcon (Time)

10 RFT
7  sumo deadlift high pulls (95)
7 front squats

Day two of main site WODs! As I had to drop off Luke for his pre-surgery appointment I wasn’t able to work out at 9:30. Whilst I generally prefer working out with a group, I nonetheless worked out before coaching the 4 pm session.

I didn’t warm up as thoroughly as I should have, as I was pressed for time. I did warm up all of the lifts with the barbell and then at 75#.

I knew that I’ve to be strategic, so I determined that I’d complete all activities in unbroken reps. I would, however, rest as needed between activities.

This was tough. I thought the SDHP would be the easiest of the activities but the FS turned out to be. Given my shoulder issues, I knew that the push jerks were going to be a challenge, but was surprised and delighted that I was able to string together without dropping the bar. Until the very last round, that is. Mind over matter? Nope, body over mind. I had completed 4 reps when my body said “drop the bar.”

I did, however, complete all rounds of SDHP and FS and the first 6 rounds of PJ in unbroken reps. I kept a watchful eye on the clock and recording time it read when I completed a round. Keep in mind that I often rested before beginning the next round.

1 | :56 (0:56)
2 | 2:27 (1:31)
3 | 4:06 (1:39)
4 | 5:52 (1:46)
5 | 7:39 ( 1:47)
6 | 9:24 (1:45)
7 | 11:09 (1:45)
8 | 12:57 (1:48)
9 | 14:48 (1:51)
10 | 16:38 (1:50)

I’m pleased with my consistency.

Luke’s knee surgery is tomorrow, and I’m a nervous wreck. Don’t even consider hugging me as I’ll likely break down. Okay? Okay.