Afterschool Special

It appears that I’ve gotten out of the habit of blogging. Uhm, given that I’m not working out as much this should be expected.

I’ll try not to bitch or whine. Promise. I promise that I’ll try.

THU MARCH 23, 2017

I planned on working out at 6:30, then 7:30, then 8:30, and then noon. And I just couldn’t make myself go. I did, however, keep myself busy by taking Luke for a very long walk, cleaning, and organizing. But not working out. I was finally able to talk myself into attending the very last session of the day, the 5:30 session.

There were four very young men and one woman (Amy) also present. And one of the young men was just plain rude, as he belched loudly and repeatedly and not once did he excuse himself. It annoyed the f@ck out of me. It was also quite embarrassing, as a husband and wife were in attendance to observe the session.

In addition, it was noted on more than one occasion that I was much older than all of those in attendance. No, I didn’t feel old. Not sure why it was even worth mentioning.

Strength/Skill Development

Jefferson Deadlift (5 x 5)

I worked up to a set of 5 @ 300#, my goal, and completed 3 reps @ 315#. I am much stronger when my left, dominant leg is forward and my left, dominant hand is in overhand grip.

For Time:
Deadlift 225#
10 to 1
Handstand Pushup
1 to 10

One other male attempted the workout as prescribed. Yup, that’d be the belcher. He also stripped down to his shorts. Oh, I forgot to mention that he didn’t wear shoes or socks. Disgusting.

Ten deadlifts and one handstand pushup, nine deadlifts and two handstand pushups, etc., ending with 1 deadlift and 10 handstand pushups. I haven’t completed that many handstand pushups in months, and I was a little concerned as the metcon began. I completed the round through six in strict reps, and then began kipping, ensuring that I didn’t put too much pressure on my neck.

Time = 14:29

I shan’t ever attend a 5:30 session again.

Want to know if I finished faster than the belcher? Yes. Much faster. But I’m old.


FRI MARCH 24, 2017

Double Unders Skill Practice
-30 seconds on 30 seconds off for 4 minutes

As the final event of the CFG Open includes double unders, the workout was changed to allow for practice. Not instruction or a tutorial, just practice. Not what to do, but some of what not to do. I’ll leave it at that.

Strength/Skill Development

Romanian Deadlift (4 x 6)

Uhm, deadlifts two days in a row. Why, I ask? I was paired with a very chatty visitor. I completed final set @ 195#, if memory serves me.

Metcon (AMRAP – Rounds and Reps)

AMRAP 15min
-10 Turkish Get-Ups 53/35#
-15 V-Ups
-400m Run 

I warmed up to 53# KB but just wasn’t feeling it once the metcon began. I did a few reps with 44# KB and then decided to f@ck it and just use 35# KB. I was able to then complete reps very quickly. I completed all V-Ups in unbroken reps and, well, I ran fast, completing 2 rounds + 24 reps.

As Jeff was in town, we took Luke for a very long walk Saturday.

SUN MARCH 26, 2017

It was a nice, warm morning, so I headed to the Arboretum to explore some new roads. Yup, I stayed on the gravel roads and didn’t run any single trails. I love the Arboretum, and the views are just stunning. I ran up and back four for a total of eight miles, running the last, downhill mile in 5:49—and that included a dead stop to open, go through, and close a gate. It was an awesome run, and I’m feeling more and more prepared for Ragnar.

MON MARCH 27, 2017

Strength/Skill Development
Paused Front Squat (Build to heavy triple. )

(3 second eccentric/3 second pause in bottom/”x” stand from
pause /1 second at top)

I set a goal to complete the reps AS PRESCRIBED at bodyweight. I was able to do a little better than that, completing a set at 155#.

Uhm, I witnessed many athletes not completing as prescribed, and particularly not holding bottom of the squat for a count of one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand. Uhm, I even witnessed a male holding the bottom of the squat for all six reps for perhaps a second. But, hey, at least the weight was heavy, right?

Metcon (Time)

For Time:
9 – 7 – 5
-Squat Cleans (165/115)
-Ring Muscle Ups

I overhead the coach telling an athlete that the programmed weights are based upon what the elite athletes at the box are able to do, and “everyone else can scale.” Well, okay then. I warmed up FULL squat clean and settled on 125#. In retrospect I probably should’ve lifted at least 135#.

On a much more positive note, I was able to complete a muscle up on my very first attempt, and I haven’t done muscle ups in about a half a year! I even did a few strict reps.

I dropped each of the FULL squat cleans from the top but worked at a consistent rate. I noticed a male athlete completing the first round as power cleans. I minded my own business and didn’t say a word.

I began with six unbroken muscle ups! I was then usually able to string two or three reps together. I did, however, complete the last set as 2, 1, 1, & 1. Ha!

Time = 11:22

TUE MARCH 28, 2017

Uhm, overhead squats were programmed, 60 of them to be exact. Uhm, I had enough squatting with Monday’s front squats and full squat cleans. I decided to go for a run instead.

For an added challenge, I wore a 20# weight vest. I ran from the house to Carrier Park, did a loop and ran to the dog park and back for a total of 4 miles. My goal was to run at 8 mpm pace and I averaged a 7:59 mpm pace.

I almost forgot to mention that I weighed myself just before starting the run. Keep in mind that I had been awake for hours and had eaten both breakfast and lunch. I weigh 140#.

I don’t want to weigh much more than that, as that run was a struggle. For reals.

Sluggish, lazy, stupid, and unconcerned


The title refers to lyrics from one of my favorite Frank Ocean songs. As today (March 22) is my mother’s 83rd birthday, the song is particularly appropriate.

Be yourself.

Faithful reader(s) may have noticed that my blogging has decreased somewhat, as has my CrossFitting. I’ll say this now to get it out of the way: I’ve become bored with CrossFit.

I didn’t attend a Saturday session, as the Open is still underway and folks were completing 17.4. Been there, done that, don’t want to ever do it again. Jeff and I instead took Luke for a long walk at The Biltmore. I didn’t work out Sunday, because, well, I didn’t feel like it.

I attended the noon session at CFA Monday for no other reason than Jeff asked me to go with him.

MON MARCH 20, 2017

Strength/Skill Development
20 EMOM STO (10 x 2)
EMOM 10 minutes:
Strict Shoulder Press x 2 reps
-Build to heavy double

Immediately followed by…

20 EMOM STO (10 x 1 )

EMOM 10 minutes
-Push Press x 1
-Build to heavy single

So much shoulder to overhead! I was happy that I was able to complete reps with no pain in neck and/or shoulders. I started presses @ 75# and added 5# a round, finishing the last set of 2 @ 110#. I did the same for push presses but failed twice @ 150#. That’s okay, as I was able to push press a little more than my body weight.

Jackie (Time)

For Time:
1000m Row
50 Thrusters, 45#
30 Pull-ups

Uhm, I just did Jackie a few weeks ago at Pisgah, and I had no intention of completing yet again. There are many overrated benchmarks, and this (along with Fran, Grace, and Annie) are the most overrated.

As I never broke a sweat, I went for a 5-mile trail run at the Experimental Forest. And it was good!

TUES & WED MARCH 21 & 22, 2017

I had planned on working out Tuesday but when I saw the workout, well, I didn’t. I planned on working out on Wednesday but when I saw the workout, well, I didn’t. I was, however, longing to run.

As an aside, I spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday holding down the fort as custom closets were installed in the master and various house repairs were tended to. As another aside, I have been taking Luke for three walks a day: a 30-minute walk first thing in the morning, a long (sometimes 90 minutes) walk in the late morning or early afternoon, often including a trip to the dog park, and another 30-minute walk in the evening.

Back to that run… There’s nothing like a hard, fast run to get the blood flowing. I began at the house, ran up Michigan to Haywood, and then Beverly, and took a left at Riverview. I then ran the single trail beside the Swannanoa past the dog park to Carrier Park. That was 4 miles. I then jogged the mile home.

The first mile had lots of hills and the third mile included the single trail. Splits were 8:o7, 6:52, 7:03, and 6:52. I was pleased.

Should I take a break from CrossFitting altogether? Should I do my own workouts, since I do have most of the necessary equipment? Should I focus solely on running, as it is the thing that truly gives me the most pleasure?

Trying to Stay Focused

I rested Saturday and Sunday morning spent five hours mulching the yard. I made sure to lift with my legs. Ha!

MON MARCH 13, 2017

I attended the 8 am session, led by Marc, and there was but one other athlete in attendance with me, Eva.
Strength/Skill Development

Overhead Squat (7 x 3)

I’m starting to recover! Whilst not heavy, I was able to complete all sets at 95#. Squatted below parallel and kept arms locked out. Yay!

Metcon (Time)

For time:
500 Meter Row
15 Dumbbell Burpee Box Step-Over (50 lbs to 20″)
30 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups
15 Dumbbell Burpee
Box Step-Over
500 Meter Row

I hate rowing. It’s likely that I’ve mentioned this on numerous occasions. I did complete the workout as prescribed. I rowed the first 500m in about 1:55, making sure that I didn’t expend too much energy.

If I had a do over I’d complete the first round of 15 DB burpee box step-overs the same way I did second set, i.e., after stepping over the box placing the DBs on the ground and then turning around to complete next rep. Uhm, I held onto the DBs the first round. Novice.

I completed C2B pull-ups in reps of 5, 5, 5, 5, 4, 2, 2, 1, & 1. My hands are still torn from KB swings, so there was that.

Some of the 9 am athletes had arrived and one of them, C., set up a rower immediately beside me as I rowed the last 500m. And then he rowed with me and began to cheer for me. So there was that.

Time = 14:59

Marc and I had talked about rowing and I had promised to share a few tips. As there was about 5 minutes before the start of the next session, I invited him to join me, and I showed him how to determine setting for rower as well as the four elements of rowing: catch, drive, finish, and recovery. Others had gathered around as well, including C., who asked for feedback regarding his rowing form. I talked about the importance of recovery, and using a count of 3 to determine pace, e.g., stroke, two, three.

And then it happened. A STDB said, “You can also count to six instead.” “Six,” I asked, “why?” He replied, “It’s a good way to blah, blah, blah.” I’m sure that my facial expression clearly read disdain.

TUE MARCH 14, 2017

I took Jeff to the airport this morning and was thus able to attend the 6:30 session. Coach Marc led the session and there were five others in attendance.

Strength/Skill Development
A1: Farmer’s Carry (5 x 40m)

A2: L-Sit (4 x max effort hold)

I completed the last round @ 280#.

Metcon (Time)

For time:
1 round of:
30 Hang Power Clean 115/75
15 Ring Dips
Then, 2 rounds of:
20 Hang Power Clean 115/75
10 Ring Dips
Then, 3 rounds of:
10 Hang Power Clean 115/75
5 Ring Dips

Coach Marc suggested that we choose a weight that would allow us to complete the round of 30 in unbroken reps, so I settled on 95#. I intentionally set up my bar at the far end of the box so that the metcon wouldn’t turn into a competition. An individual who perceived me as a competitor set up his bar beside me; thus, we could easily see each other. I once again remained focused on my own workout.

I was the only person to complete the round of 30 in unbroken reps. When individual mentioned above dropped the bar after completing about half of the reps he actually looked at me and said, “Way to go, Paul.” Well, okay then.

I completed both rounds of 20 HPCs in sets of 3, and the first two round of 10 HPCs in set of 7 & 3. I completed the very last round of 10 HPCs in unbroken reps.

Ring dips were a welcome relief, and I didn’t rush through them, only completing two rounds of 10 and the last round of 5 in unbroken reps.

Time = 9:10

The overwhelming majority of folks at CFA are very friendly and approachable, truly they are!

I took Luke for a walk and we stopped by CFA. He got lots of loves from everyone there.


Ups and Downs

IMG_7999.JPGI didn’t CrossFit Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. I did, however, go for a very good 7-mile run at the Arboretum on Saturday. I would’ve run farther if I had remembered to wear Bodyglide. Ha!

I’m nonetheless staying active, as Luke and I have been going for an hour to a ninety-minute walk in the morning and a 30-minute walk in the evening. We’ve been known to go for three walks in a day. I want to make sure he’s getting lots of attention so we go to the dog park every other day.

Monday, February 6

Katie led the 9 am hour, and this is the first session that she’s coached that I’ve attended Leslie was the only other attendee.

Strength/Skill Development

Single Leg Deadlift (5 x 5; each leg)

I worked up to 115#.


  • Kick off shoes, for even with Nike Frees there were issues with balance
  • Focus on centering the bar over the working leg
  • Riverdance if needed
Metcon (Time)

50 Clean & Jerks* (135/95)

*EMOM:  Complete 3 T2B – starting with the T2B

I’m still trying to build my lost strength. I wasn’t, however, feeling very strong, so I settled on 75#. To make the workout a little more challenging I completed all T2B strict with straight legs. That’ll slow you down, folks! I completed all T2B in 3 unbroken reps, ensuring that I started and finished at full extension.

Time = 6:52

Tuesday, February 7

Strength/Skill Development

Hang Snatch + Snatch +  2 OHS (Build to heavy complex)

I felt tired and was, well, disinterested. Did I mention that I don’t usually look at the WOD until I arrive? The second pull caused pain, so I only worked up to 50#. You read that right. (BTW, I saw many PS + OHS for OHS.)

Metcon (Time)

Four sets for times of:
Run 400 Meters
15 Single Arm Dumbbell Thrusters
(55/35 lbs)
Rest 3 minutes
*1st round Right Arm
*2nd round Left Arm
*3rd round RA
*4th round LA

I overheard an 8:30 attendee telling Coaching Mark that the rest was too long. Uhm, the focus was to complete all 4 rounds in the same amount of time, and in order to do that, well, you need rest. Ask the coach the rationale for the programming, don’t tell them how to program.

The only issue I had was with the course, as it took me 4 rounds to finally see the mark for the turnaround. The first round I ran maybe 10m too short, and the second and third rounds I ran probably 100m too long. Ha!

I settled on 35# DBs, as we were encouraged to complete in unbroken rounds, although I observed most athletes breaking up into sets. I could’ve and maybe should’ve gone heavier.

I was referred to as “another old, fast guy.” I don’t know how I feel about that.

I did take the lead from the first round. Other athletes tried to encourage Jen, who’s known as a very fast runner, to keep up with me.

Rnd 1 = 2:07
Rnd 2 = 2:27
Rnd 3 = 2:20
Rnd 4 = 2:13 (<— Likely most accurate.)

CrossFit Surmount has many more sessions and fewer coaches. I don’t know that there is room for another coach, and I don’t know that I’m still interested in coaching. It’s been kind of nice just going to the box and working out. This certainly allows time for my other projects.

Wednesday, February 8

What another beautiful day! I ran from door to do, this time heading North toward Haywood first, running the single trail along the Swannanoa Rivers and then running through French Broad, Amboy, and Carrier Parks. ‘Twas exactly 5 miles.

I averaged 8:32 mpm pace. Given the steepness of many of the hills, I was happy with the pace.

All the hills, hills, hills, hills!

I love Asheville!

Thursday, February 9

Uhm, yeah, so I checked the schedule at CFA and was certain that there was a session at 9. As I wanted to ensure that I warmed up on my own, I arrived at 8:47 only to discover that the session had begun at 8:30. Dammit. Coach Mark invited me to warm up on my own and jump in but I informed him that there was no way that I was ever going to do that. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late, don’t bother. And you only have yourself to blame if you’re late.

I would’ve attended the noon session but I had a call at 1 (that was then postponed). I would’ve attended the evening session but, well, it was too nice of a day not to run. I once again traveled to the Arboretum, as there are still many unexplored trails to explore.

I ran up Steep Hill until I reached Owls’ Ridge, and ran on that trail for the very first time. There were quite a few times when I said to myself, “It’s so fucking beautiful.” And it was. I had intended to run maybe three miles and ended up running seven and a half, averaging 8:54 mpm. Yup, there are some very steep hills and some very challenging single trails. Yay!

Friday, February 9

Sometime during the early morning hours I dreamt that I looked into the sun. ‘Twas merely a very bright flash of lightning that, even with the blinds closed, I could see behind closed eyes. Then it started thundering very loudly, perhaps the loudest thunder I’ve heard. The sound of the rain was soothing.

I awakened at 6, fed Luke and the bad kitties and then took Luke for a long walk, intending to attend the session at 9. I arrived home at 7:30, glanced at the CFA schedule, and realized that there was a session at 8. I hauled ass getting ready, and arrived at 7:55.

Uhm, I can’t remember the name of the coach.

Uhm, everyone but me wants to talk about 17.3.

Uhm, I don’t like being cheered for.

Strength/Skill Development
A1: Good Mornings (5 x 5 )

 A2: Weighted Dip (5 x 3)

I positioned the bar as if I were doing a low bar back squat and completed light reps at 44, 65, 75, 85, & 95.

I completed strict weighted ring dips beginning at 26 and ending with 53#. I could’ve gone heavier, and this came as a welcome surprise.

Metcon (Time)

40 – 30 – 20 – 10
KBS (53)
Wall balls (20 & 10)
Double unders

Lots of descending ladder metcons at CFA. As I hadn’t had anything to eat since in about 14 hours, I felt lightheaded most of the session and particularly during the metcon.

And even though I chalked my hands, I tore the skin off of what used to be a callous under my right middle finger. This happened during the round of 30 swings. Gah!

The only round I completed in unbroken reps was the very last round.

Time = 15:37

Not sure that saying “relax” is a very good coaching cue.


Tuesday, February 28 | Farmer Time

I attended the 7:30 session led by Mark. ‘Twas fun!

I do, however, miss the focused warmups that I used to lead at CFS.

Strength/Skill Development
A1: Farmer’s Carry (4 x 80 m)

A2: Weighted Dip (3 x 5)

I was expecting to complete with dumbbells or kettle bells but CFA has 25# bars with handles. This is both good and bad. Ha! Mark suggested I begin with 75#, but is it felt light I began with 125#, i.e., 2, 25# plates on both ends of 25# bar. I worked up to my last set at 250#! That shit got heavy, and the most challenging part was keeping the bars from crisscrossing. True story.

I worked up to weighted dips at 32.5#.

Metcon (Time)

Row 300 m
20 Push Press (135/95)
Row 300 m
15 Push Press
Row 300 m
10 Push Press
Row 300 m
5 Push Press

Push Press load 60% 1rm

Everyone knows that I hate rowing. As I hadn’t completed push presses since surgery 14 weeks ago, I warmed up and settled on 95#. This was a good weight, as I was able to string reps together. I completed the first round in sets of 11 and 9, stringing together quite a few and also resting with the bar locked out overhead. It took me 3 and 2 sets to complete rounds of 15 and 10, respectively, and I of course didn’t put down the bar for the last round. I consistently rowed 24 or 25 strokes a minute, focusing on proper rowing form.

Uhm, whilst I was completing round of 15 push presses one of the male athletes yelled, “What rep are you on, Paul?” I paused a moment and asked, “Why?” He replied, “Because I want to know what I have to do to beat you.” I stopped what I was doing, set down the barbell, and said, “I want everyone to know that the only person I’m competing with is myself. I’m a little more than three months into my six-month recovery, and I’m not interested in competing with any of you.” Did this slow me down? Yes. But I made my point. Or at least I hope so.

Time = 9:44

I took Luke for a very long walk and then attended the Ben Folds concert! I shook his hand and talked with him! I got a signed autograph! I’ve been listening to nothing but Ben Folds for days now.

Wednesday, March 1 | No Title

I attended the 8 am session, once again led by Mark. As we were gathering for the session one of the male athletes said, “You’re raising the bar for all of us, Paul.” I replied, “I’m only here to work out. I’m only competing with myself.” More in a moment.

Strength/Skill Development
A1: Deadlift (7 x 3, building)
1st set starting at 75-80%

A2: Strict Handstand Push-ups (3 sets of max effort)

CFA has many workouts like this, i.e., two skills. I worked up to set of deadlifts at 275#, just 25# shy of 75%. These are the heaviest deadlifts I’ve completed in months, so I was pleased. I completed between 2 and 4 strict handstand pushups each round for a total of about 15. I’m frightened to land or rest on my head, as well I should be.

Metcon (AMRAP – Rounds and Reps)

10 min AMRAP
10 DB Hang Squat Clean (50/35)
50 Double Unders

Uhm, male athlete mentioned above noticed that I got 35# DBs and he did the same, positioning himself by me. This didn’t turn out well for him, as he had to get lighter DBs midway through the metcon — not that there’s anything wrong with that. (Any Seinfeld reference is a good reference.)

I completed 4 rounds of HSC unbroken, broke the 5th round into reps of 6 & 4, and completed the last round in set of single and then 6. I completed 3 rounds of 50 unbroken double unders.

Score = 5 rounds + 7 reps

Thursday, March 2 | It’s all about the coach, ’bout the coach, no treble 

‘Twas to have been a rest day, but as the very bad kitties awakened me at 5:30 I decided to attend the 6:30 session. My new friend Eva was the only other person in attendance, and Coach X. led the session. This is the only thing that I’ll say: It was apparent that Coach X. underestimated my abilities.

Strength/Skill Development
A1: Weighted Pistols (5 sets of 10, 5 per leg)
Scale with weighted step ups on box. Box height goal is to create hip depth below knee. *Depth more important than weight. 

A2: Weighted C2B Pull-up (5 x 3)

I began the first set of weighted pistols @ 10# and worked up to 30#. Wodify informs me that this is a PR. Yay! I was observed very closely, and not just by Coach R.

I got out the weight vest and did first set of kipping chest to bar pull-ups. Coach R. said, “They’re supposed to be strict.” “It doesn’t say strict,” I replied. “Yes, but blah blah blah,” Coach X. replied. I said, “Will folks later today be completing kipping chest to bar pull-ups?” “It’s likely,” Coach X replied.

But I do what I’m told. I didn’t wear a weight vest for any of the rounds because, well, I didn’t want to.

Metcon (Time)
2 Rounds
21 Front Squats (115/75)
21 T2B
21 Power Cleans (115/75)
21 Burpees Over Bar

“What weight will you be using?” Coach X asked. “The prescribed weight,” I replied. “Athletes at the first session were surprised by how difficult this was. Forty-two is a lot of reps at that weight,” Coach X stated. “I’m confident that I can complete the workout as prescribed. I will scale as needed,” I said.

I knew I’d have the most difficulty with toes to bar, as I’m still taking it easy on spine. I completed 11 unbroken the first round and a mere 7 the second round.

I completed first round of front squats without dropping the bar and completed the second round in 3 sets. I completed both rounds of PCs in sets of 3, dropping the bar from the top after each rep.

I’m not used to the thicker bar with the rough knurling, and I no longer have callouses. I chalked my hands frequently.

Burpees with a lateral bar hop were a welcome relief!

I’m proud of myself for going easy and not pushing myself. Yay, me!

Time = 15:54