The Piano Man


The lovely Jessica and her children Ben, Chloe, and Luke visited Monday (July 20) afternoon, and we enjoyed a wonderful meal and delightful conversation! BTW, I always list children from youngest to oldest.

I vividly remember a childhood event. I was perhaps 4 or at the oldest 5, and my mother had given both one of my older brothers, Anthony, and me a coloring book. Anthony is just 15 months my senior and we’re very much opposites. This often led to much conflict. Anyhow, Mother had given us both the same coloring book. Anthony said, “Let’s have a contest. We’ll color the same page and then show Mom and she can choose the winner.” You probably see where this is going. You’re also probably wrong.

We chose a picture right out of a Western, with a sheriff and a “bad” guy in a saloon and having pulled their guns as if in a shootout. Anthony colored the good guy in browns and the bad guy in, of course, black. The colors chosen were indeed what you’d expect.

I used almost every color in the box of Crayolas. The good guy wore shades of orange (of course) and red, and the bad guy wore pink. Yes, pink! The saloon was, for lack of a better word, festive. (Or maybe that is the best word.)

Anthony was sure that he had won. We took the pictures to Mother and Anthony asked, “Which one is best?” You’d expect our mother to say something like “They’re both very good.” She didn’t. She said, “Paul’s is the best. He shows creativity and originality.”

Ha! You could always count on Mother for an honest answer.

Friday, July 21 | Thrusters

It’s hot in Asheville! I watched “The Arrival,” one of my favorite films of 2016, and didn’t go to sleep until close to 1. I slept until 7:15, so Luke and I went for a walk at Biltmore. Did I mention it was hot? Luke tends to lallygag even more than usual when the temperate gets above 75, so we only went for a 4-mile walk. The sunflowers have been harvested, so the grounds aren’t nearly as appealing.

Establish 3RM, first rep must be cluster 

I hate thrusters. This certainly doesn’t mean that I won’t program for myself. I set a goal to complete 3 unbroken at 135. After warming up I completed 8 @ 75, 6 @ 95, 5 @ 100, 4 @ 105, and 3 @ 115, 120, 125, 130, 135, & 140#. I attempted 145# but failed final rep. Dammit. I was nonetheless pleased with performance. I recorded all rounds and ensured: 1st rep began with full squat clean (i.e., not a power clean), squatted below parallel, push pressed (i.e., no power jerks), and locked out arms at full extension.

Yup, I also went up on my toes as the weight got heavier.

I was itching for a workout that included shuttle sprints, so I put the sandbag in the Renegade and headed to Carrier Park.

1, 2, 3…8, 9, 10, 9, 8…3, 2, 1
Shuttle sprints (10m up and back = 1 rep)
45# sandbag hang muscle cleans
Complete 10 lateral sandbag hops after each round

If there was ever a day when I need an abacus today was that day. I’m certain that I completed additional rounds. There was also a time when I had convinced myself that I hadn’t completed lateral hops after the previous round, so I did 50 hops. Not just another 10, no that’d make the most sense, but another 50. Why 50? Because I convinced myself that if I had forgotten to finish with hops one round that it was likely that I forgot to do so other rounds as well. Ha!

This was a gasser, as none of the movements were so challenging to, you know, allow myself to rest; thus it was a sprint from start to finish.

Time = 20:53

Saturday, July 22 | Nothin’ But Metcon

Luke’s a funny dog. I had mapped out a 5-mile loop at Pisgah for us to hike this morning. We had made it just a mile when Luke stopped at trailhead of a trail we hadn’t yet hiked. And he kind of wouldn’t budge. I said, “Okay, let’s give it a try. ‘Twas a steep .2 miles downhill to the end of the trail. Yup, ’twas a steep .2 mile uphill. We then continued the planned course. What this meant is that we hiked close to 5.5 miles. In addition, we ran the last half mile. I was a sweaty mess from head to toe and Luke was panting loudly. Luke and I then met Jeff for breakfast at the Sage Cafe. I was so hungry that I had two pancakes. TWO PANCAKES!

5 reps of 225# deadlift + burpee over bar + backwards hop over bar
5 reps of twisting burpee + ring dip + strict toes to bar
7 reps of 225# deadlift + burpee over bar + backwards hop over bar
5 reps of twisting burpee + 2 ring dips + 2 strict toes to bar
9 reps of 225# deadlift + burpee over bar + backwards hop over bar
5 reps of twisting burpee + 3 ring dips + 3 strict toes to bar
11 reps of 225# deadlift + burpee over bar + backwards hop over bar
5 reps of  twisting burpee + 4 ring dips + 4 strict toes to bar

This was truly challenging, as it was exceedingly hot and humid in the garage. Yup, I took off my shirt midway through the workout.

I had originally programmed 185# deadlifts, but I thought that’d be too easy. I was probably right, as the deadlifts presented little challenge. I can’t recall a workout that included a backwards hop. This certainly added a new dimension, as I had to quickly glance behind me before jumping backwards. Why? So that I wouldn’t slip on my own sweat.

I was pleased that I was able to complete all rounds of ring dips and toes to bar in unbroken reps, for I was certain that during the final round I wouldn’t be able to do so. I did rest between reps, and in the long run I think/feel this saved time. Some workouts I know I should sprint from start to finish, e.g., yesterday’s metcon, whilst other workouts call for a little rest and recovery.

Time = 17:40

Today was the final day of the 30-day challenge of playing 4 octaves of all major scales! This also means that I’ve played the piano for the past 30 days, sometimes as much as 4 hours a day. I am amazed at how well the challenge worked, for I can confidently play all scales correctly, (i.e., with no missed notes), quickly, and musically.

I’ve been listening to Linkin Park for the past few days, for obvious reasons. The lyrics to many of their songs are much more meaningful and significant.

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