CB

Spending a few days at the Carolina Beach townhouse. It’s hot and humid!

A few workouts in no chronological order.

AFAP
Run 1 mile
Complete burpee after 10 steps/leg first half
Complete burpee + 2 180 degree twists after 10 steps/leg second half

I have no idea how many burpees I completed, but it felt like a shit-ton. And I loved every minute of it.

EMOTM for 10
5 strict K2E
4 HPC
3 push presses

5 RFT
1-2-3-4-5 strict C2B pull-ups
10 weighted air squats, 25#

A total of 75 pull-ups and 250 squats. Boom.

5 RFT
R-arm DB pushups + DB row + DB thruster + DB box step
10m sprint forward + 10m sprint backward X 5 (100m total)
L-arm DB pushups + DB row + DB thruster + DB box step
10m sprint forward + 10m sprint backward X 5 (100m total)

Absolutely exhausting.

10 RFT
10 Abmat situps
10 unbroken double unders

Fast and furious.

I’ve made TWO strawberry and rhubarb pies. TWO PIES!

It is an absolute shitshow in CB in regard to social distancing and wearing face masks in public. We stopped by the local Harris Teeter and it was if there wasn’t a global pandemic. And who is it that only females will wear a mask? Does it make you more masculine if you, you know, kill people? I just don’t get it.

There are some coaches who truly influenced who I am as a (former) CrossFitter, and perhaps the best coach I had was JW. So much so that every time I do double unders I think of him, as he advised me to start double unders with, uhm, a double under!


Don’t get me started…

As is often the case, I haven’t blogged in days. And that’s okay. I also rested yesterday. And that’s more than okay.

9 RFT
3, 2, & 1-count dead hang chest to bar pull-ups, mixing grip each round

15 LBH
3 floor presses, beginning @ 135# and increasing weight 5# each round
9 RFT
3, 2, & 2-count dead hang chest to bar pull-ups

15 LBH
3 floor presses, beginning @ 150# and increasing weight 5# each round
9 RFT
3, 3, & 2-count dead hang chest to bar pull-ups

15 LBH
3 floor presses, beginning @ 150# and increasing weight 5# each round
9 RFT
3, 3, & 3-count dead hang chest to bar pull-ups

15 LBH
1 floor press beginning @ 165# and increasing weight 5# each round

Sounds complicated, I know. For pull-ups, count of “one-one thousand + C2B + two-one thousand + C2B + one-one thousand C2B.” For last round all three C2B pull-ups began with 3-count dead hang.

Left, right, and both palms forward for rounds 1, 2, and 3, respectively.

15 RFT
7 HPS @ 75#
Sprint 10m
Wall-facing HSPU (with incline walk from driveway to fence)
Spint 10m
7 burpees
Sprint 20m

I did the following workout this morning (May 21) whilst at CB.

3 strict C2B pull-ups
2 strict HSPU
3 DL
25 LBH
~Rest~
1-2-3…9-10-11 strict & unbroken ring pushups
2-4-6…18-20-22 unbroken Abmat situps

Hot and humid, so I was a sweaty mess.

A number of years ago, I visited a CrossFit in northern NJ. As was most often the case, coaches and members ignored me prior to the start of the workout, i.e, no one greeted me or made me feel welcome.

The metcon was 21-15-9 225# deadlifts and pull-ups. I warmed up my the deadlift and had 225# on the barbell. The coach approached me and said, “Lower the weight. That’s too heavy for that many reps, and only the elites will be deadlifting 225 pounds.” “I can deadlift 225 pounds for 45 reps,” I replied. “Then show me 10 reps.” I did, completing them fast, unbroken, and with proper form. “Replace the 45s with a 25 and two 10s, and be ready to drop the weight if I instruct you to do so,” the coach said. Okay, then, I did as I was told. He then said, “You can substitute ring rows for pull-ups or use a band.” “I don’t need a band for pull-ups.” You guessed it; he replied, “Then show me 10 pull-ups.” I did.

The metcon began, and I was the first to finish. And the coach watched me like a hawk. Oh, not only was I the first to finish, it was the last class of the day so I was also at the top of the leaderboard for the entire day.

Did the coach say kind or congratulatory words to me? Fuck, no. He was visibly upset, as I posted a faster time than the elite athletes. Including him.

I’m very happy that I no longer own a CrossFit, because I don’t like what I’m seeing going on right now. Specifically, the call to sign a petition to open local boxes. The argument is that class size would be limited, equipment would be cleaned, and there would be little risk for exposure.

I call bullshit. First, CrossFit is group exercise, not usually individuals exercising alone. Second, I couldn’t get seasoned athletes to listen to requirements for the workout, let alone take turns going to the plates to load up the bar, keeping a distance of at least 6′ apart, and cleaning up after themselves. And don’t get me started on the cleanliness of the restrooms. I vomit a little in my mouth when I think of the bathroom door handles.

And I kept a clean box. I attended many that were, in a word, filthy. I contacted MRSA after scraping my leg on a plyometric box at a CrossFit. MRSA. That’s some serious shit, folks.

I also don’t think 6′ is far enough apart, as when you work out you tend to violently exhale and expel all sorts of shit. Will running not be included in a workout? If so, how do I ensure that I keep proper distance from all other runners? What if I’d like to pass someone, but there isn’t enough space to do so? And I’d like to see people say 6′ apart when doing pull-ups, rope climbs, wall ball shots, etc. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

And you won’t be able to give each other the dreaded high five. Or a slap on the ass. Or a hug.

Most importantly, we all should know by now that you can be asymptotic and transmit the virus to others who can then transit the virus to friends and family members. I don’t want to even imagine that I would put the desire to attend a session over the life of a member or a member’s family and friends.

Many will disagree with my sentiments. You’re entitled to your opinions, and I’m entitled to mine. Just be sure to post your opinion on your own damn blog.

Mask it or casket

Again, I have a difficult time recalling workouts.

Friday, May 15

AMRAP 25
5 strict ring dips + leg raise to L-sit
5 parallel (feet on box) strict ring rows
5 per leg step ups + opposite leg high knee

Surprisingly challenging, and definitely an ab workout. I completed all rounds in unbroken reps, and believe me when I say that the ring rows got challenging the final rounds.

I had completed 10 rounds at the halfway mark, and was convinced that I wouldn’t complete a total of 20. But I did, and even had enough time to complete a round of 5 dips and raises and 2 ring rows. I’m just that fucking awesome.

I used to hate, hate, hate, watching people cheat at ring rows. How did they do so? By not keeping a tight core, i.e., bending at the waist and even bouncing their asses off of the floor like kipping. But, you know, it’s much more important to post the most rounds on the whiteboard. Who cares about proper form, avoiding injury, or a level playing field? Oh, this happened at boxes I attended and not at CFS when I still owned it.

Going on.

Saturday, May 16

It’s Jeff’s birthday, so we began our day by taking Luke for a walk around Carrier Park. This was Jeff’s desire, as he thought it unlikely that there would be many people about and about at 7:30. There were, and of the 30 people we encountered only 3 were wearing masks. Idiots. Let me say that again: fucking idiots.

Mask it or casket. It’s that simple.

I made a dozen cinnamon and raisin rolls, and they were delicious. Jeff asked me not to share, so I won’t be doing so.

AFAP
21 rounds
1 cluster (95#) + 50m sprint
2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 thrusters (starting with cluster) + 50m sprint

That’s a total of 75 thrusters, and I hate thrusters.

I then finished making French baguettes (delicious!) and Jeff and I went for a 10-mile bike ride. The last few miles were on the greenway, and once again people were fucking idiots. We were the only people wearing masks, and there were far too many people not practicing social distancing. Hey, idiots, how about if you set up your picnic blanket at least 6 feet away from the trail?!

I’ve been working out solo for more than 3 years now, and I couldn’t be happier doing so.

~~~~~

I had been CrossFitting for just a couple of months but had mastered the handstand pushup. I was, however, struggling with deadlifting, as my legs back then weren’t nearly as strong as they are now.

“Diane” (21-15-9 HSPUs and 225# deadlifts) was programmed. I put 185 on the barbell, knowING that even that would be a struggle. Just before the workout began the coach (whose first name began with “D”) approached me and asked why I only had 185 on the barbell. “Uhm, because 225 is my 1 rep max and this is 45 reps.” “Put 225 on the bar,” he insisted. “I’m not comfortable with that weight,” I replied. “Then I won’t let you do handstand pushups. If you’re strong enough to do handstand pushups then your strong enough to deadlift 225 pounds,” he said rather snidely.

So I put 225 on the barbell. And I completed each and every rep and each and every rep felt like a 1 rep max attempt. D watched me like a hawk, I suppose to ensure that I didn’t cheat. I. Don’t. Cheat.

At the end of the workout D once again approached me and said, “See what’s it like to not have your name at the top of the leader board?” The fucker thought he was teaching me a lesson. His only accomplishment was demonstrating what a shitty coach he was. I could’ve easily hurt myself. I suppose, though, that D thought that was also a lesson I needed to learn.

Oh, I did everything I could to not attend any sessions that he coached.

Believe me when I tell you, folks, D was just one of many shitty CrossFit coaches that I had the displeasure of being subjected to. I’ll go on the record and say that I had more shitty than good coaches during my time as a CrossFitter. (Jack, if you’re reading this you were not a shitty coach, and were truly one of the best coaches I had. And thanks!)

Biking Karen

I haven’t blogged in quite a few days, so this may be a hot mess.

Jeff and I spent a few days at Carolina Beach, where folks are idiots. It was if there was no pandemic, i.e., very few people wearing face masks in public, complete disregard for social distancing, etc. The one exception was early-morning walks on the beach, as few people were out and about and there was more than enough room for the three of us to make a wide berth around people.

I was both shell-shocked and not the least bit surprised by the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery. Yes, lynching. I included a workout whilst at CB that included running, and I thought about many things, including racism, oppression, white privilege, and that fucking idiot it chief. It is beyond my level of comprehension how someone can think that any race is superior. Or gender, or sexual orientation, or ability.

AFAP
35-30-25-20-15-10-5 Russian KBS, 44#
Run “around the block” after each round

Is there hope? The townhouse directly across from ours used to fly a flag, and you know the one I’m talking about. I got to exercise my middle fingers each time I glanced at said flat. The residents are now flying an American flag. However, another townhouse just three doors down from ours flies a Confederate flag. Uhm, and I witnessed the owner (driving a Hummer, of course) LOUDLY playing rap music. Rap music performed by an African American artist. WTF? It gets better. I then witnessed a young man, probably in his late teens or early twenties, who resides in the townhouse entertaining a couple of what I assume were his African American friends. They were playing basketball in the driveway. With the Confederate flag flying for all to see. WTAF?

AFAP
10 rounds
1 45# plate pushup (rep = tricep + r decline + l decline pushups)
3 plate presses
3 BS with plate
3 box jumps on plate (27″)
5 rounds
2 45# plate pushups
6 plate presses
6 BS with plate
6 box jumps on plate (27″)

Uhm, I can’t recall the specifics of another workout that I did, but I know that the end of each of the 55 rounds included a strict HSPU ending with freestanding handstand. I even completed quite a few HSPUs without my heels touching the wall during the ascent. I’ve significantly improved, and this is likely because of the practicing wall-facing HSPU. I’ve found my center of gravity!

I’ve also significantly improved my piano playing. Yup, there’s something to be said for having the time and commitment to practice. Much like exercising, I always play better when I warm up first.

Things I’ve baked since last posting: strawberry-rhubarb pie, lemon-ohs, and thin mints. Thin mints!

Monday, May 11
Every 45 seconds for 35 rounds
3 kipping pull-ups
6 HRPUs
9 heel raise air squats

Tuesday, May 12
15 RFT
Bike 400m
10 unbroken WBS, 20# & 10′

To disassociate from the awfulness that is WBS, I inhaled at bottom of squat and loudly exhaled when WB hit target.

~~~~~

I am musical, but I don’t have a pleasant singing voice. I can sing on key, but that’s about it. There, I said it. No one in my family sings well. My mother likes to sing but is often in a key of her own. I can’t recall ever hearing my father sing, although he liked to whistle.

I was in 1st grade and vividly recall preparing for an assembly to be performed at St. Joseph’s. Sister Roberta Ann had us all singing and said, “Something doesn’t sound right. Paul, don’t sing this time.” I was mortified, but did as I was told. As soon as everyone finished the song she said, “Yes, that was the problem. Paul, just move your lips and pretend to sing.”

I was never physically accosted by a nun, but was occasionally the recipient of emotional abuse.

~~~~~

Renewed

Yup, I renewed WordPress for yet another year. Whew.

Wednesday, May 6

I had a call with a client at 10, so took Luke for a walk and then packed for trip to CB. I almost rested, but the weather was too nice to not work out outside.

10 RFT
5 DL, 185#
15 Abmat situps
25 double unders

Unbroken reps, yo.

Thursday, May 7

Every 45 seconds for 50 rounds
Strict C2B regular grip pull-up + strict T2B + strict K2E
Strict burpee plate press, 45#
Strict HSPU ending with 2+-second freestanding handstand

This was, for lack of a better word, fun! The focus was on accuracy.

Practicing wall-facing HSPUs has truly helped me find my center of gravity, and there were quite a few HSPUs where, after my head touched the mat, my heels didn’t even graze the wall and I was still able to old handstand. I smiled at the end of many rounds. Most rounds took between 30 and 35 seconds, depending upon how long I held handstand.

10 RFT
Sprint 5m
Forward roll
5 air squats
Sprint 10m (5m up and back)
5-second headstand
Forward roll
Sprint 5m

No rest during the workout!

~~~~~

As a child, I was very fearful of falling through the cracks between the boards of foot bridges. You read that correctly. Granted, I was scrawny, so in my mind I saw this as a possibility. I would cross bridges laterally, i.e., I would turn and face the railing, place one foot completely on a board and then gently place the other foot on the same board, either in front of or behind (obviously, folks) the foot already solidly balanced on board. Lather, rinse, repeat. It took me a very long time to cross a foot bridge.

~~~~~

Five Miles

Monday, May 4

10 Rounds Not For Time
1-min weighted plank hold, 55#
Up to 10 floor presses, beginning at 75# and increasing weight 10# each round

That’s a shit-ton of floor presses, and I was only able to complete 8 and 6 the rounds of 155 & 165, respectively. Uhm, likely because the plank holds are tough on the shoulders.

I then took the workout outside, and was immediately joined by my 4-year old non-stop-talking neighbor and his mother.

10 RFT
5 parallette pass thoughs
10m strict burpee broad jumps
Spint to start

As my arms were tired from pressing, pushing was a challenge. It took my about 5 reps per burpee to, you know, jump 10m. I’m short, so there’s that.

Tuesday, May 5

My mother requested Italian “S” anise cookies with powdered sugar, so I spent the morning make about 5 dozen of those. Jeff and I then parked in lot and refinanced house. Yup, interest rates are low so it was the time to do so.

AFAP
10 rounds
Bike sprint 400m
5 kipping pull-ups; 5th rep butterfly
10 rounds
Bike sprint 400m
10 kipping pull-ups; 9th rep butterfly

All pull-ups were overhand, i.e., no mixed grip.

I had initially planned on 20 rounds of 5 reps of pull-ups for total of 100 reps, but after 10th round I challenged myself. I was pleased that I completed all rounds in unbroken reps, as I don’t often kip.

I had also set a goal of 50 minutes, and even though I completed 50 more pull-ups than planned I finished in just under 50 minutes. I was spent. Uhm, five miles of biking and 150 pull-ups. Boom.

As it’s Cinco de Mayo, I made chicken quesadillas for dinner. Yup, the tortillas shells were also homemade. Deliciousness.

~~~~~~

In my 20s I had considered becoming a professional speaker and even had an agent. I asked my dear friend Tracy to provide feedback on my public speaking style. “Paul,” she said, “you play with the change in your pockets, and it’s very distracting.” “What can I do to overcome this?” I asked. “I have a perfect solution,” said Tracy, “a worry stone.”

A worry stone is a cylindrical piece of rock that you place between your index and middle fingers and rub with your thumb. This is supposed to relieve stress, you know, and worry.

Tracy was an audience member at my next speech, so she got to see firsthand the negative repercussions, as I spent the entire presentation rubbing the stone. As the audience didn’t know that I had a worry stone in my pocket it appeared to them as if, well, I was rubbing something that might have been hard.

On a positive note, I never place my hand in my pocket when presenting.

Hammock Time

It’s Sunday evening and I’m composing this blog whilst lying in the hammock. Life could be far worse. And if people don’t continue to practice social distancing and/or stay home, things will likely get much, much worse.

Yesterday’s workout was fun, as any workout that includes running is, by definition, fun. Don’t argue with me.

5 RFT
Run approximately 400m
50 unbroken air squats
15 L-sit pull-ups

Yup, based on a crossfit.com workout. My goal was 25 minutes, and I completed in less time than that. So boom. I followed it up with this…

10 RFT
Bike approximately 400m
30-second headstand hold

I set up the gym mat on the driveway, and was watched by the child of the corn who lives next door almost the entire time. It’s quite annoying to be stared at for that length of time, but whatever.

I also completed the first part of today’s workout on the driveway.

10 RFT
10 unbroken V-ups
5 unbroken HPC @ 95#
Sprint 10m
3 unbroken & strict HSPUs
Sprint 10m

HSPUs were completed on the fence. Use what’s available, folks. I then moved into the garage/gym.

10-9-8…3-2-1
Strict and unbroken ring dips
Unbroken lateral box jumps (1 rep = r + l)

Whilst more challenging, I enjoy lateral box jumps. I find I stay much more focused when completing.

Jeff and I went for a 9.5-mile bike ride, and that was much fun. Uhm, I’m not very good about letting him lead. Uhm, I’m not very good about letting anyone lead.

~~~~~

My BBF (Best Brian Friend) visited Saturday, and I had a wonderful catching up. We spent most of our time on the deck and, yes, we practiced social distancing. We also ate ribs and drank beer. Read the below excerpt from my memoir to learn how I met Brian.

I’ve raced the Umstead Trail Marathon three times, placing 2nd, 2nd, and 1st. But eventually winning the race isn’t the most memorable moment: meeting one of my best friends is. 

It was very hot and humid day, and it was my first trail and first Umstead marathon. While I did start near the front, I didn’t go out nearly as fast as many other runners and quickly settled into my own pace. About 2 or 3 miles into the race, there was but one other runner that I could see, and we took turns passing each other. As we were running up one of the many hills he said to me as I approached, “You wanna run and work together?” This is the first and only time that this has happened. “Sure,” I replied, and that’s what we did. I introduced myself as did he. “I’m Brian,” he said. We didn’t talk much but we did run side-by-side and it certainly was nice to run with someone. We reached the halfway mark, i.e., 13 miles, and Brian started to slow down. I said, “Stay with me, let’s run together.” “I’m good,” he replied, “you go on without me.” And that’s what I did. I eventually caught up with and passed many other runners and made sure to be at the finish line when Brian eventually finished. I introduced him to Jeff and he introduced me to (his now wife) Danielle. Brian, like George, Tracy, Carol, and Caroline, was instantly one of my best friends. Uhm, he was born the year I graduated high school. I often tell him that he’s the younger brother I never had—or wanted.