Fail + Success = Average

Dave led the 5pm session, and the focus was on the dead-lift. We first completed 3 rounds of 5 dead-lifts, 5 good mornings, and 5 back squats. Dave told the menfolk, or any menfolk who would listen to him, to lift 65 lb or more. I chose 75 lb. I quite liked this warmup. I think I’m getting used to this weightlifting thing, as I was able to push press the bar over my head to rest on my back — without even thinking about it.


I wanted to lift 335, but it just wasn’t meant to be. More than anything, I didn’t have the right mindset. I lifted 225, 275, 305, and then had 2 failed  attempts at 335. Uhm, I should’ve at least attempted to lift current PR. Why didn’t I? In retrospect, I really do not know. Jack chastised me, Bonnie encouraged me, and Jen ignored me. I was feeling quite letdown at the end of my failed attempts, and contemplated not doing the met-con.

And then I had a thought: Do yesterday’s bottom to bottom tabata air squats with a mile run. And that’s what I planned on doing.

And then I had another thought: You told Dave that you wanted power cleans to be included in this week’s schedule. There is absolutely no reason why you should not do this.

And before I even realized what I was doing, I was putting weight on the bar. I did not, however, complete any warmup power cleans with the weight on the bar. Why not? Because it always feels too heavy before and not heavy enough during. Given the results, I think this was a wise decision.

Metabolic Conditioning
16 power cleans (155/105)
Run 600m

I vowed to go heavier on power cleans, usually lifting 95 lb. I put 105 on the bar. I had yet another thought: If you can power clean 105, you can certainly power clean 110. Put another 5 on the bar. And that’s what I did.

As the clock was counting down from 10, I stepped up to the bar, leaned over and got in position, positioned my hands around the bar, and had this thought: Why am I doing this? Why am I lifting weights? In the not so distant past, this would have been unimaginable. Is this really something you should be doing? Is this even something you want to do? 

I nonetheless managed to begin to lift along with everyone else. I was most pleased that I could not complete the first round unbroken! Yes, I’m glad that I failed on the 13th attempt, as I knew that I was lifting a challenging weight. I paused for a moment after the failed attempt and then completed the last 4 reps of the first round. I ran outside and turned to the right, running the 600m loop in a counterclockwise direction. O was a good 5o or more meters in front of me and Jack was on my heels (although he ran in the clockwise direction).  O was the first to start the second round of power cleans, I was second but just mere seconds ahead of Jack.

The power cleans began to feel quite heavy during the second round. One of the advantages/disadvantages of being in the gym before most others is that the coach, in this case Dave, can give you their undivided attention. As O certainly didn’t need coaching and I certainly did, Dave observed and coached me through at least a dozen power cleans. “Faster elbows! Drop under the bar! Straight arms!” All good advice, Dave. Have I improved ever so slightly? Have I? Have I? I completed lifts in reps of 8, 4, and 4 (or thereabouts). O was once again the first outside, but this time I was probably only 25 or so meters behind him. As he ran in a clockwise direction, I did so as well. I caught and passed him with about 300m left.

Yes, I was the first person back to the gym, and Dave, Griff, and perhaps others provided direction and support. The bar felt very, very heavy. I completed in reps of 6, 4, 4, and 2. I ran the last 600m as fast as I could, finishing in a time of 10:14.

I was quite spent. And sweaty. It was getting close to 6pm, though, so I gathered my thoughts, a water bottle, a stopwatch, the endurance athletes, and headed outside. We warmed up with squats, pushups, and drills. What rhymes with drills? Hills! Today’s workout was 20 minutes of uphill and downhill repeats, with 30 seconds rest between reps. Nemo attended for the first time ever; thus, he got much of my attention. Kristen, Emily, Elizabeth, and Lindsey were also in attendance, and all quickly discovered that this was a grueling workout.

Lindsay, if you’re reading this, I’m convinced that you can run longer distances with faster turnover. I mean it.

“Lynne” and Coaching

5 rounds of the following:
Max rep bodyweight bench press (145 lb)
Max rep pull-ups
Rest as much time as needed between rounds

The first and only time I did this WOD was shortly after joining CFD, and it’s one of the earliest entries in workout journal. I weighed a whopping 130 lb and could not complete a single kipping pull-up. My total score was 110. My, how times have changed.

This WOD is perhaps best completed with a spotter. I did not place clips at the end of the bars so that I could bail if needed. What I ended up doing was not attempting to get in additional presses but instead ensured that I could complete the rep and place the bar on the rack.

My biggest mistake was failing to realize, until the fourth round, that I could do broken pull-ups if need be. Where’s a coach when I need one? (I’m talking to you, Jack.) I completed bench presses in reps of 6, 6, 5, 4, and 4 for a total of 25, and pull-ups in reps of 25 (unbroken), 15 (unbroken), 18 (unbroken), 20 (12 unbroken), and 22 (12 unbroken). I could have perhaps completed more pull-ups as well as bench presses. My total was 125, so an improvement nonetheless.

I practiced muscle ups and double unders as I waited for CFers to arrive.

There were but 4 in attendance at the 10am session, and 9 at the 11am session. Here’s what athletes completed:

2 minutes of single unders
Hip flexor stretches
2 minutes of sprinting jump rope
7 minutes of mobility, focusing on legs
Pose running drills
2 minutes of jumping rope while running
500m warmup run

Bottom to bottom tabata squats (4 minutes of 20 seconds squats and 10 seconds held squat) then run 1 mile
Begin at bottom of squat and for 20 seconds count each rep from bottom to bottom; hold for 10 seconds at bottom of squat
Penalty: subtract 5 points if squat not held at bottom for full 10 seconds 

Having done this WOD in the past, I knew it was going to be challenging. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again — the athletes were awesome, and all took direction regarding running mechanics. I’m also pleased to say that none were penalized.

I once again forgot to capture results from yesterday’s FGB.

Damn antibiotic

The wonderful Emily and Kristen attend this morning’s endurance WOD. Mobility, drills, warm up runs, and then a 2400m time trial. I didn’t, however, leave them on their own. Kristen is the faster runner, so I would run with her, run back to Emily, run to Kristen, later, rinse, repeat. I’d estimate that I ran 2+ miles. Both ran strong – and fast!

I did have the opportunity to observe some CFers doing Fight Gone Bad prior to 10. I took it upon myself to coach and cheer for Ashley D., and she was freaking awesome! I was her queerleader. Go, Ashley!

I had seriously considered not doing the WOD, as my stomach is constantly upset due to the antibiotic I’m taking for a staph infection. I have to force myself to eat, and am taking in less than half of the calories I typically consume. And my upper abs hurt. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

Someone who shall remain nameless was to have been my counter and cheerleader, and I was to have been his. At the very last minute, however, he decided that he would complete the WOD at the same time as me; thus, I had to quickly scramble for a counter and Lindsay was kind enough to volunteer. (Thanks, Ms. Hill!)

“Fight Gone Bad”
In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. The stations are:

  1. Wall ball: 20 pound ball, 10’ target. (reps)
  2. Sumo deadlift high pull: 75 lb (reps)
  3. Box jump: 20″ box (reps)
  4. Push press: 75 lb (reps)
  5. Row: calories

The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. On call of “rotate,” athletes must move to next station immediately for good score. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point.

This was one big, hot mess. I felt defeated from the start. I recorded this just 4 hours after finishing, yet I can hardly remember a thing. Here is what I do recall.

Most wall ball shots were good, in that I squatted deeply and frequently hit the target (or above). I found the sumo deadlift high pulls to be relatively easy, although I was constantly adjusting my foot stance. I feared the box jumps, as that’s how I cut myself. During the first round, John H. and I were facing the same direction and kept hitting each other’s arms. I moved to the other side and was then facing the same direction as he who shall not be named. Box jumps started off weak, but got better each round. The push presses are always a challenge. I did much better than last year, but I still struggled. My rowing was weak, weak, weak, and I had little energy left to row strongly. I rowed a mere 14 calories each round.

(I neglected to take a picture of my notebook, so I don’t have total reps for wall ball, SDHP, box jumps, or push press. I’ll update tomorrow.)

Did I mention that this was one big, hot, mess? Additional details…

After the first round I told Lindsay that I wasn’t going to do any more rounds. Why I did, I do not know. At the end of the second round I once again told Lindsay as well as Dave that I wasn’t going to do the last round. Why I did, I do not know. On at least a half dozen separate occasions I threw up a little in my mouth. I kid you not. At one point Dave said, “It’s good to see Paul this wrecked (or some other adjective).” I shall punch you in the throat, Dave. I shall. When the WOD was over, I quickly ran outside as I was convinced I was going to hurl. The sidewalk felt so cool and comforting that I collapsed onto it. And it was good.

I then led the Community WOD, and there were but 5 in attendance. Since it was such a small group, I finally had the opportunity to use the rowers. And, since I could use the rowers, why not just have them do FGB? Kettle bells were used for SDHP and dumb bells were used for push press. As they didn’t have counters, they quickly recorded totals after each exercise. I had initially planned on participants doing 2 rounds, but at the end of the second round I let them know they could do a third round if they wanted to. Three did, and the other 2 joined in for some of the exercises.


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Jack led today’s session, and the focus was on the press – and Troie. More in a moment…


There were only 7 or so in attendance (and Griff doesn’t count), so I had a platform to myself. I warmed up with 45 and then 65 lb. I then pressed 95, 105, 110, and 115 lb. I went heavy (probably too heavy) for last round, attempting to lift 125. I failed on first attempt, completed next 2 attempts, and failed on final attempt.

Young Nick was to my left, and Troie was to his left. I have taken it upon myself to tease Troie about his relationship with Kristen.

Me: How much did you just press, Troie?
Troie: 105 pounds.
Me: That’s the same weight I just lifted.
Jack: Paul’s going to look at your weight and add just a little bit more.
Troie: Yes, Paul always has a little bit more.
Me: That’s what Kristen says, too.

 Jack was kind enough to allow me to make up Monday’s WOD, although I modified it somewhat.

Metabolic Conditioning
5 rounds for time of the following:
Run 200m
25 box jumps (24”)
25 Abmat sit-ups

As I wanted a met-con that lasted at least 20 minutes, I went all Rx++ on this bitch.

5 rounds for time of the following:
Run 400m
25 box jumps (24”)
25 GHD sit-ups

Griff informed me that he had completed the met-con Rx+, having done GHD sit-ups, in a time of 21 minutes and change. While I knew it would be unlikely that I’d beat his time, I most certainly wanted to come close to doing so.

Running is always a pleasure, and today was no different. It was, however, quite difficult to get fast leg turnover after the first round. The box jumps were the most challenging of this met-con, as I’m still working on form, i.e., brief pause at the top of the box with a jump as soon as feet touch the ground. There were quite a few times, I’m happy to report, that I was able to string as many as 10 box jumps together. I completed GHD sit-ups unbroken for the first two rounds, in reps of 10, 10, and 5 for the third and fourth rounds, and 10, 8, and 7 for the last round.

While completing GHD sit-ups during the third round, Jack stopped by for a chat. I gasped, “I may only do four rounds.” He replied, “That seems fair.” I did indeed seriously contemplate stopping after four rounds and told myself that if my time was over 18 minutes I could do so. My time after the fourth round was 17:37. Damn!

My total time was 22:16. I came very close to besting Griff’s time. Given that I ran 600m 1000m more than he did, I’m calling it a win.

As I was leaving, Troie (shirtless still, of course) was talking about Saturday’s Fight Gone Bad. (I’m leaning toward not participating, as I’ll likely be coaching at 9 and 11 – and I’m still fighting an infection.)

Troie: Kristen says hello.
Me: I know. I was there when she said so.
Troie: Ha. You know, I’m really starting to rub off on her.
Me: I rubbed off on her just last night.

Poor Troie! (Kristen, you know it’s all in good fun.)

Front squats, power cleans, barfing burpees

I had the pleasure of coaching the 6:15 and 7:15 bootcamp sessions, as my good friend Ashley Thompson Denton is under the weather.  (Do you know where that expression comes from? I do.)

On today’s schedule was mobility with the lacrosse ball (focusing on the feet), proper form for squats, learning the push press and goblet squat, and reviewing the met-con – a 20-minute AMRAP of 5 burpees, 5 goblet squats, 5 push presses, and 5 reverse lunges holding dumb bell or kettle bell. Unbeknownst to bootcampers, 8 minutes into the met-con I informed them that it was a 15- instead of 20-minute AMRAP, and that they should increase intensity while still focusing on form. I also challenged them to not rest during the last 90 seconds. Quite a few folks completed more than 10 rounds! Impressive.

Anna Farter Carter led today’s 8:30 session, and the focus was on the front squat. My current 1RM is 180, and my current 3RM is 170. Make that was 170.

Front Squat

I warmed up with the 45 bar and 95 lb, and was then good to go. I completed 3 reps of 135, 155, and 165. I didn’t want to merely match my current 3RM, so I put 175 on the bar and successfully completed 3 front squats – a new PR. I said (to anyone who would listen), “I want to test my limits, so I may very well fail on these next lifts.” Paul Pi asked, “Why would you want to fail?” I replied, “Because it’s good for me. I don’t often go outside of my limits.” Paul Pi said, “Just don’t fail more than once a month.” I will heed your advice, Paul. Pauls are very, very smart.

I put 5 more lbs on the bar making the weight 180, my current 1RM, and successfully lifted for 3 reps – while just about everyone in the gym was watching me! I now truly appreciate the support that I get from my fellow CrossFitters. Okay, the last lift was a struggle, but I nonetheless full squatted and fully stood upright, so it counts. Did I mention that that I now have a new 3RM PR?

Power cleans (135/95)
Bar facing burpees

I vow that from this moment forward I will lift more than 105 for power cleans. In other words, I lifted 105 and it felt too easy. Going too light doesn’t challenge me nor does it help me improve my form. How do I know it was too light? Because all rounds of power cleans were done unbroken. Bad, Paul, bad! The bar facing burpees were challenging, as my legs felt heavy after the front squats. I completed in 7:35. I will admit that I didn’t push myself, as I was tired from yesterday’s travel, I’m disgusted with NC Legislators, and I’m fighting an infection and am on an antibiotic.

One observation: When I completed rounds of 15 and 12, I kept my hands on the bar, i.e., I brought the bar to the floor. I noticed that many (if not most) others were dropping the bar and then re-gripping and cleaning. When in Durham, right? I dropped the bar to the ground for the remaining rounds, and it took far less energy. Lesson learned.

If you quickly look at bar facing burpees it kinda looks like barfing burpees.

Double unders? Yeah! 1-arm KB swings? Boo!

Six days “on” is not pretty for any involved parties. Tomorrow is a well-deserved rest day.

Jack led today’s session, and the focus was on the dreaded snatch. Jack first led us through a warm up, using just a 45 lb bar, that included 10 front squats and push presses. Uhm, yeah, so on the very first push press I neglected to push my neck back and hit the bottom of my chin with the bar. Ouch. Jack then led us through a snatch progression. I was smart enough to put the bar down and use a PVC pipe instead. I was also smart enough to use a 33 lb bar and focus on form when we did begin the skill practice. I began by completing the snatch beginning with position 1. Jack observed, and noted that I wasn’t extending my hips. I tried snatching beginning from position 2, and was indeed able to extend my hips. I also had to remember to go on my toes. Oh, so very much to remember. I completed probably 40 or more snatches, none of them very good. There, I said it.

12-min AMRAP
30 double unders
30 1-arm kettle bell swings (alternating arms), 52 lb

Jack demonstrated how to go from one hand to the next for the swings. While this was efficient, it sure wreaked havoc on the hands, regardless of how much chalk I used. Okay, here are the details.

I completed most rounds of double unders unbroken, with the exception of when Max got all up in my business. I wish there had been many, many more double unders and far, far fewer kettle bell swings. Jack said, “Don’t use your arms, use your hips!” I replied, “That’s what my husband says.” I completed the first round of 30 swings unbroken, the second, third, and fourth rounds in reps of 15, and the fifth round in reps of 10.

I kept a careful eye on the clock, and time seemed to go veeeeeery sloooooowly. With more than 9 minutes left on the clock, I caught Jack’s eye, hoping that he would know what my look meant, as there was a direct verbal translation: I am done. He ignored me, so I continued. I kept thinking, “DNF, DNF, DNF.”

I really struggled this morning, so much so that I stopped when there was still 10 seconds left on the clock. Jack commented on this after the WOD, and I said, “I completed that AMRAP faster than anyone!”

I completed a total of 5 rounds + 30 double unders + 4 KB swings, i.e., 5 rounds + 34. Disappointing, I know.