It’s all about the self-talk…

I didn’t coach this morning. I truly missed most all of my 6am colleagues, including Heather, Lauren, Chad, John, Claire, Rex, and Paul A. Heather and Paul A. attended this evening’s session, and that put a smile on my face. Michael Kelley coached, and that put a bee in my bonnet.

Internal monologue, i.e., self-talk, was a rollercoaster ride. You’ll understand as Heather reads this to you, Paul A. you read on.

10 Rounds: 1 Power Clean + 1 Hang Clean + 1 Push Jerk + 1 Split Jerk
Work up to heaviest weight, Rest 45 seconds between sets

My goal was to complete a round of 145, 2# more than bodyweight.

Michael Kelley informed us that we had 20 minutes to complete 10 rounds, and to not concern ourselves with how much we rested between sets. I completed 9, but am still pleased. I started light, completing rounds of 65, 75, 95, 105, 115, and 120#. I then jumped up to 135#. Unbeknownst to me, the Other Paul was attempting to match me lift for lift, and he said, “You jumped up quite a bit there, Paul.” The lifts at 135# felt solid, although my left bicep is still bothering me. I decided to jump to 145 instead of 140, even though this was my eighth round. Uhm, the lifts felt awesome. I was quite pleased that I reached my goal, and came this close to calling it a day. I added 5# to the bar, as we still had plenty of time for lifting.

I completed the 150# power clean much more easily than I thought I could. I felt confident. I then attempted a hang clean at 150#, and didn’t come even close to dropping and squatting beneath the bar. My confidence diminished. I waited just a moment and tried again. I was almost able to drop under the bar, but nonetheless failed. My self-talk was turning quite negative. If you can’t do a full squat clean with 150#, how the hell are you going to be able to push jerk or split jerk? I tried again, and came even closer to completing the lift (all while under the watchful eye of Michael Kelley), but I fell on my ass. I thought, That’s the third attempt. Call it a day. I began to take off the clips when Michael Kelley said, “You have 3 minutes to complete your lifts.” I put the clips back on, walked away from the bar, walked toward the bar, lifted the bar, lowered the bar to just below my knees, cleaned – and squatted below parallel – and rose! Uhm, I also grunted loudly. I then push pressed the weight above my head. Moment of truth: I push pressed all push jerks. I know not why. I split jerked, although I did stutter step when I jerked. I nonetheless locked my elbows, brought my right, front foot and then back, left foot beneath my body, waited for confirmation from Michael Kelley that the lift was successful, and dropped the bar. My confidence improved. Michael Kelley gave me a high five. That’s the most straight I’ve felt in ages, and I didn’t particularly like it.

I also coached Kabool and Paul A. while resting. Kabool requested, Paul A. needed.


5 Rounds:
35 Double Unders
12 Dumbbell Hang Power Clean and Press
10 Chest-2-Bar Pull-Ups

For the conditioning, our focus will be on intensity and speed. If you are not proficient at double unders, you will only sub 50 singles today. Go lighter on the dumbbells than you normally would and use extra bands or perform jumping chest to bar pull-ups. This WOD is meant to be FAST.

I don’t know what happened, but the met-con went much slower than I thought it would. I’m not sure why…

I completed the first round of dus in reps of 10 and 25, and the remaining rounds unbroken. So that part went fast. I completed the first 2 rounds of 30# dumbbell hang power clean and presses unbroken, and the last 3 rounds in reps of 7 and 5. I completed the first round of C2B pull-ups unbroken, the second round in reps of 6 and 4, the third and fourth rounds in reps of 6 and 4, and the last round in reps of 4, 3, 2, and 1. I wanted to ensure that my chest hit the bar. Still, I didn’t rest all that long between any reps of rounds.

I may, however, have completed more than 10 C2B pull-ups. I can’t be certain. Hang power clean and presses were the hardest part, and perhaps this is what slowed me down…

As I picked up the dumb bells for the last round, my self-talk went something like this: This is f@cking painful. Complete in reps of 3. Oh, wait, you’ve already done 3, so complete in reps of 4. Uhm, that was the fourth, so do at least one more. You made it to 5, so just do half. Okay, that was 6, do at least 7 like you’ve done in the last 2 rounds. And that’s what I did.

I completed the met-con in exactly 12 minutes. That’s slow. That’s 2 minutes and 24 seconds a round. That sucks.

I do, however, like occasionally not being one of the first to finish, as even I like to be encouraged by my fellow CFers. Thanks, fell CFers except Paul A.!


138 Squats

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Michael Kelley led this morning’s session. I’ve been spending far too much time with Michael Kelley. I request that someone stage an intervention. There were 6 in attendance, including yours truly, Chad, Lauren, John, Rex, and Heather. Michael Kelley led us through mobility using a lacrosse ball. It. Was. Painful.

There was much curiosity regarding the conditioning workout. Michael Kelley informed us that he had written on pieces of paper a variety of activities, and that we would each have an opportunity to pull a piece of paper from a bucket. He asked if we wanted to do so before or after the strength workout, and I immediately responded, “Now!” I was the first to draw from the bucket—wall ball. I exclaimed, “F@cking wall balls!” Who the hell wants to do 5 minutes of wall ball shots after LBBS and FS? Certainly not me. That’s a large quantity of squats. We were allowed to trade, but I had no interest in rowing for calories, doing TGUs, or doing L-sits, the only 3 activities that appeared to be up for grabs. Chiropractors are sneaky.

Today was a heavy lifting day…

Low Bar Back Squat
10 @ 50% | 105#
8 @ 65% | 140#
6 @ 75% | 160#
4 @ 85% | 180#
4 @ 90% | 190#

Yup, it’s Tuesday so that’s LBBS day. Yeah! I recorded all sets (with the exception of set of 10 @ 50%) to ensure that I squatted deeply enough. I’m pleased to report that I did.

PP (holding iPhone in front of Michael Kelley’s face and making him watch recording): Look at how deeply I’m squatting, Michael Kelley.
MK (rolling his eyes): Remember when you used to post videos of your squats and I would say that you weren’t squatting deeply enough? Can you see the difference? Other coaches would say that you
were squatting deeply enough, but I knew that you weren’t.
PP: Yes, but other coaches are much better kissers. Michael Kelley, your ass is incredibly huge. I bet your junk is inversely proportional to your ass.

Squats felt solid. Yes, the last set of 4 at 190# (132% of bw) felt heavy, but not unmanageable. Michael Kelley didn’t even have to molest spot me.

Front Squat
5 @ 70% | 145#
4 @ 80% | 165#
3 @ 85% | 175#
3 @ 90% | 185#
Barbell Bent Over Row
4 sets x 5 reps, 100, 115, 125, & 130#
Perform Front Squats, rest 45 sec. Perform Bent Over Row, rest 60 sec. 4 Total “rounds”

Uhm, yeah, so Michael Kelley sucks at time management. Thus, he directed us to not rest between FS and bent over rows, and to only rest a minute before beginning next round of FS.

FS did feel heavy by the third round. I dropped too quickly the first rep of the last round and my elbows touched my knees, and Michael Kelley made sure to remind me of this error. I hate Michael Kelley. Thank you, Michael Kelley. I struggled with the very last rep, but did manage to complete the lift successfully. I’m that frakking strong.

Bent over rows felt much lighter than they have in the past, and I wish that I had had the opportunity to add more weight to the bar. Michael Kelley did remind me to arch my back. I said, while bending over and slapping my own ass, “Like this, Michael Kelley?”

Unknown Test: 5 Minutes

As mentioned, I had chosen wall ball. My goal was to complete a minimum of 100 wall ball shots, using a 20# wall ball.

We were just about to start when I noticed that 4 rowers had been pulled from the wall, and that Lauren, Heather, John, and Rex were seated in the rowers and ready to begin rowing for calories. Chad had chosen double unders. Huh? How did that happen? I don’t think there was as much randomness as I had been led to believe.

I completed 25 unbroken wall ball shots in 53 seconds, rested 7, and then no longer concerned myself with number or reps of amount of rest. I completed remaining wall ball shots in reps of no less than 10. That 20# wall ball started to feel like it weighed 50#. I felt a slight tweak in my left bicep, but the pain was manageable. I completed 100 shots and there was still 7 seconds remaining. I completed 1 last wall ball shot and called it a day. Total = 101. I’m pleased. Karen shall be my bitch.

I was (surprise, surprise!) sweating profusely.

MK: “How many did you get?”
PP: 101.
Lauren: 71.
PP: I’m winning!
Heather: 69.
PP: I’m still winning!
John: 85.
PP: I’m winning!
Rex: 66.
PP: Still winning!
Chad: 56 double unders.
PP: I win, bitches!

I’m as strong as I am modest. That’s really, really strong.

Put a dollar in the jar, Michael Kelley.

Yesterday was a rest day, although Luke and I ran a somewhat easy 4 miles on American Tobacco Trail. I truly enjoy running with him, as he truly enjoys running!

I did not complete 12.1 WOD, as I continue to think/feel that only 1 attempt should be given. I know there are many who disagree. Let’s agree, then, to disagree. I did post my results.

It appears that Monday is “Wear Your CFZ Shirt to CFZ Day”. Ms. Kirby also joined the 6amers today. Yeah!

Michael Kelley led today’s session, and the focus was on rings dips.

Ring Dips
Use weight if necessary.

There is still a little tenderness in left bicep. I completed 8 reps of 10, 25, 35, and 45, and 6 reps of 55. Why only 6 reps? Because Michael Kelley is a douche bag. As you can see from this video, he interfered during the 6th rep, and I couldn’t stay on the rings while laughing. I hate Michael Kelley.

I had the pleasure of working with Chad and displeasure of working with Paul A.

5 Rounds each for time:
10 Power Snatches
15 Pushups
20 Sit-Up
1 min Rest

I intentionally went light on the power snatches, lifting a mere 65#, as pressing is what causes pain in my left bicep. Yes, I did experience a tiny amount of pain. I completed all 5 rounds unbroken.

I completed 4 rounds of pushups (feet together, chest and cheek to the floor) unbroken, and last round in reps of 8, 4, and 3. My shoulders were smoked!

I used the GHD machine for sit-ups, and completed 2 rounds unbroken and remaining 3 rounds in reps of 10, 6 and 4.

I completed rounds in 1:37, 1:37, 2:00, 2:03, and 2:23. Yup, GHD sit-ups slowed me down considerably. My total time was 9:35 (13:35 minus 4 minutes).


CrossFit Games Open WOD 12.1

Seventeen hours between WODs just isn’t enough time for recovery…

I attended (and assisted with coaching) the 9:30 and coached the 10:30 and Community WODs. I wasn’t the least bit excited about completing today’s WOD, the first of the 5 “Open” WODs. I’m confident that I’m not going to qualify for regionals, and even if I ever did, I would not attend or compete. I already have a full-time job.

Michael Kelley and I both led similar warm ups, based upon a mobility WOD.

Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes of:


This workout begins from the standing position. The Athlete will move from flat on the ground to touching an object with both hands that is 6 inches above their max reach. Score is total reps completed. Each person will be paired up with a partner to count reps and ensure that all burpees are completed according to game’s standards.

Michael Kelley and I partnered.

My goal was to complete 120 reps. My strategy was to complete 30 unbroken burpees, and then briefly rest after reps of 5 for the remainder of the time. For the most part, I followed this strategy. Here’s where I went wrong…

For a few of the reps, I put my left and then right foot back instead of jumping both feet back at the same time. This was stupid, unnecessary, and slowed me down. Why did I do this? Because it was suggested.

I didn’t need to rest after 5 reps, and should have instead rested after 10 reps.

Michael Kelley, I am not blaming you for my last mistake, as life it about free will and I could have chosen to not listen to you. With less than a minute left, Michael Kelley suggested that I rest 10 seconds and then go all out until time was up. I didn’t need 10 seconds of rest, and I once again lost valuable time.

I did have to redo the jump and touch for 2 reps. It wasn’t that I didn’t jump high enough, it was that I didn’t, well, touch the bar.

I completed 115 burpees, 5 short of my goal. Yes, I’m disappointed. I’m confident that I could complete 125 burpees. I will not, however, redo this WOD, as I think that’s just plain stupid. CrossFit is constantly varied. Competing the same WOD 2 days in a row is not varied.

As there were any odd number of people in the 9:30 session, I completed a solo partner WOD. I did 25, 52# kb high pulls and then run 200m holding 20# medicine ball. This was a 7 minute AMRAP, and I completed 3 rounds. Good times. Good. Times.

I counted and judged Michael Kelley. Earlier this week, he completed 101 reps and he wanted to beat this score. He did, completing 106 reps. I made sure to tell him his running score after 5 reps, i.e., 5, 10, 15, and so on. Post-WOD, he informed me that he didn’t hear me inform him of any reps past 80. I promise you that I did, Michael Kelley! You may, however, have been deprived of oxygen and unaware of your surroundings.

Michael Kelley has asked that I not speak poorly of the Games while at CFZ, and I shall comply with his request. I may, however, blog about anything damn thing I want, so here goes…

This WOD was stuuuuuuuupid. Yes, I enjoyed it. Yes, I did reasonably well. But is this really a WOD that distinguishes elite athletes? I know, I know, there are still 4 more Open WODs, and I’m sure that I won’t be able to complete 1 or more of them, particularly those that involve a 143# middle-aged man lifting heavy shit. It ain’t gonna happen.

I have resigned myself to remaining disinterested – and non-competitive – for all things CrossFit Games-related. I paid my $20 entry fee, but I’m still undecided as to whether or not I will even post today’s score.

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Cheesecake Factory

Michael Kelley's SECOND birthday present

I awakened at 4am, and had every intention of attending the 6am WOD with a CFer from work, Amber. I received the following sext from Michael Kelley at exactly 5:02am: Is there any way u can coach 6am and come wod tonight? I let him know that I could and would, and that he would owe me. While I didn’t ask for the reason he would be unable to coach, he nonetheless provided: Cheesecake factory + 6 wks of paleo = me puking since 3am.

This is reason #363 why I hate Michael Kelley.

I did indeed coach the 6am session, and very much enjoyed doing so. I sometimes wonder, though, how folks feel and/or what they think about my coaching… Chad, John, Scott, Lauren, Sandra, and Claire, along with Amber, attended. Claire did her first squat in ages (as she’s recovering from an injury) and John completed 10 unbroken toes to bar! Well done!

I attended the 6:15pm session, as did Jeff, and Michael Kelley “coached.” I put the term in quotation marks as he wasn’t yet quite himself. I gave him his second birthday present. He opened the gift bag and said, “These will be good for the gym.” Uhm, I didn’t buy them for the gym, Michael Kelley, I bought them for you. As Jeff noted, “Paul puts much more time and thought into gifts he purchases for you than into gifts he purchases for me.” That’s not entirely true. Reason #364 why I hate Michael Kelley.

High Bar Back Squat
10 @ 50% of 200# (100#)
8 @ 65% (130#)
8 @ 70% (140#)
8 @ 75% (150#)
8 @ 80% (160#)

There were 10 in attendance, so I had to pair with someone for HBBS. At Michael Kelley’s suggestion, I paired with his fraternal twin, Thomas. I discovered that Thomas not only sucks as grammar, he also sucks at math. I will begrudgingly admit that I somewhat enjoyed partnering with Thomas. He struggled on his set of 8 @ 75%, but did awesome on his last set of 8 @ 80%. I will give myself some credit, as I spotted and coached him through the last set. Michael Kelley ignored me during all of my sets of HBBS. Reason #365.

I felt very strong this evening, and all reps of lifts felt solid and powerful. Was it because I rested yesterday? I don’t know. Was it because I worked out later in the day? I don’t know. I will nonetheless increase my estimated 1RM to 205#.


AMRAP 10 minutes
500m Row
Then, in remaining time:
10 deadlifts, 1 x BW
Max unbroken toes to bar

Complete 500m row. In remaining time, complete as many rounds of couplet as possible. Each time you drop from the bar, you must go back to deadlifts. Score is total # of toes-to-bar.

Having coached this WOD just this morning, I was biting at the bit to complete. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a “Paul WOD”.

I rowed 500m in 1:44. Yup, 1 minute and 44 seconds – and I wasn’t even trying to row fast. Again, for whatever reason I felt very strong.

I completed 6 rounds of 145#deadlifts unbroken, and lifts felt easy and almost effortless.

I completed 6 rounds of toes to bar in reps of 14, 10, 9, 9, 9, & 8 for a total of 59 toes to bar. I really, really wanted to complete 9 toes to bar for the last round, but my grip gave with 10 seconds still remaining. I did not, I repeat, did not run to the bar and do another deadlift or 2.

Tomorrow is the first Open WOD of the CrossFit Games. I could not conceivably be less excited and/or interested. 7-minute AMRAP of burpees jumping to 6” above reach. Really? Yes, I’m very fast with burpees, and yes, I’ll likely do well. I am not, however, the least bit interested in doing so, and honestly have no motivation to perform at my best. My strategy is to just treat tomorrow’s WOD like any other WOD.

Michael Kelley’s Birthday WOD

Michael Kelley’s 27th birthday is today. Our relationship is, for lack of a better word, “unusual.” I am old enough to be his father, yet I think of him as a younger (by 21 years) brother. Happy Birthday, baby brother! I love/hate you like only an older brother could.

As I coached the 6am session, I arrived at the box at the far too early (even for me) time of 5am. I’m convinced that I get stronger as the day progresses. Sounds like an excuse for a terrible performance, but it is not.

Today’s posted WOD was:

Work up to the heaviest weighted pull-up possible. If you cannot do an unassisted pull-up, work to the lightest band for a single pull-up.

3 Rounds
400m Run
21 KB Swings, 52/35
12 Pull-Ups
10 Clean & Jerk, 135/95

I spent 20 minutes warming up, and realized that my left bicep is still too sore to press; thus C&Js were out of the question. I determined that I would replace C&Js were 27 pushups, and that’s what I planned on doing. I instead did “Helen”:  3 rounds of 400m run, 21 KB swings, and 12 pull-ups.

I was unsure where the turnaround was for 200m, and that slowed me down somewhat during the first round. What also slowed me down was the herd of deer that crossed my path a mere 10m in front of me. Nonetheless, running felt awesome and effortless. Yeah, running!

I completed rounds of KB swings and pull-ups unbroken. My time, however, was a mere 9:16, 24 seconds slower than my best time.

I truly think I would benefit from having a coach present, as I rely only upon myself for motivation. I would like someone saying, “Pick up the kettle bell, Paul. No time like the present. You’re wasting valuable time.” Better still, “Paul, are you really going to waste time chalking your hands? Grab the bar and pull up. It’s that simple.”

Uhm, these are things I said to 6amers. Am I being too mean? Let me know, athletes!

I then completed weighted pull-ups of 10, 20, 30, 40, and (a BIG leap to) 58#. With the addition of my bodyweight, I completed a 201# pull-up.

Michael Kelley and his fraternal twin brother, Thomas, attended the 6am session, as did Lauren, Kristen, Ryan, Heather, John, Chad, and the Other Paul.

The conditioning is a combination of Michael Kelley’s 2 favorite benchmark WODs, “Helen” and “Grace”. Having witnessed everyone (including Michael Kelley) struggle with the met-con, I’m kind of glad that my bicep is sore. Michael Kelley, I enjoyed witnessing you struggle mightily, giving me a “F@ck you!” look, and seeing you come this close to vomiting. It’s like you gave me a present on your birthday!

Hard Rock es no bueno

Michael Kelley’s burfday is manana. This is the only topic of conversation he is interested in discussing.

Michael Kelley led us through 20 (not a typo) minutes of painfully wonderful mobility. His ass has its own gravitational pull.


Low Bar Back Squat
10 @ 55% |105#
8 @ 65% | 136.5 (140#)
8 @ 70% | 147 (150#)
6 @ 80% | 168 (170#)
6 @ 85% | 178.5 (180#)

I based percentages on 210#, although I rounded up. I recorded each and every set, ensuring that I was squatting deeply enough. Here’s the last set of 6 reps @ 180# ( That’s Michael Kelley attempting to molest me, and then smiling for the camera.

I love. Low bar. Back squats.

AMRAP 15 Minutes
12 Wall Ball (20#)
12 Box Jump (30”)
30 Double Unders

Sayeth Michael Kelley, “This WOD is longer than 9 minutes, so you should like it, Paul.” Heareth Paul, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Paul.”

I felt rushed getting ready for the met-con, as was the last person to get all of my shit together. My goal was to complete all rounds of wall ball shots unbroken, as I’ve been struggling with them as of late. I knew this was going to be a taxing met-con, so I didn’t set any other goals.

I am pleased to report that I did indeed complete all 7 rounds of wall ball shots unbroken. Yeah, me! I might buy myself something nice or buy Michael Kelley something nice and keep it for myself.

I took off my shirt after the  2nd round.

I completed the first 4 rounds of box jumps unbroken, rounds 5 and 6 in reps of 7 and 5 (with a brief rest at the top of the box after the 7th jump), and then managed to get in 7 more jumps.

I could not find my Buddy Lee rope, and really struggled on the first round of 30 double unders. As I was jumping or throwing, Michael Kelley asked, “That’s not your rope?” I said, “I can’t find my Buddy Lee.” Uhm, a newbie had “borrowed” my rope, and Michael Kelley was kind enough to retrieve it for me. Double unders went much more smoothly from there, and I completed quite a few rounds unbroken.

I completed 6 rounds + 12 wall balls shots + 7 box jumps.

I loved this met-con. I did, I did, I did. I did. I. did.

I didn’t, however, like the music played during the met-con. Hard Rock does not inspire we to work harder, it compels me to punch Michael Kelley someone in the throat.