Coacher, coach thyself!

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I know the title isn’t grammatically correct.

As a Powerlifting certification (that Michael Kelley attended) was held at CFD this weekend, WODs were cancelled and I coached at CFZ, with open gym held from 10 to 11 and first time ever scheduled WOD at 11.

I arrived at 8:45, and spent a solid 25 minutes on mobility and PT of left bicep. (I used a 15@# dumb bell, Jay, and was pain free.)

As I’m still resting my arms, I decided to do the WOD posted on the main site, the hero WOD “Manion”.

7 rounds for time of:
Run 400 meters
135# back squat, 29 reps

I knew the WOD was going to be tough, as well it should be, but I had no idea just how difficult.

I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to back squat 135# for that many reps without failing, so I placed a 25# and 2, 10# plates on the ends of the bar, figuring that I could drop to 115 or even 95# if I had to. In addition, I decided that if I began to weaken and/or falter that I could stop after 5 or 6 rounds. I was ready to do whatever I needed to do to get the best workout – while still maintaining power output.

My goals from ideal to tolerable:

  • Complete as prescribed in less than 40 minutes
  • Complete as prescribed in less that 45 minutes
  • Complete 6 rounds as prescribed
  • Complete 5 rounds as prescribed
  • Complete 7 rounds, dropping to 115 if need be
  • Complete 7 rounds, dropping to 95 if need be
  • Complete as many rounds as possible and dropping weight as needed, i.e., dropping to 115 and 95

I set up the rack just inside the back garage door. It was a beautiful, albeit overcast, morning, with a temperature of 60 degrees.

The first 400m run was a breeze. There were many thoughts going through my mind. I was very concerned with failing on a back squat, for if I did so I’d have to either clean the bar to the rack or take off weights to get the bar to the rack. I didn’t want to do that. At the last minute I decided that I would do no more than 5 reps at a time, meaning that I’d have to rack the bar 5 (or more if I did less than 5 reps) times each round. And that’s what I did. And I’m glad that I did! I completed the first 3 rounds in reps of 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, & 4, running even splits for the 400m. I began with low bar but changed to high bar back squats for the fourth and remaining round. Regardless, I can unequivocally state that all squats were below parallel.

I was beginning to tire, and was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to do more than 5 rounds, as for the fourth round I completed in reps of 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, & 5. I was getting very, very winded. For the fifth round I thought to myself, “How would you go about coaching someone right now? What advice would you give them? Even if it was Doubting Thomas, what would you say to him?” I positioned myself under the rack, did a back squat, and told myself to pause and rest a second with the bar on my shoulders between reps. It was that easy. Instead of doing reps fast and unbroken, I paused a second or 2 before between each rep. It worked! I completed in reps of 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, & 4. I decided to do a sixth round, and decided to not drop any weight.

My legs felt like they were made out of concrete. I was having a very difficult time running, and I know my last 3, 400m runs weren’t very fast. I didn’t, however, stop.

I ran the sixth 400m, stepped into the box – and almost cried. I just couldn’t imagine doing another round of 29 back squats, let alone 58! I composed myself, positioned myself under the bar, and completed in reps of 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, and 4. I thought, “One last round, one last round. You can do it. Just start running.” And running I did, only this time my legs felt like there were made of concrete and then encased in concrete. I nonetheless didn’t stop. I positioned myself under the bar and thought, “Just 29 left. Get on it.” I completed in reps of 5, 5, 5, 6, 4, & 4. I actually did a round of 6!

I completed the WOD in 36:49, exceeding my ideal goal.

For perspective, I:

  • Averaged about 5: 28 or so a round
  • Ran 1.75 miles
  • Completed 203 back squats
  • Moved 27,405 pounds

Keep in mind that 135 pounds is 93% of my bodyweight.

I provided some coaching during open gym. (Eric, don’t let your hips wing. Alex, keep a neutral neck when dead-lifting.) Claire & Alex, Heather & Paul, Kristin, Jeff, Britt, and Jamie F. (who drove all of the way from Durham) attended the 11am WOD. We had fun on the rings and doing headstands, and then they completed the benchmark “Nicole”. I snapped some awesome pictures!

Running Clinic (Death by 10m) and Death by Back Extensions

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I coached a 2-hour running clinic at CFZ today, as was delighted (and quite surprised) by the very large turnout – fifteen athletes! All participants had a very positive attitude, and for this I am greatly appreciative.

  • Mobility and stretches specifically for runners (20 minutes)
  • CrossFit Endurance warmup (10 minutes)
  • Running Drills, e.g., hopping, jump rope sprinting, running backwards, etc. (45)
  • Death by 10m (25 minutes)
  • Stretching (10 minutes)

Including breaks and Q & A, 2 hours total. That, Michael Kelley, is effective time management. Congratulations to Paul A. and Kristin K, the highest scoring male and female! If I recall, they both made it through round 17.

I coached the Community WOD, and many CFZers chose to attend – so many that there weren’t enough boxes to jump upon. The WOD was a 14-minute AMRAP of 100m run, 7 box jumps (or 14 jumping air squats), 7 KB swings, and 7 pushups. Sound familiar? Timmy attended, and bought me a cup of vanilla latte coffee. You’re a good guy, Timmy, and you’re marrying up. Way up. Like Paul A.

I then did my own modified version of the same WOD. I’m being patient and nursing my left bicep, so I did not do KB swings or pushups.

14-minute AMRAP
Run 100m
7 box jumps, 30”
7 GHD back extensions
7 bodyweight (145#) dead-lifts

My goal was to complete a minimum of 7 rounds. I do not recommend this workout, as it was much more difficult that I imagined it was going to be. It became quite obvious that I need to work on back extensions, as completing them was by far the most difficult part of the workout. I missed 1 box jump; thus I did not complete unbroken. I completed the 7th round of dead-lifts in reps of 4 and 3; thus I did not complete unbroken. I did complete all rounds of GHD back extensions unbroken, but it took every ounce of effort to do so for the last round.

I was 1 dead-lift shy of completing 8 rounds. Damn it. 800m run, 56 box jumps, 56 GHD back extensions, and 55 dead-lifts.

Jeff and I ate at Tacos Mexicos, and then voted AGAINST amendment 1. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to do so.

Loving both of you is breaking all the rules.

Wow, two days without posting. Are you surprised? I am not.

I coached Wednesday, but as I’m a single parent once again this week, I wasn’t able to make time to work out. The skill was one of my favorite lifts, the dead-lift, and the met-con was a twisted version of “Cindy”. I had much fun coaching, and the 6am group other than Paul A. did a great job.

I practiced dead-lifts yesterday, working up to singles at 305 and 315. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to lift 150… I created my own met-con, and I don’t recommend that you try this one at home.

15-minute AMRAP
5 GHD sit-ups
24”, 30”, and 34” box jumps, increasing reps each round
10, 10m shuttle runs; 100m total

My goal was to complete all rounds of GHD sit-ups (and obviously shuttle runs) unbroken, and to remain consistent with box jumps. Confused by box jumps? Don’t be. For example, for the second round I jumped 24”, 30”, 34”, then once again 20”, 30” and 34”. It was mentally challenging to jump different heights during the same met-con, and I missed about 3 attempts at 34”. I didn’t, however, rest between jumps, even during the last round.

I completed 7 rounds + 3 (almost 4) GHD sit-ups; 38 GHD sit-ups, and 84 box jumps, and 700m run.

I visited CFZ once again yesterday afternoon, as three out-of-town visitors wanted to try CF. 14-minute AMRAP of 100m run, 7 box jumps (20”), 7 KB swings (25#) and 7 pushups (assisted if need be). Nice job, Dimitry, Eric, and Amanda!

Today’s strength was front squats; specifically determining 1RM. Uhm, I’ve recently done this, so I didn’t feel compelled to do so again. I let MK (ß initials) know. He suggested that I work up to doing a couple of singles at 90% of 1RM, something I had already decided to do. I should coach this sh!t. I worked up to singles at 195#. Once again, I’m really enjoying all kinds of squatting – even overhead.

Today’s benchmark workout was “Fran”. My left bicep is healing, and as I don’t want to make the same mistake I’ve made in the past, i.e., reinjuring it, I did not do thrusters or pull-ups.

(As an aside, I am doing daily PT, Jay. I’ve worked up to 15# dumb bells. My bicep hurts most in the morning and sometimes when I type. Like right now. Why, Jay, why?)

“Franklin” (as that’s my middle name)
21 Front Squats, 95#
Run 400m
15 FS
Run 300m
9 FS
Run 200m

My goal was to do all FS unbroken, and this was quite easy to accomplish. In fact, all rounds of FS felt light, and I never felt compelled to break up the sets. Running after squatting, however, is never easy, and it certainly wasn’t today.  I completed in 5:51.

I’m looking forward to doing a WOD with others that includes running, as I don’t feel compelled to run as fast as I can when I’m running solo. Just saying.

Oh, before I forget, MK was actually quite amusing today. As Michelle was setting up her bands for kipping pull-ups, MK provided shitty advice. I said, “Remember, Michelle, as soon as your chin goes above the bar think ‘head through shoulders’. That worked for you last time.” MK mocked me, stating that it is virtually impossible for me to do a met-con and not coach others as I’m doing so.

I. Showed. Him. From this moment forward I will only coach when I’m coaching. (Or maybe give up coaching altogether?)


I (literally) had a difficult time getting out of bed this morning, as Luke, Zac, and Meg were all pressed and snuggled beside me. I arrived at CFZ at 5:50, stretched, and did my PT exercises as prescribed by my good friend, Jay. Thanks, Jay! I used a 10# dumb bell, and even that light weight caused a little bit of pain. I promise to attempt to be good. Michael Kelley entered the box, sat his fat ass beside me and said, “I’m looking forward to our date tonight.” Uhm, you invited yourself to dinner and “Glee.” I don’t know that I’d call that a date. Just saying. (“Glee” promises to be heart wrenching, so with any luck I’ll get to see Michael Kelley cry. Yet again.)

TMI stands for Time Management Intervention. I need to have an intervention with Michael Kelley.

We spent a loooooong time working on mobility, and then finally were informed that we had about 20 minutes to establish a low bar back squat 1RM. This is the culmination of a 12-week program, so Michael Kelley made sure to stir up anxiety. I, on the other hand, encouraged my fellow CFZers to treat today like any other day. Back to time management… Twenty minutes just wasn’t enough time, as I had planned on doing at least 6 sets to work up to 1RM, and to allow at least 3 minutes of rest between sets. 3×5 = 15 minutes – and that’s just the rest – and that doesn’t include additional attempts at 1RM and/or breaking down the bar after lifting. I would have liked have had at least 30 minutes to establish 1RM, as I felt rushed the entire time.

After warming up, I lifted sets of 3 reps of 135, 165, and 185, and singles of 205, 225 (current 1RM) and 235 (new 1RM). I had a failed attempt at 240 – and would love to have had time to attempt again.

Michael Kelley redeemed himself by programming an awesome met-con.
12-minute AMRAP
12 unbroken wall ball shots
15 kettle bell swings
Run 200m

I used a 20# wall ball. Michael Kelley informed us that the 12 wall ball shots had to be unbroken, for example, if you failed at the 12th attempt, you had to start over. I set up my wall ball on the wall beside Michelle, Lauren, and Heather, and John and Chad set up on the opposing wall. Sayeth John, “Mike, if Paul’s doing wall ball shots on that wall, and we know you’ll be watching him, how are you going to know if Chad and I hit our targets?” Ha! Michael Kelley instructed everyone to be honest. Knowing John and Chad, I’m sure that they were. As I didn’t want to exacerbate the issue with my left bicep, I used a 60# KB and did Russian swings. My goal was to do all reps, including KB swings, unbroken.

To ensure that I didn’t miss a wall ball shot, I aimed above the target. This tactic worked splendidly, and I was able to complete all rounds of wall ball shots unbroken, hitting well above the target. No air balls, either! I completed all rounds of KB swings unbroken. ‘Twas 40 degrees this morning, and that made keeping my hands warm whilst running quite a challenge. But, I got to run. Enough said.

I completed 6 rounds + 3 wall ball shots; 75 wall ball shots, 90 KB swings, and 1200m run.

Michael Kelley, row the boat ashore

Meg & Zac awakened me at 4am, and I could not fall back to sleep. I took my leisurely time getting ready, but nonetheless arrived at CFZ at 5:35. That’s too damn early. This did allow ample time for mobility. Alas, my left bicep hurt worse today than it has in quite some time, and it may be due to demonstrating rings skills at CFD yesterday. I dreaded today’s skill, the press, and I feared that I would feel excruciating pain. I did…

Michael Kelley led us through an insipid conversation a mobility session. We also completed 30 OHS. I kinda enjoyed that, and I”m not quite sure why.

I completed a total of 3 presses at 75#, and knew that I couldn’t do any more – let alone attempt at 1 rep maximum. It was particularly painful as I lowered the bar. Michael Kelley suggested negative handstand pushups. I politely ignored his suggestion. He then suggested dumb bell presses. I once again politely ignored his suggestion. I contemplated leaving, but that would have been silly as I had to wait until 7 to drop off Luke at Doggie Village. What to do, what to do…

As there was just 30 minutes remaining in the hour, I quickly decided to do a rowing endurance WOD. Kim and Kristin completed 15 reps of 250m with 1 min recovery just yesterday, and it looked miserably fun. I knew I wouldn’t have enough time for 15 reps, so I decided to do 10. This was indeed miserable, but not at all fun…

Here are the results:

Rep | time | pace/500m | strokes/min
1 | 55.8| 1:51.6 | 30
2 | 54.3 | 1:48.6 | 28
3 | 51.6 | 1:43.2 | 33
4 | 52.0 | 1:44.0 | 31
5 | 51.9 | 1:43.8 | 32
6 | 51.7 | 1:43.4 | 34
7 | 52.9 | 1:45.8 | 32
8 | 52.5 | 1:45.0 | 33
9 | 53.9 | 1:47.6 | 31
10 | 51.4 | 1:42.8 | 35

Overall: Time 8:48.0 | 2500m | 1:45.6/500m avg | 31 s/m avg

As you can see, I started to fall apart during round 7, and this may have been because of the increased s/m. One minute of recovery was hardly enough, and I was still quite out of breath before starting the last 4 rounds. For the first time that I can recall, I found that I was exerting so much effort that not only did I grunt, breathe very heavily, and grimace, I also closed my eyes! It was as if I didn’t want to see how slowly the meters were counting down. The only thing I’m pleased about is that I finished strong.

Dear 6amers,

Hello! How are you? I am fine. My apologies for the grunting sounds. And the sweating. And the swearing. And the making fun of your collective hopping abilities. Well, I may not be too sorry about making fun of you.

Your friend,


Chaos for a Cause

Yet another exhausting and rewarding (and frustrating in one regard) day at CFZ. I was running a little late this morning, but nonetheless stopped by Bruegger’s to get my daily large cup of French roast coffee. I had every intention of drinking it during the warm up, but that was not to be.

Unbeknownst to Michael Kelley, I was keeping count of how many times he began a sentence with “alright”. When he finally realized what I was doing he said, “I’ll donate $30 to Chaos for a Cause if someone will tackle Paul.” No one moved. Timmy then asked, “You’ll really donate $30?” When Michael Kelley responded, “Yes!” Timmy immediately bounded toward me. Keep in mind that I was holding a full cup of coffee. In that split second I concluded that Timmy would not tackle me. When it became obvious that he was indeed going to do so, I held my coffee cup up and away – and braced myself. Timmy tackled me to the ground, spilling my warm, delicious cup of coffee everywhere. Unlike Michael Kelley, I did not run away from Timmy and/or scream like a baby. I think most were surprised that I did not.

Michael Kelley, don’t merely replace “alright” with some other kind of vocalized pause, such as “uhm” or “okay”. Just take a deep breath, think about what you’re going to say, and then say it. And while we’re on the topic of your weaknesses, you suck at time management. Suckity, suck, suck, major suckage.

From CFZ:  Today we are hosting a fundraiser for a great cause! Alison Gray, the sister of our very own Lauren Gray and daughter of Michelle Gray, is going to be embarking on an 11-month mission trip around the world.

Today’s workout/venue is a way to bring about awareness about the World Race, raise a little money to help Alison, have some good food, a good workout, and enjoy the company of others.

All members are welcome, even if you didn’t register. It would be great if you could donate tomorrow, but it isn’t expected (unless you grab some BBQ). We will have a small raffle for random gym stuff. All of the proceeds will go to Alison. We will also be taking t-shirt orders for anyone that wants one, but didn’t yet place an order.

Now on to the fun stuff. Don’t freak out, this workout can be scaled for beginners!

In teams of 3-4, complete the following for time:1200m Run, each person

121 Abmat Sit-Ups
121 Jumping Pull-Ups
121 Partner Wall Ball
121m Bear Crawl, each person
121 Double Unders, each person
121m Handstand Walk (sub crab walk if necessary), each person
121 Hand Release Push-Ups
121 Kettlebell Swings
121 Grasshoppers
1200m Run, each person

2 people will work, while the other 1-2 people rest. The runs, bear crawl, crab walk, and double unders are to be completed by everyone. Scaling option for the run: 1200m must be run per person, however, if someone wants to run more to help out a teammate that is perfectly acceptable. There will be modifications and scaling options for everything!

Michael Kelley did a below average job of explaining the requirements. Stupid Michael Kelley. I had determined that I was going to do the workout solo, albeit scaled. I did run 1200m at the beginning and end, and completed 81 reps of activities, with the exception of 81m of bear crawl and crab walk.

I. Nearly. Died.

I was the first to complete the 1200m run, you know, because I love to run. I also loudly proclaimed, “Winning!” to the crowd of observers after each 400m. Whilst we were running Michael Kelley proclaimed, “I’m going to stop you every 3 minutes and you must do 3 burpees.” Uhm, ok. I was the first to begin Abmat sit-ups, and had every intention of doing unbroken. I was about halfway through when Michael Kelley yelled, “Three burpees!” I did 3 burpees and completed the remainder of the sit-ups.

I did jumping pull-ups in reps of 61 and 20. I had originally planned on using a 20# ball for wall ball shots, but as others were at an advantage I grabbed a 14# wall ball – and I’m glad I did. Wall ball shots were certainly one of the most difficult activities. I completed no less than 10 reps at a time. Oh, yes, and 3 more burpees.

Bear crawls were a bitch in that we completed them outside on the pavement. Uhm, broken glass, anyone? I was quite winded when I began double unders, and stringed together as few as 5 and as many as 35.

I mistakenly thought HRPUs were next, and was midway through when Michael Kelley asked, “Did you do the crab walk?” I nodded my head no, and did crab walks next. Ouch again.

I used a 35# KB and completed in reps of no more than 30 and no less than 10. I was spent.

By this time, the 10:30 session was already outside and warming up as their coach (me) was still completing the WOD.

Grasshoppers nearly killed me, as I was completely spent. I did in reps of no less than 10, resting briefly between sets. The 10:30ers chuckled each time I grunted, moaned, or swore.

I then ran, often running through the 10:30ers, and yelling “Still winning!” after each 400m. As I was approaching the turnaround for the last 400m, I yelled, “All of the 10:30 group, run the last 400m with me.” No one except Heather began to run. I yelled, “I mean it. I’m the coach, and I’m telling you to run.” They finally all joined me.

Stupid Michael Kelley changed the rules throughout the WOD, for example, we were no longer required to do 3 burpees every 3 minutes, he allowed a team to stop doing bear crawls or crab walks when the fastest person on the team completed the activities, and he only required a 400m run at the end. I was shocked when I learned that Lauren and Timmy’s team finished ahead of me – until I realized a ran 800m more than they did.

I completed in a time of 39:37.

I did, of course, have to almost immediately coach. I gathered the group outside, went over the requirements, then went over movement standards, gave them a 5-minute warning, and we began. That, ladies and gentlemen, is effective time management.

Uhm, there is one person in the group who I have determined is un-coachable, and I will no longer coach him. As I was going over the requirements he actually had the audacity to challenge me. This isn’t the first time this has happened, either. He then said, and I quote, “You’re such a prima donna.” Uhm, he called me, a man, a prima donna. Sounds like a homophobic comment to me. Does it to you as well? I coach because I enjoy coaching; I don’t, however, enjoy coaching assholes. Nor will I coach assholes.

That’s off of my chest. I then coached the community WOD. Each round began with 5 burpees, and then in the remaining minute athletes completed as many box jumps or kettle bell swings, alternating activities, for a total of 8 rounds; rest 30 seconds between rounds. Jeff, Cheri, Kristin, and Nicole participated. And it looked rough. Yup, that’s a Paul original.

We ended the day with a BBQ feast. I had the most delicious banana cream pudding that I have ever had in my entire life. Must. Have. More.

Somebody to love

I have a newfound respect for single parents. This. Week. Has. Been. Rough. I think all of us, including both Meg and Zac, are exhausted. For the first time ever, Meg and Zac did not wake me up before the alarm sounded, nor did they stir after I hit snooze – and then mistakenly turned off the alarm. I didn’t get out of bed until 5:15, and my first thought was, Sleep in and go to the 7:15 session. My next thought was, Stupid Michael Kelley will probably choose today as a day to oversleep. I’d better get my thin and shapely ass ready and attend the session at 6.

I arrived at CFZ at 5:50, and Michael Kelley had indeed opened the box. I’m happy that he remembered how to do so. The “Journey” channel was playing (LOUDLY) on Pandora.

After a laborious couch stretch, we moved to high bar back squat. (Michael Kelley, I thought we were going to do OHS every day? You are such a liar.) I completed 4 sets of 5 reps of 130, 150, 160, and 160. As I was resting before my last set I thought, “I forgot to check in.” I grabbed my iPhone, launched Facebook, checked into CFZ, and posted, “Michael Kelley ignores me when I high bar back squat.” I began my last set and Michael Kelley almost immediately shouted, “I am affirming that Paul is correctly doing high bar back squat. Good job, Paul.” How could he have so quickly known that I posted that comment? I asked, “Did you see my status update, Michael Kelley?” He wasn’t holding his penis phone, so he couldn’t have seen the update. I asked, “Who showed Michael Kelley my status update?” Everyone gave me confused looks. It appears that Michael Kelley had been bragging to Scott about how as a coach he watches everyone’s lifts, and then realized that he hadn’t paid any attention to me. Stupid Michael Kelley. He then approached and said, “I don’t watch your back squats because I no longer need to.” I asked, “Then I don’t need a coach, right?” “Not for back squats, but for other things, yes” he replied. “I should just quit CFZ and open my own box!” I exclaimed. Michael Kelley grabbed his penis rolled his eyes.

15-12-minute AMRAP
12 1/2 bw dead-lifts
10 1/2 bw hang power cleans
8 1/2 bw front squats
6 1/2 bw shoulder to overhead
40 lateral bar hops
2 burpee penalty every time the bar is dropped.

As I weigh 143 – 145, I lifted 75. 12 dead-lifts? Not a problem. 10 hang power cleans? Not too much of a problem – if I remember to shrug my shoulders and not lift with my arms. 8 front squats? No problem, although it was difficult to reposition hands from cleans to FS, and I immediately settled on doing FS with 3 instead of normal 2 fingers. Thus, for shoulder to overhead I also used 3 instead of 4 fingers. Pinkies are obsolete anyhow, right?
This was a deceptively very challenging met-con. I honestly thought that I’d be able to breeze through this one, but that wasn’t the case. I did complete the first 4 rounds unbroken, including lateral bar hops. I did, however, need to catch my breath before starting the each round, as I kept worrying about having to drop the bar and doing burpees. At the start of the fifth round I had resigned myself to not doing lifts unbroken, but I didn’t think it through. I did 12 dead-lifts and 10 power cleans, dropped the bar, and did 2 burpees. I should have done dead-lifts and 9 power cleans, as I had to clean the bar to begin front squats. Yup, I did an extra power clean. Stupid Michael Kelley.

The met-con was supposed to be 15 minutes. About 5 or 6 minutes into it Michael Kelley approached me and said, “I think 15 minutes is too long. Twelve minutes might even be too long.” I replied, “Make it 12 minutes, then.” He said, “Look at everyone. There’s very little power output.” I looked around me and at the moment it appeared as if all were resting. Michael Kelley then yelled, “We’re stopping at 12 minutes, but they’ll be something else. I promise!”

I completed a total of 5 rounds + 12 dead-lifts + 10 hang power cleans. Scott, John, and Chad were all tied at 3 rounds + 12 dead-lifts + 10 hang power cleans. I kicked all of their asses. True story.

We were allowed to rest 1 minute and then instructed to do as many toes to bar as possible within 2 minutes. I chose toes through rings, and completed 35 in sets of 15, 10, and 10. My forearms were in agony.