I’ll meet you for lunch at one forty-five.

Another lengthy blog, folks. My apologies.

Michael Kelley and I exchanged the following sexts yesterday morning:
5:55 (Just after I checked into CFBC via Facebook.)
MK: Have fun
MK: Box whore
PP: (Kiss)
7:00 (Just after leaving CFB.)
PP: Great coaching!
MK: F u
PP: (Kiss)
PP: I feel like I cheated on you.

MK: Good
PP: I’m not saying that I didn’t like it.
MK: You’re dirty
MK: Go shower
8:24 (Just after I posted blog.)
MK: Pros and cons lists
PP: Damn, girl, you’re a fast reader.
PP: I meant “fat” reader.

The sexting continued, and it was full of ultimatums (MK), tears (MK), ranting (MK), pleading (MK), and laughing at Michael Kelley (PP).

I took Luke for a walk around Lake Pine yesterday evening. He had little interest in running, probably because the temperature was still in the lower 90s and because he had spent the previous two days carousing at Doggie Village. Quite a few runners passed us, and this thought crossed my mind: I have no interest in running – not even a mere two miles. This is certainly a change from the not so distant past…

It used to be that I would become envious if I saw someone running when I was not doing so, e.g., while I was driving the VW, biking, walking Xander, etc.

Thus, after more than a decade of running, I can now unequivocally state that I am longer a runner. Yes, I run when I CrossFit and I most certainly enjoy running when it’s included in a metcon. Regardless, I’m not a runner, for I don’t enjoy running just to be, well, running.

I recently visited the best specialty shoe store in the triangle, Bull City Running, and had a delightful conversation with George. We had the following exchange:
George: Do you think you’ll ever —
Paul: No, I’ll never race again.
George: You knew what I was going to ask before I even had the opportunity to ask the question.
Paul: Yes, I’m that certain that I will never race again.

I used to be consumed with running, reading every blog, subscribing to every magazine, reading every book, watching every televised event or movie dealing with the topic. I purchased far too many running shoes, shirts, and shorts, and every running product that came on the market, from socks to BodyGlide to a GPS. I also used to run 6 to 7 days a week, and would log between 60 and 110 miles a week. Just about every Sunday morning, I would meet up with a group of like-minded people and run for hours at a time. You really get to know people when you spend that much time with them, and I developed many (what I considered at the time) close friendships.

I suffered far too many overuse injuries. When I was injured, I couldn’t do much of anything else — except be very depressed. I wasn’t the least bit pleasant to be around. Don’t believe me? Ask Jeff.

The only thing I really knew how to do was run. I didn’t know how to dead-lift, back squat, clean, jerk, snatch, swing a kettle bell, do a ring dip or muscle up, complete a double under, jump much higher than 20 inches, the list goes on and on.

I ran far too many races, racing almost every weekend. Yes, I was fast for my age. Yes, I enjoyed the competition. Yes, I continued to improve. But then a funny thing happened: I began to grow very bored with running. I would be at the starting line of a race with the gun just about to go off, and I couldn’t make myself get excited. I still nonetheless continued to enjoy marathons and ultras, as running that distance is always a challenge.

How dare I consider running boring! Okay, let’s see, you do the very same thing over and over and over again, namely run. Yes, interval training mixes things up a bit, but you’re still, well, lifting one leg and foot in front of the other.

What the hell does this have to do with today’s WOD? Read on, bitches. Read on.

I arrived at 5:35, so that I could open the box and stretch my shoulders. Bench presses Wednesday and thrusters yesterday have led to very tight shoulders.

Michael Kelley looked like Lawrence “Chunk” Cohen from the “Goonies”. Chunk led us through a warm up, and I just wasn’t feeling it. Chunk said, “Do you ever worry about what people think when you say that you don’t like working out with big groups?” I replied, “It’s my blog, and I’ll say whatever the hell I want to say.”

It comes down to this basic principle: I am selfish. And egotistical. And narcissistic. And incredibly good-looking. Thus, I don’t like people impeding my workout, e.g., having to wait too long between reps, and having to use weights and/or equipment other than what I had planned on using.

This is not to say that I don’t enjoy working out with certain people, because I do!

Dynamic Effort Lower
Seated Box Jumps, 10-15 attempts to hit max height

The boys got into a “mine is bigger than yours” contest, and I wanted nothing to do with them. The level of testosterone has been particularly high as of late. I jumped 34” and was quite satisfied. I was most satisfied in that I didn’t have to wait my turn to do so.

Speed Squat (to 12″ box) 10×2 @ 65%, rest 1 minute (or as long as it takes to rotate through w/1-2 others)

Chunk said, “There are enough racks to go around. Everyone but Paul team up with one other person. Paul, you get a rack to yourself.”

I set up my rack, and Burt timidly approached and asked, “How much are you squatting?” I said, “160 pounds.” He said, “That’s the weight I’m using.” “Please join me!” I loudly proclaimed for all to hear! I truly like Burt, and I enjoy working out with him.

Just prior to my ninth squat, Chunk said, “It’s important that you treat the first part of the squat like a high bar back squat, and the last part like a low bar back squat, pushing your hips back and then exploding off of the box.” Thanks, Chunk, for providing this direction after we had already incorrectly completed all but two squats.

Speed Dead-lift 8×1 @ 50% + band tension, rest 30 seconds

I’m loving dead-lifts once again. I put 170# on the bar and used a green band. I wanted to do many more than 8 reps.

Conditioning
Using 60-65% of 1RM Front Squat

AMRAP 6
5 Cycles of Barbell Complex
60m Shuttle Sprint

Complex (1 Cycle): 1 Clean (full squat), 1 Jerk (or any way overhead), 1 Back Squat, 1 Jerk (or any way overhead)
Shuttle will be run in 10m increments

Uhm, 60% of FS 1RM is 135#, and there was no way in hell that I was going to lift that weight. Chunk “allowed” me to use 95#, the same weight I used for thrusters yesterday.

I enjoyed this metcon much more than I thought I would, but for reasons that quite frankly surprised me.

I began by cleaning and then squatting, but by the second round was cleaning into a full squat. And. It. Felt. Good. I remembered to wait for full hip extension to thrust bar overhead. I struggled positioning the bar behind my head, and struggled even more thrusting it overhead from this position. I banged my head the last rep of the third round and the first rep of the very last two that I completed. The biggest challenge was pressing it overhead from behind my head with a closer-than-normal grip. In other words, I’m used to the wide grip that I use for snatch or overhead squats, and not the narrower grip that I use for cleans. Chunk, should I have repositioned my hands before pressing overhead? If so, it would’ve been nice if you had said that. I tried to get your attention during the metcon, but you were busy adjusting your junk.

I found the shuttle runs exceedingly boring, mindless, and useless. Read that again. Go ahead, I’ll wait for you. Done? Good. Running takes so little effort that I don’t find it the least bit challenging. I would’ve preferred to do as many rounds as possible of the complex in six minutes and not run at all.

What have I become?

I did 3 x 15 glute bridges using 95# for the cash out.

I spent a few minutes with Luca, John, and newbie Steve showing them how to do jumping muscle ups. John was able to successfully complete two! Luca and Steve, ring dips first, muscle ups next.

I arrived at the box after 5, and spent some time conversing with Paul A. and truly enjoying his company. (I miss you, Paul A. And your lovely wife, too.) Margaret asked why I always refer to Chunk by his first and last name. I said, “I wish your last name was ‘Hunt,’ Michael Kelley. Then I’d call you ‘Mike.'”

Today’s accessory work was courtesy of Chunk and was exhausting. It consisted of 6, 60m sled pulls with 30 Russian twists between rounds while holding a 15# plate during twists. That’s 190 Russian twists total, ladies and gentlemen. Chunk instructed me to go “painfully heavy” on sled pulls, and that’s what I did.

I completed 3 rounds of forward sled pulls pulling 145 (bodyweight) first and 160 second and third rounds. I completed backward sled pulls pulling 135, 140, and 145# for the 3 rounds, respectively. I’m not including the weight of the sled, which is 10#.

My first goal was to pause only at the turnaround, and it took every ounce of resolve to pull that damn sled 30m. My second goal was to complete all rounds of Russian twists unbroken. Keep in mind that a rep was a twist to both the left and the right sides. Not at all surprisingly, I achieved both goals.

I finished the day by practicing 15′ rope climbs, climbing the rope 6 times before feeling the skin on my ankle tear. Ouch.

Chunk has said this before, and he said it again tonight: “You’re stronger than I am, Paul.” Uhm, explain yourself, Chunk.

CrossFit Brier Creek

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I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit CrossFit Brier Creek this morning. I attended the 6am session led by Kirk S., owner and proprietor. Kirk is a knowledgeable coach, and provides clear direction and support.

There were but three others in attendance: Daryl, Steve, and Nikki. Nikki didn’t work out with us, but she observed as she will be coaching at CFBC once she attends the Level 1 cert in a couple of weeks. (Good luck, Nikki!)

Kirk had us warm up with some dynamic stretching and rowing. Kirk did a great job of explaining rowing technique, including the importance of maintaining proper form and low strokes per minute.

Kirk then demonstrated proper form for thrusters, using a PVC pipe and then a 45# bar.

WOD
For Time:
500m Row
10 Thrusters (135/95#)
500m Row
8 Thrusters
500m Row
6 Thrusters
500m Row
4 Thrusters

Uhm, yeah, so like the thrusters were supposed to be heavy. As today was supposed to be a rest day, this just wasn’t going to happen. I briefly contemplated lifting 115#, but after doing just one 95# thruster I decided against that. Kirk said, “Ideally you’ll want to choose a weight that will allow you to do 10 unbroken thrusters the first round.” I felt confident that I could do 10 unbroken thrusters – if the weight was 95#. I let Kirk know that I was going to be taking it easy. I’m not sure if he believed me. Kirk, if you’re reading this, I did indeed take it easy.

My goals were to do all rounds of thrusters unbroken, to complete all 500m rows in less than 2 minutes, and to keep strokes per minute less than 25. I achieved these goals. Oh, don’t act all surprised.

Rows were completed in 1:56 & 25 s/m, 1:57 & 24 s/m, 1:58 & 23 s/m, and 1:56 & 26 s/m. “A-ha!” I can hear you saying, “That last row was 26 strokes per minute!” Yes, but only because I sprinted the last 150m. Don’t be such a bitch.

Transitioning from thrusters to rowing was much more difficult than transitioning from rowing to thrusters. I had to shake out my legs before I could even contemplate rowing.

Regardless, all of my transitions were intentionally sloooooooow.

I completed the WOD in a time of 11:16. Although I didn’t yell time, Kirk and Nikki made note of it, and wrote it on the whiteboard. Ugh. I hate having my name on the whiteboard.

As we had plenty of time, Kirk led us through cool down and mobility, focusing on the shoulders and legs.

Well done, Kirk! After just one visit, I feel confident recommending CrossFit Brier Creek to all of you CrossFitters that reside and/or live in the Brier Creek/Morrisville/RDU area. The box is very conveniently located, and is just 5 minutes from the airport – and my place of employment!

I was able to leave my home at 5:30, work out, shower, eat breakfast, and write this blog – all before 8am, the time I’m normally just leaving my house to drive to work.

It looks like I’m going to have to make another one of those pros and cons lists. Damn it.

I love dumbbell burpees.

This blog would be a hell of a lot easier to write if Luke weren’t pressed beside me. And he won’t budge. Two consecutive days at Doggie Village will do that to a dog. I’m dog-tired. See how I worked that in there? Creative, I know.

I coached the 6amers, and there were yet again 16 in attendance. I checked in via Facebook and posted: Coaching bench press. I sense the impending onslaught of testosterone. For the life of me, I can’t understand why men enjoy bench pressing – and \ bragging about how much weight they pressed. Whatever. Let me say that again: Whatever. I would much rather back squat or dead-lift or clean & jerk or snatch. Yes, I’d rather snatch then bench press. Bench pressing is B-O-R-I-N-G.

Michael Kelley had not written today’s WOD on the whiteboard, probably because he is still unable to lift his fat arms. Today he reminded me of Pugsley from the Addams Family.

Uhm, someone accused me of not coaching them. I call bullshit. I make it a point to observe everyone, but I can’t conceivably coach 16 people as effectively as I can six. Quit being so damn needy.

Before I talk about my own workout, I’d like to publicly state that I truly like Burt. If I could choose the attendees of the 6am session, he’d be near the top of the list. Michelle would be at the top of the list.

I also want to thank the 6amers for their patience. We did manage to get all of the work done within the hour!

I attended the 6:30pm session, but as I arrived early I coached the 7-minute metcon for the 5:15ers, including Jeff. What the hell are you wearing on your hands, Leah? Don’t let the kettle bell swing you, Nathanael; keep your chest up, please. Thank you.

Maximum Effort Upper
Main Lift

Bench Press – work up to 1RM

I chose to work with Kevin, as he’s a genuinely nice man and I don’t often get the chance to coach and/or work out with him. He’s also very strong.

Just before starting the bench presses, Pugsley said, “I’m going to write down a weight that I think you’ll be able to bench press today.” I said, “Okay. Keep in mind that I’m still not completely recovered from my sore shoulder.”

Kevin and I warmed up with similar weights. It was obvious that he was going to be able to lift a heavier weight. Pugsley observed my lift @ 155# and said, “That’s 155? That’s the weight I thought you’d max out at. That looked easy.” It felt easy. I then lifted 160, my former 1RM, and 165. Kevin wanted to lift 175, and I thought I’d give it a try. I should’ve known better than to increase the weight by 10@!” I failed that lift, but rather easily bench pressed 170#, a PR by 10#. I’m confident that I could lift more than that… Time will tell. Nonetheless, 170 is 25# more than bodyweight, so I’m satisfied.

Accessory
RS Press, 3×5, heaviest weight possible
Barbell Bentover Row, heaviest weight possible
Rest 60 seconds between sets

Kevin and I used 85# for RS press, although I once again forgot to put a 5# plate on one side of the bar. We both did 2 rounds before Kevin realized it. He said it could feel a difference, although I could not.

I intended to use 95# for barbell bentover rows, but after quickly doing 5 reps I knew it was going to be too light. I then did 5 reps @ 115 – and it still felt too light. I was, quite honestly, surprised. I said, “When the hell did I get to be so strong?” Pugsley said blah, blah, blah, and then told me to put the 25# plates on the bar. Thus, I used 165, just 5# shy of what I bench pressed. All but the last rep were good.

Conditioning
AMRAP 7
7 Dumbbell Burpees
7 Chest-2-Bar Pull-Ups

I contemplated not doing the metcon at all, but Pugsley encouraged me to treat it as accessory work – and that’s what I did. I completed 6-count burpees, used 40# dumbbells (the heaviest the box has), and focused on good reps for both activities. I also sang. To make it even more excited, I worked out beside Brooke! I’m still loving the ‘do. You’re skinny.

I completed 6 rounds + 1 burpee, and hardly felt winded. I do miss longer metcons.

I’d write more but I have to get to sleep so that I can be well rested for my visit to CrossFit Brier Creek tomorrow morning.

 

We’re Even

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Yesterday’s blog, for whatever reason, is now the most popular post to date. Perhaps I should share my thoughts and emotions more frequently…

Don’t get excited, though, for today’s blog is far less interesting. Michael Kelley. See, you’re bored already.

I did work out this morning, and we focused on split jerk form, blah, blah, blah. I then did 20 minutes of pulling that damn sled 60m with 80#, L-sits, handstand holds, shoulder taps, and planks with 60# on my back, blah, blah, blah.

As I will be attending the 6am session at CrossFit Brier Creek this Thursday morning, I decided to take a quick trip there today. It is a mere 2.5 miles from my place of employment, and very easy to get to. I met the own, Kirk, and coach, Josh. The place is HUGE! They have more than enough room to expand, and the set up is quite appealing. Uhm, if I like it I may have to consider changing boxes. Yes? Yes.

I also got official word from Dave from CrossFit Durham that I will once again be coaching the 10 and 11am Sunday sessions. I miss my CFD friends, and I’m looking very forward to reconnecting with them. Oh, and coaching. I’ll be working out solo from 8:30 to 10 on Sundays, and as CFD has equipment that CFZ does not, this will give me an opportunity to expand my repertoire of skills.

Michael Kelley and I had heated exchanges today about RS and Cuban presses. I stopped by the box tonight before picking up Luke from daycare for no other reason that to yell at him. It appears that he has damaged his arms, and he can’t hold them by his side. As I noted to others, he looks like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Only fatter. And whiter.

As you may recall, I was upset with Michael Kelley for not coaching me during yesterday’s failed dead-lift attempt at 225#. We exchanged sexts yesterday and he apologized for not coaching and I apologized for not making my expectations known. He sexted: I just wanted you to approach, get your grip, take a breath/set your back and pull. He sent me a video of himself that I’ve put in my spank bank doing just that.

I honestly had no intention of doing dead-lifts today, but I jokingly told Michael Kelley that I was going to do so. He said, “No”. That was all the motivation that I needed. Thus, after he demonstrated how to do RS and Cuban presses, I changed, stretched, and set up the bar away from the 5:15ers. (Hello, Brooke, Heather, Ines, Leah, and Rachelle! You women looked strong. Love the new ‘do, Brooke!)

I gave it a try. I put 2, 45# plates on the bar for a total of 135#. I then practically ran up to the bar, quickly set my hands and back, and explosively lifted the bar 5 times. Using the same technique, I lifted 225 and 275 for 3 reps and 315# 2 times. I paused as long as I felt I needed to between lifts, not paying any attention to the running clock. I placed the plates on Leah’s and Rachelle’s backs when after the got into plank position. I’m just that nice. Like Luca. He’s nice, too.

It dawned on me that I was running to the bar so quickly that I hadn’t even yet changed to mixed grip; thus, I lifted 315# with regular grip. Uhm, I’ve never done that before.

I put 325 on the bar, 5# more than 1RM. I grabbed my iPhone, and asked Nicole to record. She did, and I thank you, Nicole!

I chalked my hands, reminded myself to use mixed grip, walked quickly to the bar, quickly set up, and very easily lifted 325#! I yelled, “Michael Kelley, Michael Kelley, I just lifted three hundred and twenty-five f@cking pounds!” He replied, “I know, I’ve been watching you out of the corner of my eye.” He approached me, held out his arms, and gave me a hug. In retrospect maybe he didn’t hold out his arms – maybe they were already outstretched. I hadn’t thought of that. Anyway, that made my day!

I know we’re supposed to stop after reaching a PR, but that lift felt too damn easy. I said, “I’m going to lift again, Michael Kelley.” He asked, “Are you going to try 330 or 335?” I said, “Uhm, 330.” I thought, “Why would he suggest going ten pounds heavier? Does he think I’ll fail? Is he trying to teach me a lesson?”

I put 2, 5# plates on the ends of the bar and fastened the clips. I walked to the water fountain and took a nice, long drink of water. I walked back to the bar, took off the 5# plates, and replaced them with 10# plates. Yes, there was now 335# on the bar. I thought, “Why the hell not give it a try. As I always say, ‘You learn as much from failure as you do from success.’” I chalked my hands, walked quickly to the bar, and lifted it from the floor with hardly any struggle at all. It almost felt effortless! I again yelled, “Michael Kelley, Michael Kelley!” He once again approached, but this time held up his hand for a high five. Uhm, am I suddenly a straight man afraid of touching another man? I held out my arms, and he fell into them. Or maybe he merely tripped. I don’t really care, to be honest, for not only did we hug, I kissed him on the neck. I’m not sure, but I think he may have blushed.

That, Michael Kelley, was the coaching (and the hugging and the kissing) that I needed.

For those of you keeping score at home, 335# is a 15# improvement over previous PR. Bitches.

As I stated earlier this week, Michael Kelley owed me three hugs and one kiss. I received one and two hugs yesterday and today, respectively, and a kiss (although I was the one to kiss him) today.

Now do you understand the title of today’s blog?

Worst Closing Ceremony Ever.

I have much to get off of my very broad chest. You have been warned. (I composed this blog during my lunch break, as I didn’t want to wait until tonight to do so. I also type 120 wpm, so I can type almost as fast as many people can talk. One last thing: I like parentheses.)

I arrived at CFZ at 5:35 to allow extra time to stretch and focus on mobility. My lattimus dorsi muscles are quite sore.

I remind myself daily to separate impact from intent. In other words, folks might not intend to impact me by the words they say. Faithful readers and friends know that I am open with my sexuality if for no other reason to make you damn straights aware that my people aren’t much different from your people. I truly appreciate that folks feel free to talk openly with me about this topic. Nonetheless, I get some stupid questions – none of them asked this morning. From this moment forward these will be my responses to the following questions.

Q: When did you choose to be gay?
A: I can’t recall exactly. When did you choose to be straight? It’s not a choice, idiot.

Q: Can you have sex with a woman?
A: I can have sex with anyone I want. Being gay or straight isn’t about sex; it’s about being drawn to someone with whom you can form a loving relationship. I’m not homosexual, I’m homoemotional.

Q: Does Jeff get jealous of your relationship with Michael Kelley?
A: No, and why would he? Michael Kelley is one of my best friends. I’ve had both female and male best friends, and I’ve never wanted to have sex with any of them. Just because Michael Kelley is a somewhat attractive male doesn’t mean I want to do him. Besides, he’s too beefy for me.

Stay with me…

I shall no longer call someone homophobic, because to have a phobia is to experience fear. Given that there’s nothing to fear, I shall not refer to someone as homophobic, I’ll just call them an asshole.

I know, I know, I still haven’t even begun to discuss today’s workout. I’ll get there eventually.

B. (a truly wonderful, kind, and caring person) and I had the following conversation. My thoughts are italicized.

B.: Did you watch the closing ceremony of the Olympics last night?
Paul: Here it comes. He’s going to say something that he thinks is not homophobic but will likely be about gays. Yes. Go ahead and say it. I know you’re gaycist.
B.: The camera panned out to the audience and there were these two guys. One was on the shoulders of the other.
Paul: Uhm, I’m not sure where he’s going with this. And?
B.: They looked pretty gay.
Paul: How the f%ck does someone “look” gay? It would only look gay if the man on the shoulders of the other man was facing backwards.

Again, I know B. meant no offense, i.e., that wasn’t his intended impact. I’m also not the least bit angry or upset with him — and I hope he’s not upset or angry with me for sharing this conversation.

Here is what I think looked gay as I watched the Olympics: all male group sports, e.g., water polo (perhaps the most gay of all), volleyball, basketball (yes, basketball), running relays, and the list goes on and on.

Stay with me. I know you can do it.

Touch is the most basic and primary form of communication, and from the time we are born until the moment we die we all need to touch and to be touched. Given the heteroidiocy (my term for homophobia) in our society, particularly directed towards gay men, straight men avoid touching other men for fear — yes, fear — that they will be perceived as gay.

Unless, of course, that touch takes place in the context of team sports.

It is not at all unusual for men to touch other men when the touch takes place in this context. Score a touchdown? Group hug! Spike the volleyball? You get a chest bump! Make the foul shot? You get a slap on the ass! I have seen men grab the face of a teammate, draw the teammate’s face to their own, and practically kiss them. That’s pretty damn intimate.

These same behaviors in other contexts would be deemed highly inappropriate. Let’s give it a try, imagining only males engaging in these behaviors.

Make the sale? Chest bump! Earn a bonus? Full hug! Turn in a great report? Slap on the ass! Get a promotion? A kiss on the lips!

Don’t think for a moment that I think there is anything at all wrong with any of these behaviors, and I honestly wish men could more openly touch other men without fear of reprisal. (I also am aware that I haven’t mentioned women touching other women.)

Here’s what I think looked the least gay: men’s gymnastics and men’s individual diving. Here’s what I know did look gay: men’s synchronized diving. Oh, and women’s synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics. Don’t get me started.

A slight aside before I continue my diatribe. I’m not a hugger, so when I hug someone it most certainly communicates my connection to that individual. I hug or would hug: Jeff, my mother, my mother-in-law, George, Amy, Tracy, and Michael Kelley. Okay, I usually don’t turn down hugs from others, but I seek hugs from these individuals. I appreciate that Michael Kelley extends hugs to me and also genuinely hugs me in return, and I admire him for not worrying about what others may think. Unless, of course, that I’m wrong. Let me know, okay, Michael Kelley?

I’ve gotten much off of my exceedingly broad chest. I’m not quite finished, but I’ll talk about today’s workout to appease you, dear readers.

After warming up, we were to establish 1RM for dead-lift. I teamed with Alex and someone else. My goal was to lift 325, 5# more than current 1RM, and I did not achieve this goal. The heaviest I lifted was 315# — and I’m okay with that. I did not, however, like people looking at and cheering for me during that lift. I know you mean well, but leave me the f%ck alone.

About the last attempt, and remember, it’s my blog so I get to say whatever I want to say…

Everyone had completed their last lift except for me. I asked Michael Kelley to coach me through the lift. I walked up to the bar, I set my back, I set my hands, I took the tension off of the bar, I thought “Be explosive”, I attempted the lift, I got the bar off of the ground, and I released it.

Uhm, where was the coaching? Afterwards, Michael Kelley said, “You’re just like everyone else. You spend far too much time getting ready for the lift.” Uhm, that’s coaching? I wanted him to say, “Okay, Paul, you know you can do this. Position yourself and get ready to lift. Take the tension off of the bar. Take a deep breath. And lift!” Instead I got silence. I know, I know, I don’t like cheering, but cheering and coaching are two entirely different things. You owe me a hug, Michael Kelley. Make that two hugs.

And don’t ever say I’m just like everyone else. You now owe me three hugs and a kiss.

I’m about to get more off of my exceedingly well-defined and broad chest.

Quite a few folks asked if my last lift was successful, and I merely said, “No”. One individual then asked, “Are you disappointed?” My immediate thought was, “Why the f%ck would I be disappointed? It’s just a lift! In the whole scheme of things, my dead-lifting 325 pounds is rather insignificant.” I replied, “No. There’s as much to be learned from failure as there is from success.”

I know I’m stuck at 320#, and I’m honestly okay with that, folks, as 320# is 220% of my bodyweight. For a middle-aged, light, short, gay man, that’s pretty good. A-ha! You thought, “Why did Paul mention that he’s gay? That’s insignificant.” And you’re absolutely right.

But I have a question for you: Do I look gay when I lift? Do I look gay when I do burpees, pull-ups, pushups, air squats, box jumps, ring dips, muscle-ups, wall crawls, back levers, vertical holds, sled pulls, shuttle sprints, wall ball shots, toes to bar, etc.? I’ll be sure to wear my Frankie Goes To Hollywood “Relax” tee shirt next time I work out so that I do indeed look gay.

The conditioning consisted of 3 rounds for time of 25 wall balls, using a 20# wall ball, and 20 toes to bar. I completed wall ball shots unbroken (round 1) and in reps of 15 & 10 (round 2) and 10, 10, & 5 (last round). I completed 20 unbroken toes to bar the first round, and was able to string some together the second round, but only 5 the last round. Did I mention that my lattimus dorsi muscles are quite sore? I completed in a time of 6:33. No, I wasn’t disappointed. I finished the day by completing 3 x 8 backward lunges holding 30# dumbbells and 3 x 15 GHD back extensions.

You want to know what I thought was gay about the closing ceremony of the Olympics? George Michael and Neil Tennant & Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys, because all of them are openly so. Oh, and the boys of One Direction. And perhaps Sporty Spice.

~~~~~

Michael Kelley sexted me after reading today’s post, and offered his apologies for not coaching me during my last dead-lift attempt. I let him know that it was just as much my fault for not letting him know what my expectations were. We’ve made up, but have not yet kissed. Not yet.

I arrived at CFZ this evening around 6:30, and immediately began pulling that damn sled. I pulled the sled 60+m walking forward and then backward, and pulling 80, 115, 150# — just a little more than my bodyweight. My goal was to not rest during the turnaround when pulling 80 and 115, and to only rest briefly before the turnaround when pulling 150#, and I achieved this goal. When pulling my bodyweight I thought, “If this is how heavy I feel, I might need to lose some weight.”

Just after finishing my last round, I saw Nathanael attempt a very heavy dead-lift — and he almost got it! He is exceedingly strong, and is as nice as he is strong. That’s pretty damn nice. Britt was next to attempt a PR. She got the bar off of the ground and above her knees, but she was struggling. I yelled, “Shoulders back, Britt! Shoulders back!” She did just that, and completed the lift. I said, “That’s how you coach the dead-lift, Michael Kelley.” I gave Britt a big sweaty hug. She earned it.

I next completed a 10-min AMRAP of a burpee ladder (1, 2, 3…), consisting of 24″ box jump burpees, slalom burpees, and break dancing (yes, breaking dancing) burpees. All burpees were completed strict and with full range of motion, i.e., not merely flopping to the ground. I completed 4 rounds + 1o reps, for a total of 15 box jump and slalom burpees and 10 breaking dancing burpees. This was quite challenging, and it was also fun to mix up things a bit.

I finished the day with 5 sets of 10 reps of fast GHD sit-ups.

William approached me as I was leaving, and he had evidently seen me driving on Rt 1 on my way to the box. He asked, “Did you come straight here?” I replied, “There you go again being a gaycist. No, I did not come straight here, I came forward here.”

I’m not without a sense of humor.

OHS Breakthrough

Brief post today, as I focused on one skill and one skill only: the overhead squat. As I wore a new pair of Lululemon shorts, I looked amazingly good doing so. I arrived at CFZ at 9:30, and Michael Kelley was kind enough to hold open the door for me. He’s been awfully nice to me lately, and I don’t understand why. Oh, wait, it’s because I’ve been nice to him. Have I mentioned how exhausting it is to be so?

My original goal was to complete 100, 65# OHS. I began by doing 2 sets of 10 reps, recording these and all remaining sets. Just before the third set, I walked into the office and said, “Are you busy, Michael Kelley? If you’re not too busy, would you mind coaching me?” He kindly did so.

I said, “You can coach me during lifts. Tell me what to do.” And he did. We watched the set together, and he pointed out errors and made suggestions. “Don’t push your ass back before you squat. Focus on pushing your knees out.” I’ll forgive him for ending a sentence with a preposition. I’m just that nice.

I increased the weight to 75# and once again asked Michael Kelley to observe. As he enjoys looking at my ass, and even more so when I’m wearing Lululemon shorts, he kindly agreed to do so. He said, “Much better.” I had, however, lost count of reps, and dropped the bar after completing just 7 reps. And that’s okay.

The squats looked and felt much, much better.

I completed 2 additional sets of 10 reps @ 75, then increased the weight to 80# and did 2 sets of 10 reps. Michael Kelley continued to provide coaching, and constantly reminded me to push my knees out push out my knees. I asked, “Should I go heavier?” He replied, “Yes, but use the rack and only do three reps.” I used the rack, and did 5 reps @ 80 and 86, and 3 reps @ 95#. While 10 reps shy of 100 OHS, I accomplished much.

I consider today a breakthrough day, for overhead squats have never felt so, dare I say, comfortable.

Thank you, Michael Kelley. I shall buy you a pair of Lululemon Champion shorts.

A small group had arrived throughout the morning, including Claire(!) and Alex(.). Claire mistakenly began to return a 33# bar to the rack the held the 45# bars, and Alex said, “Make sure you put it in the right hole.” I sighed and said, “You sound just like my mother.”

Martin Solveig

My best friend in the whole wide world eating a chocolate chip pancake. I fear it will go directly to his ass.

I coached the first ever Saturday @ 8am session at CFZ, and I’m looking forward to continuing to do so — until I open my own or change boxes, that is. It was a full house this morning. After attending the 9:15 session, led by my best friend in the whole wide (and in his case wide-ass) world, Michael Kelley, I realize that I made two mistakes.

1. I spent the first 10 minutes on stretching instead of dynamic movements. As folks are supposed to warm up on their own, stretching shouldn’t be necessary. I have only myself to blame.
2. I didn’t provide enough and/or clear direction for hand placement for speed press. I communicated what Michael Kelley had communicated to me, but it was different than the direction he provided to the 9:15 and 10:30 sessions. I have only Michael Kelley to blame.

Michael Kelley did a nice job coaching today, particularly with the warm up. He asked for my assistance when demonstrating a medicine ball warm up, using a 20# medicine ball. He asked me to lay down on the floor, and I corrected him. He then asked me to lie down on the floor, which I did. He straddled me at the hips, handed me the ball, and asked me to throw the ball straight up in the air. I did just that, and he caught it with both hands. Then, without any warning and/or informing me what he was going to do next, he dropped the ball on my face. I immediately thought I’d get another nosebleed, and I could tell by the look on his face that Michael Kelley was concerned as well. Poor Michael Kelley. I said, “Don’t worry about it. I’m fine. Hand me the ball.” He did just that. I then threw the ball directly at his crotch. Take that, Michael Kelley! He doubled over and said, “I feel like I have to pass gas.” Poor Michael Kelley.

Dynamic Effort (DE) Upper
Press
9 x 3 (varying grips) @ 60% 1RM, 30 sec rest

With Michael Kelley’s direction, I used a red band and completed banded presses lifting 65#, a little more than 50% of 1RM. Presses were challenging, but I can most certainly see the benefit of doing!

Bradford Press
1-2 Warm-Up Sets
3 x 6-8

I did the first set pressing 55, and then increased to 65#. Again, challenging yet worthwhile.

Conditioning
For Time

I did my own workout consisting of pull-ups and hand release pushups. Details are for me to know and for you to find out.

Burnout
Dumbbell Floor Press 3 x 15
Band Pull Aparts 3 x 20

I used 30# dumbbells for floor presses, and a green band for pull aparts.

I then spent the next 45 or so minutes pulling that damn sled 400m forward and backward, pulling 45 & 35#, respectively. I also did 3 sets of 10 reps of GHD assisted glute ham raises, using a green band. It was awful. I practiced headstands and front levers, and then called it a day.

I was less than pleased with accessory work today. As I thrive on structure, the only way this is going to work for me is if I have planned the work in advance.

As a HUGE favor to Michael Kelley, I led the Community WOD today. Michael Kelley is supposed to lead this session, as he is the head coach at and co-owner of CFZ. Today’s WOD was every minute on the minute for 12 minutes, run 50m, 3 burpees, 4 wall ball shots, and 5 kettle bell swings. Uhm, I hear from attendees, including Jeff, that this was quite challenging. Good.

Wow, this is a boring blog.

I’ll close with an exchange I had with Michael Kelley after a large group of us shared lunch at the Draft House.

MK: The gym is a mess. I’ll clean tomorrow.
PP: What time will you clean?
MK: About 9:15.
PP: I’ll be there at that time, and you can jerk.

And Michael Kelley blushed! I’ve never seen him blush before. My new goal in life is to make him blush as often as I can.

Poor Michael Kelley.

More kettle bells!

While driving on my way to pick up Luke from daycare yesterday evening, I learned that there is a lottery worth $253M. I thought, “What would I do if I won the lottery? First, I’d pay off the mortgage. I wouldn’t buy a new car, because I truly enjoy the Golf TDI. I know what I’d do! I’d quit my job, open a CrossFit, and spend all day coaching and teaching coaches how to coach.”

Uhm, I’d win the lottery and open a CrossFit? What the hell am I waiting for? Oh, that’s right: I’m waiting to win the lottery.

There was a very full house today. That’s all that I will say.

After warming up, we did weighted box jumps. I used 15, 20, and then 30# dumbbells and jumped 20 and 24”. Kinda fun, but nothing to write home about.

Dear Mom,

I held dumbbells in my hands and jumped on a box.

Love,
Paul

See what I mean?

Today was our first Dynamic Effort Day.

Strength
Speed Squats (to 12″ Box)
12×2 @ 60% 1RM, rest 30-45 seconds

I teamed with Alex and Burt, as we were lifting the same (Burt) or close to the same (Alex) weight. I lifted 145#, coincidentally my bodyweight and 60% of my 1RM of 240#. I thought this was going to be much more difficult than it actually was. It was nice to do something different for a change of pace. It was also enjoyable working with Alex and Burt, although it appears that we were one of the slowest groups. We were on our ninth or tenth round when Michael Kelley was already demonstrating speed dead-lifts. I felt rushed. Have I mentioned this yet?

Speed Dead-lifts
8×1 @ 50% 1RM + band tension, rest 30 seconds

I lifted 160# and used a green band. I enjoyed speed dead-lifts, but did not enjoy having to wait 30 seconds between lifts. As I felt rushed anyhow, I didn’t rest much longer than 10 seconds between lifts. Did I already mention that I was feeling rushed?

Conditioning
5 Rounds
5 Front Squats, 60% 1RM
10 Kettle Bell Swings
20 Lateral Hops

As I was one of the last to finish speed dead-lifts, all of the heavier KBs – except the 70# – had already been claimed. I was just about ready to go the hell home, and in this particular case, this was indeed a true story. Michael Kelley said, “You can use the 70 pound kettle bell. You’ve used it before.” I replied, “I’m not going to do that many American swings with a 70 pound kettle bell.” “You’ve done 70 pound American swings before, Paul,” Michael Kelley replied. What a douche bag. He was correct, but a douche bag nonetheless. I made sure to tell him so.

Uhm, more cleans? I settled on 50 instead of 60% of front squat 1RM, i.e., 110 instead of 132#. Given that my front squat 1RM is pretty close to back squat weight, I’m okay with that, particularly since I knew I was going to have to swing that damn 70# kettle bell.

I set no goals. Why? Because I was feeling quite de-motivated, and I just wanted to be done with it all. I’m allowed an off day every now and again, and this morning was most certainly an off day.

I completed all rounds of front squats and lateral hops and rounds 1 through 4 of kettle bell swings (surprisingly) unbroken. I had to break the last round of swings into reps of 6 & 4.

Okay, perhaps I’m making it out to be worse than it actually was. I’m allowed to do that on occasion as well. In fact, I was delighted that Michael Kelley said, “Good, Paul!” when I was doing American kettle bell swings. During the third or fourth round I made eye contact with him and said, “Seventy pounds is heavy.” He surprised me when he replied, “And you’re strong.” That was very nice of you to say, Michael Kelley, and I obesiate it. I mean I appreciate it.

I completed in 6:23. Not bad, but not very good.

I then attempted to complete 5 rounds of 10 unbroken toes to bar. I say attempted to because, for whatever reason, I completed 9 & 1 the very last round. I was pausing briefly between rounds to provide coaching for Lauren and John who were attempting to string together toes to bar. Nice work, both of you! I said, “I should coach this shit.” And I meant it. Maybe I should enter the lottery. Or just use some of my savings to open my own CrossFit.

This should have dawned on me earlier, but it was only after Lauren pointed it out that I realized that I’m no longer kipping when I do toes to bar. I’ve been consciously attempting to stop right after my feet pass vertical, and it appears that I’ve been successful in doing so.

I’m pretty damn spectacular, if I say so myself. Wait, I just did.

As I was leaving, I said to Michael Kelley, “In this particular instance, what I’m about to say is true: We need more kettle bells.”

This evening I pulled that damn sled. I pulled it real good. I warmed up with a 500m row in 1:51. I then put 90# on the sled and pulled it 400m. That was grueling. I rowed another 500m in 1:44. I put 70# on the sled and pulled it 400m walking backwards. That was even more grueling.

I finished the day by doing 25 GHD assisted glute ham raises, using a green band around my neck. I can’t even begin to explain.

I’m looking forward to coaching the first ever 8am session tomorrow morning!

 

Don’t mess with the bull.

It’s as if I had never left.

Deirdre! Did that get your attention? Deirdre, a fellow former CFD 6am CrossFitter (whew!), is in town for just a few days, and she insisted that I attend a session with her. Who am I to say “no”? Dave, owner and proprietor of CFD, was kind enough to allow me to attend. Thanks, Dave! I owe you $20 for the tee shirt. We might be able to arrange an exchange of sorts, yes?

I was delighted to see Paul K. (looking thinner than a toothpick), Griff (who kept his shirt on until the metcon), Renee (always lovely), Kristin (still with perfect form), Michelle (love the new ‘do and loved sharing a platform with you), and Craig (you’re looking more and more like Aquaman every day). There were also a few non-regulars and newbies.

Jack! Yes, Jack coached this morning’s session, and anyone who has been following this blog for any time knows that Jack is one of my favorite coaches. (I’m reluctant to call him my favorite coach for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. Do you know how I’m referring to? I thought so.)

As a tribute to Jack, I wore a pair of Lululemon shorts. WWJD?

I let Jack know that I was going to be taking it easy today, and take it easy I most certainly did.

Jack led the group through a nice warm up focusing on snatch form. My hip flexors hurt, hurt, hurt. Hurt. I then mediocrely “practiced” full squat snatch. I’ve been squatting and snatching until my squat and snatch hurt, and I didn’t want to overdo it. I worked up to a mere 75#.

Conditioning
10, 9, 8… 1
Power cleans (135/95)
Box jumps (24/20)
Slam balls (30/20)

I’ve done far too many cleans as of late, so I went light and settled on 95#. I also went light and used a 25# slam ball. I had originally set up 30” box, but Jack said, “I thought today was active recovery? Use a 24” box.” Jack’s smart. I’d like to put him in a box and carry him around with me. He could then get all wound up watching my shitty form and unexpectedly pop out of the box and surprise me with advice. I should patent this shit.

I was feeling mighty weak this morning. This could be due to too much exercise and not enough rest, restless sleep because Jeff is out of town for the second consecutive week, and/or persistent nosebleeds. I’m going with that last one. Yes? Indeed.

My only goal was to go easy. I somewhat accomplished this goal.

For the first time in a very long time, I seriously considered stopping shortly after beginning this damn metcon.

Cleans were anything but, and Jack was kind enough to provide coaching. I politely asked him to remind me to throw my hips back, and he did so.

He also not so kindly insisted that I complete box jumps quickly, i.e., springing off of the floor. I was intentionally not doing so, but since he asked, I obliged. I’m just that damn good of a coachee.

As I haven’t done ball slams, well, since I was a regular at CFD, I had forgotten that I was supposed to drop into a full squat when catching the ball as it bounced. Jack reminded me to do so. Like Paul K., I do loves me some o’ dem slam balls.

Again, I sooooo wanted to quit, but I knew that I would likely regret doing so. The rounds of 8 & 7 are always the worst.

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I finished in a time of 10:22. While Jack informed me of my time, he did not put my name or time on the board. He’s smart like that.

With the extension of 540 to 64, the commute was very easy, and took a mere 20 minutes. I would certainly love to visit CFD again in the very near future. Again, it’s as if I had never left.

Wanna race?

I was wide-awake at 4am, and it’s probably a good thing that I was. As I had plenty of time before the start of the 6am class, I had even decided I get to CFZ a little early and do some accessory work. While enjoying a cup of coffee and watching the final of the Olympics 800m, my nose, specifically my left nostril, began to run. I thought, “That’s odd.” I rubbed my left nostril with my hand, and as I moved my hand away from my face I realized that my arm (from finger to elbow) was covered in blood.

Damn it. A nosebleed. I grabbed a handful of tissues and unsuccessfully attempted to stop the flow of blood. I ran to the kitchen, soaked a hand towel in cold water to use as a compress, grabbed a handful of paper towels, and once again unsuccessfully attempted to stop the flow of blood. More paper towels, more blood. After about 5 or so minutes my nose finally stopped bleeding. I was, however, feeling rather lightheaded, so I remained lying on the coach with a cold compress behind my neck. I gathered my senses enough to leave for CFZ at 5:30 for a 5:45 arrival.

There were 16 athletes in attendance at the 6am session. Congratulations to those of you who got a press PR today! I was not one of those people, although I matched PR.

This was my first day coaching Westside, and I think I’m going to enjoy it. My time management was a little off today, and I apologize. In my own defense, bitches, I was suffering from blood loss — and there were 16 of you! The pull-up rig was a big, hot mess, and Chad, Timmy (Timmy!), and T-Bone were kind enough to complete ring pull-ups.

Sometimes I worry that people might be offended by my words — not said to them but said to others. For example, Mr. Lauren, aka Tim or Timmy, has undergone a transformation, and hardly looks like the same person I met just months ago. His face is much thinner, and his body is more toned and fit. Yes, I’m allowed to look, bitches. I’m supposed to look, bitches. Leave me alone, bitches. I said, “Timmy, we should’ve taken before and after pictures. You used to be so fat! Look at you now!” Timmy was not fat, and I know that. There are others who might consider themselves fat, and I worry that they think I might also consider and call them fat. I wouldn’t do that, I promise. Unless, of course, you’re obese like Michael Kelley.

Even though I was feeling weak, I remained at the box to work out after coaching (as I’m taking a vacation day spread throughout the week).

Strength A: Press
Establish 1RM

I pressed 125 and failed at 130#. Given how weak I felt, I’m pleased I was even able to lift 125#.

Strength B: Max chin-ups

Uhm, I should’ve done much, much better. I completed 14, 6, & 6 for a total of 26. All were completed dead-hang. Again, I was feeling very tired.

Strength C: Ring Dips

I can’t recall the last time I did ring dips, and it showed. Use it or lose it, and I’ve lost it. I completed 21, 11, & 9 for a total of 41. Weak, I tell you. W. E. A. K.

As I’ll be working out at CFD tomorrow morning, I didn’t do a metcon today.

Accessory A: Sled Pulls

I put 75# on the sled and did 6 x 60m dead-lift, backwards, and forwards pulls, mixing up the order of things and switching type of pull every 30m. While 75 felt lighter than 120#, it’s still exhausting work.

Accessory B: Banded Tricep Push-downs & 100 Banded Face Pulls

I completed push-downs in reps of 50, 25, 15, & 10, and face pulls in reps of 50, 25, & 25. I ensured that form was correct, i.e., no bending at the waist, tight abs, and tight ass.

Accessory C: Toes to Bar

I once again completed 5 sets of 10 reps. T2B are really coming along nicely. I said, “Michael Kelley, I can now do unbroken toes to bar. I just completed 5 sets of 10 reps.” I expected him so say, “Nice work, Paul! You’ve made tremendous progress in a very short amount of time. Your persistence has certainly paid off, and your confidence has grown. This also demonstrates how quickly you respond to effective coaching, in this instance coaching provided by Bryan during your visit to CrossFit Nittany. I’m also impressed that your first rep is completed without an initial swing. This clearly demonstrates just how freaking strong you are. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t admire your strength, your endurance, and your ass. I love you, Paul. You’re my best friend forever.” Instead he said, “Wanna race?”

~~~~~

I stopped by CFZ before picking up Luke from Doggie Village.

Conditioning
5 rounds for time
50m “banded” farmer’s walk, 52# KBs
10 toes through rings

The trickiest part was making sure that the bands were properly placed around the KB handles prior to walking. My goal was to do unbroken, i.e., no putting down the KBs, no breaking up the toes through rings, and I accomplished that goal in a time of 6:52.

Banded farmer’s walks are challenging, and my forearms were aching when all was said and done.