I’m Not Ready To Make Nice

I discovered that one acceptable definition of “quagmire” is “anything soft or flabby”.

Quagmire led this morning’s session, and the focus was on, in a word, form. And I liked it. I liked it real good.

Olympic Lifting
1 Power Snatch every 30 seconds x 5 minutes
1 Clean & Jerk every 30 seconds x 5 minutes
Use 50-60% of your max at each movement.

I feel much more confident with snatches and clean & jerks after attending the recent Olympic Lifting seminar. I lifted 75 for snatches and 85# for clean & jerks. The bar is no longer traveling away from my upper body, and is staying frighteningly close to my personage. I might have bruises on my ‘tween. Quagmire observed a clean & jerk and said, “Good. It’s amazing how that one cue, toe instead of heel, makes such a difference.” Remember that for future coaching, Quagmire.

Skill Conditioning
10 Pistols, alternating legs
30 Double Unders (Advanced – Unbroken)

Something amazing happened. Are you ready? Amy was attempting to find a jump rope that was sized correctly, and I said, “Here, Amy, you can borrow mine.” I don’t normally like people using my shit, and I seldom allow – let alone offer for – someone to use my shit. I must like you, Amy. Don’t tell Michelle.

I didn’t want to do, nor did I need to do, a metcon, so I instead practiced pistols for 8 minutes. I began with 2, 45# plates on the 8” box, then decreased to a 45 & 15, then 45, then just 15# plate. I also did not hold a toe for last 4 minutes. Pistols whip me. Ha, ha! I’m so funny.

Sled and Core
With a partner, work back and forth for 15 minutes

I chose to partner with myself. I didn’t mind pulling that damn sled nearly as much, as I was only pulling 90#. I pulled forwards, backwards, and with straps between my shapely legs, and used a 35# plate and completed 4 rounds of 20 – each side – Russian twists. I used a 45#, however, for last 10 reps. Because I could.


I’m blogging about yesterday’s Olympic weightlifting seminar as well as today’s exploits at CFZ. Why? Because I can. Today I wore a shirt with horizontal stripes. Why? Because I can.

Pete Haas from CrossFit Downtown Winston led yesterday’s seminar, focusing on three lifts: snatch, clean, and clean & jerk. Pete began with a brief overview of the four components of a lift: positioning, movement, speed, and load.

What I very much liked about the seminar was the hands-on approach, and Pete made sure to observe everyone and make corrections as needed. I also like that he focused on form – and not on lifting heavy shit. (I intentionally separated myself from those oozing testosterone, sweat, and other bodily fluids. You know who you are.) I partnered with Kevin. Britt was to my left, Will to my right, and Michael Kelley directly across from me.

I learned far too much to include in this blog. And I don’t care to do so, anyhow. I’ll merely include the most important things I learned.

1. When positioning myself for the snatch, don’t bring the bar to my legs. Instead, position the bar over my mid-foot, squat, and when my shins touch the bar that means I’m at about the right position to start the lift.

2. I squat too low at the start of the snatch. Whaaaaat? In the past I’ve not been able to squat low enough.

3. When snatching, when the bar hits my ‘tween that’s my cue to bend my arms. Not that ‘tween, folks. The bar hits below my belly button and above my junk; thus, ‘tween my junk and my belly button.

4. While my snatch grip remains very wide, my clean grip is wider than what I’ve used in the past.

5. It’s more than okay to use just two fingers to hold the bar when front squatting; however, I need to use three fingers. If I only use two fingers, I can’t “pop” the bar at the top of the front squat to reposition my hands for jerk. It appears that I have inflexible ring and pinky fingers, particularly the left-hand ring and pinky fingers.

5. At the finish of the clean & jerk, instead of focusing on pushing my back heel out I should focus instead on turning the toes of my back foot inward. It sounds like the same thing, but it’s not.

I found it interesting that most people split by putting the opposite foot of their dominant hand forward, e.g., left foot forward for right-handed people. As I’m amphibious, I should expect to be an exception. I write with my right hand (most of the time), draw and mouse click with my left hand, wear my watch on my right arm, and do something else equally well with either hand. I place my right foot forward when I split-jerk.

I am seriously contemplating having a one-on-one Olympic weightlifting session with Pete. Should I? Should I? Well, should I?

Most folks then met at Rudino’s to celebrate Nathanael’s 29th birthday. I bought him two beers and gave him a hug. I honestly don’t know what’s come over me, but I have a (dare I say) need to hug people that I genuinely like/love. I think/feel that Nathanael and Johanna (his wife) are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Michael Kelley is fat.

For this morning’s warmup, we were given the choice of doing 5 minutes of Oly lifting, double unders, or box jumps. I chose seated box jumps, jumping from a 12” to a 30” box. My hips felt incredibly tight. In all honesty, I would’ve preferred another 5 minutes working on mobility.

Maximum Effort Lower
Box Squat – 20 minutes to hit a 1RM

Burt left me for another man, namely Lux, and I felt all empty inside. Then I felt jubilation, as this meant I got to have my own damn rack and go at my own damn pace. After warming up, I lifted singles at 155, 175, 195, and 205#. My first attempt at 205 was performed with improper range of motion, according to Michael Kelley, i.e., my shins weren’t vertical to the floor. He allowed me to attempt again, and said, “Better.” I’ll take it.

We were told to aim for 80 to 90% of HBBS or LBBS 1RM and 205# is just about 85% of that – so I’m content. Not ecstatic, but content.

Michael Kelley and I have this thing that occurs when I’m attempting lifts close to or at my maximum. He’ll spot me, and as he’s doing so I sense his gravitational pull presence. I fear that he won’t let me complete the lift, so as I’m rising I’ll repeatedly say, “I got it.” Today it sounded like this. “IgotitIgotitIgotitIgotitIgotitIgotit.” He said, “I knew you had it.” Well, of course you did, Michael Kelley, for I repeatedly told you so. Thanks for paying attention.

Thruster – 7 minutes to hit a heavy single (NOT max)

My upper body is trashed, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to go very heavy. I also didn’t know that no rest was allowed until 5 minutes into the activity – when Michael Kelley informed us so. Good coaching, Michael Kelley. No, I mean it. Srsly. I thrusted 95, 105, and 115#. I could’ve gone heavier but had no desire or time left to do so.

20 BB Reverse Lunges (Front Rack Position), 50% of Thruster single
10 Grasshoppers

Wow, this was a tremendously challenging and fun metcon! I can’t recall ever doing barbell reverse lunges, so I liked the change of pace. Even though 50% of 115 is 57.5, I rounded up to 65#, if for no other reason than to be able to drop the bar.

As this was just a 7-minute metcon, my goal was to complete all activities unbroken, and I did so. Just barely, but I did.

I was the first to complete the reverse lunges, but noticed that a few others started the second round of lunges before I did. I thought, “What the f@ck just happened? Oh, silly Paul, you forgot to do the crickets quickly!” Yes, even when I talk to myself I swear and I mistakenly refer to “grasshoppers” as “crickets”.

I completed 5 rounds + 14 barbell reverse lunges.

I finished the morning by completing 5 x 10 banded kettle bell swings using the green band. I did two rounds using the 35# kettle bell, but Michael Kelley made me use a 44# kettle bell for the remaining rounds. Michael Kelley is mean.

I completed sled pulls this evening. Yes, I pulled that damn sled yet again. Each round was 60m pulling forward and then pulling dead-lift, and I pulled 150/135, 155/140, and 160/145#, respectively. Leah requested that the back door be opened for no other reason than to see my facial expressions; wickedly painful facial expressions. Next up were 150 banded hamstring raises. I don’t like these very much. I completed the day with a 2K row in 7:55 averaging 25 strokes per minute.

On a completely unrelated topic, this season of “Breaking Bad” is spectacular.

It makes my lady parts tingle.

Reminder that titles of blogs are contextual.

Today was an exhausting, rewarding, and (dare I say) fun day at CrossFit Zeal.

I do worry, however, that I haven’t hated Michael Kelley in what seems like forever. I suppose I’ll have to change boxes or open my own box if I ever want him to never speak to me again. It’s tempting.

I led the 8 and attended the 9:15 session. I arrived at 7:30 if for no other reason to work on my own mobility before I worked out. And I’m glad I did, as I led the warm up for both sessions. You’re welcome, Michael Kelley.

The warm up consisted of 5 somersaults, 400m run holding light plates, reverse flies, lateral raises, running drills, and 3 minutes spent upside down. A good time was had by most. Since, as I mentioned yesterday, I’m self-centered and egotistical, I’ll focus only on my own performance.

I did at least put athletes’ names on the board, and at the top of the list was Mike Hunt.

Deload Effort Upper
Speed Bench, 9×3 @ 60% (3×3 at wide, neutral, and close grip), 30-45 sec rest

I had the good fortune of partnering with The Other Paul, who pressed 115 while I pressed 105#. My shoulder was nagging me a bit, but I’ve learned to deal with the slight pain.

Choose 1:
5×5 Pull-Ups (weighted if necessary)
5×5 Muscle-Ups
5×5 Kettlebell or Dumbbell Single Arm Row

Uhm, like I wasn’t going to choose muscle-ups? I successfully completed 5 rounds of 5 muscle-ups, and I look good doing so.

On The Minute for 12 Minutes
10 Push Press (60-70% 1RM)
5 Burpees
The push press should be unbroken, but heavy enough so that the last 1-2 reps of each round are difficult. Score is total completed rounds (max of 12).

Having coached this earlier, I knew what to expect. Only Amy achieved 12 rounds, and I’m confident that she could have gone heavier and still completed all rounds.

I set up my bar in my usual space, i.e., in front of the open garage door so that no one could get all up in my business. This blog posted on Again Faster (that I posted on Facebook) has generated some interesting conversations, including one with The Other Paul, who was positioned 90 degrees to my right – so that he could watch me out of the corner of his eye. Don’t deny it, Paul. I know it, you know it, Heather knows it, and Michael Kelley is fat.

I settled on 75#, 60% of 1RM. I did not want to go heavier for fear of reinjuring my left shoulder.

My goal was to compete only with myself and to ignore others as much as I could. This was somewhat difficult to do, as I could always hear the sound of barbells dropping to the floor, and I could often sense The Other Paul looking in my direction. I was confident that I could complete 10 push presses and 5 burpees within 1 minute, so that wasn’t a goal. Instead, I told myself that if I couldn’t do 10 unbroken push presses that I was allowed to rest a round – regardless of how much time was left in that round.

The first 6 or so rounds were relatively easy, and Michael Kelley actually complimented me on the speed of the push presses, although he did remind me to not jump. By the 7th or 8th round, that barbell started to feel very heavy, so much so that it caused me to rip off my shirt. I was still completing rounds with no less than 25 seconds to recover. I was still doing push presses and burpess unbroken as well, but I was getting rather winded.

I had quite a conversation with myself during the 10th round. It went something like this: Shit, 75 pounds feels heavy. Just try to get through this round. One, two, three, four, five, six – I don’t know if I can do another rep. Seven, eight – you can stop if you want to. Nine, and ten. My god, that was miserable. Oh, wait, I’ve got five burpees to do now. Just rest the next round. You’re only competing with yourself, so it doesn’t matter how many rounds you do – or do not – complete. It’s getting quite slippery. One, two, three. Perhaps I shouldn’t have taken off my shirt. I like that even when I’m talking to myself I don’t end a sentence with a preposition. Four, and five. Don’t do the next round. Rest, and finish strong. Wait, did Michael Kelley just say, “Thirty seconds”? You don’t have to do the next round. I’m thirsty. Michael Kelley has razor stubble on his chest. That’s weird. My mid-thigh looks like I shaved, but that’s from doing cleans. Shit, he’s counting down from five. That’s okay, don’t do the next round. Shit, I told myself that I could only rest if I didn’t complete a round unbroken, and I did complete that last round unbroken. If the only person I’m competing with is myself, then I’d better pick up the damn bar and make it through another round.

And that’s what I did. I did not, however, complete the push presses unbroken, and dropped the bar after 7 reps. I nonetheless completed the round with about 20 seconds left.

And then I heard these words come out of Michael Kelley’s mouth: “I’m not fat; I’m big- boned! Everyone has to do the last round. You should all be able to finish within the minute.”

Damn it. That meant I had to complete the final round. I did so, but started at 5 or so seconds after the top of the minute. I once again completed push presses in reps of 7 and 3. I was also, I believe, one of the last to complete that round, although I did so with 10 seconds to spare.

I enjoyed this metcon tremendously, if for no other reason than it was very challenging, and I exceeded my expectations.

I’m not sure, however, if my score is 10 or 12, as I did not complete the last 2 rounds unbroken. Michael Kelley? Michael Kelley? You can sext me the answer.

Burnout Accessory
Seated Band Rows 100 reps
Seated Upright Row 3×12-15

Uhm, I completed 100 reps of both activities. Stupid Michael Kelley.

As the 10:30ers worked out, I continued with accessory work. That could only mean one thing: that damn sled. Michael Kelley programmed today’s workout, and he’s as handsome as he is fat. That’s pretty damn handsome!

3 x 400m pulling the damn sled forward, 70# + sled
3 x 60m sprints pulling the damn sled backwards, 45# + sled
15 GHD sit-ups between rounds

Burt, The Other Paul, and Heather were kind enough to “join” me for the first 400m pull. I left them in my dust. True story. M goals were to complete 400m pulls with just a brief rest at the turnaround, to truly sprint the backward pulls, and to complete all rounds of GHD sit-ups.

I completed this grueling workout with just 5 minutes to spare before the start of the Community WOD. There were 15 or more in attendance, including quite a few regular as well as the lovely, Lululemon-wearing Christine! As Christine is a yogi, I included held planks in the WOD: 12-minute AMRAP of 5 pull-ups, 10 box jumps/KB swings (alternate rounds) and a 30-second plank hold. It appears that this was a popular workout, and quite a few sang my praises. No need to, folks, as I’m well aware of my awesomeness. I remind myself of it daily.

I said many funny things today, none of which I’m going to share. I’ve become aware that I am a member of CrossFit Zeal for entertainment purposes only.

I drank a beer. And it was good.

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.

Using 60-65% of 1RM Front Squat

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.

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.

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.

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?