Coach Paul

I coached the 10 and 11am sessions at CFD this morning. I don’t typically blog on rest days, but I feel compelled to do so today.

There were 12 in attendance today, including two drop-ins, Bradley and David. Today’s WOD included 15 minutes of practice on the rings and then conditioning of 40 handstand pushups, 40 pull-ups, and 40 kettle bell step-ups for time. I once again used Coach’s Eye to reinforce feedback for skills. I also challenged athletes to challenge themselves. Bradley and David responded very well to feedback, and both were able to achieve an upside down vertical hold on the rings. Amy attempted a ring dip with the thinnest band, and although she didn’t complete the ring dip, she did at least try. (By the way, I love Amy, and she can do no wrong.) Nate continues to show improvement with muscle-ups, and it’s only a matter of time until he gets the timing right.

I began both sessions by stating something like the following: The only person you are competing with today is yourself. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, and don’t race anyone else. Challenge yourself. If you can do 20 or more unbroken pull-ups, then do chest to bar or dead-hang pull-ups. Use the heaviest weight possible for step-ups. Start handstand pushups with two mats instead of three. Do all 40 handstand pushups before pull-ups, and all 40 pull-ups before step-ups. This metcon is for you to challenge yourself. My only goal is for each of you to complete the metcon in 20 minutes or less.

Athletes were allowed to scale all activities, and to break up the reps however they saw fit. I encouraged athletes to chip away at handstand pushups throughout and to not discount the difficulty of step-ups.

I observed form and if a skill looked too easy, I challenged the individual. For example, Luke’s Aunt Sandra was completing step-ups with far too much ease. I encouraged her to grab a heavier set of kettle bells. When she didn’t, I grabbed a slightly heavier pair, set them by her plyo box, and moved the lighter pair away, although within sight and reach. She did an awesome job of “stepping up” to the challenge! Prior to the metcon I strongly urged (i.e., didn’t give any choice) Amy, Nate, and Jeff to use very heavy kettle bells. All three did, and all three were spectacular. Nate started with kipping pull-ups and then challenged himself with butterfly pull-ups. Well done, Nate! Kristin, as I would expect, fought for quite a few reps of handstand pushups and kipping pull-ups. She never gives up, she’s always positive, and she listens to her coaches. She’s a coach’s dream coachee! Bradley started with kipping pull-ups and did the last 10 or more as chest to bar pull-ups, and with near perfect form.

I’ve only coached Melissa a couple of times. I was, however, the most proud of her today. She began pull-ups using two green bands. I said, “That looks too easy.” I removed one of the green bands and got a blue band ready to use if needed. She completed the remainder of her pull-ups using just one band, and sometimes doing just one pull-up at a time. She also began to kip. When I encouraged her to mix her grip and occasionally do a chin-up, that’s just what she did. She completed modified handstand pushup using a box. I encouraged her to move her hands closer to the box each round, and again, that’s exactly what she did. She used a challenging weight for the step-ups, and was struggling by the end of the metcon. She didn’t argue with me when I challenged her, she incorporated my feedback immediately, and she even smiled when I praised her.

Melissa had the slowest time of the day.

Another individual who I’ll call Tim (obviously not his actual name) was a different story altogether. I attempted to provide coaching and it fell on deaf ears. For example, I began by reminding him to touch his head to the ground for modified handstand pushups. His head never touched the ground. As in the past, I reminded him to fully extend his arms at the bottom of pull-ups and to ensure that his chin went above the bar at the top of pull-ups. Not once did he full extend his arms and I seldom saw his chin go above the bar. In fact, there were quite a few occasions when his chin was inches away from the bar. And yet he counted every rep. And he never contemplated using a band for assistance.

Tim had the fastest time of the day.

I think you know where I’m going with this.

I truly enjoy coaching when someone is coachable. I’d rather not even be there if someone is not coachable. Better still, I’d rather someone not attend a session I’m coaching if they think or feel that my coaching is incorrect or inadequate, have a negative attitude, or just plain don’t like me. At CFD, there is always open gym. I wouldn’t be the least bit bothered if an individual chose to do the WOD – without my coaching – on her or his own.

One last thing: I don’t coach for the money.

Okay, one very last thing: I know my coaching style isn’t for everyone. I would, however, rather over-coach than under-coach.

I promise, this is the very, very last thing: Michael Kelley.


You’re prickly

I arrived at CFZ at 7:20 and Michael Kelley arrived at 7:45. He did not, however, speak to me until exactly 9:17:29. When he finally did say hello, the topic of conversation immediately turned to him. “I overslept and I’ve been running late all morning.” By this time I was in one of my moods, and I didn’t want to have much to do with him or most anyone else.

Fortunately, I was in a relatively good mood while leading the 8amers. There were more than a dozen in attendance, and most were very good about following directions. Thanks, folks!

I usually discuss my own workout. For a change of pace I’ll discuss a few musings.

1. I genuinely think/feel that most athletes enjoy the addition of yoga to the warmup, and quite a few people have told me so. Unlike a previous coach (who shall remain unnamed), I don’t do the same yoga warmup each and every time, and I let athletes know when we’re doing something different.

2. If you can’t full extend your arms at the bottom of a pull-up, well, then, extend your damn arms at the bottom of a pull-up.

3. If you are attempting chest to bar pull-ups and you can’t get your chest to the bar, well, then, use a damn band.

4. When I instruct you to count down from five and pick up the damn bar and/or kettle bell or start your bupees, well, then, count down from five and do just that.

5. Catching your breath while resting with your hands on your knees while still standing is acceptable. Sitting down is not. Ever. Until the end of the metcon, that is.

6. Straighten your damn arms and lock your damn elbows at the top of a press and/or kettle bell swing.

7. Proper form and execution will always trump a fast time. Always.

Michael Kelley led the 9:15ers through a warmup, and I participated in some of it. My shoulders are beyond the point of soreness and almost to the point of pain; thus, I wasn’t going to do any wheelbarrow.

Push press
6 x 2 75% of 1RM

I lifted 100#, and lifts felt surprisingly good. I focused on explosiveness.

Chest to bar pull-ups
5 rounds of strict max reps, 30 seconds with 30 seconds rest

Pull-ups didn’t feel as good as they have in the past, probably because I’ve done so many as of late.  I completed 9, 6, 6, 6, & 4 for a total of 31. I missed 1 rep the 3rd and 4th rounds and 2 reps the last round. Dammit.

5 push-jerks @ 65% of 1RM
10 burpees with lateral bar hop
15 kettle bell swings
15 push-jerks
20 burpees with lateral bar hop
30 kettle bell swings
15 push-jerks
30 burpees with lateral bar hop
45 kettle bell swings

There was no way in hell that I was going to do push-jerks, so I substituted 225# dead-lifts. I used a 53# kettle bell. Here’s what happened…

I completed 1st round of dead-lifts unbroken, 2nd round in reps of 6 & 4, and last round in reps of 4, 4, 4, & 3. Dead-lifts felt heavy, but manageable. I completed the 1st round of burpees with lateral hop unbroken and remaining rounds in reps of 10. I completed 1st round of kettle bell swings unbroken, 2nd round in reps of 15, and the last round in reps of 10, 10, 10, 10, & 5.

This was a very challenging metcon, and I felt winded throughout. I can usually blow through burpees with a lateral hop, but was only able to string together 10 at a time. Huh? I had planned on doing all dead-lifts with overhand grip, but had to switch to mixed grip the last round. Huh? Kettle bell swings became grueling, and I had to force myself to keep focused on extending my arms and locking my elbows. Huh?

I completed the metcon in 12:39. Michael Kelley saw me drop to the ground and said, “12:41.” Uhm, no.

I spent the next hour working on skills and focusing on core. I began by pulling that damn sled. I completed 60m sprints with 45, 60, 70, 80, and 90#. I had forgotten how much I hate pulling that damn sled.

I put on my 45# weight vest and held a plank for 3 minutes, adding one-legged and one-armed holds. The last minute was the hardest, and I had to grit my teeth in order to hold the plank. I recorded and reviewed. I did hold a good plank throughout. The most noticeable accomplishment, however, is that I finally have an ass. It took almost three years, but I finally have an ass. A rather nice and shapely ass, I might add. I showed the recording to Jeff, Michael Kelley, and anyone else who would watch, and snapped a picture. Yes, I had drawn an arrow to my ass.

I then did 25 “walking” planks and 2 x 10 toes to bar while wearing weight vest. No, fools, I didn’t wear the weight vest for walking planks.

I led the Community WOD which consisted of 13, 12, 10… 3, 2, 1 kettle bell swings, Abmat sit-ups, and wall ball shots.

Michael Kelley was nice to me during lunch, so I forgive him for being such an ass. CrossFit Zeal treated me to lunch! Thanks, Tom and Michael Kelley!

Ambassador Dave

I coached at CFZ this morning, and had a marvelous time doing so. I have excellent time management skills. I’m also good at herding cats. Yes, 6amers? Oh, and I’m funny.

I attended the 8:30 session at CFD led by the always lovely Ashley Denton. My sole purpose for being there was to help lululemon athletica Durham welcome my good friend, Dave, as an Ambassador. Congratulations, Dave!

Back to me: I wore Lululemon Response shorts and my “To the Second Tree and Back” shirt. I looked resplendent. (Did you just learn a new word, Michael Kelley?)

Ashley was kind enough to allow me to do modify the WOD to fit my current programming.

Front squat
2 x 8 @ 75%

I warmed up with the bar, 95, 115, and 135, and then completed sets @ 165#. Ashley observed and commented that my range of motion has improved. Thanks for noticing, Ashley! Thanks for helping me with my flexibility, Michael Kelley! I recorded many of the sets, and used Coach’s Eye app to analyze. The bar is moving in a straight line, and I am squatting below parallel. As Tracey was observing the video, I drew a line to represent the path of the bar. She said, “You’re so straight, Paul.” I looked at her and jokingly said, “Don’t ever call me that again. You’re gaycist.” She didn’t quite know how to respond, so I explained what a gaycist is. We all had a laugh, and all agreed that I might be bi-curious.

I was fortunate enough to be working at a station beside the always bubbly Lexy, who was attempting a front squat PR. I provided some direction and support, and recorded both of her PRs. Her final lift was at bodyweight (I’m guessing 78#) and I’m confident she can lift an even heavier weight.

Dave finally arrived and asked, “What are you doing here?” I expected him to ask that very question. I replied, “You said I am always welcome.” “I didn’t mean it literally,” he said with a smile on his face. Oh, Dave, you’re such a soft-tittied douche bag. I love you nonetheless.

“Dave” WOD
20 thrusters
20 pushups
20 Abmat sit-ups
Run 800m

I’ve done more than enough upper body activities this past week, so I wasn’t in the mood for thrusters. I substituted 30” box jumps. I also completed plyometric pushups and GHD sit-ups. It’s also likely that I ran farther than others.

My goal was to complete all activities unbroken. Uhm, not a lofty goal, but as I had already upped the ante by substituting plyo pushups and GHD sit-ups, I wasn’t sure what else I could do.

I did get enjoyment from letting Dave know my progress. “Dave, I just completed 20, 30” box jumps. You’re still doing thrusters? Dave, I did plyometric pushups. What are you doing? Dave, I just did 20 GHD sit-ups, yet you’re still doing pushups. What the hell is wrong with you?” I couldn’t tease him during the run, well, because I left him in my dust. Right, Dave? Right?

I completed the metcon in exactly 7 minutes, and then helped cheer for Dave as he accepted his proposal. I also gave him a big hug.

I coached the 5 and 6pm sessions at CFD this evening for my friend, Erin. I had a wonderful time doing so, and saw quite a few people I haven’t seen since I made the move to CFZ. There were more than a dozen in both sessions.

Lexy attended yet another session, and got yet another front squat PR, yo.

I received quite a few compliments on my coaching, and that made me feel very nice and appreciated. Thanks, CFDers!

(Dave, I enjoy substitute coaching at CFD. Keep that in mind. Okay?)

“You’re gay.” ~ Michael Kelley

Today was nothin’ but skill-building, ladies and gentlemen. As my entire upper body is somewhat sore, this morning I focused on lower body activities.

Full Squat Box Jumps
Sets of 10 reps @ 24”, 30”, 31”, 32”, 34.5”, & 36”

What’s up with my left foot, yo? Similar to my propensity to move my left foot back when dipping for a jerk, I move my left foot back and then forth prior to jumping when completing unbroken box jumps. I’ve been doing box jumps for 3 years and it took recording and reviewing to notice.

Double Unders practice

What’s up with my left arm, yo? As noted in the past, my right wrist moves twice while my left hand merely holds the rope. The rope is also farther away from the right side of my body than it has ever been.

Farmer’s Walk

I used 2, 35# plates and green bands and walked 400m. I stopped at the 300m mark to reposition my hands, and stopped with about 15m remaining to run, uninvited, with Lauren. I discovered that Lauren had run 800m in 4 minutes, and that’s not fast enough. Thus, I acted as her bunny for this and her last 800m run. She clocked 3:50 and 3:52. Much better, Lauren! I did attempt to silently approach and pass at the 100m mark during her last run, but she informed me that she could smell my approach. Ha! Not that smell, people. Lauren informed me that she could smell the laundry detergent we use. Tide with Febreze.

Toes Through Rings
3 rounds of maximum reps

Fortunately, my shoulders felt fine. Unfortunately, my awesome abs really began to hurt, but in a good way. Like when Michael Kelley slaps my ass. I completed 35, 25, & 20 reps for a total of 80.

Two friends from work, Amal and Samir, attended open gym this evening. As they were running late, I took the opportunity to practice headstands and handstand pushups prior to their arrival. I also did a few muscle-ups as a means of demonstrating form for Dylan.

I discovered that Michael Kelley did not do a good job of teaching me how to do kipping handstand pushups. I completed a few and reviewed recording. I mistakenly kipped my feet to the wall before pressing my arms. In Michael Kelley’s defense, he did provide much better coaching today. Thank you, Michael Kelley.

Michael Kelley Taught Me Something Today.

What if you didn’t blog – and no-one noticed? I hyphenate “no-one”. Ask me why.

This blog is going to be all over the place. Just so you know.

The weather in NC has been absolutely gorgeous. While taking Luke for a walk yesterday evening Jeff said, “Why do you like Michael Kelley so much? You’ve had best friends in the past, but none that you’ve liked as much as Michael Kelley.” I blabbered for a moment, not really stating an actual reason, and then said, “Perhaps it’s because he’s openly affectionate. He says ‘I love you’ and I know he means it.” It might also be because he accepts me exactly as I am. I also accept him exactly as he is, although I wish he were less fat. Whoomp, there it is.

I did work out yesterday, if that’s what it can be called. We began with snatch practice, and I just couldn’t drop under the bar. My hips ached. I became so frustrated that while others practiced snatching I put the bar on the rack and practiced overhead squats. We next practiced power cleans, beginning with a lighter weight on the bar and then adding 10 or 5# every 30 seconds or so. I teamed with Alex. I was able to power clean 155#, albeit on the second attempt. As that’s my current 1RM, I’m okay with that.

Now that my shoulder is almost completely healed, I can noticeably tell just how weak I’ve become due to favoring and babying my shoulders. The prescribed meton didn’t interest me in the least: 400m run, 200 double unders, 400m run. I completed 3 rounds of 100 double unders and 400m run. I have gotten so used to extending my right arm far away from my body when I do double unders that the rope is now hitting me on the left side of the back of my head. That hurts.

Wasn’t that boring? I agree. I’m not the biggest fan of dynamic effort days.

Today is the one-year anniversary of our adopting Luke. He’s a wonderful addition to the family, and Jeff and I are delighted with just how awesome of a dog he has turned out to be.

It was also on this date three years ago that I had my first encounter with Michael Kelley. Having just read my blog for that race, it’s of interest to note that there is absolutely no mention of him.

Michael Kelley was at the race as a representative of Lifestyle Family Fitness. He was my friend Tegan’s personal trainer, and she facilitated the introduction. He had one goal: acquiring clients. While I can’t recall the exact conversation, I do recall him unequivocally stating: I can make you faster. He offered me a free massage with a happy ending one-hour training session. Yes, Michael Kelley was the first person to introduce me to CrossFit, and for that I will be forever grateful.

I’m not certain when or even how we became friends, for at that time I was only seeing him during our weekly and then bi-weekly coaching sessions. I suppose I discovered his fondness for me when I informed him that I would no longer be using his services and would instead be joining a local CrossFit (at that time not yet determined). His girlfriend, Britt, informed me that he was devastated, and that he had spent numerous hours lying in bed under the covers while eating pretzel M&M’s. We exchanged numerous email messages. Michael Kelley pleaded with me to reconsider and to continue using his services. I did not acquiesce.

I completed Foundations at Triangle CrossFit and then discovered CrossFit Durham. Michael Kelley occasionally attended sessions at CFD and then began attending the Saturday endurance WOD I coached as well as coaching a mobility WOD himself later that day.

I remember the exact moment that I said these four words: I hate Michael Kelley.

As I was talking shit about Michael Kelley, Dave teasingly said, “You love Michael Kelley.” I immediately responded, “I hate Michael Kelley.” As faithful readers know, that phrase became a running joke. I would post “I hate Michael Kelley” on Facebook and Michael Kelley would then post “I hate Paul Potorti”. I would look for opportunities to state “I hate Michael Kelley” in blog posts. I considered hiring a skywriter. We eventually exchanged phone numbers and began sexting. He would even call me just to talk. Weird, I know.

When Michael Kelley opened CFZ and no longer attended sessions at CFD I was certain our friendship would gradually, well, just end. I had no intention of leaving CFD for CFZ, but that’s what I did. And even when I began my membership at CFZ I had no intention of coaching there.

Michael Kelley can sometimes be quite persuasive…

I’m often asked why I call him Michael Kelley and not “Michael” or “Mike” or even “Mike Kelley”. I don’t know why, so stopping asking.

Aaaaaand I’m back.

I was once again the first to arrive at the box this morning. I chose the Ellie Goulding playlist on Pandora. Regular attendees at the 6am session may have realized that I often chose the playlist based upon my mood. I was in an Ellie Goulding “Lights” kind of mood this morning, and many people commented on how much they liked the songs. I’m an auditory learner and communicator. More about this in a moment…

When Michael Kelley finally arrived he greeted me by saying, “Good morning, Paul” and then placing his hand firmly on my left ass cheek. His hand remained there for quite some time, and perhaps he was expecting me to ask him to object, remove his hand, move away, or even grab his ass. You’re funny, Michael Kelley. Next time put your hand on my junk and see what happens then.

ME Upper
Seated Barbell Press

Head Coach Michael Kelley changed the scheduled programming yet again. I expected today to be 1RM split jerk.

What the hell is a seated barbell press? I positioned a 20” box behind the rack. I would then take the bar off of the rack, sit on the box, press the bar overhead, bring the bar down to my “shelf”, stand up, and then re-rack the bar. Good times, good times.

I warmed up with the bar and then 75, 85, and 90#. I then did singles @ 100, 105, 110, and 115#. That’s 92.5% of 1RM, so I’m pleased. I was also pleased that my left shoulder didn’t cause me to scream in agony.

Split Jerk
2×1 @ 70%
2×1 @ 80%
4×1 @ 90%
All based on most recent 1RM Split Jerk

I treated my BFF to a movie this past Sunday evening, and we saw “Pitch Perfect”. We sat in the next-to-last row, and seated behind us was a group of a half dozen or so teenagers. They spoke out loud during the movie, and it annoyed the shit out of me. There were numerous times when I whispered to Michael Kelley, “I’m going to say something to them.” He would reply, “Calm down” or “Take a deep breath”. Little did I know that it was bothering him as well, and he eventually exploded. He made a very loud “Shhhhh” sound and then said, “You’re talking here (raising his arm high above his head) and you need to be here (lowering his arm)”. I used this is an opportunity to ask them to be quiet. The theater was deathly quiet for the remainder of the movie.

I was only able to split-jerk 145# last week, but I was able to clean and jerk 160# a month or so ago, so I based percentages on 155# and rounded up.

I have to repeatedly look at the whiteboard when I coach to remind myself of the sets and reps. I admit to being quite confused this morning.

I did 2 unbroken reps @ 110 (108.5 is 70% of 155) and then did 2 unbroken reps @ 125 (124). Before doing 4 unbroken reps at 90% I asked, “Are we supposed to be doing these one at a time, Michael Kelley?” He rolled his eyes and sarcastically said, “Yes, you’re supposed to be doing 4 unbroken reps at 90% of your one rep maximum.” What an ass and what an ass.

I previously mentioned that I’m an auditory learner. I listen to music throughout the day, and the only time I need complete silence is when I sleep. I learn best when the coach talks to me. I dislike when and am annoyed by people who speak loudly in public, and this includes not only movie theaters but concerts, public transportation such as airplanes, restaurants – I guess really any public setting. Two lovely and delightful individuals (you know who you are) tend to be quite loud when they talk, and even louder when they talk to each other. I try to block their conversations from my mind, I truly do. I also, however, talk to myself when I lift, particularly complicated lifts like the split jerk and snatch, and sometimes even do so aloud – and not out loud. I need this reinforcement, and I need to hear myself. The decibel level had continued to rise throughout the morning, and I was having a very difficult time concentrating. I turned up the music hoping that this would help, but I believe it may have caused them to talk even louder. Instead of politely asking them to lower their voices, I exploded, e.g., just like Michael Kelley. It sounded something like this, “You and you, quiet down. I can’t hear myself think. Get out of my head!” Michael Kelley immediately approached and said, “That was mean.” In retrospect, it was, and I apologize. I only speak for myself, however, when I request that the two of you use your inside voices when working out when others are present. Pretty please.

Whew. Back to the split jerks. I lifted 4 singles reps at 140#, and recorded every lift. I focused on extending forward, right foot and landing on the toe and pointing out the heel of the back, left foot. I immediately reviewed all of the recordings. What I didn’t notice, however, was that I ever so slightly move my left foot back when dipping just before driving the bar overhead. WTF? This causes me to go on my toes. WTF? Michael Kelley had noticed earlier but hadn’t said a single word until after my last lift. I then re-watched all 4 lifts. Yup, I did the cha-cha each and every lift. I may need to visit Peter H. for some coaching.

3 Strict Chin-Ups
5 Handstand Push-Ups
7 Pull-Ups
9 Hand Release Push-Ups

Why the hell would the Head Coach program so much upper body work? Hadn’t I just done 117 pull-ups and 145 hand release pushups a mere 3 days ago? Also, 3 strict pull-ups were originally programmed.

I have lost the ability to do handstand pushups, most likely due to my long recovery from my shoulder injury. My form was shitty at best. I completed all rounds of chin-ups, pull-ups, and hand release push-ups but only the first round of handstand pushups unbroken. By the second round of HSPUs I was doing them sloppily and 1 rep at a time. I said, “I have to learn kipping handstand pushups.” Michael Kelley heard, “I don’t want to do kipping handstand pushups.” Get your hearing checked, Michael Kelley. Or learn to read lips. Upside-down lips. I completed 6 rounds + 3 chin-ups. As Michael Kelley would say, “Whatever.”

Jeff then arrived carrying Luke’s birthday cake. As you can see, it’s in the shape of a bone and has orange and blue lettering and decorations, as those are my and Jeff’s favorite colors, respectively. The cake was homemade by Kristen from Doggie Village, and she informed me that it is edible by humans as well as dogs.

Michael Kelley said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if you bought one of those cakes for a human?” I said, “Your birthday is February 22, right?” He nodded his head. I said, “I’ll get one for you, but it will be in the shape of a different kind of bone.”

Before picking up Luke from Doggie Village, I stopped by the box to practice split jerks. I kept the weight light @ 75# and worked on form. Yes, I recorded every lift. Yes, I asked Michael Kelley to critique. For the most part, I didn’t lift my left foot when I dipped. I also extended my right leg out so that my knee was above my ankle. Lifts felt and looked much, much better.

As I wanted to practice kipping handstand pushups, I joined the 5:15ers for the metcon. This time my focus was on learning the new way of kipping handstand pushups; thus, I took my time with chin-ups, pull-ups, and hand release pushups. I was in a particularly good mood, so I made sure to add commentary throughout the metcon. You’re welcome.

Michael Kelley actually taught me something! Thanks, BFF! I completed a mere 4 rounds + 3 chin-ups and 4 handstand pushups. Once again, all chin-ups, pull-ups, and hand release pushups were done unbroken. Yes, I’m that spectacular. Fabulous might be an even better adjective.

A very good day indeed. (Happy Anniversary, Michael Kelley!)

“Why do you have to be so mean to Thomas all of the time?”

Burt has asked me that question more than once, and my response is always the same: Because he’s not Michael Kelley. More later.

While I rested yesterday, I perhaps needed to rest today as well, for this morning I felt weak. As the morning progressed I felt even weaker, and then the weakest I’ve felt in quite some time. I can’t recall a time when my lats have been this sore. Damn you, “Nicole”. (Not you, Nicole C-O-X.) I knew with certainty that I wasn’t going to get a HBBS or clean PR.

ME Lower
Establish High Bar Back Squat 1RM

I made it to 225 and then failed at 240. Enough said. On a positive note, I am now able to position my hands in clean — and not snatch — grip for back squats. My flexibility has improved dramatically.

12 min to work up to a heavy clean single (full squat)

I cleaned 150, 10# less than 1RM and 5# less than power clean. I wanted to go heavier but ran out of time. Enough said.

I used Coach’s Eye app to record squats and cleans. I highly recommend you do the same. You know you want to.

5 Rounds
20 Barbell Jumping Squats, 45# bar
15 Kettle Bell Swings, 52# KB
10 Burpees

I can’t recall a time when we’ve done jumping squats with the bar, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. As part of the warm up, Michael Kelley had us do jumping squats using a PVC pipe, but this did not at all compare to doing with a 45# barbell on your back. Just saying. The barbell jumping squats were by far the most difficult part of the metcon.

My goal was to complete all rounds of KB swings and burpees unbroken.

Ready? Here goes.

I completed the first round of BBJS (that acronym could stand for a variety of things) unbroken, and after having done so I knew I wouldn’t be able to do so again. I completed the second round in reps of 10, and the remaining rounds in reps of 10, 6, & 4.

I completed all rounds of KB swings and burpees unbroken. However, I was very tempted to break up the KB swings during the fourth round, but told myself if I did I wouldn’t come even close to achieving my goal of unbroken swings. Damn SMART goals. During the last round I told myself I could stop at 10, but when I reached that number I kept going. Thus, I completed all rounds unbroken.

Uhm, I completed all rounds of burpees unbroken. If I’m ever unable to do so, please do me a favor and shoot me. I mean it. Pretend I just got infected my a zombie and you promised that you’d do the deed. I mean it.

I was gasping for air and nosily grunting throughout the metcon.

I completed in 10:26. As my first round took 2:05 seconds, I’m pleased that it appears that I did rounds in even splits. Except for that last second.

Traffic this evening was a nightmare, as fool people don’t know how to drive in the rain. It took me about an hour to get to CFZ when it normally takes me a half hour. I had planned on doing another metcon, but settled on doing skill work instead.

I completed 9-15-21 kipping ring dips, ensuring my delts went below my elbows. I next completed 10 x 10 ball slams using 30# slam ball.

I recorded Kristin and Michael Kelley running, and provided feedback. Kristin, land on your forefoot, not your heel. Michael Kelley, lean forward, not backward.

I was then not mean to Thomas. You read the correctly, Burt. Thomas requested coaching for his HBBS and I provided just that. Not being mean to Thomas is the same as being nice to him. I did it for you, Burt. All for you. I mean it.

The Purstitt of Fitness

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Yet another fun-filled day at CFZ! I coached the 8am session, attended by about a dozen people including Michael Kelley. I wore Lululemon shorts (obviously), a CFZ shirt (more about that in a moment) and a UNC sweatshirt. As it was a little chilly in the box, the sweatshirt kept me warm. It also concealed my CFZ shirt until the reveal. I waited until all eyes except Michael Kelley’s were on me and I took off my sweatshirt to reveal my sleeveless CFZ shirt. I had removed the sleeves myself, you know, to show off the guns. I had also carefully cut out the “IU” of the misspelled “PURSIUT”. The cutout was, sadly, just below nipple level. A got quite a few laughs, which was good, and it upset Michael Kelley, which was better. I imagine him thinking, “I gave him that shirt as a coach of Zeal. How dare he cut it up.” How dare you end a sentence with a preposition, Michael Kelley.

Today’s strength skill was push press. I reminded Paul A. of this, as he tends to get push press and push jerk confused. He also looked mighty weak on his first three reps. I said, “Paul, be more explosive. Like when you have explosive diarrhea.” He made a “pffrtpfffft” sound and I said, “Yes, like that. So, the next time I tell you that you have shitty form it will be a compliment.”

I so very much wanted to be doing the WOD “Nicole” with the group, but I had to wait my turn.

My BFF led the 9:15 and 10:30 sessions, and he did an okay job of doing so.

Push press
6 x 3, 65% of 1RM

With all of the shoulder shit we’ve been doing, I wasn’t much in the mood to push press 100#. I did nonetheless and lifts felt okay.

Ring dips
3 sets of maximum effort dead-hang followed by kipping

We had the choice of doing handstand pushups or ring dips. I considered doing neither, as I didn’t want to overdo it with my shoulder. I attempted a ring dip, and it felt good, so I did 18 more unbroken and strict for a total of 19. I don’t need to practice kipping; I need to improve strength. I followed that with sets of 17 and 11 for a total of 47. I wanted to leave a little something in the tank for the rest of the day. Regardless, that’s the most rings dips I’ve done in months.

Benchmark WOD “Nicole”
20-min As Many Rounds and Reps as Possible
Run 400m and do as many pull-ups as possible without dropping from the bar

This is the first time I’ve done this WOD at CFZ. I was concerned that my shoulder would impact my performance, but I’m happy to say that it didn’t. I completed 14 less reps that the last time I did this WOD, which was at CFD. And that’s okay. My biggest mistake was not setting any goals prior to the WOD. If I had done so, I would have possibly been more successful.

I ran 400m and was the first back to the box. I completed 25 unbroken pull-ups and then dropped from the bar. That was my first mistake. I should’ve stayed on the bar and done at least 5 or so single pull-ups while I was fresh. I completed 15 pull-ups all but the last round (which I’ll talk about in a moment), doing 10 unbroken and 5 singles. That was my second mistake. I could’ve probably done 12 to 15 unbroken and then 5 singles.

The last mistake happened after my last full 400m run. I rested before getting on the bar. For all previous rounds I entered the box, chalked my hands, and got almost immediately on the bar. I completed 11 unbroken pull-ups and 5 singles. I had gotten so used to doing 5 singles that, without even thinking about it, I dropped from the bar. I didn’t, then, have enough time to run 400m and get in a few more pull-ups.

Total = 116 & 3000m run (just 200m shy of 2 miles and 100 more than the last time I did this WOD)

I will go on record as saying that the 400m course at CFZ is challenging. There is a 90 degree sharp left turn just 25m past the start, another 90 degree sharp left turn at 100m, a climb to the 200m turnaround, a very steep climb up the driveway at 300m mark with the turns being left turns, obviously.

I joined the 10:30 group, and coached ring dips. I wanted another shot at “Nicole” but even I knew doing any more pull-ups today was just plain stupid. After discussing with Michael Kelley, I decided upon substituting hand release pushups for pull-ups. This went much better than I imagined it would.

20-min As Many Rounds and Reps as Possible
Run 400m and do as many unbroken hand release pushups as possible

In other words no pausing at the bottom or top of pushups.

I completed 8 rounds of 400m + another 25m for a total of 3225m, just a little more than 2 miles. I completed pushups in reps of 25, 20, 15, 15, 15, 15, 15, & 25 for a total of 145.

That’s a lot of running, pull-ups, and pushups, wouldn’t you say? Well, wouldn’t you?

I had my picture taken at CFD to be used on the website. I took Luke with me, and we took a stroll around the old Durham Athletic Park. As it’s such a beautiful day, we stopped by American Tobacco Trail and went for a 2-mile walk/run. Luke really seems to enjoy the cool weather, and it always anxious to run. He’s fast! As I tell Michael Kelley, he’s fast but the “s” is silent.