The third round is the hardest. Baby, I know!

I’m eating a honey grain bagel with peanut butter, banana, and bacon as I compose this post. I’m elated, and for a number of reasons. I wear my politics as well as my emotions on my sleeve, so it should come as no surprise that I am exceedingly happy with the results of yesterday’s election – and not just that Obama was re-elected. “Gay marriage” (oh, how I detest that term) passed in Maine and Maryland and the first openly gay person was elected to the Senate. Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Uhm, sure makes NC looks backwards and backwoods.

Is the country moving forward? I state unequivocally, yes.

I arrived at CFBC at 5:40, and Kirk, as usual, had already opened the very spacious box. There were but 5 of us in attendance. Kirk led us through a great warm up and then focused on chest mobility. Lying on the floor, we held a kettle bell extended in a hand, similar to the start of a Turkish get-up. We focused on relaxing our shoulder blades, i.e., not working against the kettle bell, and held for 90 seconds on each side. I used a 44# and in hindsight should’ve used 52# KB. After completing this activity, I could detect a noticeable difference. I’ll definitely add this to warm up on days when I bench press.

Ah, the bench press, how I usually dislike you. Today was an entirely different story.

For the first time in probably 6 months, I experienced no pain in my left shoulder or bicep. What a relief.

Strength
Bench Press
3 @ 70% of 1RM, 3, 3, 3, 1, 1, 1

I warmed up with the bar and 95, and then put 115# on the bar. The lifts felt easy, as well they should. I then did 3 @ 135, 145 and 155#. As my current 1RM was 165 (just achieved last week), I wanted to allow a little wiggle room. I did the first single at 160, and it felt relatively easy. I placed another 5# on the bar and said, “Kirk, please spot me as this is my current one-rep max.” He asked, “Why not put more than your one-rep max on the bar?” I replied, “I still have one more lift after this, so I’ll attempt it then.” He smiled and said, “Okay, but you don’t have to wait.” That’s all of the motivation I needed. I put 170# on the bar, Kirk spotted me, and I successfully completed the lift. Kirk said, “That looked easy. You’ve got more. Go for another PR.” I vacillated between attempting 175 or 180, and settled on 175# as I didn’t want to get too greedy. Kirk once again spotted me, and I once again successfully completed the lift. Kirk said, “You’ve got more.” I replied, “I’m happy with two PRs. I’ll call it a day!”

I recorded all lifts. What else would you expect?

4 rounds not for time
Plyo pushups – maximum reps
100m farmer’s carry – 52# kettle bells

I was expecting plyo pushups to merely be clapping, but we instead placed 2, 45# plates just outside of hands when hands placed in pushup position. Pushups were completed by doing a chest to floor pushup, exploding and landing with hands on plates, doing another chest to floor pushup, exploding and landing with hands on floor just inside plates. That counted as 2 pushups. We were allowed to rest as long as needed before beginning the next round.

I really had no idea how many pushups I’d be able to complete, so my only goal for pushups was to do all rounds to failure, i.e., as soon as a knee touched I stopped. My only other goal was to do all 4 rounds of 100m farmer’s walks without putting down the KBs.

I completed 35 plyo pushups, picked up the KBs, and walked forth and back 10m 10 times. My forearms were already aching by the time I placed the KBs on the floor. I took a drink of water, stretched my arms, and got ready for another round of plyo pushups. Kirk asked, “How many did you get?” I mumbled, “Thirty-five.” He said, “Twenty-five? That’s great!” I replied, “Thirty-five, not twenty-five.” I think he might have been a little surprised.

I completed 21 plyo pushups the second round. My knee touched the ground on my 22nd attempt, so I didn’t count that rep. As soon as I grabbed my KBs, I said, “Kirk, please remember 21, as I likely won’t be able to.” He kindly wrote the number on the whiteboard. Why did I know that I wouldn’t be able to remember? Because I had to count to 10 as I completed farmer’s walk. I once again took a drink of water, stretched my arms, and got ready for the third round. I also sang (to the tune of Sheryl Crow’s “The First Cut is the Deepest”) “The third round is the hardest. Baby I know!” Just before I began pushups, Kirk said, “Get 22 reps this time.” I said, “I’ll be lucky if I get 15.”

Uhm, yeah, so I suppose that Kirk challenging me to get 22 pushups was just the motivation that I needed, as that’s the exact number I completed. Again, my knee touched on the 23rd attempt, so it didn’t count.

I began to walk at a faster pace for the 3rd round of farmer’s walks, as I feared that I wouldn’t be able to keep my grasp of the KBs if I didn’t complete more quickly than in previous rounds. My forearms were aching.

Drink of water, stretch, lather, rinse, repeat.

I was quite surprised that my knee didn’t touch the ground until the 21st attempt; thus, I completed 20 pushups the last round. I knew that the only way that I could walk 100m carrying those damn KBs was if I ran – so that’s what I did. I hadn’t realized that I was the last of the group to finish. Kirk and my fellow CFers cheered me on – and I didn’t mind. Read that again. I was cheered for, and I didn’t mind. I heard “Keep moving, Paul”, “Stand up straight”, and “Keep up the pace”. I didn’t hear “You got this.” Yeah!

I completed 98 plyo pushups. I should’ve set a goal to complete 100. I’m nonetheless pleased.

As we finished at 6:55, Kirk led us through shoulder mobility before we called it a day. Much needed and much appreciated.

Day 3 at CFBC and I’m very much enjoying myself. Again, Kirk and Josh are both great coaches!

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One thought on “The third round is the hardest. Baby, I know!

  1. “Backwards and backwoods?”

    Don’t talk bad about the backwoods, Paul. Many of my favorite lesbians live in the backwoods of North Carolina. 😀

    But yes. North Carolina has not done a fantastic job this year. 😦

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