How long have you been sitting on THAT one?

Michael Kelley attempting to row backwards.
Michael Kelley attempting to row backwards.

I don’t understand why so many CFers are enamored of “Fran”. I have been asked my Fran time far too many times. When I then ask someone her or his mile time, I get an empty stare. Fran is overrated. There, I said it.

Uhm, guess what benchmark WOD was scheduled today at CFZ?

I nonetheless attended the 7:15am session, and Michael Kelley was kind enough to allow me to do my own thing. I did participate in the warm-up that included rolling a 45# barbell on biceps and forearms.

As Michael Kelley, upon reviewing a recording of my attempt at a 125# OHS said that rep didn’t count as I didn’t break parallel, I wanted to attempt OHS at that weight but in his presence. I had forgotten about his gravitational pull. More in a moment…

Overhead squat

Work up to heavy single

I completed 5 reps @ 75, 95, & 105, and then singles at 115 and 125#. Yes, 125#.

I did, however, complete 7 reps @ 95#. While attempting the 3rd rep of the first set @ 95#, Michael Kelley walked toward me. The gravitational pull of his, let’s just go ahead and say it, ass pulled the bar I was holding overhead toward him, and I fell on my own ass. I said, “Don’t look at me when I’m lifting, Michael Kelley.” He replied, “I’m confused. Sometimes you say you want me to watch and sometimes you say that you don’t want me to watch. Which is it?” “You should know me well enough to be able to know what I want, Michael Kelley,” I replied. “Can’t you read my mind by now?”

So, 125# is my new new 1RM. My goal is to OHS my bodyweight by the end of June 2013.

I was still working on OHS as the 7:15amers began “Fran”. I was kind enough to provide direction and support to the athletes, as Michael Kelley was busy chomping on a turkey leg.

Michael Kelley was kind enough to suggest the metcon, and I hate him for doing so.
Burpee with lateral jump on 24” box

I can’t recall having done lateral box jumps as part of a metcon, let alone with a burpee before each jump. Lateral jumps were very challenging, and for whatever reason more so when jumping to the left. I’m left-leg dominant, so this surprised me.

My goal was to complete all rounds of burpee lateral box jumps and pull-ups unbroken, and I kinda achieved this goal. For the last 2 reps of both the round of 15 and 9 pull-ups, I paused briefly while hanging from the pull-up bar before completing the pull-ups. I did not, however, drop from the bar.

Nicole H. and Jeff were kind enough to time me, and my time was 6:51.

Michael Kelley has taken to wearing Lululemon shorts. Now I understand why the fabric has and needs so much give. As I was departing I said, “Lululemon has a new line of clothing, Michael Kelley, and they want you to be the spokesperson. It’s called “Muumuulemon.” I picture Divine as Edna, Tracy Turnblad’s mother in “Hairspray.” (But not as John Travolta as Edna. Just so you know.)


Plank you very much

As I often say, if your back is sore the day after dead-lifting it’s not because you did heavy deadlifts. It’s because you have shitty form. My glutes are sore today. This obviously means I have spectacular form. True story.

CrossFit is constantly varied. I get it. Life, however, is not always as varied. Thus, I sometimes do the same activity on back-to-back days, and today afforded me that opportunity.


I warmed up, and then did sets at 185, 225, 275, 305, and 315#. I recorded all sets to ensure that my form was indeed spectacular. Confirmed.

I then coached the 10 and 11am sessions at CFD. Dave had programmed a fast and furious metcon. As I knew I’d have ample time, I included a (non pre-approved) skill session. On the whiteboard I wrote:
A. Warm up
B. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 KB swings (70/53) and box jumps (24/20)
C. “Plank you very much”
D. Cool down

There were 18 and 16 and the 10 and 11am sessions, respectively. Wow. I’m glad that I’m skilled at crowd control. I very much like having 15 minutes for a warm up! Was yoga included, you ask? Why, yes! As I was in the center of the circle of athletes, quite a few people got a very good look at my ass. You’re welcome. You in particular, Jules.

I was very pleased that athletes listened to me so carefully and followed direction so well. I’m referring to proper form for KB swings and box jumps. Well done, athletes!

I very much enjoyed coaching this metcon, as I like when there is somewhat of a level playing field. I provided very clear guidelines, e.g., only American swings, all rounds unbroken, hips extended at the top of the box, no rebounding off of the floor, etc. Some athletes helped level the playing field by jumping on a 30” box, completing Rx, or going somewhat heavier with KB swings.

Uhm, there almost weren’t enough boxes to go around. Ms. Amy Scott kindly substituted lunges for box jumps (due to an injury and her awesomeness) and Kevin and Pete (visiting from NY) shared a box. Sharing is caring.

“So,” you ask, “what the hell is ‘Plank you very much’?”

10-minute held plank, including plank variations. If athletes can no longer hold plank, there is a mandatory 30-second rest. Score is total time of help plank; thus a perfect score is 10 minutes.

The variety was very much the same for both sessions. We began with a 60-second held plank. Side, forearm, one-legged, one-handed, one-legged and one-handed, and “walking” planks were included.

Sadly, only one person from each of the sessions was able to hold the plank for the entire 10 minutes. Happily, that person was me!

You can wash laundry on these abs, folks. I kid you not.

Both sessions completed a 5-minute cool down, focusing on the lower back and shoulders, and I still had 5 minutes to spare. Yup, I had planned it this way. As athletes don’t often get an opportunity to rope climb, I provided instruction and then allowed anyone who wanted to give it a try to do so. Nice work those of you who climbed the rope for the very first time!


26aI had a very enjoyable time coaching the 8am CFZers, and there were quite a few in attendance – including the birthday girl, Shari! Today’s focus was the dead-lift, and all except Mandi, who is recovering from an injury, achieved a new 1RM PR. Shout outs to Maggi, Johanna, Kelvin, Shari, Jeff, Mike W., John, Margie, Debbie, and Wes!

Michael Kelley took me aside as folks were setting up for the metcon and asked, “Can you coach the 9:15 session?” I asked, “Why?” “Because I’m in a really bad mood. Did you see how late I got here? I haven’t even been able to work out yet.” As Jeff I and drove in together, I let Michael Kelley that I’d have to ask Jeff if this was possible. Jeff, who isn’t on his period, ensured me that arrangements could be made.

I coached the 9:15 am session as well. Only one shout out, and that goes to Cindy who achieved a 30# PR. Well done, Cindy!

Having only eaten a half of a peanut butter and banana bagel, I was getting very, very hungry by the time the 10:30 session, led finally by Michael Kelley, began. I wore my new Batman socks that Jeff got me for Christmas. Or maybe Michael Kelley got them for me. I can’t remember. Michael Kelley led us through mobility, including sideways steps using a green band. As there weren’t enough bands for all present, he gave both Nicole and me one of his very own green bands to use. I immediately used mine to floss between my ass cheeks.

I just wasn’t feeling it this morning as far as dead-lifts, and was not able to achieve a new 1RM. I shall attempt again in the very near future, but on a full stomach.

12-min ARMAP

X power cleans back squats
5 chest to bar pull-ups
10 burpees

As my left elbow is still sore, I substituted back squats. The number of back squats increased by one each round. I had originally planned on using bodyweight (as prescribed for men for power cleans) but Michael Kelley insisted that I use 155#, i.e., 11# more than bodyweight. When I asked him why he said, “Midol just isn’t working for me this morning. I feel bloated, and my ankles are swollen. I also want to eat everything in sight. And I’m very, very moody. I cried this morning on three separate occasions. Hold me. No, don’t touch me. Do you think I’m pretty? Do I look fat?”

My goal was to complete all rounds unbroken. I lined up 8 chips (thinking I’d get at least 7 rounds) in a line beside the squat rack, moving a chip from the left to the right at the start of each round so as to keep track of how many back squats I had to do that round.

I completed all rounds unbroken. The back squats were by far the most challenging activity, as my heart was certainly racing after each round of burpees. As the metcon progressed, I set the lofty goal of completing 8 rounds. I did so with 30 seconds left. Dammit. I rested 10 seconds, and completed 6 additional back squats. Total = 8 rounds + 6 reps.

I lapped you twice, Nicole.

Toll Road

Paul's at the bottom of the snatch, yo.
Paul’s at the bottom of the snatch, yo.

Jeff and I spent a couple of hours driving around industrial parks and looking at potential locations for CrossFit Surmount. I’m pleased that we’ve already discovered a few promising sites. More details soon. In the meantime, please keep your fingers crossed.

A few people have suggested that I be more secretive about, well, just about everything. I see no reason why I should do so. I’m opening a business, I know there are competitors, and I know I’ll be successful. If anything, I’d like to work with other CrossFits to form an even larger community. I’m not actively trying to steal members from other boxes. I am actively looking to introduce even more people to the wonderfulness that is CrossFit, with an emphasis on the “fit”.

Michael Kelley texted me early this morning letting me know it was “safe” to work out at 7:15 or 8:30. I informed him that I would be going to CFD this morning, knowing full well that I would indeed be working out at CFZ.

I entered the box along with Leah. Michael Kelley said, “You lie to me all of the time.” I don’t lie; I’m merely not completely honest. There’s a difference.

He greeted me with a warm hug. I think that our genitals may have touched.

Uhm, my BFF may not be very smart. The new extension of 540 is open from 64 in Apex to 55 in Holly Springs. Signs clearly indicate that tolls will begin January 2, yet he is convinced that that section of THE TOLL ROAD will not have, well, tolls. “The signs say that tolling begins at 64.” Yes, Michael Kelley, tolls do begin at 64 – until January 2. Nothing anyone said to him could convince him of this fact. I would like to be present when he opens his first bill.

On a related note, there will soon be an opening for a BFF. Please send your resume and references. Specifically, I’m looking for someone who has common sense as well as intelligence.

Michael Kelley led us through mobility, and by led I mean started the clock. Oh, wait. I did that. He kept track of the time and let us know when to switch arms or legs. Oh, wait. I did that. He does at least know the difference between static and dynamic. Good job, Michael Kelley! Part of the warm up consisted of PVC pipe OHS practice. Michael Kelley said, “Pause at the bottom.” I heard “Paul’s at the bottom.” Michael Kelley said, “Pause at the top.” I heard “Paul’s at the top.” Thus, each time I squatted I said, “Paul’s at the bottom.” Each time I stood I said, “Paul’s at the top.” Perhaps I’m versatile.

Today’s focus was on the snatch. The dreadful snatch. I have received so much coaching on this lift from as many as a dozen different coaches, and it’s difficult for me to even remember what to do. Does the bar touch or not touch my legs? Do I squat to parallel or do I begin with my ass slightly in the air? How far should my feet be spread at the start? How far should my feet be spread at the finish? Gah!

For a change of pace I listened carefully to what Michael Kelley said, and I followed his direction. For the most part, I was successful.

With 65% of 1RM on the bar, we completed 1 snatch and 1 hang snatch OTM for 8 minutes. Sixty-five percent of 100 is 65. Even I could do that math in my head, yo. I continued for another 8 minutes as my fellow CFZers worked on cleans. Yup, my elbow still hurts. Dammit.

I am much more proficient with hang snatches then I am with snatches from the flo’. Michael Kelley suggested that I briefly pause when the bar is just above my knee. I shall try that.

3 rounds for time
10 OHS (50% of snatch 1RM)
15 toes to bar GHD sit-ups
20 KB swings, 53#

As faithful readers know, I sincerely believe that Michael Kelley incorporates toes to bar into far too many metcons, and I’ve repeatedly told him so. He granted me permission to substitute GHD sit-ups.

My goal was to complete all rounds unbroken, and I did just that. I used 65 instead of 50# for OHS, and even Michael Kelley said that my OHSs looked good. Yay! That made my day! Michael Kelley’s opinion is soooooo very important to me. No, really. I’m not being sarcastic. Or am I?…

As my back was to the clock for KB swings, I actually yelled “Time!” That hasn’t happened in quite some time. Sometimes I yell “Time!” (That was fun.) Oh, my time was 6:35.

I overheard Mike telling Michael Kelley that he struggled with stringing together toes to bar. I said, “Let me show you how.” He replied, “But my arms are a little tired.” “That’s the best time to practice, Mike,” I said. I demonstrated kipping toes to bar, gave him some direction, and let him try. Mike is a very good athlete, and quickly got the swing of things.

As I’ve stated before and as I’ll likely state again, “I should coach this shit.”

I really should.

Emoticons may be misinterpreted

26aMy BFF knows what the title references.

Short post today, ladies and gentlemen. I attended open gym at CFZ this morning, as Luke is spending the day at Doggie Village. I arrived at 5:45 and was immediately joined by Claire. Yes, lululemon addict Claire! Then who should my wandering eyes see but Sara! Yes, logo-creating Sara! John and a newbie were also in attendance. Good time, good times.

Today’s focus was on the split jerk. After warming up, I did 3 reps @ 75, 95, 105, 115, 125, 135, & 145. While I did occasionally allow my left foot to take a step back whilst dipping, for the most part I was able to keep this under control. As the weight got heavier I found it more difficult to land in a long lunge. Yes, ‘twas out of fear. ‘Twas.

Having not done so in a very loooooong time, I working on Turkish get-ups. Thank you, muscle memory. I completed reps (both arms) @ 26, 35, 44, & 53. For whatever reason, I’m moving my foot away from my butt just before beginning the get-up. This is why I record my activities. You should, too.

I wanted a fast and furious metcon, so I created the following:

5 round for time
10 ring dips
50 parallette lateral hops

The parallette is a little over 1’. My goal was to note time at end of first round and then complete even splits. I completed the first round in 1:02 and the metcon in 5:10. You can’t get much more even than that, ladies and gentlemen.

Surmount. Overcome. Scale. (Very appropriate term.) Prevail. Conquer. Triumph. Vanquish. Transcend. I’m trying to create a tagline for CrossFit Surmount using synonyms. If you have any brilliant ideas, send them my way!

Now that 540 from Apex to Holly Springs is open, it takes me a mere 12 minutes to get to Zeal; thus, it’s the closest CrossFit to our house. Dammit.

Doin’ a Double

I attended open gym at CFD this morning, arriving at 8:45. Dave arrived shortly after 9 and immediately asked, “What are you doing here?” I replied, “You said that I’m always welcome. I have the text to prove it.” Dave then explained why, although he liked the film “Les Miserables”, he enjoyed the stage version more. Dave is one of the gayest straight friends I have. Michael Kelley is the gayest straight friend I have.

I created my very own metcon. I’m just that damn talented.

Dead-lifts, 185#
Burpee pull-ups
Plate pushups, 45# plate

My goal was to complete all reps unbroken, and I achieved that goal, completing the metcon in 12:11. While not particularly challenging, it was an exhausting workout nonetheless. Perhaps I consumed too much sugar yesterday.

I talked briefly with Doug and Troie, and finally got around to asking Troie why he and Kristen were no longer together. I have a right to know, don’t I? Well, don’t I? (If you’re reading this know that I miss you, Kristen.)

Luke and I got caught in a downpour during our afternoon walk and we both enjoyed running in the rain tremendously. I none-so-secretly love the smell of a wet dog.

Jeff and I saw “The Hobbit” and I detested almost every minute of it. What a HUGE disappointment! Blech.

Jeff and I attended open gym at CFZ this evening, arriving at 4:45. Jeff surprised me by suggesting that we bench press together. Jeff might be the straightest gay man I know. I completed 5 reps @ 95, 105, 115, 135, 145, & 155, and singles at 165 & 175, just 5# shy of 1RM. I attempted 185# twice – and failed twice. I know I’m not going to complete the lift when I excessively arch my back.

I once again created my own meton. Once again, I’m just that damn talented.

20-minute AMRAP
1 rope climb, 15’
5 GHD sit-ups
10 knees to elbows
15 box jumps, 30”

This was both challenging and exceedingly fun.

I double-bagged my left leg, i.e., taped my leg as well as my sock. I’m very much beginning to enjoy rope climbs and my technique continues to improve. What I didn’t particularly like, however, was just how many CFZers watched me each and every time I climbed the rope. As I’m in a forgiving mood (to all except one), I forgive you all (except one).

I completed all rounds of GHD sit-ups unbroken, ensuring that tops of hands touched the floor and fingers touched my toes each and every rep.

Why knees to elbows instead of toes to bar? For a change of pace. Michael Kelley includes toes to bar far too frequently in metcons. I hadn’t done kipping knees to elbows in ages, but fortunately I hadn’t forgotten how to do so. I did the first 4 rounds unbroken, rounds 5 through 7 in reps of 7 and then singles, and the last round in reps of 6 and then singles.

Going from abs (GHD sit-ups) to abs (knees to elbows) was an unexpected journey. (I hated that damn movie.)

I completed all rounds of box jumps unbroken, and this came as a delightful and unexpected (there’s that word again) surprise.

If you’ve been doing the math, it appears that I completed 8 rounds. I almost completed 8 rounds. I was working at a very steady pace, and had completed exactly 4 rounds at the 10-minute mark. I set my goal to have an even split; thus, to complete an additional 4 rounds.

At the 2-minute mark I asked Jeff to count down the time for me. I really gave it my all during the last box jumps, but had only completed 14 as Jeff counted down from 3. Dammit. I almost completed 1 last rep to say that I did, but really, what useful purpose would that serve?

I enjoyed talking briefly with Lauren, although I missed seeing Tim. I also very much enjoyed talking with Margaret, who is always a bundle of energy and a very positive person. I like that! She also gave me a hug, although I was on the floor on all fours and was a sweaty mess. Yes, it was post-metcon.

Until CrossFit Surmounts opens (date TBD), I have to decide what to do about my own workouts. Jumping from box to box can wreak havoc on my body, as the programming is differs from CFBC to CFD to CFZ. What should I do? I’m asking this question, and I want a response.

To the right.
To the right.
To the left.
To the left.
Uhm, I'm left-foot dominant. Can you tell?
Uhm, I’m left-foot dominant. Can you tell?
Look at that kip!
Look at that kip!
Full extension with shoulders behind bar.
Full extension with shoulders behind bar.
Notice flat back and neutral neck.
Notice flat back and neutral neck.

Thong Song

I worked out at CFD from 9 to 10 and then coached the 10 and 11am sessions. For a change of pace, today’s workout didn’t include a metcon. Say whaaaaat? No metcon.

I recorded all lifts and from a variety of angles. Not angels, angles.

Low bar back squats with 3-second pause at bottom of squat

I completed sets of 3 reps @ 135, 165, 185, & 205#. There’s no doubt that I’m breaking parallel, and my knees certainly don’t track in. Holding the squat was certainly a challenge, and I often had to struggle to stand up after the last rep.

Front squats

I completed sets of 2 reps @ 135, 165, 185, & 205#. Lifts felt very solid today. I focused on pushing my hips forward so as to not first raise my very shapely and firm ass.

Overhead squats with 3-second pause at bottom of squat

I completed sets of 3 reps @ 65, 75, 80, & 85#. As I reviewed the recordings I can clearly see that I still have a tendency to look down. Gah! OHS felt shaky today, and I can be heard saying “This is not fun.” I completed one last set of 3 @ 85# wearing Inov8s instead of weightlifting shoes, as I think that weightlifting shoes may very well push me on my toes. I’ll have my BFF (TBD) view recordings and provide feedback.

That was a whole lot of squats! It’s no wonder that my ass is so firm and shapely.

Jamie touched my heart today, although if she wanted to she could’ve also touched my ass. She surprised me with a present – an orange Lululemon water bottle! And a thong. An orange thong. Thanks, Jamie!

I was delighted that 8 and 7 people attended the 10 and 11am sessions, respectively, including two visitors at the 10am session, Charla and Jessa. As has become the tradition, today’s WOD was “The Grinch”. Having completed this WOD as recently as a couple of weeks ago, I was curious to see if anyone could beat my time of 17:10. My good friend, Einar, came the closest at 18:40. I shall call him “Max”. Most people struggled on the ring dips, which I found to be the easiest part of the workout. It was nice to see Nat, a recent Foundations graduate. Nice work, all! A shout out to Ann, who attended the 11am session. As I said to her wife, Claire, Ann is always consistent. She wisely chooses a weight that she can handle and scales activities based upon her skill level. Another shout out to Rona, who never gives up. Niiiiice! I will continue to warn Claire about keeping a flat back and Erica about keeping a neutral neck. Again, nice work all!

I was once again surprised by yet another gift, this one from Rona and Einar. A beautiful picture frame! I can think of the perfect picture worthy of framing. Yes, it’s one of me wearing an orange thong and showing off my shapely and firm ass.

One last thing before I go… Charla gave me a wonderful compliment. She said that the warm up that I led the sessions through had the best focus on mobility that she had received at any box she has visited. Thanks, Charla! As I always say, the more focused the warm up, the better the WOD.

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