“McGhee”

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I attended the 9:30 am session led by Coach James. I very much like his coaching style and approach, and am very pleased that he’s joined the CrossFit Surmount coaching team!

Hero WOD “McGhee”
AMRAP 30
5 dead-lifts (275)
13 pushups
9 box jumps (24)

Coach Emily, who also completed the workout as prescribed, stationed herself by the garage door in 7303 and I set up my barbell and box behind her.

This is the first time I’ve coached and completed this WOD. It was as challenging as I thought it was going to be, and I did better than I expected I would.

I’m not even going to attempt to compose this blog chronologically. Have fun!

I determined that I would work continuously, and complete 5 dead-lifts one after the other. I can’t say “unbroken” as I dropped each and every rep as soon as I stood to full extension.

I was the loudest I’ve ever been, particularly whilst completing last 2 or 3 dead-lifts of each round. As always, I offer no apologies. (Coach Emily, I do believe that this was the first time that I heard you make sounds, albeit much more pleasant and softer than the sound emanating from me.)

Okay, here’s what transpired. I completed the first 5 dead-lifts and felt fine doing so. I was happy that 275# didn’t feel as heavy as I imagined it would.

I’m getting stronger.

I completed 13 unbroken pushups, ensuring that thighs and face cheek touched the floor each and every rep. I did, however, complete the first round quite slowly, as I wanted the ensure that I didn’t wear myself out too quickly. That was a smart move on my part, I do believe.

Nine unbroken box jumps, and by that I mean full extension at the top, rebound at the bottom, and a jump right back up to the top of the box.

Throughout the 30 minutes I did miss 2 box jumps; one time not jumping high enough and the other time not fully extending at the top of the box. No “dammit” today, as I was happy that I only missed 2 reps.

As the workout progressed I set a goal to complete the first 10 minutes of pushup unbroken. I did that, so I set a goal to complete the next 10 minutes of pushups unbroken as well. Done. I then set a goal to complete unbroken pushups the entire 30 minutes. Uhm, and I did. As the workout progressed I picked up the tempo of pushups, making sure that I squeezed my ass and kept my abs tight.

And all pushups were done strict, i.e., feet together and hands just outside of shoulders. How the hell did that happen?

At one point James said, “Good, Paul.” And I said, “Thank you.” Ha!

I had completed 9 rounds + 5 dead-lifts at the hallway mark. I had this thought, “Be happy with 15 rounds.” Uhm, just 15? I then thought, “Complete at least 17 rounds.”

Whilst completing the 18th, yes 18th, round I thought, “At least this is the last time I’ll have to do dead-lifts!” Uhm, I completed the round and there was still 90 seconds remaining on the clock. Dammit. Yup, dammit.

I loudly completed 5 more dead-lifts, 13 pushups, and managed to complete 3 box jumps, fully extending my hips at the top of the box as the clock beeped.

That’s a negative split, as I completed more reps than second half of the workout. Yup, I did that.

Total = 18 rounds + 21 reps
95 dead-lifts, moving 26,125# or a little more than 13 tons. 
247 pushups
165 box jumps

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Wheelhouse

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Coaches Deborah and James led the 8:30 and 9:30 sessions, respectively. I completed strength with Deborah and conditioning with both. Yup, I did the workout two times. Within an hour. Two times within an hour.

Strength
OHS
5 @ 85% of 1RM
3 @ 90%
1 @ 95%

Shit got heavy fast. I completed sets at 120, 130, and a single rep at 135. Whilst at the bottom of the squat I imagined that the bar was pulling me upward. Yup, that’s what I did and it appeared to work. Lifts felt much better than I expected they would.

Conditioning
AFAP
25-20-15-10-5 Abmat (or GHD) back extensions

10-20-30-40-50 air squats (or jumping air squats)
25-20-15-10-5 Abmat (or GHD) sit-ups
Run 200m after each round

I sometimes program a WOD that everyone who is free of injury can complete as prescribed. I’m just that nice. I had planned on completing GHD back extensions and sit-ups during the 8:30 session, but as James also attended the 8:30 session I graciously allowed him to use the GHD machines. I’m just that nice. Did I already mention that?

8:30
My goal was to complete all rounds of reps unbroken, including jumping air squats. Yup, I completed jumping air squats. Uhm, I didn’t achieve this goal in that during the last round of 50 jumping air squats I stopped after completing 25 reps. My body overruled my brain, and I had stopped before I even consciously decided to do so. I completed the set by completing 15 and 10 reps.

Luke ran with me! He’s a good boy, even if he slows me down on occasion.

Time = 12:15

9:30
My only goal was to complete air squats unbroken, as I was unable to do so an hour earlier. I achieved this goal. I completed back extensions in reps of 19 & 4, 12 & 8, and then unbroken reps of 15, 10, & 5, and all sit-ups in unbroken reps. Oh, and air squats in unbroken reps.

Luke ran with all but one round! He’s now one very tired pup.

Time = 15:02

Takin’ it easy

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I worked out with the 6am athletes. My ass was dragging.

Strength
Pull-ups
Every 90 seconds for 15 minutes (10 rounds)
Complete 3 unbroken dead hang or negative pull-ups

I wore a weight belt with 26# KB around my waist. My hand slid after 2nd rep of 2nd round, and I did drop from the bar and reset. I completed the other remaining rounds in unbroken reps.

I demonstrated kipping and butterfly pull-ups throughout the day. Uhm, I’d say I completed at least another 30 reps of each. It’s no wonder than my arms are sore!

Conditioning
AFAP
Row 25 calories
50 American KB swings (53)
100 lateral parallette hops
150 double unders

I liked this metcon, as it was a smoker. I rowed 25 calories in about 27 or so strokes, completed KB swings in reps of 25, 15, & 10. I was off of my groove this morning with lateral parallette bar hops, often just completing a few at a time. Dammit. Double unders went reasonably well. That is all. Time = 8:42

The sandbag carriers arrived from Rogue today, so I purchased play sand, plastic, and duct tape, and then made there 45 & 25# sandbags. As I didn’t turn on the fans when doing so, I was drenched in sweat at the start of the 4 pm WOD.

The M/W endurance athletes ran three time trials todays, 1600, 800, and 4o0m. I was exceedingly impressed with performance, and as proud as I could be of each and every one of them.

Christmas in July

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“The 12 Days of CrossFit”
AFAP

1 wall crawl OR rope climb OR skin the cat
2 handstand pushups
3 chest to bar pull-ups
4 shoulder to overhead (100)
5 knees to elbows
6 sumo dead-lift high pulls
7 box jumps (30)
8 back squats
9 bent over rows
10 power cleans
11 stiff-legged dead-lifts
12 hundred meter run

This is based upon the song “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Complete 1 wall crawl, rope climb,  or skin the cat. Complete 2 HSPUs and 1 wall crawl, rope climb, or skin the cat. Complete 3 chest to bar pull-ups, 2 HSPUs, and 1 wall crawl, rope climb, or skin the cat, etc. Got it? Good.

I had no set goals going into the workout. I did, however, establish goals as the workout progressed. Goals included unbroken reps of HSPUs, C2B pull-ups, S2O, K2E, box jumps, back squats bent over rows, and stiff-legged dead-lifts.

Uhm, no unbroken reps of SDHPs or power cleans? I could’ve easily completed 6 unbroken SDHPs, but didn’t do so the first 2 rounds. In retrospect, that was probably due to habit, as I didn’t complete unbroken reps this past Wednesday. That shit has to stop.

I completed the first set of 10 power cleans unbroken, and was delighted that I did so. I set a goal to complete the remaining 2 sets in unbroken reps as well. And I did! Jeff later commented that the power cleans looked good. Yup, my form has significantly improved. I focused on extending wrists, 3-point extension, fast elbows, pulling myself under the bar, and finishing each and every rep.

The 11th was by far the hardest round, and I was beginning to lose steam. I nonetheless completed all sets unbroken. I was also very happy that I didn’t miss a single rep! No missed HSPUs, C2B pull-ups, S2O, K2E, or box jumps — activities that when completing I’m most likely to miss a rep. The 12oom run was a welcome relief.

I felt very strong today. This was a confidence booster. Push jerks at 100# felt great, as did back squats and, as mentioned above, power cleans.

Time = 34:28

Totals:
12 skin the cats

22 handstand pushups
30 chest to bar pull-ups
36 shoulder to overhead 
40 knees to elbows
42 sumo dead-lift high pulls
42 box jumps 
40 back squats
36 bent over rows
30 power cleans
22 stiff-legged dead-lifts
1200m run

“T” is for “tabata.”

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Jeff coached the 8:30 am session. Thanks, Jeff!

Strength
Dead-lift
3  x 10 @ 55, 65, & 75% of 1RM

Unbroken. Yup, unbroken. Up and down. Yup, up and down. I completed sets @ 205, 240, & 280#. Dead-lifts felt great today!

Uhm, some of you didn’t complete unbroken reps. Uhm, some of you may have sore backs tomorrow due to shitty form. Uhm, some of you need to stop complaining about grip strength. Uhm, some of

Conditioning
“I tabata, you tabata, we all tabata!”

Complete five, 4-minute tabatas, resting 1 minute (24 minutes total) between tabatas and rotating through each of the following 5 stations :

1. (A) Russian twists (left and right = 1 rep); (B) bicycles (left and right = 1 rep); or (C) or windshield wipers (left and right = 1 rep)
2. Wall ball shots (20/14 & 10/9)
3. (A) Dips; (B) ring dips; or (C) parallette pass throughs
4. (A) American KB swings (52/35); (B) 1-armed Russian KB swings (35/26); 0r (C) KB sumo dead-lift high pulls (60/52)
5. Row for calories

Score = total # reps and calories

Wow, that was tough. It’s the first time in as long as I can remember that I rested more than 10 seconds between intervals.

I began with windshield wipers, and completed 20 reps without dropping off of the bar the first 2 rounds. That didn’t happen again. Ha! Sixteen, 17, 14, 11 (yup, just 11), 14 and then a mere 10 for a total of 122 reps.

I’m not a fan of wall ball shots, but I did complete all sets in unbroken reps and with no missed reps. Eight, 10, 9, 7, 8, 9, 6 (yup, I rested longer than 10 seconds), and 10. I finished strong at least. Sixty-seven total reps.

Parallette pass throughs are never easy. Parallette pass throughs after wall ball shots are just plain miserable. I completed 5 reps rounds 1, 2, and 8 and 4 reps the remaining rounds for a total of 35 reps.

Kettle bell SDHPs started off well, at least. I was really getting winded and often rested longer than 1o seconds. I completed 13, 9, 6, 9, 7, 8, 7, and 11 for a total of 70 reps.

At least I got to sit down whilst rowing. I rowed 5 calories the first round and quickly set a goal to complete a minimum of 5 calories for the remaining rounds. I did so, and ended up rowing 46 total calories.

I was drenched in sweat. Melinda commented that my sweat stains reminded her of Iron Man. I concur.

 

PPPPR

My view whilst pressing.
My view whilst pressing.
I love this dog.
I love this dog.

It may take you a while to understand the meaning of the title of this blog.

I weighed myself this morning, and came in at a whopping 140 pounds.

I worked out with the 8:30 am athletes, led by Coach Deborah. I usually take Luke for a walk at this time and work out at 9:30, but I didn’t want to eat before going upside down 50 times. I’m just that smart.

Strength
Every 90 seconds for up to 15 minutes (10 rounds maximum) until power jerk failure 
1 press + 1 push press + 1 power jerk

I had one goal in mind: establish new press 1RM. I completed sets (press + push press + power jerk) @ 105, 115, 125, and 135. Lifts felt good, so I put 2.5# plates on the ends of the bar and went for it. Here’s what happened: I completed a press @ 140. Read the previous sentence. It took about 2.5 seconds to do so.

The press, however, took a little longer.

To give you some sense of how long it took to complete the rep, I’ll share my self-talk from just prior to placing my hands on the bar to finishing the lift.

Okay, Paul, there’s no time like the present. Deborah, just a 3-second count down? I need a 5-second count down. Hands on the bar. Rest the bar on shoulders, extend the wrists. Lock your knees, lock your knees, lock your knees. Deep breath. Squeeze your ass. Up, up, up, up, up. Oh, shit, I might not get this. The bar is still ascending. Fight for it, fight for it, fight for it! Shit, you’re stuck. Bring the bar to your shoulders. Oh, wait, the bar is still going up! Fight for it, fight for it, fight for it! Almost there. Lock your elbows. Do it. Lock your elbows. I just pressed my bodyweight! I just got a PR!

And then I said aloud, “That’s a PR, bitches!”

I finally pressed my bodyweight! It’s been a goal of mine for well over three years. How f@cking awesome is that?

Conditioning
Benchmark “Marguerita“

50 reps for time 
Burpee/Pushup/Jumping Jack/Sit-up/Handstand

Deborah said, “Claim your spot on the wall.” I did just that, but as I was putting my weightlifting shoes away someone else claimed my spot. Dammit. I wanted to be able to see the clock. I moved to the only spot now available — that happened to be one of two spots where one can’t seem the clock. Dammit.

I made stacks of 5 (for individual reps) and 10 (for rounds of 5 reps) poker chips. Or at least I thought I did. I thought, I’ll make two stacks using the five poker chips, starting with the stack by the wall, making a new stack, and then moving that stack farther away from the wall. ‘”Farther,” not “further. When I do that twice, move a poker chip from the stack of 10.

Uhm, that’d be 100 reps.

My goal was to have no failed reps. I came one rep shy of achieving that goal. Dammit.

But back to the counting.

I completed one rep and moved a chip. Two reps and moved a chip. Three reps and moved a chip. Four reps and moved a chip. Five reps and moved a chip.

But there was still a chip remaining. I had made a stack of six instead of five chips. I threw the extra chip far, far away. I call this “The Felicia.”

I made a new stack of chips, again, moving the chips farther away from the wall. Once I had moved all five chips I moved one chip from the stack of 10 and thought, Wait, that can’t be right. That’s 10 rounds, not just five. I don’t need a stack of 10, I just need a stack of five. But how can I be sure that I’ll know what stack of five I need to move? I should’ve used two different colors for the stacks. Dammit. 

I continued completing reps, working a very steady pace. I knew I was going to get a PR, as I was completing all handstands as prescribed and wasn’t wasting time re-doing.

Until the 30th rep, that is. Dammit. That threw me off. Read on.

I completed 5 more reps, making a stack a little away from the wall. I began the next five and then as I competed thought, Is this the second stack of five? The chips don’t look far enough away from the wall. Have I completed 40 or just 35 reps?

Dammit, dammit, DAMMIT.

I began what was, in retrospect, obviously the last two sets of five reps. I completed five reps and moved five chips. I yelled to Deborah, “I’m going to be calling ‘time’ twice. Record them both!” I thought she nodded her head in agreement. I finished my 50th rep and called “Time!” I then completed five more reps and once again called “Time!”

I was spent. I went to the board to see recorded times, only to discover that Deborah had only recorded the time I called after completing 55 reps, that time being 16:56.

I knew then that I had completed 55 reps. Deborah said informed me that she heard me say something, but she couldn’t hear me.

Dear Deborah,

First, I love you dearly. Second, if you don’t hear what an athlete has said (even if that athlete is me), please be sure to approach them and, you know, ask them what they said. What if I had said, “Deborah, I’m dying. Please call 911. As you do so I’ll, you know, get in a few more reps. ‘9-1-1,’ not ‘9-1-9,’ Deborah. That’s our area code.”

Hugs,

Paul

Here was my solution. I completed another 5 reps, recording the time it took me to do so: 1:21. I then subtracted that time from 16:56 for a time of 15:35. That’s a PR.

Bitches.

Aside One

A member recently shared their thoughts with me. (I’ve edited so as to help keep some anonymity.)

I feel like sometimes you miss some of my great achievements because you’re a tough critic.

Okay, I own that. At least the last statement. As I coach my focus is always much more on direction than it is on providing support and encouragement. It’s both a strength and a weakness, as some athletes need much more encouragement than do others. However, every single athlete needs direction.

Regardless, I cannot conceivably compliment every athlete on every accomplishment, as I don’t always know that they’ve achieved a goal, conquered a fear, passed a milestone, etc.

And I don’t think that I should even have to know this, as, with well over 100 athletes, it’s nearly impossible for me to keep track of this. Even with a spreadsheet.

Most importantly, I do not think/feel that I should have to note every accomplishment. According to Pavlov, intermittent positive reinforcement is more effective than continuous positive reinforcement. There’s such a thing as too much of a good thing.

When I offer a complement, it’s a sincere compliment.

Kelli, excellent job today! Your freestanding handstands were a sight to behold! That’s a sincere compliment!

Aside Two

As the M/W endurance athletes and I were walking back to the box after completing a workout a few of them shared with me that they thought I seem happier when I’m coaching endurance than when I’m coaching daily WODs. At first I took offense and became defensive, saying, “I enjoy coaching both!” They clarified what they meant, saying that I smiled and laughed more when coaching endurance, and that I always seemed to be enjoying myself.

Uhm, it’s hard not to smile when I’m running. Running = unadulterated joy.

Did you figure out the meaning of the title? Did you? Did you?

 

Am I allowed to feel this way?

Luke says, "Uhm, you're in my way of napping, Daddy Paul!"
Luke says, “Uhm, you’re in my way of napping, Daddy Paul!”
Luke doesn't like to share "his" couch.
Luke doesn’t like to share “his” couch.
Luke napping with me.
Luke napping with me.
Luke at the 6:30 session. He can sleep through most anything.
Luke at the 6:30 session. He can sleep through most anything.
Proof that I kept the bar by my legs. Center of gravity, yo.
Proof that I kept the bar by my legs. Center of gravity, yo.

I woke up feeling tired this morning. Very, very tired. I coached the 6 and 7 am sessions, took Luke for a walk, coached the 9:30 am session, took a 10-minute Zac (i.e., “cat”) nap, coached the 11:45 am session, and then took a two-hour nap. A two-hour nap.

And I could’ve napped longer.

I had decided prior to napping that I’d decide upon waking if I was going to do today’s conditioning. I kept going forth and back, and finally decided to just go to the box, warm up, attempt a thruster, hang power clean, and sumo dead-lift high pull, and then take it from there. I arrived at the box just as the 4 pm athletes were beginning KB snatches. I set up my equipment and warmed up on my own.

Strength/Conditioning
20-min AMRAP
5 thrusters (95)
7 hang power cleans
10 SDHP

My one and only goal was to have no failed reps. This may sound like an easy goal to achieve, but it was actually quite lofty!

I surprised myself today. I completed all rounds of 5 thrusters and 7 hang power cleans unbroken. Whaaaaat? I also wisely “rested” at the top of the press of a couple of thrusters to ensure that I could complete the thrusters with no failed reps.

Hang power cleans felt, well, easy. Extension, pull under the bar, land on bent knees, fast elbows, rise to full extension, bar to mid-thigh and then above the knee.

The only round of SDHPs that I completed unbroken was the first round. Whaaaaat? In my defense, I was kind of winded from the hang power cleans and thrusters, and I knew I could power through SDHPs.

I had completed all but the SDHPs of round 5 at the halfway mark. I figured I could get 9 rounds if I held on and paced myself. Yup, this was a grueling workout, and effective pacing was critical. And time went by too damned fast! And ninety-five pounds in 65% of my bodyweight. Shit started to feel heavy.

I had completed all but SDHPs of round 9 with a mere 60 seconds remaining. I willed myself to complete the reps, and I did so in 30 seconds. I told myself that I’d begin thrusters when there was just 1o seconds remaining. As the clock counted down I thought, “Just pick up the damned bar, Paul. Pick it up.” I began thrusters with 12 seconds remaining and I’m glad that I did, as I completed 5 thrusters!

Score = 9 rounds + 5 reps

Aside #1

I’m 50/50 on the Kinsey scale for introvert/extrovert. Last night I made myself go to a farewell party for the lovely Doreen, and I’m very happy that I did! (I was, however, the first to leave.) During a conversation over dinner someone jokingly mentioned that I was a braggart. I asked for evidence. “You say how awesome you are, how handsome you are, etc.” Okay, I do, but jokingly. I asked, “Do I gloat? Do I say, ‘My score is better than yours! I lift heaver weights than you do! I crushed you!'” Folks agreed that I do not. Nor do I like when others do so. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the only person I’m competing with is myself. That being said, read on.

Aside #2

I struggle with members who don’t listen to me or the other coaches. No, I won’t name names, so don’t even ask. There is an individual that basically ignores my suggestions. For example, they never put their thumb around the bar when completing dead-lifts, presses, and — most troubling — cleans or snatches. When I asked them why they said, “That’s what my coach at my old box told me to do.” I explained that it’s impossible to use a hook grip if your thumb isn’t even around the bar. They looked at me as if I didn’t know what I’m talking about and said, “That’s the way I was taught, and it works for me.”

Well, okay then.

I’m not done yet: They refuse to keep neck neutral for dead-lift, jump high and backward for cleans and snatches, tilt neck up at extension for almost all lifts, etc.

I’m not done yet. For SDHPs the bar must touch the clavicle and the elbows must be above the bar. It’s not a rep if this doesn’t happen. Yet they counted every rep today. Every shitty rep.

I’m not done yet. The worst offense is slamming the damned bar to the floor. As I’ve said repeatedly, there are times when dropping the bar — in control — is acceptable, but slamming the bar to the ground is never appropriate. What useful purpose does it serve? Okay, you’ve brought attention to yourself. Good for you, but bad for the other athletes who lose focus. Oh, and if you don’t control the bar it puts others in risk of injury.

Yes, I’ve asked and then told them to not slam the bar. I’ve been ignored.

I’m done now.

Aside #3

I don’t want to sound like a braggart, I really don’t. I am, however, quite proud of myself. Today’s workout was very challenging, and not at all suited to my strengths. I nonetheless focused on form and pacing, and didn’t miss a single rep.

I’m proud of myself. Am I allowed to feel this way? Or should I just keep it to myself…