Pull-ups!

I’m counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds before the move to Asheville. Mere words can’t describe my excitement! I have been far less excited about CrossFit, and that’s to be expected.

I worked out Saturday, January 28, although I didn’t complete the prescribed team WOD. I’m following doctor’s orders. I’m as surprised as you!

20-min AMRAP
3 pull-ups
5 hand release pushups
7 Abmat sit-ups
9 (sometimes jumping) air squats
12 double unders

This was just what the doctor ordered (if I were a doctor). This is the firs workout I’ve completed since November of last year that included pull-ups and pushups. It was a tremendous relief to know that I was able to complete all rounds with full range of motion and in unbroken reps! Luke was often by my side, and I played with him whilst completing sit-ups and air squats; thus the jumping air squats. I love that dog.

Score = 14 rounds = 1 rep; 43 pull-ups, 70 pushups, 98 sit-ups, 126 air squats, and 168 double unders

I needed that.

Jeff is biased, as he should be. I was nonetheless touched when he said the following: As you’re not coaching very many sessions I haven’t had much of an opportunity to be coached by you in the recent past. Attending sessions led by other coaches has made me truly appreciate what a good coach you are.

I almost cried. Almost.

Jeff and I went furniture shopping and then enjoyed a delightful meal at Provincial in downtown Apex. It was a wonderful day!

I was wide awake at 5:30 am Sunday morning, January 29. I watched an episode of “Shameless” and began to remove pictures from the walls. The house is looking rather empty.

Laurie and Wayne joined me for a trail run at Harris Lake. I arrived early to get in some extra miles, running the Peninsula Trail loop clockwise. For whatever reason, I enjoy running the trail counterclockwise more. Oh, I ran clockwise with Laurie and Wayne.

There were quite a few times when running felt absolutely effortless, almost as if my feet weren’t touching the ground. It’s no wonder that I love running.

I ran just under 10 miles.

I’m very excited about the upcoming Ragnar Trail Race. I am, however, concerned that team members aren’t training effectively. Or at all.

Some wonderful friends hosted a going away party for Jeff and me. And what a wonderful evening it was! Two words: bread pudding.

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Time Flies

Wednesday, January 25 | Karen Meets Annie

I attended the 6 am session and judged Brad C.’s performance. I attempted a few wall ball shots using 14# medicine ball and 10′ target and decided it’d be best if I didn’t complete the workout. At least for the time being.

I did, however, join the group for the warm up. Jaclyn and Laurie began couch stretch and I weaseled my way between them. Laurie is exceedingly flexible. Someone asked, “Are you double jointed?” “No,” she replied. I said, “I’ll be double jointed in about a week when I move to Asheville.” Get it? Good. Going on.

I needed to work out, so I went to the box before coaching the 4 pm session and completed the following:

AFAP
50-40-30-20-10
Wall ball shots (10# & 9′)
Double unders
Wall Abmat sit-ups

My goal was to complete all rounds in unbroken reps. As I haven’t completed double unders since the surgery almost 10 weeks ago, I considered this a lofty goal. I completed all wall ball shots and sit-ups in unbroken reps as well as the rounds of 30, 20, & 10 double unders. I missed the 40th and the 30th reps during the round of 50 and 40 double unders, respectively. Not bad, folks. Not bad.

Time = 13:57

Not bad, folks. Not bad.

Although I planned on running or working out Thursday it just didn’t happen, as I’ve been immersed in preparing for the move.

Friday, January 27 | Peninsula Trail

For a slight change of pace, I ran at Harris Lake sans watch. I wanted to run based on effort and not pace. And what a wonderful run it was! I ran a little over 5 miles and the time flew. Those who know me well know that I enjoy running solo almost as much as better than I enjoy running with a group. Did I just say that? It might depend upon who I’m running with…

Our home has officially sold, i.e., we are no longer under due diligence! As I expected this to happen it’s nonetheless a very welcome relief.

The house is quite empty. The movers pack all of our belongings (sans plants and a few miscellaneous items) a week from today. I drive to Asheville early the morning of February 6 with dog and (bad) kitties in tow, close on the house, and then await delivery of belongs on the 7th. I’ll install alarm system, meet with custom closet designers Wednesday and Thursday, and then do a shitload of unpacking. Jeff will be out of town until February 18th. I don’t know who I feel most sorry for: him or me.

Me. I feel most sorry for me.

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Reminiscing Whilst Running Sycamore

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted, although I have both worked out and run since my last post. I’ve also watched the entire season of Chewing Gum and I’m currently watching season 2 of Shameless. My favorite line from CG is “Do you have any fucks you can give me? Because I’m all out of fucks to give.” I’m looking for the perfect opportunity to use this line. Perhaps this weekend at the going away party.

We’ve officially made the offer on the Asheville home! Our Apex home was inspected yesterday. I’m keeping my fingers crossed until due diligence expires.

Today I ran at Umstead Park, my old stomping grounds. Uhm, I haven’t run there in years. Whilst running I was flooded with memories, including:

  • Running with Brian. We’d usually run together 3 or 4 times a week. Our conversations and discussions were always interesting.
  • Meeting with a group of Raleigh Running Outfitters runners most Saturdays and/or Sundays. Sam, John, Greg, Jim, to name a few.
  • Racing the Umstead Marathon three times, placing 2nd two times and then finally winning. And never running the race again.
  • Running with Xander. He loved being off leash and running with a group!
  • Always being the front runner. As I kinda sorta like running through spiderwebs, this was even more fun.
  • Falling and breaking the pinky finger of my right hand.

I dislike the expression “I know that like I know the back of my hand.” I don’t know the back of my hand very well. I know the trails at Umstead much better than I know the back of my hand, and I remembered just about every twist and turn of Sycamore Trail! I initially set out to run five miles but five quickly turned into 10. If I had brought hydration I would’ve run even more.

Today marks the 25th anniversary of Wade, my first partner’s, death. To say that I’m an emotional wreck would truly be an understatement. I vividly recall being with him as he took his last breath. There has not been a day gone by since his death of melanoma that I haven’t thought of him. That’s over 9,000 days. I didn’t invite anyone to join me for the run as I knew I’d need the time to both reminisce and process.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t like a good selfie.

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Uhm, trail running!

There were quite a few readers, many of them new, who recently visited to read last blog. I wonder why that is… (That wasn’t a question.)

I met the lovely Jaclyn, Heather, and Einar for a trail run. A trail run! We met at Harris Park at 1:30. And it was very good.

However, just an hour prior to the run, whilst packing items for the upcoming move, I hit my head HARD on the corner of a drawer. The wound immediately began bleeding profusely and my teeth hurt. Yes, I hit my head so hard that my teeth hurt. Jeff jokes that I hit my head at least once a week. That’s 52 times a year. And that’s probably a conservative estimate.

Anyhow, we ran counterclockwise on the trail. I am relieved to report that, even though it’s been since November since I’ve run the trail, I haven’t slowed down! Yay! I took the lead from the start and I kept that lead.

Fifty percent of the runners fell. Jaclyn wasn’t one of them, nor was I.

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Whilst running I ruminated on the upcoming move and whether or not I’ll look for opportunities to coach CrossFit. I’ll likely take a break from doing so and instead focus on my own strength and conditioning. And running! I feel my most confident and happy whilst running. I truly do!

I also reminisced about coaching failures and successes. I began to think of one athlete in particular: Alex. I remember the day she and her husband, Brian, dropped by the box for their first visit (and as a way to determine if they’d like to join). The workout included rowing and, well, Alex and Brian both demonstrated shitty rowing form. They both, however, were very open to feedback.

And Alex has continued to be open and responsive to feedback. She’s an absolute pleasure to coach. Yes, she’s competitive. More often than not she’s most competitive with herself and is the first to voice displeasure with her own performance. She’s a very gifted athlete: exceedingly strong for her size and excels and just about any bodyweight movement.

When she joined the box she couldn’t perform pistols. She has mastered pistols, and completes them as fast as any other female at the box. I remember the day she said, “I have pistols now.” And she most certainly did. She also struggled with double unders. She focused on improving her form and now can successfully complete a significant number of unbroken reps.

I most remember the moment she completed her first bar muscle up. She was beside herself with glee, having struggled with this movement for, well, I don’t know how long. The thing that I admire the most about Alex is that once she gets it, she gets it. In other words, she doesn’t lose the ability to complete a movement.

I’ve seen far too many athletes cheat. Some cheat by not completing the movements as required, e.g., not squatting below parallel even when they are able to do so. Others cheat by shaving reps, e.g., completing 8 reps when 10 are required. Some cheat by not completing movements as required and by shaving reps. That’s the most egregious. I have never seen Alex cheat. I have seen her lose count, but she always errs on the side of not counting reps, e.g., if she loses count she goes with the lowest number in mind. Can’t recall if this is the 10th or 15th rep? It’s the 1oth. Can’t recall if I completed 7 or 8 rounds? Then it’s 7. I admire this about her.

And you know what I like most about Alex? Alex. She’s a genuinely kind and caring person, self-effacing and modest. She’s also fun and approachable! I’m going to miss coaching her and witnessing her continued improvements in strength and conditioning.

Brian’s just okay. (Brain has also shown tremendous improvements in both his strength and conditioning, but the focus is on Alex.)

P.S. Don’t be jelly, Jaclyn. Or Brian.
P.P.S. We received an offer on our house! It’s getting real, folks, and we may be closing on our house in Asheville as early as January 30. That’s less than 2 weeks from today!

 

I’m back! And musings on 2017 Intrabox Competition

I’m delighted to say that my recovery from recent ACDF surgery is going well! Today was my first true test of speed and endurance, and I passed the test. With flying colors, I might add.

But first, I have returned to working out at the box, although I’ve modified every workout to date. For example, I completed workout of 10-9-8…3-2-1 wall ball shots and thrusters using 10# wall ball and 9′ target and 15# DBs. And it was good. I also completed workout of 10 RFT of 100m row, 10 Abmat sit-ups, 10 box 16″ box jumps, 10 DB (15#) hang power cleans, and 10 95# deadlifts. And it was good.

This morning I ran 5.5 miles on the ATT at a relatively fast pace of 7:37 mpm. And it was very good. It felt incredible to run unencumbered.

And now my musings on the 2017 Intrabox Competition.

Well before we even considered moving to Asheville and selling the box to Nick, I scheduled and began programming for the competition. This year teams consisted of 2 males and 2 females. All teams completed 4 workouts and the final 3 teams qualified for the final 2 events.

Each team designated a captain, and the captains randomly selected order, i.e., from 1 to 8.

EVENT 1 | Burpee Relay
7-min AMRAP
– Team member 1 runs 10m and completes 1 burpee
– Team member 1 runs 10m (back to starting line) and hands off baton to team member 2
– Team member 2 then runs 10m, completes 2 burpees, and runs 10m to starting line and hands off baton to team member 3
– Continuing in this same manner, members 3 and 4 complete 3 and 4 burpees, respectively
– Members will always complete the same number of burpees, e.g., team member 3 will always complete 3 burpees when it’s her/his turn

It was immediately apparent that those who don’t adhere to proper movement standards on a daily basis have a difficult time adhering to movement standards during a competition. “No rep!” was justifiably called by all of the judges. Full extension, folks. Jump and clap. And don’t argue with the judges.

I was surprised that the event ended in a 3-way tie!

Just as I was getting ready to announce Event 2, I attempted to turn down the music. The music continued to play, and I then realized it was “So Long, Farewell” from “The Sound of Music.” A group of friends, led by Susie, performed a flash mob! It melted my heart (and made Jeff cry). My favorite part was the added burpee. Ha! Thanks, all and in particular Susie!

EVENT 2 | Barbell Team Challenge
Take 14 minutes to establish 4RM deadlift (M/F) and 2RM front squat (M/F)
– All 4 members may work together but only 1 member may lift at any given time
– The weight of lift will be scored, and not total weight lifted, e.g., not DL x 4

Some truly amazing lifts were performed, and numerous PRs were achieved!

EVENT 3 | Trifecta
4 RFT
– Team member 1 rows 150m
– Team members 2 & 3 complete 10 box jump overs (24/20”), alternating turns (2 boxes set to prescribed height)
– Team members 3 & 1 then complete 10 American KB swings (53/35), alternating turns (2 KBs at prescribed weight)
– Team members 2 & 1 complete 2 rope climbs, alternating turns (1 rope)

There were four workstations, and teams transitioned through the workstations each round.

I told folks to expect the unexpected, so just before the competition I announced that the athlete rowing had to place both feet on the floor and tag one of the athletes completing box jumps. Athletes completing box jumps and KB swings had to tag between turns, as did both athletes climbing the rope.

“What happens if we lap someone?” What happens if the rower/box/KB/rope isn’t available because another team is using?” “Have you thought this through, Paul?”

As I repeatedly stated, “Trust me. I’ve thought this through. The equipment will be available.” And I was right. This was a very competitive event, and all teams finished in under 12 minutes. I felt sorry for Athlete 1 for each team. That was tough!

EVENT 4A
Power Snatches
1 male & 1 female
AFAP
150 power snatches (75/53)

EVENT 4b | Overhead Squats
1 male & 1 female
AFAP
100 overhead squats (95/63)

8-minute time cap

 

 

Again, I told competitors to expect the unexpected, and just prior to the event I informed them that they would be completing a total of 75 power snatches and 50 overhead squats, i.e., half the amount. There was a sigh of relief! There may have also been a change in strategy.

This was an amazing event to watch. Although not recommended, some athletes completed muscle snatches, and Craig began by completing 45 reps. Wow. Just, wow.

Iris and Greg, two of the newest members of the box, completed overhead squats for their team. Greg struggled, not due to strength but because of issues with flexibility. Iris also struggled, not due to strength or flexibility but because she was getting tired and frustrated. Whilst attempting to complete required reps within the timeframe, both were failing. Until Greg’s flexibility improves, there was little I could do to help him. I made direct eye contact with Iris, I had a somewhat lengthly conversation with her (I won’t share what I said), and I watched her as she completed the final 7 overhead squats in unbroken reps! The crowd was cheering her on, I was coaching through every rep, and she completed the last rep with just a few seconds remaining. Everyone was jubilant, and it was wonderful to see Iris and Greg hug. This truly was the highlight of the day.

Three teams advanced to the final event: The WODding dead (Anthony, Ashlee, Jay, and Lauren), Saved by the Bell (Alex, Brian, Heather, and Nick), and Beaver (Kelli, Marni, Stephen Cline, and Steve Dodge (#poorstevedodge)). Beaver advanced to the final by eking out a 3-point lead over The Fertile Four. Uhm, I do believe that some folks were surprised whilst others were disappointed and perhaps even angered. We confirmed the results, and I announced the first of the final two events.

The final three teams advanced to the final events with a clean slate, i.e., previous placement and scores were not considered. I included a tie breaker for Event 6 in the event of a tie.

FINAL EVENT 1 | Timed Mary
– 1:15 chest to bar pull-ups, handstand pushups, pistols
– 1:00 chest to bar pull-ups, handstand pushups, pistols
– :45 chest to bar pull-ups, handstand pushups, pistols
– :30 chest to bar pull-ups, handstand pushups, pistols
Score = total reps
All 4 team members complete 1 of the 4 rounds
Team member 1 will complete 1:15 minute each of pull-ups, HSPUs, and pistols, 2 member 1 minute of each activity, etc.

I had hinted that there would be an event similar to this, and every competitor should’ve expected some type of challenging pull-ups, handstands pushups, and pistols to be included in one of the final events. It was interested to see teams determine who would complete the most work, as the first athlete worked 5 minutes whilst the final athlete worked only 2. Can’t complete chest to bar pull-ups, handstand pushups, and/or pistols? Your score is zero. Saved by the Bell completed 183, WODding Dead 175, and Beaver 71.

FINAL EVENT 2 | FINAL EVENT
10-min AMRAP
– 70 (35/athlete) wall ball shots 14/9 (females)
– 70 (35/athlete) wall ball shots 20/10 (males)
– 100 (50/athlete) double unders (females)
– 100 (50/athlete) double unders (males)
– In remaining time max rep bar muscle ups

If team members were unable to complete a bar muscle up, she or he had to complete 5 chest to bar pull-ups before the next team member could take her or his turn. The chest to bar pull-ups were not counted as a rep.

I had certainly strongly suggested that athletes master bar muscle ups.

Saved by the Bell completed 16, WODding Dead 7, and Beaver 1 rep(s). Saved by the Bell was the clear winner of both of the final events. And some people were pissed. I overheard two of the competitors bitching about the results. Uhm, they quickly turned their backs and walked away when they noticed me.

It’s not how you start it’s how you finish. There, I said it.

And then the digs began. “WODding Dead won 4 of the 6 events.” No, they tied for 1 event,  won 3 events, and finished in 2nd place overall. Saved by the Bell tied for 1st in 1 event and placed 1st in the all important 2 final events.

And then the following hashtags were used:

#those4eventsandscorematternot
#cleanslate 🤔

No one can make you experience an emotion, it’s merely your reaction to something they have said or done. Nonetheless, this angered me.

I couldn’t begin to tell you how much time and energy I put into programming and then emceeing this event. Whilst the overwhelming majority of folks were grateful, I’m nonetheless, well, just over it all. I shan’t reply to any comments on social media, but this is my fucking blog so I’ll say whatever I want to say.

Here are my hashtags:

#itsnothowyoustartitshowyoufinish
#noonelikesasoreloser
#icanreadbetweenthelines
#imholdingup3fingersreadbetweenthelines

I’m not a person that you want to anger. I’m angered.

Okay, enough of the negative!

I’m very excited about the upcoming Ragnar Trail Race and am looking forward to finally running the trails!

As I say repeatedly, the world needs more pictures of cats. Meg!

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