Heavy (Michael Kelley) & Tall (Paul)

My left shoulder is still bothering me, as is my left bicep. Again, I’m not at all looking forward to tomorrow’s WOD. Stupid CrossFit Opens.

High Bar Back Squat
8 @ 50% | 105
6 @ 65% | 140
6 @ 75% | 160
6 @ 80% | 170
6 @ 80% | 170

Yes, I recorded all rounds. Yes, lifts felt solid. Yes, Michael Kelley looked at my ass. We are supposedly attempting a new 1RM in a week and a half. I’m anxious to see if the programming is indeed making me stronger.

3 Dead-lifts
12 Wall Ball

Uhm, I did heavy dead-lifts yesterday and wall ball shots earlier in the week. Michael Kelley was kind enough to allow me to substitute box jumps for wall ball shots – as I was the only person to pick wall ball shots from the bucket. Damn bucket. Damn CrossFit Opens. As dead-lifts were to be somewhat heavy, Michael Kelley and I settled on 245#, a little more than 75% of 1RM (achieved just yesterday). I, of course, chose to jump 30”. Because I’m tall.

My only goal was to do box jumps unbroken, as I’ve been known to pause after jump #7.

First, I will admit that I am now enjoying short, intense met-cons. I’m known for enjoying the loooong met-cons, and I used to think most anything less than 24 minutes was a waste of my time. Michael Kelley has a thick waist.

I completed all but the last round of dead-lifts unbroken, and I only paused ever so briefly just before the last lift. 245# began to feel heavy. Michael Kelley is heavy. I used to fear 30” box jumps, and would have to talk myself into jumping that high. I completed all rounds of box jumps unbroken and unafraid, although I did miss the fourth jump of the last set and had to redo.

Total = 5 rounds + 3 dead-lifts + 6 box jumps; 15, 245# dead-lifts and 66, 30” box jumps

Turkish Get-Ups (light to moderate…focus on technique)

I reviewed TGUs with my 6am peeps, and started the timer. I used a 35# KB. Evidently, form went to shit (although mine did not?), and Michael Kelley stopped us after just 4 minutes. Michael Kelley stops most things in bed after 4 minutes. I completed 7 on right and 6 on left arm.

Me: How many rounds did you get, Paula (Paul A.)?
Paula: I’m not sure. I just spent today getting used to how it feels.
Me: Isn’t that what you told Heather on your honeymoon?

Chad, if you continue to wear orange socks, I will like you that much more. If I like you more, I will spend more time talking with you. If I spend more time talking with you, I will find things about you that I can talk about. You have been warned.

Paula and Chad, spend less time looking at the clock and more time working. I mean it. Just wait until I coach! You have been warned.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In the immortal words of Natalie Imbruglia, “I’m torn.” More in a moment…

I attended the 6am session at CFZ led by my friend (*cough) Michael Kelley. There were 7 in attendance, and the focus was the Turkish get-up. MK was kind enough to allow me and another participant to practice on our own, instructing us to go as heavy as we could and complete a TGU on each arm with that weight. I did a few reps using a 35, 2 reps using a 40, and then I completed 2 reps using a 52 lb KB. That’s a PR! Why 2 reps? I wanted to make sure the first reps weren’t a fluke.

6 rounds for time of the following:
20 pushups
20 KB swings

This was quite a grueling workout. MK would not allow me to complete Russian swings; thus, it was “Love, American Style” today. I like that MK did not post a prescribed weight. I used a 52 lb KB nonetheless.

My goals were to complete all pushups with chest and cheek to ground as well as feet together, and to complete all KB swings, well, American. I also decided to do KB swings for all rounds in reps of 10.

I completed the first round of pushups and KB swings unbroken (uhm, weren’t you going to do swings in reps of 10, Paul?), and the second rounds in reps of 15 and 5 for pushups and 2 sets of 10 reps for swings (nice!). For the remaining rounds of pushups, I completed in as many as 8 and as few as 2 reps. Whilst completing the third round of swings, I thought to myself, Don’t stop at 10, stop at 11 instead. I stopped at 12, paused briefly, and completed last 8 reps. This felt like the right thing to do, so I did this for remaining rounds as well.

During the third or fourth round, MK said, “Chest to the ground, Paul.” I replied, “My chest and cheek are to the ground, Michael Kelley.” He kneeled on the ground, observed my form, and begrudgingly admitted, “Yes, your chest is to the ground, but it’s the lower part of your chest.” I said, “I don’t have big pecs, so it’s actually more difficult for me to get my chest to the ground. That’s why I always put my cheek on the ground as well, so that I know I’m getting full range of motion and that my chest does touch the ground.” Michael Kelley walked away from me, you know, because I was right and he was wrong. I proclaimed, “Please tell Dave that my chest does touch the ground, because he never believes me when I say it does.” (If you’re reading this Dave, you know what I’m talking about.)

Try this: do a pushup, placing your left or right check on the ground – without your chest also touching the ground. Were you successful? I didn’t think so. Thus, if my cheek is touching the ground, so is my chest.

I completed the met-con in 10:46.

Here’s why I’m torn. I have been an active member of CFD for going on 2 years now, and I truly enjoy, respect, and admire (most of) the coaches, and most certainly my fellow CFers. I timed my travel today, and it’s just about a tie (as it also is in miles). I can also leave my house at the same time, i.e., 5:30, arriving at CFD at 6 and CFZ at 5:45, still allowing for 15 minutes of warmup. The advantage of attending CFZ is that I get to shower at home. Have you seen my shower? It. Is. Awesome. I could also begin to eat breakfast at home, see Luke one more time before I left for work, and say goodbye to Jeff (as he’s always asleep when I leave the house at 5:30). I could also support my friend (*cough, cough, cough) Michael Kelley, and if there ever comes a time when he’ll allow me to coach, I’d know the people I’d be coaching.

What to do, what to do. Your comments are more than welcome.

Night & Day

Coach S. led today’s session, and there were but four of us in attendance: yours truly, Holly, David, and Jacqui. After leading us through a warmup and review of proper form, we moved to today’s strength.

Front Squat

My current FS 1RM is 200; thus, I set my goal at 175, i.e., 87% of 1RM. I warmed up with 75 and 95, and then did 3 reps of 115 and 135, and I asked Coach S. to observe lifts at 135. Afterwards he said, “Night and day between now and when you first started CrossFit.” I replied, “It’s because I can now squat below parallel.” Coach S. said, “And you’re not afraid of heavier weights.”

They may not be entirely true, as I’ll readily admit (as I often do on this blog) to being frightened of heavier weights. The fear isn’t paralyzing, but I can be somewhat debilitating.

Anyhow, back to the lifts… Front squatting 155 became a bit more challenging, particularly on the wrists, but the lifts were nonetheless successful. I put 20 more lb on the bar, and determined that even though it was the fourth set, as it was 87% of 1RM it would be my last set. Upon reviewing, I am pleased with how deeply I’m squatting and how I am much better able to keep my elbows up. Yup, night and day. You be the judge (link to YouTube). Coach S. once again observed and gave direction, and then said, “Do another set. Put fives on.” I does what I’s is tolds.

For a slight change of pace, I’ll record my self-talk in italics. I rolled the bar to the front of the rack. Two fingers; no more no less. It’s not that heavy. Rest the bar on the shelf. Damn, my wrists hurt. I squatted. Don’t rise until you feel like you’ve gone past parallel. Drive, drive, drive. I squatted a second time. Damn, this is feeling heavy. Up, up, up, up, up! Whew, that was close. Uhm, you’re probably not going to get this last lift. It’s okay if you fail, just be sure to drop the bar and jump back. Frack, I’m out of breath. How does that happen? I squatted. Drive, drive, drive! You’re almost there. Up, up, up, up! I’m suddenly very dizzy.

Front squat 3×185 – a new PR (link to YouTube!

5 rounds for time
Row 250m
6 Turkish get-ups (3 each arm)
Rest 2 minutes between rounds

I estimated that this would take more than 20 minutes total, and I was right. Yet again. My goal was to row in the 30s for strokes/minute, and to row each 250m slightly faster than the previous round. My second goal was to focus on form for TGU; thus, I used a 35 lb kettle bell. I achieved both goals.

While I didn’t record specific times for 250m (and the computer on the rower was acting funky), I nonetheless know that I rowed all 250m in less than 50 seconds, and the last 250m in about 37 seconds. I increased s/m, beginning with 32 for first 250m and ending with 41 for last 250m. My splits were 3:02, 3:01 (8:03), 2:58 (13:01), 3:02 (18:03), and 2:38 (22:41) for a total 14:41.

Holly had been taking my name (as she was kicking my ass) for the first four rounds, and I at least wanted to give her a run for her money. I called time just 1 second ahead of her! It’s friendly competition, so don’t starting hating in me for taking pride in beating a woman. And, Holly is an excellent rower.

I weighed myself after the workout, and I’m still just below 143 lb. Uhm, most people gain weight during the holidays. WTF (What the Frack?)

The 12 Day of Crossfitmas

It’s Saturday, folks, and you know what that means: I coached endurance WOD, WODded, and coached community WOD.

I went forth and back (I never say “back and forth”) regarding what the endurance WOD would be. 100m sprints x 20? 200m sprints x 10? 2-mile time trial? Death by 10 meters? I was going to allow athletes to help me decide, when – just 10 minutes before the start of the session – I had one of my awesome ideas that I’m so known for. Awesomeness and modesty are what I’m best known for. And my good looks. And intelligence. Wait, I almost forgot strength and speed.

First, today’s traditional WOD was the “12 Days of Christmas
1 – Burpee pull-up
2 – Turkish get-ups
3 – Knees to elbows
4 – Wall ball
5 – Kettlebell swings
6 – Box jumps
7 – Push press
8 – Medicine ball cleans
9 – Double unders
10 – Jumping lunges
11 – Pushups
12 – Pull-ups

The first round is just one burpee pull-up. Then the second round is 2 Turkish get-ups and 1 burpee pull-up. The third round is 3 knees to elbows, 2 Turkish get-ups and 1 burpee pull-up. This continues so that the 12th round incorporates all 12 movements.

Endurance athletes ran 200m each round, i.e., after each burpee pull-up, for a total of 12 times (2400 m or 1.5 miles). Will, Rebekah, Sarah, and Nick joined in the festivities, and while there were some modifications of activities, all did splendidly. I did, however, enforce a 50-minute cut-off.

The WOD looked so incredibly fun that I did the same thing at the 10am session, and Kim C. joined me. My goal was to complete all rounds of activities unbroken, and I came this close to doing so. What tripped me up, literally? Read on, dear friends. Read on.

I completed all 12 rounds of 1 burpee pull-up with a dead-hang pull-up, bringing my chin well above the bar. Fifty-three lb. was posted for Turkish get-ups, but I chose to use 35 lb. No problem. Three knees to elbows? Well, I don’t mind if I do! Four wall balls shots with 20 lb. ball and 10’ target? While this shouldn’t have been a problem, I didn’t hit the wall for 3 shots during different rounds; thus, I had to redo. I have come a long way with 53 lb. kettle bell swings, and these presented no problems.

Six, 24” box jumps. Ugh. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get into a rhythm; try as I might. During the fourth or fifth round, I missed the box. Yes, I missed the box. Not only did I have to redo that jump, I became cautious for remaining jumps. During the twelfth and final round, I had to pause for more than a brief moment between jumps; thus, I can’t call all rounds of box jumps unbroken. 

I thought 7, 75 lb. push press would present a challenge, but I seem to have gotten stronger. However, 8 20 lb. medicine ball cleans became the activity that I most dreaded, although I did complete all rounds unbroken. Nine double unders were usually done unbroken, and I certainly didn’t rest when I missed and I only counted successful jumps. My legs, however, were becoming fatigued due to all of the sprints. Ten jumping lunges are all kinds of fun. I did mistakenly begin round 8 with jumping lunges instead of medicine ball cleans, so I did end up doing an extra 8 walking lunges.

Both rounds of 11 pushups were done unbroken, as was the round of 12 pull-ups. All 12 rounds of 200m runs went well – except that last 200m. I. Thought. I. Was. Going. To. Die.

I completed the workout in 40:24.

Just 6 people attended the Community WOD, and they completed a modified, much easier “12 Days of CrossFit”.

This is the fifth day in a row that Luke and I have gone for a 2+-mile run. I’m once again enjoying running! We passed numerous runners, as Luke likes to run fast. Very, very fast.

Turkey Get-Ups

Dave was gracious and allowed me to coach today, and for that I am thankful. As I was unsure how long today’s WOD would take to complete, I planned on arriving early and starting the WOD by 8:15. Due to forgetfulness (CFD key on different key chain), I didn’t arrive at CFD until 8. By the time I prepared the whiteboard and set up my stations it was 8:15. “Hell,” I thought, “I’ll just use the row as a warm up.” In retrospect I would’ve benefitted from a more vigorous and thorough warm up.

For Time:
Row 500m
50 Box Jumps (20”)
50 Pushups
50 Sit-ups
50 Jumping Pull-ups
50 GHD Back Extensions
50 Dips (Rings or Bar)
20 Turkish Get-ups – alternating arms (52/35)

I knew that a 52 lb KB was going to be far too heavy…

I rowed 500m in 1:49. While I didn’t complete box jumps unbroken, I rested no longer than 2 seconds and always at the top of the box. I did pushups in reps of between 20 and 3. Abmat sit-ups were done unbroken. Jumping pull-ups were harder than I remember, but I was able to complete rather quickly. I completed GHD back extensions in reps of 30 and 20. Ring dips became more difficult as I progressed, and I completed in reps of between 10 to 2. I looked at the clock after completing ring dips and it read 14 minutes and change… I was quite spent.

I did the first set of Turkish get-ups using a 30 lb KB, but my form suffered, so I used a 25 lb KB for the remaining reps. For whatever reason, I began using my left arm. Even though the weight was light, 20 Turkish get-ups became more and more challenging each and every rep. I remember thinking to myself while completing the seventh rep, “I can’t believe I have 3 more reps on each arm. This is brutal.” I nonetheless completed all reps unbroken.

I then coached the 9am and 10am sessions, with 20 and 10 in attendance, respectively. I then got to witness firsthand just how grueling this WOD was… Nice job, most of you!

Kipping Nick

Nick can kip! I rested yesterday! Luke and I went for a 2-mile run yesterday! I coached endurance yesterday! Amy and Kristen finally met Luke! I’m going to end as many sentences as possible with an exclamation point! (I might even use two!!)

Today’s focus was the kettle bell Turkish get-up, one of my favorite activities. Why? Because it is truly a full-body workout. Coach S. led us through a warmup and then reviewed form. He began at the top of the TGU, i.e., standing with KB pressed overhead, instead of on the floor. Prior to beginning the workout we were instructed to begin on the floor.

I feel much more confident in this activity after having attended the KB certification. I’m getting to the point where I don’t even have to think about it. Just. Do. It.

I performed 2 to 3 reps both arms of 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 lb. I couldn’t find the 44, so I attempted with 50 lb. I was not, however, able to rise without raising my extended foot, so I called it a day.

Coach S. designed today’s met-con.

As many reps as possible:
2 minutes – pull-ups; rest 30 seconds
2 minutes – handstand pushups; rest 30 seconds
2 minutes – KB snatch (52); rest 30 seconds
2 minutes – box jumps (30); rest 30 seconds
2 minutes – ring dips

For whatever reason, Coach S. posted KB snatches after box jumps. Most importantly to note, the rest was 20 seconds, not 30. Thirty seconds would have been wonderful. What I ended up doing instead was resting during many of the 2-minute intervals of activities.

Unlike with previous entries, I am unable to recall how many unbroken reps I completed of any activity (other than 21 pull-ups at the start).

In order from least to most difficult: ring dips, pull-ups, box jumps, HSPUs, KB snatches.

Pull-ups presented little challenge. In retrospect, I should’ve completed a few more and been less concerned with upcoming activities.

Yes, everyone, the top of my head touched the floor for each and every HSPU. Nick was beside me for HSPUs and was struggling getting his legs and feet to the wall. I spent some of my time coaching and then spotting him. In all honesty, I would’ve been resting during that time anyhow, so this certainly didn’t slow me down.

Nick and I also did box jumps near each other. It was as if we were synchronized swimmers, as we were jumping at the exact same pace. Nick was the first to pause for a breath. Uhm, I may have lost count; thus 34 is a conservative estimate.

KB snatches slowed me down the most. Imagine that! Yes, perhaps I should’ve gone lighter, but I chose to not do so.

I kipped each and every ring dip. Coach S. even commented, “Paul is using his whole body for the ring dips, and you should, too.” I did shout, “I hate you, S^&@!” on more than one occasion. This was quite a grueling met-con.

Pull-ups = 41
HSPUs = 12
Box jumps = 34
KB sntaches = 17 (Yes, just 17!!!)
Ring dips = 43
Total = 147

My biceps and forearms felt as if they had been run over by an 18-wheeler – and by all 18 wheels.

I find CFD to be a very welcoming and open environment, and I never feel like I have to pretend to be someone that I’m not. I will say, however, that I was caught off guard when someone imitated me today using a high-pitched, effeminate voice. Really? We’re going there?