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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Three-Week Checkup

Why haven’t I blogged? Because I haven’t worked out since prior to ACDF surgery. I’m. Going. Out. Of. My. Mind.

The only activity that is allowed is walking, so I’ve been doing much of that, and pain-free, I might add.

Today was my first post-op followup. And, as was to be expected, it was a success.

Here are my X-rays:

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Notice the two dots on the left X-ray. The doctor told me that the pins were inserted so that they could see them on an X-ray. I honestly don’t know if he was kidding, but I laughed nonetheless. Notice the two sideways “V”s on the X-ray to the right. Yup, I’m now bionic!

I am healing nicely, and the doctor was very pleased with my progress thus far.

Doctor: Tell me about what’s happened since your surgery. Have you experienced any pain?
Me: No. I took Oxycontin for the first two days and I’ve taken Tylenol two or three times at the most.
Doctor: You only took Oxycontin for two days? Most patients are on Oxycontin for two or three months, so that’s good. 

I can’t imagine taking Oxycontin for a week let alone months. Yup, I have control issues.

I am forbidden from doing an upper body movements until mid-February. I’m also discouraged from running until mid-February. I am allowed to complete bodyweight squats and lunges and to use stationary bike or elliptical machine. I’m not a fan of the stationary bike or elliptical machine. I’m going to be doing a tremendous amount of walking.

I am no longer required to wear that neck brace when I’m home, and am only truly required to wear it when I drive or am a passenger in a car or when there’s a chance that I might be jostled. I didn’t wear this evening whilst coaching. It felt wonderful to not be constrained.

Don’t jostle me. I mean it.

~~~~~

I was contacted by a gentleman who informed me that he continues to hear wonderful things about the training that I developed and delivered for Campbell Alliance (my former employer). I agreed to a brief conversation, which took place today. We talked and, well, I’m considering offering contractual training. And I’m kinda sorta excited about maybe possibly developing and delivering training.

I’m truly as surprised by that as you are.

 

 

ACDF

A neck brace and progressive lenses do not mix well.

For the first time in as long as I can remember, this post is not about CrossFit or running, as I haven’t worked out in more than a week. Yup, I had the anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery. It’s just been six days since procedure and I’m well on my way to recovery. Yay!

The diagnosis was multilevel degenerative changes along the cervical spine with disc dissection, mild heterogeneous marrow signal, and endplate osteophytosis is redemonstrated. Findings are most prominent at C5-7.

I was the first surgery that took place the morning of Friday, November 18. I arrived at NC Speciality Hospital at 6 am, waited briefly, and was wheeled into pre-op bay. I changed into a gown, met with doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologist, had IV needle inserted, and waited patiently for procedure to begin. I was wheeled into the OR — and then remember being awake and being handed a cup of ice to chew. I was parched, as I hadn’t eaten or had any fluids since 10pm the previous evening. Nurse Dee took very good care of me. I was in some pain and discomfort but was able to speak and make requests. Yes, I’ll have a popsicle! Cherry, please!

As the procedure took place so early in the morning I thought that I might get to go home that evening. My hopes were immediately dashed, as I was informed that they’d need to monitor drainage from wound and I’d need additional antibiotics in my drip due to previous case of MRSA. I was also informed a number of times that all of the private rooms were occupied and that I’d likely be spending the evening in the same bay.

It was too fucking loud, as I was directly across from the nurses’ station. It was particularly too fucking loud at every shift change. It was as if all of the nurses were hovering over me and screaming at the top of their lungs! I let Nurse Dee know that I wasn’t able to rest, as I was very sensitive to sound.

I had to pee but insisted that I be allowed to use the restroom. Nurse Dee got a wheelchair ready and I insisted that I walk. Whilst I was peeing a nurse opened the door to check on me. Uhm, that’s a good way to stop a stream.

Dr. M check on me about 4 pm and informed me that the procedure went very well. He informed me that I would be spending the night in my current location. I said, “I haven’t been able to rest. It’s far too noisy and uncomfortable here. I have to get assistance to travel to the restroom.” “We’ll get you a room,” he replied.

And I was transferred to a room at about 6 pm. Nurse Jackie attended to me once, and then I never saw her again. I was having vitals checked every two hours but I honestly don’t think she did so. Nurse Beth arrived at midnight, and she graciously attended to my needs, bringing me extra iced tea and fruit cups, and allowing me to use the bathroom unassisted each time my vitals were taken.

So that I could get some rest, I listened to music on my earbuds. The Piano Guys, The Bee Gees, Barbra Streisand. I probably managed to sleep a total of 3 or at the most 4 hours. Gah!

I attempted to guess my blood pressure (least accurate guess), temperature (never greater than 98.2), and pulse (most accurate guess and usually hovering right at 60) each time vitals were taken.

At least a dozen staff commented on my low body fat. I suppose it’s unusual for the patients to be in shape.

I was told a number of times to walk slower and each time I’d reply, “This IS slow.”

I was prescribed Oxycontin. I hate Oxycontin, particularly the side effect of constipation. I like breaking out into a sweat when I work out, but not what I take a shit. Oxycontin also decreases my vocabulary and ability to form cohesive and meaningful sentences. It’s as if I suffering from dyslexia of the spoken word.

To speed up recovery I’m wearing neck brace when up and about, as prescribed. I slept on my back with upper body elevated for the first few evenings but slept on both my right and left sides (the first time I’ve slept on my left shoulder in months) last night. The feeling is already returning to my left thumb and index finger.

I weigh 135 pounds, down nine pounds since day of surgery. I’m (hyper)concerned that I’ll gain excessive weight since I’m not exercising. I don’t want to once again look like a tick about to pop.

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Justified

Yup, I’m addicted to “Justified.” I need a cowboy hat. And possibly boots.

I rested on Friday as I felt I was getting a chest cold. I got it, all right. Dammit. I did run 2 miles around the neighborhood at 7:40 mpm pace just to get the heart pumping. We had a lovely dinner with Kevin, Meg, Claire, and Patrick.

SAT NOVEMBER 12, 2016 | MIGHTY FIVES

Metcon (4 Rounds for reps)

A. 5-min AMRAP
– 5 SDHPs (95)
– 50 double unders
~ Rest 5 minutes ~
B. 5-min AMRAP
– 5 S2O (95)
– 25 lateral bar hops
~ Rest 5 minutes ~
C. 5-min AMRAP
– 5 knees to elbows
– 10 calorie row
~ Rest 5 minutes ~
D. 5-min AMRAP
– 3 pull-ups
– 5 pushups
– 10 air squats

I  coached at 8:30 and 9:45 and worked out at 11. There were but 5 of us in attendance, so there was plenty of room to set up my workstation, this time at the Speal bar closest to the garage door.

A mere 60 seconds into the workout I felt a tremendous urge to quit. My heart was racing wildly and I couldn’t catch my breath. I’ve never moved poker chips more slowly in my life.

I completed all rounds of 5 SDHPs in unbroken reps and quite a few rounds of double unders in unbroken reps as well. I completed 4 rounds + 5 SDHPs & 43 double unders for a total of 268 reps. The 5-minute rest was much needed.

I knew I’d struggle with S2O but was pleased that I was nonetheless able to always complete all 5 reps without dropping the bar, starting with a power clean & jerk, then completing 2 push presses, and finishing with a power jerk. I completed all rounds of lateral bar hops in unbroken reps. I completed 7 rounds + 5 S2O & 18 lateral bar hops for a total of 233 reps.

I hate rowing. I particularly hate rowing for calories. I did string together all but one round of K2E in unbroken reps but missed the last rep of a later round. Yup, I redid. I completed 5 rounds + 3 K2E for a total of 78 reps.

I was exhausted and coughing wildly. I wanted the workout to be over. I worked steadily and completed 11 rounds + 1 pull-up for a total of 199 reps.

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MON NOVEMBER 14, 2016 | FRONT RACK

Front Squat (10-5-3-1-1-1-3-5-10)

Enter weight of heaviest lift and total weight lifted

As I’m still recovering from a chest cold, Coach Evelyn was kind enough to lead the 7 am session in my stead. I coached at 8:30 and mistakenly thought I was also coaching the 9:30 session. Uhm, Coach Marni always leads that session. I was happy that I got to stay and work out.

I’m currently watching President Obama’s news conference. He’s well spoken, articulate, and often eloquent. Certainly can’t say that about the President-elect.

10 @ 145, 5 @ 165, 3 @ 185, 1 @ 195, 200, & 190, 3 @ 175, 5 @ 160, & 10 @ 140 for a total of 6,140#. What I lack in strength, I make up for in stamina.

Metcon (Weight)

Enter total weight lifted
Metcon (AMRAP – Rounds and Reps)

11-min AMRAP
– 11 hang power clean & jerks (@ 65% of hang power clean 1 RM)
– 48 Abmat sit-ups

I was quite winded and considered going home. In retrospect I probably should have, as I almost tossed my cookies. Yup, I almost hurled.

I started off strong and ended exhausted, completing the first round of HPC&J in unbroken reps, the 2nd set in reps of 6 & 5, the 3rd set in reps of 4, 4, & 3, and finished that reps in mostly singles. Gah!

I completed all rounds of Abmat sit-ups in unbroken reps.

Score = 3 rounds + 8 reps

WED NOVEMBER 16, 2016 | ROWING AND BURPEES

I intended to work out Tuesday but, alas, life got in the way. I coached from 6 to 10:30, took Luke for a walk, and then headed to pre-op appointment for ACDF surgery.

Nurse: Let’s get your weight.
Me: I’m 143 pounds.
Nurse: We’ll need to confirm. Get on the scale.
Me: One forty-three.
Nurse: We’ll also need to take your temperature, blood pressure, and pulse.
Me: Temperature is 97.6, blood pressure is good but I can’t provide exact number, and pulse if around 60.
Nurse: Temperature is 97.6, blood pressure is good, and pulse is 58.

I’m not the least bit concerned about the surgery. I am, however, tired of hearing non-doctors provide opinions.

I won’t be able to lift anything heavy for 3 or more months, and this is a good thing. I will be able to return to running before I return to lifting, and that’s also a good thing.

I could’ve worked out at 6:30 but just wasn’t feeling it. When the body — and the brain — tell me to rest, I rest.

Enough about Tuesday. Wednesday it is!

A: Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)

Partner WOD
35-minute AMRAP
Alternate activities
– 25 burpees
– Rowing for calories

– You MUST rest minutes 5-6, 11-12, 17-18, 23-24, & 29-30
– Partner may not begin burpees until partner begins rowing
– Row as many calories as possible whilst partner completes 25 burpees
– If partner takes break from burpees or rowing, partner must take break from rowing or burpees
Record total BURPEES PLUS CALORIES

Coach Marni led the session. She took my lead and partnered individuals based upon her or his entry into the box. I was the first person in the box, obviously, and Amy was the first of the 9:30amers to enter. Yay! I hugged her around the waist. Well, kind of, as I hugged her from behind.

At Amy’s request, I began with burpees. I’d much rather do 25 burpees than row even 25 calories. I’d much rather do 50 burpees than row even 25 calories. I hate rowing.

We completed 3 rounds the first 5-minute interval, although I completed the last 5 burpees very slowly so that we wouldn’t waste time on an unnecessary transition.

Amy and I worked very well together and completed 15 rounds of burpees (that’s 200 burpees for me) and rowed 397 calories. As it took Amy a little longer to complete 25 burpees than it took me to do so, I’m certain that I rowed more calories, and certainly more than 250.

Score: 375 burpees + 397 calories = 772 reps

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