Summit CF and Swannanoa River

I contacted Summit CrossFit yesterday evening and received a very warm and welcoming response from Allisa, once of the co-owners. Alas, I was returning equipment to AT&T and wasn’t able to attend the 9 am session as planned. I instead attended the noon session.

Since I had between running errands but had time before the session began, Luke and I walked to the dog park. It was the very first visit where he truly played! He must be confident that I’m not going to leave him. I love that dog.

It’s about a 10-minute drive to SCF, and the box is, well, big. Bigger isn’t always better. Allisa and Matt led the session, although Allisa usually provided instruction whilst Matt demonstrated movements.

The warmup consisted of 2 minutes of rowing, some plank burpees, toe touches, and KB presses and thrusters. I didn’t feel very warmed up, but that’s okay.

Clean & Jerk
Work up to heaviest set of 2 (doesn’t have to be TNG)

I let Alissa know that I was still recovering from surgery and would be going light. And that’s what I did, completing TNG sets at 65, 75, 85, 95, & 100#. Lifts felt fine, but the clean felt much better than the jerk.

10 deadlifts (135)
9 bar burpees
8 thrusters (135)

Uhm, there was no freaking way that I was going to do thrusters at 135. Uhm, I didn’t even think it would be wise to complete reps at 95, so I scaled to a very light 85#. I’m smart like that.

Given that the weight was so light, I was able to breeze through the workout.

Time: 4:22

Could I have pushed myself and gone heavier? Yes. Would that have been wise? No. Imma gonna be practicing what I preach, bitches.

4 sets of 10 DB flies

I completed all sets using 15# dumbbells.

As I had to return home to look at custom closet layouts, I didn’t stay and talk. Alissa did invite me to attend another session, again free of charge. She was very gracious and welcoming.

But I just didn’t feel at home. Whilst a few of the 20 or so attendees did introduce themselves, that’s certainly been the exception and not the rule and this and all boxes I’ve visited.

CrossFit is all about working out in a community environment. I miss that.

So now I have to decide what box I’m going to join. And the decision has to be mine. I’m leaning toward it’s a secret and it’s also a secret.

I did some minor housework, you know, because I’m a househusband and all. It’s an amazingly wonderful day in Asheville, so I decided to go for a run. I still can’t find charger for Forerunner, so I grabbed spare watch. And the battery had died. Dammit. I thought, “Oh, well, I’ll just go for a run and see where the road takes me!”

I ran Michigan to State to Carrier Park. I then ran toward the dog park and French Broad River Park. I continued running on a single trail beside the Swannanoa River which led to Haywood and New Belgium Brewing. I hadn’t brought any cash. Dammit. Next time! I ran the course in reverse and glanced at a clock when I returned home. ‘Twas  wonderful 50-minute easy run.

I love running.

And I love this dog. And the bad kitties.


BCCF, Part Two

I was wide awake at 5:30 this morning and seriously considered attending another session at CrossFit Asheville. Abby, the owner of Beer City CrossFit, encouraged me to attend a Saturday session and that’s just what I did. As the session was at 10, I took Luke for a long walk, read some of “Sunday Sketching” by Christoph Niemann (a genius!), and played with the very bad kitties.

Luke has been clingy and the weather has been temperate, so I took him with me. He did, however, remain in the car until the post-WOD kicker.

I arrived at 9:45 whilst the Barbell Club was finishing. Many members had already arrived for the 10 of the clock session. Uhm, yet not a single person introduced themselves. The coach, Bethany, let me know that the warmup would be brief and that I was welcome to stretch on my own. That’s what I did. I did make eye contact with folks, smiled, and nodded my head, yet not a single person approached me. ‘Twas a long 15 minutes.

Should I have approached folks? I’m not comfortable doing so, and my thoughts are that guests should be warmly greeted. I demanded it of members when I owned a box.

There were probably 2o or more in attendance, and there were many groups engaged in conversation.

I see shitty rowing everywhere I go.

Bethany had to check in folks, so the BBC coach, Bryan, led the warmup.

4 rounds
15-seconds of work each activity
– Jumping jacks
– Air squats
– Mountain climbers
– Jumping air squats

Uhm, I’ll keep my comments to myself. I will, however, say that my glutes were quite sore from yesterday’s pistols. Ouch.

Bethany said, “Make sure you get a partner.” I loudly proclaimed on more than one occasion that I needed a partner. No one even looked in my general direction. I was getting ready to propose that I complete the workout solo and do half of the work. Just before the workout was to begin Bethany asked, “Does anyone still not have a partner?” “Me,” I replied. “Me, too,” a young man named Jordan replied. I’m not quite sure what he thought upon looking at me, but I assured him that I could complete all of the movements as prescribed.

50 pull-ups
50 OH lunges (45)
200m run (partner must run together)
50 air squats
50 pushups

Jordan suggested that we complete reps in sets of 10, 10, 10, 10, 5, & 5. I let him know that that’d be fine, but that we might need to be flexible in our approach.

Jordan began by completing 10 butterfly and I then completed 10 kipping pull-ups. We finished as planned: 10, 10, 5, & 5 reps. We began OH lunges by each completing 15 and then 10, and we were off to run 100m up and back twice. Luke was seated in the driver’s seat of the Jeep and kept a watchful eye on us!

We breezed through air squats and completed pushups in reps of 15, 15, 10, & 10.

For the remaining 3 rounds we were pretty evenly matched, although I usually did 5 more pull-ups (Jordan had reverted to kipping) and more air squats. By the final round of pushups we were each just doing as many unbroken reps as we could.

Jordan is a very nice guy, and we often talked whilst we ran. We were both encouraging and complimentary, but not too encouraging or complimentary. What I’m trying to say is that we didn’t cheer for each other.

Time = 28:58

As the time cap was 30 minutes, I was pleased.

I asked Bethany if Luke could enter the box and meet everyone, and she graciously allowed him to do so. He got lots of love and attention! I didn’t realize that there was also an ab finisher of plank holds and flutter kicks. Luke was by my side most of the time, although he did want to give folks kisses.

I’m going to visit CrossFit Summit at least once and CrossFit Asheville and CrossFit Pisgah at least one more time before I  decide what I’d like to do. As you can sense, I’m looking for a box that focuses on proper form and execution and is welcoming. Whilst I enjoyed the workout with Jordan, I didn’t feel very welcome at the box. It could be that most of the members are in their 20s and 30s. Or it could just be that newbies are not openly welcomed at the box.

By the way, why do so many boxes program partner WODs on Saturdays? It’s gotten to the point where I’ll likely just run on Saturdays.

Not everyone likes partner WODs. Just saying. And CrossFit is by definition constantly varied. Just saying.

Hard Time, Indeed | Beer City CrossFit | CrossFit Asheville

It’s hard to believe that we’ve lived in West Asheville for less than two weeks yet it already feels very much like home. I grow more and more fond of the house and neighborhood each and every day. Luke, Meg, and Zac have acclimated nicely, and this warms my heart.

At this moment Meg is perched on the windowsill, Zac is stretched out between my legs, and Luke is laying on the floor basking in the sun. It’s a gorgeous day, and every window in the house is open.


Thursday, February 16 | NC Arboretum and Beer City CrossFit

I rested Wednesday, and it was good. I went for an awesome afternoon run, once again at the NC Arboretum. I ran up 35 minutes and it took me a little over 23 minutes to run back. There are times when the inclines are so steep that I feel like I’m walking. Backwards. I feel like I’m walking backwards. Hard Times Hill, indeed.

Skill work was programmed at Beer City CrossFit, so I decided I’d attend to get a feel for the box. I attended the 5:30 pm session. It’s quite small, probably no more than 3K sq. ft., and is located in an industrial park. I got a little turned around getting there and arrived just after the class had started. I was very apologetic.

Abby, one of the owners, led the session, and I like her style. She’s knowledgeable and has a commanding presence. I explained my injuries and my need to not place pressure on my neck; thus, no kipping handstand pushups. Today was focused on skill building, specifically the handstand pushups, and I didn’t want to overdo it.

Abby led us all through a good warm up and then a nice HSPU progression: walk walks, kicking up, negatives, etc., and then allowed for individual practice. I haven’t completed HSPUs since November, and I was concerned that I wouldn’t have the upper body strength necessary to complete a single rep. Fortunately, I was indeed able to complete a dozen or so strict reps.

Abby and I had a lengthy discussion about CrossFit, my selling the box, and coaching opportunities at BCCF, specifically in regard to endurance.

I like Abby and I enjoyed the people I worked out with, especially newbie Lana. Uhm, as it was kind of open gym as well, there was a lot of STDBery. I also witnessed a man completing pull-ups as if her were at a globo gym: ankles crossed, elbows never fully locked out, chin never quite above the bar. Gah!

Abby invited me back and I do plan on attending a non-skills WOD. She also wants to host a Running Clinic!

Friday, February 17 | CrossFit Asheville

I had contacted CrossFit Asheville and explained that I was a seasoned CrossFitter and would be looking for a box to call home. The other CrossFits invited me to drop in for a session free of charge. CFA informed me that I’d need to purchase a tee shirt. And, is often the case, there were no men’s tee shirts in size medium. Oh, well.

I attended the 9 am session led by Marissa. She warmly welcomed me and I completed the waiver. As I was doing so a woman (whose name I still can’t recall) asked, “Is your last name Potorti?” When I said, “Yes” she said, “You were my college professor at NCSU! You were my favorite teacher, and I took three of your classes. You’re the only teacher I had whose last name I still remember.” Wow! That was very nice to hear!

Three women and one other man attended the session. The man was a STDB. More in a moment.

Marissa led us through a good stretch and then, as is often the case, what I refer to as a mini metcon: 3 rounds of 5 hollow body/back extension, 5/leg one-legged sit downs, and 5 GHD back extensions. Well, okay then!

5 reps of weighted pistols

Marissa asked if anyone had pistols and I was the only person to timidly raise my hand. STDB then said, “Well, I might have them. I don’t have ankle flexibility, so that’s the only reason I can’t usually do them.”

I completed a bodyweight set, then sets (using KBs) @ 10, 18, and 25#. Per instruction, I did not alternate legs. STDB kept looking my way and kept attempting. Marissa then encouraged him to scale.

Wall ball shots (20/10)

I told Marissa that I’d go easy and that’s just what I did. I was able to string 11 T2B together the first round, but then my shoulders began to give and I did many of the remaining reps as singles. This was the first time since surgery that I’ve completed wall ball shots at prescribed weight. Yay! All rounds in unbroken reps. I also completed pistols and burpees in unbroken reps.

Uhm, as STDB didn’t complete pistols as prescribed, he completed metcon just as I was beginning burpees. And then he cheered for me. “You got this. Come on, come on! Do it, do it, do it?” I very much wanted to stop and tell him to shut the fuck up, but I did not.

Time: 9:00

Almost forgot to mention, STDB took off his shirt before the metcon even started. Ha! He also high-fived me. Gah!

The cash out was 100 sit-ups for time. STDB at first postponed himself on the mat but then said, “We should do boy, girl, boy, girl, girl.” That’s a STDB thing to say. More than halfway through he asked, “Paul, how many do you have?” “Twenty-one remaining,” I said. Uhm, I was completing unbroken; STDB was not.

Time: 2:53

And another high-five from STDB. Dammit.

Marissa introduced me to Corey, one of the owners, and I explained my current situation. Once I get a better feel for all of the boxes in the area, I’ll then discuss coaching opportunities.

Experimental, Pisgah, & Arboretum

I. Love. West Asheville! I’ve lived here just a week and it already feels very much like home.

Sunday, February 12 | Bent Creek Experimental Forest

I purchased a membership to the NC Arboretum. Gmaps didn’t quite get me there… When in Rome, follow where everyone else is going. This led me to a trailhead, and the parking lot was packed! I decided to run out and back 30 minutes. Uhm, I can’t find the charger for my Forerunner. Dammit. I paid close attention to the trails, and for the most part I managed to find my way. At the very least I knew the location of and direction to the trailhead.

The trails are awesome, with quite a few steep inclines and a few technical trails. I had a freaking blast! How many miles did I run? I’d estimate between 7 and 8.

Monday, February 13 | CrossFit Pisgah

I arrived early for the 8 am session, and I’m glad that I did, as this allowed me time to meet a few of the friendly people and to warm up. TJ (if I recall his name correctly) led the session. I spent much time talking with member (and I think also coach) Doug.

Speaking of the warmup, it consisted of 2 rounds of 10 calorie row, 10 push presses (45#), 10 bent over rows, 10 front squats, and 10 ring rows. I won’t say that I hate this type of warmup; I’ll merely say that I dislike this type of warmup. I dislike this type of warmup exceedingly.

It’s evidently deload week, and strength consisted of a mere 2 reps of power snatches at 60, 65, & 70% of 1RM. I completed 5 reps @ 65, 75, & 85#. Power snatches felt good, although I was very cautious (as I should be).

1000m row
50 thrusters (45#)
30 pull-ups

Uhm, I hate rowing almost as much as I hate thrusters. I told myself to not go all out and, well, I didn’t go all out. Winning.

I rowed 1000m in under 4 minutes, completed thrusters in reps of as many as 20 and as few as 10, and completed pull-ups in reps of 10, 10, 4, 2, 2, 1, & 1.

Time = 8:28

That’s not a PR. And I’m proud of that! I was the first in the group to finish, not that anyone was paying attention. Ha!

I also visited Jus’ Running, the local running store. Everyone was very friendly, and when they noticed Luke sitting in the driver’s seat of the Renegade they invited him inside. He had his gait analyzed on the treadmill. He practicing POSE running. Apple, tree.


February 14 | NC Arboretum

I set the alarm for 6 to attend an early CrossFit session at another of the local boxes. I was wide awake at 5:30 but, well, didn’t feel like CrossFitting. So I didn’t. The hills were calling me!

As Jeff and I have visited in the past, I went on memory instead of Gmaps and easily found the entrance. I began on Steep Hill trail. That’s not a misnomer. I then took a side trail that followed the Blue Ridge Parkway and, if memory serves, is included in Shut In race that I ran years ago. I ran uphill for 26 minutes and 30 seconds. Yup, it took that long to reach the peak of the hill. I turned around at the 30-minute mark. It took me 19 minutes to run back to the start/finish. That’s 11 minutes faster! Yes, I’m a very proficient downhill runner, but the time it took to run uphill versus downhill should clearly indicate the steepness of the course.

I smiled almost the entire time, often looking to my left and right. And what did I see? Hills to my left and hills to my right! Have I mentioned how much I love Asheville?

It also looks like three consulting engagements are lining up nicely. Details to follow.

It’s Valentine’s Day and I miss my valentine. Luke, Meg, and Zac have been especially affection. It’s like they know.


5th Avenue

The move to Asheville has been a success, but I sure do miss Jeff. He was home all of 15 hours, and many of those were spent asleep. This has, however, left all of the unpacking to me. Gah! I’ve made a sizable dent, and all rooms but the spare bedroom are livable.

Luke and I have spent much time exploring the neighborhood, and I love it! West Asheville is certainly progressive and eclectic. It’s obvious that there are no homeowner associations. The only issue I have so far is that folks allow their dogs to remain outside and bark incessantly. And late into the night. I hope it’s something that I’ll acclimate to. Fortunately, our home is quite soundproof.

Meg and Zac are adjusting quite well. Home is where the heart is, and they are very well loved. Whilst there’s 1K less square feet in this home, there’s still plenty of room to roam and play.

The neighbors that I’ve met have all been very friendly, approachable, and welcoming, and I haven’t paused a moment to say “My husband.” I certainly paused frequently in Apex. I most certianly don’t miss our old neighborhood.

Oh, this blog is about CrossFit and exercise. Well, okay then. I’ve run quite a few days and as far as 6 miles at a time. All runs have begun from our driveway. As it’s Asheville, all runs have included hills. Steep hills. Carrier Park is just a half-mile away, and the dog park is about a mile away. Luke has enjoyed our forays!

I contacted three of the local CrossFits and heard back from two of them. I considered going today but, well, both had partner WODs programmed. I’m not a fan of partner WODs in general and even less so when I know I’ll be partnered with a stranger. Remember, I’m 50/50 introvert and extrovert. I programmed my own workout.

5 X 25m sprint downhill & 25m sprint uphill 
10 burpees
15 Russian KB swings (35#)
20 air squats

As I’m still recovering from ACDF surgery, I’m still taking it easy on my upper body. I set up a large piece of cardboard and placed and end of our gravel driveway for burpees.

This was fun and surprisingly difficult. The hill in front of our house is very steep, and running consumed most of the time. I completed all rounds in unbroken reps, working at a very consistent pace.

Time = 22:53

That’s more than 1200m run, 50 burpees, 75 KB swings, and 100 air squats.

I’m planning on going for a long trail run at the NC Arboretum tomorrow. Yay!



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.





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:

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.