Challenge X 2


Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)

Row 500m
40 goblet squats (35)
30 wall sit-ups
20 pushups
10 pull-ups

I coached Sunday and then went for a 2-mile recovery run around the neighborhood. I was surprised when I ran a 7:30 mpm pace. Have I mentioned how much I enjoy running? Have I? HAVE I?!

Monday was the deadline to complete the Lurong Living Championship Challenge Baseline Retest. I remember how difficult this workout was, and I wasn’t looking forward to completing. Uhm, particularly not with tired legs. I had completed the workout in 10:4o; thus I set a goal to complete the retest in a faster time. The only problem with completing the workout in such a fast time the first go around is, well, I’d have to complete it even faster.

Must. Learn. To. Sandbag.

I knew that I’d have to complete goblet squats, as well as sit-ups and pull-ups, in unbroken reps. I also knew that I’d have to row at at least a 1:50 meters/minute pace and that I’d have to rest very little whilst completing dreaded pushups.

So that’s what I did. I also focused on very fast transitions. For example, after completing last sit-up I’d roll into plank position and immediately begin pushups.

The second row was miserable.

Time = 10:06 

That’s just 34 seconds faster, but I’ll take it.


Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)
8-min AMRAP
– 5 deadlifts (95#)
– 4 hang cleans
– 3 front squats
– 2 shoulder to overhead
– 1 ground to overhead

I rested Tuesday. Because I needed to. The older I become the more important rest becomes. I listen to my body ,and when it’s not saying, “Gurl, you look goooood!” it’s saying “Rest. Just rest.”

The very last workout of the Championship Challenge. I was both excited and anxious, as I knew how difficult the workout would be. I completed 10 rounds + 5 deadlifts and 1 HPC for total of 159 reps. I set a goal to complete 11 rounds. I also wore my Championship Challenge tee!

And I almost made it. Dammit.

Amy was kind enough to judge me. Unlike last time, I wore weightlifting shoes (for no other reason than my Nike Metcons were hurting my left foot).

I completed the first 2 rounds without putting down the bar until after 2nd shoulder to overhead. I completed all ground to overhead reps as power clean & jerks.

For remaining rounds I dropped the bar after 4th deadlift. I was doing pretty well until about round 7 or 8 when I failed the 4th hang power clean. Yup, ’twas my left arm. Dammit.

Sometimes the body does what the body does, and this happened to me the very last round. I completed 2 front squats and a thruster, and I dropped the bar from the top. That meant that I had to complete a power clean and jerk for 2nd rep of shoulder to overhead. This also meant that I didn’t have time to complete very last rep of 11th round. I was just 1 rep shy. So close!

Uhm, my face.


Score = 164 reps

Both Brooklyn and Ruby visited the box today! Luke sometimes gets a little jealous.

Tuna Run Relay 2016, aka “Serge”


The second time must truly be the charm! I was the Team Captain for CrossFit Surmount (not the catchiest of titles, I know). In addition to me our team consisted of  Ashlee, Bonnie, Darren, Jaclyn, Jennifer, Kelli, Kevin, Mike, Steven (#poorstevedodge), Stephen, and Susie.

What an awesome tee!

Click here for 2015 musings.

Just like last year, I was driving Van 1 when I wasn’t running one of the 3 legs I was assigned. This meant that I got very little rest, as the remaining 5 runners in our van napped frequently (and in the middle of the night quite loudly).

The Relay course had to be changed this year due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew. Legs 7 through 10 were skipped; thus 4 runners (Kevin, Kelli, Steven, and Bonnie) ran 2 instead of 3 legs. As Stephen ran one of Kevin’s legs, we had 7 in our van at the start of the race. As there were many teammates who were running the race for a 2nd or even 3rd time, assigning legs was relatively easy. I had originally planned on running legs 5, 16, and 27, the 3 longest legs, but as leg 14 was modified I switched with Ashlee and once again ran leg 14. Yup, I also once again ran the 3 longest legs. I 3 of my legs were categorized as “hard.” [Insert penis joke here.]

I set goals to not be passed and to run my first leg smarter and thus slower than I ran last year.

Leg #5 – Piney Grove Chapel Baptist Church to Elevation United Methodist Church – 9.08 miles (Angier). 

Ah, Leg #5, I remember it well. This is a very challenging leg due to not only distance but a series of undulating and sometimes steep hills. The weather was a very pleasant 66 degrees. I wore running shorts, Tuna CFS tee, Altras, and Bull City Running cap. Unlike last year, I made sure to carry water bottle and bring Bee Stinger. I also consumed a Bee Stinger a few minutes before the run. I didn’t, however, stretch as much as I should have. Why? Because Darren ran so damned fast that he arrived many minutes before he was expected to! And that’s okay. I quickly established my pace.

Perhaps the best thing that I did was to wear my Garmin Forerunner 25. Last year I was disheartened that there weren’t mile markers along the course. I didn’t want to get caught up in elapsed time, so I set my watch to display mileage and pace. I’d occasionally glance at my watch and would most frequently focus on pace. Running downhill and pace 6:00? Good! Running uphill and pace 9:00? No need to worry! There were quite a few times when I didn’t hear the watch beep to indicate a mile elapsed. As I couldn’t see elapsed time I didn’t get bogged down in attempting to establish how long it took me to run any given mile. Again, I could only see accumulated distance.

Uhm, but for whatever reason I thought that the run was 9.8 instead of 9.08 miles. Ha! I didn’t even attempt to pick up the pace for a fast finish until I rounded a corner and saw as well as heard the Exchange. I felt very good during the run, although I didn’t run at a steady pace. Why not? Hills, baby, hills! I passed 19 runners along the course. I said, “Nice job!” or “Stay strong!” to any runner who wasn’t wearing headphones. I did so for all 3 legs as well.

Splits: 6:34, 6:29, 6:44, 7:07, 7:08, 7:22, 7:01, 7:53 (steep hill!), and 7:14
Time: 1:04:03
Pace: 7:03 mpm

I ran a minute slower than last year, but I was nonetheless pleased with performance. Why? Because I knew that I had 2 more long legs to run and because this leg “felt” much better than it did last year. ‘Twas a confidence booster.

Last year I ran this leg at a 7:50 mpm pace. Have I gotten faster?

Cracker Barrel for lunch and then off to Leg #13 for the next exchange.

The start of Leg #5.


Leg #14 – Manley Grove Church to Daughtrey Field – 9.83 miles (Mount Olive). 

This was a miserable leg last year but my favorite leg this year. I set a goal to run at a 7:30 mpm pace, you know, so that I’d have something left in my legs for the last leg.

Steve Dodge ran Leg #12 in a torrential downpour. It was still raining when Jaclyn began Leg #13 but dissipated when she began. Lucky Jaclyn! Poor Steve Dodge.

I wore white Nike running shorts (Jaclyn’s favorite!), CFS tee, Altras, and lululemon cap. Whilst the rain had stopped by the time I began my leg the sun was beginning to set, so I also wore headlamp, reflective vest, and blinking lights. I carried water bottle and carried Bee Stinger chewies.

I quickly established pace and breathing and settled into the run. This included counting off runners as I passed them, although never out loud. That would be just rude!

About 3 miles into the run a male runner heard me approaching. He glanced my way and then picked up the pace. I kept running at a steady pace, knowing that I’d eventually catch and pass him. He surged 2 or 3 more times. I did easily pass him and as I did so he asked, “What’s your pace?” I said, “Last mile was 7:15.” “That’s too fast for me,” he replied. Uhm, I know. He was about the 6th person I passed. Seven, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. At about the 5-mile mark runner 13 was in my sights. At first I though the runner was a female, as I could see a short ponytail. I thought, “She’s running at a very good pace, but I know I can catch her.” I looked more closely and then determined the runner was a male. Uhm, the broad shoulders and hairy legs should’ve been a bigger clue. When he heard me first approach he glanced at me and then surged.

I shall refer to the runner as “Serge” for the remainder of this blog.

I know how to run and I know how to race. I wasn’t going to play his reindeer games. Serge and I continued to pass runners. Thirteen, 14, 15, 16, 17. I continued to run at a very steady pace and Serge continued to surge each and every time I approached. I certainly wasn’t close enough to draft, as Serge was bound and determined to not allow me to pass him. At about 7 or so miles into the run I shouted, “Nice job! I feel like you’re doing all of the fucking work. Listen, I’m not trying to pass you. You’ve been doing a great job setting the pace but if you want to take a break from doing so I’d be happy to pace for a while.”

No response.

I picked up my pace ever so slightly, passed him, saying, “Again, good job. I’ll keep the pace.”

He allowed me to run ahead of him for maybe 15 seconds at the most. He then surged and passed me. And I laughed out loud. Again, he hadn’t yet said a single word.

I allowed him to run ahead of me and then I ever so slightly picked up my pace. I quite easily caught up to him but instead of running behind or in front of him and ran beside him, matching his pace. I ran beside him for a good minute or so, never looking toward him and not saying a single word. Serge didn’t say a single word either. After a couple of minutes running beside him I once again picked up the pace, and Serge just couldn’t keep up with me.

Again, I know how to race. I never looked back. I did, however, make sure to put into my long-term memory the number 25, as Serge was the 25th runner that I passed. Twenty-six, 27, 28, 29, 30. And no sight of Serge. I was bound and determined that he wouldn’t catch and certainly not pass me.

I could hear and then finally see the Exchange zone as I passed runners 31 and 32.

Splits: 7:10, 7:15, 7:02, 7:07, 7:14, 7:10, 7:05, 7:01, and 6:54
Time: 1:09:55
Pace: 7:07 mpm


I ran the last .83 miles in 5:51, a 7:04 mpm pace.

I honestly don’t think that I would’ve run that fast if it weren’t for Serge. I can only speculate that he didn’t want and/or like to be passed. I know the feeling, but I also know how to run and race. Have I already mentioned this? I was pleased with my performance but was concerned that I wouldn’t have a strong final leg.

We drove to Exchange #25. Having learned valuable lessons last year, I parked the van far away from other vans. We settled in for a nap. I reclined the driver’s seat, put on headphones, set the volume to high, and attempted to sleep. Mike snores. Kevin snores. Darren snores. And Jaclyn snores. I listened to “The Smiths” greatest hits but was always awakened during the pause between songs, you know, because of the snoring.

Leg #27 – Free Will Chapel Church to First Baptist Church of Maysville – 8.68 miles (Trenton). 

Jaclyn and I discussed switching legs. For no other reason than to get it over with, I ran my assigned leg.

I had been looking forward to this leg but was upset that I wouldn’t be running as the sun rose. Dammit. The weather had chilled to 55 degrees. I wore compression shorts, CrossFit shirt, Altras, lululemon cap, headlamp, reflective vest, blinking lights, and gloves. Yes, gloves. I once again carried a water bottle.

My ITB felt tight, both on right and left legs. I stretched somewhat. Jaclyn was kind enough to stay with me so that I could wear sweatshirt and then hand it to her as Ashlee gave me the baton. I set a goal to run at 7:30 mpm pace. Sound familiar?

I began running without a single runner in sight ahead of me. I’d have to run fast if I were to pass anyone.

It took me longer to settle into pace and breathing. It was difficult to quickly glance at watch, as I’d had to adjust head and arm to view. It just wasn’t worth it, so I looked at watch infrequently, not even looking at mile splits.

And then it happened. I started to truly enjoy myself. I liked running this course during the nighttime hours, as I couldn’t see the miles and miles of road ahead of me. I instead just focused on foot strikes and breathing. I did eventually catch up with runners and passed 5 by the 7-mile mark.

And then math happened. I thought the leg was 8.8 miles and not 8.68. Okay, just .14 miles shorter. As I approached the town I quickly glanced at watch and thought it read 8 miles. I thought, “Just an eight of a mile and I’ll be finished. Surge!” Uhm, I didn’t reach the finish yet the Garmin beeped to indicate another mile. I glanced more closely at my watch. Eight miles. Dammit. The surge must continue! As I passed runner 6 he said, “You must be running the 70-miler.” “No,” I replied, “I’m in the 200-mile relay.” “Oh,” he said, “that’s a very fast pace then.” I passed 2 more runners for a total of 8.


Splits: 7:18, 7:18, 7:16, 7:08, 7:13, 7:05, 7:06, and 6:55 (mistaken surge)
Time = 1:01:56
Pace = 7:09 mpm

I ran the last .68 in 4:35.

Last year I ran this leg at an 8 mpm pace. I was quite pleased that I was able to run at a 7:09 mpm for this last leg!

Mileage: 27.59 miles
Time: 3:15:54
Pace: 7:06 mpm

By the way, whenever I’d run past a “Trump” sign I’d, well, flip it off. This helped pass the time.

Jaclyn finishing her first leg!
Team CrossFit Surmount after the finish!
Drinking Kellerweiss with Darren!


Funny Shit Paul Says

As I was toggling through radio station I paused on a station discussing sports of some kind. Baseball maybe? I thought it might be NPR so I listened until, well, I realized that the only topic that was going to be discussed was sports.
Darren: I can’t believe Paul was listening to sports?
Me: Was that sports? I thought I was listening to a Spanish station, as I couldn’t understand a single word that was said. 

Darren: It’s difficult running in the dark, as I don’t know if I’m running uphill or downhill.
Me: That’s how I feel about sex with a woman.

Jaclyn: Did you hear that Stephen was chased by dogs?
Me: Stephen? He’s a vegetarian. It’s funny that the dogs would chase one of the few people in this race who doesn’t smell like bacon.

Me: Did anyone else notice that we’re in a Fire station but they can’t get the bunsen burner under the hamburger tray lit? I guess they can only put out fires. 

Kevin: When I was in the Navy we had to learn how to put out fires.
Me: Because you’re constantly surrounded by water. That makes sense. 

Jaclyn: Did that make sense? Are you confused?
Me: I’m not confused because I wasn’t listening. 

Me: You can tell that the IQ level gets increasing lower as you travel East in the state as indicated by the ever increasing number of “Trump” signs. 


El Capitan!

Jeff and I visited his family in Sacramento, CA, and then spent a brief day and a half in Yosemite.

I neglected to post a workout from last week. Here goes…


Metcon (AMRAP – Rounds and Reps)
25-minute AMRAP
25 thrusters (45)
25 burpees

You MUST use empty barbell.
You may not drop the barbell.

This was a main site WOD and was a tremendous amount of fun! My strategy was to work at a steady pace and to complete no fewer than 5 rounds. I completed 5 rounds + 25 thrusters & 4 burpees.


As I may have mentioned before, I can get lost in a bathtub. Using Google maps, I entered “Miner’s Ravine Trailhead” and traveled about 10 minutes only to discover that there wasn’t any parking at the trailhead. Gah! I entered a different trailhead location which once again didn’t lead me parking at a trailhead but instead to a Comfort Inn. I parked at the hotel and whilst contemplating what to do next noticed an entrance to the trail. Finally! Twenty minutes has passed between the time I left our hotel and started the run. I headed right, which in my mind is always East, you know, because whatever direction I’m facing is North. I ran a little under 2 miles only to discover that the trail ended, so I headed back. Yup, that’d be West. Uhm, once I looked at course on Garmin Connect I discovered that I traveled West and then East. Well at least I got part of it right.

I ran 4 miles in 27:39, a 6:54 mpm pace. Not bad. Running felt wonderful, as the weather was perfect!

When I returned to my car I noticed our hotel. Yup, it was directly across the street; thus, I could’ve easily walked or run to the trail. Ha!

Jeff and I always like to visit a local box, so during our stay in Roseville we visited CrossFit Determination. We arrived at the box at 9 for the 9:30 WOD (the first scheduled session of the day) only to discover a group of athletes completing the WOD. We were warmly greeted by the coach (whose name I can’t for the life of me remember) and informed that we could choose any of the 3 workout posted, including an endurance WOD of rowing or a weightlifting WOD of clean & jerks. We chose “Flush.”

Metcon (AMRAP – Rounds and Reps)
25-minute AMRAP

25 KBS (light)
100m farmer’s carry
10 goblet squats
35 double unders
20 Abmat sit-ups

Another 25-minute AMRAP. As the KBS were to be light I used a 44# KB. I went heavier on the farmer’s carry, using 2, 35# DBs. Gah! This was a forearm burner.

My goal, as is often the case, was to complete all round in unbroken reps. I didn’t have my jump rope so I had to suffice on a borrowed rope. A borrowed and heavy rope. I took me a few rounds to get a feel for it.

I completed the first 4 rounds of KB swings in unbroken reps but did have to break up the last 7 rounds. I did so in reps of 17 & 8.

So that I could hold onto those damned DBs I ran as fast as I could. I was surprised that I was able to complete all rounds of farmer’s carry without putting down the DBs. Yay!

I completed 6 rounds + 30 KB swings + 100m farmer’s carry + 10 goblet squats + 5 dus.



Today was quite different than yesterday. I got up early but waited until daylight to run. As it was raining, it was still dark after sunrise. I began my run at about 7:15. I did walk to the entrance. Did I get lost doing so? I shan’t disclose.

I headed East this time, although in my mind I was still heading West. There, I said it. I set out to run easy, but was nonetheless disappointed that it took me 7:40 to run first mile. I picked up the pace and ran remaining miles in 7:14, 7:02, 6:44, and 6:43 for an average pace of 7:07. The winds were strong and the rain came down hard at times. I didn’t see very many people on the trail.

We then drove to Yosemite and spent the next 2 days at the park. It was wonderful! My favorite part was hiking to the Sequoia groves (although Jeff didn’t enjoy the hiking as much as I did). There were many times when I just want to run. I did not. We hiked about 6 miles.


We got home at 1 am, I got to bed by 2, and was wide awake at 4:30. I attended the 6 am session. My butt was kinda sorta dragging.

Hang Power Clean (3×3 @ 50, 2X2 @ 55, & 2×1 @ 60% of 1RM)

Easy. Enough said.
Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)
12-round tabata
Work for 20 seconds; rest for 20 seconds
Alternate hang power snatches* and double unders

Less than 150# = 65
150 – 175# = 75#
175 – 200 = 85#
Greater than 200 = 95#

As I weighed in at 142, I completed HPS @ 65#. And that was plenty heavy.

I recorded all rounds so that I could compare performance. I completed 10 HPS all but the 5th round when I was able to complete 11. I completed 37, 37, 38, 27 (got hung up on rope), 36, and 38 double unders.

Score = 274

When I initially programmed I was concerned that 20 seconds of rest would be too much. It wasn’t.



Push Press (3×4 @ 50, 2X3 @ 55, & 2×2 @ 60% of 2RM)

As only Karen T. attended the 7 am session (very unusual occurrence) I worked out with her.

Light and easy.

Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)
10-min AMRAP
Run 200m
Max rep pull-ups

You may complete strict, butterfly, assisted pull-ups, etc., but once you drop from the bar and/or are unable to complete reps, run!
Score = total # pull-ups
Metcon (AMRAP – Rounds)
10-min AMRAP
1, 2, 3… pushups & 10m shuttle sprints

For RX chest and thighs touch the floor; knees to do not; for scaled place knees on floor, hands on box, hands on wall, etc.)
Score = completed round of pushups (no need to count total reps)

Still taking it easy on the shoulder, so I made sure to not work to failure.

I ran 6 times (1200m) and completed 20, 15, 15, 12, 11, & 4 (ran out of time) pull-ups.

Score = 77

Five minutes of rest was more than enough.

Uhm, I may have completed the round of 10 pushups twice. I kept looking toward and coaching Karen, so it was difficult for me to keep count. My bad.

If my score is correct, I made it through the round of 14 (the only round I didn’t complete unbroken) pushups and ran an additional 1200m.

Score = 105

I had my annual physical. I was pleased to discuss options with my trusted doctor regarding bulging discs. He said, “I am typically an opponent of surgery. In your case, I highly recommend having the surgery.” We discussed all of the reasons why.

I have Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion surgery scheduled for the Friday before Thanksgiving.

“Recovery” Run


I’m still feeling disappointed in my Ragnar Trail Carolinas – SC race Yellow Loop performance. I know, I know — get over it.

I coached at 9:30 and observed CFK at 11. I was anxious to go for a run to see if I still have any speed left on these legs. I headed to Apex Lake, as: 1) I’m very familiar with the course; and 2.) the loop is just a little over 2 miles.

I wore BCR muscle shirt (because, you know, I have muscles), shorty running shorts, and Nike racing shoes.

Whilst the course does have mile markers, I used my Garmin to measure distance instead. And something might be amiss. The loop is a little over 2 miles but I ran a little more than the length of the course until Forerunner displayed 2 miles. This happened 3 times. At least the Forerunner is consistent!

I set a goal to run 2 miles in 14 minutes, i.e., 7 mpm pace. I also only allowed myself to look at the watch a maximum of 4 times whilst running, with the exception of the last .1 mile.

I set off at a good pace, first breathing every 4th step and then quickly transitioning into breathing every 3rd step. Running felt wonderful! No aches or pains. I glanced at my watch at about .75 miles (just after jumping over a fallen tree) and again when it displayed mile split of 7:07, “Okay,” I thought, “just 7 seconds under pace. I can make up for it. Is this Forerunner accurate?” I glanced at the clock once more at about the 1.75 mile mark, and then when I was approaching what I thought was the finish, i.e., near where I started. Uhm, and I ran past what I thought would be the finish. Yup, the loop is supposedly more than 2 miles but I ran farther than the distance of the loop. The time was 14:04, an average of 7:01 mpm. Dammit! I know, I know, it’s just 2 seconds. I know, I know, it’s likely that the Forerunner was incorrect.

I rested for about a minute. Whilst walking back to the start I recalled that I changed the setting on the Forerunner to display average pace per mile. I had forgotten to glance at that number during the first 2-mile run. I decided to glance at the watch occasionally during this 2-mile run.

And I ran much faster, running mile 1 in 6:52 and mile 2 in in 6:45; thus running 2 miles in 13:39. Yay! (I passed a pair of runners, male and female, during the last 1/2 mile. He yelled “Show off!” I wasn’t sure if he was trying to be funny. I ignored the comment nonetheless.) Perhaps the only difference was that I was more warmed up and relaxed during the 2nd run. I also ran the entire distance breathing every 3rd step.

I rested for about a minute and then began my 3rd loop, this time alternating running backwards and forwards every .10 mile. What fun! It took me 19:36 to run the distance.

I love running.



Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)
9-min AMRAP
– 12 anchored toes to bar
– 9 S2O (65#)
– 6 box jump overs (20″)
– 3 burpee pull-ups

This is the 5th workout of the Lurong Challenge, and it was the easiest of the workouts thus far. Kevin S. was kind enough to judge reps during 9:30 session.

I moved quickly and tried to transition from one activity to the next, although I sometimes felt I was traversing an obstacle course. For example, after jumping off of box last rep I’d then have to jump over barbell to get to pull-up rig.

During the 1st or 2nd round of S2O Kevin shouted a warning. I didn’t understand what he meant until my barbell crashed agains the pull-up rig.

I completed all rounds in unbroken reps. From easiest to most difficult: anchored toes to bar, burpee pull-ups, S2O, and box jump overs. Box jump overs! I know not why they were so taxing today.

With mere seconds remaining, I jumped over the barbell and ran to the pull-up rig. I completed 2 burpee pull-ups, threw my chest to the floor, jumped up, and my left hand missed the pull-up rig. Dammit.

Score = 209 reps (one burpee pull-up shy of 7 complete rounds)


As mentioned above, I was very disappointed in performance for 5.5-mile Yellow loop. The results have been posted, and Team Bull City Track Club ranked 1st in category (male sub/masters), 2nd in gender (all males), and 4th in overall position. I’m happy! I then looked at times for lap 14, the Yellow loop, and I posted the 2nd fastest time, and was just 2 minutes slower than the fastest time run by winning team. I feel a little better about my performance now.

Ragnar Trail Carolinas – SC

I was honored to be asked by Jason to join the Bull City Track team of 8, also including Ronnie, Craig, Alan, Gavin, Brendan, and Jim. I was the 6th runner; thus, I’d run Red, Yellow, and then Green Loop.

As Hurricane Matthew was approaching, we knew we’d have to prepare, e.g., extra socks, rain gear, and galoshes. Yes, galoshes. I had placed a pair in my Target shopping cart and then noticed women’s boots. Men’s were $50 and women’s were $25. Yup, I purchased women’s. I was later informed that the boots are called Wellingtons.

I rode with Alan, and we arrived at the site at 3. The tents were already set up. Yay! The race was held in Fort Mill, SC. From the website: Teams run relay-style on “green” the “yellow” and “red” loops as they meander through the forest past rivers, streams and ponds. At night as the sun sets, the celebration comes alive under a bed of stars where you will enjoy campfires, s’mores, movies and a party atmosphere. Well, okay then!

Green, Yellow, and Red Loops


And it had been raining all morning. There was just one very brief respite from the rain during our entire stay, and as the evening turned into night and then morning, the rain and the winds intensified. Jason started us off at 5 pm and easily ran faster than the remaining 5 runners who also began with the very last wave.

I returned to our site and chatted with the other runners. ‘Twas wonderful to reconnect with Jim and Ronnie!

Whilst waiting for my first leg I got to hear the exploits of the runners who had already run run the loops. Ronnie remarked about the scariness of and “sea legs” caused by the suspension bridges. I hate suspension bridges, and this caused anxiety. Whilst I knew that there had to be railing I nonetheless asked Ronnie if there were indeed railings on the bridges. He couldn’t recall. This made me even more anxious. Alan got lost whilst running the Green loop and ran part of the Red loop. Having spoken with him at length about his trail running experience, this greatly (and gravely) concerned me, and only helped to increase my anxiety. On the positive side, no one had yet taken a spill or fall.

Red Loop

The Red Loop starts out with Yellow but soon splits right, on its own journey through woods, over bridges and creeks, and twisting single-tracks. Prepare your smile. Near mile 1 the trail turns right to run along the north bank of Steele Creek. You may catch a glance of headlamps on the other side of the creek going the opposite direction, but don’t get ahead of yourself, you’ll be there soon enough. Miles of single-track bliss still await. After crossing Steele Creek the Red Loop takes a counterclockwise loop around beautiful Lake Haigler and then continues through the woods on some technical single-track sections back to Steele Creek. Now, running on the south bank, you’ll see the headlamps of those suckers just getting started. Just past 6.5 miles a left turn joins you with the Yellow Loop, put your head down and push through the last climb back to Ragnar Village and the cheers of your teammates.

I began the leg at about 8:30. I wore 2XU tights, a CFS technical tee, mid-ankle Drymax socks, Altra trail shoes, and a headlamp.

The course was wet, slippery, and at times quite dangerous. There were times when I was running through an inch or so of standing water. This included the first 200 or so meters! As a way to disassociate, I began to count runners that I passed, and I had passed 4 before Red split off from Yellow.

I certainly couldn’t enjoy the scenery as, well, I couldn’t see the scenery. The single tracks were often narrow and twisting.

The course was, however, very well marked so I was no longer anxious about getting lost. I ran over the first of the suspension bridges and, whilst disconcerting, the experience wasn’t horrifying.

As I ran and ran I continued to pass runner after runner. I always said something affirming such as “Nice job,” or “Stay strong!” Many runner stopped and stood by the path as I quickly ran by, and quite a few were also very gracious. “I could hear you approaching and could tell that you were running fast. Great job!” “You’re smokin’ it.” (That’s one of my favorites.) I passed a few more women then men.

The final suspension bridge that I passed was quite long in length and the up and down movement did freak me out a little. I admit it.

There were numerous times when I almost took a spill, but each time I somehow managed to maintain my balance. The course had become mucky (for lack of a better word) and there were many times when I thought that my shoe was going to come off. Good thing that I had triple-tied my laces!

And then it happened: I slipped in the mud and went down hard on my left knee. I felt a stab of pain, but kept running. And running and running and running. I was so concerned with the possible damage that I had caused that I didn’t see an upcoming left-hand turn onto a bridge, and as I slowed I went down again, this time on my left hip. My left shin scraped against an exposed rock. I stated “F@ck” and then realized that there were volunteers at the other side of the bridge directing runners to the merge of the 3 loops.

I continued to pass runners and was only caught by one runner with about .25 miles remaining. I’m going to safely assume that he was running the Yellow or quite possible the Green loop.

I passed a total of 36 runners, not including the 4 I passed the first .8 miles.

Time = 1:04
Pace = 8:18 mpm

I was quite pleased with my performance and was ready for the next run! I managed some fitful sleep and was awake well before I needed to be. My next leg began at about 3 am.

Yellow Loop

The Yellow Loop takes off with the Red Loop on double-track and soon heads into the trees for single-track. At the half mile point, the Yellow Loop splits off from Red to the left and continues on a 200 year old double track road. This section of double-track is downhill and you can really open it up. At the bottom you will cross a bridge over Steele Creek and take another left to follow along the Creek on a sweet section of rollercoaster single-track. Pop out of the trees just long enough to see the Fort Mill School and then dive back for another section of single-track. Just before mile 2 the trail climbs away from the creek drainage and eventually runs through a tunnel and back onto another mile of fun single-track through a beautiful open canopy. At mile 3 you burst out of the trees into a field and along a road, cross the road, and continue on double-track for a half mile. A left turn takes you past Webb’s Mill, an old restored grist mill from the 1780’s. Back then the mill was a meeting place for settlers and if you see it in the moonlight, you may just get a glimpse of a corncob pipe smoking ghost, that’ll get you to kick it into gear for the last mile and a half! From the old mill site, you have another half mile of fun single-track along the creek. A right turn merges the Yellow Loop with the Red and together you cross a long swaying bridge over Steele Creek for the final climb back to the Village.

I wore yellow (for the Yellow loop) shorts, BCTC singlet that Kim had given me just the day before, long compression socks (that I used to cover open wound on shin), and New Balance trail shoes.


The weather and trail conditions had gone from bad to worse. There were times when I was running during a torrential downpour, and could barely see a step ahead of me. The course had become exceedingly difficult to maneuver, as I couldn’t get a feel for the path due to the mud, and my quite hefty trail shoes just couldn’t seem to get a good grasp of the mud.

Highlights of the course included steep uphills and sharp switchbacks and running dangerously close the the raging river. Whenever I ran close to the river I made myself not look in that direction. Other highlights included a run across a road after slogging over a muddy embankment to get to said road crossing. Oh, and slippery bridges, including one with steep incline and decline.

I was very concerned that I’d take another spill and perhaps ran too cautiously. It was all that I could do to stay upright, and I began to feel depressed and beaten. I knew that I was running slowly, and my Garmin Forerunner confirmed my slow pace. Dammit, dammit, dammit.

Not a mile into the run I began to think, “I’d rather run Red again then muddle through this shitshow.”

And I should’ve known better than to wear a shirt that I had neither washed nor even worn. My nipples began chafing. I should’ve also gotten a small instead of a medium.

Time = 52:10
Pace = 9:29 mpm

That’s a slow pace. I assure you that I ran as quickly as I could! I nonetheless felt like I let the team down. My only consolation was the thought that I could redeem myself by running a fast final leg. I returned to the tent and attempted to sleep. I was surprised when I woke up at 7:30, as I expected that I’d be awake much earlier than that. I knew that I’d have to get ready for my next leg as Gavin, who ran before me, was already heading to the exchange.

The only potentially positive thing is that I passed about 18 runners.

I put on running shorts, CrossFit tee, Drymax socks, and very wet New Balance trail shoes. I began the trek to the exchange just as all of the team members were returning. I knew not why. Jason said, “The race has been postponed and they’re deciding whether or not to cancel. I suggest that we pack up and return home, as it’s highly unlikely that the weather will get any better.” It had gotten very windy and the course had, of course, gotten even more soggy and dangerous. I was both relieved and disappointed, as I wouldn’t have an opportunity for redemption.

It was a good call, as the Race Director did indeed cancel the race.

We were one of the few teams to have completed 18 legs, and as we were the last wave to start it’s likely that we were in the lead. We could’ve even won if the race had continued.

Jason was kind enough to give me a ride to Durham, and we chatted about kitties (ha!) much of the trip.

Speaking of pussies, Zac isn’t quite sure what to make of medal. img_0157

I would very much like to run the trail again, you know, when it’s dry.

I might like to run another trail relay.

I remain excited about upcoming Tuna Run relay. Just 2 weeks!

Untamed, unfiltered, and unafraid.

I rested Friday. I was also at the RDU airport at 4 am to exchange tickets (long story) for flight to Charlotte and then to Asheville. I then spent the better part of the afternoon traipsing through downtown Asheville as Jeff attended his conference. I love Asheville!

Jeff and I then went to the lovely home of my BFF, Brian, and his awesome betrothed, Danielle. We went for a short walk around their property and then enjoyed an amazing meal at Jordan Street Cafe. ‘Twas my first cheat meal since the Challenge started.


Jeff and I attempted to visit a local CrossFit whilst visiting Asheville. Unfortunately, all of the boxes are preparing for the “Beer City Throwdown” and either didn’t respond to request to visit or stated that programming was specifically in preparation for event.

That’s okay, as it’s a beautiful, cool day and I very much wanted to go for a trail run. My BFF suggested running at Bent Creek. Jeff reminded me that this is where I ran the Shut In trail race a number of years ago. It appears that his memory is better than mine. Anyone surprised by that revelation?

We parked at the NC Arboretum. I informed Jeff that I’d run an hour as he went for a hike. It was a crisp 52 degrees and, as can be expected, my hands remained cold for the duration of the run. That, however, was the only negative thing about the run! I wore my new New Balance trail shoes, and I very much like them.

I took it very easy at the start of the run, as my calves were a little sore from the jumping/running workout I did 2 days ago. In addition, the first 1.5 miles was uphill, gaining over 760 feet in elevation. I was enjoying the scenery until I saw a sign that read “Bear Sightings in this Area.” (Jeff hiked the trail and captured the picture.) Having just seen “The Revenant,” this set me a bit on edge. Danielle had also shared a story of her encounter with a mother bear and cubs.

There were very few runners or bikers on the trail this morning. I did encounter a slow biker during the uphill and I startled her when I yelled, “Runner back!” Yup, I passed her. She did eventually pass me during the next downhill.

The scenery was peaceful and serene, and I often found myself smiling. Yes, I was running at a brisk pace but I nonetheless took the opportunity to enjoy the scenery.

I was upset when 30 minutes had passed, as I wanted to enjoy the run for as long as I could. Yes, I contemplated running farther but knew that Jeff would worry if I returned later than anticipated.

I could’ve run farther, as I know what a strong downhill runner I am. I ran the course backwards 6:30 faster! I was flying (not literally) during the last mile. I felt wonderful!

We returned to our hotel, showered, and then went on a VIP (Very Important Paul) tour of the Sierra Nevada brewing company. What a wonderful way to spend the afternoon! My new favorite beer is the Kellerweis. The slogan is “Untamed, unfiltered, and unafraid.” That’s an excellent description of me (as long as we don’t include bears, vampires, or mannequins in the list of things that I’m unafraid of).


We breakfasted in Asheville (my final cheat meal until our vacation in Yosemite) and then returned home. I was itching to get in a long run. We had a late breakfast and then I headed to my new favorite local trail, Harris Park. I intended to run out and back 50 minutes for a total of 1:40. Things don’t always go as planned.

According to Garmin Forerunner I ran 10.42 miles. Peninsula trail is estimated at just under 5 miles, and I ran an additional mile +, running to the entrance and back. In other words, I ran the Peninsula trail clockwise and counterclockwise, with a jaunt to the park entrance and back.

I treated today like a race day, i.e., I ran fast. I really pushed the pace for the last 30 minutes, breathing every other step for all downhills and then transitioning to a breath every 3rd step for flat and uphill portions.

My unreliable splits: 9:18, 9:18, 9:13, 9:30, 9:38, 8:06, 8:14, 9:00, 9:20, 8:39, 3:29 (.42 miles). Uhm, I was running at a consistent pace. The 8:06 and 8:14 miles were not under tree cover.


A: Metcon (AMRAP – Rounds and Reps)
5-min AMRAP
5 ring dips
5 bent over rows (135)
B: Metcon (AMRAP – Rounds and Reps)
5-min AMRAP
25 lateral bar hops

There is NO rest between A & B

I completed conditioning, skipping strength (as I knew I’d be running afterwards), at start of 9:30 session,

This was fun! And then not so fun. I was able to complete ring dips! But HSPUs were a struggle.

A: 10 rounds + 3 reps
B: 3 rounds

Harris Park Trail Run with Newbies

I invited Darren, Jaclyn, and Jennifer to join me for a trail run at Harris Lake, and we met at 11. I gave explicit directions so that they wouldn’t get lost. Uhm, either my directions weren’t clear (highly unlikely) or the Js didn’t listen (very likely). I ran about 4.6 mi in about 37 min (about an 8 mpm pace). I immediately ran the course in the opposite direction (counter clockwise) to ensure that no one got lost. The first person I saw was Darren. I thought, “Good for him! He passed Jaclyn!” I kept running but didn’t see Jaclyn. Or Jennifer. I’d occasionally stop and yell their names. I ran 1 mile and then turned around and ran to the start/finish — only to see Jaclyn standing there. She had gotten lost but eventually found her way back. She did confess to running through the woods and off trail. We waited a long time for Jennifer to return. Ha!

Jaclyn, Paul, Jennifer, & Darren (L to R)


Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)

10-min AMRAP
– 15 wall ball shots (14 & 10)
– 30 KB swings (53)
– double unders

This is the 4th WOD of the Championship Challenge. I completed Level III for male masters+.

This was perhaps the most challenging WOD to date, and it was all because of the damn kettle bell swings.

Wendy was my judge. And she had a difficult time counting my double unders.😉

I completed the 1st round in unbroken reps. I completed the 2nd and 3rd round of wall ball shots in unbroken reps, the KB swings in reps of 15, 9, & 6 (3nd round) and reps of 10 and it-is-all-a-blur reps the 3rd round. I muddled my way through the 2nd and 3rd round of double unders, gasping to catch my breath.

Score = 2 rounds + 15 wall ball shots, 30 KB swings, & 31 dus

With the exception of our recent trip to Asheville, I’ve eaten strictly Paleo. Yay! I miss beer. Boo.

I’m having Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion (ACDF) surgery the week before Thanksgiving. I want to get this over with as soon as possible, but too much is planned for the remainder of October.

Hang With ‘Em | Brenton | J & A


Metcon (Time)
10, 9, 8… 3, 2, 1
Hang squat clean thrusters
Bar facing burpees

16-minute time cap

This is the third workout of the Lurong Championship Challenge, and I liked it!

For the first time in a very long time, I was sore this morning. My lats were tight! As I had warmed up with the early morning sessions that I coached, I spent time on the foam roller whilst the 9:30 athletes completed the programmed warm up.

The prescribed weight for Level 3 for male masters+ was 75#. Yay! I’ve mentioned numerous times how much I love burpees and how much I detest thrusters.

Laura S. was my judge. She learned a few lessons about judging. Ha!

My goal was to complete the workout in fewer than 10 total minutes. I knew I’d have to work at a very steady pace in order to do so. I also knew that I’d have to complete all rounds in unbroken reps.

For a change of pace, I worked out closest to the garage door. ‘Twas again a full house at the 9:3o session.

I was quite oblivious to everyone whilst working out, and to ensure that I remained so I began the workout with my back to my counterparts, i.e., I faced the garage door for the first round of thrusters. I did, however, face my counterparts for odd-numbered rounds of thrusters, as I didn’t want to waste time moving to the other side of the barbell to face the garage door.

I completed the round of 10 thrusters in unbroken reps and began 10 burpees. I was counting to myself as Laura was counting out loud. She did, however, count at the beginning of the rep, and this threw me off. I had to play out the burpees in my mind to determine that I was indeed on rep 9 and not 10. When I completed rep 10 I asked her to count a rep when finished, i.e., after I jumped over the bar and landed on both feet simultaneously.

I completed burpees by placing hands on floor and jumping feet to plank and then ensuring that thighs and nipples (yes, nipples) were on the floor. I’d then step up with one and then the next leg. Why? To save energy. Did it? Hell, yes! I wasn’t winded when I completed rounds of burpees.

I completed round of 9 as well as remaining rounds of thrusters and burpees in unbroken reps. The last rep of each round of thrusters was indeed the most challenging.

Time = 9:50

Slow and steady won the race. At no point during the workout did I feel so winded that I needed to rest more than a brief moment. I didn’t walk away from the bar, I didn’t pause to take a drink, and I didn’t pay attention to anyone else.


Brenton (Time)

5 Rounds For Time:
100′ Bear Crawl
100′ Standing Broad Jump
Do 3 Burpees after 5 Broad Jumps

If you have a 20# vest or body armor, wear it.

In honor of Field Training Officer Timothy Quinn Brenton, 39, of the Seattle Police Department, was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting while on duty on October 31, 2009

To learn more about Brenton click here

I worked out at 6 am! Coach Evelyn led the session. Whilst I have completed this workout before (when the box first opened), I can’t find a record of my time. I do know, however, that I did not wear a weight vest. I wore a 20# weight vest today!

I had it in my mind that there were 10 and not just 5 rounds to the workout. I had been so busy getting Jaclyn and Stephen set up with weight vests that I didn’t pay close attention when Coach Evelyn reviewed the workout. My fault entirely.

The workout began and, as if often the case, folks went out fast. I yelled, “Coach Evelyn, take a picture of Jaclyn and Stephen beating me, as they won’t be in the lead for very long.” And that’s what happened.

I finished the 100′ (50′ up and back) bear crawl and began broad jumps. I completed 3 and 2 burpees and Jaclyn said, “It’s 5 broad jumps and 3 burpees.” I stopped, completed 2 more broad jumps, and then completed 3 burpees. As it was my own fault, I did not count previous 2 burpees. For whatever reason I had it in my mind that we were to complete 5 instead of 3 burpees, and I did just that 2 or 3 times. I didn’t, however, subtract those burpees on subsequent rounds.

I had decided by the 3rd round that I was going to complete 10 rounds. Psychologically that’s what I had prepared for anyhow. I worked steadily through round 5 but did call time at 13:30.

My shoes had come untied so I had to pause between the 8th and 9th rounds. Dammit. Stupid Nike shoe laces.

I took 60 “steps” each round of bear crawls each and every round. I jumped at a very consistent pace and distance, and always completed burpees at same location. I completed 18 broad jumps and 9 burpees each and every round.

I completed 10 rounds in a time of 27:50; it took me 50 more seconds to complete last 10 rounds, and that’s to be expected.

It took me less than 3 minutes to complete a round. My brain hurts, so I’m not even going to attempt to do the math. I just attempted. Did it take me 2:45 to complete a round? Did it? I need to know. I NEED TO KNOW!

Jaclyn pleaded with me to let her know if I was going to do “that jump rope workout” later in the day. I told her I’d post it on the interwebs.



Metcon (Time)
Run 2 miles
Run whilst jumping rope; when you miss, run 50 steps (25/leg)

Jaclyn and Alex met me for the workout! Yay! We met at the White Oak Church entrance of the ATT at 11 am, began at the 16.75 mile marker, and ran North a mile, turned around and (you guessed it) ran South a mile.

My strategy was to run at an easy pace whilst jumping rope, and that’s what I did. I ran farther than 400m before breaking! Wow! Whilst I don’t have an exact number of times that I broke, I’d estimate that it was between 10 and 12 times. To disassociate I’d count in multiples of 10, e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 220. There are many fallen leaves on the course, and a leaf or 2 would often get caught on the rope.

I attempted to turn around whilst jumping rope and, well, failed. I almost made it to the quarter mile marker but my sweaty right hand slipped off the handle. Dammit. I had jumped 440 steps without missing. I had quite a few long runs without missing, and the shortest number of steps was 21 at about 1.5 miles. That was by far the fewest number of jumps I took before missing, and it was significantly lower than all other jumps/runs.

The 3 or us were neck and neck most of the way. Keep in mind, however, that the longer you are able to run whilst jumping rope the slower your time is going to be, as running 50 steps doesn’t take very long but puts you closer to the finish.

I jumped rope/ran the first mile in just under 14 minutes and completed the 2-mile workout in exactly 28 minutes. That’s a pretty even split, particularly since the 2nd mile was mostly uphill.

What a fun workout!

Selfies are also fun to take.