Following up on a number of WODs over the past few days.

Sunday, Oct 23
WWII Army Physical Fitness Test
So we conducted the Army Physical Fitness Test, the World War II version. This was pretty cool.

You can read about the test itself in more detail here.

Basically, it consists of the following:

2 Min Max Rep Strict Pull Up
2 Min Max Rep Push Up
2 Min Max Rep Sit Up
2 Min Max Rep Jump Squats
300 Yd Shuttle run

I really enjoyed participating in this one. So much so that I went out and bought some “vintage” (God it pains me to say that!) Battle Dress Uniform pants in the style that I wore when I served 20 years ago. I also wore my LL Bean boots, as they were the closest thing to combat boots that I own.

By event

Pull Ups – Fail: Needed 7 strict unbroken reps to pass. I got 3. Rounded out the remainder of the two minutes doing kipping and amassed 14 or so.

Push Ups – Fail: Needed 27 unbroken. I got 24. This surprised and disappointed me. I consider my push ups a personal strength. Burning out this early caught me off guard.

I unfortunately had the standard for my era of 42 push ups in my head. I could feel myself failing and kind of bailed. If I had remembered that 27 was the standard, I MAY have been able to squeak those out, or pace myself differently. Honestly, I’m not sure. Kind of bugs me to have missed by that little though.

Sit Ups – Pass: Needed 50 or 52. I got 53

Jump Squats – Pass: Needed 50. I just got by it. This one amused me. I was one of the highest scores for this test in my session. I believe that my MovNat work helped me adapt and succeed with this very unfamiliar move.

300 Yd Shuttle Run: Fail: Needed :52 seconds. I took a minute thirty something.

Bummed I failed, but not too disappointed. The standards above are presumably for a new recruit ranging in age from 18-24. I am well outside that age range. Hell, if I was still serving, I’d be eligible to retire at my age! I have been unable to locate age scaled standards for that version of the test.

By today’s standards for my age group, I scored much more respectably.

Based on this chart – for the 37-41 age bracket (remember, I’m going to be 46 in November, but there’s no scale for that offered here) – 34 reps would be a passing 60% score. I still failed with my 24 reps. However, I know from experience the standard in a modern test is different. By WW II standards, you had to go unbroken. In the modern test, it’s simply 2 minutes max rep. You are permitted to break plank and rest. Hands and feet have to remain in contact with the ground at all times, but you can break plank and redistribute your weight forward or back to find some rest. If we were using today’s testing techniques/standards, I’m confident I would have passed.

For the sit ups – by today’s standards – my score would have put me in the 76th percentile, a comfortably passing score.

So while I don’t like to claim age as an excuse, when you stack my scores against the expectations for my age. I am technically fit for duty. That makes this old soldier feel pretty useful.

Monday, October 24
3 Rounds:
10 Front Squats (185/135)
20 C2B Pullups
50 Double Unders

I scaled Front Squats to 155# and C2B pull ups to chin over bar. I completed 2 rounds and 4 additional front squats. Not really much more to say about this METCON.

I felt very heavy on the pull up rig on this day. Before we got started Doug casually mentioned that he thought perhaps I ought to attempt the front squats at the Rx 185#. I nervously laughed him off and said something off-hand like, “yeah, that would be impressive,” but made no move to increase the weight. He didn’t push the issue. So neither did I. Based on the work I completed, I’m comfortable with the chosen scale.

Wednesday, October 26
15 Wall Balls (20/14)
15 KB Swings (52/35)

The simple METCONs are always the wildest ones. Knew going in that this would be grinder. As Doug instructed the entire class, my goal was to go unbroken through each activity each time I started. It would be ok to rest a bit between say wall balls and KB swings, but once I started, I wanted to go unbroken for that activity.

I almost met that goal. Last round I misplayed a wall ball and dropped it on I believe the 9th rep. Bummer.

When time expired I had completed 9 full rounds and a tenth round of Wall balls. So that’s basically Karen (150 wall balls) and 135 KB swings. Not a bad morning’s work.

Some Random Additional Thoughts:

Saturday I tinkered with kipping Handstand Push Ups again. I successfully completed 2 reps to a single AbMat. I got cocky and attempted a few reps with head on floor. I’m VERY close, but can’t say that I got it. My goal is to continue to practice this and due kipping handstands (head on floor) by the end of November.

Sleep Mode – the last few nights I’ve been having trouble getting to and staying asleep. Monday night it was severe enough that I skipped Tuesday’s WOD and returned home for an extra hour of sleep after dropping my son at school.

Not really certain why this is a challenge lately. I don’t feel particularly stressed about anything, but I find it’s very difficult to settle my mind once I turn out the lights. I’m going to start with a few small changes to my evening routine and see if that helps. First, no screens after 9pm. Hopefully, that will help cut down on the stimulus/chatter as well as help my eyes rest before turning in. Two, no eating after dinner. I’ve been indulging in sweet sugary desserts anywhere between 8 and 9pm. I think perhaps the sugar is getting to me once I try to turn in. We’ll try it for a while and see how it goes.

War of the WODS – Roughly 10 weeks until the competition in mid-January. I’ve had my week of indulgence (it was only supposed to be 4 or 5 days) after the Triangle Invitational. Now I’m policing up my diet again and very much looking forward to this event. I still want to encourage as many fellow Crossfit Durham athletes as possible to compete in this event. I think that would be a blast.

This has been a very good week. Nice to end the week with another first and continue to feel like I’m moving forward in measurable ways.

Thursday, October 20

Segment 1:
10 rounds for time of:
95-lb. sumo deadlift high pulls, 7 reps
95-lb. front squats, 7 reps
95-lb. push jerks, 7 reps

Coach Charlotte placed a 20 minute cap on our group. I checked the white board and saw that a friend in the 6am crew took 21 minutes and change doing the WOD Rx. I know he’s generally stronger, fitter, faster than I am so I elected to scale this to 75#. It was a sound decision.

I was very deliberate about my rest during this WOD. Knock out the 7 high pulls, set the bar down. Four steps back, breathing deeply all the while. Pause, one deep breath. Four steps up, keep breathing, grab the bar and then knock out the remaining 14 reps. I maintained this routine for the duration of the METCON and completed it in 15 minutes and some change. Very satisfying result.

Nice to feel like I was in control of it from start to finish and to be able to adhere to the plan throughout.

Friday, October 21
Segment 1:
4 Bar Muscle Ups
8 Power Snatches (115/80)
16 Box Jumps (24/20)

My mindset about bar muscle ups is much like that of my attitude towards Handstand Push Ups I ought to be closer to accomplishing them than I have been. I was resolved today to find an appropriate scale get locked out and over the bar at least once.

The closest I’ve ever come to completing a bar muscle up was during the Crossfit Open. I think twice I was able to kip high enough that I managed to hook my elbows (perhaps only one) over the bar and hang, but then was unable to wriggle my way into position to get the rest of me over the bar and locked out.

So as Coach Doug was talking about scales with each of us, I told him my goal. He said, “are you going to use a band?”

I was incredulous. Bands are typically verbotten so that we don’t grow dependent on them. I asked, “are you going to let me?!”

He said, “absolutely.” So we agreed on a combination of two bands. One was blue, one was purple, but in reality they were the same width (1.5″)/density.

We agreed that for the METCON I would make four earnest attempts each round and we would see what happened.

First round I was SO close to clearing the bar, but couldn’t quite work out the sequence/timing of steps to make the turn over the bar.

Second time through I made three legit band-assisted bar muscle ups! I was so excited! It was just really cool to feel things come together. Plus, it was cool to hear the encouragement from Coach Doug, Adam and my other friends.

Third and fourth rounds the other work was taxing me pretty good and I once again couldn’t seem to clear the bar. But that’s ok.

I accomplished something I have never done before. So I’m thrilled with the day’s results.

Oh, the other stuff. I did power snatches at 95#. Box jumps were the other accomplishment on the day. In the first round, Doug challenged me saying, “I want all jumps. No step ups. That’s your goal today.” I acknowledged that I heard him and set to the task. Pleased to say I met that challenge too. I wasn’t flying through the reps, but every one was a jump onto the 24 inch box. MOST of them were a jump off, but I know I lost focus on the descent and stepped off a couple of times. When time had expired, I had completed 3 full rounds, 4 additional muscle up attempts and perhaps 4 snatches. I say perhaps because as I write this, I’m realizing I misrecorded and mis-reported my score on the whiteboard.

I wrote down in my WOD book and told Doug that I completed 3 + 13, but I see now that’s not possible. I was still doing snatches when time elapsed, so I never made 12 reps in that round. Let’s just call it 3 rounds + 4 reps. As I said, I was doing snatches when time ran out, but I don’t know how many I completed.

With two new firsts, it has definitely been a great week in the gym.

Man, today was a fun day! Made a bit of progress on some skills that have challenged me for a long long time. I didn’t conquer them by any means, but I moved forward. That’s a gain and that was important for my morale because it’s been a LONG time since I’ve been able to claim a PR or real quantifiable progress on anything.

Segment 1:

EMOM 21 minutes
Min 1: 10 Romanian Deadlift, 50% of best DL
Min 2: 10 Handstand Pushups
Min 3: 50 Double unders

All DL were done a 185# which is a fraction over the prescribed 50%. Really not much to talk about there.

Going out of sequence now: Double Unders – On the first round, I hit an unbroken set of 45! That’s a personal best. I’ve never topped 40 before. The highest run I can recall is around 35 a couple of times. That felt really good. To be fair, I only accumulated 20-25 reps in each of the remaining rounds, but I don’t mind. It was a nice personal victory.

HSPU’s: Handstand Push Ups have bothered me for some time now. I have felt for quite some time that I OUGHT to be able to do a few kipping HSPU’s from say one or two stacked ABMATS. Yet in five plus years of Crossfit, I have never gotten one. I know part of the problem. They intimidate me, but not without cause. On more than one occasion when practicing, I arched my neck and smacked my head on the concrete wall of the gym. Some times hard enough to see stars. That’s not a mistake you want to make more than once.

As we were talking scales for those I let Coach Doug know that I intended to work on/figure out kipping working 30-40 seconds each round. He agreed that it was a good plan/strategy and he came around several times offering tips, guidance and encouragement.

With my head resting on two stacked ABMATS I was able to get at least one kipping HSPU each of the seven rounds and in some rounds I got two! I didn’t really count, but I’m comfortable laying claim to 10 total reps. Even so, 7 verified reps is a long way from 0, so I’m happy.

It was a really cool feeling to have that technique come together. I got a bit aggressive one round and attempted a rep from one ABMAT, but wasn’t able to do that. I quickly stacked the mats two high and got one rep in. What can I say? I was having such a good day, I didn’t want a zero in any round.

I’ve got a fair bit of work to do to get to head on the floor kipping HSPU’s, but having that bit of a breakthrough today and having that quantifiable progress, that clear step forward, was a very nice injection of confidence. I now look forward to continuing to practice these instead of dreading them in a workout.

Segment 2:
4 x 2 minute row at 2k pace
2 min rest

I got in three rows all just under a 2:00/500M pace which was my target. The batteries in my rower died after my third round. So I hopped on a stationary bike and did a quick 2 minute ride just to get in 8 full minutes of work.

In between rounds of rowing a friend on the next rower observed, “you have great gym noises.” I’m not certain what exactly inspired the comment. Perhaps it was the chuff of my exhales as I was breathing during the rows. Maybe it was the “woo-hoos” and “hell yeahs” of the day as my personal victories occurred. Maybe it was a combination of all of the above. Doesn’t matter.

The comment made us both laugh and I answered, “I’m father to a 7 and 12 yo. I’m full of all KINDS of sound effects.” We laughed again and settled into the next work session.

A very entertaining and satisfying day, to be sure.

So this weekend, I had the privilege of competing in a six person team Crossfit competition. It was fantastic! It was a day of challenges both physical and mental. It was a day full of camaraderie, cooperation, support and most of all fun. I’d go back into competition with any and all of my team mates without hesitation should the opportunity present itself again.


I’m not going to try and recap every event in full. It’s way too much. I will however offer some thoughts/observations on various aspects.

-) At CFD the terrain around our gym is uneven. Our 400M run course is a steady incline out for 200M, then back down on the same 200M. This weekend, the 400M run course was much closer to level. The difference was remarkable. I don’t have my splits, but I am absolutely confident that between competitive adrenaline and the much flatter course; I ran some of the best 400’s ever.

Knowing that will make future training runs on our course more bearable.😉

-) When your team strategy differs from most every other team’s plan, it can be really difficult to stay in your game, stay focused and not let it play tricks on your mind. I’m pleased to say that when that happened to me, I was able to stay calm, stick to our agreed upon plan. By doing so, we achieved better than anticipated results.

) I matched my all time high clean and jerk at 195#. Reasons that feels like a significant accomplishment: 1) It was after hitting 4 clean and jerks at 185#, 2) and those 4 lifts came just 5 minutes after nearly 5 minutes of aerobic work! So I was very pleased.

-) After 30 unbroken wall balls, convincing my legs to adjust from squatting to running to transition into a 400M dash, took some concentration! I tried to take off with a long running gait and my glutes were screaming at me, “Wait! We’re still squatting! Why are we not squatting anymore? What the hell is going on!” It took a good 50-75 meters before my stride felt comfortable.

-) Getting into position to climb a rope that doesn’t reach the floor is VERY different than setting yourself up on one that does. That was an unanticipated challenge and one that caught me off guard. That’s ok. The ropes where uniform for every team and we train for the unknown and unknowable.

-) While I was very pleased with my individual performance in Event 2, I think Event 5 with Overhead Squats, Walking Overhead Plate Lunges, and Snatches was my favorite/strongest event of the day. It surprises me to say that.

-) As the oldest member of my team, I felt like I carried my fair share of the load on the day. That’s a rewarding feeling and a relief. Going into the competion, before the WODs were announced, I had concerns that depending on the events I might be more of a liability than an asset to my team.

I’m guessing those are concerns that almost every athlete has to some degree at some point or other. It’s both satisfying and a relief to come out on the other side of the competition and feel like I made a contribution.

-) Physically I feel better than anticipated. I’m tired and a bit sore, but not punished as I expected to be. That being said, I didn’t feel strong enough to tackle a Hero WOD “Glenn” with two miles of running, rope climbs and 100 burpees today.😉

So what’s next? I’m taking from now through Wednesday when I take the family to the State Fair to eat with absolutely no attention given to calories and content. After that, back on to the nutrition train (no beer in the house. Very limited bread).

I’m already registered as a Masters Scaled Individual athlete for the War of the WODs in Greensboro, NC over Martin Luther King weekend in January. This is one of the largest Crossfit events in our region. It is, in my estimation, likely the closest I’ll ever get as an athlete to a Regionals level competition. I’m curious to see how I will stack up against a fair sized group of other guys my own age.

With some discipline and a target date/event on the calendar, my goal is to control my diet better than I have in years past. Once the State Fair comes around, that unofficially signals the beginning of the hibernation season eating habits. I want to avoid that this year.

My other goal for the War of the WODs is to encourage as many friends from CFD as possible to join in and participate. I think it would be absolutely amazing to take a large squad of people to the event and share the day. We’ll see what we can accomplish between now and then.

Been feeling a bit nicked up lately. Nothing serious, just taking inventory and realizing that my shoulders/neck have been really tight since Tuesday’s WOD. I have a tightness in my left forearm that I absolutely can not roll out or relax. Taking that all into consideration, today’s assigned 21-15-9 Deadlifts 225# and Ring Dips sounded like absolutely no fun.

I didn’t want to skip the gym entirely though. I missed Monday recovering my car from the body shop. I sat out Wednesday per my normal rest cycle. Ditching today would have felt wrong. So I improvised my own work today.

I went to CFD, but excused myself to a corner where I could lay out some gymnastic mats and do my own thing.

Basically, I spent 20 minutes or so tinkering with ground flow hip mobility work. Then I moved up to some tumbling and crawling. That all went well and felt pretty good. Watched the video I posted earlier and realized I’m rolling wrong. I should be rolling over the shoulder of the foot that steps forward. I’ve been rolling the opposite shoulder. Need to work on that.

I experimented with this maneuver (a tic tac – it happens in the first 15 sec or so. No need to watch the whole video.) for a bit but abandoned it pretty quickly.

Essentially, I was trying to run up to the wall on an angle, jump up with one foot and push off the wall to change direction and land. When I took the MovNat Level 1 and 2 Cert back in November, it was the weekend after I tore my meniscus. This was one of the first moves from which I had to excuse myself. The combination of running and lateral jumping was far too painful to participate. I wanted to experiment today to see how it would go. My goal was to hit the MovNat cert requirement of leaping from one plate then onto the wall, performing that push and landing on a target plate 6′ away. Wasn’t even close.

The good news is it’s not a reflection of the health of my knee. My leg can handle all of the stresses of all of the motions and the directional changes.The challenges are: 1) It’s totally unfamiliar. Conceptually, it’s all very simple. In execution, there’s a LOT more happening here than I realized. It’s going to take practice to work up to this. 2) There’s a mental block. When I approach the wall so that the wall is positioned on my right and I will be pushing off the wall with my right foot I’m nervous about the left foot landing. Coming from the opposite direction, I’m actually more comfortable setting my left foot into the wall so that it’s a right-foot landing. Still, it’s all so foreign that I need to work on it a while.

I ended up spending some time simply standing and facing the wall. I would take one step forward, plant one foot about 18″ up the wall, lean into that foot, lift the other foot off the floor and then push myself backward. Imagine doing box step ups against the wall. I did a number of these reps simply to get my feet accustomed to grabbing onto and pushing off the wall. This is my one issue with MonNat and the resources currently available. There aren’t any resources/guidelines on scaling. We as athletes/trainers have to work them out/improvise on our own. Crossfit is full of progressions for things. That same sort of guidance isn’t readily available for MovNat.

Won’t lie. I was disappointed that the lateral tic tac wasn’t easier. In my mind, pulling off that maneuver today would have indicated another significant benchmark in declaring my knee ‘completely healed.’ I don’t know why I expected myself to be able to naturally pull off a trick that I’d never practiced before, but some how I did. A lesson in framing expectations relearned, I guess.

All in all, a pretty good play day, if not a spectacular one.

This workout got the better of me today and I didn’t see that coming. Still not certain how I feel about it. I do know that we got A LOT accomplished in a one hour class!

The last round of weights for the cleans were out of my league. The most I’ve ever cleaned is 210#. I scaled the weights to 135, 155 and 185 by segment.

There were more athletes than rowers this morning so Coach Doug asked for volunteers to ride the Assault Bike in lieu of rowing. I jumped at that offer. I much prefer the bike over rowing or running; so I was all in for that.

Doug set the bike standard at 20, 16 and 12 cals by round. More on that in a bit.

Segment 1:
5 Minute Window…
Row 400m + 1 Rd of Cindy
AMRAP Power Cleans (155/105)
-rest 5 mins-

I was first to the rig in this segment. The round of Cindy (5 pull ups, 10 push ups, 15 squats) was fine. There was ample time for cleans. I complete 20 by the time the five minute window was over. I was pretty pleased with that segment.

Segment 2:
5 Minute Window…
Row 300m + 2 Rds of Cindy
AMRAP Power Cleans (185/135) – at least increase the load from the first round
-5 min rest-

I was first off the bike this round and I think second to the rig. 2 rounds of Cindy were definitely tougher. Push ups got squirrelly fast! This was an unpleasant surprise. I had to break up the second set of push ups into 5 and 5. Still, there was time for 9 power cleans and that seemed to be reasonably close to what everyone else accomplished. So it seemed an appropriate scale. I was still satisfied after this round.

Segment 3:
5 Minute Window…
Row 200m + 3 Rd of Cindy
AMRAP Power Cleans (225/155) – increase the load from the second round

Apparently, Coach Doug felt the bike scale was too easy. He challenged those of us on the bike to complete 20 calories again for the final round. Not certain where I came off the bike for this round. All I know is that I sloggged down TREMENDOUSLY during the required rounds of Cindy. So much so that I was on the eighth squat of the third round when time expired. I never got to the 185# bar. Not gonna lie. That was discouraging. I had no illusions that I was going to do dozens of power cleans, but I had every expectation of myself that I would get to the bar and get in a couple of reps!

Segment 4:
EMOM 12 minutes
Odd: 10 C2B Pullups
Even: 15 Wall Balls (20/14)

For this segment, I attempted one round of chin over bar pull ups. But they were gone. Partly, I was tired. Partly, my heart wasn’t in them. I was still sulking over the previous segment. Partly, I wanted to protect my hands from tearing further with a competition coming up in 10 days. I tore them a bit last Thursday and they are still healing, so I’m nursing them a bit this week. So I went to ring rows for all other assigned rounds. Wall balls were tough, but I did all rounds unbroken. That felt like a bit of redemption after a disappointing third segment.

All in all, not an awful performance, not a day to celebrate either. They’re going to happen, I guess. I would have liked to gotten one power clean in during that third segment. It’s not the end of the world, to be sure. I’m a bit concerned about how tight my shoulders and neck are right now. Need to put some serious effort into mobility in that region today and for the next few days.

I was the only athlete at the 7:15 am WOD today! This is not a positive for me. I feed off the energy of other athletes and the morning banter. Tough to banter when you’re the only one there. Don’t get me wrong. I talk to myself all the time and find myself to be entirely hysterical.

Somehow though, when you’re slogging up and down the sidewalk alone on a 400M run on a gray, overcast morning; it feels a lot longer than just 400M. It showed in my results too.

5 Rds for Time
15 Pull Ups
400M Run
20 min Cap

I went into this METCON concerned about the pull ups. I didn’t believe that I had 75 pull ups in me. I told Coach Charlotte that as we were going through mobility and warm ups and even set a pair of rings up calibrated to my height for whenever the pull ups evaporated.

That being said, we also discussed that since I was working alone and didn’t expect to finish, this would be a great morning to really focus on my kipping and try to improve that and see how far it would carry me.

I’m rather tickled to say that my kip was really on today. Body positioning was tight. Shoulder flexibility was great particularly on the bottom outward bow, and I was able to control my swings all through out.

I needed four sets to get through the first round. Three sets of five for the middle three rounds. I think it was four sets in the final round.

The only thing that I know about that final round was that I needed two reps to finish it out and I got a bit careless about my grip. After 73 pull ups without ripping I tore my right hand open on one of those last two reps! I had been so careful! To rip it then was a bit annoying. Still, I was mostly excited that I successfully completed 75 chin over bar pull ups. So I didn’t get too worked up about the hand.

I was very deliberate and committed to my rest during the pull ups. Drop from a set, four steps out, four steps back, deep breath, WORK.

Coach Charlotte was pacing me and it took me about 1 minute for each round of pull ups. That left 15 minutes to run 5 x 400M and I needed every damn second.

I know this because I crossed the start/finish line at 19:50! I’m not pleased with those runs, but I’m not surprised or overly upset. I was running alone with no sense of pace. I was also trying to conserve energy and breath as well as shake out my arms for each next round of pull ups. So the runs were definitely not part of my focus. Still, they should be better than that.

In the end, I’m pleasantly surprised with the pull ups and can accept the results on the runs. A good morning overall.