Lately, writing about workouts has seemed very trivial. The world has seemed very intense and documenting METCONs has felt very insignificant. There have been too many workouts between my last post and this one to recap them all. I’ll offer some notes.

1) Set a 3RM Back Squat this week. It was right around 82% of my all time PR. The best news there is it feels like I can truly trust my knee again.

2) Our team continues to prepare for the Triangle Invitational. I’ve enjoyed these practices more than I expected. There are limits to what we can accomplish in practice. Afterall, we don’t know what the workouts will be. Still, it’s been cool. Beyond the practices themselves, I’ve really enjoyed the practice preparation. Researching various team workouts for us to practice, mulling over pairings for WODs. It’s been an interesting exercise.

Beyond the gym, things have been pretty wild in the world, no?

I’ve been thinking a lot about all of it.

-) Trying to keep my son safe at the bus stop from rogue pit bulls and reports of men harassing school girls at their bus stops in the mornings
-) Bombings in NJ and NY
-) Shootings of black citizens in cities across the country
-) Participating in the Durham Pride parade to celebrate diversity of the LGBTQ community
-) The insanity of the raging animosity of Presidential Debate and this entire election cycle

I don’t have answers, but I have a couple of observations and as a result, some new commitments or resolutions.

First and foremost, I recognize this. No one should live their life scared. No one, man, woman or child should live their life preoccupied with their every action in fear for their well-being because of their gender, their skin color or who they choose to love. It’s wrong at the most fundamental level and I want to help create change. Change for my family, my friends, my community at large.

Next, so much of what I see seems to stem from a fundamental lack of respect in every direction. The bigger issues I’m not certain how to help, but I’m working on those.

This lack of respect, this is something I understand and can address in my own modest way.

Going forward I’m only using my space in social media and my voice in this world to promote the channels, the individuals and organizations that I feel are moving in the right direction; the ones that are providing voice to the oppressed and viable solutions to the challenges we face.

I won’t give voice to the anger, the sarcasm and the venom. I won’t allow others to post it on my walls and let it live there. It’s a small thing, perhaps. Meaningful? I’m not sure. But it’s under my control and therefore I will take action. For myself, my resolution going forward is to find a way to give voice only to those who want to be #PartOfTheSolution.

Want to join me? Let’s talk about how we might do it together.

The other day Lil Bit and I took a stroll around our neighborhood. I walked. She rode her bike. The rule is I have to be able to see her at all times. she’s not allowed to turn a corner with out me.

I watched her pedal away up the block and as she sped off into the distance, I was thinking all sorts of big Daddy thoughts.

“Isn’t this cool? There she is exerting her independence. Dashing off fearlessly into the next adventure, eager to see what lies ahead as I trail behind.”

Watching my kids out travel out in front of me always makes me emotional. It’s one of my favorite parenting moments. Seeing them forge ahead with out their mother and I using the tools and skills we’ve taught them to be independent; it always makes me smile. I always imagine myself as the alpha male of a lion pride or wolf pack; observing my young. I may look casual and even aloof, but I’m always watching as I allow them to explore, but not get too far ahead.

It also makes me wistful to realize that they are growing up and they rely on me less and less each day. It’s a funky thing, because it means that Erin and I are being successful as parents. Still, everyone likes to feel useful and needed, right?

As I’m drifting along in my mind and wandering up the block, Lil Bit is straddling her bike idle at the corner waiting on me to catch up.

Suddenly, she lets the bike drop and comes racing down the street on foot SCREAMING all the way. She runs clean by me, grabs my waist with one arm, wraps herself around me and peeks out from behind me staring at her bike. It seems an excessively large insect buzzed her tower. She was convinced it was going to eat her alive and she came running to me for protection.

Lil Bit couldn’t understand why I was smiling as we walked up to retrieve her bike and continue our jaunt.

If you’re familiar with Crossfit and double unders (jumping rope where the rope passes under you feet twice per one jump), then I’m  guessing you know that double unders have a vibe, and some times a life, all their own.

I’m not a person who can consciously set a pace for double unders, control that pace and replicate it day to day. When I do double unders there’s a pace of the day. I have to find that pace while warming up and once I find it, then hopefully it’s manageable and I can replicate it set to set.

Some days it’s smooth and easy, some days it’s moderate…then there are days like today. Today was a day where the only pace at which I was able to synchronize my hands and feet would be one that was best described as frantic. It was fast, crazy fast. It was erratic, exasperating, and exhausting. More than once, Doug came by and encouraged me to slow down and relax but it wasn’t there.

All attempts at anything less than warp speed resulted in trips and resets after 2 reps at best. These segments were supposed to be fast, but this was kind of ridiculous.

I chose to stick with double unders simply because I need the practice and I need to try and learn to manage them. It was a stubborn choice perhaps, but I stand by it.

Segment 1:
With a running clock…
AMRAP 5 minutes:
60 Double Unders
21 Deadlift (95/65)
Rest 5:00

This was the ugliest segment by far. I kept trying to slow down. I was trying to force myself to settle in and make myself relax and find an easy place where my hands and feet synched up. After roughly 20 sets of 2 and 2 + minutes; I abandoned my rope and moved to deadlifts.

I then went back to my rope. I completed enough double unders to claim 1 round and 30 reps; but I didn’t declare Rx since I modfied the rep scheme.

Segment 2:
AMRAP 5 minutes:
45 Double Unders
15 Front Squats (95/65)
Rest 5:00

I let myself speed up the double unders here and things smoothed out somewhat for that segment, but that meant I was absolutely gasping through the front squats and unable to go unbroken at a very light weight.

Completed 1 round and 51 reps Rx here.

Segment 3:
AMRAP 5 minutes:
30 Double Unders
9 Thrusters (95/65)

For the last segment I just decided to embrace the insanity and just let things fly. It was ugly. It was inefficient, but it was arguably effective as I hit my longest run of the METCON 23 unbroken double unders, during this segment. When the five minutes was up I completed two full rounds. Most days, I don’t like thrusters. Today I was so relieved to be able to set my rope aside and pick up the bar. I was disappointed that there were only 9 per round.

Talk about an absolutely spastic work out! Yeesh.

Thursday, Sept 8

3 Rounds
30 Deadlift, 185/135
20 Front Squats
10 Power Cleans
*Rest 2 minutes between rounds

This was not my day. Chalk it up to the third straight day of WODs, old age, bad attitude, a combination of all of the above; I’m not sure. But this WOD punished me and defeated me.

I knew that the RX weight was out of my league. It was too many power cleans for me at that weight, but I wanted to challenge myself and not go too light. I set the bar up for 155 with an extra ten pounds nearby. I had every intention of working at 165# for the METCON.

While warming up though I decided that things felt creaky and I’d work the first round at 155# and if things improved, I’d advance to 165 for the remaining two rounds. Yeah, that was a pipe dream.

It’s not worth covering round by round, exercise by exercise. The short of it is, I completed 2 full rounds, the third set of 30 deadlifts, 12 additional front squats then quit around the 22 minute mark. I was defeated, that’s all.

For what it’s worth, I have written that entire day off as just a ‘horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad day.” Here’s why.

After that crummy workout I was involved in a fender bender in my Mustang later in the morning. Most importantly no one was injured! Cars can be fixed. Fixing people is harder. So for this I am grateful.

The car is drivable, but it looks ugly and that hurts.

So after a crummy workout and a car accident, I tried to find something safe and productive to do.

I wanted to split fire wood but thought, “Do you really think it’s a good idea for you to pick up an axe today?”

So then I thought: “Ok, I’ll wash dishes. Wait, knife blades and broken glass. Better not.”

Laundry! “Yeah, laundry! Soft, safe, no edges. I’ll fold laundry.”

While untangling a pair of gym shorts, I took them by the waist band and snapped them out in front of me to straighten the legs. When I did this, one of the draw strings snapped upward ‘crack the whip’ style popping me in my right eye leaving it watering and bloodshot! Yes, that’s right folks. That’s how I managed to poke myself in the eye folding laundry. It was at that point, I simply accepted that the day was just a total wash out and I gave myself permission to stop trying to do anything productive or useful. I spent the remainder of the day trying to shake the negative mojo that had stuck to me and I immersed myself in some movies on TV.

Some days are just horrible, terrible, no-good very bad days.

Monday, Dec 12
Segment 1:
3RM Overhead Squat

I did 5 total sets of 3 reps each: 95#, 115#, 135#, 155#, and 165#.

165# is 85% of my 1RM of 195#. So I’m very satisfied with these results.
Segment 2:
5×5 Front Squat at 75% across

I worked that same 165# across all 5 sets of front squats. All reps were well below parallel and came up pretty quickly. They got a little sticky in the last two sets.

As I was working through these sets, I was chiding myself that they should have been heavier. I knew that 165# wasn’t the prescribed 75%; but I consoled myself by concentrating on squatting very deeply and maintaining really good form. It was only after the WOD when I realized that I was working around 65%; that I cut myself some mental slack. I wasn’t as far from 75% as I initially thought.

Segment 3:
5 rounds NOT for time of:*
Max Push Press, Bodyweight
Max Toes To Bar
No rest between movements, but 3 minute rest between rounds

Bodyweight was never an option for this WOD. My bodyweight is my all time 1RM. Plus, when Doug said we would be taking the bar from the floor, that sealed that deal. I would need to scale the weight. Doug’s guidance was to choose a weight that would allow for 3-7 reps per round. I elected to keep the same 165# that I had been using all morning. It proved to be a very challenging weight.

By round, I managed 3 Push Press/10 T2B; 4/11; 3/10; 4/7; and 0/75.

I was disappointed initially, to put up a zero for push press in that final round. When you consider that we were supposed to hit max reps; it’s not that surprising or disappointing, I suppose.

I was very pleased with the T2B! My goal was to get 10 reps per round and I missed that, but grip strength was the limiting factor. This caught me by surprise. My left forearm specifically was cramping up in the third round and in the final two rounds, I didn’t trust myself to hang upside down beyond 7 reps. It may seem odd, but it’s a relief to me to have grip strength be the limiting factor as opposed to lifting my hips and getting toes to the bar.

All in all a satisfying day.

Crossfit is fraught with little hazards and injuries that over time one learns to avoid either through improving technique or proper care of one’s body. Today, with 5 years of dedicated Crossfit experience I incurred a minor injury that I have never seen before and have no idea how it happened.

Segment 1:
Running Clock…
at the 0:00
3 Rounds:
10 Power Snatch, 95/65
10 Bar Facing Burpees
at the 10:00
2 Rounds
15 Power Snatch
15 Bar facing Burpees

This is a deload week at CFD. Workouts are still intense, but we’re not maximizing every moment of the 60 minute class with high-intensity functional fitness type work.

As you can see by the METCON above it’s meant to be pretty quick. The faster you finish the first three rounds, the more rest you earn before the last two.

I scaled the snatches to 75#. In hindsight, I probably should have gone a shade heavier; but in the spirit of deload week, I’m pretty good with my results.

Completed the first set of work in 5:22 and went unbroken on each phase, stopping only to chalk hands before each round of snatches.

The second phase I completed in about 5:15. The first round was completely unbroken. The second time through I again paused to chalk hands and broke the snatches into sets of 9 and 6.

Given I only utilized half the allotted work time. I wouldn’t argue too hard if someone said, “you should have run this at 85# or so.” I do think the Rx would have been overly difficult the way my body felt today.

Somehow during this METCON I managed to blister and rip open the blisters on BOTH pinkie fingers. In five years of Crossfit, this is a first. I’ve done numerous METCONs with more reps of both snatches and other lifts. This has never happened.  I have no idea what was different today that caused these tears. I showed Coach Doug and he gave me this totally perplexed look of, “how did you do that?” Neither of us have an answer.

Segment 2:
Mobility – all I will say regarding mobility is that there was far more groaning, wincing, whining and “Oh, ow” across the entire class going on during the mobility than there was during the METCON. Clearly deload week is right on time.😉

I had lots of conflicting emotions about working out today.

“Ugh, another long EMOM.”

“Guarantees you’ll get some rest.”

“I feel so creaky.”

“You won’t loosen up sitting around and you have to drive the boy to school anyway.”

In the end I went.

Segment 1:
On the Minute x 21:
Minute 1 – 15/12 Calorie Row
Minute 2 – 15 Box Jump Overs (24/20)
Minute 3 – 15 Med Ball Cleans (20/14)
Scale rep numbers as needed to allow for 15-20 second rest each minute

Coach Charlotte put us through a very complete warm up sequence and it became clear very quickly that today was not going to be an ‘all-star’ sort of day.

As we prepped for the WOD she explained that she wanted us to end our exercise at the 40 second mark to ensure transition and rest time for the next event.

That meant that 6 of the 7 rows were 14 calories and one was 13.

6 of the 7 rounds of Med Ball Cleans were 13 reps each. Since it was the last event of the last minute I completed all 15 reps that round.

Box Jump Overs proved complicated. I started out with a 24″ box jumping up on the box, then off. I was trying to be efficient and quick, but two landings per rep proved to be more than I was willing to tolerate on my knee.

It wasn’t acutely painful. It was just uncomfortable. Could just feel things bumping around inside. The surgeon warned me about that. Let’s face it. When they repaired my meniscus, they snipped off the torn section. There’s simply a bit less cushion inside my knee than I used to have. Consequently, some actions are just sort of unfriendly.

With the box jump overs the combinations of jumping, landing, twisting, jumping again, I could feel my knee getting achy really quickly. Today it just wasn’t necessary to inflict that on my legs. If I was in a competition and the standard required “jump overs” I could do it. I would pay for it the next day; but I can do them. Today, there was nothing to be gained by punishing myself. So I flipped the box to 20″ and did step overs (10 or 11 per round) for the remaining 5 rounds.

Part of the key to getting better at these jump overs will be relearning soft landings. Today I was pretty much slamming to the floor from the top of the box. Need to ease up on the landings.

Segment 2:
Mobility

Charlotte put us through a 20 min or so ROMWOD session that was very much appreciated. Not certain if Friday will be a rest day or not. I’ve got three workouts in this week. I would like to get four. We’ll see.

It will very much be a game time decision. I’ll already be at the box. I’m coaching the 6am bootcamp class. So it would certainly be convenient.

At the same time I’m feeling very crunchy and slow right now. Additionally, I’m taking a day off from my Saturday coaching duties to take the kids on a family-friendly 2 mile mud run/obstacle course. That won’t be an overly aggressive workout, but it will be work. It will also be the longest run in over a year for me. So we’ll just have to see how everything feels on Friday morning.

Wow. Just. Wow. As is so often the case in Crossfit, it’s the simple WODs that are the most savage. It’s been a long time since I had to play mental tricks and make all kinds of deals with myself just to get to the finish line as I did today.

Segment 1:
Work up to a heavy Complex of 1 Hang Snatch Pull + 1 Hang Squat Snatch

This was pretty succinct and straight forward. Worked up to a complex of 115#. Not terribly heavy, but Doug helped me fix a hitch in my set up. The result was a much better landing position well back in my heels instead of up on my toes. Need to keep that in mind.

Segment 2:
EMOM 30 minutes
Odd: 10 Burpees
Even: 150M Run

Look at that WOD, simple, elegant….SAVAGE

The first thing that got in my head is that it’s an EMOM. You WILL work for 30 minutes. No negotiating. No getting around it. No chance that you might finish in less time, if was a 30 minute cap. So buckle up, you’re in for the whole ride.

Second thing that hit me was the numbers. Instinctively, I added up the number of reps and overall distance. That was a mistake that I had to overcome later.

Third thing that got me: bodyweight…all bodyweight. I’m a lot lighter than I used to be years ago. I’m not as light as I would like to be and an all bodyweight WOD is a bear for me.

Honestly, I was really pleased with myself and how things were going for about 15 minutes. I was finishing burpees consistently in the 43 to 46 second range. Runs were all coming in around the same time.

Somewhere around the 18 minute mark though, I just got angry at the whole damn situation.

“This is stupid WOD! 12 more minutes of this garbage?! I’m not going to make it. I should just pull over on this run, dry heave a while and lay off. I’ll sit out one round of each and then dive back in.”

I really don’t know why I didn’t. But I argued with myself for about 3 more minutes while continuing to work. In that time, I figured out that even though my attitude sucked, my pace had not fallen off significantly and we were considerably closer to the finish line.

At that point, I changed my focus. I stopped looking ahead and only thought about the round I was in.

“Ok. 10 burpees in 45 seconds. You can do that. 10 burpeees. That’s it.”

Then it was, “150M in 45 seconds. You can do that. Just focus on THIS run.”

It worked. My mind calmed down and I was able to stay in motion and complete the WOD as prescribed.

Some days, the challenge is not on the floor. It’s between our ears.