As I prep for January, I hope to spend more time assessing my training. Part of that, I hope, will be more frequent posts. We’ll see. I intend to categorize this blogging as part of the “What Have You Done Today to prepare for WOTW 2018.”

Segment 1:
Power Snatch – Based off 1RM of 155#

2 Reps @ 65% – 100#
1 Rep @ 70% – 110#
1 Rep @ 75% – 115#
5×1 to build to a heavy single

The snatch felt pretty good today. In fact, I did the first two reps of 65% as full squat snatches, until Doug reminded that we’re working power snatches today. I debated making a case to work full squat snatches, but elected to shift to the prescribed work.

Executed singles at 125#, 130#, 140#, 145# and 150#. I didn’t miss any lifts, but there were only one or two reps that felt correct. Seemed to have a tough time putting the whole package together for the lifts. One lift while concentrating on keeping the bar path close to the body, I seemed to land forward in my feet. Sure enough, next rep, while concentrating on my feet it was a big loopy bar path. Just kind of the way it went today. No big deal.

Segment 2:
Back Squat
2 Rounds:
5 Reps @ 75%
3 Reps @ 80%
1 Rep @ 85%
Rest 2:00 between each set of squats

So, “Back in the Day” I used to have a back squat in excess of 300#. I have hit some singles within 10% of that in recent memory, but I really have no clue what my 1RM is right now. I used 300# for planning purposes. That was borderline comical.

Based on an assumed 300# 1RM I intended to lift
5 @ 225#
3 @ 240#
1 @ 255#

After some warming up, I loaded the 225 and struggled to hit a single rep. Therefore, that became my top weight and I scaled back to:

5 @ 185
3 @ 205
1 @ 225

I may have over compensated in terms of scaling back; but all of the reps felt very good and the work left me plenty sweaty and breathing heavy. So I’ll qualify that as mission accomplished.

Segment 3:
For Time:
30 Power Snatches (Rx: 135/95 S1: 105/75 S2: 75/45)
8 min cap

This is a Crossfit benchmark WOD “Isabel.” I have no recorded time for this one. I don’t know if that’s a matter of I truly haven’t done it before (I don’t remember doing so); or faulty record keeping (it’s possible). Since I don’t have a clear record, I’m qualifying today’s run as our ‘first date.’ Either way, I was mulling over how to go at it today.

Part of me was curious to find out if I was even capable of doing 30 snatches at 135#. I believe with copious amounts of time, I probably could; but I’m not 100% convinced. I was debating testing that.

On the other side of the equation, this is meant to be a FAST workout. Ultimately, I chose speed over load. I scaled my bar to Level 1.5 (at 115#). Finished the METCON in 3:33. I’m very satisfied with that time. Felt like I hit an appropriate scale with a sufficient mix of speed and effort. In hindsight, I wish I’d spent less time obsessing over the weight and investing a bit more time game planning my rep scheme. Pretty confident I can shave a bit of time off that with a bit more strategy. I did  12 reps the first set. Then something like 7, 5 and a final 6. I think now that I have experienced this once, I could probably go 11, 10 and 9, reducing time away from the bar…maybe.

So – with 83 days until War of the WODS, I now have to answer the question for myself “What Have You Done Today?” 1) Got my WOD in; 2) Spent 20 minutes on knee rehab; 3) Assessed the day’s work. Still to do? 20 minutes of RomWOD tonight with Erin. Pretty effective day.


Last January I took part in a fitness event called War of the WODs. I’ve registered for the 2018 iteration and I’m mapping out my training for now until the day of the competition.

It’s going to be an interesting event. Last year, Masters (I believe) was simply defined as Over 40 with Rx and Scaled divisions. This year there’s a 35-45 Masters (Rx and Scaled) division and a 46 and up division (No Rx/Scale distinction). I will be 47 on the day of competition.

Last year I finished 7th of 23 in the Masters Scaled division (

My goal this year is to podium in my division.

That may be unrealistic. Still, it’s the target I’m aiming for.

I’ve mapped out my plan for now through Jan 14.

If we’re connected on Facebook, or you follow this blog regularly you’ll see a few new things crop up. #WHYDT – What Have You Done Today? This is my daily challenge to myself. What have I accomplished this day to prepare for the event? It could be any combination of training, rehab, mobility, skill work, nutrition. Nutrition is going to be a big factor as we enter the Season of Eating. But every day I need to keep the competition date in mind and I need to ask and answer the question.

I’m also going to count it down…#WOTW83Days. You may have already noticed this one in my FB posts. This will simply be my reminder to acknowledge how much time exists between where we are and game day.

Will this help? I guess we’re about to find out together. I just know that for this event this time around, I want to compete and have absolutely no excuses and no question in my own mind that within the confines of my life, I gave this competition all the attention that I could afford.


The past few weekends in and around the box have been really special to observe. Here are a few examples of things I witnessed which stand out.

Seeing young girls successfully lift weights they never knew they were capable of handling. Watching the looks of amazement after the CF Kids Total when I handed them their score cards and they saw for the first time the actual weights they lifted. You could almost watch their confidence blossom as the thought dawned on them, “Hey! I just did that!”

Seeing adult women challenge themselves to step even further outside their comfort zone and lift weights in a mixed gender friendly competitive environment for the first time.

Sharing the competition floor with a 16 year old kid and seeing him miss a lift in the heat of competition, then collect himself and hit 3 heavy lifts in quick succession matching his all time personal best. All while on the clock, with dozens of eyes on him because he was just called out as the event’s youngest registered competitor.

Hearing the Personal Record Bell ring at the gym again…and again…and again over and over as so many competitors exceeded their personal bests.

Hearing the cheers, seeing the high fives, the smiles, the hugs as every ring of the bell is celebrated by the entire community. Crossfit really is the living embodiment of the concept of co-op-etition. That notion that I’ll push you, you’ll challenge me and together we’ll drive each other to heights neither of us would reach on our own. And when we get there, we’ll celebrate each other!

Seeing the looks of pride and satisfaction on the faces of the coaches that spent so much time coordinating and conducting the events of the past two Saturdays.

And probably my absolute favorite moment of the past few weeks, hearing testimonial from an athlete about how their training came to the forefront of their mind and helped them think about HOW to move their body. How the challenges they’ve overcome in the gym empowered them, giving them confidence to endure real world physical challenges outside the box.

These are the moments that stand out as I reflect on time spent at the gym the last few weeks. Not certain where it’s coming from, but I’m feeling very “paternal” about the gym community lately. I’m comfortable with that. Better than comfortable…I’m embracing it. It feels natural.

My own training is going fine. I’m maintaining my WOD schedule. I’m working my rehab, recovery, mobility, etc all on pace. But I’m less caught up in that lately. I find I’m far more concerned with trying to stay dialed in to and engaged with the community lately and it feels very natural and right. We’ll see where it leads.

Young People,

Here’s a little something to help you understand your parents. Beyond all the socially, morally, familial-imposed responsibilities parents, guardians and caregivers have to their children there is an even more vital visceral urge. It’s our prime objective: protect the young.

Those three words: protect the young, drive every action, reaction, decision and impulse a parent makes; whether we recognize or acknowledge it or not.

Yes, we want you to grow up. Yes, we want you to leave our homes and become independent, socially responsible contributing members of society. Yes, we want you to live your lives without us (Really we do!). Yes, we want you to forge your own paths in life. Sincerely.

The trouble is those goals so frequently seem to be in direct opposition to the prime objective.

That’s why we make decisions we do. They’re not always the right decisions. Want to know two things that are really nutty? First, some times we KNOW they’re not the logical or right decisions. Second, we can’t help ourselves! We still make these seemingly random, arbitrary, loopy decisions simply to satisfy the prime objective: protect the young!

So what do you do differently? Not a damn thing.

Go boldly out into the world.

Be brave.

Be brazen.

Challenge the system.

Be who ever it is you’re going to be. (Unless you’re going to be an asshole. You’re mother and I won’t have that shit and we’ll call it out and knock you down every time!)

Love whomever you want to love.

Live how you choose to live.

Your Mother and I will always be here. We will ALWAYS have your back and support you in what you do. Just remember this…

In those moments when we argue, when we don’t see eye to eye and you can’t for the life of you understand why we’re behaving as we are, consider the parents’ prime objective: protect the young. You just might find clarity you were searching for.

Man! Keeping up with this writing is proving to be much more challenging than I anticipated.

I will spare everyone the details of every WOD since Sept 1. I will limit notes to a couple of things that have stood out over the past 11 days.

Labor Day – got to partner with my wife Erin for the hero WOD Liam. That was a treat. It’s very rare that Erin and I get to WOD together. We’re freqently in the box together, but doing separate things. It was a lot of fun to share the workout with her.

Double Unders are not great right now – I don’t remember what day we did double unders, but they are really making my left calf cranky. That’s annoying, because it wasn’t really a high rep sort of WOD. As I recall, the day they were part of the WOD, I did more than 100, but less than 150, and my calf was tight for days afterward. More rehab and more mobility, I guess.

Sept 12
Segment 1:
Handstand Pushups Practice
Then, EMOM 8 minutes:
3-8 reps HSPU

I got at least 1 HSPU to a single AbMat every round! One round I got three unbroken reps and one round I got 2 singles. That’s not high-rep, by any means. But that’s a REAL GOOD day of upsidedown-edness for me. I was pleasantly surprised.

Segment 2:
Every 3:00 for 7 Rounds:
Row 500m
12 Toes to Bar (S1: Knees to elbows S2: Hanging Knee Raises)

At Coach Doug’s direction I scaled the rows to 400M and rowed a pace that allowed me to get off the rower right around the 90 second mark each round. I did 12 unbroken hanging knee raises each of the seven rounds. It was a very appropriate scale. It allowed for quick, but not rushed transitions and the 30-ish second rest each round was sufficient to reset each round. It was work and it was an effort. But it was controlled work; which was the point that Doug was stressing from start to finish.

Random Thoughts
Adaptive Athlete Training – got to spend Saturday learning from a group called Crossroads Adaptive Athletes Alliance. That was a very cool day of training. The longer I coach, the more I find that my passion within the fitness space is answering that question, “if functional fitness truly is for EVERYONE, then how do we make that happen?” This course was excellent at generating ideas to help address that. I look forward to applying what I learned.

9/11 – There were a wealth of opportunities to commemorate Sept 11 with hero or memorial workouts in our area. I didn’t make it to any of them. There’s a small part of me that feels odd about that, borderline guilty. There’s a certain level of peer pressure in the Crossfit community, “wait! 9/11 passed yesterday and you didn’t do a HERO WOD? You call yourself a crossfitter?” That’s exaggerating to an extent and perhaps it’s self-imposed; but it’s out there.

I find 9/11 to be a particularly emotionally heavy day. Would moving heavy weights with friends have alleviated some of that burden? Perhaps for a while. But for me, yesterday it just didn’t fit: physically, logistically, or emotionally.

Partly, yesterday was full from sun up to sun down with family appointments and some of them didn’t go as scheduled or planned. So the day got kind of sideways. If I’m completely honest though. I could have made a workout fit somewhere in the day.

Instead I spent yesterday supporting family; holding them close; treasuring the opportunity to be in their presence and tell them I love them. For me, that was enough. I hope my being present was enough for them.


Snatch appears to have been the lift of the week this week. Contrary to my own expectations, I really didn’t mind.

Tuesday, Aug, 29
Segment 1:
For Time:
10 Snatches (115/80)
change weights
8 Snatches (135/95)
change weights
6 Snatches (155/105)
change weights
4 Snatches (185/135)
change weights
2 Snatches (205/145)

OK – so those men’s presecribed weights are WAY outside my comfort zone or ability. I customized my scale to:

10 at 75#
8 at 95#
6 at 115#
4 at 135#
2 at 145#

All snatches were full squat snatches and I finished the ladder in 5:52. I was really pleased with how things were moving through these reps.

Segment 2:
3 Rounds:
400m Run
21 Kettlebell Swings (52/35)
12 Pullups

I subbed 500M Rows in for the runs since my calf was in no mood to run after double unders on Monday. I substituted ring rows for pull ups. Completed the assigned work in 13:21. Not a great time. Not an awful showing. I’ve done better and I’ve done this Rx before.

The thing that sticks out about this WOD is not my physical performance, but my mental attitude. I was just pissy. Pissy because I wasn’t doing it Rx. Whiny because there was no chance to PR because I was scaling. Mopey because pull ups have been aggravating, once again. Grumbly because I was one of the last athletes done that day. I just approached the entire METCON with a sour attitude and it showed. That’s disappointing because most days I consider my attitude one of my strongest attributes…and I definitely missed the mark this day.

Wednesday, Aug 30 — Rehab all the things.
Worked through knee-hab; calf strengthening, shoulder work – did ROMWOD late in the day with Erin. This day was just ALL about recovery.

Thursday, Aug 31
Segment 1:
A1) Bench Press
Increase each set or
keep the same weight across

A2) Single Arm DB/KB Row
4×10 ea.

Treat A1 and A2 as a superset
Rest as needed between exercises
and between sets

Had all kinds of grand aspirations here. Tried to warm up my bench press at 135# thinking I would advance weights every set and work up to something in the 185# range. My shoulder very quickly let me know what a lousy choice that was.

Scaled the bench down to 95#. Did one set there and the other 3 at 115#. DB Rows were all done at 35#.

Segment 2:
For Time:
50/40 Cal Row
75 Air Squats
100 Walking Lunges

This METCON was actually more fun than I was anticipating. All bodyweight METCONS are not necessarily my wheelhouse. I was most pleased with the row. Once I had the main wheel spinning, I managed to pull 50 calories in 48 strokes! That was pretty cool.

Air squats were completed unbroken. Lunges took a while, but I was pleased that it was only my quads and glutes that were aching after the WOD. I was concerned that 100 reps would be tough on my knees but they felt (and continue to feel) great.

Finished the METCON in 9:41

Friday, Sept 1

Segment 1:
Clean and Jerk
Build to Heavy Single

Worked up to a single at 185#. Not a PR, but definitely well near the top of my personal range. So no complaints there. All reps from 95 through 155# felt really good today. I missed the first attempt at 185#. It was a really good pull. Just couldn’t make up my mind to drop under it.

The internal monologue went something like:

“Whoa! That bar path is really smooth and close. You didn’t drag it up your legs like you did the last lift. Great job.”

“Full extension, Nice.”

“Bar’s floating well. Man, it’s really up there.”

“Dude, you really need to be getting under this bar.”

“Like, NOW!”

“Oh, crap. Too late.”

Second time around was much better. I’m pleased that the form felt reasonably competent.

Segment 3:
For Time:
9 – 7 – 5:
Ring Muscle Ups
Squat Snatches (135/95)

I subbed banded ring dips for the muscle ups and did the squat snatches at 95#. We were given a 10 or 12 minute cap. I finished in 5:35. I wouldn’t argue, if some one suggested that I scaled overly aggressively. However, Amanda is meant to be a pretty quick event. So I’m pretty comfortable with it.

Random Thoughts
Finished reading Ben Bergeron’s “Chasing Excellence.” I enjoyed it more for the behind the scenes stories of the 2016 CF Games, than I did for the coaching tips/guidance. That’s not really a critique of the book. It’s more an observation and a statement about my individual mindset than the quality of the book. I ran into the same issues with this book that I do with almost any book of this nature.

Nearly every book I can recall that claims to lay out the path to ‘excellence’ in any field has one thing in common. They all advocate relentless focus and near obsessive commitment to that singular area in which one wants to excel. I don’t dispute this, but it almost always sets my teeth on edge. I am a huge proponent of balance; particularly for those of us that don’t have personal agents, coaches, and assistants to manage all of the ‘noise’ of life that can interfere with that focus. To be a well-rounded human being, one has to be able to function in society and manage ‘life’ as it happens as an independent adult. Then I got to thinking about it….

The one area where I could say I have near obsessive focus and relentless commitment is to my family. It starts with Erin and my commitment to our kids and raising them to become healthy (physically and emotionally), competent, confident, socially aware contributors to our local and global community. Then, and directly related to that, is the time and commitment that Erin and I put into our adult relationship. In those places, in that collective space, we are relentless and we apply all the characteristics that Bergeron outlines in his book as being critical. Does that make us excellent parents or partners? I don’t know. Who’s to judge? I do know that it has resulted in healthy, happy relationships with my wife and kids that I treasure and work daily to maintain and nourish. So there’s that.

Strange couple of fitness days. I was all excited to kick off my new fitness plan for Q4. Started with the Crossfit Durham Mobility Warrior class on Sunday and left in tears…literally.

Sunday, August 27 – I was having an absolutely awesome mobility session. I spent 40 minutes keeping up with the class, moving through the poses Coach Tori directed. I was feeling all kinds of cocky as it felt like one of the best sessions I’d ever attended. I was flowing along thinking, “wow. All the work at home is paying off. I don’t remember the last time I felt this flexible.”

With about five minutes remaining in class, Tori said, “ok, everyone get up and head to the rig.” I couldn’t! I rolled from by back to a plank position, pushed up, rocked back into my heels and when I attempted to stand, it felt as if someone kidney punched me! There was an instantaneous clenching all along my lower back just below the waistline of my gym shorts. I’ve never felt back pain like that before.

I dropped back to my knees, eyes watering just resting and trying to rethink the work we’d just done to work out what went wrong. A day later, I still don’t have an answer. I managed to get to my feet and very gingerly work my way to the back of the box and sit on a lifting bench.

I recuperated for a while then limped out and headed home. Eventually, things loosened up and I realized my initial assessment was off.

The pain or the knots are actually at the very peak of my glutes and on both sides. Apparently, when they cramped, it pulled across the rest of my low back.

I’m pleased that as the day advanced things loosened up. While I still feel that residual presence of the cramps or knots, I am for the most part moving normally, albeit cautiously.

Monday, Aug 28

Segment 1:
Build to Heavy Single

Given yesterday’s dramatics, I took the snatches very slowly and deliberately. To my surprise, I eventually worked up to a very pretty feeling single at 155# which is well into the 90% range for me. I’m actually looking forward to an opportunity to test a 1RM on this lift.

Segment 2:
Snatch Grip Deadlift
(80%/5) x 5

I explained my Mobility class experience to Coach Doug and we agreed that these lifts were likely to be a problem. So I worked single leg kettlebell deadlifts, 3 sets or 10 reps each leg, at 40#.

I was struck at how much weaker my left leg was compared to my right. Just all sorts of wobbly. Ah, well. Add it to the list of things I hope rehab will reconcile over time.

Segment 3:
AMRAP 15 minutes
50 Double Unders
20 Burpees
15 Dumbbell Hang Squat Cleans (Rx: 50/35 S1: 35/25 S2: 25/15)

I scaled the cleans to 35#. The first round of the METCON I was struggling with Double Unders and only completed 35. That was in compliance with Coach Doug’s directive that the jump rope shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes per round. Surprisingly, the double unders smoothed out as the METCON wore on and I completed the full sets for subsequent rounds.

I was cautious about the dumbbell cleans and really didn’t experience any problems in my back/glutes doing the reps. However, the first time I went to set the dumbbells down, I was lax and leaned forward at the waist to drop them to the floor rather than squatting. That was a mistake. I could feel my back pull tight with that. So from there on out I was careful about how I returned the dumbbells to the floor.

When time elapsed I had completed 2 full rounds, 1 set of 35 double unders and 17 burpees. So 2+52. Not bad.

Master Plan —
I’m going to have to moderate my rehab rotation day to day based on the demands/impact of any given WOD. For example, I was planning on working on my knees today, but a few hours removed from today’s double unders, my left calf is really cranky and that’s where I’m going to need to spend today’s time. I think it will be ok as long as I can cycle: knees, calf, shoulder day to day; things should work out.

Pistol Work – I’ve gotten great feedback and suggestions from a few friends on my pistol videos. I appreciate all the guidance/observations. I’m looking forward to focusing on these for a while and hopefully making real progress.