Hi gang. Sorry to have been absent so long. Didn’t really mean for that to happen. Please excuse me. My wife lost an aunt and a cousin (separate events and both natural causes) at the start of the month and made a 1300 round trip to attend services for them. Then came our son’s type 1 diabetes diagnosis. Followed by the passing of my aunt a week after Easter. I think it’s fair to say that April has been a challenge. Fitness blogging hasn’t been a big priority.

Honestly, the first part of the month there wasn’t much to write about. Once the Open was over, I intentionally stepped away from organized Crossfit to recharge. I was going to the gym, but working on the side doing my knee rehab and playing with some MovNat stuff. I was feeling nicked up and barbelled out. So I wanted to rebuild and reload and tinker with whatever amused me, not what was programmed on the white board. I get that way every now and then.

I thought I was going to go back to the gym after a two week hiatus, but it was Spring Break, Erin was in Michigan with our daughter. The boy and I were home alone. It wasn’t necessary to wake up at 6 to make a 7 am workout. Besides, for the first time in months I wasn’t limping. I thought, “you know what? This feels great. I think I’m just going to enjoy how this feels for a couple of days.” Then the diagnosis came down and we spent two days managing our house while the boy was hospitalized. So a two week break became three.

I’ve been back on CFD’s main room programming now for two weeks and feeling pretty good. I’m not going to post WOD by WOD. No one needs that.

I will say that the first day back we had a METCON of light power snatches and slam balls! It was just about the perfect METCON for me coming off of all of the stress April had handed us so far. I have always said that slam balls are my favorite exercise/movement and I have always joked that they are not exercise, but therapy. On that day, I relished every single rep. I came into the gym tired, worn and emotional and left with a grin on my face and laughing with my friends again. Partly it was the workout. Partly it was being back with the tribe among friends. The combination was absolutely rejuvinating!

Other workouts have not gone quite so well, but I’m not worried. I’m willing to cut myself some slack in the box while we still try to work out the new household normal.

I do however HAVE to get my diet and rest back on track. The rest is tricky. Partly it’s a matter of difficulty getting to sleep. Partly, it’s a matter of the required 2am blood sugar checks with my son. Even if I could fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, I’d still only be getting a four hour nap interrupted by a 30 minute break, then a 3 and a half hour nap. That’s not ideal, but it will level out soon.

The diet IS within my control and I have to fix that. Need to own up to the fact that I’m making poor choices there and stop it. It’s not easy, but I’ve done it before. Need to do it again.

Now that things are getting back in order around the house, perhaps the writing bug will bite again. We’ll see.

So Wednesday, while my wife and daughter were out of town, I check out of work early and take my son to his routine annual physical late in the afternoon. It starts out normal enough: height, weight, vision check, blood pressure, temperature, ears, nose, throat. All business as usual. They ask him if he can provide a sample for urinalysis. He says sure and complies. They do a finger stick for a blood sample. Start asking the basic questions. Everything is cool.

The nurse leaves for a few, comes back and says, “the results of the blood test aren’t right. We need to do it again.” The boy is not thrilled. He’s not great with needles and really kind of despises the finger prick, but obliges. Nurse goes out with the new sample…doctor comes back a few minutes later and says, “so I need to do a third finger stick, but I figure now I need to come in and explain why. His blood sugars are way beyond normal and not safe. I need to do one last test to verify them and then it looks like you guys need to go direct to the ER to start treatment for Type 1 Diabetes.”

“SAY WHAT?!?!?!”

Just that quick after a third finger stick and a blood sugar count closing in on 400 and we’re off to the ER.

It is at this point that I call my wife, who’s been driving for 6 plus hours already and say, “Hey, when you get about 30 minutes out from home call my parents. They’ll meet you at our house and look after M (our 8yo daughter) for the night. You’re going to need to meet me at the Duke Pediatric ER. C is being admitted for Type 1 Diabetes.”

There’s an awkwardly long pause and then….”really?!?!”

“Yeah, Babe. Really.”

“Uhm, ok. Thanks. See you soon.”

With that it was off to the hospital to get the boy checked in, assessed and admitted.

So now we’re sitting in the ER running more tests and flushing his system with an IV and it’s explained to us that ‘basically we’re just trying to work out whether he can go to the regular Pediatric Ward or the ICU?

Now my mind has gone straight to ‘What the Ever-lovin’ holy-F are you talking about!!!”

It was at this point I had to ask. “OK, please walk me through the flow chart of the decision making process here. Because we have gone from going to a routine phyical with what we thought was a very healthy young man showing no external signs of any illness to a life altering diagnosis and a possible night in ICU?! Someone explain to me how we got here.”

The staff was fantastic at explaining the logic. Basically it all came down to, if his blood sugar levels settled to an acceptable level after the IV, then they would admit him to the regular pediatric ward because they would not need to test him as often through the night. If they felt his situation warranted hourly checks, then he would go to ICU.’

Fortunately his numbers settled pretty quickly.

By 10 PM he was out of the ER, admitted to a room in the pediatric ward, and Erin was settling in for a night in a hospital recliner.

The assessment process was pretty interesting and borderline amusing if the situation wasn’t potentially so grave.

Everyone at the hospital kept asking, “so this was caught during a routine physical?”

Us: “Yes.”

Them: “He hasn’t had any symptoms?”

Us: “What are the symptoms?”

Them: “Frequent urination, dehydration, losing weight, belly pain, lethargy…”

Us: “No, we some times joke about how he’s something of a camel. His hydration seems normal. You can see his vital results, he’s growing and gaining weight. No pains and as for lethargy he’s a straight A middle school student involved in three academic clubs and a member of his track team. No. Lethargy is NOT a word we would ever apply to C.”

Them: “Wow. So this is really kind of out of left field for you guys, eh?”

Us: “Well, we’ve gone from a presumed perfectly healthy son to a young man with a life altering and potentially life threatening condition. So, yeah. From the Fucking warning track deep!”

Erin and I both knew one of us would be staying the night with C. We couldn’t see leaving him alone and scared and frankly, no one was going to separate us from him at that point. You might wonder how after a full day’s travel she drew the short straw and spent the night rooming in with him. It was her choice.

I was pretty certain who it was going to be, but I had to make the offer.

I looked at Erin and suggested, “I can stay with him. Do you want to go home tonight?”

“Not really,” she answered. So, decision made. I went home to the house and the dog.

That pretty much sums up the first night of a two night hospital stay and the treatments and education that followed.

Some observations from that first night:

1) After mouthing an initial “oh, FUCK” at me in the pediatricians office, C was an absolute champ about everything that followed. At one point in the ER, after we had both sat mulling over our own thoughts. He turned to me and said, “The doctor said about 1 in every 300 people has type 1. That means if I have it, no one else in my school has to have it. That’s cool. I can handle this.” I promise you. My thoughts were not nearly so noble.
2) Since that moment he has been absolutely on top of this whole thing. He’s a science guy and mathematically inclined. He’s diving right into counting carbs, figuring out insulin doses based on blood sugar readings and administering his own shots.
3) The finger sticks for the blood sugar readings are a challenge, but he’s facing it head on. We can’t ask for more.
4) While we’re all still a bit shell-shocked how everything changed so fast, we are grateful that this was caught so early. As it was explained to us typical cases endure longer hospital stays because the first priority is getting people out of the dangerous acidotic stage which develops once symptoms surface. After that, folks spend a day or two in the hospital getting educated, and demonstrating that they can manage the situation and the processes involved.

We never had any symptoms. C was never really acidotic. So his stay was really about ensuring that he was stable, which happened very quickly and then it was on to the education process.

We keep swinging along the emotional pendulum from “Why us” to “we are so lucky!” It’s making us a bit dizzy. Consider the following:

1) C was born in January. That’s when we normally do his annual physical. We missed it this year and only now got around to scheduling it. If he’d had that physical in January, then we never would have caught this until his condition was much more advanced.
2) The physician has NEVER done a urinalysis or blood test like this for him before. I don’t know why she chose to this year, but again, we’re eternally grateful that she did.
3) We’re so grateful for the care we got at Duke. It has been phenomenal.
4) Our family, friends and everyone near and far have been amazing. The outpouring of love and support has been wonderful. We do not take it for granted and we appreciate all of it.

It’s going to be a winding slippery path for all of us I suspect, but we’ll manage and navigate it together. We’re going to be just fine.

If we’re connected on FB, or you know me directly, you’re aware that I coach the kids program at CF Durham. Also, if we’re already connected, then you have heard much of this in pieces over the weeks of the Open. However, I want to get it all together in one place now. So here we go.

For the first time at Crossfit Durham we integrated our kids into the Open and IT. WAS. A. BLAST.

The first thing that needs to be explained is that this wasn’t my idea. As the Open was approaching I was tinkering with the ideas about modifying Open WODs in regular kid’s classes each week. But integrating them into the main room Open WOD sessions was not the plan. So how did it happen? Fair question. The answer is it was our Intramural team captain’s idea.

It started with the War of the WODs back in January. I posted pictures on FB of Caleb’s events. Tom reached out saying, “Caleb has the heart of a warrior. We need him on our Intramural team!”

I answered, “He can’t be. He doesn’t qualify. He’s not old enough to register.”

Tom’s response was, “I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, he’s on our team.”

When Tom makes that kind of statement, there’s only one right answer, “Ok. I’ll figure something out.”

So that was the spark.  “Ok. So if we got the kids in the Open, what would that look like?”

The goal was to keep everything as close to the rules/expectations of our Intramural competition, partly for simplicity’s sake and partly to make the experience as close as possible for the kids to what adults experience.

So the basic framework became:

-) Once Open WODS were announced on Thursday, I would take until mid-day Friday to figure out and announce the kid modified equivalents.

In addition to WOD structure, it included recommended weights, and some basic movement standards. This gave kids who might not make the scheduled Saturday WOD the ability to make a WOD up on their own time. Just like the adults.

-) Kids joined Intramural teams with their parents (the exception being kids who attend my classes, but their parents aren’t gym members)

-) Kids had the same opportunity as adults to complete the WOD and submit scores to me NLT than 8pm the following Monday.

If they completed the WOD and submitted that score, then they earned the same participation point for their team, just like a grown up. Kids were welcome to participate in all team “Spirit Point” opportunities at their parents’ and team’s discretion.

-) The box performed the Open WODs between 8:30am – 12 pm each Saturday. The regularly scheduled Kids class takes place at 10 on Saturday. So once I had all the kids onsite I notified the gym owner and would take one heat’s worth of time to familiarize the kids with the WOD, movements, standards and warm them up and practice a bit. Then, depending on the week, the logistics of the WOD, and the number of kids present, we either integrated the kids directly into a heat with grown ups, or ran a kids only heat on the main gym floor.

I can’t overstate how absolutely blown away I was by the positive response in EVERY direction.

The Kids:

Every kid FAR exceeded any expectation I had of them for doing the WODs themselves. They truly stepped up to every challenge laid out and crushed the workouts. Normal CF Kids classes take place outside or downstairs, anywhere but the main CF room floor. We do this to avoid the noise and distraction of the main room WODs. Saturday adult classes are always packed and loud and kind of overwhelming. So the kids’ class is always somewhere away from that. How would the kids respond to the competition style environment of the Open WODS and the sheer volume of it all? There was only one way to find out. Frankly, they all seemed to thrive in the spotlight.

It was curious actually. The first week, most of the kids wanted work stations in the back of the gym away from the front of the spectator area. In all of the following weeks, that wasn’t an issue. Kids took lanes/stations where ever there was space. No one seemed to shy away from the front of the room.

The Open also pushed the kids in terms of my expectations in the WODs themselves. In normal Kids classes, there’s never been a WOD that ran longer than 7 minutes. For 17.1 we used the 20 minute cap and rep scheme and only modified the weights used and the kids DOMINATED that WOD. They may not realize it, but standard class WODs are about to get much more challenging. 😉


Parents of participating kids impressed me ensuring that kids got their WODs in when they traveled for Spring Break; or they had schedule conflicts at home. They messages asking for clarification on movement standards, score submission deadlines, and more. It was really cool to see just how deeply and authentically everyone bought in to the process.

Some of the kids who take the CF Kids class have parents that aren’t members. Those parents usually drop their kids and come back at the end of class for pick up. That’s fine. But I warned them about the Open and encouraged them to stick around and watch their kids perform. The ones who did were stunned at what their kids accomplished. That was a trip to observe.

The Community

Athletes who aren’t parents and don’t have kids at the gym may have impressed me most. Each week, there was somebody stepping up to judge/coach a kid who needed a scorer, coming up to me before or after a heat asking, “what do you need? How can I help?” That was fantastic and critical to helping everything run smooth. The spectators were amazing as well. They were cheering the kids on through every rep, offering high fives and great jobs after the WOD and just making all the kids feel like full members of the community. The kids definitely enjoyed that.

They were being treated and spoken to as athletes, with no modifiers. People were talking to them as equals who went through a shared experience and the kids really appreciated that interaction. It was really fun to watch.

Couple of notes for next year:

  • Need to figure out what to do with points for unaffiliated kids. Those kids whose parents aren’t members, weren’t directly assigned to Intramural teams. We tracked those WODs in case we decided how to incorporate those ‘points’ into the Intramural event. In the end, those weren’t counted in the scoring. Finding a way to integrate those kids, and their points, directly into the competition could be fun.
  • Kids Only Heats All Open – for the first two weeks, we integrated the kids into heats running side by side with adults. For the last three weeks we did kids only heats. From a coaching/safety/command and control aspect, I think I prefer that. It’s just a bit simpler.
  • Kids Spirit Challenges – Next year I will declare a ‘theme’ for one or two weeks and encourage kids to wear costumes, if they choose.

I said before that this year’s Open was one of the most gratifying personally and professionally in which I have participated. The kids’ involvement and the response to it is definitely a huge part of that feeling. So “thanks” to one and all.

For the first post, we’ll answer the question: how’d I do?  I competed in the 45-49 yo male Mid-Atlantic division. My scores and placements were by WOD were as follows:

WOD 1 – 183 Reps – 426 position
WOD 2 – 76 Reps – 603 position
WOD 3 – 48 Reps – 221 position
WOD 4 – 165 Reps – 337 position
WOD 5 – 27:09 – 315 position

Final Overall Standing in my division/region — 344 out of 1250 registered athletes. This might shift slightly as I understand affiliate owners have another day or so to validate athlete scores and there’s always a possibility that HQ might shift a score or two based on their evaluation of video submitted scores. But for our purposes, this works well enough.

Random Thoughts/Observations

WOD 3 – The WOD about which I was most stressed; concerned that I may not be capable of completing as prescribed turned out to be my highest ranking placement of the entire Open. Take away: for me, stay loose and have fun. The results will follow.

WOD 5 – Very satisfied with this one. With the mercurial on/off nature of my double unders it seemed a very real possibility that I might run up against the 40 minute time cap. While I couldn’t sustain the alternating EMOM strategy that I planned; I did maintain a 15-20 sec rest after the end of each segment. That was enough to not completely blow up at any point and it kept my work reasonably efficient. If I had tried to tighten those rest intervals, I’m pretty confident things would have fallen apart in a dramatic fashion.

Pleased that I was able to submit Rx scores for all 5 WODs this year. That wasn’t a specific goal going into the Open, but one that emerged after week 3. There’s certainly some luck in being able to accomplish this. After all, it’s at least in part a reflection of how the WODs were structured this year. I was pretty convinced that Week 5 was going to be something like a 12 Min AMRAP of 5 ring muscle ups, 10 alternating pistols and 20′ Handstand Walks. Something just totally out of my range of ability. Still, when you compare last year’s Open season where I walked out on WOD 16.5 and did not submit a score, because it was abusing my torn meniscus; to be able to submit 5 Rx scores this year is a nice turn around.

Of course, now that the Open is concluded the question is, “What’s next?”

A bit of a change in course is in order for me for a while. I have developed a new nagging injury in my right knee that needs attention, TLC and rehab. It’s not serious, if I pay attention to it and rehab it correctly. But I need to make that my focus for a while.

Right now anything that’s high rep high bounce, is leaving me hobbling. Box jumps, double unders, burpee over anything leave me limping for days afterward. I have rehab exercises in place and am committing to those.

Beyond resting my knees, I’m in that “I’ve had enough of the barbell for a while” mental place which I hit from time to time. I feel like I want to get back to some more gymnastic (specifically rig/ring training) as well as some more ground movement (crawling, balancing, MovNat) type work. So I’m working now to map out my weekly schedule and WODs. I’ll still be around the gym. I know myself well enough that I have to maintain the routine of showing up at the box. Otherwise, laundry, dishes, yard work, work e-mails, etc will all keep me from working out. I’m just going to run my own programming for a bit. I’m thinking a 30 day reset is in order, then we’ll see where things are.

I said on FB yesterday that this has been one of the most personally and professionally gratifying Opens to date. I completely stand by that and I’ll explain why in more detail soon. All in all, a great year.

I re-learned a valuable lesson this weekend. In order to do your best, you have to be comfortable. In order to be comfortable you have to embrace who you are at your core.

For me, that means being a goof and a bit ridiculous. Ok, ok. It means being Captain Ridiculous.


But the point is still valid. Be true to yourself.

Embrace who you are and the results will take care of themselves.

….even if that means working out in Justice League boxer briefs, a bright blue cape and purple mask purloined from your 8yo’s costume box.

Had a date with the benchmark WOD Jackie today. For those that are not familiar with the workout, it consists of::

1000M row
50 Thrusters (45# bar)
30 pull ups

The WOD had a 12 miute cap today. I had to review my old notebook to check past times. I completed this workout in July of 2016 and did it Rx in 12:12. So in order to improve today, I just needed to get the workout in under the prescribed time cap. That kind of became my mantra throughout the WOD.

Today’s WOD wasn’t a strict apples to apples comparison. We had one more athlete than rowers at the 7:15 session today. Coach Doug offered two possibilities. One, one person could ride a bike for a fixed time rather than row. This way we could run a singe heat. Option Two: we could run two heats of five.

I’m the rare person who prefers the bike over the rower. I also know my 1000M row times pretty well. So I asked the all important question, “How long do we have to bike?”

Doug said, “3 minutes, 45 seconds.”

There was no hesitation. I told him, “I’ll take that deal.” I walked to the bikes and started setting it up for my height.

The substitution was, in my estimation, very fair. In that 3:45, I pedaled 1.17 KM. My goal, if I had rowed, would have been to bring that 1000M in around 3:50-3:55. So you could make the case that I gained some advantage. I wouldn’t debate it. But if so, it was minimal. I didn’t bike as long as I would have expected to row, but I went a bit further in terms of meters. So who knows?

I have mixed feelings about how the thrusters went. Doug was emphatic about moving right to our bars and doing long sets. I rattled off 25 to start. I was very pleased with this, but it may have been overly ambitious. I finished the remaining 25 in sets of 10, 9 and six. That should not have happened. I should have endured and gotten through the remaining reps in two sets max. I gave in to the pain too quickly. On the flip side, I was pleased that when I rested, I rested the bare bar on my shoulders in a back rack position, rather than setting it down.I feel this was a bit more efficient as I never set the bar down.

As I finished the thrusters and headed to the rig, I checked the clock. I don’t recall the precise time now, but I do recall that it was well under 6 minutes.

Pull ups have been a real challenge lately. I’m not certain if it’s a mobility issue, a timing issue, a mental issue; or a combination of all three. But much the same way that double unders tend to come and go for athletes, I’m experiencing a similar challenge with kipping pull ups right now. Particularly, I’m having a difficult time really extending into the Superman position on the front end of my kip. This lack of extension means it feels like I have to ‘pop’ and pull that much harder through my reps. A ‘good’ string of kipping pull ups is three reps right now. That’s frustrating, but today felt a bit more fluid than some days last week. So I’m focusing on that.

Knowing pull ups would be the biggest challenge of the WOD, I worked very hard to stay calm, embrace the challenge and just continue to move forward. It took well over 5 minutes to complete the pull ups, and the 12 minute cap was creeping ever closer, but I did it.

Finished the final rep at 11:18! Very pleased and very satisfied with that result. I won’t call it a PR because I didn’t do all the same exercises as the previous run. I am however comfortable classifying the work out as an improvement and a step forward. With the Crossfit Open 10 days away, that’s a win in my book.

I had SO many reservations, questions and concerns about Caleb participating in this competition. So much so that all of my thoughts around getting him through the day safely and ensuring that he had fun distracted me from many of the concerns that I may have had about my own participation.

I really wanted him to participate. I’ve written about it before. I remember being a young teen and loving the feeling of finally being old enough to play rec league softball with my Dad and his buddies. It was such a cool feeling. I was hoping this event could be something like that for Caleb and I. But I was SO nervous…

1) This was his first crossfit competition. It’s one of the largest in our area. In the biggest arena in our area, the Greensboro Athletic Complex. In front of hundreds of people. I was worried Caleb would find the entire experience and working out in front of a crowd to be overwhelming.

2) His participation was very spur of the moment. He made his mind up to participate the very last day of registration, just two weeks before the competition. So he had very little prep time.

3) We only practiced 2 of the 4 workouts a week in advance, and then we only practiced parts of those WODs. Before game day, he had never completed one of these workouts in their entirety.

4) Up until the week prior, we had no understanding of the number of kids participating or their experience/ability. I was nervous I was throwing Caleb into something where he would be tremendously outmatched.

5) I was concerned with how to coach him the day of and event by event. In most individual competitions, athletes enter the floor alone with their judge and that’s it. Coaches, family and spectators are nearby to cheer, but they’re separated from the athletes. I was very pleased that the WOTW organizers allowed one adult onto the competition floor with the youth athletes. Coaches couldn’t travel down the lane of competition, but we could stand at the head of the lane to be near the action and guide our athletes. I don’t know that it helped Caleb at all, but it made Dad feel better.

6) I was concerned about how to guide him in between events. How to stay loose, stay hydrated, stay fueled, how were his spirits/attitude based on his performance in the last workout.

7) Beyond all of that, my biggest goal was that I just wanted him to have fun and want to do this or another event like it some day. My biggest fear was that he would look at me at the end of the day and say, “Dad. Please don’t ever ask me to do this again.”

How did it go? Caleb showed me he has the heart of a warrior. In competition, he CRUSHED any results for the few WODs that he practiced before hand. He FAR exceeded any expectations that I had for him. I am immensely proud of how he competed as well as how he carried himself as interacted with the judges and other athletes. He made his mother and I immensely proud.

Did he have fun? By the time we were two WODs into the day, he was telling me, “Dad, I’ll catch up with you later in the athlete’s area. A couple of the kids from my heat and I want to get something to drink and watch the other event over there.”

When the day was done, I was packing up our gear to head out and he was melted into his folding camping chair I asked him, “So you finished your first Crossfit competition. What do you think?”

He smiled an exhausted satisfied smile and said, “Well. I have a year to get ready for the next one.”