Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Today I Am Pushing My Limits

Someone once said that every day, you should do one thing that scares you.

Today, my "scary", is "17.1"
The first CrossFit Open workout of 2017.

I've been getting psyched out for it since the announcement last week, watching videos and finding encouragement as I prepare to take myself a place I've never been before. That's what I love about training. That's what I enjoy about CrossFit. It moves me.

It doesn't take long to get to the edge of yourself in training. Once there, something magical happens. The world and everything in it disappears as you toe the line of a choice: quit or step over. That choice comes back again and again. The goal is to keep stepping over. Keep moving the line. The only thing that pays in the end is to be a winner by finishing.

That's all I want to do.
Do something that I've never done before.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Today I Am Reading . . .

Ever wonder why men climb mountains?  One may ask but will never understand the answer until one walks out the front door. One is not required to scale a vertical face or endure any measure of harsh condition. But to go a distance, to step up a slope, to drop down into a valley, to chase an elusive peak that, no matter how close one gets, seems to retreat from being touched--an experience will answer the question. This is what Krakauer does. He does not answer the question as to why a "normal person" climbs a mountain, but he does show the reader--from a safe distance.

The Eiger's North Face
The book takes it's title from The Eiger ("The Ogre"), a 13,000 foot peak in the Swiss Alps. The "Morwand" (The Murderous Wall) is the northern wall (The "Norwand"), a 6,000 foot sheer face of rock and ice that has claimed the lives of more than sixty climbers since the first recorded ascent in the 1930's. Krakauer not only guides the reader up grandeur such as The Eiger, Denali, K2, Devil's Thumb "and leads us back safely" (as one reviewer described) but he also introduces us to the brave climbers who have done the same.

Devil's Thumb
Having climbed a few slopes, forged a few streams, made a few passes and topped a few peaks in Colorado, New Mexico and North Carolina, this book feeds my appetite to get outside again, hike, climb, thirst, get hungry, get wet, cold, hot--to stand at the top with the feeling of accomplishment! Guess you have to be there. This book only feeds the fire.

It's been a while, but I'm sure Mt. Mitchell has grown a couple inches since I was last there . . .

Krakauer, Jon. Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains.  Krakauer: Lyons & Burford, 1990. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Today I Am Moved

Yesterday I shared a video made by four college students called, "Living On A Dollar A Day."

Today's I'd like to share the trailer for their second project called "Salam Neighbor." The full movie is found for $4.00 on YouTube, or if you have Netflix, it's streaming.

In this project, the young filmmakers want to experience the refugee situation and set out to live among the 85,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan. What they quickly discover is that they actually become refugees as their plans change without warning.

This is a moving film as the project team was able to capture people and moments they would have otherwise missed had their initial plans come to fruition. Any refugee situation is not to be taken lightly because no matter the source or means of the crises, human beings are always at the center.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Today I Am Expanding My Horizons

This week on the campus of Columbia International University we have been learning about Refugees and the crises of "people on the move." Migration is part of human history and occurs just about everywhere, but for various reasons.

The video below is a documentary has nothing directly to do with the refugee situation, but at the heart one finds a few elements that still apply to a refugee situation.

What if you were displaced from your home, all you ever knew, and all you had to live on was a dollar a day? These four college students wanted to find out, so they lived on one dollar a day for two months in rural Guatemala.

Tomorrow I'll share about their most recent project that touches directly on the subject of refugees.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

"Bear Complex"

Holy Smokes.

Ok, yesterday was a holiday so the CrossFit box I follow did not post a WOD so I thought to myself, "self," I says, "self--why don't you do the Bear Complex?" And I says to myself, "nope. Would love to, but I'll do the Hero WOD 'DT' instead."

So I did.
I did DT with a heavier weight than I've ever done before (115# all the way through). Felt mighty first thing this morning.

So I get up and check the WOD. Bear Complex. I can't remember if I was happy or sad, but "5k" did cross my mind at one point. So I'm sore all morning. Popping Tylenol and Ibuprofen and making sure I'm getting enough protein to recover. I get into the gym and think, "Ok. Bear Complex. I did 115# pounds yesterday, so why not?" I got started and after the third rep of the first set knew that I had to adjust my game face. Got through the first set.

Added 10# and nearly died. I heard angels singing. I saw my body waaaayyyy down there.

After the second rep, I knew I was in trouble. Yes, I dropped the bar. Not supposed to do that in Bear. But I did. But I picked it up again. Don't tell me I bit off more than I can chew unless you've chewed it too. The minutes passed like weeks. But you gotta admit--there's something satisfying in dropping weights.

Took off the 10# for the last set. I was pretty much done. Two days of basically the same movements smoked me.

But still had a 10 minute AMRAP to go of:

  • 5 Shoulder to Overhead
  • 10 Deadlift
  • 15 Box Jump

4 rounds with 115#.

Yeah. Gonna feel that tomorrow.

Today I Am Learning About . . .

Refugees. This week on the campus of Columbia International University we are learning about refugees, the crises of forced displacement, and begin taking steps to provide assistance for refugees.

Our speaker in chapel every day is Paul Sydnor, EU Director of the International Association for Refugees and an active founding member of the Refugee Highway Partnership in Europe. Through local churches, Paul has come alongside of a number of refugee leaders over the years to strengthen and support them in their own efforts, including refugee leaders from Croatia, Kosovo, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and several parts of Africa. The goal of IAFR is to "help people survive and recover from forced displacement." 

Students, Faculty and Staff are involved in special activities through the week outside the regular class schedule enjoying International food, even participating in a "refugee experience" through simulated forced displacement scenarios. Also present on campus this week are representatives from other various agencies who seek to impact the nations with the message of Christ. 

Monday, February 20, 2017


"DT" is a Hero WOD in honor of USAF SSgt Timothy P. Davis, 28, who was killed on February, 20 2009 supporting operations in OEF when his vehicle was struck by an IED. Timothy is survived by his wife Megan and one-year old son T.J..

Today I Am Listening To . . .

Music to work by.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Today I Am Resting . . .


Still a little slow, trying to recover from this pulmonary set-back.

Had great plans to get out to walk (at least) but that failed when I lay down "for just a few minutes."

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Better Than Nothing

After being knocked down with the flu and dealing with upper respiratory infection, I did my first training exercise since last Tuesday.

Did 15 minutes of SEALFit Yoga then 5 rounds of Get-ups with a 45# sandbag. Got a nice sweat going and it sure felt good to fill the lungs with deep breathing.

Easing back in.

Today I Am Telling It Like It Is

(ht: Leslie)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Today I Am Enjoying . . .

the changing seasons.

In case you were not aware, South Carolina has four seasons: Nearly Summer, Almost Summer, Summer, and More Summer.

It's February and I think since Winter started we've only had maybe a whole week's worth of winter weather--and by that I mean temperatures below the freezing mark--and those days (nights, mostly) were not consecutive. If I exaggerate, it's not by much. Personally, I enjoy the cold, preferring it much more than the heat. One can never escape the heat. Cold has a grace to it, that, if one gets cold enough, one no longer feels it--but the heat? No mercy.

Regardless, I'm enjoying the changing seasons. The forecast is mid to high 70's well through next week. The daffo-down-dillies and tulips I planted the day after Thanksgiving are well on their way up, so I'm thinking winter is pretty much behind us.

I'm already thinking vegetable garden--bought my seeds. now all I need is place to put them. Thinking of using as much vertical space as possible--like planting a thin strip of cucumbers and squash alongside the fence and let 'em clamber up. Easier to maintain that way.

At this point I'll be shocked if it gets cold or wintery again by March. Though it's happened before (we got snow in February a few years back--and once in March) it could always happen again.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Today I Am Realizing . . .

 . . . that YouTube is now eleven years old? Eleven! Well, "happy birthday," YouTube!

Ever since Max took us 20 minutes into the future, we've not looked back. Amazing how something gets fixed into a culture until one day, your just sitting there in a big green chair minding your own business eating a Swiss Cake Roll and watching CrossFit videos (hypothetically speaking, of course--who does that?) when it sneaks up on you, "when did you get here?"

Feels like its always been here. YouTube is such a major fixture of the internet that it's difficult to imagine what life was like before YouTube. Nearly everything's there from user content to corporations.

If I have to explain YouTube, then I feel even stranger. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Today I Am Loving . . .

With Content
With Edification
With Humility
With Respect

With Endurance


Monday, February 13, 2017

Today I Am Feeling . . .

 . . . better. Last week I got hit with an ugly bug that lay me pretty low for a few days. Bug must have come from outer space--planet Ronald McNasty, maybe. Now that I think about it, I did indulge a request to visit a certain "fitness" location the week before--a place with "Planet" in the name--and each one of us got sick. Man, that place was a circus. (I can cross that off my list!) I found a Concept 2 rower and spent 20 minutes ignoring the room with some very loud personalized music--but I digress . . .

I had this awesome training session last Tuesday that left me feeling pretty mighty but when the sickness hit, all the pain from training combined with the pain of the sickness and left me feeling like I'd been in car wreck. Couldn't even do yoga I hurt so bad. And of course, it's making its way through the household, so we're all pretty low or coming out of it.

Cycled through days and nights of spiking and plunging fever--lost 4 pounds overall. I sweated as much in sickness as I do in health! I keep telling myself that's good news.

At least I got my Netflix queue whittled down a little. Got caught up on some documentaries I've been wanting to watch for some time (a couple on North Korea and another called "Gored" focusing on a legendary Bull Fighter from Spain--absolutely fascinating, that one).

Still in recovery as breathing is not where it should be, but physically, I'm feeling fine. Just have to remember not to overdo it.

Stay Healthy!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Today I Am Finding . . .

that I am easily distracted. You don't have that problem though, do you?
(ht: William Wilson)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Today I Am Crafting . . .

. . . drinking glasses from old bottles. Real manly stuff.

Using string, acetone and FIRE (ha HA!) I have already "popped the top" off of some bottles and am working on sanding the rims down to make matching drinking glasses.

Here's a tutorial, if interested. Note: Get that string/yarn soaked well and let the fuel burn by turning the bottle. The glass will most likely break above or below the string--sometimes both. So be careful! And make sure that water stays ICY!

Quite fun!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Today I Am Discovering . . .

 . . . how much more I am capable of.
This documentary is gas to my fire.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Today I Am Celebrating . . .

our Granddaughter's birthday! Happy Birthday, Jude!

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Today I Am Eating . . .

I sure do enjoy my eggs in the morning but am feeling "soup"-ish today.
Oh, how about Green Chili Stew with a flour tortilla . . . I need a napkin just thinking about it.

Enjoy this quote from a book I'm reading:

credit: I Am New Mexico
"[The waitress] serves a stack of unheated flour tortillas, butter, and a bowl of green, watery fire that would have put a light in the eyes of Quetzalcoatl. Texans can talk, but nowhere is there an American chili hot sauce, green or red, like the New Mexican versions, with no two recipes the same except for the pyrotechnic display they blow off under the nose. New Mexican salsas are mouth-watering, eye-watering, nose-watering; they clean the pipes, ducts, tracts, tubes; and like spider venom, they can turn innards to liquid. I'd finished the tortillas when she set down the huevos rancheros with chopped nopales (prickly pear), rice, and a gringo glass of milk to extinguish the combustibles." 

(Heat-Moon, William Least. Blue Highways: A Journey Into America. New York: Back Bay Books, 1999, p. 154)

I miss New Mexico . . .

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Today I am Trying . . .

Sorry, Yoda. I disagree--there must be "try" because sometimes a "do" may look like a "do not," and if one does not try then the "do" becomes a "didn't" and the opportunity is gone. When one stands at the brink of "do" and one "does not," then one has acted out of fear. He has not "tried," thus killing his chance along with that part of himself that should have known, could have known, victory.

"Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." (Frank Herbert, Dune)

Think of those who tried.
They may have died because they tried. But they tried. 
They did not fail. 
They died "doing."

Families are born because parents try. 
Lives are saved because medical teams try.
Discoveries are made because explorers tried.
Victories are won because warriors tried. 

Surround yourself with people who believe in you, encourages you to "try." When you do the same for them, then you join the ranks of great people. 

So, I am trying.
Every day I try. I try and train on my own personal Grinder.

When I try, it will not be I who fail but that which is tried, tested.
I will succeed. 

Monday, February 06, 2017

Today I Am Playing . . .

Hard. Here's what's on the menu for lunch today:

Strength Training:
5x3 Back Squat

WOD (For Time):

  • 75 Double Unders (150 singles)
  • 55 DB/KB Shoulder to Overhead (45/30 in each hand)
  • 35 Burpees

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Today I Am Drinking . . .

And thinking of the ocean. And sandcastles.
Would love to get back to the beach again . . . some day.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Today I Am Cooking . . .

 . . . with gas.

The Urban Dictionary explains that "cooking with gas" means that one is, "efficiently performing a task after a long period of inefficient performance or possibly failed attempts at the entire task or certain steps in the process." In other words, no longer cooking with wood. Gas is easier.

"Hey, now we're getting somewhere!"

I've been wondering what I should write this month and after a few attempts, it seems like this theme of "Today I Am . . . " is coming together. So I'm "cooking with gas!" That's part of the fun of spontaneous writing--just get started and see where it goes. Find a theme.

But I do cook with gas. It's better than electric by a long shot. Especially if the power goes out, I still have means for food preparation and heat. Once I got up early in the morning and took my coffee outside and cooked bacon. Something wonderful about that camping feeling, you know? Bacon, coffee and fresh air.

Since it's Saturday, we'll be fixing either Banana Waffles and eggs with bacon, or hand-shredded Hash Brown potatoes with eggs and bacon for breakfast. Or home-made biscuits and gravy with eggs. And coffee. Lots of coffee. 

Friday, February 03, 2017

Today I Am Thinking . . .

about the timelessness of Polonius' farewell blessing and advice to Laertes, with his "few rules of life" (Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3):

In modern English:

"You’re still here? Shame on you—get on board! The wind is filling your ship’s sail, and they’re waiting for you. Here, I give you my blessing again. And just try to remember a few rules of life. Don’t say what you’re thinking, and don’t be too quick to act on what you think. Be friendly to people but don’t overdo it. Once you’ve tested out your friends and found them trustworthy, hold onto them. But don’t waste your time shaking hands with every new guy you meet. Don’t be quick to pick a fight, but once you’re in one, hold your own. Listen to many people, but talk to few. Hear everyone’s opinion, but reserve your judgment. Spend all you can afford on clothes, but make sure they’re quality, not flashy, since clothes make the man—which is doubly true in France. Don’t borrow money and don’t lend it, since when you lend to a friend, you often lose the friendship as well as the money, and borrowing turns a person into a spendthrift. And, above all, be true to yourself. Then you won’t be false to anybody else. Good-bye, son. I hope my blessing will help you absorb what I’ve said." (from Sparknotes)

Stay humble and kind!

Thursday, February 02, 2017


Today I Am Remembering . . .

Chris Kyle with a Hero WOD. 3 rounds (one for his wife and two for his children left behind) each of:

  • 40 KB Swings (70/50#) 
  • 40 Box Jumps 24″/20″ 
  • 40 Thrusters (70/45#) 
  • 40 Elevated Push-ups (feet on box)
* The 4 movements represent Chris’s 4 tours in Iraq and the total reps for each round equal 160 representing Chris’s confirmed kills.

"Christopher Scott "Chris" Kyle (April 8, 1974 − February 2, 2013) was a United States Navy SEAL veteran and sniper. Kyle served four tours in the Iraq War and was awarded several commendations for acts of heroism and meritorious service in combat. He was awarded one Silver Star Medal, four Bronze Star Medals with "V" devices, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and numerous other unit and personal awards. Kyle was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 2009 and published his bestselling autobiography, American Sniper, in 2012. . . . On February 2, 2013, Kyle was murdered by Eddie Ray Routh at a shooting range near Chalk Mountain, Texas. A former Marine with PTSD, Routh was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without parole.' (Wikipedia)

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

AMRAP 20: "Improve Night"

Most of my CrossFit brothers and sisters understand the significance of a Triple Chocolate Bundt cake. Ok, many of my CF brethren . . . Ok--a couple folks understand (you know who you are). 

For one, a chocolate bundt cake looks like a tire and tires are for flipping and since you can't eat a tire, well, that's what the cake is for. So I enjoyed a nice piece of a chocolate bundt cake recalling the great fun we had flipping tires just yesterday. But what does that have to do with today's AMRAP 20? Not much--except that, well, chocolate bundt cake. That's why. 

Did not get my lunch-time WOD in today due to a called meeting; however, I did get the WOD done at home with a little improvisation. The WOD was 3x5 Back Squats then an AMRAP 20 of: 
The first improvisation came in that I don't have a squat rack, so I had to clean and jerk the bar in order to lower the bar to my neck. Don't think I ever C & J 140 pounds, but I did tonight! Bonus points for the extra workout! Of course the fun part is getting that bar off your neck . . . a reverse jerk. And hang on!

The second came when I had to do Wall Balls. I don't have a high wall but I do have a basketball goal--however, 1) the goal wobbles when doing WB, so I was trying to hit a moving target (read: Bro-reps) 2) I had to take off my glasses because of sweat. And if I miss, I don't want my glasses smashed into my face by a falling 20# basketball. I'll just take the basketball; and, 3) it was dark by the time I got started. So finding the target--in the dark--without glasses . . .

I deserved my cake after that 3x5 then an AMRAP 20 for 5 rounds (started the 6th at the 20:00 buzzer). And it was a difficult day today. I might have another piece.

Today I Am Watching . . .

My weight.
Keeping it out there where I can see it.
That's not true.
I'm trying to get it out of sight. Tired of looking at it.

Netflix later.
Or Hulu. (**gasp** Did you know that "Space 1999" is on Hulu? 😁)
Or YouTube. (Like old CrossFit Games footage. Yeah . . . )

You know that break in the show where they insert commercials?

When you binge-watch on one of the streaming services, there are no commercials (which can be bad if you're watching your weight because now you can't do quick exercises in the break--or go to the bathroom--but we won't go there. No pun intended) so we take advantage of those few seconds to shout out "Buy Folgers!" then get right back to it. Ain't got time for commercials.

But if you still enjoy commercials, here are some couch workouts while you watch TV.

Oh, and this video, below? It's true. I've lived it.
Well, most of it.
The first part, anyway.

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