Friday, March 24, 2017

Thanks, Sib. You Were Incredible.

"Drummer John “Sib” Hashian who set the beat on Boston’s first two albums — the eponymous 1976 rock landmark and 1978 chart-topping sequel “Don’t Look Back” — died this week with drumsticks in hand."

More at The Miami Herald

 more here:

Happy Breakfast Club Day!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Happy (Future) Birthday

Captain Kirk will be born this day in 2228.
Happy (future) Birthday, Captain!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Hero WOD: "Adam Brown"

These intense workouts are completed for the purpose of remembering our heroes, a way of showing gratitude for those who have laid down their lives for our freedom.

Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Adam Lee Brown, 36, of Hot Springs, AR, was killed on March 17th, 2010 in Komar Province, Afghanistan, in a battle against heavily armed militants. He is survived by his wife, Kelley, two children, Nathan and Savannah, and by his parents. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Outta Gas

Today's WOD got me. I mean it got me good.

It's not unusual to find bodies all over the floor when the WOD is over, but today I died much earlier than expected.

Started with 4 sets of 10 reps each of Bench Presses (115#, 120#, 135#, 145) the moved got right to work on 3 rounds of:

  • 20 Upright Row (45#)
  • 30 Ab mat situps
  • 400m run
  • 50 walking lunges
  • 60 sec Plank
Got the WOD going well enough, but in the second round I ended my run feeling like something was off. Stepping out the door of the cardio room to lunge my way back to the weight room, I stopped for a second at the water fountain, got a drink, a few more breaths and counted 40 lunge steps to the weight room. 10 more inside and I was done. 

I assumed the Plank position and sweat began streaming off my head like someone poured a glass of water over me. Don't get me wrong. I was already sweating--but this was a stream. 15 seconds in, my body was shaking. I closed my eyes while the clock ticked down a painfully slow 45 seconds. I dropped to the floor and could not move. 

The floor held me as sweat ran in rivers. Still could not move. My only thought was, "what's happening? Ok, rest a minute." A minute went by, then two. My training partner finished his rows and sit-ups and I was still on the floor. He stepped out to hit the treadmill. When he returned 2 minutes later, he found me sitting on the bench at my station. 

My spirits sank. I wanted to finish. I needed to finish. 

I'm the "coach" after all. The example. 

And here I am sitting on the bench looking like someone hosed me then beat me with it. 

I strategized, "Ok, One thing at a time. 20 rows. Split 'em up. Two sets of 10. Four sets of 5. 20 sets of 1." Then I did the sit-ups in my head. "Three sets of 10 . . ." and so on. 

Me and the floor had a stare-off. I couldn't move. 

My partner counted out 50 lunges like he was at a CrossFit wedding, coming nearby asking "you ok?"

I pulled my shirt over my head and closed my eyes. The Minister of Silly Walks lunged back to his station for his one minute plank. I was done. 


Empty tank. 

Like someone flipped a switch. 

Disappointed I did not finish, we put our toys away and got cleaned up to re-enter the afternoon. 

The only thing I could think that happened was that I did not eat breakfast. I never miss breakfast. But today I did. So if that's the lesson, I won't be missing breakfast again. But if the WOD simply kicked my butt, well, that ain't happening ever again either. 

It was too much like quitting and I don't like that. The word never crossed my lips, but it sure felt like it. Just ran out of gas. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Et Tu Forke?

Beware the Ides of March!

I Choose The Diamond

I have a confession. I did not want to do the CrossFit Open 17.3 WOD. Hang with me--there's a point to this.

The more I watched the reports online and noticed what other CrossFit boxes were doing, the closer I came to ditching the effort.

Mind you, I'm an old guy, so I was already thinking of how to scale (modify) the session so something could be done with it. I decided (almost last minute) that I was not going to do 17.3. Then I got an e-mail from a guy who trains with me (you know who you are) who was very excited about doing 17.3 with whatever modification I found.

Permit me first to tell you a little about 17.3: it begins with 8 minutes of work and if the athlete completes all the work within the 8 minutes, he or she is awarded with 4 minutes of more work. If the athlete completes the additional work before time elapses, he or she receives 4 additional minutes to do (you guess it) more work. This goes on for 24 minutes, total.

Here's what happened: we got to the gym and I had a very difficult time mentally getting out of the warm-up stage (I was that excited). But like jumping off the high-dive, I started the music (Foo Fighters!), hit the clock and we all started the pull-ups.

Fast-forward to the end: I did not beat the 8 minute clock, so I did not earn the coveted addition of 4 minutes. But one guy did, so we cheered him on through his next four minutes of work. He was three reps short away from earning an additional 4 minutes when the buzzer sounded. Disappointment rained down (not really. More like, "relief").

Here's what I got out of 17.3--my buddy Brad over at SEALGrinderPT had to remind me (restated in my own words): pressure does one of two things--it either crushes or it creates diamonds. I choose the diamond.

Pressure is not fun. But what would we have without pressure? In a sense, one has a pile of untried resources that, if you think about it, aren't worth anything. Is it trash or not? To find out what it's worth, you gotta crush it.

Suffering sucks. But you gotta embrace the suck to be the diamond in the end.

Strange things happen under pressure. For one thing, there's a kind of loneliness--even if you are struggling right beside someone. It's lonely because the pain and the work is all your own. Ain't nobody going to do it for you and ain't nobody gonna hurt the way you do when it's all over.

On the other hand, the person suffering next to you--now that person understands. So you "feed" off of each other, encouraging each other along. Still doing your own work, experiencing your own pain, but together you work some, cheer some, suffer some. This is how you get through it-- together. The team who suffers together, the team who does the hard things together, comes out different in the end than when it all began.

But if the athlete never starts, he never knows.

I did 17.3 and hated it. I still do.
Do you know how long 8 minutes is? It's a like week in CrossFit time.
But I did it.

"There's no crying in CrossFit," someone reminded me before we began.
Yes, there is. It's just that everyone's too exhausted to do it.

I did it. I did 17.3, thanks to "you know who you are." And by the way, I thanked him for pushing me over my red-line.

And I am stronger.
Just a little bit more than the day before.

I choose the diamond.

Monday, March 13, 2017

"Valley Uprising" (2014)

"Valley Uprising" is a gripping documentary focusing on the history, evolution and impact of the climbing community in the Yosemite Valley. Starting in the 1950's, about the time when the American Dream began to feel palpable for people safe at home, a handful of young men set out to pursue another kind of dream in places where safety is a stranger. According to one climber, insanity may have indeed been a contributing factor, but the truth remains: if the laws of gravity are to be broken, others must be broken, too. 

The documentary is not exhaustive in highlighting every contributing climber, but their influence unmistakable. The film does not intend to demonstrate or discuss details of climbing but chooses to introduce three major eras, approaches, personalities of few climbers and the rewards gained by these unique adventurers. If you know the name "North Face" and "Clif Bar," then you will appreciate this film.

"Because in the end, you won't remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that  . . . mountain!" (Jack Kerouac)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Snow Day!

Went from 80 degrees last week to Snow Day in one week. The snow started about 5 a.m. and ended just after noon. At this writing, it's already melted but it was wonderful to get out, hear the calm brought about by snowfall and enjoy a few hours of winter for a change.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fastest Ever

Just got back from a run. I use a tracker to log my distance, time, and a bunch of other stuff. My wife often "follows" me "live" as I run, even tracking me on GPS.

This afternoon I came home and she pointed out that at one point in my run, I hit my fastest speed: 85.98 mph (see the chart, below). She showed my on her computer. I double checked my tracker, and sure enough. There it is.

That spike (above) is where my jet pack kicked in. Or something.

I have no clue what happened. But there it is. In the record books.

No wonder I'm so tired!

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

It's A Great Day

Remember when you were a kid and you wanted to fly a kite but there was no wind? So you took your kite, played out about three feet of string and started running until the kite began to climb. You ran and played out more and more string until you felt the sky pull it back and "viola!" your kite was in the air!

My day began much like that. Only without the running. Or the kite. I had zero mojo at first but doing much better now.

Had a fantastic WOD for lunch today and I'll have to say I was not excited about it at first but it was fun after all. What made the fun was seeing hard work paying off with heavier weights and faster speeds.

Started off with a 3-3-2-2-1-1 Dead Lift (3 reps twice, add weight, 2 reps twice, add weight, 1 rep twice, at heaviest weight). Started off at 115# and ended at 275#. Next time, I shoot higher!

The WOD was:
200m run
20 box jumps
400m run
40 Thruster (45#)
400m run
40 Dead Lift (115#)
200m run
20 power cleans (115#)

Felt my rocket engine kick in after the first Dead lifts at the start, so hit the 200 m runs at 6.5 on the treadmill. Was able to keep that up through the 400's. Hey, I was excited! Cranked it up to 7.0 on the last 200. 

What really made my day was throwing the Power Cleans. Time to go heavier! 

If you need some encouragement, here are some "Pull-ups and Pick-Me-Ups" with Zach (in other words, "what's your excuse?":

Now get out there and play hard! 

"Crawling Up A Mountain"

"It really isn't about the destination it's about the journey and the harder the journey is the more rewarding the destination." (Zach)

I've got climbing fever.
Thinking about Mt. Mitchell again in May . . .

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Progress! I think . . .

Since using a fitness tracker, I've (as of this writing):

  • logged 685 workouts 
  • run 945 miles (the air-distance from where I live to Ft. Worth, TX)
  • trained for 18 days, 13 hours and 38 minutes
  • burned 306,043 calories (equivalent to eating 543 Big Macs--which I don't. Can't stand McDonalds.)

In February 2017, I burned
  • 4,480 calories
  • logged 7 hours, 54 minutes, 20 seconds of fitness
  • ran 14 miles
Obviously, many WOD's or heavy labor tasks have gone unlogged so the numbers are much higher since I've started my fitness lifestyle. It's kind of amazing when you track and can look back because sometimes it feels like you're getting nowhere, but then you look at the numbers. Woah!

I may not be moving faster, but I'm going places. And I'm lifting heavier, which is cool. Got that "Mighty" feeling wracking my body! 

Today's WOD was

Strength: 4x10 push press (started at 95#, ended at 120#)


  • 2 power snatch 
  • 30 Double Unders (or 60 single jump rope)
  • 4 power snatch
  • 30 DUBs
  • 6 power snatch
  • 30 DUBs
+ 2 PS each round until the time is called.

After yesterday's WOD I had to laugh . . . legs just won't work after those weighted walking lunges!

Monday, March 06, 2017

Ever Been Hit By A Slow-moving Truck?

I have.
Took a whole 12 minutes, from bumper to bumper.
Not counting the 10 minute specialized warm-up.
Feeling every tread on each wheel 'bout now.

Using 30# Dumbbells (adding 60 pounds to my frame), we did the following (modified) in 12 minutes:

2 rounds:
50 foot walking lunge
16 Knee to Elbow
8 Dumbbell Power Clean


2 rounds:
50 foot walking lunge
8 pull-ups + 8 dips
8 Dumbbell Power Clean

Slow moving truck, I tell ya.
I'll be over here feelin' mighty with my proteins shake and banana.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Sometimes All You Get Is A Half An Inch And A Few Deep Breaths

"As the day wore on, I could feel my nerves beginning to unravel. At one point, while leading over crusty, crumbly vertical ice . . . I suddenly became overwhelmed by the fact that the only thing that prevented my from flying off into space were two thin steel picks sunk half an inch into a medium that resembled the inside of my freezer when it needs to be defrosted. I looked down at the ground more than three thousand feet below and felt dizzy, as if I were about to faint. I had to close my eyes and take a dozen deep breaths before I could resume climbing."

(Krakauer, Jon. Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains. Krakauer: Lyons & Burford, 1990. p. 11)

Friday, March 03, 2017

It's Time To Go Again

Celo Knob (6,327 feet) on the way to Mount Mitchell (6,683 feet, in the clouds, behind me in this pic). 8 more peaks to summit and descend from this point before we're there. (May, 2015)

"Mountain climbing is comprehended dimly, if at all, by most of the nonclimbing world. It's a favorite subject for bad movies and spurious metaphors. A dream about scaling some high, jagged alp is something a shrink can really sink his teeth into. The activity is wrapped in tales of audacity and disaster that make other sports out to be trivial games by comparison; as in idea, climbing strikes that chord in the public imagination most often associated with sharks and killer bees . . . why would a normal person want to do this stuff?" (Author's note, viii)

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

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

"Blue Highways" Book Review

Greatly enjoyed this book, the first of three in a travel series. Sure, it's dated by now (first published in 1982), but it's interesting to use this as a landmark of sorts, to mark how things have changed over the years--and how some things never seem to change. 

Felt very much "along for the ride" in his van, "Ghost Dancing." His periods of insight and reflection were refreshing from the sense that here's a man who made a trip--he did not simply take one. In solitude, he thought and in writing, he shares many introspective discoveries. These were the best parts of the trip in reading the book; however, of all the place and people Heat-Moon meets, he seems to be followed by the "same cast of characters" (as it were). No matter where he visits, everyone speaks with the author's voice, with the same kind of whit and humor. Occasionally he seems to be condescending or takes a mocking tone but one could chalk that up to road-weariness. One is confident the author met real people but it's too bad he does not let them speak for themselves. 

Overall, an enjoyable and very distracting read.

Paperback, 428 pages
Published October 19th 1999 by Back Bay Books (first published 1982)
Original Title: Blue Highways: A Journey into America
ISBN: 0316353299 (ISBN13: 9780316353298)

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