Archive for September, 2010

Why are we doing this?

whycrossfit As of yesterday at about 5:30pm I am a CrossFit Certified trainer. What a great weekend! I learned so much I could probably write about it forever. But instead I will just mention the single most important thing I became aware of that seems relevant for a general audience. WHY. Why do people feel compelled to work so hard to do well in sports and in fitness, CrossFit in particular. Many people who do it know why intrinsically and become inseparable from their pursuit but to fully understand and explain the reasons is something else.

Superficially, the obvious benefits are looking better, feeling better, and the ‘high’ you get from your achievements. But for me and a lot of athletes and for almost every CrossFitter I have met so far, the relentless pursuit of excellence in sports and fitness is really the pursuit of excellence in life. We seek a higher quality of life, a sense of inner peace, and a complete awareness and acceptance of who we are as a human beings. The lessons we learn when we face challenges, successes, and failures in sports and fitness carry over directly to life.

How to consistently push the limits of what we are capable of.
How to face what seems impossible with confidence.
How to exhibit grace under pressure.
How to handle both successes and failures.
How to be a class act.
How to be disciplined when faced with temptations.
How to keep going when we want desperately to quit.
How to have hope when hope seems lost.
How to inspire others.
And how to achieve greatness.

I have had a lot of people ask why in the world I would do something so difficult as CrossFit on purpose. But when you really understand the benefits you get from setting extremely difficult goals for yourself mentally and physically on a daily basis and working ridiculously hard to achieve them a better question becomes ‘Why doesn’t everybody?’

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Volunteer Work for Fourmile Fire

volunteer Tonight was not exactly fun. When I called Boulder Fire to find out what I could do to help I was hoping to be sent up into the mountains to do manual labor. Instead the immediate need was to sort through donations. Sigh. Well, I wanted to help and that was the current need. So whatever, I went.

In a big empty room they had set up cafeteria tables covered with piles of clothes that needed to be sorted for age, gender, size, and season. That would have been no problem. However, the woman running the show had obviously had a very stressful day and was barking orders like we were in prison. Yeah, the environment was a little stressful. The kid pounding on boxes like a drum set plus the girl screeching out the first 16 notes of the only song she knew on a donated violin did not help.

Then there was the clothes. What on earth would possess a person to donate their old used underwear? Are you serious? Not even someone who had NEVER had a home would wear old used underwear much less someone who just lost a house around here. Made me want to wear gloves while going through those boxes. Tip: Donate stuff that you would not be embarrassed to give to your friends and family members. Donating shirts with stains on them and snagged sweaters from the 70s with missing buttons is like donating garbage. Not only kind of gross but also a nuisance to whoever has to sort through that crap.

Anyway, all that said, I am actually still really glad I did it. I guess sometimes you have to just suck it up and do what needs to be done, ya know?

PR’d on Front Squat today! 175#

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This is why you’re fat

overheadsquatDiet great. Workout bad. A reversal of yesterday. The diet was spot on. The workout included overhead squats which automatically made it terrible for me. Grrr. So frustrating when you don’t feel like you are getting better at something. To really compete at the level I want to I have to be doing at least 30 more pounds than I can right now. At the moment that seems an impossible task for 6 months. One workout at a time, I suppose…

Best thing to do when I get frustrated is find something to laugh about. Easy for me as I am easily entertained. Check out this website if you haven’t already: For some reason it cracks me up. The point is that when you gain a bunch of unwanted weight it is almost never because of lack of exercise or genetics or bone size but because of what and how much you eat. What a fun way to get that point across and then some.

casserolePeople really eat this stuff. Definitely go check out how this restaurant makes a fries and onion rings casserole. Or Paula Dean’s battered and deep fried butter balls.

My favorites on the site are the desserts though. They might be too much even for me. Like Dessert Lasagna or the The Icingcano. UGH! Now that’s just gross.

They also have this Oreo Stuff Dip where you take all the frosting out of the middle of a bunch of Oreos and melted it into a dip. Guess what you dip in it? You guessed it more Oreos. Hahaha. Now THAT is not Paleo.

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Less Than Great

trailmix Workout? Great. Diet?… Meh. I ate all the right stuff except for one major indulgence. Last week in a moment of weakness I bought some trail mix from Whole Foods called ‘Chocolate Stampede’ that contains a bunch of milk chocolate disks and some white chocolate chips. Let’s just say after I got done with it today it is now just plain ‘Stampede’. The workout, however, was awesome. A solid 20 minutes of nearly unbearable suffering:

Round 1:  1 pull up, 1 burpee, 1 box jump, 1 dead lift @ 85% of your max
Round 2:  2 pull ups, 2 burpees, 2 box jumps, 1 dead lift
Round 3:  3 pull ups, 3 burpees, 3 box jumps, 1 dead lift
Round 4….

…continue adding a rep to those exercises every round for 20 minutes. I completed 13 rounds. Ouch! After we recovered a bit someone turned to me and said, “That was a great workout. I never want to do that again.”

I taught my first skills class tonight! Back squat and overhead squat. The two guys were great and made it really easy. I am really looking forward to being a trainer.

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After Photos: Round 2

karensbackIn other news, I emailed an update to Body For Life on what I have been up to since March. They recommended I go in for a second set of after photos now that 6 months have passed since I finished the challenge. With so many people to judge, anything I can do to stand out a little should at least help a little and I really want to give myself the best chance I can.

So I scheduled the date of the second photo shoot for one month from today, October 13th. I now have 30 days to trim off any remaining roughness around the edges. I don’t have as much to worry about as I did the first time around but I still don’t want to slack off. Despite popular belief I am fairly terrible about following a health food diet. I indulge on a pretty regular basis.

I also dislike getting my pictures taken. I have a hard time standing still for that long. But I am really excited about working with that fitness photographer again. The guy knows what he is doing. He just finished doing the calendar for the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders! Anyway, I figured reminding those people about me a little bit closer to January when they pick the winners would be a good idea. I definitely did not do it for the prize money but I still can’t help being motivated by imagining what I would do with an extra 10 or 25 grand in my pocket. First on the list would be to sponsor another kid.

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A Minor Crash at Hall Ranch

This morning we rode Hall Ranch. I managed to make it up and down a bunch of difficult rocky sections without crashing until we were about 200 yards from the car when I fell sideways and smashed my left cheek on a rock. (Not the cheek on my face). As if my legs were bruised and battered enough I now have claw marks down my calf muscles. Check out the rattlesnake we saw crossing the trail: snake

That was the highlight of a pretty rough ride. However, the rough ride did not prevent me from going to the gym immediately afterward to work on lifting technique. I took so many days off last week that I wasn’t feeling much like myself. Great to be back at it.

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Tactical Strength Challenge

SeanThis morning was the Tactical Strength Challenge over at Front Range CrossFit. Only 3 events. The first was dead lift. Only 3 of us represented our gym today but all 3 of us hit a personal best on dead lift. Me at 265#, Elizabeth at 275#, and Sean at 380#. Great start to the day.

Next was dead hang pull ups. During the first week of this blog I set a goal of being able to do 10 dead hang pull ups. At the time I could barely do 1 and had to kick my feet to get a second. See post. I worked up to 7 during the first couple months but then stopped doing them altogether. So today I decided I would be happy with 7 but would shoot for 8. Elizabeth said she would be happy with 10 but I told her to fight for 11 since everyone shoots for a nice round number like 10. Well guess what? Elizabeth got 11. And guess what else? I got 11 too! I have no idea where it came from but I am happy to say I have finally met that goal. Sean’s goal was 30 and he got 29. We do not yet know how we finished but that number would have put Sean in the top 3 for the same event back in April. Extremely impressive.

Finally we did the 5 minute kettle bell snatch test. Ouch. Elizabeth’s original goal was 100 reps but at the last minute she set her sights higher ended up with 117. With her other two events she will definitely be near the top. I had done this before and got 120 so I was thinking 125. But the girl who went before me proved to be really good at them and got 129. So I had a number to beat. It wasn’t nearly as pretty as hers but I got 136. I ripped my hand for the first time during that last minute but it was totally worth it. Sean, on the other hand, did about 2 kettle bell snatches before his earlier 400# dead lift attempt caught up with him and his back seized up. It would have been great to see what he was capable of after doing so well in the first two events. And it really sucks to be so highly motivated and then suddenly get injured and stuck waiting around for recovery. Luckily, he is a tough guy and is certain to recover quickly. And once he does he will have no shortage of opportunities to show what he is made of.

Results will not be posted until Sept 25th.

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Wish I was a firefighter

Over 170 homes destroyed by the fires so far and the winds are still blowing today. Officials are saying that the fire could still come over the hill and down in to Northwest Boulder. Evacuations are expected to continue throughout the day. I wish I was a firefighter today so I could help.


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I cannot remember wishing harder for rain than I did today. The fires have now claimed nearly 140 homes, the worst fire damage in Colorado history, and it is still listed as 0% contained. It did finally rain a little bit this afternoon but I was hoping for more. Todd took this picture of neighbor Joe’s house after the rain stopped:


For the updated  info on the fires:

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Fourmile Fires

Many of us know people being affected by the fires in Boulder. Either they have already lost their homes or have been evacuated and are still waiting for the outcome. I wish our friends the best and I am available if anybody needs anything. In the meantime, I am arranging for a group of Flatirons CrossFitters to volunteer once Boulder Fire has determined the work that needs to be done. I will keep you guys updated if you are interested in participating. Others are also welcome to join our group. Just let me know. Todd took pics last night from Lafayette.

Notice the fire is spread out across the whole ridgeline:


Several separate blazes were visible from 75th and Baseline:


The smoke looked like an approaching storm:


I took this with my cell phone on the way home from Longs Peak. The smoke was so thick it nearly eclipsed the sun:


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