One Year Reflection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay.   My bad.  It has certainly been awhile since I have posted, but that does not mean I fell off the wagon.  Okay, maybe I fell off the wagon for two weeks while Jaime and I were on the mainland for a vacation, but even during that vacation we were still hitting CrossFit most of the time.  So stop judging me with your eyes and your judgy expression.

What?  You don’t believe me?  Fine, we will jump right into the meat then.  The below picture is from the CrossFit Oahu Nutrition Challenge Jaime and I participated in from 15 January 2013 until 28 February 2013.  Yes, I had a ridiculous mustache and I might have, ummm, trimmed my chest hair down a bit, but you probably would to if you lost approximately 20 lbs.  The key numbers here were 8 lbs of fat lost, 9 lbs of water, but I also lost 3 lbs of muscle.  WHAT?!  I am CrossFitting my face off and I lost 3 lbs of muscle.   Turns out you are supposed to eat closer to the end of your workouts.  And I had also been moderately training for my first sprint Triathlon which was on 2 March 2013 (I finished… at around 1 hour and 20 minutes… it was fun).  Lesson learned.  You can read what I wrote about this challenge here:  http://crossfitoahu.com/blog/2013/03/paleo-success-despite-multiple-special-occasions/

2013Challenge

So this is what I looked like BEFORE we went on the two week vacation.  Fortunately, there was another CrossFit Oahu Nutrition Challenge that literally started the day we got home.  The great part about it was an immediate shift back to our healthy practices.  The bad… well, it turns out that I am beginning to get sick of the nutrition challenges.  Jaime and I eat Paleo a good 90% of the time, and sometimes you just want a beer.  And on a nutrition challenge, you don’t really have that option.  And I like options.  So here is what I looked like after coming back from the mainland.

SpringBefore

 

Not TOO bad, but there was a certain amount of fitness decay there.  This is a great example of how your diet is crucial to your weight loss or even just maintenance of where you are.

And now for the grand finale.  I will write more about this, but I finished my first Olympic distance Triathlon (1500 m swim, 26 mile bike ride, 10K run), the Honolulu Triathlon.  Jaime came out to support me, cheer me on, take pictures, and in general, just be awesome.  She excels at those things.  I trained with Team in Training to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, so I got a cool purple singlet and tri shorts.  Jaime took some photos, and as usual, I was pretty critical of myself about how I looked in spandex.  And I thought to myself, “Self, I wonder how much I have changed in the past year.”  It was a great opportunity to dig through some wedding photos from almost a year ago.  I was amazed when I set them next to each other.  Since we got married on 14 April 2012 (the picture below on the left is at our reception), Jaime and I have run a half-marathon, a full marathon, and a sprint Triathlon together.  I have done an additional sprint Triathlon and today’s Olympic distance Triathlon.  I felt pretty good about what I have accomplished, but wasn’t quite ready for what comparing the two photos meant.  Holy balls.  Clearly, I didn’t realize how far I had let myself go (from 231 lbs on the left to 205 lbs on the right), and I owe my beautiful wife a HUGE apology for not taking better care of myself leading up to our wedding.  The good news: you can see in the pictures how good she is for me and what an inspiration she has been for me.  I recognize I have a ways to go, but this is a hell of a start.  Thank you, Jaime!  I couldn’t have accomplished all of these things without you!

 

Year One

 

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CrossFit Tomato, CrossFit Tahmahto

Finally on time, I show up to the box.  Inside is full of sweaty people throwing barbells around, grunting, looking miserable.  Wisely, I decide to stand outside.  There are two small groups of folks hanging out.  A couple look like they have already completed their WOD (workout of the day), a couple more look like they are getting ready for the 5:00 p.m. class, like me, and a few look like midgets.  Okay, maybe they aren’t midgets.  They are toddlers running around waiting for their parents to finish getting their sweat on.  As I stand there, nobody says anything.  Well, they are saying plenty but not to me.  They don’t acknowledge that I have walked up.  Conversations come and go.  I awkwardly try to insert myself here or there with a slight chuckle to a joke or (I am having to fight the urge to write “light up a smoke”) smile and nod with a conversation.  More often than not, most of these quiet intrusions are met with an equally quiet glare and a stalled dialogue.   Got it.  No talky to me.  One of the coaches walks by, and I receive at least a glimmer of recognition.  More awkward time passes.  The gym owner walks past.  Nothing.  I feel dirty.  I feel like something is wrong with me.  I wonder if I am not local enough to be at this particular box.  I haven’t felt this uncomfortable since just after gym class in 7th grade when that kid Derrick was punching me in the face for accidentally pumping into him an extremely large crowd of other 7th graders (By the way, eff you, Derrick… eff you).

10 minutes early for the 5:00 p.m. class, I walk up to the door and am immediately greeted with an enthusiastic fist bump from one of the coaches.  To be fair, I am that guy that STILL goes for the high five because I am apparently ridiculously old, so I find this unprompted fist bump to instantly make me feel cooler and like I fit in.  Inside is full of sweaty people throwing barbells around, grunting, looking miserable, but some of them actually appear to be smiling and joking around about how much it sucks.  There are a couple of small groups milling about next to the desk and some benches set up for people to sit on while they wait. As I walk up, all of the individual groups turn to welcome me.  Some quick, witty banter, some non-obligatory laughter, and I get more of the feeling that I have joined a group of friends at a social establishment.  Another coach walks by and asks how the “Nutrition Challenge” is going.  Asks about my wife and if she is going to make it today (right… like she would let me get one workout ahead of her).  I don’t even think about Derrick from 7th grade, but if he were there, I am pretty sure I would kick his ass in a WOD.  Stupid Derrick.

Two CrossFit boxes with about eight miles in between them, but worlds apart.  Jaime and I recently did CrossFit Elements for the second time in about six months with a new CrossFit gym.  On one of our training runs for the marathon, we happened to stop in because (a) it is closer to our house and (b) see the first paragraph of this post.  From that 15 minutes we spent in the gym, the next time we came in three weeks later they knew our names, asked about how our marathon training was going, and whether or not we wanted a beer. Contrast that with Elements in June, working out three to four times a week in July and August, and then having to leave for a month, and show back up to a box where maybe two folks asked where I had been, the coaches and owner ignored me when I showed back up to work out.  If you add on the fact that I had lost about 15 lbs in the time they hadn’t seen me, and no one noticed, I was particularly crushed.  We were in the middle of marathon training, paying for unlimited WODs, and going twice a week.  I do want to say that this is not a blanket statement for everyone there.  There were certainly a handful of awesome folks who brightened some of the dark corners, but they couldn’t overcome how uncomfortable it was to just be there.  And this place was DEFINITELY the right choice for some.  But not for us.  We needed better coaching to get better and somebody to take interest in our progress.  And maybe laugh at a joke every now and then.

I could go on and on about the differences, but I will leave it at this.  If you are interested in CrossFit, choose your box wisely.  Each one has its own soul and personality, and it has to fit yours if you are going to find any real success.  I feel incredibly lucky to have found CrossFit Pearl City (part of a CrossFit conglomerate on the island… five other boxes and each one of those has a different flavor, too) and in particular, Coach Juggs.  I will stop here, because I am positive I will write more about this in the future.

Fallen off the face of the Earth…

I would love to write a whole post of excuses about why I have written a post in so long, but I just don’t have the time. Well, clearly I have the time, but I have just been mismanaging it.  With Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II coming out with a week of each other, one has to ensure their priorities are correct.  #1.  Halo 4  #2.  Call of Duty.  That was a lot easier than I thought.

The one update I meant to write two weeks ago:  One of the reasons I started this blog was the fact I had just failed my Physical Fitness Assessment.  Since my body fat was out of standards, I didn’t even get to do the sit-ups, pushups, or the run.  Well, on 26 October, I weighed in at 207 lbs and 21 % Body Fat.  The standard is 22%, so I was a little surprised that I “squeaked” in like I did.  But a good checkpoint and reminder that there is still plenty of work to do.  The exciting part for me: I maxed out my situps, my pushups, and ran my 1.5 miles in 10 minutes flat.  My goal since I graduated from the Naval Academy was to run 10:30 or faster, so this was a huge feat for me.  That makes for an overall score of Outstanding (the highest score) with an Outstanding in every category.

Jaime and I are still on track for the 9 December Honolulu marathon.  We have run 16 miles three weekends in a row, 18 miles last weekend, 18 miles this coming Sunday… and then we will be tapering down until the marathon.

Baby steps back into the whole writing game.  Please bear with me.

A not-so-quick reflection…

So Jaime and I knocked out our second 16 mile long run this past weekend.  I’ve probably said it before, but I severely enjoy every weekend being a new personal record.  I will be a little sad when the marathon and associated training is over, and my Nike running app stops telling me that I just broke a new record for my longest run. 

And yes, I am excited that we just ran 16 miles.  And like most things, if I am excited about it I either:

a)rush head long into it, spending exorbitant amounts of money without thinking, and end up about a week later with buyer’s remorse, a lot of stuff I don’t need, and a lot less excitement or

b) talk about it insistently (which I could have sworn was spelled “incessentatly” but that word apparently does not existiate)… or write a blog post about it. 

For those on the edge of your seat, I have chosen option b when it comes to our marathon training.  The poor folks that work around me or talk to me for any length of time get to hear me blabber on about the Paleo diet (check out premadepaleohawaii.com, my OTHER new blog), CrossFit, or marathon training.  I realize I just want people to be impressed as I am that we ran 16 miles, so I always find a casual, creative way to bring it up in conversation.

Coworker A: “So we went to the movies this weekend, saw Sinister.  I had really high expectations, but it turned out to be a little hokey in the end.”

Me: “Ah, Sinister.  Like when Jaime and I ran 16 miles this weekend.”

Orrrrr….

Coworker B: “My daughter has decided to join a commune in central Oklahoma.  We are really concerned about her because the leader of the commune is a registered sex offender and all of the other members of the commune seem to be women between the ages of 18 and 22.”

Me: “Ah, commune.  Like when Jaime and I ran 16 miles this weekend.”

So to any of you folks who have had to deal with this particular obnoxious side of me, let me go ahead and apologize now.  It is hard work being this self-aware, and I will try to reign in my excitement. 

Okay, but that is not the point of this post.  Sometimes when I talk about marathon training, a small group of people actually don’t roll their eyes and pretend to pay attention while they try to recite the alphabet backwards silently.  They listen intently, reflect on their own fitness, and say, “I could never run five miles much less a 16.  That is just a bridge too far.”  To be fair, they never actually use the words “a bridge too far,” but covers a lot more ground than what they normally say. 

And to that end (i.e. this IS the point of this post), I have started reflecting on how far I have come this past year. 

For instance:

#1.  Jaime and I started running again in May.  I distinctly remember it, because we had just hit the .5 mile mark of a 3 mile run.  This HALF mile was all downhill.  No, really.  Sometimes it was a big gradient downhill… sometimes it was a slight decline.  But make no mistake, it was ALL downhill.  And at that half mile point, I had to walk.  I was out of breath.  My legs felt like lead.  I was ready to lay down and die right there in the road.  We all have to start somewhere… or in our case, restart somewhere.  It was severely humbling.  And now, like I have severely overstated, we ran 16 miles.

#2.  Anyone who knows me has a pretty good idea of how much I like to sleep.  The words A LOT come to mind.  I have been endless harassed by my beautiful wife for wanting to go to bed ridiculously early to ensure that we would have 8 full hours of sleep the night before a run.  In fact, if we were getting up at 6:00 a.m. to go run, and we didn’t make it to bed by 10:00 p.m., it was a foregone conclusion that I would not be waking up for the run.  If we got to bed by 10:15, I would whine about going to bed late and just refuse to move in the morning.  Have you ever tried to walk a dog that decided to plant itself instead of walking, and somehow that 75 lbs dog had somehow created the weight of one of those stone/granite dogs from Ghostbusters?  Yeah, that was me in the bed.  Not budging.  Since the third week of August, we have gone to bed and gotten up to run at hours well before 6:00 a.m.  I am not quite sure when the whining stopped, but it stopped even becoming an option to not get up and run.  We have gotten out of bed at 3:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. for races.  We probably whined a little bit then, but we got up.  And this was on the weekend.  I am pretty sure that is against my religion or at least against every natural instinct I have.  I find it more amazing that we have gotten up numerous times now on Saturday before 6:00 a.m. to go for a run.  Seriously?  Who does that? 

What is my point?  Somewhere in this mix of fitness, there has been a slowly shifting mindset that has had a huge impact on how we tackle our days. 

And it’s awesome.  But I really can’t wait for the marathon to be completed so I can sleep in on Saturday.  Just sayin’….

JayClay vs the Half-Marathon

Sunrise at the Gunstock Half-Marathon (Photo courtesy of Jaime)

That’s right.  I just recently heard you aren’t REALLY married until you have a celebrity name for your coupleness.  Thus, JayClay.  Always put your best foot forward (first) and save the best for last.

So at some point, getting up at 4:00 a.m. to go run 13.1 miles over hilly and wild pig infested trails seemed like a good idea.  I’m just not sure at what point that was.  But that is exactly what we did.  We woke up at 4:30 in the morning, ate come Crustables (the training guide said a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was totally acceptable as a pre-race meal), and headed to the almost-North-Shore to run all willy-nilly through a working ranch.  In short, it was awesome.  For instance, as we signed up to get our race bibs, I had to point out the horse, ummm, droppings in front of the table to make sure Jaime didn’t step in it.  She questioned why they didn’t set up the table NOT in front of the poop.  I then pointed out the other piles of poop and suggested that maybe they should have set up in front of them.  Point taken.

It was a wide range of folks and after the national anthem punctuated with a cowgirl riding around in circles on her pony with an American flag waving in the wind (I was disappointed when it did not rear up at the end and do a horse wheelie), we were off like a herd including a whole lot of dust getting kicked up into our lungs.  Once we finally made it around the seven teenagers (they might have been college age… who can tell these days?) in their tie-dye shirts talking about what conditioner they should use after the race, we were off on a steady pace.

Gunstock Ranch Trail Half-Marathon

About one and a half miles into the race, (well, SOMEBODY was racing, but I can assure you it was not Jaime and me), we heard a rustling sound in the brush behind and to the right of us.

“No big deal,” I thought, “I’ve seen this plenty in Arkansas… a rabbit or a bird can make a huge ruckus.  Here in Hawaii, the mongoose can… OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!” as a good sized wild pig came barreling out of the best bush next to us.  When I say barreling, it was not a pig in a barrel, although a pig in a blanket does sound nice right about now… no, this misguided swine charged across the trail just behind us and straight into a simple, criss-crossed wire fence: which it abruptly bounced off of.

  • My first thought: “Oh, THAT’S how they make bacon.”  Once it bounced off, it stopped and turned towards Jaime and me.
  • Second thought: “Oooo… this is just like Lost. Maybe I can take this wild pig with my bare hands (although bear hands would be much more useful right now) and my new nickname could be Locke!”
  • Third thought: “This is going to suck.”

During these three thoughts, I began subtly pushing (quickly shoving) Jaime behind me and thinking of how Bacon and I were going to resolve this issue when he finally ran back into the bush the way he came.  Problem resolved.  Secure in my manhood in protecting my woman, we started running again when Bacon charged back across the trail about five feet in front of us.  Fortunately, he picked a spot without a fence, and that was the last we saw of him for the day.

Beyond dodging cow pies and horse poop, we plodded on to victory.  Or at least our longest run to date.  And we weren’t last.  We ended up #81 and #82 out of 200 folks (I was #81.  I think my timechip crossed the finish line first), and were happy, satisfied, and actually felt like we could have kept running.  Our time was 2 hours and 30 minutes.  Sure, our finishers’ medallion was a dogtag with a sticker on it, but it is one of my proudest accomplishments to date.  Until we run 16 miles next weekend.

Team JayClay at the finish line with our “medallions.”

Open Letter to Jason Surowiec

Dear Jason Surowiec,

When I left Japan back in February of this year, I felt like I didn’t really say thank you enough or really show my appreciation for the enormous impact you’ve had on my life.  Even when I first met you at HSL-40 at Mayport, FL, I saw what an extremely positive and supportive individual you were.  And it was at that point that I had already developed my ridiculous fear of disappointing you.

I was super excited when I found out you were going to be moving out to HSL-51 in Japan.  With such a small, close-knit society, it is always nice to have someone with a positive outlook show up when you live in a fishbowl.

Fast forward to March 2011 and you find us forward deployed to Misawa to help out with the tsunami disaster relief efforts.  I reflect on this time period for two reasons:

#1.  It was the first time I saw you with your shirt off.  Clearly, I like the girls, but it was probably the first time I realized how fit you were.  I remember thinking to myself, “That is the kind of fitness I want for myself.”  You even offered to take me to the gym with you which leads me to #2.

#2.  Looking back a little more clearly, it might have been my first taste of CrossFit…. had I gone.   I was so scared and intimidated by what CrossFit MIGHT have meant that I didn’t go.  But you invited me.  And that stuck with me.  You weren’t forceful or obnoxious about it.  You let me figure things out in my own time.  With hindsight being 20/20, I wish I would have asked more questions.  I remember you mentioned pull-ups, and I ran away with my tail between my legs.

These two things combined left me with a lot to think about.  I laugh as I think about what I was eating and drinking while we were in Misawa.  A few beers every night.  I was eating cereal like it was going out of style.  There was lots of crap from the mini-mart next to the Q we were staying in.  And then they re-opened the Burger King.  Yikes.

It took my until mid June of 2011 for me to actually come and talk to you about making a change.  In fact, it was 18 June 2011.  You gave me the link to Mark’s Daily Apple.com, and within a few hours, I had purchased Primal Blueprint off of his website.  I devoured that book pretty quickly, and it was certainly the beginning of my critical examination of conventional wisdom, the food pyramid or the plate, etc.  And even with this, you gave me a simple website and let me discover my own way.  It wasn’t until 19 July that Jaime and I came to our first CrossFit class.  We actually owe that one to Kelly Hermann. She got Jaime to go, and that got me to go.  But we were hooked after the first class.  Our first coaches were Cindy Larsen and Michelle Munroe McGrevy have yet to be topped by any box we have been to.  The camaraderie and community of the Atsugi CrossFit folks has left a high bar that we are still trying to find.  And every time Jaime and I would show up, your face would light up and you were extremely welcoming.  It is one of the things that kept us coming back.

And here we are in October of 2012.  Jaime and I are running a half-marathon this weekend as preparation for a full marathon in December.  We are CrossFit’ing regularly at our local box and even visiting boxes while we are on the road.  I have achieved my Level One Trainer Certificate and have found I want more of the same.  You have had such a positive impact on my life and by extension, Jaime’s.  I know I am not the only person you have affected this way.  And I can never say thank you enough.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!  I hope that one day I can find a way to repay you!

Your friend,

Clay Shane

My mentor, Jason Surowiec

89th Day Update

So I started this blog on 11 July (well, I ACTUALLY started it sometime in 2011, but I REALLY started writing on 11 July), and it has been 89 days since I began my fitness journey.  I started with a clear goal in mind and an end date for when my fitness adventure would come to an end.  And while I still have my goals in sight and in mind, they are no longer the end of the road.  They are just sign posts along the way.  Mile markers on the highway of my fitness life.  When I get to 185 lbs, I won’t suddenly stop eating Paleo.  I am not going to give up on CrossFit.  My adventure continues and my new goals become inspiring, helping, and motivating others.

So where am I right now?  Take a look:

108 days of change: 29 June to 8 October

108 Days of Change from the Side: 20 June to 8 October

This morning, I weighed 211.6 lbs.  My waist was under 38 inches (37.9 inches to be accurate).  That means I am within limits for the Physical Fitness Assessment.  Woot!  The beginning numbers were 232 lbs and 42.5 inches for your comparison.

To add some cherries on top, Jaime and I ran 12 miles this past Sunday.  I try not to think about it, because that number just seems ridiculous.  We even signed up for a half marathon next weekend (it’s nice really, because now we don’t have to map out a run).

A lot of folks have sent personal messages letting me know that I have motivated them in one way or another.  And these messages mean the world to me.  It is one reason I have kept on trucking.  I will keep posting my progress and thoughts if you guys will keep letting me know how YOU are doing.  Either in comments (click on that little speech bubble at the top of the post) or e-mails to madclay@me.com.  Thanks again for everyone’s support!

 

Fitness Prize Winner!

So the announcement winner of the Ozeri Epicurean Digital Kitchen Scale has been a little overdue. *Go ahead and imagine a drum roll in your head*  And the winner is:

Kelsey Balch!

Her idea trying out a new fitness class is a fun way to get out, get active, and find something new that you might like.  Thanks for the great comment, and the scale is on its way!

And the other piece that I had promised a few weeks ago… pictures of the travesty that is the shaved front of me.  The pictures on the left are 20 Jun at 232 lbs and the pictures on the right are 1 September at 217.6 lbs.  The change is coming slowly but surely.

Looking like a shaved polar bear…

Side view: Not too different from the last comparison… just hairless

Short and sweet tonight.  Thanks for checking out the blog!

You Can’t Always Get What You Want…

Trying to stay active with our local box even though I am 5,000 miles away (at least that is what Google Maps says), Jaime and I have signed up with the box’s Paleo Challenge.  50 days of eating clean with zero cheats.  Yikes.  The funny thing is I have been eating really well with the Premade Paleo and finding salads with plenty of chicken or some other sort of protein on top.  I’ve seen plenty of red velvet cakes, brownies, ice cream, cookies, soda, you name it, and not really thought about twice about them.  I didn’t want them.  I didn’t crave them.  But a few days after this Paleo Challenge started on 11 September.  On Day One, the cookies in the lobby suddenly looked much more delicious.  The Coke machine I passed on the way to my room suddenly seemed really tantalizing.  The Zingers in the snack machine looked like they were about to fall through that little coil-holder-thingee and into my hand.  I made it to my room without giving into the temptations, but I was stunned by my inner voice that had suddenly turned evil and clearly against me.

But it lead me to this realization: if you have made the choice of your own volition to make a healthier change in your life, you have made a mindset shift which makes losing weight, gaining muscle, losing fat, or getting fit natural and infinitely easier.  When an external force is applied to your decision making, it is taken out of your hands and it suddenly gets a lot harder.

So what is the point of all of this?  When you are ready, make that decision to change.  But YOU have to be ready.  The only way you can get yourself into the right mindset is be committed to yourself and to your goals.  To that end, once you have made that choice, start immediately.  Don’t wait until the first of the month.  Don’t wait until after the weekend. Don’t wait until Monday. Hell, don’t wait until after the next meal.  Make the change then.  Own it.  And when you slip, and you eat that cookie in the lobby (and are disgusted with yourself because it wasn’t Otis Spunkmeyer at all… somebody put Chips Ahoy in there… jerks), you reflect on what lead you to that slip, and you get back on track right then and there.  Don’t rationalize yourself into going to Five Guys and getting the double bacon cheeseburger.  And since you ate that, you might as well go to Cold Stone.  Not that I know about that from personal experience.  Reflect on where you are and where you want to go, and start again.  Right now.

Excuses, excuses

So I have started writing this post at least four times now.  Thanks to the folks who have shown enough interest to actually write and ask where the update is.  That kind of support is amazing and awesome.  To be fair, trying to get in shape just leaves you kind of busy as it turns out.  And so does going to Six Flags and riding A LOT of roller coasters… with no lines to wait in them.  But more on that in a second.

The thing I am most excited about and was taking up a lot of my time was this CrossFit Level One Trainer Course.  I was spending a good amount of time reading the associated guide so that I could pass the test at the end of the two-day class.  I had not seen any of these courses offered in Hawaii, so when I finally received a quota for the class here in Augusta, I immediately started looking for places close by and in the right timeframe.  Atlanta had been an option, but it filled up too quickly.  The only two remotely realistic places to take the class were San Diego and Orlando.  Well, as it turned out San Diego wasn’t that realistic either.  The Orlando class was already filled, so I sent a very whiny, pleading e-mail (thanks to Jason Suroweic for guiding me down that path) asking if there was anyway I could get in.  They were super helpful in taking my $800 for the course (a $200 military discount…SWEEET), and then I had to figure out how to get to Orlando.  Which takes me to last Friday.  The folks in my class actually let me out a little early so I could make the two and a half hour drive to Atlanta (because the flight out of Augusta was $300 more which the kind folks at Best Western Mount Vernon Inn were extremely happy to help me store… in their cash register.).  So doing the math: a two hour drive to Atlanta, getting there one hour and a half hours early, the one hour flight, one hour to get off the plane and get another rental car, and a thirty minute drive to the hotel… well, it actually adds up to being an hour longer than if I had just drove.  DOH!  You live, you learn.

Was it worth it?  Absolutely!  What an incredible experience.  The coaches (Chuck Carswell, JMac, Lindsey, Courtney, Leah, and Joe) were awesome, helpful, patient, and really contributed to that whole Community of CrossFit feeling.  The information put out… and the way it was presented… made ten times more sense than the Level One Guide I had been poring over for the past two months.

Me and 59 of my new best friends.

A couple of highlights from the weekend: I stayed awake and took notes (take THAT Army communications school), I hit a Personal Record (PR) on Fran of 9:35 (one of the slowest in the class, but whatever).  Fran is 21-15-9 reps of 95 lbs thrusters (think front squat that flows into a shoulder push press) and pull ups.  And I ran 8 miles on Sunday morning before class… which happens to be the longest I have ever run in my entire life.  Took the exam and felt pretty confident walking out that I passed.  We find out in a week or so.  Needless to say, walking today has been painful and difficult.

Okay, so this has already gotten longer than I expected.  So I will post more about my excuses tomorrow.

Only eight more days until I am reunited with my beautiful wife and we can start another adventure!