Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why Do People Get Punished For Single-unders?

For the longest time I had, what I thought, was a built in excuse for not being able to do double-unders. Until I saw another amputee rocking them out like no tomorrow, I thought I was going to be stuck doing single-unders forever! Now, let me be clear, this has not made a difference in how I look at the double-under. I hate the exercise. I am not a cherry picker of WODs but I will take a rest day when I see double-unders on the menu. I simply don't like them.

Most of this disdain is also my reason for not practicing them regularly. But another issue I have always had is with "scaling" the double-under. Now, I say "scaling" with a mouth load of sarcasm. In reality, it's punishment! In every gym I have ever been in, the scaled option for the double-under has been 3:1 singles or, in a rare case, double-under attempts. I don't get it! Am I supposed to get a double under faster because I have to do three times the as many singles as my peers have to do doubles? Other than building up stamina, all it does is frustrate and alienate those who don't have double-unders. I can tell you that my problem with the double under is timing and rhythm along with some mechanic issues (I have a hard time relaxing). A million single-unders won't help that.

One of my coaches once told me to practice single-unders until I can sustain 3 minutes of singles before I move on to double-unders. He also told me to practice the power jump to make sure I am gaining height on the jump and not donkey kicking. I think this is a better plan for building to double-unders than the "scaling" that we typically get punished with.

Think of this in terms of "Annie"

  • Double-Unders
  • Abmat Sit-ups
  • Scaled
    50-40-30-20-10 (3:1)
  • Double-Unders (150-120-90-60-30)
  • Abmat Sit-ups
  • Other than building the stamina to jump, doing that amount of single-unders has no mechanical advantage when preparing to do double-unders. It doesn't prepare you for the mechanics of whipping the rope. Better scalable options, and ones I was given during the time I spent at CrossFit Reston in Virginia are: double-under attempts where the counted reps are a successful double-under (think single, single, double or single, double) Or an equal number of single-unders with the jumps being a power jump (higher elevation).

    Stop punishing athletes who cannot do double-unders! Help them achieve the double-under. (Of course this also requires us to practice, we know that!)

    Monday, November 25, 2013

    Mini-challenge & the return of coach!

    It's no big secret how the my first semester back in school has affected me in terms of schedule and my lack of time in the gym. With a hectic full time load at George Mason University, a 40 hour work week and my family (who has been BEYOND supportive) my time in the gym, both personal and as a coach, have fallen off. The same can be said about my ability to spend time with my friends.

    WOD and Personal Performance

    Since I have had limited time in the gym, you can guess my performance and strength has probably suffered. An additional side effect has been balance. For instance, where I used to be pretty balanced in the bottom of a squat, despite hanging out down there basically on one leg, I am now unbalanced. No doubt due to some mobility regression as well. School has not been the only limiting factor but has made for a convenient excuse. I have also been dealing with a lower back injury and injuries/irritations as a result of my prosthesis. Still I soldiered on until it became unbearable and I finally did something about it.   

    I went from working out 5 days a week to barely making it 2-3 days a week. Now, I am a person who suffers from what I term as "gym PMS". Ladies, if this offends you, I'm sorry. When I don't go to the gym, I get really pissy! Additional stress from school and the need for calories to counter the late nights and early mornings have also led to some poor eating decisions. While I didn't fall off the wagon face first into grain and carb bliss, I did go from about 85-90% paleo to about 50% paleo and not so clean sometimes.

    This all changes with the end of the semester! Beginning 2 December, I am starting my own mini-nutrition challenge and also getting back to the basics. The semester wraps up on 11 December for me, so beginning a week early only makes this better. My winter break ends 21 January. Here is what my mini challenge will entail:

    1. A return to strict paleo. This means I will go back to my old ways of eating. Everything will be as clean as possible and I will only consume beer/alcohol at special occasions. (c'mon, it is still the holidays!)

    2. 5 day workout schedule. I will be returning to the 5 day a week program with the addition of two nights a week where I will run or ruck. I have a ruck run and a 24 hour ruck in the spring so training shall commence immediately.

    3. Strength! I want to get strong. I can already kip, now to get strong. So, all pull-ups (except chest to bar, for now), all handstand push ups, all dips and generally any other movement that requires a kip, will be done strict. Yes, I can kip the hell out of some toes-to-bar or knees-to-elbow movements, but I am going to choose to get stronger first! (well, second.....but, you know what I mean)

    4. Mobility, mobility, mobility. I will mobilize to make sure I can continue this schedule and also to ensure that old injury bug doesn't make a return.

    Coaching.....maybe a return of "Thurpee Thursday"

    Since I started back to school, I have dropped back to coaching every other weekend. This makes me grumpy as well because I truly love coaching and the performance of my athletes is vitally important to me. I'm here to tell you Rubiconers, I will be back in the evenings a couple more days a week. Not the same old schedule, but at least a day or two during the week. I still need a little break myself.

    Next semester will be a difficult one with Anatomy & Physiology 2, Functional Anatomy and Kinesiology all on my plate. I'll try to make the best of my return.


    It's pretty simple.... Lose the few pounds I gained and get stronger. Be a better coach!

    Wednesday, October 16, 2013

    Hey Hollywood, You Got Some Splainin To Do!

    There are very few shows I watch on a regular basis. I simply don't have the time or energy to get involved in TV shows so I choose wisely. Being a guy and being a guy who loves zombies and the whole zombie genre, of course one of these shows is The Walking Dead on AMC. From episode one, this show captured my interest. Another show is one my wife and I have watched together since it first aired on TV; Grey's Anatomy. I know, not exactly the manliest of shows but it's a little drama that the wife and I like to curl up on our big couch and watch together.

    Believe it or not, both of these shows have something in common. Both have a main character who, through traumatic circumstances in the show's story line, have become amputees. Now, I realize that non-amputee actors playing amputees is not new (Gary Sinise as Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump), however I do have a small bone to pick with the two shows that only my amputee friends will understand.

    Let's tackle the Walking Dead and Herschel. First, the show has wildly strayed from the comic, so I will explain the injury and how Herschel lost his leg. Avid Walking Dead viewers and readers will note the difference but here goes. In the comic, Herschel does NOT lose his leg. Dale loses his leg after the group inhabits the prison and he is amongst some of the group who goes into the prison parking lot to siphon gas from parked/abandoned cars in order to keep the generators running. While on this "mission", he is bitten on the Achilles/calf by a walker (zombie) lying under a car. Subsequently, to save his life and keep the infection from spreading through his body, Rick hacks off his leg with a hatchet. In the show, Herschel loses his leg under similar circumstances except the bite occurred while on a search and destroy/clearing mission inside the prison to rid the area of walkers.

    Herschel can haz leg
    So, now that we have the stories cleared up, let's chat about post amputation and little intricacies Hollywood has botched. Post amputation, Herschel had to heal up and was shown for the rest of the season on crutches found in the prison infirmary. No issues there! However, in the first episode of Season 4, as you can see in the picture, Herschel has a prosthetic leg. As an amputee, you can immediately see the prosthetic poking out from the boot. In the comic, after Dale lost his leg, they were able to find him a prosthetic leg as well. Here's the problem... In a post Zombie Apocalypse world, they have been able to go out and find a prosthetic which magically fits Herschel just right.... For the non-amputees, let me explain.. Bullshit! Now I know the whole show is bullshit, but if Hollywood or the Walking Dead consulted anyone on this, they would have been informed that you cannot simply find a prosthesis and put it on as an amputee. Doesn't work that way. Just sayin'!

    With Grey's Anatomy, Arizona, one of the doctors, loses her leg from injuries sustained in a plane crash. Angered that her wife cut her leg off, she spent the entire season pissing and moaning about the amputation, even though it saved her life, and eventually cheated on her wife with another lady.... Ok, folks, I know that losing a limb is traumatic. I have friends dealing with their loses in all kinds of ways and for some it's tougher than others, but what I don't understand with this instance is the whole new amputee to mobile amputee portrayal.

    Arizona being casted for her limb.
    Any amputee can tell you that the gate of a below knee amputee and that of an above knee amputee are very different. It's difficult for an above knee amputee to walk and move without a noticeable limp. In the show, after learning to walk on her prosthetic, Arizona goes from barely walking and coping to walking in high heels, without a limp and absolutely no visual queues she is an amputee in what seems like 2-3 episodes. It's a miracle! Here is an article from O&P about how the prosthetic magic happened: http://www.oandp.com/articles/news_2013-03-21_01.asp

    The issue is that any women amputees will tell you that high heels with a prosthetic is not something you just pop up and start walking on!

    So, what have we learned from this little post? We've learned that, much like watching a military movie with a service member or like watching a movie with FBI shenanigans in it with my wife (my wife spent some time in the FBI and is almost unbearable to watch FBI movies with), you can't watch shows and movies with amputees in them without us finding flaws and throwing up the bullshit flag.....

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013

    Gaming the VA System........Not for this guy!

    Recently Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill) rained hell-fire down on CEO of Strong Castle Inc., Braulio Castillo, for misrepresenting his injury and veterans status to gain a competitive advantage while bidding on IRS contracts. The video of this exchange went viral on social media. Duckworth slammed Castillo for comparing his injuries to those suffered by our heroic veterans. Castillo evidently injured his foot while attending a U.S. Military prep school, but later went on to play college football. He subsequently used his prep school injury to receive government contracts based on his status as a “disabled veteran”. Currently, Castillo has a disability rating of 30% from the Department of Veterans Affairs . The VA describes service-connected disability compensation as “a monetary benefit paid to veterans who are disabled by an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service.”
    Right now, veterans are waiting an average of 237 days for their initial disability rating to be assessed. Some of this backlog could be attributed to people like Castillo who are submitting bloated or inflated claims.
    In March of 2002, I was involved in a tragic artillery accident at Fort Drum, NY, that left two of my friends dead, and 13 people injured. My left calf was blown off by shrapnel from a 105 mm Howitzer round that landed a mile and a half off its target, right near the tent where my unit had been eating breakfast.
    I spent 8 months undergoing multiple procedures in an attempt to salvage my lower left leg. The physical therapy was excruciating and I suffered unrelenting pain as the nerves tried to regenerate and I tried to gain mobility. These attempts were ultimately futile with 80 percent of my leg between my knee and foot simply not there. In November of 2002, I opted to have my injured leg amputated to improve my quality of life. Similar to Congresswoman Duckworth, however, the pain didn’t go away when my leg was removed. I also feel sensations in a part of my body that was amputated over a decade ago, ranging from itching to feeling as if my foot is being torn to shreds. From the outset, doctors and other military personnel told me that I was going to get 100 percent disability rating upon my medical retirement from the Army.
    I was also told how to go about getting this elevated disability rating. Any veteran will tell you about the numerous briefings you have to attend when you are separating from the military. These briefings are designed to help you navigate the transition from service member to civilian. One such briefing guides you through the process of submitting your claim for benefits and compensation to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
    As a soon-to-be-retired soldier, I was told to document all of my ailments. I remember listening to Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers tell soldiers to exaggerate any injuries or pain they had for the VA claim with the express intent to be awarded a higher disability rating. Issues from shaving bumps to sleep apnea, from hearing loss to leg and back injuries are all claimed as being service connected. While so many veterans have serious claims to disabilities, many are just hitting up the cash cow to see how much they can get.
    As I prepared my VA claim, I was asked about past injuries specific to my knees and back. A few years in a light infantry unit (which is anything but light) can wreck your knees and back. I claimed one minor injury to my knee, solely because it was in my medical records provided to the VA. I was asked repeatedly if I had any symptoms from the artillery accident that could be viewed as PTSD, to which I honestly responded no.
    As Ms Duckworth indicated in her public service message to Mr “30 Percent” Castillo, a below-leg amputation is “worth” a 40 percent disability rating, which is what I was ultimately awarded. By the numbers, it appears that missing my leg below the knee makes me a mere 25 percent more disabled than a man who hurt his foot, and then went on to play collegiate sports.
    I spend every Monday afternoon at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, volunteering as a CrossFit coach. I encounter men and women who have recently survived devastating injuries, many of them with missing limbs and traumatic brain injuries. These soldiers show up at the gym at a low point in their lives. I’ve been where they are now, and I try to show them by example that, while their injuries will never go away, they can adapt to their injuries and regain much of their former fitness levels. These veterans inspire me with their determination to overcome horrific circumstances. I am honored to be able to demonstrate to them that they can thrive, just as I have, despite their injuries. They face the new challenges in their lives with grace and fortitude.
    The added challenge that malingerers are delaying their VA claims makes me angry.

    My VA disability claim was processed over ten years ago, but that does not mean that my status as a disabled veteran was a one-time event: obtaining my disability rating. I will probably apply for veterans’ benefits from time to time throughout my life. For example, I am beginning to research the programs available to help me to finance my own small business. My eventual goal is to open my own CrossFit gym. I was recently accepted to a health education and kinesiology bachelors program at George Mason University. I was concurrently selected as a Tillman Military Scholar, a competitive scholarship sponsored by the Pat Tillman Foundation. This scholarship will allow me to combine the lessons learned though my military service and my education to continue my service to others.
    I hope to use this educational opportunity to increase my knowledge in the field and to open my own fitness facility. My goal is to be able to help others, veterans and civilians alike, to improve their lives through fitness. As is the case with most American families, though, we have to plan our finances very carefully. Taking the risk of leaving a stable IT job to open a gym is a terrifying prospect. As a disabled veteran, I hope there are loans and grants available to help me realize this dream. A part of me doesn’t want to appear like I’m “gaming the system.” Do I really “deserve” the help I hope to receive? And then I look down at the space below the hem of my cargo shorts to the titanium rod extending down into my shoe. And I think of the good I can do in the lives of others. And so, I hope that I would never be on the receiving end of criticism like Congresswoman Duckworth dished out to Mr Castillo. I will appreciate any help I qualify for, and look forward to entering a new phase of my life, even if it means relying on my disabled veteran’s status.

    Thursday, May 23, 2013

    Block Checked. Not Doing That Again. Or Will I?!?

    Sitting here this morning with crazy soreness from the waist down after having run my first official half marathon on Sunday; I analyze my performance and start wondering if I should do this race again. As with the last two Army Ten Milers and the GORUCK Challenge last year, the only training I have done was CrossFit with one exception. Last year, I ran, not much, but I ran once a week. I have not run any distance runs since October of last year; the Army Ten Miler. As you can imagine, running a half marathon cold is ill advised but as I am a crossfitter and am "generally physically prepared" for what life has to throw at me.........Fuckin' YOLO!

    The race...... I heard the course had quite a few hills on it. No kidding..... But the route was a nice run through old town Fredericksburg, VA. The hills posed quite a bit of issues with me. Since I haven't be running distance, I had a lot of cramping; first in my right calf (kind of normal) then in my right quad and hamstring. This meant I did a lot more walking than I really wanted to do. At least I had a fellow GRT to run/walk/shuffle with for most of the race. I also found that I really need to have my new socket on my running leg.

    Crossing the finish line with my right leg angry and cramping, I immediately thought to myself, "block checked.....I'm not doing this shit again!" Of course I had over an hour in the car on the way home to think it over.... What if I was a little more prepared? What if I actually devoted one day a week to a short run to keep the legs loose? What if I hadn't walked for 45 minutes during the race? I can run this in under two hours, right? Fuck yes, I can!

    Does this mean I'm going to abandon CrossFit for distance running? Uhhh.......NO! I still am not a fan of long runs. But this does mean I am going to reestablish my weekly runs, not more than 3-4 miles, in order to keep the legs conditioned. Next year, I won't cramp, I won't have to walk and I'll get in under the 2 hour mark. Actually aiming for closer to 1:30-1:45....

    Me with fellow GRTs, Tim Salsgiver and Terry Ford at the finish line.

    Finale........A TV show ended and actually made me sad!

    I know this has nothing to do with fitness or running a race or anything else really in this blog, but I felt I wanted to put a little note in here. I was injured in 2002, retired in 2003 and entered a workforce that was totally foreign to me in 2004. In 2005, a show debuted that highlighted some of what I thought was funny about working in an office environment. When The Office, the U.S. version, came out, I identified with the show for a weird reason. When I was stationed at Fort Drum, NY, I used to drive home any four day weekend to the DC area. This drive was straight through Scranton, PA. For some reason, I identified with the show and watched it RELIGIOUSLY until the finale last week. Some say the show fell off a bit after Steve Carell left but I continued to watch because I genuinely enjoyed the show.

    The finale was truly fitting of the show. It was funny, tasteful, heartfelt and you could tell the actors deeply cared and were saddened by the end of an era. Much like the show The Wonder Years, which I followed through my pre-teen years from start to beginning; watching Kevin grow up as I did, The Office helped me usher in my years of working in an office environment and made the daily grind a little more bearable. Sappy, I know, but true.........  I have to admit, it choked me up a little bit.

    Monday, April 29, 2013

    The Coach's Dilemma

    As a CrossFit athlete, or any athlete for that matter, your job is to show up to the box, put in your work, record your triumphs and less-than-triumphant numbers and go home. Sometimes you hang around and cheer others on and hang out with your friends. For a coach, things are a bit different!

    Being a coach requires a delicate balance between coaching your athletes and still maintaining your own physical conditioning and strength. Leading by example versus doing what you want. You have to carry and hold yourself to a higher standard. For me, I have to balance working out and coaching. I coach evenings during the week and schedule myself to get into the box and WOD before my athletes arrive. On the days I do not coach, I join in on an evening class.

    I encourage all coaches to workout at least twice a week with your athletes IN CLASS! They look to you for guidance and safety and learn through your own struggles in complex movements. Not to mention, participating in class builds camaraderie and allows the competitive juices to flow. Without a doubt, the biggest issues being a coach is losing time to workout. I have to maintain a very strict schedule in order to be able to complete a workout before the first class I have to coach. Sometimes, I have to forgo part of a WOD in order to prepare for class. Additionally, since I mix in several other lifting movements on a weekly basis, my actual WOD time is shortened even more.

    I feel that as long as my athletes know that I not only use the same programming as they do but also know that I am working to come up with varied workouts and testing them, they'll have greater confidence that their coach is looking out for their best interests!

    Open WOD 13.5. Photo by Joe Kelley

    Monday, April 1, 2013

    Open WODs 13.3, 13.4 and Some Higher Education Care Of CrossFit HQ!

    Open WOD 13.3.......err.......I mean 12.4......... Whatever
    Before 13.3 was announced on Wednesday, I mentioned to one of the athletes in the box, I wouldn't mind seeing a mash up of "Karen" and "Grace". I thought that could be a nice way to smoke the crap out of us and provide a challenging WOD that would really test me. I must have lost my mind because when they announced a redo of WOD 12.4 from last year's games, a sudden cold sweat rushed over me because that was a dreadful WOD.

    Once again, "Karen" plus 90 Double Unders plus 30 Muscle Ups....... I decided to come up with a strategy for the WOD as opposed to my normal attack without strategy method. My Karen time is generally right around 8 minutes. But I wanted to have as much time as I could possibly have for the double unders. Admittedly, I do not practice double unders and am pretty terrible at them. Once again, the Open points out our weaknesses and what we, as athletes, need to work on. My strategy for "Karen" was to do sustained sets, ensuring small breaks intermittently throughout. Bad idea! This "strategy" added 2 minutes to my time which had the opposite effect in that it decreased the time I had for double unders.

    With wrecked quads from "Karen", I redid the WOD again on that Sunday, increasing my score by 14 reps. I attacked the wall balls the way I normally do. Normally, I do as many wall balls out of the gates as possible then try to stick to sets of ten or more for as long as I can. This strategy worked much better, as expected, however I was just too tired to concentrate on the double unders.

    As I mentioned before, the Open is about finding my weaknesses and setting forth a plan to work on them. 13.1 encouraged me to join our Barbell Club to work on my Olympic Lifting. 13.2 highlighted speed int he box jumps; can you say high tuck jumps!? And 13.3 has pointed out my double under work.....or lack thereof.

    Enjoy the video CrossFit HQ shot of adaptive athletes performing 13.3:
    13.3 at CrossFit Rubicon

    Video of Matt Ramsey and me discussing gaming options for 13.3:
    13.3 Strategies

    Open WOD 13.4.....

    By this time in the games, I'll admit two things.....

    1. I am a bit tired and the games WODs are getting in the way of my normal training schedule. Not to mention the need for me to do the same damn WOD multiple times.....

    2. Being the affiliate manager is for the birds...... Well, it isn't that bad except for tracking down people to get their scores submitted.

    Soooooo......... Wednesday night, they announced 13.4. Clean and Jerks and Toes to Bar; starting with 3 reps and increasing by threes for 7 minutes. Easy, right......

    No gaming this one. Just pick it up then get on the rig. I am actually really good at toes to bar and kip them pretty well. Chris Spealler has an excellent video for anyone who struggles with this movement. Kipping K2E/T2B I kip the movement differently than he does but a lot of people have picked up the movement from his video.

    So, what weakness did 13.4 uncover for me? I'm glad you asked.... Most crossfitters rely on the mechanics of the movement to get them through when they get tired. Not me. At least not with the Clean and Jerk or the Snatch. I am strong enough to reverse curl 135 lbs and to press it out. So, after the first 12 or so reps, I went to what I know vice the mechanical advantages of the Olympic Lift. Gotta stop dong that.....

    Higher Education!

    It's no secret that I have skipped drinking the Kool-Aid and have gone straight to main lining it! I have enjoyed every CrossFit course I have taken. This weekend, thanks to Team RWB, I attended the Coach's Prep Course at Trident CrossFit. I also attended the CrossFit Kids Course at Trident. Great gym!

    What an awesome course. I highly recommend it to any coach who is looking to improve upon their coaching and learn more effective ways of queuing and correcting your athletes. It's a great weekend of coaches coaching each other and learning from the outstanding CrossFit HQ Seminar Staff.

    As with every CrossFit Course I take, I always come out of it with a certain exuberance towards building a better gym and applying new tools to better my athletes. I don't consider those I coach as clients. I consider them all to be athletes. They've already taken the hardest step and showed up. It's up to me to coach them and convince them they can do what I know they can do!

    Monday, March 18, 2013

    Open 13.2, Gaming for the sake of the Games!

    I truly have fallen in love with the Open season in CrossFit. It's not because I am in the running to go to the games and it's not because I am avidly following the elite crossfitters of the world and tracking their scores minute by minute. It's because I get to compete with and cheer on my fellow athletes. It's because we get to sit in our plastic chairs at the box and discuss gaming the WOD and how to get as many reps as possible. I love cheering on my friends and fellow athletes! I love the look of determination in their eyes during the WOD and the slightest look of thanks and a fist bump when their done.

    When 13.2 was announced; a 10 minute AMRAP of 5 shoulder-to-overhead (115#/75#), 10 deadlift (115#/75#) & 15 box jumps (24/20), I immediately thought about gaming the WOD. Worried about stringing together the shoulder-to-overhead movement, I never really gave thought to the box jumps. I considered that they'd be slower since the box jump takes a little more concentration for me. I calculated, after watching a few videos, that my quads would be smoked. I began to game the transition between the push presses, jerks and strict presses. I ruled out the jerks as I tend to split those and that would have destroyed my time even more. I decided that since 115# isn't all that heavy, that if my quads needed a break, strict press would be my relief. Still, never even considered the box jumps....

    13.2 version 1...........

    I had two goals for 13.2. First, never put the bar down. Second, more than 200 reps. I felt that was attainable! 3-2-1 go! I succeeded in my first goal of never dropping the bar.  That part was easy! What I found difficult was getting any kind of rhythm and speed on the box. I noticed that those around me were transitioning much faster than I was. Not to mention how gassed I was from the jumps and step offs. As the time counted down, I began timing myself on the jumps and realized that most of my jumps were nearly 10 seconds per jump! SLOW!

    After the time expired, I saw my lowly score.....164. Wow!!

    While I judged the next athlete, I purposely aligned myself so I could watch another adaptive crossfitter, Matt Ramsey, do his WOD. He chose to primarily do step ups over jumps. As I graded and watched Matt in the background, I noticed that he was able to do step ups 3:1 to my box jumps. He also slowed dramatically when he opted to jump.

    13.2 version 2............ I decide to give it another go.......

    I decided to give 13.2 another shot. Not simply because I wasn't satisfied with my score. But also because I wanted to test myself on step ups and see just how much faster it was. While I timed Matt's step ups, we're different athletes and I wanted to see if I could keep pace with his first score.

    Another 3-2-1 go, and I was pushing and deadlifting away. When I got to the step ups, I found a rhythm. I found some speed. I also discovered something very interesting. Being a left below-knee amputee, I found it interesting that I was faster and stronger stepping up on my left foot. Maybe a little quad fatigue!? Maybe I was developing a lot more push and power with the bar on the right and the left felt it's contribution would be in the step ups. I'm not sure.....

    I know I felt better though and gamed the movements for what was appropriate to me. During the last round, my quads were a little cooked. I chose to strict press the bar for the last 5 rounds. It saved my legs a little for the final deadlifts.

    The difference...... 222 reps. A 58 rep increase!

    I've heard a number of other adaptive athletes comment on their adaptations of 13.2. The general consensus was that the step ups were a life saver for the majority of us! Maybe something to consider when CrossFit develops adaptive standards for competition WODs.....

    Thursday, March 14, 2013

    CrossFit Open 13.1 WOD; What Did You Learn?

    So, to break from the norm of the past two years, CrossFit HQ and Dave Castro cast aside the 7 minutes of burpees and decided to throw a little curve ball in the game. By combining WODs 12.1 and 12.2 from last year's open, they created a beast of a WOD that was sure to test folks! I know it incorporated the one Olympic lift I am very, VERY shaky at........snatches.

    135# Snatches during 13.1.
    Having decided to use the open as a measuring stick and to identify my weaknesses, it seems that I would be doing so immediately out the gate on this one. The WOD was as follows:

    Men's Standards:
    Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 17 minutes of:
    40 Burpees
    75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
    30 Burpees
    135 pound Snatch, 30 reps
    20 Burpees
    165 pound Snatch, 30 reps
    10 burpees
    210 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

    In last year's Open WODs 12.1 (7 minutes of burpees) and 12.2 (the snatch ladder incorporated above) I completed 69 burpees and then 36 reps in the snatch ladder. This year, I completed 108 reps. That is an increase of 2 reps in the snatch but considering I completed 70 burpees in the mix as well, I'll call it a win. While not the best score, by far, I am proud of being able to muscle through it.

    Muscle through it....... That's where I learned the most. One of my fellow coaches and amputees, Matt Ramsey completed 150 reps. Beast! As I sat back and analyzed his performance, I came to a very stern realization. My strength far exceeds my form and mechanics in the snatch. While Matt's snatches actually resembled snatches, mine were closer to a snatch grip shoulder press. I know I'm strong, now it's time to get efficient. 

    I'm not one for waiting to start challenging myself so directly on the heels of 13.1, I joined the CrossFit Rubicon Barbell Club in order to get better. But there's much more to the progression of learning and improving. Listen to your coaches. Practice the movements. But most of all, NEVER sacrifice form! So many of us hear 3-2-1 Go, and just shit on our form to get the most reps. It takes a bigger man to slow down and do it right, to demand more of yourself, than to plow through the movements in order to get the highest score. After all, this is training. Not testing!

    Now to further improve myself and test myself with 13.2.


    Tuesday, February 26, 2013

    Where's Your Ladder Leaning?

    "When climbing the ladder of success, make sure it's leaning against the right wall...."

    This drove my wife's career decision. The decision to follow her heart and continue the good fight. This is driving my desire to make changes as well. Changes to make an impact on people's lives for the positive.

    Coaching Heavy Ball Shouldering
    When I accepted an offer to join CrossFit Rubicon in 2012 as an Intern Coach, I had no idea how this was going to shake out. Joining a new box, new family and learning to coach under the tutelage of such professionals as Chef, Ben and Rick. Little did I know that this change would yield a much larger impact than I had hoped or expected. Beyond being accepted into the Rubicon family by Chef and Hronn. Beyond learning coaching queues and the nuances of coaching newcomers vs. experienced crossfitters, I learned something greater in terms of life and happiness.

    I learned that I am not content being what I am now. I am not going to be happy until I am a full time coach with the ability to teach and learn in the capacity I really do want! To make such a profound change would require the love and support of family and friends. But it would also require dedication to put in the work. Make time. Lose some sleep. All in order to help the wall I've chosen to lean my ladder against grow stronger.

    Taking on greater responsibilities as well as a sense of personal ownership is ultimately what is required. Choosing to be there to help my gym grow by sacrificing a few hours on my Saturdays. Choosing to take on other responsibilities, broker partnerships and work together with other coaches to make these changes occur takes quite a bit out of an already packed schedule. As mentioned, I have the blessings and support of friends and family to do so.

    Coaching Steph in her first team WOD.
    I'm very happy with the growth Rubicon is experiencing and proud of my small part in it! Membership is growing and our new athletes are working hard. We've partnered with my other favorite organization, GORUCK, to become an authorized GORUCK training facility for those willing to take on a challenge. We are instructing and training people to safely get home to their loved ones with the Blauer Tactical S.P.E.A.R. system of self defense. Our planning for the phased in approach for Rubicon Kids is working. Finally, our barbell club is growing exponentially thanks to coach Ben's expertise and coaching.  Growth is truly awesome.

    On a personal front, I have applied to George Mason University's B.S. in Health, Fitness and Recreation Resources program of study with a focus on Kinesiology. I have also applied for a Scholarship from the Pat Tillman Foundation. Keep your digits crossed for me!

    I'm shifting that ladder to the correct wall. I'm not scared. I'm doing what I always do. Take a breath and get back on the bar.

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

    Hard Work and Results

    I remember when I used to just bench press like a madman. The bench press and my ability to run used to be my measure of fitness. I've since learned what true fitness is.

    If I were to call you tomorrow and ask if you wanted to meet up for a run or if you wanted to meet up and play a little football with some friends, would you have to decline because you were busy? Or, would you decline because you don't have the level of fitness to do such activities at the drop of a hat? I've mentioned that I have run two Army Ten Milers, completed a GORUCK Challenge and shadowed four more challenges and have run 5K and 10K races without any training or preparation other than regular CrossFit. I have the level of fitness needed to do such activities without training in a specialized manner for them.

    As I mentioned, I used to use the bench press as my measure for fitness. As crossfitters, we rarely bench press but trust me, it has it's merits! I still bench press at least once a week; heavy or light. This week, during a TABATA WOD, I did multiple sets of ring dips with absolutely no soreness afterwards in my chest. While form on the ring dip will force more use of your back vice triceps and chest, I attribute my ability to knock these out to my continued bench press work. The same holds true for push ups. No matter how hard I push myself on push ups, I still don't get sore in my chest.
    Chest to deck at the Froning event.

    Two weeks ago, during testing week, I discovered my gains from nutrition and hard work in the three CrossFit core lifts. My CrossFit total is:

    Press: 170#
    Back Squat: 280#
    Deadlift: 405#

    One lift I wanted to test but didn't was the bench press. The last time I benched in a powerlifting meet was two years ago. I benched 245# and failed on 2 attempts at 265# because either my head or ass came off the bench.

    Yesterday I decided I was going to establish my 1RM in bench press. With head and ass firmly planted, 285# went up very easy. Not too bad. I failed on 295# but will get that soon enough.

    All of my gains in these lifts are directly attributed to three very important factors. Factors I believe, that if followed, you simply cannot fail from.

    Nutrition: You want to be an athlete? You want to be strong? Then you have to eat like it. Demand more of yourself in your food choices. In the words of my coach, mentor and friend Chef, "You wouldn't want to go pissing in the gas tank of a jet fueled dragster...." Eat lean meat, veggies and healthy fats. No refined sugar or processed foods. Little to no starch. Drink water like it's your job!

    Hard work: You aren't going to get stronger without hard work. Take a scientific approach. I use the 5-3-1 method as well as linear strength progression to gain results.  Perform every lift correctly. If your form goes to shit, stop! Take mental queues while working to ensure your body is in the correct position (Squat: chest up, weight on heels, butt back, tracking your knees out over your toes....) Log everything!

    Support: You need support and encouragement when you are working this hard. Tell your coach what you are doing. Engage your family and friends. Have them cheer you on when it gets heavy. I love when my athletes come to me with a new PR or even an attempt at a new PR. I love to see my athletes in the gym working on these lifts or calculating their working max from their 1RM. I tell everyone what I am doing. I want you all to know.

    Hard work yields results! There is no arguing this point. If you enjoy hard work as much as I do, it's not as much hard work as it is just good old fashioned fun!

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    Genetically Wired & Behaviorally Inspired

    Mirror Drill during PDR 36 at CrossFit Rubicon
    This past weekend, my certification partner and co-coach Tiffany Harrison (I call her than because we have been in the CF Level 1, CF Kids and now PDR Instructor Course together) attended the PDR 36 Certification Course ad CrossFit Rubicon.We have several of our CrosFit coaches currently certified and Tiff and I were excited to join them in helping advance our abilities to further change and effect lives.

    If you've never heard of PDR or Personal Defense Readiness then you've likely not heard of Tony Blauer and the S.P.E.A.R System. Through the use of physiological tools EVERY human being is engrained with, the S.P.E.A.R. System is "a 'behaviorally' researched, close quarter personal defense method that utilizes the body's natural flinches and reactions to fear or violence and then converts these reactions into efficient tactical choices." For more information: http://www.tonyblauer.com/4105/02_01_01_spearsystem.asp

    I cannot overstate the importance and the simplicity of this course. There is no complicated fighting stance to memorize and learn. There are no new crazy ninja out of left field type crane voodoo series of movements you have to memorize. This is as simple and more importantly, AS EFFECTIVE as it gets folks. I enjoyed this course and I would recommend anyone who is interested or even curious, reach out to me or our experienced team at CrossFit Rubicon and see what it's all about.

    Currently we are working towards possible monthly PDR classes at Rubicon. Keep you eyes here for information about upcoming courses!


    Monday, February 4, 2013

    Train Hard, Eat Well & Don't Smoke Meth......

    Nine weeks worth of strict Paleo through the holidays can be a torturous way to spend time with your family. CrossFit Rubicon issued the challenge to eat a strict Paleo diet for 9 weeks. We started by taking measurements, establishing a baseline weight and doing a series of baseline WODs in order to establish both performance gains and physical changes. As I have been eating a predominately Paleo diet for over a year, I was curious what the total omission of "treat meals" could do for me. Rachel was going much further. She reintroduced meat to her diet and more than doubled her daily intake of protein.

    Since this was a Whole 30 type challenge, we had to make several adjustments to our diets. No refined sugar and no Paleo treats or paleofied versions of foods. We stuck to basics of meat, vegetables, acceptable fats, snacked on nuts and seeds, ate little fruit and never on it's own, lots of water, no alcohol or grains, little starch and the only "sweeteners" we were allowed was honey. We strictly stuck to this program. Reading labels was a common occurrence to make sure anything we bought was in the purest form and had no sugar in it. We stopped buying our normal bacon and started ordering bacon and breakfast sausage that's Whole 30 approved from U.S. Wellness Meats. Their stuff is outstanding and SUGAR FREE! We kept it pretty basic. Lots of grilled meat and roasted veggies for lunches. Eggs, bacon and hashes for breakfasts. Hard boiled eggs for snacks. Almond butter and apples for "dessert" and snacked on hazelnuts and macadamia nuts. We pre-staged all breakfasts, lunches and snacks for the week. I will say though, if it wasn't for coffee, I'd have murdered someone. Water gets old....

    After sticking to this strict regimen for the whole challenge duration, the results were pretty shocking and have prompted me to re-evaluate the performance diet and only have a"treat meal" once a week. I never starved myself, I ate more than I normally do and I honestly only missed my beloved beer and the occasional slice of pizza.


    Before starting the 9 week challenge. About a 75% Paleo diet.
    Before Measurements:

    Weight: 197 lbs.
    Neck: 16"
    Chest: 45"
    Waist: 36"
    Hips: 39.5"
    R Thigh: 22"
    R Calf: 16.25"
    R Forearm: 12.75"
    R Wrist: 7.25"
    R. Bicep: 15.5"


    Strict Press: 155 lbs.
    Deadlift: 405 lbs.
    Squat: 265 lbs.

    Max strict pull-ups: 29
    Max push ups: 63
    100 Burpees to bar: 12:02

    Tabata row (meters): 828
    Mile run: 9:07 (with regular non running leg)
    400m 85 lb. Sandbag carry: 3:52

    Max height box jump: 30"
    "Karen": 14:00


    After the 9 week challenge. 100% strict Paleo
    After Measurements:

    Weight: 195 lbs.
    Neck: 15.5"
    Chest: 46.25"
    Waist: 32.5"
    Hips: 38.75"
    R Thigh: 24"
    R Calf: 16"
    R Forearm: 13"
    R Wrist: 7.5"
    R. Bicep: 16"


    Strict Press: 170 lbs.
    Deadlift: 405 lbs.
    Squat: 280 lbs.

    Max strict pull-ups: 29
    Max push ups: 54 (hand release)
    100 Burpees to bar: 9:58

    Tabata row (meters): 814
    Mile run: 7:00 (with regular non running leg)
    400m 85 lb. Sandbag carry: 3:26

    Max height box jump: 30" (mental game)
    "Karen": 9:58

    I have absolutely no intention on going back to the 75% Paleo diet I was working with before. I do plan to sprinkle in one "teat meal" a week but otherwise, I will remain strict paleo. The performance and physical changes are too hard to deny when you look at the tangible truth laid out above! If you want more info on the Paleo way of life, check out the Paleo tab on my blog or just send me a message!

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

    It's Like Legos!

    Photo by Tai Randall
    Short post today folks. I am looking at prosthetic components and I seriously feel like a kid with a box of legos. If I mix this piece with that it makes a cool car but if I mix this one in, it's like a Mad Max car with hidden weapons and badassery....

    I'm working with the Dept of VA and my prosthetic therapist, Elliot at the Orthotic and Prosthetic Center to come up with an activity limb for me that'll be light weight but very strong with fewer moving mechanical parts than my existing rig since the moving parts I keep breaking or coming damn close to. It's a blessing that I have friends such as Scott Rigsby to bounce ideas off of. Being a triathlete and crossfitter, Scott is a wealth of knowledge.

    Stay tuned for the testing of what's to come.

    Monday, January 28, 2013

    Meant For Something Else!

    As crossfitters, we are generally in love with our sport. We tell everyone about it and swear by both our fitness way of life as well as our dietary knowledge we all end up learning while training at our boxes. There are also a fair amount of us who spend a vast amount of time daydreaming about how we could make a career in the business of CrossFit. I am no different.

    Since I was medically retired from the Army in 2003, I have worked in the information technology industry; building a reputation as a knowledgeable and hardworking guy. In 2009, I graduated from college with a B.S. in Information Systems Security and I have numerous IT Certifications. Honestly, these things have helped me pave the way for stability with my family and have allowed me to be able to give my kids the nicer things they want. Things I never really had as a kid. Despite all of these things I have earned and achieved, I'm still not anywhere near fulfilled in my career. There are a few times a week where I am extremely happy with my work and where I can honestly say that the lines between work and play are blurred. Every day I coach, whether they are my adaptive athletes or my non-adaptive athletes, I am truly happy. When we are contacted by adaptive athletes who want help training, I am truly happy. When I coach the newcomers class on Saturday mornings; giving people their first taste of CrossFit, I am happy. During classes, the serious but also giddy joking we coaches engage in makes me feel more than at home and happy.

    This weekend, I attended the CrossFit Kids Certification Course with a fellow coach from CrossFit Rubicon. As Tiffany Harrison (Tiff) and I absorbed the information we were being given, I found my mind filling with ways to start and grow the Rubicon Kids program. How to grow Rubicon. How to build a tribe in our gym where mom and dad come in and get healthier, stronger and faster while their kids are accomplishing the same thing. How to incorporate and run the Real World Six project in all of this. I already have a vested interest in my sport and my box but I have an even larger desire to help grow that business to maximum potential.

    I believe I am meant for something other than IT work. Something that one of our trainers spoke about this weekend echoes in my mind right now as I write this. In fact, it's been bouncing around my noggin since he uttered the words. If it's important, crossfitters always seem to figure out a way to get it done. Now for me to figure out a way to best use my talents and abilities to enrich peoples lives and teach their kids life skills. It's time for me to make a serious difference. It's time for me to make it work, figure out a way to impact people as much as I can and for me to build a tribe in our gym!

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

    I Clean Up Well......

    When Mrs. Sturm asked if I wanted to attend The Inaugural Ball, I was of course excited and jumping for joy...... Ok, not really. Mainly because I am not a formal event type guy. Although I was a little interested in seeing what I looked like in a tuxedo since the last time I wore one was almost 15 years ago. (Damn I'm old.....)

    The Sturms...... At a formal event........
    We coordinated with our friends, lined up a sitter and went about getting all fancied up. A quick trip to JoS Bank for a tux for me and a quick hair trim at the barber shop and I was set! Mrs. Sturm was a bit of a different story. Gotta get a gown. Gotta get a shawl. Gotta get a purse. Shoes. Make-up. Hair. Nails. Jewelry. The list was a like a deployment packing list! Nevertheless, our friend Danna took care of my lady and made her up! A rendezvous at Danna's house for the making of a ball ready wife while I drank a whiskey..... or two and watched TV was my pre-game show for the event. I think it literally took me 10 minutes to throw on my tux and brush my teeth!

    When we arrived at the event it was cold but admittedly, it was a smooth transition of lines both entering the area of the D.C. Convention Center as well as shuffling through security and into the coat check line. Now here is a helpful hint that we took to another level! We were told to bring a jacket you might not care about leaving behind in case lines were massive when trying to retrieve your coats at the end of the night. We took this a bit further because the coat check lines were so long, we just tossed our "disposable" coats in the corner and headed toward the ball room. Seemed like a good idea and we figured booze would keep us warm enough when leaving!

    Yup... Still goofy
    An event like this is all about people watching. Look at all the ladies in dresses (now knowing how much it takes to get them to look like they do) and measure up the guys tux's. But there were also some pretty decent musical acts on stage. Alicia Keys, Mana, Brad Paisley, FUN. and Stevie Wonder. We saw the President and First Lady in a very touching dance together (whether you like him or not, it was touching).

    When we left, our master plan of dumping off our jackets came into fruition. It was cold..... I mean really fucking cold out there. The ladies were not going to be happy. So, on a hunch, we hit the spot where we discarded the jackets. Yup, still there! BONUS! Happy ladies were at least a little warmer on the way to the cab.

    Yes, this shaved ape of a man had fun dressing up in a tux and going to the ball with my wife. Yes, I enjoyed not wearing shorts and a t-shirt for a little while. And yes, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    Seriously..... Who do these people think they're messing with!?

    I. Like. Meat. Grilled, roasted, smoked, braised wrapped in other meat.... It's freaking intoxicating! I like meat almost as much as I like beer. I miss beer. (I'm midway through a 60 day strict paleo nutrition challenge and miss my cheat beers. Post and pics to come when the challenge completes.) 

    The best thing ever has come to my attention. Get ready and hang on to your seats folks. Meat Week! I know!!! The sound of it is just.........


    Here's the deal. BBQ and lots of it! So many of the area's best BBQ joints are serving up their awesomeness. It's like BBQ-apalooza! A couple of the events require tickets or preregistration so get those while you can.

    And here's the kicker... I even get a T-shirt! (Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a whore for t-shirts.)


    I would totally bathe in this...

    2012.....A Year in Review

    As 2013 begins and we all struggle to capture our goals for the year and begin trying to achieve them, I took some time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard if you want the literal version of what I am doing.....) in reflection of a great year for me!

    Coaching Steph Hammerman at CrossFit Rubicon
    To start, this year helped me to come to the reality that I am meant to do so much more than what I have done with my life up to this point. Being a father and husband to my wife is my most important job in life but a very VERY close second is being a coach to the adaptive and non-adaptive CrossFit community. You can say I drank the Kool-aid but I like to think I found a community where I can truly help people!

    CrossFit Walter Reed and CrossFit Rubicon:

    After joining CrossFit Reston in 2011, I met Christy Phillips (CF Games Competitor) who introduced me to Brian Wilson and the CrossFit Walter Reed project. I began working out once a week at CF Walter Reed and almost instantly knew I wanted to be more than just an athlete in the CrossFit community. Armed with the goal of getting to work with the Wounded Warriors, I told Brian that I wanted to coach. About the same time, Maggie Dabe, owner and coach at CrossFit Reston offered a scholarship to the Level 1 certification CF Reston was holding in July. After completing the certification I officially joined CF Walter Reed as a coach and began interning at CF Rubicon with Chef and Hronn Wallach. CF Rubicon has already established themselves as a supporter of the Working Wounded community by training those injured in the line of duty, either military or law enforcement/fire department and their families for $1 a month. Unheard of in the CrossFit world! I have continued coaching at CF Walter Reed and have had the opportunity to meet and coach some outstanding military members and Wounded Warriors. The gift of feeling like I am back in the Non-commissioned role I left the Army in, is priceless and I don't think any of them know just how much it means to me.

    Rubicon athletes at Balston CF's Rich Froning event.
    In joining the CF Rubicon family, I joined a family of dedicated athletic warriors. One such person has become my motivation by simple virtue of his tenacity and drive. I met Matt Ramsey finally at the 2012 CrossFit Games Regional and started corresponding with him about adaptive crossfitting. It was even more interesting finding out that both Matt and I are former 10th MTN Div soldiers. As his coach and friend I have had the chance to both compete against Matt in the 2012 Working Wounded Games as well as compete on a team with him in CF Liberation's Cold War 2 competition. We also joined forces along side other Rubicon athletes in a charity event at Ballston CrossFit where we worked out on a team with the 2011 and 2012 CrossFit Games male champion, Rich Froning.

    Coaching with Chef wt CrossFit Rubicon.
    Coaching has become a passion of mine and I love working with our athletes, both adaptive and non-adaptive. I really wouldn't be half the coach I am though without the coaches I've encountered in the past but more importantly, without the friendship and mentoring from Chef and Hronn Wallach, Ben Chismar, Coach Rick, BJ Peyton, Mark Tippett, Mike Riggs, Tiffany Harrison (bad ass ginger) and all of my fellow coaches at Rubicon.


    In June of 2012, I had the honor of joining well over 100 other participants in a GORUCK Challenge in D.C. Little did I know that:
    1. This was an indoctrination into another branch of my extended family.
    2. This was a cadre reunion which meant an extra hour or so of abuse before we even started.
    3. (This is probably the more important point) Running through the streets of D.C. barefooted with a ruck on your back (and sometimes front) sucks balls!!!

    After completing the GORUCK Challenge, in June, I've shadowed a few others including the July 4th D.C. Challenge where I extended my GORUCK family tree as well as had the honor of meeting an outstanding individual who made a profound impression on me. I met Atom Ziniewicz, former U.S. Army SOF Operator and Owner of CrossFit Liberation. As a crossfitter I picked Atom's brain and he took all the time he could to discuss programming, coaching and even box owning with me. Afterwards, he even reached out to me to make sure I knew I could count on him to answer any questions I had. We tragically lost Atom this year and both CF Liberation and CF Rubicon were rocked by his loss. I took the time to honor Atom along with his CF Liberation extended family in a memorial WOD that was brutal but worth it.

    Working Wounded Games 2012:

    This year we held the first annual Working Wounded Games where adaptive crossfitters gathered to compete in the first CrossFit styled competition for adaptive athletes. From limb dysfunction to amputees to those who have suffered traumatic brain injuries; we battled it out for three WODs before moving onto a surprise static row for calories where we rowed using only our arms. It was a hard fought day filled with camaraderie, blood and sweat. 
    Static row at the Working Wounded Games 2012.
    A congenital arm amputee, multiple lower extremity amputees from the armed forces, a blind amputee from an auto accident, service members who suffered traumatic brain injuries, limb dysfunction and other amputees all descended on CF Rubicon and battled it out. The biggest takeaway of the day though was how inspirational all of these athletes are. When you watch an adaptive athlete perform, you can't help but be impressed. You also can't help but to dismiss any of your prior excuse.

    With buzz already starting to build for WWG 2013, a video appeared on the CrossFit HQ main page which has already exploded all over the CrossFit community and social media outlets. The video, created by Gary Roberts, highlights the amputees at WWG 2012. It's an insight into adaptations and fitness as an amputee. It's worth the 30 minutes to watch: http://journal.crossfit.com/2013/01/evolutionadaptation.tpl#featureArticleTitle

    What did I do this year, by the numbers.........

    Team 6ft of Rubicon at Cold War 2

    Level 1 Certification Course
    Memorial Day Murph
    31 Heroes
    CrossFit for Hope
    Barbells for Boobs
    Atom's Memorial WOD
    Fight for Mike 
    Working Wounded Games 2012
    Cold War 2
    Rich Froning Event for No Greater Cause
    Coach at CrossFit Walter Reed
    Coach at CrossFit Rubicon
    Joined Team RWB and WOD for Warriors
    Holiday WOD and ANC Ruck


    June 15th GORUCK Challenge Class 187
    Shadowed July 4th GRC Washington D.C.
    Shadowed Oct GRC in Richmond, VA
    31 Miles for 31 Heroes
    Holiday WOD and ANC Ruck


    Army Ten Miler

    This year has taught me humility and pride. Everyday I coach CrossFit, I learn more about myself while I reaffirm that I am more than just Jason the IT guy. Every time I go on a ruck with my GORUCK family and see another GRT in need and the support they get, I miss my rucktards even more. I've extended my family far beyond where I thought I would from the GORUCK events to the various CrossFit boxes I visit for events, competitions and just to workout!