I arrived at the box around 9:45 am. I’ll be honest – I didn’t show up any earlier because I didn’t think I could emotionally handle it before the WOD.

You see – I’ve been slacking with CrossFit. I hadn’t been there since before I got my job in Texas. The last time I was at Hill Country CrossFit was with Scott. Even though while he was alive I went to the box from time to time by myself – it just hit me different yesterday. It was a “first” for me.

As I stood facing the white board I read the workout:


1000m Row

—- 4 Rounds —-

8 – Front Squats 185/125#
4 – Should to Overhead Press
15 Pull-Ups


43 Burpees
1 Mile Run

I’ve never done a workout this tough before. I’m also two months out from my last CrossFit class. I haven’t slept well. I haven’t been eating. I’m probably dehydrated. I can’t go but 5 minutes at a time without wanting to start crying. There are a bunch of people here to just watch.

These are all thoughts that went through my head and then this one:

Who cares. This one is for you buddy…

So with a deep breath I started warming up. Thankfully that warm-up (which by the way – I always feel like the warmup is a workout) took my mind and focused it on what I was doing and off of what this day was.


Then we all gathered around and Jerry explained the meaning behind the workout. Never in my life I thought I would get emotional over a CrossFit workout…

1000m row – When Scott started having issues with his balance and was unable to do a lot of the WODs he would come to the box and row.

4 Rounds – Scott was crazy about his 4 children. So today the 4 rounds represent the 4Cs

8-4-15 – The day that Scott left us

43 Burpees – Scott’s age.

1 Mile Run – At the end when Scott was having trouble walking and therefore could no longer run he would always take about wanting to run again. So that day we were going to run for him.

Me - #BetterThanDying

Yep – that last one pushed me over the edge and I was standing there in tears. I had a flashback to him reading a couple books about how to learn to running again. How before the last prognosis that he would talk with me about how much he wanted to be able to run again even though he hated running.

Even though the workout was brutal – I don’t think Jerry could have made it more of a fitting tribute to our friend. I’m also so happy Jerry programed it – Scott loved all our CrossFit coaches but he would often tell me stories of how motivating Jerry is. He used to always make cracks at Jerry’s programming too and how much he loved to hate it. They couldn’t have picked a more perfect person to program it.

I talked with Danny that morning to figure out how to modify the workout because I couldn’t do the pull-ups so we decided on ring rows. I setup my bar at 75# and got in line for the rower.

I sat down at the rower and they yelled GO


I started rowing with all that I had. I rarely row (mostly because I hate the rower) and know that usually my times are horrible. I had some serious determination to get that part over with. I had a flashback to a time in Houston where Scott and I were in the garage at the rental house where they were staying while he was getting treatment at M.D. Anderson. He had a rower that a box in Houston loaned him when they heard his story.

He told me that we were going to play a rowing game. Row to 100m and for every meter that you are beyond 100 you have to do that many burpees. 10 times. So yeah… total was 1000m. How ironic. I sucked at that game so much that Scott let me have an 11th turn and scratched out my worst score so I could win. That was just the kind of guy he was. I sometimes think he knew I needed the win for the confidence in myself. It was a silly little game but now that memory means more to me than anything.

I rowed the 1000m in 4:24 or something like that. Fastest I’ve ever got to 1000m in my life. I headed inside the box to start the 4 rounds.

I approached the bar and started the first round. I don’t know about others but for me, each of those rounds represented his 4 kids to me. So I told myself that each round I was going to complete for that kid. I got through C1’s round pretty quick. Then I started in on C2’s round. This is about the time that my body decided that we were done but I pushed through and pushed hard. C2 sometimes can had a bit of a “fiery attitude” and it was only appropriate that I approached the bar during that round with some anger.

As I was going into round 3, for C3, I was struggling. I dropped the weight. I was shaking. I could barely open my eyes. I had several people around (several who were also doing the WoD) cheering me on to keep going.

Then I heard it.

A small voice was saying, “Go John”. I looked over and C3 had decided to sit down against the wall next to me and cheer me on. She is really a lot like her daddy. Hearing her and seeing her I told myself that I had to finish this round and I did.

Then as round 4 began I saw C4 sitting there next to his sister. Hell or high-water I was going to finish this last round for him. I dug down deep and found strength I didn’t know I had and pushed through that last round.

Now for the burpees

I’m pretty sure I was somewhere on the verge of passing out (literally) as I began the burpees. I managed to get out 3 and then collapsed on the floor. I’m pretty sure Ira was the one who told me I could do this and to move in front of the fan. A few more and again I collapse on the ground.

I’m emotional. I can’t breathe. I’m in pain. I refused to give up though.

Laura said, I’ll do them with you. Then Madison said she would to. They got me through the next 10.

Then Janina came over and started coaching me. Helping me slow down. To modify. To do the thinking for me that I couldn’t do.

Me, Madison and Carly

At one point I look over and C3 had got down and was doing the burpees with me as well. I knew right then that I had to finish. Just seeing her down there with me gave me strength I didn’t know I had.

I’m sure I’m forgetting others that were standing around and cheering for me (I’m telling you guys – I’m pretty sure I was very close to passing out. Even when I opened my eyes I had tunnel vision).

Folks – that right there – that’s CrossFit. Media will show you the elite of the elite or see how much bad press they can give the sport but they don’t show that. The community. The fact that it’s about more than just you finishing but cheering on your fellow athlete to finish as well.

I finally finished the 43 burpees. I stood up, got a water and began my 1 mile run or in my case walk. I left the box with a group of people to walk with me (I’m not sure if it was for support or because they thought I’d pass out before getting back… lol)

At about 3/4’s of a mile – I began to throw up. It was all water because I hadn’t ate that day (or actually in the last 12 hours) but I threw up. A LOT of water. As I was puking I thought – well, this is fitting… first CrossFit workout I’ve ever thrown up on of course was going to be Scott’s. He would have laughed so hard at me and loved every minute.

I kept going and rounded the corner to get back to the box. I was last to finish and almost everyone had gathered outside to cheer me in. Also fitting I’d be last to finish – just like every other WoD Scott and I have done together.

Group Photo

Finishing this workout just didn’t give me the same feeling as other WODs. I didn’t feel like I accomplished something for myself – I felt like I accomplished something for someone else. I honored my friend who loved CrossFit and always wanted me to and believed that I could become a great CrossFit athlete.

The worst part of the whole morning? Going to my friend’s car to get some stuff for the memorial and she handed me the 8×10 picture that was going to sit on the stage. I looked at his picture and it was like a ton of bricks hit me. I couldn’t call Scott and tell him all about that WoD. He couldn’t tell me how proud he was of me or how I needed to work on my rowing form or how he knows that I could do that WOD again and do it faster the second time. He isn’t here anymore. It all became real to me again and I went to my car and weeped harder than I have in days…

***Special thanks to Jennifer McKinney and Jessica Farrell for the pictures

#ProjectBeMoreHuman – Week 8



Eight weeks! That’s crazy!

We’ve been having a rainy spring here in Texas so I haven’t had the chance to do much outdoors. I have been faithful to make it to CrossFit 3 times per week though! I’m continuing to see small improvements by either being able to complete sets faster or add more weight in certain scenarios.

I’ve managed to (just barely) not have any DNF workouts this last week. Tuesday workout (posted above) I thought was going to kill me. I ended up doing 100 single unders (jumprope) x 5. So yes, in one workout I did 500 single unders. So, before I had only previously done like 200 in one workout. Needless to say it’s Thursday and I am still feeling it. I decided to skip today and return tomorrow for my third workout of the week to give my body some extra time to recover since I also went yesterday.

I still haven’t stepped on the scale and really don’t care to at this point. My eating isn’t where it’s supposed to be but I figure once I’m in my own space I can work on getting that in order too. I do however feel like my face looks thinner and my clothes seem to be fitting better so that’s a plus.

When I return from my San Diego trip I’m hoping to identify some cycling groups to join as well as a running program to help me train for a full marathon this fall/winter. That’s my goal for May.

Until next week!

#ProjectBeMoreHuman – Week 6 & 7


Special Back to Back Edition!

So I spent the last weekend in April running two races back in Ohio – The Gold Jacket 5k at the Canton Football Hall of Fame and was on a relay team for The Glass City Marathon in Toledo.

While I enjoyed seeing everyone back in Ohio the allergies and as a result temporarily losing the hearing in my left ear for 24 hours, the cat peeing IN my suitcase and me rolling my ankle during my second race I could have done without.


My relay team did the 5k together and we had coordinating running outfits. We were more interested in just walking the race together and having a good time than about trying to PR. I’d say our outfits were a huge hit based on the amount of pictures we had taken of us and how many compliments we got.

The next day was our first relay race ever. Overall it was a positive experience but as I said above I managed to roll my ankle somewhere between mile 2 and 3 of my 6 mile relay leg. It dropped my time a ton and I was pretty discouraged but tried my best to not let it get me down.

I came back to San Antonio ready to get back into CrossFit. I came back during “1 rep max” week. So we focused on finding our 1 rep max on various movements. The WODs each day were less than fun and very much gave me a run for my money.

This week I’ve made it through two workouts (switched to a M-W-F schedule) and am proud to say that I was able to complete both of them before their time cap. I am feeling it today though – yesterday we did wall balls and toes to bar (knees to chest for me). I will say that I am starting to surprise myself by lifting heavier weights than I previously thought I could.

The weather hasn’t be cooperating with my other sports. We’ve been having daily rain (which in Texas is something we welcome) so I have been just relying on CrossFit but I’m sure the rain will end soon enough and I’ll be out running and biking again. I did stop in at a local bike shop and got some resources about mountain biking in the area. Now to find a group to road ride with and I’ll be set!

Until next week!

#ProjectBeMoreHuman – Week 5


Woah! I got way behind. I wrote this update on the plane and forgot to publish it! So… we’re going to post this today and tomorrow I’ll catch you up to these last couple of weeks so we can get back on track.


Special Plane Edition!

I’m flying back to Ohio today for a quick visit with my family and friends and then this weekend will be meeting up with my running friends to run a couple of races around Ohio! Being that I like being continually productive I thought I’d get my blogging done during my flight this early Thursday morning.
So last week I posted about it being DNF week for me at CrossFit. I launched into Thursday ‘s workout with some firey passion. I had a new attitude – I was going to dig deep within and give every last ounce of energy I had to finish the today’s WOD within the 20 minute time cap.
After working on push ups and knees to chest for our strength piece of the class we got to the WOD:
150 Single Under Jump Ropes
HSPU (Hand Stand Push-ups – which I did from my knees on a box)
Box Jumps
150 Single Under Jump Ropes
Classic CrossFit Buy In / Cash Out workout. I struggle with all of the movements except the box jumps. So the timer starts and I begin the jump rope piece. I could do about 35ish in a row now without stopping. I quickly got to a point where my lungs were giving out before I was tripping on the rope. It was tough but I manged to get 150.
The next piece I found myself breaking the reps into smaller sets in my head to make them manageable. After what seemed like an eternity I finally got through and looked to the clock to see if I had time to get my jump rope in.
To my pleasant surprise I was somewhere in the 12 minute range! So I picked up the rope and started cranking out single unders like it was my job. I was racing the clock and wanted to finish around 15 minutes. As I was finishing the last 10 reps and the rope passed under my feet for the last time I looked at the clock – 15:13.
I did it! I finished a WOD before the time cap!
Then I proceed to literally fall to the ground on my back and lay there for a good 30 seconds.
Saturday my buddy Scott and I went to do some lifting at the box. I wanted to work on my hang cleans because I still try and muscle the bar up and don’t pull my elbows high enough. Somehow We ended up working on:
Hang Cleans
Knees to Chest / Elbows
Jump Rope
So during the jump rope Scott tells me I have to get 50 in a row before I can move on. I told him I can’t and he just told me I had to try. So try I did and failed time and time again. Scott moves onto rowing and tells me that I can get a rower and start. I insisted that I was going to get 50 in a row no matter what. About 5 minutes later I finally hit 50 and again about collapse.
I am finding out that part of my hang up is mental. Something that I need to work on as well.
No CrossFit this week. I was in Houston for Scott’s final treatments for his brain cancer. We did mange to sneak in some rowing, squats and burpees though one day in the garage. Now to stretch and hydrate these next couple of days before my races!

#ProjectBeMoreHuman – Week 4


I officially dub this week “DNF Week”. While I’m already scaling all the workouts at CrossFit to meet my ability level – I’ve always been able to finish before the time cap on workouts (20 minutes most days) in the past. Sometimes barely squeaking by at like 19:55 or something but still under 20.

Not so much this week. Tuesday, the WOD consisted of the following:

Rep Scheme – 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Deadlift (I did 95lbs – because you know, I’ve never deadlifted… lol)
Lateral Burpees over Barbell (so instead of facing the bar and jumping with both feet you have to jump sideways over the bar. Which somehow is worse than the other way)
Toes to Bar (or as I like to do – knees to chest)

So for those not familiar with CrossFit the “rep scheme” means that I would do 10 reps of a movement, then move to the next and do 10 reps, then 10 reps of the last movement and then start over and do 9 of each of the movements and so on until you finish.

At 20 minutes I had worked my way down to the “3” set and had completed 3 deadlifts when I fell to the ground to try and get the burpees when the buzzer went off. Laying face down in a pool of my own sweat, gasping for air, I wondered if this WOD was actually going to kill me. Like, I was thinking how horrible it was going to be for my obituary to read, “John C. Massie – Death by burpees on April 14, 2015”.

After I managed to find my way from the ground to upright I staggered to my car where I sat for a few minutes trying to figure out if it was safe for me to drive. Like, I no joke was trying to think of people to call to see if they could take me home. I had given my all and then some apparently during the WOD. I made my way to Starbucks and hoped that some caffeine in my system would help keep me moving. I made it home safe and sound and spent most of the rest of the day in a chair, by the pool, working on my laptop (yeah, rough life, I know).

Today’s workout was like some new fresh torture I had yet to experience. It consisted of Hang Squat Clean Thrusters (or HSCT for short) and then sprints. I made it through my 5, 10 and 15 HSCT and my 800 meter sprint and my 600 meter sprint before time ran out (I still needed to do a 400 meter sprint, 20 HSCT and 200 meter sprint to finish).

So while I’m not going out for runs – I’m for sure getting plenty of running in. I hope that will be enough for my upcoming races next week.

On a positive note – my squat form (air, front and back) is impeccable. I’m able to actually squat all the way down until my butt is practically touching the ground with and without weight. I can also sit at the bottom of a squat for days which I didn’t realize people struggle with (and I’m not really sure what that skill gets me but… celebrate what you can, right? lol). It’s nice when you struggle with 99% of everything in CrossFit that there is one movement that you’re good at and people complement you on.

We’re not discussing my weight because, well, it hasn’t changed really. One thing that I have been very good about is my water intake though. I purchased a Camelback Chute 1 liter water bottle and I carry it with me everywhere. My goal is to drink 4 of them per day and so far I think my worst day I only got in 3 but then I ended up with 5 on another day so it all balances out, right? I’m not sure it’s the placebo effect or not but I do feel like I can tell a difference.

I’ll be in Houston next week so no CrossFit. However, I’ll be with my buddy Scott and his family so I’m sure Scott will find something to keep me moving those few days I’m there next week.

So until next time folks!

#ProjectBeMoreHuman – Week 3

Where the magic happens every week!

Where the magic happens every week!

There I was laying face down on the floor. I can’t breathe, I’m soaking wet with sweat and all I could think of was, “I actually pay to do this?” I was in the third round of burpee wallballs and I felt like I couldn’t get up off the floor. I had nothing left to give.

“Come on John – you got this”

Someone yelled from somewhere else in the box. I don’t know what it is but just that simple act of someone cheering you on seems to allow me to dig deep within and find strength I didn’t know I had. So I wobbled my way back to my feet and finished out the next 6 burpee wallballs to finish my set of 15 before starting on my box jumps (which became step-ups because I was certain that my legs were going to give out during the jumps).

I dug deep and worked through the last round. It took all I had to make it through but I did it and managed to finish under the 20min time cap!

That’s a glimpse into what my CrossFit workouts are like. It’s really funny how I can ride a bike for 100 miles or run 10 miles which takes hours and it does tire me out but I could do that any day of the week. You give me a 20 minute workout at CrossFit and it’s like I’ve never done anything athletic a day in my life.

I finally stepped on a scale. I’m down a whopping two pounds. I could be discouraged but I’m trying to teach myself, however, to measure my successes in things like setting PRs (personal records) for different weight lifting movements, finishing WODs within time limits, reducing my mile times running, increasing my speed on the bike, and all the other little successes I experience (like being able to jump rope consecutively for more than 5 times around). Even the success of making it to 3 WODs this week felt good.

This week I set some PRs from my last time I was in CrossFit a little over a year ago:

Front Squat: 95lbs
Back Squat: 115lbs
Strict Push Press: 65lbs (have I mentioned that my shoulders are super weak)

They’re nothing to write home about for most people but when you used to struggle with these movements while using an empty 45lbs bar – it feels pretty great.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “Um, before you moved didn’t you do stuff that didn’t involved CrossFit?” So let’s see, I haven’t “ran” this week per se. Wednesday’s CrossFit workout I did 5 x 400 meter sprints in which I wanted to perish after the second or third round. So I’d say I technically got a run in there. Providing that I can walk tomorrow morning I plan on doing at least a 5k around the neighborhood. If I’m feeling especially good then I might go for a 4 miler.

I’m still trying to get up the nerve to go cycling. I’ve been a bit hesitant to go riding because I don’t know the roads around here and I don’t want to get lost and/or hurt. I haven’t found a group to ride with either so it’s on my to-do list to seek out a cycling group to go riding with.

Ok! Onto the next week!

#ProjectBeMoreHuman – Week 2



Here’s me today after my CrossFit workout. Still smiling… but covered in sweat. The thing that this picture doesn’t capture is the fact that my shirt is completely soaked from a short 20 minute workout at the box.

So after my post last week I proceeded to workout at Hill Country CrossFit one more time and squeeze in another 5k run. This time I adjusted my intervals and actually increased my speed as a result. I also discovered last week that my 5k route that I’m running is… are you ready for this… about 300ft of elevation change. As a comparison – my half marathon was about 150ft across 13.1 miles. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger though, right?

Besides me walking like someone caned me on the knees and dreading having to sit down or stand up or raise my arms above my head or bend my arms at the elbow – I haven’t really noticed much changes. I’ve selected Friday as my day to go run so I’m hoping that I’ll see some improvement in my time.

It’s a busy week around here. My friends have family coming in from out of town and it’s Easter so I’m really hoping to get in another CrossFit workout on Saturday and *maybe* a run or ride Saturday if it doesn’t rain.

Haven’t been on a scale either – I think I’m going to limit that to every other week so I don’t become obsessed with weighing myself.

Until next week!