#ProjectBeMoreHuman – Week 4

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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

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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

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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!

#ProjectBeMoreHuman – Week 1

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So a few weeks ago I blogged about the Reebok Be More Human campaign/commerical and how I was going to “probably” get back into CrossFit when I get “settled” in San Anotnio? Well apparently in my life “probably” meant yes and “settled” meant shortly after I got my stuff into storage.

I am not sure what came over me. Maybe it was watching my friend Scott who is battling the effects of his brain tumor (loss of balance and loss of feeling in one of his arms and one of his legs) go every weekend to the CrossFit box and compete in the CrossFit Open Games. He refuses to take no for an answer and doesn’t give up. He also doesn’t use the brain tumor as an excuse. I think a lot of people would gracefully bow out and point to their cancer – not Scott. That level of drive, passion, encouragement and perseverance has left an impacting effect on me for sure.

What an inspiration… Last Saturday when Scott went to the box to get his 15.4 workout in and I watched something that truly amazed me. He went off to a corner of the box and setup the weights for the workout and began to attempt the movements. Each time having issues getting the weight above his head or to his shoulders. He then came back over to Tracy and me to say that he wasn’t sure he was going to be able to do the workout.

Then after talking to some people at the box and somewhere somehow digging deep within and finding the strength to do this workout he jumped into the next round to be scored. Then he just did it – he proceeded to work through the movements along with everyone else. I’m not sure what came over him but he did it.

So what’s my excuse? With really no medical issues to speak of – there’s no reason I shouldn’t be working out and making the most of the body that God gave me. So I decided last week to sign up for CrossFit – now. I’m joining the wonderful folks over at Hill Country CrossFit in Boerne, TX this time. I also started running every other day in preparation for the upcoming race season and to help me as I train for my fall/winter races. Cycling is going to fit in there somewhere soon too.

I’m taking a slightly different approach with my food since I’m living with friends – I’m just eating everything in moderation and when I do go out – trying to make better choices. Once I get settled in my own place and start cooking for myself on a regular basis I’ll work on tweaking that too.

So I decided to “borrow” Reebok’s Be More Human and make my own #ProjectBeMoreHuman. I’m committing to blogging once a week about my progress. What I’m doing. All that fun stuff. So hopefully you’ll come check it out and help cheer me on as I take yet another step into becoming healthier.

My Journey to Texas: Start

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After some crazy rain showers and a huge accident on I-35 where I sat for *literally* hours. I decided to take the backroads when I hit just south of Waco. I’m really glad I did as it served as a nice change of scenery and offered far less traffic.

I finally arrived in the little town outside of San Antonio where I’m staying as I’m getting settled around 5:00 pm on Monday.

As I got out of the car and as greeted by my friends parent’s who I’m staying with – I found out some disheartening news. My friend Scott was diagnosed with another brain tumor – this time on the brain stem and that he and the family would be staying in Houston for the next few days to sort out treatment options.

My frist night was one that was fairly low key and quiet. We ate dinner together, talked about my journey down and discuss the news about Scott. The timing was pretty uncanny I must say.

IMG_0900 IMG_0901I decided to fill my day the next day with looking for a job and running errands such as getting the car washed (aka – getting the 1500 miles of road gunk and months of salt off of it). I also rent and rented a storage unit to stick my life into.

Never living away from home and/or a place where I could always keep my stuff – this was a first for me. As I began carrying my stuff into my tiny storage unit – this all started to become real to me that I had just moved to Texas. It was a mix of emotions but all in all I felt like I had done what was right.

So, now I’m in the process of figuring out what it means to be a Texan. I’m searching for the right job and getting connected with the local community here. While I do miss Ohio, my family, friends and a lot of the comfort I was used to – I gotta say that I’m pretty happy here and am enjoying this season of rest in my life as I gear up for the adventure that is living in Texas.

That’s it! I’m still working through the next few posts in the coming days but hope y’all have enjoyed getting a glimpse inside my journey to Texas.

John


 

My Journey to Texas

This is going to be a small four part series chronicling my move process and the various stages. Being one of the biggest things that has ever taken place in my life I wanted to blog about it to share with everyone as well as for my own memories to look back on.

  1. Grief
  2. Drive
  3. Dallas
  4. Start

My Journey to Texas: Dallas

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So you know it wouldn’t be a JohnMassie story if there wasn’t a plot twist. Well, here’s the plot twist that you’ve all been waiting for – I mentioned to many of you that I was stopping in Dallas on my way to San Antonio to stay with a friend… While all true – I didn’t really tell you all the details because I knew if i did I would worry people more (and people were worried enough with me driving 16 hours straight).

Well, the part I failed to mention is that I know Damon via Twitter (@DamonGochneaur) and I had never actually met Damon in person. In fact, we had never even spoken on the phone before. Yes, so in essence I drove 16 hours, 1,100 miles to a person’s house that I had never been to or met in person before.

Damon and his family gave me quite the Texas welcome – complete with a steak dinner upon my (late) arrival. A beautiful guest suite to stay in at his home and an itinerary of Dallas activities for me should I choose to stay for the weekend. So, on a whim, I extended what was going to be a quick overnight stay into Dallas into a full weekend in Dallas!

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The next morning after getting introduced to Damon’s children we took off for a local barbecue joint – Hard Eight BBQ. This place was quintessential Texas barbecue experience in my mind. Mind blowing barbecued meat and awesome sides with sweet tea to wash it all down. I wish I would have taken a picture of how the meat is served to you – it’s taken straight from the pit, carved on the spot and served like the picture above. It does not get fresher than that. I was in food heaven.

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That evening Damon took his oldest and myself to a FC Dallas Soccer game. We had amazing seats and the weather could not have been nicer to sit outside and watch a soccer game. (Though it was as we were leaving) but FC Dallas scored and won the game! Good times.

The next day Damon and his family invited me to join them at Odysseo. Kind of hard to describe but my best attempt would be – a show that is a mix of Cirque du Soleil but add in horses that are very well trained. Complete with live singing and live band. Thanks to a series of events Damon was able to get upgraded seats and we were able to sit second row. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the show going in and I was completely blown away within minutes of the show starting. I’m pretty sure I spent most of the two hours with my jaw dropped wide open. If you have a chance to see it (I think it’s going to Canada next) I highly recombined it!

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Afterwards we got to meet a couple of the performers and take a tour of the stable where they keep all the horses. (For me) A once in a lifetime experience and I’m very blessed that things worked out that I was able to join them.

Damon’s generosity and kindness was quite overwhelming. I think of myself as no more than a stranger to him and he opened his home, fed me, gave me a place to stay and made sure I had a great time while in Dallas. I feel very blessed to have awesome people like Damon in my life and really felt like he embodied Matthew 25:35, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”

The weekend was a great way to kick off the first few days of living in Texas. Thanks Damon for your kindness and friendship!


 

My Journey to Texas

This is going to be a small four part series chronicling my move process and the various stages. Being one of the biggest things that has ever taken place in my life I wanted to blog about it to share with everyone as well as for my own memories to look back on.

  1. Grief
  2. Drive
  3. Dallas
  4. Start

My Journey to Texas: Drive

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Ok, I always imagined that if I was ever going to move away from Ohio I would have movers and I would just fly to my new home. I’d have one of those cinematic moments at security where I said my goodbyes and then I’d walk through security and turn around and wave to my friends/family that came to see me off. Then I’d get to my gate and I’d board the plane and I’d watch as I fly over the Columbus and look longingly out the window and wave goodbye. Maybe snapping a picture of downtown before I left.

Well, in reality, my move out of Ohio was nothing like that. I was half awake, freezing cold from trying to load all the last minute stuff at 5:00 AM and said my goodbyes to my mom and grandma who couldn’t stand and watch me drive away as it was crazy cold and my mom had to get ready for work. There weren’t crazy tears and I couldn’t look longingly out the window because I was driving. I didn’t even get to go through downtown one last time or anything – I just had to hit the road and took the outer belt because it was the fastest way.

Also, one thing that happened that morning that also added stress was the fact that it was so cold in Ohio that my bike rack locks were frozen so they weren’t very secure on the rack. I had to trust that the locks that did work would hold them on until it got warm enough and they thawed (which was 475 miles later…). After one check of the rack I took off and didn’t stop until I needed gas.

The whole drive was fairly uneventful. With the crazy winter weather Kentucky and Tennessee had been receiving that week I decided to take the more western route than the southern route. I had beautiful weather and the first few states (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois) seemed to just fly by. The first major thing happened when I was screaming obscenities at my GPS in downtown St. Louis because apparently it doesn’t understand how the lanes work and caused me to miss my exit. You know, because there’s nothing like traveling 70MPH and it says “In 300 feet, keep left.” so you naturally keep left and then afterwards it says, “Take the exit on the right.” No warning, just “take the exit on there right”… you know, no big deal, you just need to jump over 5 lanes into traffic… However, I made it to the appropriate freeway after wandering through downtown for a few minutes.

IMG_0851I was pretty hard core about this driving portion since I had to be in Dallas that evening. I literally only stopped to get gas, go to the bathroom and once to eat (though it was at a gas station). I didn’t leave the car for long (or let it out of my sight) because as you can see, my life was packed into the back (and no, I couldn’t see out the back).

I thought Missouri was long but I was mistaken. I was almost sure that I was never going to leave the state of Oklahoma. Not to mention that the drivers were crazy on the toll roads and no one in the state of Oklahoma seemed to understand the concept of cruise control.

Then I hit some crazy traffic just south of Oklahoma City on I-35. No accident – just traffic… which is one of the things I hate the most. I kept move and finally broke free from the traffic and it was a straight shot to my friends Damon’s house just north of Dallas.

I hate inconveniencing anyone and I had originally planned on arriving around 8:00 PM but it ended up being closer to 9:30 PM. Thankfully Damon and his family were very gracious and accommodating with my later than anticipated arrival. I did it – I drove from Ohio to Texas in one day covering roughly 1,100 miles. Crazy but totally worth it since it got me into my new home state in just one day!


My Journey to Texas

This is going to be a small four part series chronicling my move process and the various stages. Being one of the biggest things that has ever taken place in my life I wanted to blog about it to share with everyone as well as for my own memories to look back on.

  1. Grief
  2. Drive
  3. Dallas
  4. Start