Author Archive Ickey Shuffle

Thursdays with Lemmy

Summer is running season in Area 51, so any opportunity to swing bells instead of grind miles is welcome. Nine PAX gathered in humidity that made the air as viscous as chicken pot pie to get some strength and conditioning work in. The Amazon Basics bluetooth speaker was fired up to serenade us with a carefully curated 45 minute long playlist of some of Motorhead’s finest work, striking a playful balance between original songs and covers.

Warmup: 20 swings, 20 SSH (one refusenik, on jumping jacks…Gummy’s influence is spreading like the plauge), 20 swings, 20 IW, 20 swings, 20 mountain climbers, 20 swings, 20 LBC

Swing & Merkin Pairs: Sets of 25, 20, 15, 10, 5

Goblet Squat & Freddie Mercury Pairs: Sets of 25, 20, 15, 10, 5

Sumo High Pull & Russian Twist Pairs: Sets of 25, 20, 15, 10, 5

Two rounds of 20 swings, 10 clean & press, and 5 goblet squats

Two rounds of 10 snatches and 10 deadlifts

Finish up with 100 swings and a sprinkling of Mary

Moleskine: A Thursday post is a rarity for YHC since it is the M’s day to work out, and a Thursday Q for YHC happens about as often as the Hornets make a sensible roster move. Sometimes the stars align however. The family is down in Florida for the week leaving a quiet house with a lot of hours to fill. On Tuesday Voodoo reached out and asked if I could fill a just vacated spot this week. Also on Tuesday, I met Hoover and Voodoo after work for the Wooden Robot brewery run. After a three mile jaunt trying our best not to melt into the pavement of the Rail Trail, we had post run beers (Hoover drinks on a 2:1 ratio to normal sized humans) then walked over to some hip millennial oriented ramen restaurant that I would misspell if I tried to type its name. To my pleasant surprise, this establishment played hard rock, both classic and contemporary instead of adhering to the modern convention of playing teenage girl oriented pop rubbish. When going out for a nice meal, I just don’t understand why establishments, especially upscale establishments, insist on assaulting their patrons’ ears with Rihanna and Katy Perry. There is simply no good reason to play any “artist” with “DJ” or “Lil” in his or her name in that setting (or any setting truthfully). Anyway, while discussing plans for Thursday’s Meathead workout, we noticed that the serving staff were all wearing black t-shirts with the name of the eatery emblazoned on them, but in font/color combinations that closely resembled famous rock bands. When a server in a t-shirt styled after the font and iron eagle design of Motorhead brought out bowls of noodles, we had our theme and playlist. As an aside though somewhat on topic, a childhood friend of YHC lives in Los Angeles and works in the music industry. When asked if it was true that Lemmy (rest his soul) used to spend his non-touring days sitting at the Rainbow drinking Jack Daniel’s, my friend chuckled and explained that yes it was true. Apparently you could go to the Rainbow bar & grill on the Sunset Strip anytime during operating hours and find Lemmy sitting alone at the end of the bar on the patio with a Jack and Coke in hand. I don’t know why, but this nugget of knowledge makes me really happy. Mumblechatter was low this morning, which was disappointing in some respects, but will be taken as a complement as to the difficulty of the workout. It was good to see the regulars and irregulars of Meathead, and I hope to make it back out there before year end.

“I Stepped in Pee Twice This Morning”

Now that I have your attention, please allow me to regale you with a summary of this morning’s happenings at Anvil, arguably the flagship midweek workout in all of Area 51. Nine gentleman convened to better themselves on a late spring morning that was downright pleasant, and like clockwork, at 5:29 am, Mermaid became visibly antsy that the festivities had yet to begin. While waiting for the time to actually reach 5:30, YHC provided a disclaimer that can reasonably be classified as fair to middling and we embarked upon our fantastic voyage.

Run to the fake grass pavilion for COP, which consisted of SSH, merkins, IW, wide arm merkins, mountain climbers, and diamond merkins. Now, there are not many things in this world YHC can claim to be good at. The list of my talents mainly consists of grilling and smoking meats, mixology, writing Backblasts, and having impeccable rhythm (due to being a drummer). That being said, while my workout leads may not be great, my cadence is flawless and metronome-like. Whilst leading the group in SSH (which nobody refusniked because Anvil is a man’s workout) YHC noticed that Hammer and Magoo were literally and figuratively marching to the beat of their own drums. Hammer is a Clemson man, so the inability to sync the body’s movements to a simple four count is understandable. YHC will have to work out with Magoo more to learn what his excuse is.

Mosey to the Avenue of Trees for sets of 20/15/10/5 merkins, squats, and LBCs punctuated with runs up and down the avenue. Proceed to the snack shack/hot box. Three sets of Bulgarian split squats, dips, and incline merkins, which were lovely. Run to the rock pile near 51 and select a rock with character. Three sets of overhead squats, curls, and triceps extensions, with two island run with lunge walk back in between each. Follow that with three sets of Sots presses, good mornings, and weighted crunches interspersed with island sprints.

Mosey back to the launch lot, stopping at the fake grass pavilion for some diamond merkins, then continue back to the launch lot for outsourced Mary, culminating in an on time finish at precisely 6:15 am.

Fueled by Tito’s and sarcasm, Spackler was out front most of the morning, which undoubtedly contributed to the mumblechatter not picking up until after COT. We learned that Mermaid has a new puppy at home, and he was not planning on working out today, but since said puppy awoke early, he decided that spending the pre-dawn hour with us was a preferable to feeding and walking the pup. This spurred the quote that inspired the title of this backblast. Magoo informed us that he has an older dog at home, and had stepped in pee twice that morning. Condolences. During the workout, Hammer (a Clemson Tiger) and Spackler (a Gamecock) were overheard civilly discussing football, which is why YHC can’t take that rivalry seriously. Ohio State fans would be ridiculing Jim Harbaugh’s inability to actually coach college football, and Michigan fans would be ridiculing Ohio State fans’ inability to actually spell college football. Alabama fans would be reminding Auburn fans that the Iron Bowl actually used to matter and was once more than just a nuisance to be endured the week before playing for the SEC Championship. Auburn fans would mumble incoherently and drool. Texas and Oklahoma football fan discussions would involve gunplay and deep frying various foodstuffs YHC can only assume. Not many announcements this morning other than a clandestine event this Friday evening at South Charlotte Middle School involving laps and lagers. Enjoy the rest of your week.

Eliminate Unwanted Bra Fat

Single digit attendance at Centurion this morning was quite a surprise this morning, especially when the weather was downright pleasant. The most likely cause was that pax were terrified of the savage beating YHC was prepared to lay down. Other possible explanations include early departures for a long weekend and/or Valentine’s Day celebrations spilling over into the morning. Unlikely, but possible. The six pax who decided to show up and put in some work on a Friday morning were treated to a disclaimer that was equal parts eloquent, efficient, and effective. The workout then began in the launch lot.

SSH, Mountain Climbers, Imperial Walkers, and Plank Jacks, all called in perfect cadence and performed with questionable form by the Q. We then departed for Carmel Commons at a civilized pace.

Once arriving in front of Amelie’s it was explained that we would be running an ABC pattern focusing on two foundational exercises, the squat and the merkin. ABC in this case stands for Amelie’s, BB&T, and Cabo’s. Start with ten reps of each exercise, run to the next stop and do nine reps, run to the next stop and do eight, and so on and so forth. Since YHC runs with the swiftness of an elderly, handicapped sloth, only bits and pieces of the mumblechatter were heard. Scabby and Mermaid were overheard discussing literature which is a testament to the caliber of man who regularly posts at Centurion. Also overheard, a massive fart that sounded like the celebratory discharge of an AK-47 during a wedding in a third world country.

After finishing, we ran across 51 to the other shopping center which most likely has a name containing the word Carmel and some combination of Shoppes, Promenade, Pavilion, or whatever else is popular with real estate developers. Here we did another round of squats and merkins in the ABC pattern, consisting of Audibel Hearing Center, Bonefish Grill, and CoolSculpt Spa. Since the runs between stations were shorter at this plaza, we upped the reps to begin with fifteen and working down to one, as well as mixing in wide arm and diamond merkins. In the parking lot someone noticed a car with a F3 sticker, which was determined to belong to Turkey Leg. There was ensuing debate over whether our comrade was exercising at 9Round or Be Yoga, then due to hearing his name spoken aloud, he appeared out of the darkness much like Beetlejuice. It turns out he was just out for a long run.

After finishing up the set, YHC checked the trusty Garmin and discovered that we needed to make for the launch lot immediately. Once arriving back YHC explained that we had been scheduled to head to Charlotte Aquatics to do sprints, monkey humpers, and lunge walks, but alas, there would be no time. Check that, there is always time for monkey humpers, so we knocked out twenty. We were about to start a bit of Mary to wrap things up with when a pickup truck came into the lot, causing us pause. It was the long lost Hairball, who had decided to join us for a few minutes. We wrapped with a handful of core exercises and some planks.

Now for a bit of explanation regarding the title of this backblast. The original title was going to be “The ABCs of S&M” as a reference to the ABC structure of the workout and the Squats (S) and Merkins (M). While a pretty good title (admit it, you would have clicked) YHC was slightly concerned with the type of traffic it might bring to our wholesome cybergloom. Thankfully Scabby took the time to read the promotional words on the glass door at CoolSculpt Spa during the festivities. The vague and legally dubious claims included slimming the thighs, firming the skin through Botox, and ridding oneself of unwanted bra fat. The lead group of Scabby, Mermaind, Brilleaux, and Snuka ran off discussing the aforementioned bra fat. A far cry from the literary discussion that had taken place earlier. Perhaps F3’s marketing department needs to start using CoolScupt Spa for inspiration? Also covered this morning was the topic of the Jack in the Box at Carmel Commons, and how none of us could recall ever seeing more than a single car in the parking lot. We wondered how it survived as a going concern. We can only surmise that it is sustained via the overnight hours from inebriated revelers in suburban South Charlotte. Announcements: Joe Davis run 3/6/19. If you are reading this you should be registered by now. Speed for Need will be at the Dash for Down’s Syndrome 3/23/19 at Blakeney, reach out to Scabby if you’d like to push. Enjoy the long weekend.

Step Away from the Air Conditioner, Law Enforcement is En Route

Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, the gone but not forgotten Saturday workout known as Olympus lived again, albeit only for a day at Ascent.  YHC arrived early to set up the gear that would be used and pulled around the school to the basketball courts.  Upon stepping out of the car, a loud and stern voice made me jump out of my skin.  After taking a moment to compose myself and appraise the situation (looking around frantically and hoping nobody saw) YHC realized that an automated message was playing repeatedly  warning that somebody or something had wandered too close to the coils on the air conditioning unit by Rea Road and that YHC needed to (“step away from the air conditioner” because “law enforcement is en route”).  Now it was decision time, abandon the location set up somewhere else, or press on and risk the possibility of having to explain to the cops why I have a sledge hammer and some rope in my trunk.  Not hearing any sirens, YHC decided to press on.  YOLO, as the kids say.


20 SSH IC, 2o Imperial Walkers IC, 20 kettlebell swings, 20 mountain climbers IC, 20 kettlebell swings, 20 LBC IC, 20 kettlebell swings, 10 merkins IC, 20 kettlebell swings, 20 Freddie Mercury IC, 20 kettlebell swings.

The Perfect Pair:

Kettlebell swings and merkins: rounds of 25, 20, 15, 10, 5 of each exercise.

Olympus Portion:

Several gear stations placed around the basketball courts set the stage for a high intensity sufferfest.  The timer was a jump rope where each PAX would take turns getting to 100 reps while the others rotated through the stations.  The menu consisted of slam balls, sandbag thrusters, wall balls, battle rope pull ups, and kettlebell deadlifts.  After three rounds through each station we moved on to desert consisting of a merkin mashup where we did regular merkins, wide arm merkins, and diamonds in rapid fire sets of 5 reps each, 4 reps, 3 reps, 2 reps, 1 rep.  A few minutes remained which we filled with Mary and plank work.  The final exercise was to mule the gear back to YHC’s car which had been moved to the regular launch lot.


It was good to lead a gear workout again.  Olympus used to be my favorite workout of the week.  My first or second week in F3 I gave the workout described as kettlebells and gear on the old website and was way out in Matthews a try.  My first time there we smacked huge truck tires with sledgehammers, cleaned barbells, dragged sleds, and did other awesome stuff.  As I became a regular there I got to pull pickup trucks with a harness, flip tires, experiment with homemade squat racks and yokes, and have a blast while not having to do much running.  Maybe one day we’ll get a regular gear workout back in the region.  It will take a group effort I believe though, since loading and unloading all the equipment gets old fast, especially on cold and rainy mornings.  Thanks to the good people of Ascent for the invitation to bring my trunk full of nonsense out to play for a day.

If You Squeeze My Lizard, I’ll Put My Snake On You

Believe it or not, today was YHC’s first Q opportunity at Meathead.  Thursdays are typically reserved for the M’s early morning workout in the Shuffle household so the opportunity to post and/or Q on a Thursday is a rare treat.  Therefore, YHC tried to make today less of a substitute teacher in middle school type event and more the “A Very Special Episode Of” (insert your favorite sitcom from childhood) variety.  After firing up the dusty old Amazon BT1 Bluetooth speaker and loading the carefully curated playlist, we began to stand in a circle and sling iron.


20 Swings OYO, 10 Merkins IC, 20 Swings OYO, 10 Mountain Climbers IC, 20 Swings OYO, 20 LBC IC, 20 Swings OYO, 10 Plank Jacks IC, 20 Swings OYO.  That’s 100 swings to start out the morning, which set the tone for things to come.

Rock Block 1:

While the majestic sounds of rock and roll songs from the 1970s through the 2010s washed over us like warm Gulf waters, we started the first block of exercises consisting of Swings, Renegade Rows Left, Renegade Rows Right, Good Mornings, and Weighed Crunches.  Each round was 10 reps of each exercise, and 5 rounds made up a block.

Rock Block 2:

Same format, some different exercises.  Swings, Sots Press Left, Sots Press Right (had to pause for the applause to die down), Sumo High Pull, and Weighted Crunch for 5 rounds of 10 reps each.

Rock Block 3:

This block was made up of Swings, Overhead Squat Left, Overhead Squat Right (more applause, some huzzahs and various cheers, the adoration was borderline embarrassing at this point), Triceps Extensions, Weighted Crunches for 5 rounds of 10 reps each.  At this point the swing counter was up to 250.

The Perfect Pair:

Time was beginning to wane, so an additional Rock Block could not be properly accommodated, which was fine because the PAX would have most likely begun throwing rose petals as YHC’s feet like the King of Zamunda in Coming to America and that would’ve been a bit over the top.  The perfect pair is the Kettlebell Swing and the Merkin, so we did sets of 20, 15, 10, and 5 of each.  The swing counter was up to 300 by now.

The Finisher:

To cap off the morning’s session, YHC called for 100 Swings.  Fortunately, everyone kept a firm grip on his kettlebell so as not to accidentally (purposefully) fling a bell at the Q’s head.  YHC does not like to incorporate hyperbole into backblasts, but majestic would certainly be a fair word to use to describe this morning’s workout.


Mumblechatter was quite low today, instead the PAX went about their business in a quiet reverence of the kettlebell cathedral that is an elementary school parking lot in Matthews.  Mall Cop wore a CrossFit shirt to an F3 workout, so that’s something.  #OurWarmupIsYourWorkOut  #SweetNikeMetConsBro

Other nuggets of knowledge learned today were that Montrose was the band Sammy Hagar sang for before his stints as a solo artist and with Van Halen, and that Living Color was fronted by the son of the actor from the Lethal Weapon movies who is not Mel Gibson but the other guy.  Regarding the title of this backblast, it is the first line from one of the songs on the playlist, Motorhead’s “Killed by Death” and is one of the finest opening lyrics ever penned.  Other selections included Halestorm’s “Still of the Night”, Montrose “Rock Candy”, Metallica “Hit the Lights”, Living Color “Cult of Personality”, Shinedown “Sound of Madness”, Sick Puppies “Maybe”, Saliva “Your Disease”, The Black Crowes “Twice as Hard” and Volbeat’s “Heaven Nor Hell”.   If you’ll allow me a brief aside: Music can provide a glimpse as to where a society is culturally at any given moment.  When future citizens of this planet look back upon American history, they will probably surmise that in the 1970s people did a lot of rambling (much like the tone of this backblast) and rolling down highways, and that gypsy queens from New Or-leens were a great scourge upon the land.  When they look back at the current decade they will see a fractured society splintered between factions of people who spend their time putting pop in their country, with the tailgates down while sipping on cinnamon flavored low proof whiskey, and those who believe that viable music can be produced by pushing buttons on a computer, pointing skyward, and shouting his or her name, then random phrases that make little to no sense.  #WeDaBest #DJWhateverThatSuperAnnoyingFatGuy’sNameIs

There were no announcements at COT but we can surmise that there is probably a  Speed for Need race coming up, and High Tide probably has a discount code for Nuun tablets.  That is all, enjoy your day.

Krampus Is Coming To Town

The cold and rainy conditions were perfect for the impending arrival of Krampus, the half goat, half demon creature that in Alpine folklore accompanies Saint Nicholas and punishes naughty children.  Fourteen unfortunate souls were dragged off into the gloom on Krampus’ sled to face their punishment.

Warmup run to the mouth of Tartarus and circle up for COP consisting of 20 SSH in cadence, 20 IW in cadence, 20 Mountain Climbers in cadence.

The Horns of Krampus:

Begin at the bottom of Tartarus’ stairs, run up the stairs to the top and do 20 merkins.  Run to the middle staircase and do 19 merkins before descending.  At the bottom do 18 merkins, run to the beginning point for 17.  Continue up and down stopping along the way until finishing at the launch point with one merkin.  For round two repeat the sequence but substitute squats for merkins.  Fortunately time was running short after round two so we audibled out of round three with sit-ups to prevent Krampus from inflicting even more punishment.

Run to the picnic tables in front of the school where some of the PAX began to fret about the slippery conditions.  Fortunately no step ups were in the Weinke so the helmets and harnesses were not needed.  While reminiscing about Checkpoint’s multitude of mishaps and misadventures at Centurion we did 5 rounds of 20 reps of split squats, dips, and incline merkins.  Run back to the launch point for a perfectly on time arrival at 6:15 am.  No time for Mary, so the PAX will have to visit Purple Haze at Planet Fitness or Spackler and Buttermaker at Orange Theory to get their core work in.

Today’s Moleskin is brought to you by the good people of Mucinex, DayQuil, and Afrin  for allowing YHC to struggle through 45 minutes of a workout and having barely enough voice to explain to the PAX what we were doing.  Only 9 more hours to go before our sponsors pass the reins to bourbon to get YHC through my company’s Christmas party (which YHC does not want to go to) and the F3 Area 51 Christmas party (which YHC does want to go to).  Please keep Bout Time, his little boy, and his family in your thoughts and prayers in the coming weeks and months.  Also stay tuned to the comz channels for information on how we will take care of them since that’s what we do best.  YHC hopes to see everyone this evening at the aforementioned Christmas party at Seaboard in Matthews.  Unlike corporate parties, there will be no forced conversation while nursing a single drink, carefully minding each word spoken, and keeping an eye on the watch and waiting for the earliest opportune moment to perform the Irish Goodbye.  For those of us who are introverted and socially awkward, these occasions often make us wish that Krampus would arrive to drag us off.  At COT this morning, Udder jumped in and fired up the Voice Memos feature on his phone.  The lack of confidence in YHC’s ability to remember 13 additional names besides my own is quite distressing.  There is still a bit of precious time in the thirties that YHC is clinging to with a vice like grip before the fog of dementia soon sets in.  It is also possible that Udder is simply a stereotypical millennial and cannot fathom performing even the simplest of tasks without the aid (crutch) of a smartphone.  The latter is the more palatable option so that is what we will go with.  Next week Centurion will launch from the Cameron Wood clubhouse on Birnen Drive so Margo can walk us through the winter wonderland of lights he has created in his yard.  Those prone to epileptic seizures should probably opt for another AO that day.  Merry Christmas.

Southern Discomfort Update: The Route, The Qs, The Details

We are closing in fast on the third annual Southern Discomfort which will launch at 7:00 am on Saturday, October 21st.  The details are about 90% complete, which is pretty good for a consulting and project management “professional” such as YHC.  It’s more fun to leave a bit up to chance anyway, it keeps things interesting and makes you feel alive. Essentially we will traverse the main artery of the Area 51 region stopping along the way at AOs for pain stations led by an murderer’s row of Qs hand selected for their ability to deliver efficient and effective workouts.

This year we are going to incorporate a philanthropic element to the festivities.  With several events in the rearview such as BRR, Ragnar, etc. YHC would venture that most of us have several pairs of running/athletic shoes that we have taken out of the starting lineup but still have some useful life in them.  A few years ago, we did a shoe drive called Sole Redemption that benefited the Charlotte Rescue Mission, so it’s about time we did that again.  Bring any shoes you can donate either to Southern Discomfort where we will collect them, or to a regular workout next week where the Site Qs will collect them.  Site Qs, consider yourselves voluntold that you are on collection duty next week, so either come to Southern Discomfort or contact YHC or the Shoe Q to facilitate transfer.  That brings us to the next order of business.  We need a Shoe Q to handle collection and delivery to the rescue mission.  If so called to service, please announce your intentions in the comments.

The route and the Qs:

  • We will start the journey at 7:00 am at Elizabeth Lane Elementary, home of Meathead and spiritual home of Olympus, which was the best hour in all of F3, hands down.  High Tide will start us off and get our minds right.
  • After ELE we will head to the Arboretum, the functional hub of Area 51,  and gather in the parking lot outside the ABC store where Alf will take the reins.
  • Following Alf’s portion we will tackle the Ghost Runner/Fast Twitch/Mountain Goat segment and run the bulk of the 4 mile Ghost Runner route but finishing at South Charlotte Middle School (Arboretum lot to Raintree Lane, left on Windbluff, Right on Providence, Right on Raintree, Left on Woodfox, gather at SCMS on Strawberry Lane).  When setting out on the run, we will self-organize into three pace groups, a sub 8 minute per mile group, an 8-9 minute per mile group, and a 9+ minute per mile group.  Upon reaching SCMS, the first group will turn around and finish with the second group, and then both groups will turn around and finish with the third group.  If this thing goes off the rails, the smart money says this is the place it happens.
  • When the group is all reunited at the school, YHC will take over, unless somebody else would like to, which would be preferable.  If you want the spot it’s yours, claim it via the comments.
  • We will leave SCMS and continue along 51 to Calvary church, (or is it Cavalry?  Which is the one where the horses come to save you?) home of Anvil and The Rock, where Flipper will set about explaining some convoluted workout structure that some of us will adhere to and others will just do their own thing, as is par for the course.
  • Upon leaving Calvary/Cavalry we will head to McAlpine Elementary where for one morning, Day Zero will live again.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that Mermaid will then assume the mantle and proceed to thrash us soundly.  Remember Mermaid, it’s Burpee Free October (if you repeat something enough it becomes true).
  • We hit the home stretch next and run to Charlotte Catholic High School, home of Centurion where hopefully they will not be administering the PSAT test since we have had issues with that in the past.  Not like lost weekend in Tijuana issues, but Alf did almost get us banished/arrested/jailed/deported and Chelms had to go see the principal or maybe the Pope, YHC isn’t sure how Catholicism works, just that their weddings involve a lot of standing up and sitting down and take a really long time.  As an aside, wedding ceremonies should take no more than 25 minutes from opening instrumental number to closing exit walk.  The guests are there to see the bride in her dress and for the open bar, and the bulk of the ceremony is just keeping people from said open bar.  Essentially the guests should be seated while a string quartet plays Whitesnake’s “Is This Love”, the wedding party and groom should be in position, and the bride should make her entrance.  The officiant should then open with a joke and perhaps a very brief anecdote about the bride and/or groom.  Fire off the “do you take” questions, grant permission for the marital kiss, then direct the crowd to follow the couple to the reception venue as the string quartet is joined by a vocalist for Peter Cetera’s “The Glory of Love”.  Then it’s Jack Daniel’s and Electric Slide time.  Get in, take care of business, get out.
  • Upon arrival to SCCHS campus, proceed to the mouth of Tartarus and run the short ramps up to the top.  Here we will conclude our journey and somebody who is better at the spoken word than YHC, which is basically any of you people will lead us in a BOM.
  • Now we need to coordinate parking/transportation.  Essentially, the group should gather at Charlotte Catholic around 6:20-:6:30 am so some of the group can leave vehicles at the end and some can drive the group to the start.

Southern Discomfort 2017: Save The Date 10/21/17

The time is drawing near for the third annual iteration of Area 51’s premier CSAUP event, Southern Discomfort.  Saturday, October 21 will be the date of this tomfoolery masquerading as a test of fitness.  We will begin sometime in the morning (details forthcoming) and traverse a route in the general vicinity of Pineville-Matthews road and the AO’s nestled along it (details forthcoming).  We will stop at the various workout destinations along the route and perform great and mighty feats of strength and endurance (again, details forthcoming).  There is a strong possibility of t-shirts, if for some reason you needed further convincing.  There is also a strong possibility of metallic tasting hose water at the RockZero AO, as is tradition.  The particulars concerning pain station Qs, start time, launch location, etc. will be released on a need to know basis.  In this instance “need to know basis” means when YHC, Cheese Curd, and another event Q who will be pressed into service figure it out.  Did you know that “pressed into service” is derived from colonial times when Great Britain would employ “press gangs” to round up able bodied men to serve on the empire’s naval and merchant ships.  You can expect many more nuggets of knowledge like this to be dispensed along the way on the 21st, as if you needed further convincing.  Where else can you conquer a physically demanding challenge, enjoy camaraderie not seen since maritime British vessels during the colonial period, and learn fascinating bits of trivia?  Only at Southern Discomfort.  Clear your calendars, arrange coverage for the kids’ activities, and stock up on Body Glide (trust me on this one, two years ago every step from the Arboretum to Matthews Elementary was as uncomfortable as trying to take your daily constitutional during work hours while the cleaning crew waits right outside the stall door for you to finish).  See you on October 21st.  Oh, and don’t ever wait outside a stall while somebody is in there, it’s just plain rude.  Come back later, find another floor in the building, or go to a hotel lobby within walking distance.  Stay tuned to this channel for further updates, as details will be forthcoming.

Beating a Horse Dead

It was the Run Before the Sun, the Brawl to Decide it All, The War to Settle the Score, The Thrills in Sardis Hills, The Hell on Old Bell, The South Charlotte Skirmish, The Mountain View Melee, The Predawn Donnybrook, and something else incorporating Fracas that I just couldn’t think of.  Seventeen combatants and one slow guy in blinky lights entered the arena of Horsey McHorseArse (still a worse name than when the Big 10 named its divisions Legends and Leaders) to answer the question: Quien Es Mas Macho?  Most read the PrePreBlast and the PreBlast to know what to do but others did not so we gave a quick tutorial on how we would be deciding the 2017 season championship as we set on an Iron Maiden warm up (Run to the Hills).

The competitors would battle each other, the hills, and the dark recesses of their own minds to take the title.  They would have to gore the Lumbering Ox as many times as possible by passing the Q on the main loop then getting down and back up the first hill as many times as possible during the allotted time, after starting with 10 burpees to allow the Ox to slowly labor up the first hill.  Some figured out their strategies quickly and were quickly able to master the course.  Some gambled and relied solely on running ability, paying no mind to the most effective places to make passes.  A few didn’t really understand what was going on, and one competitor blatantly abused the rulebook in much the same way as spread offense teams have their offensive lines block 10 yards downfield on pass plays.  Simply distasteful.  A quick scan of the PAX list should give you an idea of who the culprit was.  Most of the PAX made their first pass just before the Mt. Charlotte hill in turn two.  Alf looked like he was on a business trip and not a pleasure cruise.  Pop Tart flew by right out of the gate, and for a second I wondered if he might be mounting a serious challenge, but at the end when he turned out to not really understand the format everything snapped right back into focus.  Although my job today was to be the human sacrifice, the Lumbering Ox did have a couple of tricks to play, mainly in the form of some surprise sprints just when somebody was about to make a pass.  Prohibition especially enjoyed those.  There were some biological weapons in the battle plan but they went un-deployed due to less than full confidence in the release mechanism.  At 6:08 we gathered the group by the neon encrusted pole that flies Old Glory to recite the pledge.  At this point a school bus pulled up and stopped, assuming that the figures in the dark were awaiting educational transport.  Imagine the driver’s surprise to see a bunch of dudes in their thirties and forties, and one old guy.  After the bus drove off and the pledge, we ran back down the hill and the PAX did ten more burpees while the Lumbering Ox stampeded toward the launch lot offering the opportunity to gain one last kill.  So who climbed the ladder to glory and claimed his place in the pantheon of sporting greats?  Before we get to that we have to handle another matter.

First we have to award the title of Peoples’ Champion.  The Peoples’ Champion is Geraldo.  Day in and day out Geraldo shows up, gets to work, and puts foot to backside.  He sets an example for all of us that strive for constant self improvement.  Now he has a moniker worthy of a champion and has earned the right to refer to himself in the third person.  Congratulations.

If I was a betting man I would have put my money on Rachel to win this morning’s race as I’m sure many others would have.  I would have lost that bet.  That’s right, we had an upset.  Not the caliber of a mixed martial arts fighter beating a boxer in actual boxing, but an upset nonetheless.  Was it a poor race strategy?  Was it an execution issue?  Was it a chance encounter with gas station sushi?  We may never know.  Instead we saw an absolutely dominant performance by our favorite Melmacian.  Alf bested the field by a full three passes.  It was an absolute clinic.  He structured his passes so that he was almost always close to the downhill and he anticipated the sprint intervals.  Conventional wisdom dictates that title bouts need to be definitely won to be considered legitimate, and Alf is apparently not the type to leave anything in the hands of the judges.  This was a a brutal knockout.  This was a beating along the lines of Alabama vs. Notre Dame.  He was simply a man among boys today.  Congratulations.  I hope that for the next year you arrive at every workout adorned in gold and fur, with an entourage including a guy whose sole job is to hold the championship belt in the air above his head and a hype man who just walks in front of you yelling “THE CHAMP IS HERE!”.

Final Standings:

Win (10) – Alf

Place (tie, 7) – Baracus, Hollins (not certain this is the correct name), Ann & Hope (again, not sure this is the correct name)

Show (6) – Rachel  (I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed)

Glue – Prohibition/Chin Music/Fault Line/Kraken? (possible wrong name) with 5, Chelms/Hannibal with 4, Grave Dancer/Carrier/Geraldo/Spooky Jon with 3, and Slice/Pop Tart with unknown scores and an inability to follow directions.

It was strange for me to Q a running workout since I neither enjoy running nor have any talent for it, but I was added to the roster simply to write a backblast.  Well, I came here to do two things: run slow and type some mildly entertaining words.   A quick scan of Strava will demonstrate that the running slow part has been taken care of.  Now as we enter the fortnight of final preparation then taper for the Blue Ridge Relay, we pull the lids down over the cold, lifeless eyes of this horsey.  I hope the the hay tastes sweet and the jockeys are sparse with the whip up in horsey heaven.  Until next year when a new horsey trots into town, ready to be mounted and ridden for the summer, we throw some dirt on the equine corpse and bid farewell to the bizarre neighborhood where it resides.  Go forth now and dominate the BRR men of Area 51.  Ensure that horsey did not die in vain.  Roll Tide.

Horsey Preblast: Don’t Tell PETA

Just one more.  One more Monday of this buffoonery then we can get back to making Mondays great again.  Seriously, after tomorrow start going to Diamondhead and/or Foxhole because Mondays are for kettlebells.  Before we restore our collective sanity however, we have a champion to crown, and the Eight Belles Ladder Match is how we’ll do it.  Eight Belles was a filly who finished second in the 2008 Kentucky Derby, but broke her ankle and was euthanized right on the track.  This seems a fitting name for putting Horsey to sleep.  The ladder match part is how we’re going to structure this thing tomorrow.  Each time you score a point you have to climb the ladder.  Tomorrow will be a points based scoring system with winner take all.  Here’s how we’ll do it:

  • At 5:15 we will leave the parking lot and run toward the Horsey course.  I will be the Pace Car and for this warmup stretch the group will stay together.  It will be a slower pace than the group is used to because you peoples’ warmup pace is my threshold pace.  It will help build the anticipation and tension though, so it will be good.
  • When we reach the manhole cover at the base of Blue Ridge Circle the Pace Car become the Lumbering Ox and will start running up the hill and yell GO, signifying the drop of the green flag.  The field will do 10 burpees in order to give the Lumbering Ox a few seconds to get up the hill a bit, and once the burpees are complete the field will begin the task of killing the Lumbering Ox.
  • The Lumbering Ox will run in a counterclockwise oval, turning right on Mountainview, bending around to Wilby, and taking Wilby all the way back until it meets Mountainview again.  Every time a PAX passes the Lumbering Ox, immediately head back down the Blue Ride hill and put a foot on the manhole to register a point.  Note, once making a pass, PAX can either continue counterclockwise to get down the hill, turn around and go clockwise to get down, or take the Blue Ride shortcut to get back.  Structuring your passes will provide the mental aspect of this challenge, and if you time them well you can pick up a few quick points.  Continue making as many kills as possible until 6:08.
  • At 6:08 gather at the neon wrapped flag pole for the Pledge.  After the pledge follow the Pace Car back down to the base of the hill and eye each other suspiciously as you try to figure out who is in the lead.  Once back down the hill the Lumbering Ox will keep running toward the parking lot and the field will do 10 burpees then take off with the chance to get one last kill before reaching the lot.
  • At COT each PAX will announce their point total after Hospital Name, F3 Name, and Age and we will learn who gets to tote the virtual championship belt for the next year.

That’s it, that’s all there is to it.  How many times can you pass a slow guy running in a circle and get down and back up a hill?  The Lumbering Ox may have a trick or two to play, but will not stray from the counterclockwise oval.  Be fast, be smart with the location of your passes, and be merciless in your will to dispatch the competition.  Jockeys to the paddock, it’s race time.