Author Archive Paper Jam

A Bridge Over Waxhaw

10 PAX showed up on a warm morning at the parking lot of the Millbridge pool to run. And run they did. After a proper disclaimer and poor explanation of what we were doing, we were off, running up Millbridge Parkway.

THE ROUTE: Officially known as “The Clippy Challenge”.  Run from Millbridge Pool Parking Lot to the bridge in downtown Waxhaw and return.

MOLESKIN: This was my first official Q in the Waxhaw region. There was alot of self pressure to come up with something challenging for the PAX.  Pursuit has a natural degree of difficulty because Millbridge has so many hills.  In order to come up with something different or new, I thought it was best to do some advanced scouting to figure it out.  One Sunday afternoon, I dragged our 2.0 (a.k.a Paper Clip) along with me as we walked around the neighborhood. After about 45 minutes of wandering, Clippy was exhausted and frustrated and blurted out “why don’t you just make them run to downtown Waxhaw.” Thus, the idea was born.

It is approximately 3.1 miles to reach the bridge from launch (6.2 miles total).  There are at least 3 times on the way to the bridge that we have to run uphill.  On the way back it is mainly downhill., except, at the 4-5 mile mark, we are faced with a steep uphill on Hudson Mill in order to reach Millbridge Parkway to begin a final decent to launch.

Wolverine and Ice-9 reached the bridge with time to spare and roamed downtown Waxhaw looking for the PAX of The Floater.

YHC, Rubbermaid, and Ghosted reached the bridge right before the 30 minute mark.

Ex-Lax, working towards a personal goal, crushed it, in terms of time, distance and speed.

Chastain was there primarily to insure the family photo was taken and Fuse Box was left wondering why they let this SOB into Waxhaw.

Turnbuckle and Jingles did their usual thang.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Alot going on in the Waxhaw region, new AOs, WTF (Waxhaw Trail Fest), and plenty of service opportunities. Follow GroupMe to keep up with it all.

I am beginning to feel at home in Waxhaw. I am grateful to all the PAX who have been so welcoming and thank you for providing the opportunity to lead this morning.

Shiver Me Timbers

20 PAX stood around trying to keep warm while they listened to many words of wisdom from Chastain at F3 Waxhaw latest version of Q School. After a butchered disclaimer and explanation of DICSS it was time for:

COP:

Each attendee was required to call an exercise in cadence count. Moroccan Night Club seemed to be the favorite among the Waxhaw faithful and One Star demonstrated what occurs at his home on a typical Tuesday evening opting for the Pickle Pounder x 5. When all the counting was done, an all out sprint by Fuse Box led us to:

THE THANG:

Gathering up at the front of the school by the benches and overhang, Chastain continued to wax poetically on the mundane details of a Q. He reviewed watching out for the 6, how to kill time, and made us run around in a circle doing some exercises. Fuse Box and YHC nearly came to blows over the timing of scouting a site before the Q (unresolved aggression over the UNC-NC State rivalry) but fortunately Chastain’s calming voice of reason led to a compromise.  When all was said and done we returned to launch and our fearless leader wrapped things up.

MOLESKIN:

Although we never really got warm from the exercises, Chastain and Fuse Box brought the heat on  “how to” run a successful Q.

I forgot how chilly it gets when I stand around for 1.5 hours in 40 degree whether in shorts. A few PAX, like Ex-Lax and Schedule C, were smart enough to wear long pants while Schnitzel ran to his car to grab his jacket.

I learned there are many ways to spell Tanyatine in a backblast (still don’t know what the heck that means), someone else likes to take dumps at workouts (dude wipes work better than winkies) and Baio will have a great foundation for his VQ next week.

It’s time to put all this great knowledge to good use and sign up to Q.

SYITG

Core and More

3 PAX woke themselves out of a post Christmas coma to get their core warmed by the Blakeney Shopping Center fountains at F3 Firestarter.  After a quick disclaimer and mosey to the grassy knoll near the new brick stage, it was time for

COP:

SSH x 15

5 merkins OYO

IW x 15

5 wide arm merkins OYO

LSS x 15

5 diamond merkins OYO

LBC x 15

THE THANG:

Mosey to the fountain closest to Hazlenut Creperie for circle merkin Jack Webb. Incline merkin and dips. Start with 1 incline merkin and 3 dips then increase to 2 merkins, 6 dips, etc. moving around the fountain until you get to the other side. Ended with 8 incline merkins and 24 dips.

Down to our six for Mary: High flutter, Rosalita, box cutter: in cadence count, 20x each exercise.

Mosey to walls by the fountains in between Brixx and Shake Shack for leg work:

Split leg squats on cadence count 15x each leg.

Back on our six for more Mary: toe-tap crunch, dying cockroach, and pistol crunch (each leg ext.):in cadence count, 20x each exercise.

Mosey to walls behind Brixx for step ups: 15x on each leg, when completed, plank. High plank and elbow plank for about 1-2 minutes.

Mosey to seating section behind Greco Fresh. Grab a chair for curls, tricep ext and shoulder press: in cadence count, 20x each exercise. Finish it off with a round of Triple Lindy.

Back on our six for LBCs and Heels to Heaven:  in cadence count, 20x each exercise.

Rinse and repeat with lower reps: circle merkin/dips, up to 6x incline merkins, 18 dips. Then on our 6 for Mary: High flutter, Rosalita, box cutter: in cadence count, 15x each exercise.  Split leg Squats 15x in cadence count and more Mary. Step ups 15 x each leg and more Mary, chair curls, tricep ext and shoulder presses with a triple lindy and more mary.

Rinse and repeat but only with Mary: Return to the first fountain for high flutter, Rosalita, box cutter, then to the second set of fountains for dying cockroach, toe-tap crunch, and pistol crunches, mosey to the chairs for LBCs and return to launch for 1 minute of elbow plank.

MOLESKIN

It was eerie walking up to the site of two Monday morning workouts to see only a few cars. One of which was occupied by some random guy who just sat in his car. For a moment, I wondered if I had my days mixed up, but thankfully Wingman and OneStar were there to set me straight and we were able to start Monday off on the right foot.

In case you are wondering, yes, I have endorsement deals with certain area restaurants that require me to mention them in my backblasts.

The goal today was two-fold, first, to focus on abs, which I tend to neglect (if that was not obvious by my meatballish appearance). Second, to demonstrate that an effective bootcamp workout does not need to cover alot of ground and can be confined to a relatively small space.  I did not set my fancy watch to track this post, but I doubt we reached .5 miles.

Thank you for allowing me to lead.

 

Touring the Farm and Finding Bourbon

21 PAX including an FNG were not discouraged by the report of rain and gathered in the gloom for the 4th Annual Turkey Jam. At 6:30am, after a disclaimer that would make Mermaid and Bottlecap proud, we launched from the Improper Pig. After a short mosey, we found ourself in the parking lot between Harris Teeter and a dance studio for the:

COT:

SSH x15, 10 merkins OYO, IW x 15, 10 diamond merkins OYO, LBC x 15. Split the PAX in half with Chopper stepping in to lead one group. Each group would perform the same exercises but at a socially acceptable distance within eye sight of each other. (War Eagle is happy)  Mosey to the parking lot near the post office, one group gathered in front of The Wok the other group wandered a little father down, close to the new Atrium emergency room for:

THE THANG: 

Two (2) rounds of 4 Corners. 10x at each corner. Merkins, diamond merkins, wide arm merkins and crucible merkins. Plank and mary waiting on the 6.

Mosey across Providence Rd to the parking lot between Starbuck and Whole Foods. Plenty of room for everyone to spread out the width of the parking lot and face Alta for the next called exercises.

Two (2) rounds of modified Beast. First round: Bobby Hurley Squats, Second Round: burpees. Plank and mary waiting on the 6.

Mosey trough the parking lot to the sitting area across from the hotel. Plenty of room for the PAX to separate and grab a chair for arm work.

Curls x 15, Tricep Extension x 15, and Shoulder Press x 15.

Find a spot on a wall for split leg squats, two (2) rounds 15 x on each leg and a set of incline merkins x 15.

Grab the chair again for Triple Lindy x 20.

Place the chairs back where we fond them and mosey to the parking deck. Divide into groups to the top and perform the called exercise on the way up. One group begins to run up the deck, 10 merkins at each level. The second group stays at the bottom of the deck doing mary and waiting for the first group to clear the 1st level. After reaching the top, pick a stairwell and the return to the start. The weinke called for mary while waiting for all PAX to return, but Elsa thought we would enjoy wall sits, so that is what we did.

Mosey back across Providence Rd to The Green Monster. Gather by the Christmas Tree for some broga  (pigeon, frog and lunge) and finish up with nearly two minutes worth of elbow plank courtesy of Bunker.

COT:  Name the FNG (Stuffing), each PAX expressed at least one thing they were grateful/thankful for and takeout by Middrift.

MOLESKIN: 

We found ourself at Rea Farms again and the site did not disappoint. It may become the permanent home of Turkey Jam. This year we took it up a notch. Christmas Tree was decorated and lit, Christmas music closed us out and Trickle was giving away Bourbon. (Sweetwater and Prohibition hope you are taking notes).

Enron and Tuck led the secret, unannounced, and exclusive pre-run with Kirby making an ill-advised decision to join them near its conclusion.

Bunker’s bootcamp gloves made their annual appearance, while Fraiser seemed disorientated when asked to call an exercise that did not include running.

Turkey Leg and Tuck enjoyed being out in front and sharing stories about their 20 kids and how they feed them all.

Chopper was not the oldest PAX in attendance.

Elsa was crushing it this morning, thanks for the wall sit idea.

Teddy prefers sitting on a wall instead of using it for split squats.

Great to post with my old friend Floor Slapper, who showed up on time.

Midriff was so thankful for the mild weather that he displayed his gratitude by removing his shirt for all the onlookers.

Coffeteria followed with a number of PAX grabbing Starbucks and enjoying some fellowship.

Big thanks to Chopper for his friendship and scouting out the Q with me Wednesday morning.

It is an honor to lead such a great group of men.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!!!

Lose a Sad Clown and Find the Shield Lock

Early Sunday morning, I received a call from my Dad.  My Mom stopped breathing and he had called 911.

When I arrived at their apartment in Blakeney, I could see the ambulance and fire truck were still there. Not a good sign.

I walked into the apartment to find a number of EMTs performing CPR, desperately trying to revive my Mom.

There was my Dad watching it all in disbelief.  They had just celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary on November 1. They have been together for nearly 60 years. My Dad adored my Mom.

But I saw my Mom’s coloring. I saw the laptop that showed no pulse. I knew she was gone. But maybe I was not seeing something right and they would bring her back. But it never happened.

I had to comfort my Dad, make the calls to the family, manage the medical personnel and police officer who were in the living room of their apartment and the rest of the day was spent trying to figure things out.

I wanted to isolate. I wanted to hide my grief and sadness. But that was not really an option anymore.

The Sad Clown slowly went away after my first post in SOB. Over the next 5 years, I developed authentic relationships with other men.  They had allowed me to walk with them thru some tough spots and it would be selfish of me not to provide them the opportunity to do the same.

So I began to reach out and they responded with the type of support you would expect from F3 brothers.

The next morning, I posted at Blakovery because I needed to feel like things were normal.  A hug from one of the PAX and comforting words from others greeted me as I got out of my car.  At the COT, Flipper talked about the importance of the Shield Lock.  Little did he know there was a tangible example happening right before him.

On Tuesday,  I didn’t want to post. But it was Rousey’s VQ. I don’t know him, but I wanted to provide him support.  That is what we do. Instead, Rousey helped me. His energy and enthusiasm made me smile. The mumblechatter that ensued allowed me to laugh.  Little did Rousey and the other PAX know, that sometimes, all it takes is to show up to form a Shield Lock.

Today was different. After launching from Devil’s Turn my legs felt like concrete, although the rest of my body felt good. I stopped and started to walk.  The PAX  running with me circled back to make sure I was OK.  There was nothing wrong with my body, but my mind was somewhere else. In the still of the gloom, I realized things have been so hectic since Sunday, I hadn’t had time to grieve.  On a dark, rainy morning, I found the space to grieve and the F3 brothers recognized I needed time alone. A Shield Lock takes many forms, one size does not fit all.

To all the men who have provided direct support, thank you.

To all the men who have provided support by just showing up, thank you.

So I post, show up, and intentionally develop relationships with other men so I can be part of the Shield Lock that has meant so much to me.

My hope is that you will do the same because what we do makes an impact in the lives of others because, sometimes, I don’t realize the importance of the Shield Lock until it shows up to help me.

What Have You Learned In 5 Years From F3?

51 plus PAX woke up, found the link, turned on their smart device or lap top and decided to spend some time together but socially distant at Virtual Bagpipe. This is what we did:

COP:

SSH X 15, 5 Merkins OYO, IW x 15, 5 Merkins OYO, LBC x 15, 5 Merkins OYO, 2 minute run.

THE THANG:

Split Leg Squat 15x each leg (3 rounds) with LSS in-between and 5 burpees thrown in for excessive mumblechatter

2 minute run

Grab something to lift:

3 rounds of 15x curls, 15x tricep ext, 15 x shoulder press, 15 triple lindy

2 minute run in-between each round

Ladder work: 5x, 10x, 15x of three exercises: dips, incline merkins and burpees

Run to end of driveway (or some other short distance) in-between each round

2 minute run

Finish with some mary called by randomly, purposefully selected PAX.

MOLESKIN:

What have I learned from 5 years in F3?

That question can be answered in different ways. I can cite many examples of personal growth in fitness, fellowship and faith.

Yet, one of the most important things I learned applied to all those things: sometimes all I have to do is just show up.

When I started F3, I was a sad clown. Just a guy wandering through life believing I had nothing to offer anyone.

I’m short, fat, slow, old, not that smart, and my life is best described as a Forrest Gump train wreck.

I am unqualified.

What could I offer this group of men?

All I had to offer was me showing up. Showing up with my time, my effort, my willingness to listen, help, and serve. (The Bible describes this as offering ourselves as a living sacrifice)

So that is what I did…just showed up.

I showed up to post, I showed up to 2nd Fs, I showed up to 3rd Fs, I showed up to Dads events, I showed up to Q, I showed up to Site Q, etc., etc., etc.

I showed up by reaching out to men in our fellowship anyway I could.

It was only after showing up, I learned the most valuable lesson of my F3 experience: when I decided to show up for others, they started showing up for me.

I am grateful for everyone who showed up for me today.

I am grateful for all of you who have showed up for me over the last 5 years.

I am grateful for those who will continue to show up in my life from our F3 Family.

You cannot imagine the impact you have made in my life and the life of my family by just showing up.

I am still unqualified, but I will show up anyway.

We Post No Matter What

12 PAX posted in sub freezing temperatures and were greeted at 5:30am with a chilling disclaimer and then we were off. Mosey to a location in the parking lot in front of Harris Teeter for:

COP:

SSH x 15, LSS x 15, Merkins x 15

THE THANG:

Mosey across Rea Rd to the grassy area near the new hotel and lube joint to the place where we don’t do anything (according to Frehley’s) and pick up a lifting rock.

Curls x 15, shoulder press x 15, tricep extensions x 15.

Put the rock down and do some mary.

Pick up the rock again for triple lindy x 15

Throw the rocks back in the pile and do some hand release merkins.

Mosey to the office building next to the car wash to the lit parking area underneath the building and partner up. Each partner runs out one side of the parking area, up the paved driveway and meet on the front side of the building for 10 hand slap merkins. Run back where you started for 10 more. Rinse and repeat 2 more times.

Mosey to the parking lot in front of the building for Little Beast. Pick three spots in the parking lot for 6 reps of the called exercise. (6-6-6). First round: squats, 2nd round diamond merkins, 3rd round burpees.

Mosey back to StoneCrest and gather by the big fountain. Find some wall for dips and LBCs. 15 dips, 15 LBCs in cadence, 2 rounds.

Mosey to the wall in front of Firebirds for 2 rounds of incline merkins.

Mosey to the parking lot in front of the movie theater for field of plank. Line up on a white parking line facing the launch site. Walk one or two lines and perform the called plank. Regular plank, elbow plank, 6-inches, left arm high, right arm high and then back to launch and we were done.

MOLESKIN:

It was about 26 degrees when we started out this morning. What we did was not as important as the decision we all made to post.

In my early days of F3, I wondered why we would post in the pouring rain, cold, snow, freezing temperatures, hot muggy mornings, or even at 5:15 am when a warmer more comfortable option at home was available.

I was about a month into my F3 experience and it began to pour rain when I left my house on my way to post. So I made a left turn and ended up at the Y to do an indoor conditioning class wearing my F3 shirt. A few days later I made the mistake of relaying that story to Hops. He let me have it. In that kind, loving F3 way. I never returned to the Y and I post no matter what.

Almost 5 years later I came to understand and appreciate why we post no matter what. We post on the miserable mornings because as men that is what God has called us to do in our lives, post no matter what.

We have to post for our families, post for our friends, post for our jobs, and post for our community. Although those areas of our lives may look different for each of us, we still have to post no matter what.

Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of living all under one roof with our family. Sometimes our employers are a heartless corporate entity and sometimes we are just too weary to invest into others around us. But we still post no matter what.

What I have found in my life, is that I will go thru times that are dark, cold, rainy, hot, and plain miserable where it is more comfortable just to check out. But if I can make the decision to post and move forward, in the end, it will be OK and somehow I am better for making the decision to post no matter what.

It happened again today.

Thank you Cul-De-Sac for the take out.

Thank you men of F3 for posting, no mater what.

A Step of Faith

17 horses for Swans Run this morning at Devils Turn, 1 slow guy went OYO. This is his story…

I started showing up to running workouts about 2 years ago. I needed to improve my cardio endurance but I hated running i.e. #notarunner (TM). But I hated 1 thing more, the idea of running OYO.

I was very comfortable with the fellowship of F3 bootcamps. All of us together, just trying to make it to the end. Unless someone like Rachel was lapping me. The fellowship provided the fuel to get me out of bed in the morning when I just wanted to fartsack.

Some of my closest friendships were developed in the gloom during bootcamps. There was some fear that going to the running workouts as the slow guy, I would end up a Sad Clown like when I was attending the Y.

But I took that step. When the slow guy kept showing up at the running workouts, the fast guys rallied around him. The fast guys sacrificed their own pace and their own Strava feed to help me. More close friendships were developed in the gloom. I was getting comfortable again.

Then the fast guys left me. At first I thought it was a bit cold. I have come to realize it was an act of kindness. They knew I would never get out of my comfort zone and face something I hate (running alone) if they didn’t leave first. How was I ever going to do something more than a 5k, if I wasn’t willing to run OYO. (Don’t even ask, I am not running the BRR)

But I fought against it. I don’t want to take that step. So I recruit other slow guys. But this morning, looking at a crowd without shirts, I knew I was OYO. To make matters worse, Enron chose a route I have never run (it is like 100 miles) and my watch isn’t fancy enough to download the route.

One by one the fast guys slowly faded into the gloom up the hill of Rea Rd. Secretly I was hoping a slow guy showed up a little late and was behind me. As the last guy past me, I had a choice. Take the easy way out by running up to Dunkin Donuts for a short route or take a step out of my comfort zone and run a longer route OYO.

If I made a right onto 51, I was not sure I could make the almost 6 mile loop that I was about to go on, I wasn’t even sure if I knew the way back once I got into Piper Glen. But sometimes we have to take a small step in a direction that takes us out of our comfort zone, to achieve better results. So I went down 51.

What I have learned over the years, is that God typically does not help me or others until they have taken some small step in His direction. This morning, it was to venture down 51.

As I was winding my way thru Raintree and back to Piper Glen, I was not sure I was going in the right direction. I was about 4 miles in and I could not see far enough down the road to figure it out.

Instead of pressing forward, I started to wander the roads of Piper Glen. Sometimes when we wander off the path that was put before us, we end up in a worse spot than if we just had the courage to take another step.

Just when I thought I would wind up climbing onto 485, here come the fast guys. One thing about F3, you are never left behind.

What I realized this morning, is sometimes, we don’t have the vision to see far enough down the road to make wise decisions. Many times, we need the help of other people in our life to show us the way or we just need to take another step in faith, to get us home.

When I showed up at Devil’s Turn this morning I had not broken the 9:50 mark since January. I thought I would stay at that pace for sometime. This morning my Strava feed told me my pace was 9:30.

I am grateful my F3 brothers are there to hold me accountable and to help me when I am unsure. I am grateful I decided to take a small step in the right direction this morning.

Once I was 16 Years Old

11 PAX gathered at the Blakeney Shopping Center ready to run the Flat Branch route on a muggy Monday. It was 5:15am and we were off. Tuck and Woodson were quick out of the gate, took us off course, but QIC steered the crowd in the right direction. Bunker took charge of the fast guys and left me in my familiar place.

But this morning I was not alone.

Next to me was this tall young kid. I guess when you are short and old everyone looks tall and young in the gloom.

I had only seen him once before at Blakovery and he was so quiet and unassuming I had to ask him his name again. Ranger. He was a college guy. The only other college student I know in F3 is Rosie. But he is typically lapping me, even on a 5-6 mile run. Ranger quickly won my approval when he told me he was not a runner, that he did not like to run, but needed to get in running shape. Me too.

Turns out he is a veteran of F3. At the age of 13, he wanted to play soccer. He could lift a ton but had no cardio endurance. So he would get up early, in the rain, cold, heat, before the bus arrived for middle school, and run.

At the age of 16, his mom told him about F3. So he got up early one Monday and decided to post OYO at Base Camp. He received his name because he wanted to enter the military-jump out of planes or something.

When I was 16, I was more interested in listening to Howard Stern in the morning then running around with a bunch of sweaty old dudes. I think I lifted some weights in our basement with that 1980s Newberry’s weight The one, where you would put water or sand in the plastic plates.

Ranger is currently enrolled at Presbyterian College in South Carolina and plans to enter the military in a year or so as a Lieutenant. This summer he has to go to a few military bases and do alot of army stuff.

For some reason, I feel like this kid is going to make an impact on our world.

I felt fortunate this morning to hear his story. Quite impressive.

You Have to Start Somewhere

10 PAX made their Monday matter by posting at Blakovery to run the Flat Branch Route. Bratwurst was early, prompting us to wonder if we were in the right place and at the appointed time we were off. One PAX, not making it for the initial launch, parked near Harris Teeter, jumped out of his car and caught up to the rest as I made up the six.

This was my first post to a running workout in almost 4 months. My first set back was at the end of January when I tweaked my calf. Then, while nursing that injury, I ended up in a wheelchair for a few weeks, apparently doing something really bad to the psoas/hip flexor muscle.

Sad Clown Syndrome set in and my pants were not fitting right. It is amazing how my need/desire for cookies exponentially increased when I stopped posting.

My goal this morning was to run/jog for about 45 minutes at an 11-12 minute pace. I quickly wondered if I could accomplish those goals. Physically and mentally it was tough. Things hurt when I started running. Not only where I was injured but all over.

Then to see guys run off in the distance (that happened before but usually I was not that far behind) messed with my mind. It is not fun running OYO. Maybe I made a mistake trying to get back into this running thing. Maybe I shouldn’t get up early. Maybe it is just easier to fart sack. Maybe I am too old, too slow, too fat…

It was like I was starting from scratch and that sucks.

I was thinking about giving up. Walking back to the AO. But then in the distance I spotted a headlamp coming towards me. With it, a familiar figure and voice checking in on me, and carrying some simple words of encouragement “you have to start somewhere.”

This has been my experience with F3. Everytime I need help, words of wisdom, encouragement, accountability, a PAX is there. But I can’t just sit home, in the comfort of my warm bed, and expect those things to show up. I have to show up. Whether it is F3MASH, a 3rd F, 2nd F, F3dads event, bootcamp or gear workout. Whether I am in front, the middle or my usual spot in the 6. I just need to show up.

That is the best place to start.