Author Archive Ice9

That Gloom, that With Gentle Work Did Frame

How can we speak properly of our work this morn? In nothing less than verse. For at Dromedary,

Those minutes, that with gentle work did frame
The lovely path where every foot doth run,
Will play the Qs to the very same
And that unfair which fairly doth excel;
For never-resting time leads the gloom on
To hideous mileage, and confounds him there;
Limbs checked with ache, and lusty breath quite gone,
Strength o’er-snowed and bareness every where:
Then were not summer’s energy left,
A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass,
Vitality’s effect with vitality were bereft,
Nor it, nor no remembrance what it was:
But pax distill’d, though they with frustration meet,
Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.

Proud of y’all.

Everyone will know you are my disciples by the way you love

Good news! God has provided plenty of clothes, nice furnishings, books, and toys for every needy family in North and South Carolina. The challenge? His provisions are sitting unused in other people’s closets, basements, garages, attics, and storage units.

With Christ’s Closet, the men of F3 and other volunteers receive God’s provisions from donors and give them away with love in the name of Jesus. Simple. Yet that act of love is stunning — and sometimes life changing — to those that receive. The needy are not used to being served. They find it hard to believe they can receive without cost: no money, no paperwork, no application. No judgment. Just love.

This weekend, Christ’s Closet and 50+ men of F3 (Waxhaw, South Charlotte, Metro, and SOB) and elsewhere showed up in love. The task seemed impossible. Yet, partnering with the men of Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church in Monroe, they gave away most of a football field worth of furniture and 150 bins of clothes, toys, books, and bedding. Ask them about it. The stories of love, fellowship, service, need, and joy are legion. The men of F3 and their families gave freely in the name of Jesus in parking lots. They prayed, hugged, and chatted with the needy. They delivered furniture to their homes.

I am so honored and privileged to serve with them in God’s name. Count your blessings. You have many to call such men friends. No one, I repeat, no-one, can accomplish what the men of F3 can when they come together.

The world is changed already because of them. And they are just getting started.


That bad kinda feeling

It was a fine morning for Ignition. I was especially excited to see Dasher, who is one of my favorites. (Yes I like and care about you too.)

Then, I started to feel bad inside. You see, at 5:14, Dasher, who had been hanging out with us & preparing to have a great morning at Ignition, scampered off like Santa was calling. At first, I thought he was just so excited to spend the morning with me that his scampering was a false start. He would be back, I reassured myself.

Then I saw Santa, I mean Recalculating, beckoning him. And Dasher and Recalculating skipped off together, just the two of them, never to return. It is really hard to describe how much that hurt.

You know the feeling when you are about to eat ice cream and then the double scoop falls on the concrete, and it is nasty concrete, so you can’t even pick it up, brush it off, and keeping savoring? It was worse than that.

You know that feeling when you had asked Janet to the prom, and she said, yes, that she would love to go, but then when you arrived at her house to pick her up at the appointed time, she wasn’t even there, and when you went stag she was already at prom with your best friend Chester, pretending like that was normal and healthy and she didn’t know who you were? It was worse than that.

I didn’t know what to do with that bad kinda feeling. It felt like it was just boiling up inside me. Like lava. Or food poisoning. Luckily, the pax told me. They said what I should do was push them. Really hard. Like they were Dasher or Janet, and they were getting what they deserve! At least that’s what the voices inside my head that sounded like pax told me.

All in all, we went the long way around the school grounds 5 times, did well over 6 miles, 275 donkey kicks, and hundreds and hundreds of other exercises. I felt better. The end.

We talking about practice

Written at the (winsome) request of Posse about GTE 24 – The Mutha

Our world teaches us to focus on ourselves: our reputation, fitness, looks, wealth, and power. Hundreds of organizations and gimmicks offer to help. From a distance, F3 can appear the same: “Join our free workout, get fit, make friends, and become a better man.” But unlike those organizations and gimmicks, F3 does not make you a better man through self-focus.

You might have a similarly incorrect idea about the Growruck: that it is a personal test of fitness and endurance. Again, the truth is different. It is the opportunity to serve your brothers by encouraging them, carrying their load, and sparing them pain by taking it on yourself.

Nearly 120 men arrived at 4pm at AG Middle School and lined up with rucksacks with a 30 lb weight, 6 liters of water, and other gear for a total of ~ 50 lbs. Then the PT test: 40 hand release merkins in 2 mins, 50 buttlerfly sit ups in 2 mins, and a 2 mile run in 18 mins. It was hot and we stood in the sun while each man passed or failed. Then we did exercises at stations at AG and got messed with for another hour or two. I did the minimum to pass the PT test. This generated cadre mocking, which I welcomed. Every extra rep for myself (to show how strong I was) was strength marginally less available to give to my brother later.

We lost 18 at AG from a bad mix of the heat, the PT, and the exercises. Then we divided into 4 platoons of 24-25 men each and set off for 20+ miles over the remainder of the night (16 hours total). Each platoon started burdened with sandbags of 120, 80, and 60 pounds, plus less heavy water coupons, ammo cans, and a shovel flag. Along the way, we heard about leadership, personal journeys, and some military instruction. We went to Freedom park, got in the lake for shenanigans, then went to Community Matters in part via ~1.5 miles wading through the slippery rocks of Sugar Creek. At Community Matters, we traded the sandbags for a phone pole (log), went up to the top of the Muthaship & down a couple times, and then traded the phone pole for a “dutch baby” contraption made of pallets and some kind of heavy machinery. Along the way, I made new friends and was particularly impacted by my new friend Mr. Fixit, a constant encourager. It was also good to be under the anvil with old friends like Uncle, Titan, CSPAN, and Kid Rock. I missed the opportunity to be with others in other platoons, and particularly missed not being able to lend a hand or word of support to other brothers, like my man Radar (who crushed it without me).

We headed home with a sunrise stop at the Myers Park CC tennis courts. At this stop, Moonshine got up and spoke, quoting from Romans 5 (with permission but without attribution):

We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

This passage was impossible for me to understand until I had truly suffered. Now it is impossible for me to understand life without it.

Not that a Growruck is true suffering. Nor will a Growruck produce character, even though some of the guys left feeling that way. That 16 hours was but a dim reflection of real pain.

But which of you was able to run a marathon without training? Or to excel in whatever you do at a high level without practice? That is what a Growruck is. Practice. Practice enduring a small amount of suffering in order to train in how to respond. What I have learned that is my response to the suffering of others should be sacrifice. And the Growruck was practice for that. So if you are considering a Growruck, I suggest you consider it for that reason: one type of practice responding to pain in others by taking their pain upon yourself.

You will transform that way, and in few others.

Barefoot Q


Yes, it is true. I Q’d Diesel barefoot. And I arrived at 5:35am with the truck at full throttle, though the workout starts at 5:30. But that is only because I woke up at 5:31. I apologize to everyone for that tardiness, and have no excuse. The reason (not excuse) is that I turned my normal Friday alarm off last week to take a day off, and failed to reset it properly.  (Side note: I would have preferred that more of you were impressed by me going from asleep in my bed to center of the COP in 4 minutes.)

Since Diesel is a no-running workout, it was convenient to not have enough time to put my shoes on (or use the facilities, or stretch, pray, read scripture, drink water and coffee, or any of the other things I prefer to do before working out). So I kicked it barefoot. Luckily, Golden Plates had an extra cinderblock & the pax were warmed up when I arrived, so we got right to it.

First Movement:  Don’t Put Your Block Down or Rest it on Anything (really)

I told the pax that they were not allowed to put their cinderblocks down, or rest it on any part of their body, and then I pho-mocked Chastain (who was cradling his block near his thigh in a restful manner) to make sure everyone understood. Some of them laughed until they realized I wasn’t kidding. Holding the block the whole time is good for your grip strength, and puts continuous stress on the participant, which is good, too. We did fairly continuous exercises that probably included the following:

  • Around the world
  • High pulls
  • Horizontal press
  • Lawnmower
  • Lunges
  • One handed alternating swings
  • One-handed side lifts
  • Shrugs
  • Side-squats
  • Squats
  • Swings
  • Thrusters
  • Tricep extensions
  • Two-handed push press

Everyone tried hard(ish) to stick with it. The sanction for putting the block down or resting it was 5 burpees. But some of the guys realized that I couldn’t actually make them do 5 burpees. So the sanction was ignored by some who took the loss to their dignity instead. Others who couldn’t do burpees instead did some other sanction that they made up.

Second Movement:  On Your Backs (No Touching the Ground)

The pax then got on their backs (without the block touching the ground). At first, they were glad. Then we did  exercises that included the following, doing enough reps mostly to make Chastain  quit.

  • Block in the air like you just don’t care
  • Big boys
  • Big boy thrusters
  • Russian block twists
  • Block in the air flutters
  • Block in the air dollys

Third Movement: Bear Crawl with the Block

No text is necessary to describe this phase


Our finale consisted of exercises like the those we did in the first movement.


Nice to get out and be with guys I don’t see every week, including a few strangers (to me).

There was a lot of bluster about naming the FNG, with O-69er claiming (falsely) that I give “bad” names. He may have meant “bad” like O-69er was stuck in the 1980s, when we used to say someone or something was “bad” but we really meant its antonym, “good.” Clever, right? O-69er also says “thirsty” when he really means desperate, and “don’t trip,” not to mean, “don’t fall,” but rather to mean “don’t stress out.”

So with all that bluster, I asked for name suggestions for the FNG, to see how good their naming-game was. I got “Julia Childs,” “hors-d’oeuvres,” and “sous-chef,” because the guy likes to cook. Since the pax claimed to have such a good naming-game, I gave them more time to make suggestions. Good ones. I waited some more. I tried to use silence to spur (good) suggestions. But got nothing. So the FNG is now named “the Bodyguard.”

The Bodyguard is a stud by the way. You can see it in some FNGs who may be surprised by the first workout, but come strong, like a Whitney Houston song.

Peace out brothers. Hope your weekends are fantastic.

How long is this workout?

Four friends posted this morning to get stronger and faster and watch the sunrise together. We did a few SSHs and some merkins, and then got to it, doing the following exercises, plus some:

  • Bell in the air like you just don’t care
  • Broken thrusters
  • Floor to sides
  • Gunslingers
  • High-pulls
  • Lawnmowers
  • Russian bell twists
  • Snatches
  • Swings
  • Through-the-leg lunges
  • Thrusters
  • Tricep extensions

Of course, I made some of these up. We generally stopped the reps for each exercise when Gerber started to fail. In between, we sprinted:

  • Around the Petsmart
  • Around the complex with the Hickory Tavern
  • To the Target
  • Through the Chick Fil A
  • To the Brooklyn Pizza
  • To the curb

I started to lose most of what velocity I had around 30 minutes in, so called OYO:  thrusters with descending sets from 10 to 1, with a sprint to the curb and back in between each set, and then snatches from 10-1, same thing (which we didn’t finish).

Very impressed with Shriver today. When Gerber wasn’t winning the sprints, Schriver was. And t-claps to Damascus, who pushed hard the whole time despite one of his feet assuming a hoof-like shape, and hitting his 4th post in 5 days.

Hope y’all have a great day.

Sweet sunshiny day

It was a quiet, peaceful morning at the Floater.

We started with an extended discussion about safety and feelings. Then we stretched until everyone was good and loose. Not just the Vinyasa, but also Hatha, Iyengar, and Kundalini forms.

Then we did repetitions to further warm up. It was an early hour, and we didn’t want anyone to feel too rushed or pushed early on. We did slow side straddle hops, then a ten count, then imperial walkers, one leg at a time. Then another ten count.

Then Popeye volunteered to lead us in calming poetry:

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.

With centered hearts, Mad Dog led us as we strolled north to the Waxhaw Escape Room, watching carefully for potholes, sidewalk cracks, and twigs that might trip us. Twinkle Toes wanted to go in, but some didn’t feel safe. So we stretched a little more, and Easy Button handed out pamphlets and took us on an informative tour of the landscaped grounds.

Accomplishing this, we strolled back home serenaded by Surge with a lovely ballad. But Judge Smails nudged us to stop to admire a picturesque lonely road. Some of us took on each other’s burdens there. Others embraced the Earth. Falcon let out a piercing shriek at the dawn, and we all joined in.

Resuming our stroll, Schneider got a little competitive and started racing up the hill to COT. Sugar Daddy, in a fatherly way, reassured Schneider that we all respected him, and there was no need to race. You could see his tension ease.

I loved the closing song in COT.  Thanks to Sugar Daddy for taking us out. xxoo xxoo

If he dies, he dies

There were a lot of queries this morning before we started. Some guys wanted to know where we were going. They wanted advice on what to wear. What to bring. Would it hurt? The Q didn’t answer any of this in order to keep it exciting: “if he dies, he dies.”

We ran to Champion Forest. Then we partnered up and went to the stop sign with either partner carries or wheelbarrows. Hollywood cheated.

Then we divided up into two groups and Indian ran to the end. The Q may have spilled a little at that point. We did a lot of reps of mostly ab work.

Then, we found a 60 pound sandbag that someone negligently left at the end of Champion forest. Two guys grabbed the bag and ran as hard as they could. Everyone did 5 burpees and chased until two guys caught them and took the bag. Repeat to the end.

Found the hill at the top of the middle school. Did a lot of exercise. then one man sprints with the sand bag to the bottom. Other guys make sure to beat him. Repeat up and down the hill till everyone had a turn. exercises in between.

Repeat of the sand bag chase until we get home.

Kiss your loved ones. Tell them how precious they are to you. Listen. God loves you so much, and is so glad when you reflect that love to others. We sharpen each other because we know that Iron loves best.

Ice9 out.

Hey, it’s all good

Look, there is nothing wrong with stretching with friends. It doesn’t matter that many men choose to do it on their own time. For example, many women like to do yoga together. Dudes sometimes do yoga too. And men sometimes choose to stretch together. Sometimes they even do it instead of working out, at the time when they would normally push themselves. It’s like a day off. There’s nothing wrong, and plenty good, with a day off. You might even feel like stretching with friends is a “workout.” And hey, that’s cool. It’s a free country. People also choose to watch Jerry Springer. Or go to a Barry Manilow concert. Those are choices too.

5 men at Cowbell made a different choice. They sprinted. They threw metal. They pushed past the point of failure. Each thought numerous times about wanting to quit. Each felt like they could not do the next rep demanded. Yet they persisted and grew stronger and faster. Most will probably stretch later. This morning, they chose the cowbell. It was great to be with them.

And by the way, look out for CRS. The guy shrugged when I handed him a 40lb kettlebell, did just about every rep, and was right there for every sprint. I’m pretty sure I’ll be trying to catch him six weeks from now.


Peer Pressure

It had been about a year since an Ignition with bricks. The people were missing it and would not stop with the “when are you bringing the bricks back, Ice?” “Hey Ice, when are we going to see the bricks again?” “Ice, sir, we really mean it. Can we see your bricks again soon, sir?” Normally, I am not one to give in to peer pressure. But sometimes you have to give the people what they want.

So today we ran between 4-5 miles with bricks, never dropping them, unless holding them on the ground, like for a merkin. We did some Indian runs too, and a series of 7s, and a bunch of exercises which some of the pax opted out of after a few reps, or went to the potty instead, or pretended to trip and “accidentally” break one of my bricks. Other pax refused to keep their feet up during ab work despite me asking, “please.” All in all I’ve definitely seen better effort from some. Others gave it everything. Like Glidah and Ghosted. There was no sign of Popeye, who I think would have done well today, but he is still scared of Ignition.

People keep talking about something called “WTF.”  I think it has something to do with “LOL,” or something called an “emoji,” but I am not sure.

Thanks to Xerox for taking us out.