Teammates inspire individuals in 2017


Whether the photo is from 1955 or 2017, F3 teammates have inspired individuals in 2017 nonetheless. A year end workout and wrap up are in order. It’s a long read, but maybe you’ll get out bed a do something meaningful tomorrow after reading this.

I needed to sound off 2017 with a bang, so I set the alarm last night for 5:45 this AM. Pope Jr woke up once last night with a bad dream and the Little Bird needed a diaper change and a snuggle about an hour later. Needless to say, it wasn’t a great night of sleep, but us dads have had far worse nights of rest.

The alarm rings promptly on schedule, and I’m all set for a non-weighted vest Murph.

TEMPERATURE: 9 degrees with -3 wind chill.

ZOO ATTIRE: SHOES – ASICS 33-FA lightweight street runners, black, slightly muddy and getting a little high in the mileage count. SOCKS – Fitsock ankle high, wool blend trail runners, very comfortable and the warmest running socks I own. SHORTS – Saucony 5-inch black lined running shorts. These are phenomenally fast drying but lack insulation around the crotch, so I’m probably going to regret this, but I can’t let long pants slow me down today. TOPS – Hanes all cotton white undershirt, Tek Gear polyester-spandex blend long sleeve black top, Champion sleeveless blaze orange outer layer for high viz. HAT – Carhartt grey heavyweight insulated work hat with ear muffs. GLOVES – thinsulate leather work gloves needed to bear the elements and survive the sub-zero degree pull up bar at Seneca Park.

MOTIVATION / MINDSET: 1) I’m thinking about a baby and family I don’t really know, the kid is on a breathing tube due to pneumonia-like symptoms (my wife is in healthcare and I hear stories like this frequently, I don’t ask names and she doesn’t tell due to confidentiality.) 2) I’m thinking about the PAX and workouts guys have posted recently (some out of state). I gotta get one today for this unknown kid, the PAX, and it’s gonna be me against the clock.

THE PRE GAME JUICE: Starbucks French roast coffee, black, I like it dark and robust. I luck out and I hear the motorcycle of Motley Crüe’s Kickstart My Heart rev up through my earbuds. The playlist knew just what I needed. I start getting all jacked up in my kitchen, working myself into quite a frazzle. It reminds me when my mom took away my Dr Feelgood tape in third grade. The lyrics were way too explicit, but no hard feelings mom. However, that didn’t stop me then from scoring another copy and nothing is going to stop me today from blasting this workout. Fortunately, I didn’t wake the 2.0s and the M, and I exit the side door into the gloom.

THE THANG: A quick 30 yard walk to the stop sign serves as my warm up. D#*^ it’s cold, but I have two good lungs, no breathing tube, and other guys have been posting this week under brutal conditions…no excuses. I hit the start button on my old timex Ironman watch, and I’m off. I’m tearing down Dayton Ave towards Seneca, feeling good, fantasizing about blowing past Lamar Jackson in a foot race. I’m hurdling some fool into the end zone at the end of this. I’m thinking 34 minutes all in today, 8 minutes for the first mile up, 18 minutes of 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, and 300 squats, and 8 minutes for the second mile home. Piece of cake.

I hit Seneca feeling fast, breathing good, with a little Jack Frost nipping at my knees. No bother, I see the playground on the horizon and realize how bad my running form has been with the slight extra weight of the work gloves. I get my form in check. I pull my fingers into the hand zones of the gloves. I’m going to need every degree of warmth I can muster when that pull-up bar hits.

I’m sucking cold air, at about 85% of my max capacity / heart rate, when I pass the bathrooms. I look down at the timex and I’m a little surprised that I torched the first mile in 5:48. I’m not in any record books with that number, but it’s not bad for an almost 38 year old rec-level runner. The confidence boost from seeing that number on my watch is exhilarating, and I’ve still got gas in the tank for the rest of the workout.

I hit the pull-up bar and pop out the first 5 easily. I transition quickly to the ground and feel like a machine, as I drill thru the first 10 push-ups and 15 squats. I am burying this workout in 30 minutes or less. I will not be stopped.

The cold is temporarily irrelevant, as I start to catch a new mental high. My heart rate slows a bit through the calisthenics, and I notice how easy the sets of push-ups and squats are almost rolling off of me. At some point about a third of the way through, I notice how the pull up bar is unnecessarily challenging my forearms, due to the smoothness of the bar, the thickness of the gloves, and the lack of grip the leather gloves provide. Oh s#^*, this is getting real. I stagger from sets of 3 pull ups each, down to 2, down to 1 each. Towards maybe the 14th set, I’m literally dropping to the ground after each pull up, resetting my grip, and only getting 1 each time. Time…and oh how it is slipping away. There’s no way I’m back at home sipping protein powder and hot coco in 30 minutes, but I still have a shot at my 34 minute target, so the excuses stop and the pull up struggles continue.

I finish the pull up grinder and then the old man face freeze winter hits me hard on the run home. My leg turnover is now much slower, after the cardio and squats have exacted their toll. With a half mile to go, I can’t feel the left side of my face. Snot is everywhere, I think, but my face is so numb I can’t really tell. My left nostril feels plugged with frozen mucus and I’m really concerned about exposure and frostbite on my nose. I laugh to myself. I’ll probably now actually need the reconstructive nose job I’ve always joked about getting! And while you’re at it doc, I’m going to need at least another inch below the belt, because the tip of my d$^* is numb and falling off!

I exhale a few breaths into my left glove and simultaneously use the glove to shield the left side of my face. Amazingly, this provides some relief, but the nostril is still plugged. No worries, I’m great at extra creepy heavy mouth breathing, so processing oxygen is not a problem for the last half mile.

THE POST GAME: For as painful as parts of the second mile were, I comfortably cross the finish line knowing I could have done a little better had just one of the PAX been there. 35:28 is in the books, with a 7:04 second mile. I briskly walk the 30 yards back to the house and realize that had I had stickem spray on my leather gloves (like we used on our WR gloves back in high school football), I probably could have shaved a couple minutes off my pull up debacle.

Truth be told, I’m nothing more than a former high school WR, looking to throw another block on the edge for some speed demon that runs a sub 4.6 40 or an 11.2 100. I took great pride watching my teammates run wild into the end zone coming off my backside. I learned that the team was always bigger than I. It still is today, and very much so with F3.

Most of us will never seriously compete in individual or team sports again. Yet we’ve all found each other under this F3 umbrella, and we’re all here pushing together the same way many of us did long ago. I’m humbled by how many individuals, with a variety of talents and abilities, continue to face the elements, continue to overcome their own limitations, and relentlessly come back for more. Wow – HIMs, teammates showcasing some of the best interconnectivity that humanity has to offer. So much so, that at this point a year ago, there was no way I was getting out of bed to do a solo Murph in 9 degree weather. But I’ve got 2 good lungs and bunch of other guys that I know are breaking through old limits and shrugging off adversity, so why not get up early and hit this hard?

I thank you for your inspiration. I look forward to throwing a block for you on the edge in 2018 and watching you high step into your end zone. Go get it!


YHC Pope


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