Honoring the memory of a fallen CrossFit family member. Coach T.

CrossFit FBO @crossfitfbo lost a member of its family after a long hard fought battle. Tucker beat all the odds and survived longer than anyone ever predicted. Those who were lucky enough to have known him KNOW he survived on the love his extended family had for him especially his owners Lumpy & Kris. While his heart was failing we all knew just how much ‘Heart’ he truly had. He brightened our second home with tons of love and laughter. He will be missed. RIP coach T. Thank you for blessing my world. #crossfitfbo

I remember the first time I saw Tucker. I thought to myself, “wholly sh&t that dog is huge. I hope he doesn’t get hungry.” Tucker stood above waist height. He towered over most other dogs, heck he towered over some human beings. But his physical size only told a fraction of his story.

Tucker was CrossFit FBO. CrossFit FBO was Tucker. Tucker might have resided at his owner’s home, but he lived at FBO. Tucker was a part of such a larger family. Every person that stepped foot through the gym doors learned just how engrained Tucker truly was. He left an indelible mark on every person’s heart both young and old.

The irony of it all? His biological organ that was failing him was unequivocally the ‘glue’ that stitched our small  community together. Tucker suffered from heart failure, but he truly was the ‘heart’ of our gym.

I’m still considered a ‘newbie’ at our gym. I’ve only been there a year and a half. What I know is that Tucker out-lived all his doctors predictions. He was maxed out on every prescription medication you can give a canine, and yet he was still plugging away. Barking, playing and sleeping just like every healthy dog should.

I truly believe in the depths of my soul that Tucker outlived all the odds because of the love in his heart, and the love everyone had for him. Tucker brought smiles to everyone that crossed his path, and before you knew it he had you wrapped around his paw.

Tucker slipped his way into your heart without you knowing it. I miss that gentle giant. I sometimes walk the floors of the gym thinking he’s sleeping in the office, waiting for someone to walk in. I often miss the greetings you would get when you opened up the locked front door, perched at the entrance waiting for the first visitor.

Tucker had a presence. I’ve never met a dog who had a presence, yet he had a presence. You knew when he was there. You missed him when he wasn’t.

Tomorrow our gym is celebrating his life the only way our CrossFit community knows how, by sweating it out:

The Tongue: teams of two (any gender combination)

10 rounds of:
10 front squats
10 burpees
5 rounds of:
20 push press
20 cal row
2 rounds of:
50 hang power cleans
50 front rack lunges

**work can be divided anyway you want between team members. 2 bars for male/female teams. Females 55/65/75. Males 75/95/115.

** there will be a 30 min cap on this Wod. Scale accordingly**

A Memorial WOD and Fundraiser, proceeds benefit the ANNA Shelter (where I believe Tucker was from)

The night before this even, and I find myself feeling pensive.  I’ve been thinking about the gentle giant, and here are just some of the memories I have of Tucker:

  • I remember the first time I saw him and his ‘tongue’… I couldn’t stop staring at first. I felt so bad for the big fella, but he made it work
  • no matter how big he was, he acted and played like a puppy
  • I still remember how he would run, jump and prance up and down the gym
  • I loved when he would run, and then try to stop on a dime and just slide on the gym floor. Always reminded me of the movie Bambi, when Bambi slid on the ice
  • I remember how he used to bury his head into your hip (or groin) wanting attention. His silent way of saying, “pet me”
  • He actually knocked me over several times when he would bury his head to gain attention
  • “Tucker hates DanceVibe” still makes me chuckle, even though we all know he didn’t hate anyone
  • While his bark was ‘worse than his bite’… his bark could make strangers shake in their shoes
  • I was always amazed at how he could sleep on the most oddly sharped objects.. and it never phased him
  • Boy did he love to run. Give him the chance and he’d let loose out the back alley and into the streets of the city. I heard he loved chasing rabbits
  • Let’s not forget his slobber. It was impressive. It was sort of FBO’s hazing ritual, you weren’t really considered a member of the community until you got slobbered

That damn dog will truly be missed. I know his owners miss him. There’s a void now. I know they say time heals all wounds, but this one may never completely heal. The only comfort I can offer to Kris and Lumpy is that they are not alone. We miss him too.

 

 

Focus on the people that get it

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“It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it, focus on the people that do”

Thank you Mr. Ferriss, for the advice on dealing with the haters.

Ferriss’ 7 Principles:

  1. It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it, focus on the people that do
  2. 10% of people will find a way to hate you – don’t take it personally
  3. When you try to please everyone, you end up alienating the more valuable people
  4. If 95% of the people like you, you’re not doing it right
  5. You want to practice being foolish and stupid
  6. Living well is the best revenge
  7. Keep calm and carry on

It’s been an interesting couple weeks for me. I’m doing the work thang. I’m doing the coaching thang… and now the YouTube endeavor with scrubsBeat is slowly gaining some momentum in the popularity department.

- Sidebar: the popularity is due mostly in part to the amazing people over at Scrubs Magazine coupled with the raving popularity of Katie Duke. I can’t say I garnish a lot of ‘followers’ or readers.

With this new found public interest (traffic) comes the good …… aaaand the bad. The ‘haters’ are cropping up. I guess I’ve been lucky over the years being the ‘invisible’ (behind the scenes) blogger. I dodged the hater bullet. Or maybe I just never payed much attention? Either way. I’m noticing it now. There are some seriously mean people out there, let me tell ya. Isn’t the catch-phrase internet trolls?

I have a new-found respect for Katie Duke and others who are in the public eye. I don’t think anyone looks good under a microscope. And when your every move is judged and critiqued.. I can completely understand how one can get negative. Yet Katie and others continue to plug away, navigating through the crap maintaining their composure with great poise, sharing all things positive.

I started to let the ‘meanness’ get to me…

Then I realized, I don’t blog, tweet, post updates or record video with the intent of pleasing the masses. I do all of it as a way of sharing my story. Sharing my experiences. And while I’m at it, maybe even impart some knowledge (droppin’ knowledge bombs peeps). I started this whole blogging thing years ago (hard to believe I’ve been blogging for over 8 years!) because I wanted to ‘get things off my chest’.. and I wanted to find out if all these crazy things that I had been experiencing were unique to my corner of the world, or that perhaps I wasn’t alone. Along the way I’ve gained a tad bit of experience, and have met some pretty awesome people.

Over the years I learned that I’m not alone. That my crazy life is not all that unique. That as a nurse practitioner, my journey has been shared by many others before and after me. That my  crazy journey with my weight, my exercising, my eating was more common than I imagined. That my discovery and ‘passion’ for CrossFit (and its overall message) was part of something bigger than I ever imagined.

So, I ramble on today just to validate that while there are a crap-ton of haters and negative Nate’s & Nelly’s, there are an infinitely larger number of positive change agents out there. People who are doing what I do. Trying what I am trying. Putting themselves out there. Sharing their stories.

Those are the ones that matter.

An old friend of mine has been trading positivity with me lately on Facebook. We both came across a great saying:

“Iron sharpens Iron”

While the quote has a strong ‘exercise/fitness’ undertone to it, it can and does apply to everything in my life (and yours too). Be the light, (and)or be the mirror. Whatever you do, don’t let the darkness swallow you up. Some people just don’t get ‘it’. Focus on the ones that do.

Stay strong gang.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stephenjohnbryde/

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The Day I Should Have Died | Happy Re-birthday To Me

I consider myself a pretty luck man. Heck, I’d call myself blessed. I know the value of my life and continually appreciate it, no matter how ‘tough’ things may get. Today is my re-birthday. 13 years ago on September 15, 2001 I was given a wonderful gift. I had someone attempt to take my life away from me. (Wow, 13 years?)

I’ll admit it. Before that fateful day, I was just as jaded, jagged and miserable as many other human beings who occupy this earth are. I was always pissed off at the world. I continually wanted to know when the universe would stop shitting on me. I bitched at everything and everyone. My temper roller-coastered like it was my full-time job. I had your typical bad luck, bad girlfriends, bad relationships, bad jobs, etc, etc. Yeah, I was a miserable ole’ cuss. I can’t say ‘positivity’ was part of my repertoire. I was going nowhere fast, and I just couldn’t seem to get a leg up. I was simply treading water.

Then someone tried to kill me. I blogged about it in 2008 on this very blog (hard to believe). Every year I re-share the original blog post. It’s cathartic for me and my loved ones. It’s important to me, because I want the reminder. And I’d like you to have the reminder too, life is fleeting.

Let me tell you a story (that I wrote many moons ago)…

It’s been 7 years.

This time of the year always has a special place in most of America’s hearts. September 11, 2001 is a date none of us will soon forget. It changed the face of our nation and impacted our world in a way none of us could have ever imagined. Emily (crzegrl) shared here views of how it impacted her.

At the risk of diminishing or making that day any less than it really was. This time of the year has a very different meaning for me. I do remember September 11th. I do remember what I was doing that day. I do remember how I felt and how the world around me changed. But it’s not what is in the forefront of my mind.

September 15, 2001

My Re-Birthday.

It’s been 7 years.

It was a Saturday. (Yes I remember it that well)

There was a time in my life when I was not active in healthcare (It was a short time). I had stepped away from the healthcare setting and returned to my career in retail. Retail had helped pay my way through college, and then it was the way to put food on the table after college was over. My career in healthcare wasn’t paying the bills, and retail was a better option (at the time).

It was a typical Saturday night. I was one of the midnight managers on duty. Part of my responsibility as a manager was to hold the night-shift meeting with the over-night employees.

This particular night we decided to have an open forum concerning the difficulties people may or may not be having with the current state of affairs. The terrorists attacks were affecting everyone, and we wanted to let our employees know we cared.


I can’t say I remember how it happened.

I can’t say I was prepared for it.

It happened in time ‘slices’.


I was talking with the over-night group of employees. It was me in front of approximately 20 others. Half-way through the meeting and in mid-sentence I can vaguely remember an ‘itching’ or ‘biting’ feeling on my neck.

….??

It wasn’t anything out the ordinary. I chalked it up to one of the bodily aches or pains I have no explanation for. (Like when I get a shooting pain in my finger that comes a goes in a matter of 7 seconds)

It got more quiet. It was like I could only hear the fans of the air conditioning running. I guess the only way to explain it… is things seemed to slow down.. immensely. Like the slo-mo option on a VCR/DVD player.

I don’t know what happened next. Or should I say I don’t know which came first. The banshee-like shrieking screams or the shadow of a person coming out of my left peripheral vision. All I know is that it was a startling moment.

The Scream.

The Shadow.

And I reflexively look to my left.

I remember saying to my self, “Hmm, why is Jane (we’ll call her Jane for identity purposes) standing so close to me. She should be sitting out in the crowd with the rest of the group.”

She’s now advancing towards me. “What is she doing?”

Her left arm is raised in the air. I think she’s going to take a swing at me. So out of reflex, I block her left arm. I block her arm with my R arm and grab her swinging arm with my L hand. Then I grasp her swinging arm with both hands.

I can’t quite figure out why she’s trying to hit me?

Another handful of screams.

Through the tussle and wrestling of her arm I realize my hand is full of blood??? In fact I have blood on both my hands?

“OK. Who’s blood is this?”, I blurt out with a sense of sarcasm.

… ??

More screams.

… ??

Wait a minute.

What’s that in Jane’s hand?

Is that..?

No way.

Wholly SH#T. Jane has a knife in her hand.

“The blood is YOURS! She cut your throat. Your bleeding from your neck!!!!!!”, a voice from the crowd cries out hysterically.

Now, I’m no idiot. I know the inner workings of the human body. I’m pretty well versed in what anatomical structures are located in the neck.

I know I’m still breathing. I’m not chocking. Not having any trouble moving air.

???

At the same time Jane is tackled by a single employee from behind. Then another, then another. And then more. It takes close to 5 people to get her down.

I put my hand on my neck.. and sure enough … nothing but blood.



Yep. It’s a true story. I was attacked from behind with a swiss army knife by an employee of mine, in front of approximately 20 people. She sliced my neck almost from ear to ear.

Here are the finer points of the story:

- she used a very dull and old swiss army knife

- she did not use the blade side of the knife and drag it across my neck to cut me. She used the knife in a stabbing motion and scraped the tip of the knife across the length of my neck

- she never spent a night in jail. She had a psychiatric evaluation. Her medications were adjusted. And that’s the last thing I was told (Please don’t ask.. I don’t know what the heck happen concerning her lawful conviction)

- Yes, I have a Keloid scar that has taken 7 yrs to slowly diminish on my neck. (The intent of the ED physician was to use the smallest/thinnest suture possible so to NOT leave a scar, and it did the exact opposite)

-The only entertaining piece of all this was that when the 911 call was made. All the EMS arrived expecting to see a decapitated man. And I mean ALL of the EMS. For the small town I was in, I think I counted 4 Ambulances and 6 marked Police and 2 unmarked Police cars.


There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about that day. It changed my life. We always whine and complain about some of the most ridiculous things in life that seem so very important at the time. Everything from being late for work, being stuck in traffic, having to wait in line in the grocery store, having a poor wait staff wait on you at the restaurant, or having to sit in coach for a 4hr flight… the list is endless. Everyone hates having a bad day.

I touched on my theory about life and how bad your day really was in a previous blog post: Blinking & Breathing, I can’t complain.

I’m not perfect. I do have stress in my life. I do have those ‘Pull out your hair’ moments and those “all I wanna do is scream” moments. But I’m always grounded and reminded by my profession and by my past that maybe you and/or I not having THAT bad of a day.

September 15th is my Re-Birthday. I was given a second chance at life. For some strange reason, I survived that incident. I will never know why. I questioned it for a long time, and never got the answer I wanted until I realized there was no answer. I’m here. I’m staying here. I’m not going anywhere. And while I’m here, I’m making the most of my stay.

Here’s what scares me sometimes when I think about my attack.

As an employee for the retail store I worked for, each employee is issued a box cutter. The only reason I’m still here is because Jane had bad aim, and a dull swiss army knife.

What if she would have used the box cutter instead of her swiss army knife?

Nope.

I don’t have bad days anymore.

Carpe Diem

Via Happy Re-Birthday To Me | My Strong Medicine

Last summer we moved to a new city. With the move came new friends. When my face was still new, I had a friend comment on my ‘positivity’ and being ‘always happy’. I told her there was a story behind my obsessive passion for being happy, but that I’d it to her later. I plan on sharing this post with her (Thanks Allison).

This is the reason I’m always positive. Why I greet every morning with my:

“Gewwwwwwd morning”

I get to be here another day.

Many great things have happened to me since that scary day.

I became a Registered Nurse, I met and married my soul mate, and now I’m working as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, a job I truly love. I’ve re-kindled my love for teaching as well as coaching. My love for exercise and fitness has blossomed into becoming a CF-L1 Trainer at my new CrossFit gym. They truly are my extended family.

I’m not too sure where I’d be today had I not gone ‘under the knife’ so-to-speak. I can admit that I wouldn’t have the abundance of happiness I possess now. What I do know is that I took a tragic, frightening and possibly life-paralyzing event and turned it into something positive. Positive for me, and hopefully positive for anyone who’s around me.

This might sound a bit cliche’… or it might sound a bit phony.. but I needed someone to try and steal my most prize possession (my life) for me to truly appreciate its merit. And for that, I couldn’t be happier.

Thank you all for being a part of my life.

CropFit anyone??

 

TV Spot – Subway Club – Tried Crop Fit? – Eat Fresh – Fall 2014 – YouTube.

For all my fellow crazzee CrossFit mavens. This was hilarious.

Honoring the fallen. CrossFit Hero WOD: The Stoddard| CrossFit FBO

Every so often people ask me, or just ask this question in general: “Why CrossFit?”

Today is why. It’s because of the ‘more’ factor. CrossFit will of course increase your fitness, but it does so much ‘more’. It’s the ‘more’ that draws you in and keeps you coming back. It’s the ‘more’ that separates CrossFit from the others. The ‘more’ I’m talking about is the community.

I’ve mentioned it before here:

The infamous Hero WOD in CrossFit is one of the most respected and more grueling type of workouts performed in the world of constantly varied functional movement. Hero WODs are workouts that are created and named after a fallen hero (or heroes) who have given their life in the line of duty. The majority of these Hero workouts are named after fallen soldiers, but many are in remembrance of those heroes we’ve lost serving the public (Police, FireFighter, etc.)
This one was a little close to the vest. The hero being honored was a (blood relative) family member to some of our coaching staff.

This year the Stoddard honored not only its namesake, but a local veteran who recently passed suddenly.

The 4th annual Stoddard WOD. This event was created 4 years ago to honor Army Ranger SFC James J Stoddard Jr who was killed in action serving his 3rd tour in Afghanistan in 2005. The Stoddard Sr/Jr Memorial was started to honor both Jamie and his father James John Stoddard Sr (Chuck). Since the memorial fund was created, we have been able to make donations to several great causes including Wounded Warriors, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, March of Dimes, and scholarships for graduating seniors from the Stoddards hometown highschool. The cost for this years event will be $25 and will include an event T-shirt. This years proceeds will go to Erie’s own Vietnam Vet Memorial Wall. Please come out and join us honoring a hero and raising money for a fantastic local cause.

This year, A chipper WOD for time:

  • 50 box jumps 30in
  • 40 Kettlebell Swings 1.5 pood
  • 30 hand release push-ups
  • 20  yard burpee broad jumps
  • 1 run around stadium w/ plate of your choice above head (45lb, 25lb, 15lb, 10lb)
  • 20 yard burpee broad jumps
  • 30 hand release push-ups
  • 40 kettlebell swings 1.5 pood
  • 50 box jumps

This past summer, a member of the color guard who helps with the opening ceremonies of our Annual Garage Games Great Lake Challenge suffered a life-ending medical illness during this years event. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War and was very active in supporting our local War Memorial Wall. He was remembered for always wanting to ‘keep the lights on’ this particular war memorial.

A portion of the funds that were raised during this event today will go towards ‘keeping those lights on’.

While I did not physically participate this year, I was there to watch, volunteer and show my support. It was held at a local football stadium and it was quite the turnout. While I don’t know the exact number, it far exceeded the approximate 70 participants from last year!!

While I cannot speak for other CrossFit communities around the world, ‘m always personally touched at the outpouring of support from our local community. This was just a simple fundraiser, not a ‘competition’. It was to honor the memory of two fallen heroes who decided that our freedom was worth fighting for.

This was a small way of showing our appreciation and speaking a resounding ‘Thank You’.

A large group of CrossFit citizens honoring a fallen soldier who was part of our extended CrossFit family and supporting another veteran by sweating a little bit and enjoying the very freedom they helped defend. It was a friendly competition with no strict judging. We had fellow athletes who would count your reps and man your timer, but that was it. Another amazing event full of energy, laughter, passion and pride.

The weather was suspect the entire morning with some sprinkles here and there, it looked like it wanted to down pour, and ironically the rain held out until the very end of the kids heat. I guess our soldiers were looking out for us.

 

I’m honored to part of such an amazing family. Thank you.

I’m living the dream…

It’s been a whiiiiillle…

(yes there’s a song in there somewhere)…(http://youtu.be/D1xdGTh-aWo?t=28s)

Life’s been  busy. Every time I think I’m going to set my fingers to the keyboard ‘something comes up’. Quite honestly my weeks have been packed. I work my shifts at my awesome job. Each night after work I either partake in some training or I’m coaching others at my box. On my days off from work, I’m at the box training or coaching.

I guess I failed to mention I went and got my CrossFit Level 1 Trainer certification huh?

2014-07-14 08.09.42That was a blast by the way.

In the midst of all this, my summer just flew by. Everything from CrossFit competitions, attending local entertainment, Cirque de Soleil, Lindsey Stirling concert, Wine tasting tour, The Zoo, Zip-lining, road trips to Arts Festival, road trips to other states, and then some nursing student teaching sprinkled on the ends.

I’ve truly been living the dream.

I’m doing a job I love, at a great establishment that supports my profession well, and I work with some pretty awesome people. Not only great colleagues, but great physician partners and great bedside nurses. Not to mention all the other staff I interact with. I mean I have fun at work. Period.

Then when I’m not at my full-time paid employment job, I get to exercise my other passion of coaching excellence of movement. I get to coach weightlifting and CrossFit all under one roof with some pretty awesome fellow coaches and a great group of athletes from all walks of life. I mean I have fun at my gym (my second home). Period.

Truly. Living. The Dream.

Here’s the crazy thing. Last year when we moved up here, we said to ourselves we hit the jackpot. We live minute away from the beach. We’ll live at the beach!!

We’ve been so busy this summer we never put our feet in the sand the entire summer.

:|

I guess that’s a good thing isn’t it?

Along the way I had some major physical ups and downs. I sustained a fairly severe hip injury that sidelined me for months. At the beginning of this year I started to pursue weightlifting full time, with CrossFit sprinkled on the side. I wanted to see what I could do with that barbell. I set a goal in January. I wanted to be able to Snatch 200lbs. I pretty lofty feat for someone who could barely get 45bls over his head just one year earlier.

Two injuries and a total of 2+ months of complete rest later… I accomplished my goal!!!

My summer briefly in pictures:

Oh, and of course I did the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS:

I forgot to mention that I’m still v-logging to my heart’s content over at Scrubs Beat with my partner Katie Duke. Here’s my latest episode. A funny nursing student story about the Hopper:

The next several weeks are chock full of more ‘stuff’ going on, including this weekend. I have another CrossFit event with my extended family celebrating the life of a fallen hero. More pictures to follow.

How has your summer been?

 

 

62 days later

2 months and 1 day. That’s how much time had passed since I injured my hip Memorial Day weekend (technically now 2 months and 2 days).

3a22b1de5b0b9b5227d7ceb1555c16d5I still remember that night like it was yesterday.  I had just finished a long 7-day stretch at work. My training had lapsed due to lack of time and I was wanting to move some weight.

I had set a goal of hitting 200lbs on my Snatch, and the last time I tested my Snatch PR I hit #195, so I was itching for it.

That night I tried and failed miserably. I missed weights I should have, I was sloppy and I was frustrated.

I moved on to the Clean & Jerk, and failed even worse. It was not pretty.

I thought I’d finish the night on a good note and test my 1RM Back Squat. Weeks prior I had hit a milestone PR of 300lb Front Squat, so I was due to push the envelope on my back squat. I PR’d my backsquat… but my legs were feeling good, so I thought I’d up the ante.

I went down in the squat… on my ascent back up I felt a ripping sensation in my lower abdomen… and the rest was history.

When I injured my groin/abs/hip back in May I told myself it was going to take me 6 weeks or more to recover. I was right on the money. 6 weeks later I was picking up the barbell again. I started with no weight, and have slowly worked my way back up.

As for the 62 days. It took that many days before I could run pain-free. The days leading up to that 62nd day, I couldn’t run, jog or take a large stride without some pain or tightness in my groin & hip. It took almost the 6 week mark before I could climb stairs at a brisk pace without pain or tightness. Well, last weekend I attempted a very slow, very sloppy, very short run. And it didn’t hurt.

I’ll say that again. It didn’t hurt my hip!!!

This was my wake-up call. I have the ability to run, and I’ve neglected that ability for too long. This hip injury has me re-evaluating my relationship with running. While I doubt I’ll ever LIKE or LOVE running, I will start to run more.

While I hate to run, I hate not being able to run more.