Putting the “fun” in functional fitness 2018, part 2

In the last post, I talked about tackling Mount Quandary, our first 14er. In this one, I’ll talk about our 8 mile hike and the thing I never thought I’d try – an adventure ropes course.

The Peaks Trail

Back in 2016, we stayed in Breckenridge and did about 2.75 miles of the Peaks Trail (5.5 mile round trip). That was pretty good for me at the time, since I really hadn’t tried hiking in a long time.

The start of the Peaks Trail is at the top of Ski Hill Road in Breckenridge. You can hike it all the way down into Frisco (nearly 8 miles one way) though we haven’t gone quite that far yet.


This time, I’m happy to say we made it a heck of a lot further. We went 4.25 miles one direction and then turned back, for a total of 8.5 miles. There was a lot more traffic on Saturday morning than when we went two years ago, including quite a few mountain bikers – most of them riding up from Frisco, hitting the end of the trail, and riding back again. But we also had some trail runners and a lot of casual hikers like ourselves.

We went another mile and a quarter past this sign, then turned back.

We hiked for about three hours total (90 minutes in before turning back) and made it a lot further than last time. I think we could have made it all the way down to Frisco – but we wouldn’t have wanted to hike back. πŸ™‚

This was a heck of a lot easier than climbing the 14er earlier in the week, but I have to say I would not have ever seen myself attempting such a thing, let alone making it as far as we did, without crossfit behind me. So let’s call this functional fitness for the win!

Alpineer Challenge Course

What, you may ask, is an Alpineer Challenge Course? Well, it’s a ropes course at the top of the Epic Discovery complex that’s at Peak 8 at the top of the gondola from the town of Breckenridge. When we were there in 2016, they were just building the thing — but now it’s in full swing with an Alpine Slide, a roller coaster, zip lines, and a bunch of other activities.

Now, if you know me at all you know I’m not the most adventurous soul in the world. We hit Epic Discovery with my sister and nephew on Wednesday while we were in Breck and I was not sure what all I might be able to attempt, let alone conquer.

Getting ready for the roller coaster

We did the little roller coaster first. It wasn’t all that exciting, but AJ says I had the brake on the whole time so I slowed HER down. πŸ™‚ It uses the same basic mechanics as the alpine slide – but you have two levers to pull to brake. I used them a lot apparently, since she told me I drove like an old farmer.

I’m not a fan of roller coasters, but this one was my speed, and therefore a bit boring. πŸ™‚

From there, we headed to the Alpine Slide. I did the Alpine Slide when there was one in Colorado Springs, way back when I was a kid. I remember a picture with my sister and I and a bunch of my Mom’s family way back when. So it’s been more than 30 years since I’ve done one.

We had to ride a ski lift to the top. Having never been skiing (yes, a few of us “natives who don’t ski” do exist in Colorado), I’ve never attempted a ski lift.

Not so sure about getting off the ski lift, but I survived!

It was… an experience. I survived. A little rickety, but kind of fun. And then we grabbed our sleds for the slide and headed down the mountain.

Once I got going, I had a lot of fun and enjoyed the speed — until I hit the little girl who went before me pretty much slamming on the brakes the whole way. I kind of tapped her from behind, but only a little – and then we went really slowly down the track…

Don’t we look excited going slow? HA!

And then we headed up the mountain on another ski lift to get to the very top. It took us roughly to 12,000 feet.

37033849_2264466983568397_5913199724889899008_n (1).jpg

This was a bit smoother ride on a larger contraption, so it was fine. πŸ™‚

We did the little hike at the top and took some pictures, and then attempted the Alpineer Course. Essentially this is a ropes course with a few paths you can take with different obstacles. And it’s the last place you’d ever think to find me.

Funny enough, I think I tackled all but about three obstacles out of 15 — and I had fun. Yes, that’s the surprising part of the whole thing. (I even met the weight requirement – you had to be under 220, so thank you to the last nutrition challenge!)

AJ, Ev, and I bounced around up there doing things like tightrope walks, walking on beams, dealing with short rope swings, and more. It was a blast. And a LOT of work — my core and grip was pretty fried by the time I stopped.

Here are some pictures my sister took while we were bouncing around:

As you can see, you are strapped into a harness and wearing a helmet, so even if you fall — you won’t fall far. AJ fell once on the log thing in the bottom right, but didn’t hurt herself much. Ev was the only one to attempt the floating “lillipads” and she made it a ways and turned back. But I think we all had a good time and will do it again. πŸ™‚

Crazy to think we’d have fun on such a contraption – but hey. I was surprised and really enjoyed it. I don’t have much balance and was way wobbly on a few things but made it through. And ifΒ  *I* can do it – you probably can too. πŸ™‚

We had a blast last week – with a mix of activities and downtime — so I can’t complain at all. πŸ™‚

So that’s it – the “fun” in functional fitness for this year. Next year maybe we’ll get to try and drop into a class at Breckenridge Crossfit. And maybe we’ll get to try paddle boarding as well. No ropes to hang onto when you fall in the water there. πŸ™‚

A huge thank you to my wife and AJ, who encouraged me to do all these crazy things. And a big thank you to our crossfit community at Continuum, who have been a part of the journey that got me to the point where I would even attempt them.




Putting the “fun” in functional fitness 2018, part 1

Last week we enjoyed some time in the mountains around Breckenridge. We had every intention of hitting CrossFit Breckenridge while we were there and trying out paddle boarding, but didn’t manage to do either. Instead we enjoyed a few other activities. We hiked a 14er, did a ropes course at about 12,000 feet, and did over an 8 mile hike.

I’m going to break this into a series to talk about a few things because I got a little wordy in spots. πŸ™‚

Mount Quandary

Let’s start with the 14er. We hiked to Quandary Peak from the Quandary Peak trail head not far from Hoosier Pass, just a few miles south of Breckenridge on Colorado 9.

I stopped not far from here (picture from 14ers)

We set out from the trail head about 6:50am in the middle of the week. It was a Thursday and there weren’t all that many folks out. We had beautiful weather that morning, but it changed quickly a few hours later. Though every resource we found seems to claim the trail is between 6 and 7 miles long to the top and back down, it felt much longer – we all felt like it was closer to 10-12 miles round trip. Maybe it is 6 miles “as the crow flies,” but Ev’s Fitbit begged to differ. πŸ™‚

Though I’ve been told I’ve done a 14er as a child, I have no memory of it — so I’m counting this one as my first attempt.Β The trail started about 10,850 feet and the top is at 14,265 feet. And though my wife and daughter made it to the top, I stopped about an hour (and several false peaks) before them when my mind and body were telling me that I needed to halt there. I listened.

Climbing up the trail before we hit treeline

So I didn’t make it to 14k. I think I stopped somewhere around 13k and that was pretty good for me.

The trail itself was a challenge, easier at the bottom through the trees and then working through boulder fields and scree above treeline to get to the top. None of us were wearing hiking boots, just sneakers – so that was entertaining. We were never in much danger of falling, at least until the rain hit us going back down.

I stayed in a gorgeous field at 13,000 feet and waited for Ev & AJ to finish their ascent and return back down. I was upset with myself for bailing on the hike to the top, but really enjoyed my 2.5 hours in that field. I sat not far off the trail and though there were people hiking up and down, I had several stretches of 10 minutes or more where I was undisturbed – almost zen-like.

Looking down towards Alma

I watched clouds pass as shadows on distant hillsides, with a view down one side into the valley just south of Breckenridge and a view down the valley just south of Hoosier Pass on the way down to Alma. Those same clouds billowed and built into fantastic thunderheads and carved wisps of wind and water.

I watched pika (small tailless rodents that live up there) scurry across the rocks to find tufts of grass and enjoy frantic meals literally chewing their way through the scenery. At one point, the wind shifted and I was upwind enough that I had a furry friend snack within a few feet of where I was sitting. I came to enjoy their little high-pitched barks across the rocks as they announced themselves to one another.

Looking back towards Breckenridge

I listened to the passers-by, the wind, the flies, and the bees bounding across the field. The buzzing of people, insects, and breeze never really stopped. People of all sorts, young and old, chatted their way up and down the terrain as they hit the section of trail I sat beside. Many conversations drifted to and fro, carried on the wind. And I was only rarely bothered by an errant fly or bee buzzing along their way. I was just another part of the landscape to them.

I saw several spiders crawling between and under rocks, doing their best to snack on the smaller insects they may be able to catch. Some of them appeared quite hearty, so I suspect their dining options were plentiful.

Lots of these little pika scurrying around

And I enjoyed it all.

I even enjoyed it when the rain blew in, and then a bit of hail. Small pebbles of ice blew through a few times, but nothing damaging or particularly dangerous. I was warm when the sun came out and cold when it went away, but not uncomfortably so. I think if it had been much worse I might have felt differently, but it was a pleasant change as I passed the time.

I did move further down the trail at one point to get out of the wind, but not too far. And I knew when my family made it to the top and started their descent.

It really was a marvelous way to spend a couple of hours. I joke about it being zen-like but I felt more at peace there than I have in quite a while. I’ll attribute that to the view at elevation, not the lack of oxygen at altitude. πŸ™‚

My brave wife and daughter made it all the way to the top!

We were all exhausted when we went back down the mountain. We slipped and scrambled across wet rocks in a few places, but for the most part we focused just on getting down safely. It took a bit more than 7 hours round trip from start to finish, and that was plenty.

Never in a million years did I think I would ever attempt such a thing as to climb a mountain. Crossfit gave me the ability to give it a shot. And continued growth in confidence of my own physical abilities got me pretty close this time.

I’m not sure I’ll try another one for a while – but knowing my family it’s probably in the cards at some point!

Next time, I’ll talk about the ropes course. A definite first for me. πŸ™‚

Dripping Sweat and Breathing Hard

Hello, Tuesday.Β The day of the week has the word “day” in it, so it must be time for another workout. πŸ™‚

Etre-en-nageMade it in for the 8:30 class with Coach Drea. AJ went with me and we joined Larry, John, Todd & Melissa, and their friend Ben for the day. We did the same warm-up as yesterday and then went through a few other warm-up bits:

  • kipping on the rig, working up to chest to bars
  • wall ball work, starting with med ball front squats and push presses, working into full wall ball shots
  • kettle bell swings – first to eye level, then higher, then fully overhead

And then we hit the WOD…

  • 20 minute AMRAP of:
  • Competitor:
    • 5 chest-to-bar pull-ups
    • 10 wall-ball shots, 20/14# ball
    • 15 kettlebell swings, 1.5 pood/1 pood kettlebell
  • Performance:
    • 5 pull-ups
    • 10 wall-ball shots, 14/10# ball
    • 15 kettlebell swings, 1 pood/12 kg kettlebell
  • Fitness:
    • 5 ring rows
    • 10 wall-ball shots, 8/4# ball
    • 15 kettlebell swings, 12 kg/8 kg kettlebell

rogue-black-med-ball-web6_1So… I had some issues with this one.

  • I did C2B pull-ups throughout, only missing on a few and at least brushing the front of my chest with the bar if not thumping it pretty solidly. Did the first 5 pretty well and it fell after that, with sets of 3 and 2 or 2-2-and-1
  • Wall balls were the bigger issue after yesterday’s workout. Quads and knees were a little annoyed with me. Plus the ball I used was a red 20# medicine ball that was far too slick to hang on to for many reps. I dropped it a bunch. Broke up sets in odd places.
  • And KBS were consistent for a few rounds (15 unbroken with a 55# kettlebell) but got to me after a while to the point where I broke it into sets of 8 and 7 in the last couple of rounds.
  • Through it all, breathing was tough. Not sure which movement set me off, but it was definitely a struggle to settle things. Breaks got longer and more frequent.

How’d I do? Finished 5 full rounds, plus 5 c2b and 5 wall balls as time ran out. We were supposed to be in the 7-10 round range and I simply didn’t make that today.

That said, I did do it at Competitor level (Rx) instead of scaling today so that may have been part of it. Even so, it was a good workout with a great mix of push, pull, and squat throughout. I was happy just to keep moving and finish the 20 minutes!

I think everybody else kicked butt, getting it into that 7-10 round range – so great work folks!

Hello Nancy

It’s impossible to think that it’s been over a week since my last crossfit workout, until I factor in that we did two long hikes and an adventure ropes course (at about 12,000 feet) last week. πŸ™‚

Q is for quixotic

Today though, my butt was back in the box. Coach Drea had a fun class today – Deana & Marino, Larry, Dave, and a few new faces. And of course the workout involved running on my first day back. HA! Joke’s on me!

We started with a little two round warm-up:

  • 200m jog
  • 10 Cossack squats
  • 5 inchworms with push-up
  • 10 Spider-man lunges
  • 10 windmills (no weight today, but always makes me think of Don Quixote)
  • 30 second reverse grip hang from the bar

From there it was about warming up our overhead squats. We did quite a few with a PVC pipe, then an empty barbell, then adding some weight. Didn’t feel too rough but I knew by the end of the workout I’d likely pay for it a bit.

  • edcf_infographic_poster_flat2Nancy –Β Score Type: Total Time
  • Competitor, 5 rounds of:
    • 400-meter run
    • 15 overhead squats, 95/65#
  • Performance, 5 rounds of:
    • 400-meter run
    • 15 overhead squats, 65/45#
  • Fitness, 4 rounds of:
    • 400-meter run
    • 10 overhead squats, 45/35#

Nancy is one of the infamous “girls” of Crossfit. A benchmark workout. Funny enough one that it seems I’ve avoided in the last 5 years. πŸ™‚ It involves two movements I’m not great at – running and overhead squats!

That said, today I did ok. We were supposed to shoot for 15-20 minutes. I got in just under the wire at 19:58 with the Performance scaling – 65# on the bar and a 400m run for 5 rounds. I ran the first round, walked the second, and then ran 200m of each of the next three, walking the rest. Essentially I walked one way and ran back.

My issues were with my lower half – hips, quads, and knees for the most part. The pounding of the runs combined with unbroken sets of OHS at 65# was a bit of a challenge.

But I’m happy to say at 19:58, it seems I chose the right scaling option today.

Great work everybody!

Farmer’s Carry for 30 mins

This was a weird week — a week between trips. I made it in for a Monday afternoon workout, a Tuesday morning workout, the Wednesday 4th of July WOD (which I never had a chance to write up), a workout on Thursday I DNF’d, and then today. That’s pretty good, I think.

Today’s was a Saturday team WOD after a great mobility class with Heather. She offered some great suggestions on foam rolling, the use of jump stretch bands, some lacrosse ball work, and even some voodoo flossing, plus lots more. I am going to have to figure out how to adapt that work into my daily life now. πŸ™‚


We had quite a few folks for the team workout today… myself & AJ, Jordan & Lara, Jimmy & Drea, Heather, Darcy, Nick & Lisa, Dan, Brent, Chris & his daughter, Carrie, Larry & Karen, Lisa G, and a few others.

Started with an entertaining 400m run where we ran parts forward and parts backward. I won’t say that I followed Drea’s directions well, but I did run parts forward and parts backward. And running backward was tougher on my calves than I thought. πŸ™‚

Farmers_Walk_CarryOnce back inside, we did some air squats, some burpees, and some side-to-side lunges before splitting up into teams of 3…

  • 30 Min AMRAP –Β 3 Person Team
  • 200 M Farmers Carry – Use two KB or DB #72/#53/#50
  • While team member 1 is doing farmers carry teammates 2 and 3 work through the following:
    • 30 partner wall balls #20/#14
    • 20 Box Jumps 24/20
    • 10 pull-ups

AJ worked with Carrie and Chris’ daughter. Jordan found me and we grabbed Chris. Huzzah! Teams of 3. πŸ™‚

fancy-team-work-meme-teamwork-meme-team-work-memeWe went with:

  • Two 55# kettlebells for the farmer’s carry
  • Jordan and I did 20# wall balls and we did 14# wall balls with Chris
  • Jordan did 24″ box jumps and Chris and I did a mix of 20″ box jumps and step-ups
  • Jordan and I did pull-ups (except when my grip gave up and I did a few ring rows) and Chris did ring rows

So how’d we do?

First, let me just say that the farmer’s carry was definitely the worst part of this one. My forearms and grip kept disappearing when we did the carry.

However, we made it through nearly 4 full rounds each of the carry. I went first, then Chris, then Jordan, and Chris finished the farmer’s carry as time ran out. That meant three full rounds with each of us (9 total), plus 2 more, for a grand total of 11.

Ayup. It was a good one. πŸ™‚ Great work Jordan & Chris!

I think AJ said their team got through 10 or so rounds, so they weren’t far behind us. The trick was just to keep moving and the farmer’s carry made that tougher than it should have been. πŸ™‚

So that’s it for this week. Next week we hope to get in some hiking and other fun activities in the mountains. May try and drop in to a crossfit class in Breckenridge. We’ll see how it goes.

Lost the Mental Battle Today

Some days you’re the bug. And some days you’re the windshield. Today I was a bit of both.

Two Bugs Outstanding in their Field

Woke up this morning, my head full of crud from allergies and all the smoke in the air. Took some allergy meds and shuffled off to the 8:30 workout with Ev & AJ. We were far from alone – this was one of the most crowded classes I’ve seen in quite a while. Todd, Melissa, and their daughter; Dave; KB; Sarah; and a bunch of other folks. It was busy!

EMOMCoach Drea had us start quickly with a warm-up that was a workout in and of itself…

  • EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute) for 6 minutes
    • Odd Minutes: 10 band pull-aparts + 10 push-ups
    • Even Minutes: 10 Russian kettlebell swings + 10 goblet squats
  • Equipment used: thin blue band, regular push-ups, and 35# kettlebell for swings and squats

It was the push-ups that got me by the 5th minute. And then we went from there straight into trying to figure out how to structure the workout with so many people. I worked with Todd. Ev worked with KB. And AJ worked with two other kids.

The workout? Linda:

  • linda-wodScore Type:: Total Time
  • Competitor:
    • 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps for time of:
    • 1Β½-body-weight deadlift
    • Body-weight bench press
    • ΒΎ-body-weight clean
  • Performance:
    • 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps for time of:
    • 1ΒΌ-body-weight deadlift
    • ΒΎ-body-weight bench press
    • Β½-body-weight clean
  • Fitness:
    • 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps for time of:
    • ΒΎ-body-weight deadlift
    • Β½-body-weight bench press
    • β…“-body-weight clean

Todd and I set up with:

  • 225# deadlifts
  • 135# bench press
  • 115# squat cleans

First of all, everything felt heavy today. Second of all, I knew breathing was going to be a challenge due to conditions outside. And third, I couldn’t get my head in the game.

Todd started with squat cleans. I started on deadlifts.

DNF!-!-I got through my round of 9 and quit the workout. Body-wise it didn’t feel good. Breathing-wise it didn’t feel good. I felt like I was slowing down Todd (and I was). And I think there was so much going on everywhere that I was just mentally blitzed.

Instead, I chose to bow out of the workout, let Todd do his thing, and just spotted for him, Melissa, and Dave as needed. Honestly I wasn’t needed. They all kicked butt.

Physically, the warm-up today added more stress to my body than it felt prepared to take after three workouts in a row. And afterwards, I was definitely wondering if we should have knocked down the deadlift weight a bit.

Last time we did Linda was a few years ago… And I did 275# deadlifts, 165# bench, and 155# cleans in 55 minutes. Damn I’ve lost some lifting strength somewhere.

Today, weight-wise, I probably should have done:

  • 212# body weight
  • Performance:
    • 265# deadlift (1.25x weight) – would not have happened, since 225# felt heavy
    • 160# bench press (.75x weight) – also would not have happened
    • 105# squat cleans (.5x weight) – sounds awesome
  • Fitness
    • 160# deadlift (.75x weight) – probably too light, might have done 195#
    • 105# bench press (.5x weight) – might have been better
    • 70# squat cleans (.33x weight) – probably too light, might have done 95# or 105#

Rather than beat myself up over it, I’m just accepting it and moving on. I didn’t inconvenience anybody but myself, so no harm no foul.


Todd did awesome. Sounds like Ev got pushed by KB a bit and did awesome. And AJ was doing great as well. Life is good.

Great work everybody!

One arm, then the other…

This is going to be an odd week with a holiday in the middle, but after being very hit and miss in the last couple of weeks at crossfit, I think it’s a good week to catch up a little and get back into the swing of things. Yesterday’s workout left me gasping on the floor, but today’s definitely gave me some challenges as well.

Still a better Windmill than mine without weight today. πŸ™‚

Made it in for the 8:30 class with AJ. We were joined by a whole bunch of folks – Todd, Melissa, and their daughter; Larry & Karen; Dave; Dee; Bri; Sarah; a new gal whose name escapes me; Jake… it was a busy class. And we had both Drea & Lara coaching this morning, which was great for such a large crowd.

We did the same warm-up as last night. I chose to run (weird, right?) and then we did 20 mountain climbers, 10 lunges with PVC passthrus, 5 windmills each side (I did it without a dumbbell), 10 goblet squats (35# kettlebell), and 10 kip swings.

From there we stuck with the PVC pipe and did some OHS work and then some light dumbbell OHS and snatch work. We did a few varieties of bar muscle-up progressions… kipping and pull-ups, kipping and chest to bar, kipping and full bar muscle ups… I am getting closer I think, but today wasn’t the day. πŸ™‚

Dumbbell-Single-Arm-SnatchAnd then we gathered our equipment, found our space, and dove into the workout:

  • Metcon
  • Score Type:: Total Time
  • Performance:
    • 3 rounds for time of:
    • 10 dumbbell hang squat snatches, left arm
    • 3 bar muscle-ups
    • 10 dumbbell hang squat snatches, right arm
    • 3 bar muscle-ups
    • Men: 45-lb. dumbbell
    • Women: 30-lb. dumbbell
  • Fitness:
    • 3 rounds for time of:
    • 10 dumbbell overhead squats, left arm
    • 5 ring rows
    • 10 dumbbell overhead squats, right arm
    • 5 ring rows
    • Men: 20-lb. dumbbell
    • Women: 15-lb. dumbbell

jim-carrey-ace-ventura-armsSingle-arm movements are still not all that hot for me. But they are getting better. So I did the best I could:

  • 10 dumbbell hang squat snatches, right arm, 20# dumbbell
  • One kip push-down and three chest-to-bar pull-ups
  • 10 dumbbell hang squat snatches, left arm, 20# dumbbell
  • One kip push-down and three chest-to-bar pull-ups

I have to say I had some concerns after the warm-up, but I struggled my way through it and finished in 9:17.Β AJ used an 8# dumbbell and jumping muscle-ups on a low bar, finishing in 10:58.

Any time there are single-arm movements in a workout, I grumble. They’re always slow and awkward for me and lighter than I think they should be. I possibly could have tried a 25# dumbbell today, but it would have just slowed me down and I felt slow enough.

Thumbs-up-clipart-cliparts-for-you-5Everybody was moving right along today! So great work 8:30!

And a quick shout out to Lara, who is working through her Level 1 coaching internship with Drea. She led the warm-up today and was helping with some adjustments throughout the work-out and the skill work. She did great and answered a few questions/concerns I had off the bat, convincing me not to go with overhead squats instead of hanging squat snatches. πŸ™‚ Thanks Lara!

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