“Helen” on the Road

We went to Portland last weekend for the grand opening of CrossFit Portland. They’re sharing space with a beautiful Kung Fu academy in a nice neighborhood in southeast Portland. After everybody stood around talking, admiring the facility, and trying out nascent muscle-ups and parallel-bar swings on the equipment, coach Scott Hagnas sent us into a “Helen” workout: three rounds of 400-meter run (around the block), 21 kettlebell swings, and 12 pull-ups. I came in slower than last time, at 11:16. I attribute that difference to the longer transition between exercises–we weren’t able to set up the kettlebells right in front of the pull-up bar nor close to the door. But even if the set-up had been ideal I don’t think I would have finished in under 10 minutes as I’d like to.
It was nice to meet CrossFit founder and coach Greg Glassman, who came from Santa Cruz to be at the grand opening. Knowing he’s much admired by CrossFitters, I didn’t expect to have a chance to talk with him myself; I figured more outgoing people would get the face time. Besides, I didn’t have anything specific in mind to talk about. It turned out that he and everybody else were open and inclusive, and conversations were easy to participate in even for wallflowers like me and Tom. Greg Glassman was interesting to talk with not only about fitness and exercise, but about running a business. He says that when making a business decision, go with the choice that favors excellence even if it’s not the most economical choice. Offering exellence to customers pays off economically in the end, he says. He’s having a new HQ built by what sounds like an “angel investor,” and I bet it really will be excellent. I hope Tom and I get to go down there for one of the seminars after it opens.
Later that day VJ came to the gym to meet us, and after trying a few crazy back-of-the-hand push-ups (don’t ask), she and I and Tom went out for a cold drink and then to dinner at Cafe Castagna. So much fun to meet a blogger buddy in person! It’s like a blind date that goes well. You’re nervous… you hope the other person doesn’t think you’re weird… then you’re talking and laughing and having fun… then “whew! That went well!” Hope to see you in Seattle sometime, VJ.