Three-ring Circus Gone Bad

I met up with three guys from the gym and two teenaged boys that one guy has been informally coaching. They work out once a week outside of the Seattle University athletic center, on a lawn secluded by landscaping. On the lawn are two far-apart poles and four pull-up bars.
Justin dreamed up a variation on Fight Gone Bad. We worked out in pairs, doing three rounds of five drills for one minute each and counting reps. I was the oldest person there and was paired with the youngest guy, who had rosy cheeks and braces–he was probably fifteen or sixteen. The order in which we did the drills of a minute each was:
Kettlebell swings
Four-count alternating elbow-to-knee crunches
Sandbag carry (laps around the poles)
Medicine-ball catch
Then we had a minute of rest and did it all again two more times. Justin wrote down how many reps each team did in each minute and totaled them at the end. The young and strong team of Nic and Mohammad won by more than 150 reps if I’m not mistaken. The middle team of Rodger and Justin came in second and the young-old male-female team of Seth and myself came in last by eight. Seth was a good sport about working out with me and I felt like I was close enough to keeping up with him so that I wasn’t totally embarrassed.
The sandbag carry (laps around the poles) was the most unfamiliar drill. It was a green army knapsack full of sand and small dumbbell plates. On our first round, I lifted it to my shoulders with Seth’s help and carried it two laps; he took it and carried it a quarter lap before time was up. On our second round, Seth carried it two and a half laps. On the third round, we carried it together with one hand each, and he ran the whole time. I could hardly keep up and I started wheezing, but I couldn’t stop! At one point to get a rest I asked to switch hands, and then he took off again with me stumbling to keep up. “Sprint!” he panted at the end, and he actually sped up. Luckily, we made it to the end for three full laps and time was up. Whew!
As we were listening to Justin tell us what to do where, just before he started the clock, a tall and skinny Russian-looking guy rode into “our” lawn on his bike. He put his stuff down by the pull-up bars and started doing some graceful pull-ups with a slight kip. Then he swung out a few times as if he was going to start doing giant swings, and finally he did some hip pullovers and took a break. I went to stand by the next bar to start the workout, and the guy started up again, swinging up in another hip-over to the top and doing some deep dips. I complimented him and called out to the others to see what he was doing, so pretty soon I was telling him about CrossFit. He politely accepted my enthusiasm and asked a few questions about what we do.
Then we started our workout, and with each team going all out on a different drill at the same time, it must have looked like some weird circus. The bicycle guy watched until we’d rotated through a few drills before leaving, and as we took our break I wrote down the gym’s URL and location for him. He seemed more interested after seeing the nutty exercises we were doing. He asked, “Is it always like this?” We told him every day is different and you never know what you’ll be doing, but it’s always something hard!

One thought on “Three-ring Circus Gone Bad”

  1. You are such a crossfit evangelist, Fran. Course, you’re a really good example of how it pays off too. I love it. And I love (and am intimidated, totally intimidated) by the not knowing what you’re going to be doing today aspect. BTW, Wil ( was talking excitedly about crossfit recently, so I pointed her to you.

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