F3 Knoxville

Ladders and Sh@#ts

THE SCENE: Nice and cool.  Almost spitting snow.

Warm up burpee ladder:  10 4 ct SSH, IC; 2 burpees OYO; 10 BAC forward IC; 4 burpees OYO; 10 BAC backwards; 6 burpees OYO; 10 Imperial Walkers IC; 8 burpees OYO; 10 tempo squats IC; 10 burpees OYO.

  • Mosey to Circus Maximus for Merkin Ladder.  Run (not mosey, run!) 1/4 lap at a time, add 1 merkin at each stop up the ladder till you reach 10 merkins.  Then 1/4 lap back down the ladder to 1 merkin.
  • Mosey to Cardiac for the cardiac ladder:  10 SSH at the bottom, Bernie to the first curve; 10 SSH + 20 Carolina Dry Docks.  Bernie to the 2nd curve.  Repeat SSH and CCD, add 30 4 ct Freddy Mercurys.  Sprint to the top.  Repeat SSH, CCD, Freddy Mercurys.  Add 40 squats.
  • Mosey to bottom of Baby Everest for Jimmy’s (Jacob’s big brother) Ladder.  Run Baby Everest and do a Man Maker.  Add a Man Maker each time you run to the top, topping out at 7 Man Makers.

Hurricane Hoedown ladder.  Sitting flutters with hands over head x 7; reclining flutters x7, regular flutters x7.  Repeat x6, then x5, etc. all the way down the ladder.

Even in dark days, there are things to be thankful for.  From Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation establishing a recurrent Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, at a time when our nation was more divided than it has ever been:  They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
Prayers for Cheatsheet’s daughter
Need supplies for the VA home, please!

The Burpily Feud

THE SCENE: Shorts Weather, but for real

Those tricky SSHs where we do the last 20 in silence to see if everybody can count and stay focused. We came close, but it was 10 burpees for those of us who showed up on time (looking at you High Heels and Cheatsheet). Cherry Picker stay-downs, more baby arm circles than anybody wanted.
We moseyed low and slow, like Pele after Beaujolais. QIC stole a trick from the Lillydipper hisself and did some nickel-dime-quarters all the way to the Area 51 dropoff. Everest is for the kind of people who like wet feet and shaky legs; we were not those people.

Whatever else happens today, one thing went just right: 10 PAX came up on 10 CMUs up by the Esplanade construction. PAX choice CMU AMRAP. Question: where’s the only place Cheatsheet’s going to find singles? Answer: Wendy’s. Mans hits the double count every time. Don’t cheat yourself. Fist emoji.

Catch me if you can to the Cloud – thank you Curveball for not catching me the second time.

The Burpily Feud! No uhs, ums, pauses, or repeats.

Have a Nice Day on the 2 count.

My old college roommate Jack Webb showed up. I hate that guy.

Up the Little Hill and yours truly was shot.

Who Mary?
10 good ones. Lillydipper, Rooney, Curveball, Choirboy, Abscess, High Heels, Mr Jinxy, Goober, and Cheatsheet, plus YHC.

Sic transit gloria mundi.
Thanks men, for getting me out there again. I would not do any of it without you.
Convergence next week!

First Last and Last First

THE SCENE: Beautiful chilly morning, temps in low 30’s.

20 Side Straddle Hops, 10 Pinto Twists, 10 Windmills, Plank Stretches, Michael Phelps.
Mosey to parking lot by Southern Ball Fields.  There will be eight cones set up in the parking lot.  Cone 1 and 8 will be on one side of the parking lot.  Cones 2 through 7 are on the other side of the parking lot.  We will circle clockwise around the cones.  The following will be the exercises at and from each cone:

  • Cone 1:  20 Squat Jumps.  Bernie Sanders to Cone 2.
  • Cone 2:  20 American Hammers (four count).  Crab Walk to Cone 3.
  • Cone 3:  20 Star Jumps.  Bear Crawl to Cone 4.
  • Cone 4:  20 Hello Dollies.  Broad Jump to Cone 5.
  • Cone 5:  10 Shoulder Taps (each shoulder).  Gorilla Hop to Cone 6.
  • Cone 6:  10 Hand Release Merkins.  Sprint to Cone 7.
  • Cone 7:  15 Iron Mikes (both legs = 1)  Bernie Sanders to Cone 8.
  • Come 8:  15 Dive Bombers.  Sprint all the way back to Cone 1.
  • Those finishing first rinse and repeat cycle until last man finishes first cycle.

Mosey to perimeter trail just past the pavilion at the southern ball fields.  We will do the following (what I call the 10 light nerve-wrecker) heading east and then north on the perimeter trail until we go on the boardwalk by the water and finally reach the serpentine sidewalk.  We will continue the 10 light nerve-wrecker on the serpentine sidewalk until we reach the roadway that is east of Pickett’s Charge.  With the 10 light nerve-wrecker, we run the length of 10 lights.  We then stop and do the following exercises in order:

  • 10 Big Boy Sit-ups
  • 20 Merkins
  • 30 Squats
  • 40 Baby Crunches.
  • Rinse and repeat until every man has gone through the cycle of exercises.  Then run another 10 lights and do it again.

Once at the roadway, we will mosey to the playground.  We will do elevens at the benches, starting with one bench dip and 10 bench jumps.

Mosey to CMU Pile.  Each man grabs a CMU.  We will do the following exercises:

  • 20 Overhead Presses
  • 50 Bench Presses
  • 20 Curls
  • 25 Rows

Put CMU’s back in pile.  Mosey to AO.

20 Box Cutters
11 men, no FNGs

Welcome Is Our Greeting

Matthew 20:  26- 28.  But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,c 27and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,d 28even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

At the Broylmpics last Saturday, I was one of the brothers who ran in the long distance run.  I started with the group and very quickly saw the group dash on ahead of me.  After about 1/4 of the race, Mandolin and I were consigned to last place.  We had already competed in all of the prior events.  Our bodies were aching and Mandolin was nursing a problematic leg.  We suffered onward.  About halfway through the race we see the brother who ended up being the overall Brolympics Champ, Woodshack, running towards us.  He joins us, at a pace that was much slower than his typical mosey, and encourages us throughout the remainder of the race.  He didn’t belittle us, didn’t ingratiate us, he just ran by us, commenting on the great effort he was seeing and inspiring us in a thoughtful and brotherly manner.  We finally get to the final stretch of the race along the Serpentine Sidewalk.  By this time, all others in the race had already finished it.  As I am running ahead, what do I see?  A whole line of bros coming towards us, giving us high fives and finishing the race with us.  I can’t tell you how good that made me feel.  These were my brothers.  I might have been the slowest on the distance run but I was one of them.  Something pushed me a little faster as I crossed that finish line.  And on past the finish line were the other bros, smiling at me, Hey Lillying me, and getting me in the breakfast line for some of Junk’s famous cooking.  A slice of heaven with my brothers.

This kind of fellowship is what we all need.  In F3, all are welcome, no matter what the age or what the athletic condition.  “No Man Left Behind” is our philosophy.  As Q leaders, we need to design our workouts to make sure that happens.  Those men who get to a particular destination first can keep on working on exercises, whether Burpees, Side Straddle Hops, Running in Place, or Big-Boy Sit-ups as they wait for the remaining men to catch up.  Sometimes, we even Wagon Wheel back to join our brothers at the six.

Here’s another thing that we need to remember in F3.  Those of us who are less athletic or less fit should not pridefully shun the efforts of the more athletic who come to meet us.  We should not be embarrassed or angry because we are slower.  We should greet those circling back with glee, accept their gift of encouragement.  We should also remember that we too, even though we may be less athletic, have so much to offer the brotherhood – whether it be our mumble-chatter, our humor, our smiles, our social leadership, our aged wisdom, or plain old humility.  We all are living examples to one another, to the community around us, and to the FNG’s we welcome to our PAX.
Prayers for Junk and his wife, for Messi and his wife, and for Cheatsheet’s friend who died at the age of 49.  Be with the friend’s family at this difficult time.
On December 7 at 7 am in the morning we will have a Convergence at the Truck Stop.  We will then go to Two Rivers Church nearby for a 3rd F Gathering with Manilow as our speaker.  Food from Einsteins Bagels will be provided.

Hey, guess what?  Today is Crawdad’s birthday.  The man is now 40.

Bare November Days

THE SCENE: Partly cloudy, cool but not cold, mid 40s
F3 WELCOME & DISCLAIMER Check. Still not a professional.

Motivators (7 reps/level)

– Yoga stretches: legs spread, hang straight down, reach to right and left ankle, touch the ground and reach one arm up twisting torso, reverse hands.  There was much inappropriate mumblechatter about bending over and grabbing ankles at this point.

– 10 Baby Arm Circles Forward/ Backward (4-ct, IC), making them wide arm circles half way through.

– 10 Tempo Merkins


Mosey to Chapel parking log, stopping to do a WELSH DRAGON along the way.

In parking lot, cones will be laid out in a rectangle, short/medium/long distance on each side. Pair up.  One partner will get to the cone using various means, does 3 burpees, and returns while partner performs maintenance exercises. Switch.  Do each cone for two minutes. Cones are, counter-clockwise order:

    • Cone 1 (Long): Bear Crawl, partner does Bobby Hurleys
    • Cone 2 (Medium): Broad Jumps, partner does Iron Mikes
    • Cone 3 (Short): Crab Walk, partner does Burpees
    • Cone 4 (Long): Bear Crawl, partner does BBS
    • Cone 5 (Medium): Broad Jump, partner does American Hammers
    • Cone 6 (Short): Crab Walk, partner does Gas Pumps

Mosey to playground, do 7s with dips and bench jumps

Mosey to Baby Cardiac: Bernie to the top.

Mosey to the monument, do a few minutes of BOAT/CANOE.

Mosey back to AO.

Out of time.
11 strong.

My November Guest by Robert Frost is a poem that on its surface is about a person embracing the melancholy feeling that comes with the passing of summer and the beginning of the long winter, with “Sorrow” personified as a woman.  For some, the onset of winter is ominous and unsettling, but there is a different kind of beauty in these shortening days.  But there is more to this poem… it’s about more than just natural beauty the author is referring to.  It’s about opening yourself up and embracing your own personal grief and sorrow, and accepting it as an important and enriching facet of the human condition.

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted grey
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.

Many times we feel ashamed of our grief and sadness, we try to bury it, and pretend it doesn’t exist. The author is encouraging us to look at that part of us not with shame or trepidation, but to embrace it as part of our humanity, and to appreciate that part of our emotional spectrum.  For me, this time of year brings back memories of my mother’s illness and passing, and for years I dreaded the onset of November.  But I read this poem and it encourages me to use this time as a period of reflecting on her love and the wonderful times we had while she was on this earth.  “Not yesterday I learned to know the love of bare November days”. Try to learn to know the value of your own sources of sadness and grief.  And know that there’s a God in your life that will never be far from your heart, and seek comfort and refuge in the love of our Almighty Father.

PSALM 34:18: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.


Third F December 7, with Convergence at the Truck Stop!

Taking Risks

THE SCENE: Cloudy, temp in 70’s.

20 Side-Straddle-Hops, 10 Plank Jacks, Plank Stretches, 10 Imperial Walkers, Little of This and That
Mosey to stop sign at northeastern corner of Admin Bldg.  20 American Hammers (for count).  Mosey to perimeter trail and take trail east until we hit roadway that goes toward the parking lot with CMU’s.  Each man grabs CMU.  We will run around the parking lot with CMU’s preferably overhead and stop at each corner to do the following exercises:

  • Corner 1:  20 Overhead Presses
  • Corner 2:  20 Curls
  • Corner 3:  20 Rows
  • Corner 4:  20 Squats with CMU at chest.  20 Incline Merkins with hands on CMU.  20 Big Boys with CMU.

Mosey past pitching cage area to perimeter trail east of the ball fields and stop at Cardiac Hill.  We will run up Cardiac Hill doing the following exercises at each corner:

  • Corner 1:  20 Bicycle Kicks (four count)
  • Corner 2:  20 Flutter Kicks (four count)
  • Corner 3:  20 Decline Merkins
  • Corner 4:  20 Bench Dips

Mosey to the Bro Olympics Field.  We will do sprints from sideline to flags in ground. Then sprint back to sideline.  After that we do 25 Baby Crunches.  Rinse and repeat three more times.

Mosey to stop sign at southeastern corner of Admin Bldg.  We will do 20 American Hammer (four count).

Mosey to Mt. Everest Summit.  We will do 15 Big Boy Sit Ups, then run down the summit to pine tree grove.  Do 10 Burpees.  Then run back up the summit and continue to do Big Boy Sit Ups until all men make it back.

Mosey to AO.

Sky lifts with legs, then slow drops Hello Dollie position.  Hold for ten count, then spread legs and hold again.  Rinse and repeat four more times.
Eight men, no FNG’s.
Taking Risks With God

Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

At age 62, I am thankful for the blessings the Lord has given me.  I have sometimes been asked if I would change anything in my life – I am lucky in that nothing hits me drastically concerning what I would change.  Certainly I would want to change some of my sinful actions.  But I think I would also want to have taken more risks at those times I was too cautious or insecure to act.

It is through the courage to act that great things occur for us.  Think of Abraham in the Bible.  God told him to go to a completely new land.  He did it.  Moses did the same.  That took courage and faithfulness.  They trusted that the Lord would be there with them.  Think of when you first came to workout with F3.  You had to get up at some awful hour of the morning to join some weird group of guys doing strange military exercises.  Think of the benefits reaped from taking that risk.  One risk I took in my life was to move my family from a comfortable home in Texas, close to family and friends I had grown up with, to come to Knoxville, Tennessee where we didn’t know anyone.  Because of the move, my kids have grown up in a wonderful setting.  My wife, who had no job when we arrived, now is director of the psychology dept at Children’s Hospital.  And me:  I have this wonderful group of friends in F3 who have become an inspiration for me in my life.  When we take risks, we learn, we grow.  And, God is our shepherd along the way.  He will not abandon us.

But what about those times when we take a risk, make a change, and meet up with misfortune instead of success?  Is God there for us even when we stumble, even when the risk we take does not reap what we hope for?Barbara and Jim were a married couple, each about age 50, who bought a seafood restaurant that I was already working at as a teenager in Dallas, Texas.  I knew their two sons, who were a few years older than me, from our younger school days.  Barbara had already worked as a manager of the restaurant before she and Jim purchased it. They invested a great bit of money to get it.  But to have their own business was a dream for them. They made some nice changes to the restaurant and, at first, the crowds coming to eat and drink there seemed to grow.  But, problems came.  The restaurant was located on Forest Lane in Dallas, a four lane street located between two large high schools.  Forest Lane came to be The American Graffiti street of the area.  Kids drove up and down the strip, revving the engines in their cars, drinking beers and basically having a great time.  Fast food restaurants began to spring up on Forest Lane, all around the seafood restaurant.  Kids would park in the parking lots, drinking their beers in the cars and eating fast food.  The business was great for the fast food chains but not for the more expensive seafood restaurant.  Adult customers began to avoid the seafood restaurant, not wanting to deal with the traffic, the screaming teenagers, and the beer cans.  Barbara and Jim started losing money.  They contacted the city police on numerous occasions, hoping to have them correct the problem.  However, either due to lack of legal means or just because the police didn’t care that much, nothing really happened.  Barbara and Jim’s dream was slipping into the abyss.  On one Saturday evening, Jim reached the breaking point.  He came into the back part of the restaurant (the kitchen area) with a shotgun in his hands.  If the police weren’t going to run the scoundrels off, he was going to go out to the front parking lot and do it himself.  That kind of action, of course, may have been realistic in the Clint Eastwood movie wild west but not in a modern city.  Barbara hysterically pleaded with Jim to get rid of the gun.  He finally came to himself and handed the gun to her.  He was embarrassed and humiliated to have had us employees see him in this state.  He slowly walked out the back door and went on home.

The restaurant continued to lose money as the crowds continued to dwindle.  I remember the night Barbara and Jim decided to give up on the restaurant.  The store had closed and many of us employees were still there to clean up.  Barbara and Jim made their announcement to us.  The side of the restaurant that had a bar also had music speakers placed at various points along the ceiling.  Barbara and Jim put on a song and slow-danced together, right their in the middle of the restaurant.  The song they chose to play was Frank Sinatra’s version of “I Did It My Way.”  The couple had invested in a dream and lost the battle.  But they had the guts to take the risk and had given it all they got – and did it their way.

I went on to college after that senior year of school.  I don’t know what happened to Barbara and Jim as my life took me on to other things.  I hope they sold the store – most likely to some fast food restaurant.  In any case, I chose to believe that God worked with the couple.  And I have some evidence that supports my belief.  The primary evidence is the nature of our God, one who loves and is filled with grace.  But Barbara and Jim also exhibited evidence that supports my belief:  First, they hung together in their marriage through the hard times, despite the anguish and gnashing of teeth.  Second, despite the losses they suffered, they were always good to us employees and paid every cent of our paychecks, never delaying the payments.  And finally, on the night they conceded the restaurant, they danced a dance that stays in my mind more than 40 years later.  I will close with some lines from the song they chose to dance to:

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way.


Praise:  for Mr. Jinxy’s return post heart catheter.  Prayer:  that God be with Pinto, Hooker, and Mr. Jinxy after the death of Pinto’s mother.

Bring non-perishable canned goods to next workout for 2nd Harvest Food Drive.