June 2014


Another busy weekend in Hilton Head. But instead of hosting nearly 200 athletes, Craig and Dayna hosted six Princesses as Frankie celebrated her fifth birthday with a Frozen themed party. It was fabulous and fun. And all the little princesses were precious beyond belief. They sang and danced to the songs as they watched the movie in a room that was turned into an ice cave. They were adorable as they were wearing their own newly crafted Elsa capes. It was a fantastic day for Princess Frankie/Elsa.

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It was also the second week in a row when I did not work out on Saturday. I had considered working out in the garage on Sunday and then unconsidered it. I got some writing things taken care of and mostly wasted the entire day being a slug and just relaxing. I did make my own Alfredo sauce last night and although it turned out all right, I have some improvements for next time.

The WOD was not posted before nine last night and I had to get to bed so I could get up at the crack of dawn. So I had no idea what we would be doing this morning and couldn’t fret about not being able to do it all night long. So I slept instead. I did look this morning because I have to dress appropriately for certain things. Sit-ups require different pants/shorts so I don’t get ass rash, for instance. There were no sit-ups today.

Todd and Cindy are on vacation and Ricky has left for training. Dave and Brett were there before me but it looked like it would just be the three of us. Steve showed up just before class started. There had been nine people at the 5 AM class. I just can’t imagine getting up that early each day. That is real commitment.

Warm-up was stuff and when we were deemed warm, we moved on to the workout.

Today’s WOD as written:
Strict press 5@75% 3@85% 1@95%
(add 5 lbs to max and recalculate %)
Elizabeth:
21-15-9
cleans (135/95)
ring dips
(the goal is 10-12 minutes, scale accordingly)

Since my one rep max is so little, there really isn’t any room for anything other than 32, 37 and 42 pounds no matter what the rep scheme is. The percentages be damned and the added weight doesn’t matter because there is nothing in there to work with at such low weights. I did the reps as written and then just to see if it was possible, I did one rep at 47 and managed that, too.

Coach Ryan asked if I had a previous time for Elizabeth and I had no idea. Since it wasn’t posted last night, I didn’t have time to look it up. But now that I’m home, it is possible to look and see what I had. Nothing. It appears I have never done this particular named WOD before so I have no idea about improvement determined by comparing two numbers.

But I did Elizabeth today with that same 47# bar. Last week, I managed a 57# bar but only did 28 cleans and was really, really tired at the end and it did not have anything in there like a ring dip. In order to get this done near the times requested, I asked and was told that the 47# would work.

I needed a band assist for the ring dips and used a green band throughout even though I had a blue (smaller) band available just in case I felt jockish. I never did. I felt whipped.

I managed the first 11 cleans unbroken and then mostly peaked out. I can’t even remember if I did the other ten unbroken or had to rest, but I think I had to rest. The ring dips were awful. The rings always sway and I nearly toppled forward onto my face, but recovered. I got them done, eventually, in fits and starts and was able to get back to the bar.

On the 15, I broke the cleans into sets of five and tried to do the same with the ring dips but didn’t manage that at all. I eventually got the things done. I think everyone else was finished before I even started my nine round. I did the cleans in 5 and 4 and then got to the rings again. I managed them in 5 and 4 as well and finished in 9.30.

My heart rate was too high most of the time. I would try to get it back under 165 before starting back to work. I really wish I had more stamina and endurance, but I don’t know how to overcome decades of sitting around eating potato chips and reading books while nestled into the corner of the couch. I guess the only way to get better is to keep trying. So I will.

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I am officially on my weekend and there is no reason in the world to get up early. So I didn’t. I was awake at 4 AM and figured I was just going to have a long day and then next thing I knew it was 6.50 and I was just waking up. What a lovely surprise.

I grabbed a protein shake and threw on some clothes and hit the gym. It was already getting hot, but not too bad. I didn’t look but it was probably in the high 70s with a heat index in the low 80s. A nice balmy summer day.

I took myself on a little run because I hate running and so force myself to at least do some. I don’t know if this will ever make me like it any more but at least I can manage to hate it a little less after each run is finished. I warmed up some more and then got set up for the WOD.

Kim had been working at it while I was warming up and it looked nasty. I should have paid a bit more attention because I probably chose poorly when picking my weight. She was using a 45 pound bar unless that was an empty 33 pound bar. But I believe it was the bigger one.

Today’s WOD as written:
4 rounds
3 HSPU
6 Hang power snatch
9 over the bar burpees
Rest 2:00 between rounds
Then:
3×20 GHD or 3×30 abmat sit ups (rest a minute between sets)

All sorts of caveats were added to board. No muscle up, must have at least some dip in the catch, both feet over the bar at once, and even reminders of what constitutes a sit-up.

I had a 22 pound bar with 5 pound plates so that it was a bit higher for the jumping part of the burpees. That part was nice. The dumb part is that is really my max on a snatch of any type; I simply suck at overhead stuff.

I can’t even do a handstand let alone a push-up after it, so I did one wall walk and made sure I was vertical enough for my golf skirt part of my shorts to fall down.

Then the six power snatches which were really too heavy but I didn’t have enough energy even during the two minute rest to just grab an empty bar for this.

On the first round, I actually did burpees and jumped over the bar – for the first seven. I was already in trouble and had to walk in and out but still managed a hop. On the next three rounds, I was lucky to walk them in and out and step over the bar.

My heart rate was high, but I couldn’t really see it. I have to wear my better wrist straps when I do overhead stuff because my wrists are weak and crumple and hurt. This seems like a bad thing. Getting the added support helps with all of it, but then I can’t wear my watch since it doesn’t fit over the straps. So I leave it on the floor and just look when I need to. But it takes a few seconds to find the signal so I look rarely. Today, I just looked during the two minutes of rest. I looked at the beginning to see how high I was, and I looked at the end to see where I was starting from.

My heart rate got below 150 for each round, but it crawled much higher during the work. I managed all six power snatches for the first three rounds, but had to break them in half for the last round. I had to walk the burpees in and out but managed to not stop until the last round when I simply couldn’t make myself move and so had to pause and take a couple deep breaths before continuing.

My times for the rounds were 1.53/1.56/2.00/2.22 which was fairly in line with others. My weight was my problem. I think it would have been better to have a lower weight and get better burpees going, but as I said, I chose poorly.

I got my bearings, took a picture of my times so I could remember the damn things and that took three trips to the bench to retrieve my phone because I couldn’t concentrate long enough to remember what the hell I was trying to do. I kept stopping to talk to people who were there and would forget what my main goal was.

But then I had to get to the “then” part of this day. It didn’t sound that bad. I have tried the GHD thing just once and I don’t feel safe enough with that without supervision. I can do 30 sit-ups without too much problem. I did. The next 30 weren’t quite as easy and the last 30 had me making little, unladylike noises by the end. But I got them all done (with the rests included) at 7.20.

I threw the top back on the go-kart and headed east. When I got home Dick took one look at me and said, “You look terrible; it must have been a good workout.” Ah, the life of a jock.

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Yesterday was both my rest day and Todd’s fiftieth birthday. He requested Filthy Fifty as the WOD. I am grateful beyond belief for not going to the box on Tuesdays because even though I love Todd (and Cindy) I do not love Filthy Fifty. I don’t remember how much I scaled it the last time, but I was happy to not have to worry about that this week. Happy birthday, Todd.

I do go to the box on Wednesdays and so I went today. I won’t be back at the 6 AM time slot until next week. I was very excited to see Ricky’s car in the parking lot. I got to say goodbye to him. He took a job with the US Marshalls and will be leaving for training on Monday. After training he will be working out of Washington, D.C. He started at the box just a few months after I did but not in anywhere near the same shape as me. Former Marine, younger than my baby, great shape.

He has supported, kidded, joked, teased, and been happy with my successes for a year and a half. I will miss him and his sense of snide humor. I will be the last of the original 6 AMers. Candace is still there, but she works out at 5 AM now. There is a new group of people, but … things just keep changing. Good luck in all you do, Ricky. And stay safe.

We warmed up and learned some new progressions for both the pull-up and the push-up. There will be no more kipping until you have a strict pull-up on the board. No more wormy push-ups allowed. There are progressions for each of these and they will be acceptable substitutions until we get strong enough to do the proscribed moves. I’m good with that.

Today’s WOD as written:
Back Squat 3 @ 80% / 3 @ 85% / 3 @ 90%
(add 5 lbs to max and recalculate %)
then
2K row for time

I wore slightly high heel shoes for the last two days. It’s only like an inch or less, but they aren’t really flats. I also did a bunch of cleans on Monday with higher than normal weight. I have no idea what happened, but by the time I was walking to the parking garage last night, I was having pains in both knees right behind the patella. It was annoying and stopped if I didn’t move.

This morning on the warm-up, my knees were doing okay. But after the first ten warm-up back squats, my left knee was pinging in there. I decided to see if it would work out. I added some weights to the bar and tried again and it seemed less annoying. So I went ahead and did the three at 83, 88, and 93 pounds. Adding 5% to low numbers and then having only a certain amount of weight to adjust the bar doesn’t leave much room for increasing my numbers. But I did get all the reps done but I can’t really promise, guarantee, or swear on a Bible that I broke parallel on the last one.

I know it is hard to believe, but I was whining about the row. It is such a mindless thing and it takes me for freaking ever to get done. I have never broken a 5 minute 1k so I was hoping to not be still rowing when everyone else was already home and half way through breakfast.

Since we had the rowers set to count backwards and post the time when finished, we didn’t all need to start together. I was done with my back squats and so I started the row while others were doing their last set or putting their equipment away.

I was hoping to get in under twelve minutes. Cindy was hoping for less than ten. Todd and Ricky did not mention what their goals were. We stagger started but we were all finished within a minute or so of each other. Ricky was done in 7.15. Todd finished with a number where he was happy, under 8 minutes. Cindy not only was less than ten minutes, but less than nine. Me? I finished at 10.51.4. I did not break a five minute 1k mark, but I beat a 5.5 minute pace. The last time I did this (that I can find) my time was 11.29 so I’m better than that which is the true goal of CrossFit – being better than you were before.

My heart rate when I finished was 175 and I was dripping. I don’t usually work that long without pause. We went for a cool down stroll through the parking lot. As I wrote my score on the board, I put a nice RX after the time. I so rarely get to do that, so I take every chance. I don’t know how one would have scaled this, but I didn’t. Then it was time to say goodbye to Ricky and go home.

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The weekend was a whirlwind of activity and hot, to boot. I was so tired last night that I was in bed before 9.30 and fell asleep like a rock – right up until 3.02 when I was awake. I tried valiantly to go back to sleep, but that never works. So I tossed and turned until the alarm went off, and then I headed for the box.

They were busy over the weekend, too. The new bathrooms are ready although the showers aren’t in yet. But we have a nice, clean, spacious place with really nice sinks. Apparently the most expensive thing in there was the fixtures for the sinks due to the great finds on Craigslist and construction help. It looks wonderful.

We warmed up with a short run and then lots of shoulder heat up stuff. I was warm and happy and Cindy kept saying she was not warm at all, so we got to warm up some more. Thanks, Cindy.

I spent the weekend watching spectacular athletes do fantastic things. They were awe-inspiring. I was talking with a couple of the guys and their wives couldn’t come become each was just weeks away from meeting their first child in person. My first child was running the event.

Then it was back to today and there I was, same old person who is not quite up to spectacular although I do believe it is quite amazing that I actually am a CrossFitter.

Today’s WOD as written:
Strict Press 3 @ 80% – 3 @ 85% – 3 @ 90
(add 5 lbs to max and recalculate %)
8 minute AMRAP
5 power cleans
parking lot sprint

My strict press weight is so low and I’m so not good at this so I kept my weights the same because – math. But I did two sets of ten reps with just the 22# bar before I did the three reps each at 32, 37, and 42. I got them all but that last set was really difficult.

It has been so long since I’ve done power cleans that I don’t really know what my one rep max is. This was supposed to be about 80% of whatever that would be, so rather heavy. But they were also to be done unbroken. So, whatever weight that would be would be a total crap shoot for me.

I discussed this with Coach Ryan and said I would like to try a heavier weight but I might have to strip some from the bar. I know Craig hates that. Pick a weight and work with it. But if I knew I had to do that, I would be a weenie and pick a lighter weight. Instead, I went with 57# and hoped for the best.

Ryan also cut my reps to 3 and I ran a shorter distance. But the deal was, I had to run it. Since it was shorter, I could rest before the next set of cleans and get my heart rate down.

I got the first round done and my heart rate was only 148 so I started the next and once I started, I had to finish. By then I was at 168 and so I rested. That seemed to work. By the end of the sixth round, I was feeling like I could puke and my heart rate was staying high so I sat on the ground. That gets my heart rate down quicker which usually makes me feel less pukey. It worked.

I sat for about 7 – 10 seconds between rounds and then started again. Time was running out. I wanted to get a whole round in so I started and got back with ten seconds left and a heart rate too high. I took two deep breaths and got two more cleans before time was called. My heart rate was 174.

Ryan and I want to start a company making t-shirts for old farts. Could be call Coot Clothes or something. They could have things printed on them like “This could be my last rep” or maybe “I’ve fallen and got back up” or anything like that. We might just as well have fun with my age since I don’t appear to be getting any younger.

All in all, I’m not ready for the garage games yet. But I’m an awesome old lady who keeps going back and I’m moving more weight and doing more things than most old ladies and decidedly more than when I started, so I need to be happy with that.

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Another I CAN Games in the books. Another great event. Another time to be able to watch nearly 200 athletes working hard over the course of two days.

The first day was individuals and there were plenty of chances for me to say to myself, “I cannot believe how great these guys are.” They did amazing, amazing things out there.

One of the workouts was a sixty second cap which sounds like it should be easy. It proved to be one of the most fun workouts. There were a series of ever increasing weight Atlas stones. There were a series of towers built of boxes with weight plates and they got progressively shorter. The stones were on the path and the boxes were closer and closer to the path as the weights increased. When you got the last, heaviest stone, the box was conveniently handy right there so you didn’t have to walk around with a 250 pound boulder in your hands. It was way cool.

The most amazing thing, in my opinion, was the sheer fact of doing four workouts during one day as the temperature kept climbing. By the middle of the afternoon while competing in an 11 minute AMRAP, the temp was 96⁰ with a heat index of 106⁰.

I was under a tent so in the shade. I was just sitting. I was melting. I can’t imagine being in the sun and working so hard. They were doing pistols (can’t do those), ground to overhead (more weight than I can move), over the bar burpees (just nasty), and double unders (with a chance to sub on the scaled for single unders instead). I got overheated just reading the dang thing.

The top five competitors in the RX division then got to compete in a playoff, winner-take-all event. This was a series of diminishing numbers of thrusters with hand stand walks and then increasing distance for sprints with three rounds beginning with 9 then 6, and lastly 3 thrusters. The weight on those thrusters was 155 for men and 115 for women. Daunting.

Even with all this, we managed to keep everything on time and the award ceremonies were begun at 3 PM.

Dick and I were so hot we had the air conditioning on full blast all the way back to Craig and Dayna’s house. I got to take a shower first because Dick is always nice to me. I felt almost alive again.

We managed to stay awake until sunset, but just barely.

Then back to the park for day two and the teams events. Again, there were four workouts, and again they started in the water and then moved back to the park itself. It was a cooler day and it stayed that way until about 1.30 or so.

After lunch a bunch of clouds rolled in and it looked like we might get rained on. Instead, there was merciful shade out on the field. The last team WOD was again called the Determination WOD. How much determination did you have. There was strategy involved, too. Higher weight and lower rep count or lower weight and higher rep count? And there was an unknowable … what would the buy in be?

It ended up being a partner carry and then a series of moves to be completed by each team member and then another partner carry. The fastest time for this was 18 minutes and something while the longest time was 30 minutes and something. The first group was lucky enough to have cloud cover. Then the clouds burned off and we were back to clear skies and now 92⁰ with a heat index of 96⁰ which was still a damn sight better than the day before.

The award ceremonies were held at 3 PM and a bunch of tired people were happy to put another one in the books. I thought it was fun and amazing, awe-inspiring and thrilling. One of the best things to hear was the cheering along the sidelines, not just by friends or family, but by all the competitors as well. The sportsmanship and the spirit of encouragement under such trying circumstances was a thing of beauty.

As an added bonus, I not only RXd the scoring this year, but got a PR in that I didn’t make any mistakes. This was probably because Sara and I are getting to be quite practiced at it and had a real system which worked well the entire weekend.

Thanks Conviction Training Facility, home of CrossFit Hilton Head. It was great.

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Random athlete moving an Atlas stone.

I am a writer. I’ve always loved words and even before kissing the Blarney Stone, they spewed forth with amazing speed. I have my words scattered around the internet here and there and am published in a few places. Words are my avocation. I offered to help with any word stuff for CrossFit Summerville and was asked earlier this week to write up something about doing a WOD in the park during Summerville’s Third Thursday event.

I’ve been stewing about it ever since. I want to be more active in my participation. I want to actually be involved and be a jock and be one of the regular folks at the box. I’m scared shitless by this stuff. The people in my time slot are pretty regular so I’m not exposed to many people other than those that know me and my limitations. But I’ve been going to open gym more often. More of the people there know me and are kind and supportive.

But going out in public, old and all that stuff, was scaring me. I know too many people in town and didn’t want anyone I know to see me having to scale everything back and I always have to scale everything back. And I wasn’t sure how many CrossFitters would be there who didn’t know me and I would have to look like some kind of nut there.

I went.

I sent a message to Kim today to ask her to please bring along weenie weights, if there was going to be weights, so that I wouldn’t have to be a total ass. She assured me all would be well. So, I’ve been a little edgy all day but we both went to beautiful historic downtown Summerville for this event. The box people got to meet my husband and he got to put some faces to the people I talk about all the time.

It was a semi-shaded spot and the temperature was a balmy 91⁰ with a heat index of 95. Every once in a while there would be a soft breeze. I was melting before we were done with the warm-up.

Today’s WOD as written:
3 rounds
40 KBS
20 Slam balls
15 sit ups
2 min rest between rounds

Using cell phone clocks to get our minutes of rest timed was the trickiest part. I grabbed the 25# KB and used a 25# slam ball. I had a towel near my abmat for the sit-ups hoping to not get my clothes grass stained. Cory thought that was a good idea and emulated it.

I knew I couldn’t manage that rep scheme. I figured I would cut the kettlebell swings and the slam balls in half and do the sit-ups as written since they were actually no big deal. I did the first round that way. I got all 20 kettlebell swings done before I stopped and I wasn’t feeling bad, but my heart rate was 178. I knew I couldn’t start the slam balls like that. I waited. And waited. And waited some more. I got to 168 and figured I could wait until the cows came home or I could get back to work. I did the ten slam balls and got to work on the sit-ups. I called for time and knew I had two minutes to rest and try to get my heart rate back under 150.

I accosted Ryan to ask what I should do. If my heart rate was that high when it had been low to start, I was thinking I might not like the next round at all. Cheri, who I believe is a nurse, said I didn’t die with a heart rate of 178 and so it must be all right. I don’t know if she works CCU or not, but I did and I didn’t think it was the best plan. But … I could rest more.

Ryan said to cut back to 15 and 5 and keep the sit-ups. I did the next two rounds with the KB broken in half with eight and then seven. And then I did the slam balls and the sit-ups and hoped like hell I didn’t puke in the middle of the park. I didn’t, but it was tempting. I finished in 12.55, one of the first to be done since I had scaled it back so far.

Everyone got finished and Dick and I left and went to the Greek restaurant and apparently I didn’t look too good since a couple people asked if I was okay. I was beet red and had grass on my back. I was breathing hard and dripping sweat. I explained that I had been working out in the park. We got sat down. My water was hot since it had assumed room temperature out there and that was 91⁰ which is a little warm. I asked for ice water as soon as we were seated. I was brought her biggest cup of water, I would guess 32 ounces.

We had a lovely dinner and I went through two of the glasses of water. We had dessert and then I went to see if they were still working the 6 PM class but they had just finished before I got back. I guess I shouldn’t have had dessert.

I made it through the WOD. I had to scale more than I thought I might, but I didn’t die or puke or even pass out. I also didn’t see anyone I knew, although I have no idea if anyone I knew saw me since I was working too hard to be scanning the crowd.

I would have liked to have been strong enough to stick with that 20/10 rep scheme but I liked even more that I didn’t throw up in a public place.

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I know that mobilization is important even for young folks. So for old farts, it is essential. You would think that being of above average intelligence and having this information at hand, it would be easy to simply take the time each day to do this. You would think that and you would be wrong. Night before last, I didn’t even give it a thought until I was climbing into bed at 10.30 and by then it was too late. Last evening, I thought of it at 8 PM and managed to get some of the soreness from the overhead work taken care of. Much smarter. I really wish I was that smart all the time.

I still haven’t decided on whether or not to take a chance on public humiliation or not. Today’s experience didn’t help me come to a final decision. I looked at the WOD last night and was trying to decide how weenie I am and should I knock off the first ten of each move. 45 kettlebell swings would be a lot of work. But could I do 55?

I was up in the middle of the night for at least an hour and this was part of the constant talk inside my head that kept me awake. How much can I do and how much should I push? It wasn’t the whole thing, but I did take time to consider this at 1 AM because … why not?

It was very difficult to wake up when the alarm went off because of all the time I forgot to sleep during the night. But I made it to the box and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing in the parking lot. There were barbells hitting the floor. Why in the name of all that is holy would there be barbells hitting the floor. I walked inside.

People were jumping on boxes and climbing ropes and doing all manner of things there were not kettlebell swings and pull-ups. What fresh new hell was this?

Today’s WOD as written:
Back squat 5@75% 5@80% 5@85% (add 5 lbs to max and recalculate %)
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
KBS (2p/1.5 p)
Strict pull ups

Instead

Today’s WOD as really:
Back squat 5@75% 5@80% 5@85% (add 5 lbs to max and recalculate %)
“Charleston 9″
9 Rounds For Time
3 Rope Ascents
6 HSPU
9 Box Jumps (30/24)
6 Toes to Bar
3 Dead Lift (275/225)

June 18th 2007 a fire in Charleston, SC claimed the lives of 9 firefighters after a flashover and structural collapse.
From the time of the initial call to the collapse was 37 minutes.  
“The Charleston 9″
Captain Louis Mulkey
Captain Mike Benke
Firefighter Melven Champaign
Captain Billy Hutchinson
Engineer Brad Baity
Firefighter Earl Drayton
Engineer Mark Kelsey
Engineer Michael French
Firefighter Brandon Thompson

First the back squats. They were killing me today. I did the math at home last night and was supposed to do 81, 86, and 92 pounds. Since we don’t have weights that allow for that, I did 82, 87, and 92 pounds. I have no idea why, but I was simply failing at this. I could get four reps in and then stop and on the 92 pounds I only got 3 reps in before failure. I think I was panicking about the hero WOD and not being a hero and not yet having determined who would do what. I was trying to sell Ricky on him doing ⅔ and me doing ⅓ but he wasn’t buying it. He should have.

I have all the above information about this WOD because we did this last year. Back then, I was partnered with Sabre and Cindy and Todd were working together. Today, Cindy and I were a team and Todd was working with Dave. Brent worked alone and did five rounds and Ricky, like last year, was still working, doing it solo and RX, when I left at 7.08.

I did exactly no moves as written. We were given an option of angle pull-ups with a 5:1 ratio and we took that. Cindy can do HSPU but I can’t and was allowed to do regular ones. I used a couple abmats and did strict without worming ones. I used a 14” box for the jumps while Cindy did 24” and we both had to do knees as high as we could manage for the toes to bar. My deadlift weight was 92# and I’m not sure what was on Cindy’s bar.

The plan was for me to do 8 and Cindy 7 of the angle pull-ups, split the push-ups in half, me do 4 and her 5 of the box jumps, split the knees to elbows, and me do 1 and her 2 of the deadlift. But, her hands weren’t liking the angle pull-ups so after the first round, I did ten and she did five. That worked until round eight when I was simply losing steam. I could get the first five, but was pooped. So if she did five, I would have enough steam for another five. She did six instead and I did the last four. Then she did four HSPU and I did two and the rest was as we had decided. We were done in 22.20 which was spectacular. But even more important, we were done before Todd and Dave which for Cindy is always the real goal.

I was so tempted to just turn around and walk out of there this morning. But I was so exhausted and had woken up specifically to get a workout in and it is all scalable and I was already there and any number of other reasons. I’m so glad I stayed. When I look back to a year ago, I was using much less weight on the deadlifts, a shorter box, my knees weren’t anywhere near as high, and my time was 25.21. Cindy should be happy as well since her time last year was 31 minutes +. So we worked really hard and have both improved since last year. Thanks to all first responders who put their lives on the line so the rest of us don’t have to.

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