Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

You might think the StuLu send-off is a cinch. A turkey shoot. Cherry pie. Fill this space with some spandex jokes, a couple of “Fran” references and several come-ons, and you have a proven winner. It isn’t nearly that simple, though, nor should it be.

StuLu walked into MPH on the sunny, hot, late afternoon of August 3 last year, exactly one week after we opened our doors, and on the first day they were open to the general public. At the time, he was still working with Dave R. across the street. Loyalty to Dave in tact, he burst into our place that day looking like a kid on [insert holiday here] morning, or as we’re sure he looked on that fateful night in Bangkok years ago. Eyes wide and smiling from ear to ear, he introduced himself, paced the workout floor and said three things: “I’m so glad you guys are here. How do I sign up? I’m not sure how often I’ll workout here, but I want you to succeed—you must succeed.”

Later that evening, we received an email from him with a document, the likes of which we’ve never seen elsewhere, containing all of his lifts and workout times. Attached to those copious records was the following message:

“I am really excited to have met you both and to finally bring my Crossfit [out] after years of being pretty much alone in my pursuit. It will be great to work out with others (who will be inevitably much better than I) to encourage some stronger pushes on my part. And, I can’t believe the good fortune that you are right next door…”

We still have a hard time articulating the experience of our first day as business owners—the excitement, energy and fear. But, when StuLu came through our front door, we felt…validated. Confident, even. Like the chance we took on a great unknown might actually work.

What followed over the next year was, and remains, an incredible journey. StuLu pushes us to be better coaches, business owners and people. He drives you to be better athletes, friends and communicators. He often makes all of us think (and wonder if he’s crazy serious), consider the alternatives in life, and laugh—laugh and laugh. Many have felt comfortable trying other CrossFit gyms while traveling because of his own reviews. Most have felt his booming, imploring exclamation to finish the workout we do not want to, nor think we can (and then we do). All of us he has introduced himself to. All of us listen when he speaks, and stop whatever we’re doing to read when his name shows up in the day’s comments.

It’s no secret, at least because we have said it many times: meeting StuLu was one of the best things to happen to us, then and now; from his storied entrance into our community…through the excitement of his unexpected appearance at sectionals in March and support during the Regional qualifier in May…until 7p tonight. It crushes us to lose his regular presence, because he is the rare breed—a husband, a father, a business owner and entrepreneur, a hockey devotee, an athlete, a writer, a thinker; our chief apostle, your biggest fan and a dear friend to us all.

Good luck in Annapolis, StuLu. May MPH always be your home and your “Fran” be faster (actually, today would be a fantastic time for that last part).

–Melody, Rebekka and John

The Auctioneer
for time:
thruster @ 95/65-lbs.

+ motivational debt

  • if completed in three minutes or less, then stop
  • if completed between three and five minutes, then:
    • 9-6-3
      • sumo deadlift high-pull
      • burpee
  • if completed between five and seven minutes, then:
    • 12-9-6
      • sumo deadlift high-pull
      • burpee
  • if completed between seven and 10 minutes, then:
    • 15-12-9
      • sumo deadlift high-pull
      • burpee
  • if completed in 10 minutes or more, then:
    • 18-15-12
      • sumo deadlift high-pull
      • burpee
    • + 1-mile run

In this workout, the clock does not stop until the motivational debt is completed.

This workout is scored by the “Fran” time and total time.


  1. tubameat | July 14, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Quite possibly the most masochistic (read: fun) wod I have ever seen. No better way to send off our beloved Stulu. Salmon loading has already begun in preparation. I will miss his attitude, his eloquence, his hair and most of all, his pecs.

    keep squattin’

    Steve D


  2. Jet | July 14, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Well played coaches, well played. This is an excellent workout to send stulu out on and a great way to try and force him past his over- ten min barrier. Godspeed stu.

  3. Mrs. F | July 15, 2010 at 6:34 am

    I can’t be there for today’s WOD, StuLu, but this looks pretty motivating, and downright AWESOME! Have fun, and God-speed.

  4. K-Lo | July 15, 2010 at 8:19 am

    I posted this on the paleo blog earlier this week. The link below is a good source for customized energy bars, trail mix and a few other items. They provide ingredient lists and nutritional information for each of the items they offer as ingredients for the bars. The protein/nut bars come individually wrapped, in multiple bar sizes and they cost approximately the same as a box of Lara or Clif bars. If you don’t like your creation you can return it.

    • Erez | July 15, 2010 at 10:53 am

      Thanks for posting.

  5. Rob | July 15, 2010 at 8:50 am

    I feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach. So thanks Stu, I guess. πŸ™‚

  6. BrianT | July 15, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Stu: Thanks for getting us started this morning. Best wishes in Annapolis. I’m there most weekends and try to sneak over one evening during the week; come out for a sail – we can do some burpees and freek everyone out.

  7. TinkWants2GetStronger | July 15, 2010 at 9:54 am

    StuLu, now I already wrote a note on FB, but i’m covering my bases and posting one here to…kick Fran’s ass or as you do as you do, feel her up and have your way with her! πŸ˜€ whichever the case, All the best!

  8. Erez | July 15, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Dave R., that first cutoff is yours. Do it.

  9. jacinto | July 15, 2010 at 11:35 am


    Good luck at the new box. We will be stalking Crossfit Annapolis’ blog for your comments and pictures. Well, we don’t know if we want any more StuLu pictures, but the comments will be great. Crossfit Annapolis has no idea of what it is getting.

    We forgive you for stealing our idea of traveling the world to visit Crossfits. We worked out at Crossfit Nordic in Stockholm a few weeks ago. They had no idea of who you were.

    While we saw your farewell letter making fun of Dallas, we want you to know that Lululemon Dallas sponsors Crossfit here and even put Crossfit’s bumpers, a (training) bar, and rings in their display window hoping to siphon off some of our badassness.

    -Jason and Joanna from the boy band J2

  10. The Dominator | July 15, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Wow. I have been trying all morning to put into words how I am feeling about this morning, but I think words escape me. I could never describe how much I appreciate the support I got during this morning’s WOL (workout of my life). I cannot remember ever pushing myself physically like I did this morning. I have been thinking about how to close the mind-body gap and having the 6a team on my side clearly made all the difference. You impress and inspire me every day. Thank you to BK, John and all those who stayed behind to help me rally.

    StuLu, who knew you brought out my best? Must be the pecs. Safe travels.


  11. aschneidau | July 15, 2010 at 11:44 am

    StuLu, I will miss you a whole bunch!! Good luck in Annapolis and I hope to see you there! Amy S

  12. ChuderFace | July 15, 2010 at 1:29 pm


    On more than one occasion, I have walked into MPH with a heavy head only to have it lifted by the sight of you in perfectly coordinated Lululemon. I will truly miss hearing your billowing voice emphasize witty and naughty phrases that made all the girls blush – especially Mrs. F.

    Know this: whenever a gentle breeze or a sudden encounter with static electricity causes my hair to stand on end, I shall think of you, my friend. Good luck in Annapolis. Show those Navy cadets how sexy is done.



    • ChuderFace | July 15, 2010 at 3:24 pm

      Please forgive the typos in my farewell post; I mean no offense.

  13. b-kay | July 15, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Rob K.: 6:04, 19:56
    Borja G.: 7:58, 18:52
    Sara S.: 8:04, 17:33 (20-lb. dbs; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, blue)
    Bill M.: 7:18, 15:38 (25-lb. dbs; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, red)
    Keena S.: 6:03, 13:44 (45-lbs.; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, blue)
    Kris C.: 7:22, 14:19 (55-lbs.; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, red)
    Erin K.: 9:03, 17:41
    Robbie S.: 8:32, 18:21
    Teal B.: 10:30, 38:59 (25-lb. dbs; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, green)
    Tamra F.: 9:33, 17:59
    Jessy C.: 8:37, 18:07 (55-lbs.; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, red)
    Ted K.: 6:18, 10:21 (30-lb. dbs; sub: push press, deadlift, pushup)
    Erez Y.: 7:53, 17:01
    Neil A.: 6:59, 14:33
    Josh O.: 6:59, 13:04
    Brian T.: 7:32, 15:53 (75-lbs.)
    David O.: 8:56, 22:12
    Amy D.: 6:06, 11:51 (55-lbs.; sub: push press, jump-stretch pull-up, red, deadlift)
    Luke D.: 8:42, 17:29 (75-lbs.)
    Katie M.: 7:08, 14:37 (45-lbs.; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, blue)
    Jeremy N.: 6:24, 12:21
    Joe P.: 5:40, 12:11
    Jessica H.: 7:32, 15:07
    Drew P.: 8:26, 17:56 (20-lb. dbs; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, blue)
    Ralph B.: 9:06, 18:33 (20-lb. dbs; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, blue)
    Johnny A.: 6:26, 14:14 (75-lbs.; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, green)
    Roselena R.: 7:37, 12:05 (55-lbs.; sub: front squat, pushup, deadlift)
    John S.: 8:33, 19:17 (75-lbs.)
    Bill S.: 6:10, 12:13 (55-lbs.; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, blue)
    Jim M.: 9:46, 21:17 (55-lbs.; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, blue, front squat)
    Christine S.: 4:54, 8:56 (25-lb. dbs; sub: 1x bodyrow)
    David S.: 9:22, 18:19 (75-lbs.)
    Thomas M.: 7:50, 17:12 (85-lbs.)
    Joe P.: 11:18, 49:16 (65-lbs.; sub: 1x bodyrow)
    Marco M.: 8:18, 18:38 (65-lbs.)
    Sidra C.: 9:36, 19:21
    Mark C.: 13:22 (35-lbs.; sub: 1x bodyrow; no debt)
    Dave R.: 3:23 (sub: push press; no debt)
    Andrew R.: 9:58, 18:57 (65-lbs.)
    Brent W.: 6:10, 13:58 (45-lbs.; sub: 1x bodyrow)
    Sean F.: 6:38, 12:34 (75-lbs.)
    Steve D.: 5:13, 11:09
    Koji H.: 10:47, 36:18 (75-lbs.)
    Meghan M.: 5:35, 10:38
    Anna H.: 7:47, 17:55 (35-lbs.; sub: 1x bodyrow)
    StuLu.: 14:19, 43:27
    Adam F.: 7:07, 15:40 (20-lb. dbs; sub: 1x bodyrow)
    Todd C.: 5:01, 9:40 (20-lb. dbs; sub: 1x bodyrow)
    April H.: 18:30 (15-lb. dbs; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, green; no debt)
    Shana S.: 7:33, 17:03 (45-lbs.; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, red)
    Ryan B.: 8:04, 14:30 (35-lbs.; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, green)
    Susanna B.: 8:41, 21:34 (65-lbs.; sub: 1x bodyrow)
    Anne M.: 9:01 (15-lb. dbs; sub: 1x bodyrow; no debt)
    Jen O.: 6:20, 14:12 (20-lb. dbs; sub: 1x bodyrow)
    John B.: 9:11, 16:48 (65-lbs.; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, red)
    Antonio G.: 6:09, 11:39 (135-lbs.; sub: deadlift, pushup)
    Leota B.: 7:58, 17:41 (45-lbs.; sub: jump-stretch pull-up, blue)

    • Jen M. | July 15, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      Is that three ladies I see with sub10 as RX’d times? πŸ™‚ Way to go Tamra, Jess and Sid!!!

      • Jen M. | July 15, 2010 at 2:01 pm

        oops spoke too soon… Erin too! πŸ™‚ way to go!

    • Jet | July 15, 2010 at 3:07 pm

      When Stulu gets under 10 tonight…will the Fran “rule” be broken and we can speak her name freely?

      • coach | July 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm

        You know, Sid, the “Fran” rule leaves with StuLu tonight no matter what. But, don’t think I’ve lowered my expectations, or ever would.

        Out with the old, in with the new—maybe we’ll have a new-ridiculous-rule contest, or something.


        • Jet | July 15, 2010 at 4:06 pm

          I would be suprised if the words “lowered my expectations” have even been spoken inside the walls of MPH. Greatness is expected everyday. That’s why I changed my post from “if” Stulu breaks 10 mins tonight to “when” Stulu. I expect nothing but greatness from Stulu on his last day.

        • Rob | July 15, 2010 at 4:42 pm

          How about if people say “WOD” as if it’s a word, then we have to do Helen. Or really any rule that requires us to do Helen.

  14. Jet | July 15, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Wow T, our times are pretty close. Next time we should have a Fran showdown. And by that I mean do it together so we can cheer each other on.

    This workout was awesome, way to go everyone who did it as Rx’d (and to everyone who finished in general). Doing Fran and then doing another workout right after it is no easy task.

    • TinkWants2GetStronger | July 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm

      I’m with Sid, the double whammy Fran was a killer, good job to all!
      Hmmm, let’s see we’ve got Fran Lite (at half the weight), Narf, regular ‘ol Fran and now we’ve got this Fran! sheesh! πŸ˜€

      • Rob | July 15, 2010 at 4:43 pm

        Don’t forget Heavy Fran, which is really not fun.

  15. joepap | July 15, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    First, good luck Stulu and I’ll see you at the Caps games when we can finally meet in person πŸ™‚

    Secondly, coach asked me to reflect on my day here at MPH. I don’t think he meant for me to openly reflect, but I have a story to share anyway…

    Three New Years eves ago I was working overtime at engine 22 (not my regularly assigned house) all the way up at Georgia at Missouri. I had just transported a patient to providence hospital and was riding back to the house…it was 2am on new years day. My driver turned to me and said, you smell something? I said, smells like your brakes…and dismissed it. We got back to the firehouse and I put my stuff back on the Engine and headed up to bed. As soon as I sat on my bunk, the alert went off for a fire near where we just were.

    We headed out the door. It was a reported basement fire with people trapped. We were the second due engine company (which means we go to the rear and the basement is our responsibility). I know it was gonna be off, we obviously smelled it a few minutes ago. My job that day was a backup position. We stop at the hydrant and I connect the hose. Its a windy tight alley that T’s and I ran up ahead of the engine to start forcing the basement door. Luckily some fireman from the rescue squad were there already getting in. A rookie was on the line (he is responsible for putting the fire out) and I had a Sergeant that this was just promoted last tour.

    The squad gets the basement door open and the rookie goes in. Reports from the front is that they have heavy fire blowing out the basement windows and the whole first floor is off too. Its gonna be a good fire. Nice chocolate smoke is pushing out the basement door and the rookie starts to go in. I’m right behind him humping hose. The first room is a ‘wet room’, washer dryer etc…. Its hot, we’re on our knees. The hose gets charged with water. Myself and the Sgt start telling the kid to open the line and start hitting the fire coming at us down the hallway. The rookie tells us he doesn’t have the line anymore and at that point I can feel him crawling over me bailing out of the hosue. There is hose everywhere and me and the sgt are looking for the nozzle so we can get a handle on this. We’re on our bellies and its getting nasty and the sgt tells me its time to back out. I ask for one last shot and dove forward and finally found the nozzle and just laid on floor for what seemed like minutes trying to get a handle on the fire. Its pack rat conditions inside and I’m already beat to hell. Every time I try to get up on my knees I slip back down. I hear over the radio they found two elderly people on the second floor. (both ended up dying later that day πŸ™ ) We make it down the hallway, I knock one room down with the Sgt backing me up….we go forward. I can hear someone near the stairs (stairs are all burnt out too) telling me I still have a room in front of me that’s on fire. I try to get up…and keep falling and don’t have the energy to crawl –crap all over the floor, just can’t do it. I’m exhausted. I try to tell the sgt to take the line and finish the job. Handing the line over to someone is not something we do. Its PRIDE, finish the job. I was done. Nothing left. My sgt told me to let our backup engine company pass me and let them finish this off. I hugged the wall and they snuck by on their knees and put the last bedroom out. Me and the sgt backed out and took our crap off to catch our breath.

    The driver of the engine came up to me and thanked me immensely for ‘saving face’ for his company. His rookie bailed and we could have easily backed out and let the next company do it. These were praises I did not deserve….I was more embarrassed than I’ve ever been.

    For those of you that don’t know what you have in this city, you have one of the best fire departments in the country at your service. I’m not saying that cause I’m on the department. There are only literally a handfull of departments left in the country that are as aggressive fighting fire as we are…Detroit, St Louis, Phila, and Camden are a few others. We are super competitive from fire house to fire house. You don’t find this in NYC or other places. When you get a fire in your area, its yours to put out and its your job. I was lucky and assigned to a great house. We often ran right by other companies and put their fires out without skipping a beat. People hated seeing us coming, hearing the words “fuck, 11’s here already?” meant we had a shot to beat them. We drilled and practiced all the time to get good at our job.

    The worse part about the story above is that I had to let the company I was normally assigned to (on a different shift) pass by ME and finish the job. Humiliation.

    I was at the heaviest I’d ever been: 270. I vowed to change that. I did. I worked out, ate better, lost some weight. I plateaued and then found a diet. I lost 70lbs (in 3, 3.5 months) and was down to 190. (The diet was horrible for me though….pretty much starved myself and ate vegan).

    Everything was better….work was easier, everybody was saying something about the weight loss….even booty called a girl I had done when I was heavy and …well that was a good night. I got off the diet and just couldn’t control the eating and I stopped working out. It took the last year, but I finally got back up to 275. Then I found you, all of you–not just the box.

    I’ve had good days and I’ve had several bad days. I looked at the workout at home and thought, I got this…4-5 mins maybe? The warmup crushed me, damn burpees. After the coaches little pep talk I still had confidence. Got the bar up and did two and realized this was gonna suck and I wouldn’t finish. I quit in my head. My front squats suck… (flexibility) and the bar doesn’t even rest on my shoulders. So I gave up. Just wanted to walk out. Needless to say, coach saw it all and got in my shit. Coach insisted he was not letting me quit and would stay there all day till I did it out. I knew it was bad when Dave (with one leg–you’re an f-in warrior dude) finished before I was done with my first set. The motivation debt started and well, it wasn’t pretty. Almost ran to the trash to throw up once…pretty sure I was a second away from fainting a few times… I”m pretty sure I was ready to burst into tears twice. Not because I can’t take the coach in my face, if that’s all he’s got he’s a little teddy bear. It was the fact that I was failing again, just like crawling down that hallway.

    Coach was nice enough to do the walk/jog with me. He told me that I don’t give myself enough credit and am more capable than I think I am. He’s right. Its so hard to accept though, I’ve always been the fatter guy. People don’t expect a lot out of you. So you don’t always push to the edge.

    Thanks for pushing me to the Edge today. Thanks to the athletes that waited it out with me, pushed me and shook my hand when I finished. Its not always just a workout….sometimes its shedding an old skin and brain, and letting a knew one grow in.

    DNF will never appear next to my name anymore. I won’t give up before I start. Hell, I won’t give up .

    Thanks again, its only been a short few months here, but I love this place and you. Thanks for a hard, but great day. Sorry for long post, but I needed to share.


    • Rob | July 15, 2010 at 7:29 pm

      Joe – awesome. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • CookingandLifting | July 15, 2010 at 8:33 pm

      Killer story, Joe. Regardless of where you may stand physically at the moment, that attitude would make me confident having you next to me fighting it out, be it a WOD or a fire. Stick with it and I know I’ll be cheering you on. Regardless of Crossfit prowess or fitness, I know my tail isn’t crawling into any houses on fire and the fact you go charging ahead puts you on a scoreboard so far ahead I can’t even see.

    • StuLu | July 15, 2010 at 9:23 pm

      Joe, Beautiful story…you have what it takes – and this community will give you more than you ever imagined in getting to a level beyond your imagination. Further, you will have a blast in the journey!

    • joshm08 | July 15, 2010 at 9:24 pm

      wow. amazing how everyone has a story to tell. thanks for sharing.

    • train2live | July 15, 2010 at 9:25 pm


      Awesome post!! Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring us all, but hey that’s what heroes do right! Shit man, you run into danger everyday of your life when others run away from it. Embrace that attitude when you perform the WOD each day. Proud to say I work out at the same gym as you.

      Dave 0.

  16. jwood30 | July 15, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Great story Joe!

  17. tubameat | July 15, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Joe. I’m so glad that you GET what this CrossFit thing is all about. It’s the workouts that crush us – physically, psychologically, emotionally, even – that we NEED the most. They are the workouts that toughen us, make us better people in and out of the box. Dealing with wod-induced discomfort enables us to deal with real-life-induced discomfort all that much better. I have experienced this myself – at work and in my personal life. Looking forward to my next wod with you.

    keep squattin’ (and eatin’ paleo!)

    Steve D

  18. StuLu | July 15, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    My Friends,

    Most I said in Sunday’s post. But a few last thoughts to bring this day to a close.

    Everything that is the defining aura of MPH came together tonight for a send-off that was one of the most memorable moments of my life. And believe me…I have some memories…but this one ranked right up there with the Bulgarian swingers who seduced me on a train from Istanbul. Painful similarities, but the love…oh the love.

    DId I fail today? No. I gained moments that will stay with me forever. So many victories were had – I don’t even know where to start. There was: John wearing a purple LuLu Lemon shirt, the wonderful people that showed up to watch with beverages and lawn chairs (they knew they were in for a long one with me), SteveD presenting me with a custom Tuba CD he made for Kinley…his music, Jeremy giving me an analysis of strategy for Fran a’la Bob Costas at an Olympic Ice Dancing event, DaveR showing up forty minutes before so that he could get a good seat, Meg telling me that my LuLu Lemon shirt was kinda representing Penguins colors, Jess running the video camera like a porn director (she never did provide me with a fluffer), and Sid in her heels and sexy dress giving me a push that was all at once very motivating and quite distracting.

    But, when it comes down to memories, perhaps nothing will compare to the final 1 mile run. Feeling as if I would collapse, I had SteveD, Meg, JoshO, and DaveO flank me the whole way. A dream team if there ever was one. DaveO in his business clothes running down the whole way with me barefoot – security tag flapping in the breeze (was your shirt pink Dave?) as people on P street looked at him as if he was crazy. SteveD yelling to me the whole way in between his screams to the restaurant patrons to “stop eating sugar and starch!” Josh (IceMan) running behind me and, as I stopped to walk, run into me and push me forward with his arms refusing to let me stop. And Meg, who finally admitted that she loves the Caps as I rounded Q St. (of course I was delirious at this point so it may be that she said she hated cauliflower and I would never know).

    Today I succeeded at something that few will ever know in our society today; camaraderie, loyalty, the willingness to give of oneself for nothing more than the joy of friendship.

    I love you all. All I can do now is to vow to never let you forget would it is that makes the MPH community so special.

    StuLu- Signing Out….

    • train2live | July 15, 2010 at 9:27 pm


      Shirt was bright pastel green. I would do it again in a heartbeat. What tremendous heart you displayed today! You inspire me my friend. I will miss you. All the best.

      Dave O

  19. TinkWants2GetStronger | July 15, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Thanks for the share Joe that was awesome.

  20. tbferg | July 15, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    So much to say.

    Joe P- thank you for sharing your story. You captured what it is we all love about this community. We all work our tails off, regardless of “level”, and we all are not only supported by the entire group, but also pushed to be better.

    Teal- it was an honor to finish with you this morning. My goal this morning was to NOT have to run the mile, but by the end, I wanted nothing more to do the mile with you. You really showed something today, and it was a good thing.

    StuLu- I think I’ve said most of I what I want to say to you, but some of it bears repeating: you’re an amazing human, and you will be missed.

    Finally, Sid- you, me, Fran – anywhere, anytime. But not tomorrow. Or next week. But any other time. Looking over the scores, there are several other face-off prospects. Neil and Josh O for a rematch? Can Erin catch Dave O? Think of the fun…


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