It was warmer this morning than it’s been recently. Great conditions at AO Tar Pit to get a sweat going. We did not disappoint!

WOR: Done in silence to honor the fallen on 9/11. We did some reps, but no talking, no count.

NOR: Beaker, Jolly, Shiplap, Cookies, DaVinci, Tortuga( Respect) Rainman, 8 Track, Katniss (Q)

*at this point our ironpax makeup group (Beaker and DaVinci) disappeared into the gloom to complete their mission. The rest of us moseyed to the top of the hill in front of the school, in front of the half mast American flag.*

Thang 1: The Rising

In 2002 Bruce Springsteen released an album about 9/11. We used the title track “The Rising” about the firefighters’ POV that morning – mixing side straddle hop, merkins, people’s chair during the verse and blockbees during the chorus.

The rest of the workout is inspired by lyrics from this song and the efforts of the 343 fireman we lost that day. “Lost track of how far I’ve gone. How far I’ve gone, how high I’ve climbed. On my back’s a sixty pound stone. On my shoulder a half mile of line.”

Thang 2: 343

The firefighters on September 11 climbed countless flights (110 in total) to reach victims in the Twin Towers. Their gear can weigh in excess of 75 lbs. Coincidentally, about the weight of two coupons.


Partner up.

Both partners must summit a staircase, but one partner must farmer carry two coupons to represent the 75lbs of firefighter gear.

Perform 343 cumulative reps together. Do this for 4 brutal exercises:


-Overhead press


-Block merkins

Reps may only be done at the summit of a staircase

Only a max of 50 reps per partner before you must descend and pick another staircase

Do not repeat the same staircase until you’ve done at least one other staircase.


We did not complete the 343×4, but it was grueling all the same. Some groups made it through about half the total rep count. I heard mumble chatter like “I bet this was so much worse inside of a burning building.” Aye. Let’s give those men thanks.

Also let it be known, Shiplap broke a coupon on his march back to the flags. He may or may not have been trying to wheel his coupon back on his rolling speaker and said “Why haven’t I tried this before?” right before it cracked into pieces.

Moleskin: A recent WSJ article memorialized Todd Beamer, hero from AA Flight 93 on 9/11 (the guy who said “Let’s roll!”). The Airfone operator Todd spent 14 minutes relaying information to on the ground remarked that at certain points, she questioned the urgency and authenticity of Todd’s call because his voice was calm and steady the entire time. What gives you calm in the storm? Family? Reading scripture? Working out? Whatever it is – do more of it.

COT: We praised SAGA’s recent success with his exam, prayed for a healthy and safe delivery of Shiplap’s 4th son, and thanked God for the beauty and peace we live in each day since the chaos of September 11, 2001. And prayed for a return of the unity we all felt on September 12.

Backblast 7/22 – Watermelon Olympics

As YHC planned the beatdown last night I felt anxious and lost: I had pre-blasted “No coupons needed”, but had never led a workout without coupons. I frantically brainstormed other heavy objects to fill the void. After a few minutes, the Watermelon Olympics was born. And a trip to the grocery store followed.

NOR: 14 PAX rolled into AO Mastodon at 5:30 AM for the sweet, seedless taste of olympic glory. Shiplap, Beaker, T-Bone (respect), SAGA, Big Mac, BOGO, Panda Express, Bloomer, Yankee, F-N-G (later ‘Boilermaker’), Webelos, Sparrow, Jailbreak, Katniss (Q).

WOR: 15 merkins IC, 10 Abe Vigotas IC, and a special musical exercise routine set to Harry Styles “Watermelon Sugar”. Anytime he sings a fruit (Strawberry, Watermelon) = merkin; Anytime he sings “high” = starjump. All other spots in the song = side straddle hop.

The Watermelon Olympics:
• PAX split up into two groups
• Each group received a large seeded watermelon to complete events with
• The Olympics would be composed of 4-5 events (depending on time)
• If any team breaks open their watermelon, they must swap it for a coupon for rest of workout
• The team with the most points from events at workout-end can feast on a SEEDLESS watermelon Q had stashed in the car.

Event 1: The watermelon mile
Each team runs a mile for time. The top three members of each team get their times recorded. But, one of those times must be a runner finishing with the watermelon. The watermelon can be handed off however team wants, but one runner must finish with it. The team whose three times added together is LESS = winner.

Event 2: The watermelon inch worm
Each team lines up single file line at base of Hoffa. The front man does 10 watermelon thrusters while men behind him plank. When front man completes thrusters, he does three “murder melons” (murder bunnies with water melon) and then runs to the back of the line while the men behind advance to his new higher position via bear crawl and a new man assumes front/thrusters. First team to the top = winner.

It was at this point that Team 1’s Sparrow BROKE THEIR WATERMELON WIDE OPEN. They substituted for a coupon for duration of the workout. Shame shame.

Event 3: Watermelon crawl
Each team bear crawls around Hoffa. Before all members finish they must complete 100 total burpees as a team. The watermelon must finish too. Whoever has the melon should “murder melon”. First team to the end wins. (We modified this to first man with watermelon wins and cut the distance by 25% to end at monkey bars)

Event 4: Melon Mary
Each team forms a circle. All men sit on their six and perform a mary exercise of their choice except the man holding the melon, who must do 20 Watermelon American Hammers and then pass to the next PAX. The team with the most cycles around their circle wins when time is called.

Event 5: Watermelon Curls (did not do due to time)
Each team forms a single file line. All PAX do burpees except a single PAX who must complete 20 watermelon curls and then pass to the next PAX. First team to pass the watermelon all the way down their line is winner.

COT: We named our new F-N-G “Boilermaker” due to his love for the University of Illinois (Purdue = arch nemesis). Welcome Boilermaker! We prayed for serenity, patience and direction for SAGA as he shoulders many burdens, Big Mac and M as they wrestle with the sheer parenthood challenge of being outnumbered by 2.0s, Webelos neighbor who had a recent debilitating injury and gave praise to all our PAX for health and motivation.

Backblast 6.30.21 “Just 300 reps”

Freewheelin’ frisbee field Wednesdays at Tar Pit came to a screeching halt with this morning’s beatdown, which found 7 PAX drenched in sweat by 6:15am.

NOR: Milk Duds (respect), T-bone (respect), Banks, Whittler, Noodles, TBTF, Katniss (Q)

WOR: 11x Abe Vigodas, 20x Slow Merkins, Michael Phelps, 5x Mucho Lego, Quad stretch

We moseyed with 2 sandbags (thanks Banks) and coupons over to the Southwest corner of the track where we settled in for our Thang

The Thang: Each PAX individually (OYO) completed “just 300 reps”.

• 100 Blockbees
• 100 Thrusters
• 100 Goblet squats

But a catch: three more rules applied:

• Completing 100 reps earned a lap around the track
• At least 1/4 of each 100-count set (aka 25) had to be completed with a sandbag
• Using WOD clock, 5 burpees every minute on the minute!!!

As the 6:15 deadline approached, Q modified rules to get 300 reps within reach. Eliminated burpees around 6:05am, eliminated laps around 6:08am, eliminated sandbags around 6:10am.

NOTE: This Q might have been realistic for a 1hr Saturday beatdown. With the modifications we had 1 PAX come within 10 reps of completing 300.

COT: Prayers for Whittler and T-bone’s new job prospects – give them strength and wisdom in interviews and decision-making. Prayers for Banks as he navigates sale and purchase of new home, inspection, etc. Praise for Noodles’ new hard-earned position in St. Charles and all the other blessings bestowed upon us all daily.

Backblast 6/4F Run Club

Twelve PAX arrived at AO-Ground Zero at 5:30. After some OYO light stretching, we departed.

The Thang: We ran North on the Prairie Path. Then, we turned around and ran South. Most did ~5miles.

COT: Prayers for Cooper’s healing and progress, SAGA’s knee, Noodles’ job search and Cookies’ as he and family prepare to transition to full time ministry.

NOR: Toto, Cheese (respect), SAGA, Da Vinci, T-bone (respect), Tortuga (respect), Binford, Banks, Shiplap, Jolly, Katniss (Q) and we even got to name a new F-N-G: “Gateway”

Backblast 5/20/21 – Mucho Leg’o

I’ve misplaced my beatdown Winkie so here goes from memory:

Twas a balmy Thursday morning at our beloved AO-Mastodon with 22 PAX in attendance for a promised “LEG DAY”. Coupons were required

NOR: Milk Duds (respect), Archive, Tortuga (respect), Heist, Sparrow, Da Vinci, Jolly, T-bone (respect), Whittler, SAGA, Beaker, Panda Express, Ralphy, Jailbreak, BOGO, Crack, Banks, Achtung, Aloha, Shiplap, Captain Crunch, Katniss (Q)

WOR: We warmed up with a mix of old favorites and leg exercises:
7X Motivators
15X Monkey Humpers
10X star jumps
Quad stretch (OYO)
15X Mucho Lego

The Thang:
PAX partnered up (duos). Assembled at base of Hoffa. This would be the starting position for each duo’s exercises.

Partner 1: Did broad jump burpees out to the lonely tree just beyond the path, then lunged back.

Partner 2: Did two exercises @ 50 reps each, then ran up and back down Hoffa. The exercises changed each round:

Round 1: 50 squats, 50 star jumps(?)
Round 2: 50 coupon squats, 50 thrusters
Round 3: 50 double coupon squats, farmer carry both blocks up Hoffa and back down.

If one partner beat the other back to original starting position, they did “Mucho Lego” until their teammate arrived.

When partner 1 and 2 met back at starting position, they swapped (so Partner 1 now did coupon exercises and Partner 2 did the broad jump burpees and lunges)

Most teams were finishing right on time. And Partner 1 and Partner 2’s cycles were fairly evenly matched timing-wise!

COT: Prayers for Cooper, Tortuga’s M, Sparrow’s friends Rasheed and (Friend 2) for continued progress and positive life decisions. Prayers for all recent grads that they find purpose and enjoyment in life post graduation.

Backblast: 4.27.21 – Four Summits

Eighteen PAX assembled at 5:30am, greeted by a setting April pink moon over AO Mastodon. Coupons were required and sleeveless tees were optional and donned by the brave.

NOR: T-bone (respect), Tortuga (respect), Panhandle, SAGA, Whittler, Hotbox, Gummi Bear, Banks, Babe, Crash (Hate), Crack, Sparrow, Big Mac, Cheese (respect), Beaker, Jolly, Cookies, Katniss (Q)


  1. Merkins IC – 15
  2. Squats IC – 15
  3. Overhead claps – 15

Drill Instructors

  • On your feet (stand)
  • On your six (butt)
  • On your face (high plank)
  • Down / Up (merkin)

Thang 1: The Four Summits

All PAX moseyed over to Hoffa with coupons in tow. We partnered up, with one partner in each pair lugging their coupon to the top of Hoffa (each partnership shared one coupon at top of Hoffa, one at bottom) as Q announced directions for the Thang.

It was similar to a Dora setup with partners each performing exercises on opposite ends of a circuit, then trading positions.

Partner 1: Completes one of the below before tagging partner at bottom of hill to switch.

  1. Merkin Summit – 50 block merkins + 30 “Ascending Testicles”
  2. Quads Summit – 50 thrusters + 30 squats
  3. Boulder shoulders Summit – 50 overhead press + 30 coupon lateral raises
  4. Triceps Summit – 50 standing skull crushers + 30 coupon dips

Partner 2:

  • He begins at bottom of hill by counting blockbee and big boy situp reps, AMRAP.
  • He keeps track of the cumulative rep count for each of the two exercises separately (and tells his partner each time they trade spots; e.g., “90 blockbees, 125 situps”)
  • He may switch between big boys and blockbees whenever he wants

The goal is for the partner duo to complete a total of 250 blockbees and 250 situps before time is called. If they don’t, they owe one Redrum (murder bunny up hill, 10 blockbees, rifle carry down) at end of the beatdown. (None of the duos completed this impossible feat, but one or two were within spitting distance once Q lowered the blockbee threshold to 200; alas, all did redrums)

Prayers for Bloomer’s son as he recovers from surgery and navigates rehabilitation
Prayers for T-bone’s family friend who recently passed, leaving behind 10 little ones.

Backblast Saturday 2/20/21 @ aoTarpit- Dante’s Inferno

Was the weather (3 degrees) too cold? Was the pre-blast too intense? We’ll never know why only 4 PAX showed at #AO-Tarpit for the promised 5:30am Saturday Inferno, but alas – only Gummi Bear, Tortuga, Shiplap and Katniss (Q) were brave enough.

YHC began the beatdown with a prologue – an introduction to this Q which was inspired by a college Lit course on Epics (aka really long books that follow the “Hero’s Journey” story arc). This morning we’d be sampling the first book in the Divine Comedy: Dante’s Inferno. In Inferno, Dante and poet Virgil take a guided tour through the 9 layers of H-E-double hockey sticks. Q promised that, true to the text, each layer of our guided beatdown would be progressively more punishing. Starting positions…move:

Ring 1: Limbo.
Here are those not vile enough for the lower levels of the inferno. These souls wander aimlessly alone in the caves of limbo.

Exercise: Warm-o-rama
7X motivators
25 Wandering goofballs IC (move counter clockwise in rotating circle while doing goofballs)
John Cusack w/ Coupons to base of tarpit steps

Ring 2:
Here the lustful are thrown in a violent circle by a windstorm without rest.

Exercise: Three sprints up the steps, run back down the slope. You must bearcrawl in between.

Ring 3:
The gluttons wallow in a freezing, putrid slush by themselves.

Exercise: 75 Big Boy Situps in the snow

Ring 4:
The wasteful and hoarders spend eternity pushing heavy weights at one another.

Exercise: Partner up. Stand equidistant apart. 10 blockbeees, 5 lunges until one of you meets the center first. The loser must farmer carry his opponents block back to his start for him. Did three rounds subbing blockbees with thrusters and Hodors.

Ring 5:
The wrathful fight each other on the river sticks for eternity

Exercise: Partner up and stand on opposite sides of the heated incline driveway. Bear crawl race your partner up the hill. The first to complete 75 hand release merkins at the top wins.  

Ring 6:
The Heretics are trapped in flaming tombs. 

Exercise: 100 coupon press, 50 flutters, then we drop down to the 7th circle.
*Jon Cusack back down* Leaving 3 stations with coupons

Ring 7:
There are many layers here – but a particularly troubling layer involves war-makers and plunderers who wallow in boiling blood. Should any of them crawl high enough out of the blood, they’re shot back down with arrows.

Exercise: Suicides up the heated incline driveway. 3 stations. Burpees at bottom until your turn, burpees at top until all finish.

Ring 8:
Fraudsters are thrown into a pit of darkness where they’re endlessly abused.

Exercise: Drill instructors
Standing (“On your feet!”),
Holding 6″ (“On your six!”),
High plank (“On your face!”)
Merkins (“Down/Up”).

Ring 9:
Escape the inferno. Emerge on the other side of earth to a starry night.

Exercise: Jon Cusack from the top landing back down to the parking lot. If you must stop to rest, you owe 5 Blockbees before you may begin again.

Prayers for Gummi’s former co-worker Deedee who’s been shouldering the burden of sick husband and son. Lift up all of our PAX who are out with injuries. Praise for the motivation and excellence F3 brings to other non-fitness parts of our lives.

Stay tuned for more Epic-themed workouts from YHC! This was only the beginning.

1/16/21 – F3 Waterfall at AO Tarpit

Per the Pre-blast, a forecast promising snow did not disappoint! A Q promising 100 burpees came through with 115 instead! And all PAX were sufficiently beat down after an hour of snowy F3 Waterfall!

Eight brave PAX showed up at gloomy AO Tarpit before dawn as a fresh inch of snow continued to blanket our AO. In attendance: Shiplap, Banks, Beaker, Jolly, Gummi Bear, Tortuga (respect), Da Vinci and Katniss (Q).

YHC wanted to incorporate some new exercises into the WARM-O-RAMA so we did…

15 burpees OYO
Quad stretches
Blarts (Al gore and rock left, forward, right and back = 1 rep) x 12
Air Squared (Al gore and overhead clap) x 25
ABCs (while on your six, write the alphabet with your legs up at ~20 degrees)

Thang 1:
We did 50 burpees for time to get warm and tired. Then the real fun began.

Thang 2:
F3 Waterfall! A variation of the popular drinking game.

All PAX moseyed behind Q at his pace, wherever Q leads them
Whenever Q decides he stops the PAX and yells “CARD!”
One brave PAX steps forward and pulls a card from a standard deck of cards
Each card in the deck corresponds to an exercise
All the royals (J, Q, K, A) require coupons – which means you must fast mosey back to starting point (where coupons stayed) and perform those exercises
If any PAX pulls a Joker (of which there are 2) – it’s penalty of 25 blockbees

Card values were:
2 – BBCs (20)
3 – Merkins (20)
4 – Lunges (20) – each leg counts
5 – LBCs (20)
6 – “On your six (aka jollies)” (20 seconds)
7 – Squats (20)
8 – Bonnie Blairs (20)
9 – Nipple Scrapers (20)
10 – Peter Parker Merkins (20)
J – Overhead press (30) — requires sprinting back to start
Q – Coupon Squats (30) — requires sprinting back to start
K – Thrusters w/ coupon (20) — requires sprinting back to start
A – Waterfall (run back to start and perform 10 reps of ALL exercises in list)
Joker – Makes burpees at the end of the beatdown split 25 blockbees, 25 burpees

Together we got through around 20 cards, including only one rest (card #6) and at least one waterfall (an Ace). A good mixture that left out only a few of the exercises! No Jokers were pulled (thank the Lord).

Thang 3:
We did 50 more burpees. Safe to say no one beat their original time.

COT/Moleskin: YHC told a story about his M, overwhelmed with 4 kids and feeling like she wasn’t able to keep up / feeling like a bad Mom. A few days later our 2.0’s teacher wrote my M a quick email saying “Thank you for your son, he makes our classroom a brighter place. You must be such a wonderful mother.” — Takeaways: The Lord works in powerful, mysterious ways through each one of us to collectively keep us going. If you do your best, others, and the almighty, take notice. Your best is all he asks.

Prayers for bodies that work, motivation to keep going when times are tough, and the miracles the Lord works through each and every one of us on the daily.

“Frenemy Relay” in the Snow

Twelve hardened PAX woke this morning to a blanket of fresh snow, but braved the gloom anyway. Panhandle, Beaker, Big Mac, Shiplap, Hotbox, T-bone, Jolly, Da Vinci, Banks, Gummi Bear, Katniss and one new F-N-G (later dubbed Olaf) arrived at AO Mastodon as snow continued to fall. The beauty of our AO was on full display.

Banks proceeded to test the snow quality and proclaimed it ideal for snowball making, then launched several at Shiplap’s vehicle as he dared to step out. Together we welcomed our F-N-G, recited the disclaimer and prepared to warm-o-rama.

WOR: 7X Motivators + 10 Tappy Taps + 10 Goofballs (all IC)

The Thang: Frenemy Relay

After all moseyed to position just East of the roundabout, Q intro’d the morning’s workout: “Pick a partner of equal strength, speed and stamina. Choose carefully – try to find the man who is your near perfect equal. If you choose correctly, you’ll be rewarded later.”

You and your partner are both friends and enemies – aka FRENEMIES – today:

  • You are enemies because: Each round you’ll face off against your partner in a race to finish the assigned exercise.
  • You are friends because: At the end of the entire workout we’ll crown a “most balanced 2-man team” (i.e. the team with the most “split rounds” where neither partner was dominant)

*The group partnered up (2×6), then half the partnerships moved into adjacent parking lot for social distance*

Each round…
One partner will complete a high rep count of an exercise, while the other partner does a mix of cardio and lower reps. The partner who finishes first wins. Then you’ll switch and repeat. 
That set (i.e. 2 cycles) = a single round.  

Round 1:
Partner A: Does 50 burpees
Partner B: Runs to poolhouse, does 12 burpees, and runs back
-Flip and repeat-

Round 2:
Partner A: Does 100 Merkins
Partner B: Runs to poolhouse, does 25 Merkins, and runs back
-Flip and repeat-

Round 3:
Partner A: Does 50 coupon kettle bell swings
Partner B: Does 20 Murder Bunnies out (away from partner) and back (return to partner)
-Flip and repeat-

Round 4:
Partner A: Does 50 Hodors w/ coupon
Partner B: Runs to poolhouse, does 20 squats, and runs back
-Flip and repeat-

Round 5:
Partner A: Does 100 Big Boy Situps
Partner B: Runs to poolhouse, does 25 Big Boy Situps, and runs back
-Flip and repeat-

Round 6:
Partner A: Does 100 Overhead press w/ coupon
Partner B: Runs to poolhouse, does 100 “Raise the roof”, and runs back
-Flip and repeat-

Big Mac and (T-bone?) were dubbed “Most Balanced Duo” as the only group who didn’t have a single partner dominate at least one of the exercise rounds above. Congrats – you win another imaginary coffee from Katniss.

COT: After mosey back to parking lot we circled up, named our F-N-G (Welcome Olaf) and prayed for health of all those directly (and indirectly re: nursing home patients struggling with isolation) dealing with COVID. Safety for all those gathering for Thanksgiving this week.

Moleskin: Praise for a beautiful morning at the AO. The falling snow throughout the workout, the quiet of the early morning AO, and the fellowship of 12 great men made for a picturesque memory this Q won’t soon forget.

11/4 at AO Tar Pit: The Bearmuda Triangle

14 weary-eyed PAX rolled in to AO Tar Pit at 5:30 for a post-election day beatdown. Shiplap, Tortuga, SAGA, Panhandle, Katniss, Banks, Captain Crunch, Big Mac, Sparrow, Cookies, Da Vinci, T-bone, Noodles and Gummi Bear. Many reported turning in late the night before as they anxiously awaited the election results that are still outstanding. After planting some flags, we rolled into the warm-o-rama:

7X Motivators
10 burpees
10 slow merkins IC
*Head to field w/ coupon*

The Thang

PAX partnered up into teams of two

Partner 1:
Runs a suicide line (3 stops with a graduated 1, 2 and 3 merkins owed at each)
At the third line, PAX runs straight to the “Bearmuda Triangle.” (Bear crawl to each of three stakes arranged in a triangle, graduated 1, 2 and 3 merkins owed at each)
When complete with this cycle, runs back to switch/relieve partner

Partner 2:
Partner who was not performing suicides/crawls does AMRAP of exercises below until partner returns to relieve/switch.

Overhead press w/ coupon200
Big Boy Sit Ups200
Bent Over Rows w/ coupon300
Totals above are team total (DORA fashion)

Prayers for our country as we adjust and accept the results of a close election. Thank the Lord for this fall season with beautiful weather, colors and the morning bootcamp fellowship.