Monthly Archives: November 2015

Exclusive: The “Beast Mode” Interview

Werewolf from Dark Shadows.

Not actually Beast Mode. Actually from the TV show Dark Shadows, via https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alex_Stevens_werewolf_Dark_Shadows_1969.JPG

“Beast Mode” is one of the most important tools in the obstacle course racer’s arsenal of course-tackling paraphernalia. In fact, next to shoes with good treads, mustard, and abs of steel, beast mode is arguably the only thing separating a racer from ignominious death, or sadness, or at least flatulence.

But perhaps because beast mode is so well-established in the world of obstacle course racing, few people know its origins. Beast Mode is not a concept handed down through generations from time immemorial—it’s actually a rather modern invention with a fascinating history.

And so, Fat Boy Big Wall is proud to bring you an exclusive interview with the inventor of Beast Mode, Greta Beast.

Fat Boy Big Wall: Thank you so much for talking with me today. Can you tell me how you discovered Beast Mode?

Greta Beast: It was during a really dark time in my life: 1982. I’d just gotten a divorce, and was having to learn who I truly was and how to stand on my own two feet for the first time in my life. But my favorite diet candy had been turned into a deadly disease, my Ms. Pac-Man developed an allergy to pears, and my shoulder pads were flat and lifeless. I had hit rock bottom.

FBBW: And then?

GB: I knew I had to change. So I did. I summoned that animalistic spirit deep inside myself and literally changed into a wild, snarling beast who could do anything.

FBBW: Wait, literally? Like turning into a werewolf? Lycanthropy?

GB: What’s lycanthropy?

FBBW: Turning into a werewolf.

GB: Oh. Then, yes. I didn’t know who I was, just that I had to do all the things, and then rip them to shreds, howl at the moon, poop on the carpet, and wake up completely naked in a place where I’d never been.

FBBW: Uh, again, literally?

GB: Of course not literally. I hardly ever wake up completely naked in a place where I’d never been. But I realized that by channeling my beast spirit, I could engage Beast Mode and do anything. When I wanted to lose weight, I went Beast Mode on my Jane Fonda tapes. When I needed a job, I went Beast Mode on the interview. When I needed a car, I went Beast Mode on the Le Car dealership.

FBBW: Fascinating. How exactly do you engage Beast Mode?

GB: It’s easy. You just channel your beast spirit, and that causes Beast Mode to engage.

FBBW: And how does one channel their beast spirit, exactly?

GB: You channel your beast spirit.

FBBW: OK, different tack. Is anything you need in order to engage Beast Mode? An energizer pellet maybe?

GB: [after a lengthy glare] Everything you need is already inside of you.

FBBW: Does it hurt? Squelch your liver? Break a nail?

GB: Only if it hurts to be awesome.

FBBW: So it sounds like there’s really no downside to Beast Mode.

GB: Not one.

FBBW: Then why don’t you just live in Beast Mode all the time?

GB: I do!

FBBW: Oh. So how is it different from normal mode?

GB: I don’t have a normal mode.

FBBW: Then what do you do when you’re in Beast Mode and there’s something you’re trying to do and you just need to put in a little extra bit of effort?

GB: I’m glad you asked. There are a lot of things you can do in that situation. There’s Super Beast Mode, Ultra Beast Mode,  Mega Beast Mode, Turbo Beast Mode, Beast Mode Zeo…

FBBW: Kind of like Power Rangers.

GB: And that lasted for decades, and made billions of dollars, thanks to cheap non-union actors!

FBBW: Billions of dollars… is Beast Mode a money-making scheme?

GB: Absolutely! I’ve got the Beast Mode book, a Beast Mode DVD, Beast Mode calendar, Beast Mode key chain, and Beast Mode phone shaped like a football that I swiped from a Sports Illustrated warehouse. And that’s just to start—before long, we’ll start rolling out Super Beast Mode tea cozies, Beast Mode Ninja vacuum cleaners, and Ultra Mega Beast Mode home colonic irrigation kits.

FBBW: So it’s not about helping people do stuff, it’s just about cash?

GB: Aw, what a naive little fawn you are. That gives me an idea, though. How about “Beast Mode for Timid Little Wankers?” It’s got a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

FBBW: This interview has taken a turn.

GB: You’re no Oprah. Or Gayle. You ain’t even Nate Berkus.

FBBW: Yeah, but Wikipedia says he went to my high school.

GB: I don’t care! Give me money! Or I’ll go Beast Mode on you!

FBBW: I thought you’re already in Beast Mode.

GB: This interview is OVER!

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Fitness Feat Goal Recommender: A Work in Progress

There’s a tool that I’ve been looking for for a while that’s not easy to describe. It’s a tool to help recommend fitness goals, based on what you can currently do.

Say, for example, your goal is to do a push-up. This tool would provide a listing of push-up variations, in order (as much as possible) from easiest to hardest. Once you master one—say, you are able to successfully do a wall push-up—it gives you the next harder one to work towards (push-ups from the knees).

On Facebook today, I saw a link to something that sort of does that: The Periodic Table of Bodyweight Exercises, which appears to have originated with Strength Stack 52.

Periodic Table of Bodyweight ExercisesPeriodic Table of Bodyweight Exercises
Courtesy of: Strength Stack 52
Note that I say “sort of” does what I was looking for. I think it’s a great reference, but it isn’t quite what I wanted. Here are some of the additional/other features I’m looking for:
  • More variety. Don’t get me wrong, bodyweight is great. I think it’s entirely possible to work out effectively without toys. But I like toys, and some of my goals involve them.
  • An “Accomplished or Not” focus. SS52’s tool seems like it would be really useful for building workouts—which is fantastic and valuable, but I’m looking for help in figuring out goals, and particularly goals of the “Do an X” variety.For example: The chart lists tuck jumps as a hard exercise, and I’d agree. But tuck jumps are primarily hard when you do them in series, and when you focus on how high you’re jumping and how tight your tuck is. A single tuck jump, assuming some basic caveats about knee health and the like, really isn’t. So tuck jumps really aren’t a great candidate for a measurable goal. There are some exercises on the chart that do have the binary “can do/can’t do” state—stop mocking me, pistol squats!—but what I’d like to create is more tightly focused there.
  • Harder stuff. This follows up on the previous point. Most of the exercises on the chart are ones I can do. That’s a great starting point, but when the goal is “can you accomplish this once,” the feats need to end at a higher level of difficulty. I’m looking more for “Cool stuff to do” than the basis of a well-rounded workout.
  • A better-defined progression. This one is a bit tricky. The chart groups exercises by muscle group, which is entirely logical and, again, really useful for building a workout. But I’m looking for something that can be a bit more focused: If you can achieve this, than this is one level up for you to shoot for. That’s not always possible, I know—sometimes an exercise that’s harder for one person is easier for another—but I’m okay with having a caveat that your mileage may vary.

Two things that will be outside of the scope of my tool are speed and quantity. That’s not because they’re not worthwhile—if you currently run an 8:15 mile and you want to hit 8:00, or you can currently do 10 push-ups and want to hit 15, those are noble and worthwhile goals. (I’ve certainly made similar ones.) But they’re also pretty easy ones to set—I don’t need any kind of outside reference to tell me that 8:00 is faster but probably not unreasonably so than 8:15.

The Extremely Preliminary Listing:

Here’s what I’ve got so far. For each exercise/exercise category, I’m listing variations as I see them from easiest to hardest. There are also alternates at the end when I am not sure how to place them—or even if they should be part of the sequence or an entirely separate sequence.

Push-ups:

  • Wall push-ups
  • Knee push-ups
  • Toe push-ups
  • Clapping push-ups
  • Plyo push-ups (both hands and feet)
  • Alternative techniques: Decline push-ups, spiderman push-ups

Handstands:

  • Plank
  • Decline plank
  • Wall-assisted handstand (facing wall)
  • Wall-assisted handstand (away from wall with kick-up into handstand)
  • Unassisted handstand
  • Alternative techniques: handstand walk, one-hand handstand, suspension trainer-assisted handstand

Pull-ups/muscle-ups:

  • Lat pull-down
  • Inverted row
  • Elastic-assisted pull-up
  • Pull-up
  • Muscle-up
  • Alternative techniques: kipping pull-up, muscle-ups from a box. I have a feeling muscle-ups are sort of a hybrid—there would be a pull-up series, and a dip series, and both would feed into the muscle-up series.

Rope Climb:

  • S-hook
  • J-hook
  • Arms-only

Monkey Bars:

  • Catch-up (i.e., bringing your back arm to the rung your front arm is on before moving forward)
  • Alternate (bringing the back arm to the rung in front of your front arm)
  • Skipping (taking the bars two at a time)
  • Jumping bars (both arms catch air as you swing from bar to bar, releasing a bar at the same time and catching the next one at the same time)
  • Alternative techniques that I’m not sure how to place: Gripping the sides of the monkey bar rig, rather than the rungs; sloth walk (traveling backwards with both arms and feet on the rungs); traveling across monkey bars backwards; alternate grips (rings/balls/vertical bars)

This should be considered entirely preliminary and considered “something I came up with off the top of my head” rather than something that is authoritative. If you choose to apply it to your own life, think about whether it’s appropriate first.

Also, if you’ve got recommendations or requests for additions, please comment and let me know—I’m focusing on my own interests, but those are hardly exhaustive, and there may well be things that I don’t know about that I would like to.

Much more is to come…

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A Litter Follow-Up: Race Company Responses

Last week I proposed a method for measuring how severe the littering problem in OCR actually is. As part of that post, I noted that I would be asking a few race organizers if they have actually made any effort to quantify the amount of litter (as opposed to properly disposed-of garbage or course materials).

I emailed Spartan, Tough Mudder, and Warrior Dash, and have now received responses, of a sort, from all three.

Here’s the message I sent to all three (with minor changes as needed for each company):

Do you have any information about how much litter is found on courses after a typical Tough Mudder? There has been a lot of discussion about littering in the OCR world recently, but I’m hoping to quantify how serious the issue actually is. Have you measured how much litter (as opposed to properly-disposed-of garbage, or course-markings and other “official” garbage) you collect after an event? I’ve written a blog post (https://fatboybigwall.com/2015/11/05/why-im-pro-litter/) attempting to define the issues at play and if you have any information I’d like to incorporate it.

Thank you,

Greg Landgraf

The responses were… well, only one was useful, but another was interesting.

Warrior Dash wasn’t really helpful at all—the customer experience team referred the question to the Venue Relations department, so I emailed them and haven’t heard anything back. Although to be honest, Warrior Dash probably isn’t particularly representative on this issue, since it’s a fairly short run that has a relatively high percentage of first-time runners who are unlikely to carry a lot of gear onto the course.

Tough Mudder’s is the interesting one. I got a fairly sincere message of apology for the frustrations and inconveniences I experienced at the event, and for how the Tough Mudder experience didn’t live up to my expectations. Since I wasn’t complaining (and in fact have never actually done a Tough Mudder), it doesn’t provide any actual information, but it does raise a question: Just how unempowered are Tough Mudder’s customer service people? I mean, I get that a lot of customer service is done by boilerplate, and it even makes (a frustrating sort of) sense to respond to common complaints with a response designed by experts to give an official answer and nothing additional and do it in a way that will not inadvertently escalate the situation. But this wasn’t a common complaint, so a little bit of personalization in the response might have been helpful.

<NotBasedOnFact>I just have this vision of the customer service department having a set of, say, six permitted responses that they’re permitted to use to cover all customer comments. And if you’re working for Tough Mudder, you’re not going to go against that kind of policy. I mean, you’re working for a company that thinks electric shocks and tear gas are fun. Imagine what would happen if they’re trying to punish you.</NotBasedOnFact>

Spartan’s response was useful, although perhaps more from reading between the lines than because of what was actually said. The representative said that Spartan does not track litter separately from other trash, but he did confirm that the race does clean up the venue after (and during) the race. He also noted that the race will make announcements about littering and starting-line threats to assign  Did Not Finish results if they’re caught littering.

If we assume rational behavior—and this is getting dangerous, because humans don’t always behave rationally, and my perspective of what “rational” is in this situation is based on very incomplete information, but I’ll do it anyway because I think it’s at least an interesting thought experiment—the response suggests a couple things. Based on the fact that Spartan doesn’t measure the litter generated, combined with the not-necessarily-always-accurate-but-often-useful “you can’t improve what you can’t measure” maxim, it suggests Spartan’s level of concern. Specifically, it seems that Spartan’s opposition to litter is the same as the average person’s opposition to air pollution: opposed, but not really looking to go far out of its way to fight.

That’s got a negative connotation that isn’t fair, so let me be clear: I don’t think Spartan is responsible for measuring the litter generated by a race. By cleaning the venue after an event, they’re fulfilling any kind of moral obligation to minimize the ecological impact of the race. (OK, not necessarily any moral obligation—I know just enough about soil engineering and soil suspended in water to know that there could be issues there that I’m not remotely qualified to address—but any moral obligation related to garbage production.)

But to go back to assuming rational behavior, these between-the-line-readings suggest that Spartan does not consider the amount of added effort resulting from cleaning litter from the course to justify the effort necessary to measure that litter (and then develop procedures to address it).

Not definitive, certainly, but it leaves me inclined to categorize littering on the course as an annoyance rather than a major OCR problem.

(Still, littering is jerky. So don’t. But going overboard in talking about it is also jerky. So don’t do that either.)

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Filed under Commentary, Funny, Obstacle Course Racing, Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash

God’s OCR (or, Let’s Have Fun Poking the Bear that Is Religion!)

a bearNot long ago, I learned about a new OCR in the works. Specifically, an event that combines obstacle course racing with… the Word of God.

It’s called the Mighty Warrior Challenge, and, well, I’m really not planning to mock it much.

I mean, I’m an atheist, and I’m disgusted by the evil that religion has been used to justify. But I’m inclined to think that’s more the nature of groups in general, rather than religion in particular; they can be swayed to tremendous evil or tremendous good.

Without a lot more information, it’s impossible to know whether Mighty Warrior’s religion is of the “love thy neighbor” or the “condemn all outsiders to hell” variety, but outside that information I’m inclined to give the benefit of the doubt that the race’s intent is to do good.

From my nonreligious standpoint, I think the really important takeaway is that there’s an actual idea behind the race. Most OCRs really don’t differentiate themselves well: their stated reason for existing is to be MOAR EPIKZ (and, usually, something military). Even Warrior Dash, widely understood (and sometimes decried, though why this is inherently negative is beyond me) as an entry-level race, describes its obstacles as “world-class”—a phrase that doesn’t actually mean anything but is certainly calculated to suggest awesomeness.

Mighty Warrior, to what I think is its great credit, is focusing on its theme to differentiate itself. And while an overarching design theme isn’t the only way to go*, it is something different.

So, now, the bad news. If I had to bet on whether the Mighty Warrior OCR will actually happen, I’d bet against. The website is still pretty minimal, a WordPress blog with just three posts. The Facebook and Twitter pages are more active, but populated by fairly generic fitness or inspirational posts, rather than information about the race’s development.

I could, of course, be wrong. The website says that the race will be launching a crowdfunding campaign in January, so the organizers may be focusing their preparation on then. Hell, (Oooh!) I’m not privvy to any of their plans or information, so while my impression may be logical, it isn’t based on any actual fact and shouldn’t be considered to be.

Ultimately, I hope they do good and well. It’s not likely I’d attend—Kansas City is a bit of a haul, and the religious angle isn’t one that would bridge that physical distance—but good things happening in OCR make OCR gooder.

*I wouldn’t mind seeing some races that have tighter focus in their obstacles—the lumberjack-themed Jack Axe Games come to mind, though I wasn’t able to attend so I have no idea how well that turned out in practice; OCRs that focus heavily on hauling heavy things or climbing or balance challenges might also be intriguing.

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Why I’m Pro-Litter

(What a clickbaity, blatantly untrue headline, eh? The things you have to do to try to get attention on the internet.)

Littering on obstacle course race courses has been the subject of a lot of hand-wringing and consternation and whatnot lately. (And, of course, the inevitable counter-argument.)

Water drop

This single tear is cried by all of us.

Here, in sentence three, I state the obvious: Littering is bad, and I’m not actually in favor of it. But I’m also unconvinced of just how significant an issue it is.

Note that I said “unconvinced.” Litter may be a major problem or a minor problem; I genuinely don’t know. Here’s some things that I think I know, and things I have suspicions about, and things that I would like to know to be able to understand how significant litter on OCR courses is.

First off, I haven’t noticed any particular issues with on-course litter. But I need to confess that I’m not an ideal person to make that assessment, because it’s unlikely that I would notice, in a very literal sense. I wear glasses in life, but as I’d like to keep those glasses for the drive home, I run the course with uncorrected vision. My vision isn’t so bad that I’m going to run off a cliff, but I could easily miss a series of Gu wrappers.

Second, I have a strong suspicion that race owners are ultimately responsible for course clean-up. I mean that in a legally, contractually binding sense. It seems logical that restoring the site to its original state (i.e., cleaning it up) would be part of any site rental contract. Of course, I don’t know that—I’m not privy to the contracts, so I don’t actually know what they contain, but I feel like that’s a reasonable expectation. (Race operators, if I’m incorrect here, please correct me!)

Third, assuming that race owners are responsible for cleaning the course after a race as they’re tearing it down, then it seems like it should be fairly easy to actually measure how much litter there is on course. Not nothing, but staff could have one bag for standard garbage and another for garbage that’s not a part of the course (markings and the like) and not inside (or obviously adjacent to overflowing) garbage cans.

I don’t know how easy that is—it doesn’t seem like too big a burden, especially if it only happens once as a test, but as I’ve never been involved in a course tear-down I don’t have any actual knowledge of how hard it would be to separate litter from standard garbage.

(I am making contact with a few races to ask if anyone has done so, and will update if I hear any response. If you are a race organizer and have information, please share!)

Knowing how much litter a course generates would be useful but not the whole story. I would also want to know how much litter is a lot. I mean, I doubt that there is any place in the country that’s absolutely 100% pristine with no litter whatsoever. How much litter is typical in a forest? How much would be found in a “clean” forest? How much would be considered “polluted”?

A very quick internet search didn’t bring up any definitions (although Wikipedia says there’s an average of 352 pounds per mile of roadside), but that’s probably a factor of the limited searching and my own lack of knowledge of the resources where this kind of information would be found. (And the fact that “plant litter” is a natural thing that exists, apparently to make keyword searching complicated.) I have emailed the US Forest Service to inquire if any such definitions exist, and will update if they respond. (I emailed at 9:40 pm shortly before publishing this post, so the fact that they have not responded in time for publication is not their fault.)

Why do I care?

Good question. As I said above, I’m not actually in favor of littering, and I’d like to use this space to say don’t litter. One could argue that the race organizers are ultimately responsible for leaving venues in the same condition that they found it in, but at the same time, making their job harder for no reason is just plain cunty, and it makes the world worse. So don’t.

At the same time, I like to understand issues, and I’d like for communities to spend energy and resources (both of which are limited) on issues in appropriate proportion to their significance. And this one seems a bit suspicious.

I became aware of the littering concern via Facebook rant, which naturally colors my perception: anything that’s a) posted on social media b) with an excess number of capital letters and c) any exclamation points that d) somehow manages to shoot spittle through my screen is inherently dubious. And, let’s face it, being opposed to littering is a fairly low-effort way to appear to be righteous, which many people seem to live for in an amazingly annoying (and counterproductive) way.

But “dubious” isn’t necessarily “wrong.” So instead of responding out of emotion, I’m hoping to provide a way for people to respond out of fact.

Hopefully, more information is to come.

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Filed under Commentary, Obstacle Course Racing

Adventuring for Science

I’ve done a bit more writing for another site that’s related to obstacle course racing. Well, not directly related. Sort of extremely vaguely related, in that people who like to do OCR might have some interests that sort of align with the topic of this post.

Would you like me to get to the point?

Citizen Science Guide for Families cover

My friends expressed confusion at the cover, because they did not believe I was actually a young Asian girl. I tried to explain that that’s not how book covers work. They didn’t believe me.

The post, “Adventuring for Science,” is live on Sportody, which I have written for before. The post is about citizen science, which (curiously enough) is also the subject of the book I wrote. (Rated 5 stars on Amazon!) Citizen science, broadly, is any science conducted in part or completely by nonprofessional scientists. Most (though not all) modern citizen science is organized by professional scientists into specific projects that welcome interested amateurs to contribute to data collection. (Or, in some cases, data analysis, although that’s less outdoor-related and more sit-at-a-computer-related and therefore of less interest to the post.)

There are a lot of projects related to ecology or environmental monitoring—studying populations of various animals (or sometimes plants or fungi or other organisms) that is easier to do with a lot of sets of eyes and can be accomplished without doctoral-level knowledge.

There are a huge number of projects out there, so if there’s something that’s interesting to you, you can probably find someone who’s looking for help studying. But there’s a bit of a subniche that targets extreme athletes: While many projects can be done more-or-less anywhere, there are also projects that are studying things in hard-to-reach areas (mountaintops, underwater, deep woods, etc.) that need volunteers who can also do the mountain-climbing or scuba-diving or long hikes to get there.

If you’re interested, I hope you’ll take a look.

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Filed under Stuff I've Written for Other Sites

What Do 1,000 Burpees Taste Like?

1000 burpee challenge shirt.

I’ll do anything for a T-shirt. Even though this one is white and thin enough that after a workout it would leave very little to the imagination.

This goes back a while: September 26, to be precise. That’s the day my gym had a special event: a 1,000 burpee workout. Let me take you through it:

T-15 minutes: I should get some extra credit, I think, because I did my regular class beforehand. What can I say? Saturday is the boxing class, and it’s vital to my mental health to hit things periodically. Frankly, I should hit things a lot more. There are issues there. You probably don’t want to delve.

T-0 minutes: The instructors explain the format: 10 burpees per minute, 20 minutes at a time, with 5-minute breaks between each 20-minute segment. We’re not doing full chest-to-floor burpees, just down and kick your legs out and stand up and jump. You may rant to your Spartan Facebook group now. (If you do, though, be sure to post the fatboybigwall.com URL. If you’re going to whine about what someone else does when it doesn’t affect you, at least boost my stats.)

T+1 minutes: The first round is done. No problem.

T+2 minutes: The second round is done. Still no problem.

T+3 minutes: The third round is done. Problem emerging. See, burpees aren’t a great exercise for me. The up-and-down movement is always kind of a problem for me—I’ve got a lot of weight to down and then back up again. Still, it’s okay.

T+4—T+20 minutes: It’s still okay, no vomit or nothing. I am getting cranky, like my dad when he’s playing cards or otherwise existing, but that’s just because I’ve done 200 burpees.

T+22 minutes: We’re a couple minutes into our first break, and there are two big developments. First off, we’ve moved venues slightly. My gym has four different workout rooms, and we started in room A, one of the large-ish basement rooms sometimes known as the loading dock. I assume that’s what it used to be: It’s got two big prong-y things about a truck’s width apart, and the wall where a truck would go between them is really obviously different brick than the rest of that wall. By the end of the first round, we moved upstairs to what is called the SWAT room, named for the main class that’s held there. It’s got stuff like boxes for jumps and the monkey bar rig and such up there. It’s also got natural lighting, since it’s above ground and has windows and shit like that. It’s weird how that works.

The second big news: The group decided that it didn’t want to do 100 minutes of burpees, so we upped our rounds to 15 burpees per minute. A sense of foreboding descends…

T+26 minutes: This is going to be a problem.

T+28 minutes: 10 burpees a minute was sustainable, but 15 doesn’t seem to be. I’m rapidly reaching the point where I’m getting no rest between sets.

T+29 minutes: Also starting to get dizzy. That’s neat.

T+31 minutes: Time to make life a bit easier. Those boxes I mentioned? Foreshadowing! I take one to do the burpees on. I tell myself I’ll compensate by doing push-ups on them. At least I’m not the only one who’s doing it that way. If Facebook would like to get pissy, remember about including the URL.

T+33 minutes: That push-up idea was a noble theory, wasn’t it? It didn’t last long. The punchy shoulder work wasn’t ideal to follow up with push-ups.

T+36 minutes: Life is getting a bit better. Less gravity-fighting makes Greg happier.

T+41 minutes: I need to burp. Why do I need to burp?

T+43 minutes: Seriously, it can’t just be the name of the exercise. That’s way too on-point, but not in a way that makes sense.

T+44 minutes: Can you belch discretely in a group of 12 people or so? And if not, is it easy to blame on someone else?

T+45 minutes: Everyone’s celebrating having 500 burpees done. I unleash my oral gas. No consequences; apparently just about everyone had a build-up, so it wasn’t even possible to tell whether I burped at all. There’s something deep and meaningful there.

T+48 minutes: The group decides to go back to 10 burpees per minute for the next round, and then 15 for the last. There’s a proposal, from the anal-retentive math nerd in the room (that would be me) that we do a round of 13 and a round of 12 to even things out. At this point, that level of math is way too hard.

T+54 minutes: You would think that things would be better now that we’ve dropped down to 10 burpees per minute. It hasn’t.

T+59 minutes: I might be hallucinating, but I’m fairly sure Snarf from ThunderCats is cheering us on.

T+62 minutes: Snarf has become visibly disappointed in our efforts. Or maybe he’s just bored. He is a cat.

T+66 minutes: No, Snarf is definitely angry.

T+67 minutes: That’s my throat!

Snarf got violent.T+68 minutes: Snarf! You’re making me bleed on the monkey bars!

T+69 minutes: No! Snarf! I AM NOT MONGOR!

T+71 minutes: After finally convincing Snarf that I’m not evil, at least not in his universe, his attack ceases. I apologize to my workout buddies for the profuse bleeding, which seems to confuse them.

T+76 minutes: The last round begins. Oh fuck.

T+78 minutes: This is not a happy group of burpees.

T+80 minutes: In fact, this is a downright cranky group of burpees.

T+82 minutes: This is worse than being invited to a show billed as “an improvised parody of Full House.”

T+85 minutes: This is worse than Thanksgiving with that one uncle who’s really passionate about the NRA and how the designated boogeyman is going to come for his guns, but the rest of the family decides to lock you in a very small room with him while they drink and watch football and play with your brother’s kid who is at that really fun age rather than the snotty I hate everyone age.

T+87 minutes: This is worse than Guantanamo Bay.

T+88 minutes: Actually this isn’t so bad. I’ve decided to express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward my captor, and I may even defend and identify with the burpees.

T+89 minutes: Wow, that was quick. I’d expected the Stockholm Syndrome to last a bit longer.

T+91 minutes: This is worse than moshing to French electronica.

T+92 minutes: This is worse than pickle-flavored cumin-coated chocolate-infused salmon garnished with sumo-wrestler turd.

T+94 minutes: Why am I only seeing the color orange and a C-flat played on the tubamonica?

T+95 minutes: I hate everything.

T+96 minutes: We’re done. I still hate everything.

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