Equipping Our Coxswain — Sledgehammer Edition

Weather – low-50s with tropical storm force gales (clocked a 57 mph gust during CoT) and sideways rain to start. Almost ideal conditions for the crazies…

Pre-Run — since it was a perfect morning for a 5-mile pre-run, YHC, Bing and a nip-laden Ripken headed around the Benderson horn promptly at 0440. In between wind gusts of 40-50 mph and sideways rain, we chatted about everything from Ripscat’s highschool port-a-potty experiences (he didn’t have very nice friends), Bing’s definition of three F’s and how a projectile palm frond could lacerate a femoral artery quite easily and bring an abrupt end our pre-run. You know, a good, uplifting fellowship session.

Upon return, the pax were few in number. Couldn’t really blame anyone. If ever there was a day to fartsack, this was it. As YHC unloaded all of the beatdown’s necessities — including a sledgehammer — mumble chatter could be heard through the howling wind.

Welcome — Promptly at 0515, we through up the sash and away we went for a half-mile Mosey out the “nether regions” of NBP. The only difference from a usual Mosey is that YHC sported the sledgehammer as his only accouterment (well and clothes). The view was horrible until we reached the lighted rowers (see pic). We returned to the parking lot to grab our drinks and back to the lighted rowers we returned for a quick Circle of Pain.


  • SSH x25IC
  • Get-ups x10 on your own (to ensure backside was nice and wet)
  • Release Merkins x10IC (to ensure frontside was nice and wet)
  • Mt Climbers x15IC

The Thang: YHC gave a quick summary of the role of a coxswain (the person steering the boat and providing cadence for the rowers). A good coxswain can make-or-break a race. While they don’t really contribute to the overall force created by the rowers, they do provide much needed synchronization, encouragement and physical direction. They’re pretty much the eyes and ears of the coach, so they also have to have a strong technical understanding of rowing form, strategy, training, etc.

Today’s beatdown was designed to Equip Your Coxswain. All exercises were chosen as if the purpose was to train a coxswain to have the strength and conditioning of an actual rower, so we congregated at the base of the North-side tower stairs (YHC felt a little sympathetic to the mumble chatter overheard about how windy “and dangerous” the South-side would be on a day like this. See, YHC doesn’t have a completely darkened soul…or do I? You be the judge.

The beatdown was comprised of 4 rounds of exercises to be conducted at the base of the tower and then a jailbreak with guidance as to how the jailbreak should be navigated.

The rounds and jailbreak navigation were as follows:

  1. A) Glute Bridge (90 sec), B) Travel Plank-Merkin (x10), C) Air Squat (x20), D) Calf Raises (x30), Jailbreak by traversing every stair on the way up and down. Wall squat until the 6 arrived.
  2. A) Reverse Plank (90 sec), B) Twisted Merkin (x10), C) Jump Squate (x20), D) Calf Raises (x30), Jailbreak by traversing every-other stair. Wall squat until the 6 arrived.
  3. A) Walk Outs (x5), B) Side Plank Leg Raise (x10, holding leg raise to a 3-count), C) Shoulder Tap Merkin (x10), D) Air Squat (x20), E) Calf Raises (x30), Jailbreak by Bear Crawling to the top, upright coming down. Wall squat until the 6 arrived.
  4. A) Burpees (x10), B) Get-ups (x10, 5 each side), C) Body Builders (x10), D) Air Squat (x20), E) Calf Raises (x30), Jailbreak by any means.

One additional piece of the beatdown was that each round had a coxswain. The coxswain was the pax that had the duty of carrying the sledgehammer (aka, the oar — since YHC doesn’t own an oar). During the round, the coxswain could audible exercise, or count as he saw fit. This seemed good since a real coxswain calls the cadence and steers the boat. Nevertheless, no coxswain audibled, each one only found clever ways to make the sledgehammer stay put during an exercise, or they found novel ways to utilize the sledgehammer as an extension of their own appendage. YHC surmizes that all pax continue to function at the 8th grade level  emotionally.

Well, the 4 rounds were tough. Everyone made it to the end and only one pax (to go nameless) had to double-over a time or two as the merlot was near spillage.

Since 8 minutes remained and YHC had already setup the CREW-icide zones, the pax moseyed over to the lower parking lot and engaged in two rounds of CREW-icides. 4 cones were placed about 15 ft apart. Run to the first cone and back, second cone and back, and so on, the only difference is that upon return to starting line one Captain Thor was added. So, the first out-and-back resulted in 1 Captain Thor, next out back resulted in 2 Captain Thors and so on. Because the pax were so good at completing one cycle, we had the lucky fortune to complete a second cycle. By the end of the second cycle, everyone was spent, and mumble chatter was non-existent. Only the howling wind and overwhelmed palm branches could be heard. The rational fear that the tower was about to collapse was all that circled in our oxygen-deprived heads, like sugar plumbs and dancing bears.

Moleskin —  Jesus is the ultimate coxswain. At times, it might appear that He’s aloof or not engaged in our day-to-day struggles, but that’s just an unfaithful view. Jesus is guiding our ship even when it appears He’s not. He helps us remain in sync with those around us, the needs around us, the hurt around us, but He also steers our path in the way He would us to go. We can trust that Jesus has our back and that, ultimately, there is nothing to worry about or fear. He will get us where He wants us to be. We can go willingly or reluctantly, either way the endgame is the same. Fear is the opposite of faith.


  • Races coming up (Superhero 5k, Feb 16 at NBP)
  • Continue to seek the Lord for “your one word” that will be focus of your 2019


  • Safety for police and first responders
  • Chili Pepper and his job search
  • Digits and all those mourning her loss
  • Mr Clean and a speedy recovery

Peace Out –I’m thankful for the chance to Q even if it had the remote possibility of death by Tropical Storm.


“To do what others can not, be willing to do what others will not.”