Off-topic: Microsoft Stores Job Opportunities

CrossFit and Rowing communities, I don’t like to do off-topic posts but times are tough and many good people are looking for solid jobs.  Many of you know that I am based in New Jersey and lucky enough to work for Microsoft, and we are opening retail stores in the New Jersey and Connecticut areas this summer.  Microsoft was ranked #1 in multinationals for “best place to work” in 2011 and is consistently rated in the top few of any large companies in the New York Metro Area.   There are numerous job opportunities available for those with a passion for high tech and retail.  Want to help launch Windows 8?  Master gamer on XBOX Kinect?  Check out

I can’t do anonymous referrals but if you are a reader and I know you personally, please let me know if you apply.


Santa Monica Muscle Beach is a Crossfit Mecca

On a recent business trip to Los Angeles for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference I had the pleasure of visiting the original Muscle Beach in Santa Monica (not to be confused with the current Muscle Beach in Venice).  I couldn’t believe the setup of rings, ropes, parallel bars, and other equipment, in 3 sizes from adult to toddler, that was installed right on the beach.  There were people swinging like orangutans on these rows of rings, trying to make it from one side to the other.  There were nice grassy lawns set up where people were doing WODs and yoga.  I took advantage of the equipment to get a few workouts in the sun.  I tried the rings thing but it my shoulder girdles were not quite strong enough to swing free on a single hand.  I don’t recall this stuff being there when I lived in LA 10+ years ago.  Way to go Santa Monica!


How to break 300 on Fight Gone Bad

So this weekend is the big Fight Gone Bad 5 fundraising workout to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong Foundation.  I had to do my WOD on my own a day early, and my goal was to break 300, after scoring 283 last April.  I was successful in hitting 313!  Here’s what worked for me, hope it helps others to outperform their goals tomorrow:

1.  Have a strategy.  It’s important to know your strong and weak exercises.  This puts you mentally in control when the pain hits.  At Crossfit Ignite, the sequence was:

3 rounds of:

  • Row 1 minute with the Concept2 on the calories setting
  • 75# push press 1 minute
  • 75# sumo deadlift high pull (SDLHP, known to rowers as “upright rows”) 1 minute
  • 20-inch box jumps 1 minute
  • 20-lb. wall ball shots 1 minute
  • rest 1 minute

Add up the total number of calories/reps completed and that is your score.

2.  Raise some money!  That’s what this is all about, after all.  I raised a small amount, but it’s something, and Microsoft generously matched the donation so I doubled its impact.  I like to think this gave me some good karma for the WOD.

3.  Know that you need to average 20 reps per exercise in order to hit 300.  Don’t try to blast out your strong points, but rather try to pace yourself to get a few extra points on your strong exercises, while not exhausting yourself too much and crashing on your weak ones.

4.  Keep a steady pace, don’t get rattled, don’t go nuts on the first round and kill yourself for the rest of the WOD.

For me, rowing and sumo deadlift high pulls were known strengths, and push press was my big weakness.  Box jumps are normally a strength for me, but the sequence of them in FGB right after the SDLHPs for some reason makes them hard for me.  Wall balls were a weakness for me in April.

Most rowers don’t use the calories setting on the Concept2 much, so I tested it out at different damper settings for 30 seconds at a time in the warmup.  I wanted to hit about 25 calories per row, and I figured I needed to keep it at about a 1500 cal/hr pace to do so.  The first time I did FGB, I maxed the row (32 calories, well over 2000 cal/hr pace), but then was dead for the next exercises which were my weaknesses, leading to a big dropoff in performance.  I also rowed at a damper of 4 and 40+ strokes per minute, which put my heart rate through the roof.  This time I felt that a setting of 8 and a rating of 32-34 was a better bet – using more strength and less cardio so that I wouldn’t be gasping for breath while trying to do push presses.

It worked – my row calories were lower but I was able to click out the push presses in a smooth rhythm.  Ditto for the SDLHPs.  When I hit about 23 reps on an exercise and still had 5 seconds left, I dumped it and set up for the next station, so that I had those extra seconds to spend on the weaker exercises, which reduced my attrition rate overall.  This helped me do better on the push presses and box jumps, and especially on the wall balls.  The wall balls were much better this time, and I was able to push out a couple extra reps each round because they were at the end of the round.

I hope this helps everyone in FGB5 this weekend, and good luck!


So what does Facebook suggest “I might like” as a rower and Crossfitter?

Facebook’s new “recommended pages” algorithm gets pretty interesting as it tries to figure out what I might “like.”  I clicked through the whole list to see what it would come up with.

Vibram FiveFingers.  Check.

Various surfing pages.  Check.  Blame Laird.

Various Microsoft-related pages.  Check.

Nothing related to rowing.  Really?

Nothing else related to Crossfit.  Huh?

A list of about 10 African-American entertainers and TV personalities.  <Buzzer>  Non-sequitur.  Let’s start with the fact that I recently disconnected the TV to reclaim quality time and reduce the conspicuous consumption that it encourages.  The only connection I can divine from my profile might be that I “like” Barack Obama and I “like” the band Black Sabbath.  The algorithm couldn’t be that blatantly, offensively, simplistic, could it?

Dunkin Donuts<Buzzer> What?  Are they a sponsor of the Crossfit Games or something?  Do they have a new line of “Paleo Pouches”?  DD seems like a vice from a past life at this point.

Philadelphia Phillies.  Um, the profile says NORTH Jersey!

Starbucks, because “people who like Peet’s Coffee & Tea also like Starbucks.”  <Buzzer>.  Note to Facebook:  People who like Peet’s SETTLE for Starbucks when traveling to, say, Dallas, or living in New Jersey where there ARE no Peet’s!

Wawa.  Ok you kinda got me there, and before you Crossfitters gasp in horror, here’s why:  There just happens to be a Wawa on the way home from the Cooper River rowing venue in Camden, NJ, with a large parking lot capable of handling a car-topped rowing boat, a good selection of fresh fruit, hummus and vegetables, and awesome chocolate milk ;-)  I am thankful that Wawa provides an oasis on the Admiral Wilson Boulevard where I can refuel after a competition without feeling like I am poisoning my body, and for that reason I do like it, Sam I Am!

P.S.  I know someone will ding me for the chocolate milk, but I am not a purist and I have a long, complicated relationship with chocolate milk that I am still working through.  After winning a tough race I do like a little reward, and the other choices would be to walk across the street to Rita’s for water ice, or to drink Muscle Milk which is loaded with Sucralose and other nightmares.