tl;dr 14 PAX showed up. It was 45 degrees and partly cloudy. A disclaimer was given. A warmup was done. A full-body workout was done. Muscles were built. There was a COT at the end; capped off with a prayer.
Seven. It’s a number between six and eight. It’s the number of Wonders of the World. God rested on the seventh day. Seven is considered lucky. It’s the number of items most people can retain in their short-term memory. It’s a prime number. The number of basic musical notes. It’s also the number of years psychologists claim is the point at which happiness drops in relationships (more on this later).
Finally, seven is the number of years I’ve been a part of F3.
I moved here December 4, 2008. I left the snowy grounds and 25-degree weather of Pennsylvania that day and arrived in Irmo, SC to a balmy 75-degrees. I hated the cold and was glad to be back in the south. Over the next several years, I lived a basic life. I went to work. I did house projects. Spent time with my kids. Rinse+Repeat. I knew no one when I came here and 6 years later, I still really didn’t know anyone. A co-worker mentioned a new workout group they joined, called F3. I actually heard it through his conversation with someone else. I waited a few days and decided to Google it. I found the closest workout to me – Ballentine Soccer fields. I mulled over it a few more days and decided to show up to a Saturday workout. It was February 8, 2014.
It had been almost 20 years since I really had a dedicated workout. But I was instantly hooked. The cadences. The semi-formations. The free-body exercises. More importantly, people engaged me. The first person to say anything to me and ask about my life, was Stage Coach. Being in Irmo for almost six years, I had no idea who Nathan Ballentine even was. At that moment, he was just another guy suffering through the same exercise as me. Others began chatting. Just before the end of the one-hour workout, I was schooled on getting a nickname that would perpetuate me in F3 lore. I smiled because I was dreaming of something really cool to be named. Surely, once I tell them of my Marine Corps days I’d be given a nickname that even a GI Joe character would be jealous of. Rip Cord. Leatherneck. Beast Mode. Hammerhead. I jumped out of planes and was a combat instructor of water survival! I was in Recon! I was sure I’d be leaving with something amazing.
Nope. Welcome to F3.
I baited them all with my resume of bad-assery. 232 static line jumps. 156 free fall jumps. Combat Instructor of Water Survival. I called in F-4 Phantom air strikes. I was in Recon. Several minutes of highlights that even Chesty Puller might be proud of. No one would take the bait. Finally, someone asked what I did for a living. Before I could even get the words “Department of Transportation” out of my mouth, “POTHOLE!!!” was shouted – and here we are.
Granted, I’ve been a part of many a FNG naming, and it could have been way worse (Sorry, JDee). So I’m happy with the name: Pothole.
From that first day, it only took 3 months before I was attending more than just Saturday workouts. I made the Tuesday and Thursday mornings work for my schedule. I started going to run groups. And by the end of the year, I was under the F3 tent for the Mud Run. When 2015 hit, I was hitting on all cylinders. I ran my first half-marathon (in under 2 hours) one Saturday, completed the very first F3 Custom GoRuck Heavy the following Saturday, and then finished with the most miles of my P200 team the next Saturday. Another half-marathon. A Blue Ridge Relay. A few more GoRuck events. I capped the year with Mr. Beast Mode and Most Creative Q awards. For the next several years I stacked my wall with race finisher medals, dirty race bibs from Mud Runs, and patches from GoRuck and F3 events. I have more t-shirts than I care to admit. I go to other regions and smile when I get the occasional, “Oh, so you’re Pothole.” I brought you Skelefish – easily one of the greatest F3 region logos. I introduced F3 to Monkey Humpers. I was almost murdered by a pack of angry FiA women. I was your AOQ at Depot for a time. And I’ve dedicated my services to Depot since I started F3.
All of that would not be possible had it not been for the people around me. My friends. All of you. I’ve established some great friendships over these last seven years. People that know me on a deeper level and have helped me through some of the darkest issues I’ve dealt with personally. People that motivated me. People I look up to. People that continue to surprise me of how kind the human spirit is that compel me to do the same. People that have counseled me. People that have given to me when I needed. People that I would gladly lay down my life for if a situation ever called for it.
So thank you for befriending me. I promise to continue bringing the pain because I know you want it. I promise to continue being a tough Q because I want to help you become better. I promise to continue encouraging the six. I promise to be a friend, just as I hope you’ll be a friend to someone else.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
I can’t, however, promise never to be late to a workout. Beast Mode or not, I’m human and I love sleep.
Psychologists theorize that happiness in relationships begin to deteriorate after seven years. Whether it’s a friend relationship or a workout relationship, I don’t see that ever happening. Seven years have come and I don’t feel like any of my relationships have deteriorated.
So buckle up Depot. You get at least seven more years of The Pothole. I’m just getting started!
SSH x 25 IC
Imperial Walkers x 15 IC
*Announcement: 10 Merkin penalty if you recover before the Q says to
Hillbillies x 15 IC
10 Merkin penalty
Through The Tunnel x 10 IC
Windmill x 10 IC
10 Merkin penalty
20 Burpees on your own
Start at the top speed bump, backwards lunge to the bottom speed bump, Inchworm back to the top speed bump
Mosey to the block pile, grab a block, head to the track
Hodor: block in front of you, lift over your head into a tricep extension, bring back to your chest, squat. That’s one rep. Repeat times 30. Cusack around the track.
Merkins on the block OYO x 20
Lower half curls x 10
10 Merkin penalty
Upper half curls x 10
10 Merkin penalty
Full curls OYO x 10 *Moose assholery avoidance
Replace the blocks and mosey to the parking lot
LBC x 15 IC
Flutters x 15 IC
BBSU x 10 IC
Rosalita x 10 IC
10 Merkins OYO
COT; Name-O-Rama; BOM(ish)