What a glorious day in the growing shopping sprawl known as Urban Jungle. The shear number of concrete parking decks alone sends ITBers scurrying for the forested cover of Fletcher Park. I believe the count is now at 8. 8 parking decks. Consider that each has at least 2 stairwells, and the possible elevation gain is ridiculous. And given that the temperature was already 80s with humidity pushing 93%, why run around in the open, on grass. Then, on top of all that, today marks 3 years of waking up at an ungodly hour to run around with a group of crazies. What better place to celebrate, than in the heat of the concrete Jungle.

38 Pax agreed and joined YHC for a party of epic proportions. Lots of familiar brothers. Several new faces. A couple of Kotters. Hate Hates. And Respects. Even one FNG. And hold the phone, Wendel Gee. His OTB pass had been renewed and he felt compelled to visit. An honor. Great crowd with lots of chatter which was only interrupted for a short disclaimer. “We don’t own midtown. We own the gloom. Follow me.”

We took a quick footed tour through the heart of North Hills proper. Past the fern and back over the oldest deck in Raleigh. Then we circled down, under and into the belly of the beast. As we crossed the threshold the hot, stagnate air hit us like a wall and the smell of dumped-on-the-pavement car ashtrays burned into our nostrils. Ahhh, the perfect spot to kick things off. Circle up.

3 Triple Merkin Burpees, OYO (This makes perfect sense, but some still needed it spelled out. Wendel again.)
Plank Jacks x15
3 Triple Merkin Burpees, OYO
Windmills x15
3 Triple Merkin Burpees, OYO
Imperial Walkers x15¬† (Or something like that…)

Gather on the JCP end of the deck and partner up.
P1: Pull-up Suicides (thank Peacock for the extra leg work) w/ 5 stops for 3 pull-ups at each cross beam
P2: Merkins, Squats, LBCs x10 each, repeat
P1&2: Continue exercises until the 6 is in

Mosey deeper into the darkness to Deck 2 that spreads like mole tunnels under the fern and a bunch of fancy, la-te-da “look at my $400 dress bitches” boutiques. There was nothing fancy about the oil stained splotches we found perfect for doing the next set. Listen up.

P1: Sprint to far wall and back
P2: Wide Grips, Star Jumps, WWIIs, 15 each, repeat
Repeat for two sprints each, then continue exercises until the 6 is in

Time to give the Pax a breather. Jog to the ramp and up into daylight. The sun was just rising between the new BOA tower (and deck) and the old First Citizens building (and deck). Bathe in this glorious scene, while we amass at Six Forks Road, preparing to cross. We did Nipplers until the light changed, and then we charged across. ManRam stopped traffic as we didn’t officially have the right-of-way. But who’s stopping 38 men in black. No one. That’s who.

Safely on the other side, YHC led us into Tower 2. But something wasn’t right. Lights were flashing everywhere, and a horrible alarm blasted every few seconds. For a moment I considered how miserable this would be for the Pax to endure, trying to rationalize if we should stay and continue the workout as planned. NO. No freaking way. It was awful. We exited the other side of the tower, then immediately down and up into the steaming guts of Tower 1. An audible was due. And it went something like this.

Gather at the top of the steep, back ramp for a quick set of 7s. Quick meaning do 6 plus 1 at the bottom, 5 plus 2 back at the top, etc, etc. Thanks to Wendel for the mathematical assist, or we would have been doing 8s. But lets make this interesting. Burpees and Dying Roaches. Mmm, fun. Jump knee tucks while we let every last man have their chance to finish their 7s. Think we did 20 or so of these. And they sucked. And I paid for it, as my knees hurt all day.

Once we finished this lovely snack, we departed down the ramp and back around to the crossing. Here we didn’t have to wait quite as long, and all froggered back over to NH and the breezeway leading to the fountains. We gathered the 6 with a set of Prisoner Squats. I know not how many. Then we Bear Crawled the alley and over to the fountain. Several Pax contemplated dipping their heads in the water and YHC almost obliged. God, it looked so refreshing. But no, we still had work to do. Split into two groups with the find your partner from before method and do this…

P1 – Alt L/R Step-ups on the fountain (thanks be to Java for the cadence assist with group 1)
P2 – Freddie Mercuries (Costco fartsacked my anniversary, so no singing. I was sad)

Mosey the whole crew back to where this day all began and circle up for a little Mary.

Flutters x25 w/ extra slow count for the last 5
Hammers x20
Triple Merkin Burpees x3

Countoff, Name-o-rama, Welcome FNG Venus (he likes Tennis, now he has a girls name, but a pretty damn cool one). Great to have you out brother. YHC reflected briefly on 3 years of this crazy exercise cult. At my first workout there were 48 guys in the park at Pullen. It was some crazy ass shit, that ended with a tug-o-war and a naming by Costco and QIC White Shoe. Then there was a GRT, a Site Q stint, The Shaggy Challenge, a couple of BRRs, and countless mornings in the gloom. These days I post 5-7 days a week. I stay I do it for the exercise. But I really do it because I love hanging out with this great group of men. Leaders and friends. Thank you all.

Lots of announcements, check the homepage and twitter. You should all be on twitter. And you should Q. If you’re reading this and haven’t Q-ed, or haven’t Q-ed in awhile, sign up now. Go to the schedule page. Find a site you’re familiar with and click on the Site Q’s name on the right hand side. Most of these are Google docs. Go down the list. Pick a day that’s open and works for your schedule and just sign up. If you want help with it, hit me up on twitter or in the comments below. I’d be proud to be your wingman.

That’s all folks. See you in the gloom.