Posts Tagged ‘panama city’

Herbie Hancock

Posted: January 26, 2013 in ADVENTURE STORIES!, Hope, Ramblings, TRAVEL
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Last night I saw Herbie Hancock perform. It was actually kind of amazing. I should note that I felt pretty amazing before the concert even began. I was freshly showered, dolled up and slightly tipsy from the rum and cokes that we were drinking before hand. Then we walk into the convention center, sat down in our seats and I allowed myself to be overtaken.


Usually when I hear jazz, my evil school background comes back and I start analyzing everything. “Oh, that’s a dim9 chord—and yes, he just resolved it but then he turned it around and is transitioning into a Dmajor key—but only for a second because he just played a ii…..” etc. Annoying, right? Yea- for me, too. But not this time! I was bound and determined to not let my stupid schooling get in the way, so I let my old career do it instead. So, while listening to Herbie free-style on the piano I tried to imagine what movie he was scoring.


It seemed to be following my life.


Quitting/”retiring” from my old job in software. The anxiety that I felt leaving that old life behind. Knowing that I won’t come back “the same hobbit, if at all” was all perfectly matched with each passing-tone in the right hand.


The random melody going in and out of emotion perfectly matched my travel adventures… Sometimes, admittedly, drawn out and seemingly never ending—other times fast and quick, mimicking how I feel when someone speaks Spanish to me. Wanting so desperately for them to slow down (just a smidge!) so I can catch up, breath, understand the cascading melodies.


He flowed in between pieces- taking only a moment for a brief applause- a quick inhale- before diving back into the story of my life. (Because, honestly, this whole thing is about me and MY life. Duh.)


The last piece was about love. Finding it, falling in it, growing and experiencing it. There were two people having their first kiss, holding hands, not knowing how they felt for each other because of that terrible awkwardness of “does he like me?” mixed with the “do I actually like HIM? Or just this feeling?” The dynamics of his hands expressing the uncertainity, assurance, truths and mistakes and…. loss- or doubt. One of the two. Either which way, the pain, the questioning. The longing for ANY ANSWER AT ALL. All the notes are wrapping together and the turmoil of the left hand not fully syncing with the right until, finally. The resolution.


The answer. A short pause before striking a quarter-note Cmaj7 chord.


That’s it. That’s the answer. That’s the end. Simple, elegant. A perfect reminder that relationships are about the chaos, the journey, not the end.  That we should enjoy what we have because (as cliché as this sounds), the end will be quick and will come up faster than you think.


I should start with a brief story that my dad is awesome and has been doing crossfit for over 3 years. He actually got ME involved with it after it saved his life. But that’s another story for later. When I suggested we try out a box in Panama, where he was about to come visit for a vacation, he was all for it! I picked Crossfit PTY for it’s proximity to the hotel. So we woke up early (5am) to go walk over to PTY for the 6am class on the first day of their vacation. (Because, let’s be honest, it’s not a great vacation unless you start out with some crossfit, right?…. oh… just me? Ok then.)

Adriana was the coach and our groggy faces told her that we were new and to go ahead, sign a waiver (WHAT? A WAIVER?!) and get started. We stretched and warmed up as a group and then got into the wod (which wasn’t difficult RX, but I could have added more weight.)

After the wod (which only took my dad and I less than 6 minutes) we were asked to work on whatever our weak-points were. Abs, double-unders, etc.

Dad worked on his double-unders (he brought a speed rope with him… Did I mention he is ON VACATION?) and I worked on the muscle-up progression that I learned the other day. Adriana also taught me some other tips


1)   Start with hanging there and pulling your chest to the rings (using a false grip). Just do this for a week. Get it really nice and comfortable.

2)   Once you have step 1 down, pull the rings to your chest and poke your head through. (“boom BOOM!”) very quick. But you still have your feet planted on the ground.

(Obviously, this is all really easy to explain when you are showed.)

My dad and I ended up going back after our “Tour de Panama” and the 2nd wod was awesome. Tabata-style (2 sets of 30-second work, 60 seconds rest) which keeps your blood pumping, but also keeps your encouragement up because, hell, you have to do as many as you did last round! I love these types of wods.

Adriana is also all for a throw-down— so anyone from the states want to come down and show off, this is your place! 🙂

Overall, I loved my experience there. It also reinforced that my dad and I, as crossfitters, are never really far away from family as long as there is a box nearby.

Strong Pack Crossfit was actually Panama City’s first crossfit gym (if the rumor is true!). It’s ran by a guy named Chino, and, like most of the crossfits around here, it was also hard to find (so email/call for directions before venturing out!)

Chino has been doing crossfit for years and doesn’t necessarily believe in “hard start times” for wods. He encouraged me to come around 8am for the wod, but not to worry if I was late. (This is Panama, after all… Kinda like the Italians, they run on their own time.)

I showed up at 8:15 and the 2 other people there had already done the warm-up and were stretching. They waited for me to do the warmup and then we all decided to start together.

“3, 2, 1 go” was yelled and we were off. I felt like I was doing a really good pace, even though I was gasping in between every set of situps. Chino would come over to me, ask/yell how many more I had to do, I would reply and he would say “OK! GOGOGO!” and persuade/encourage/PHYSICALLY SHOVE ME to continue! Shocking at first, but I ended up really loving the encouragement! It was reminiscent of high-school where you want to rest, but if you do, the coach will see and yell at you– so you’re better off dealing with the suck/pain and pushing through until you yell “time.”

To be honest, I’m pretty sure I kicked ass on my time because of this strategy.  So thanks, Chino!

Also, It was nice to meet the man who started all the crossfits in Panama City. (All of the other coaches I have met have trained with/under Chino at some point). Go visit him and see his winning smile, then get your ass kicked. 🙂

Dragaos Crossfit was an experience an a half.

Jamie focuses a lot on core strength and developing the core. His box is relatively new but he has quite a following already. 3 other guys showed up during the wod and worked out with me at 4pm in the afternoon.

By the way, this is the WORST time to work out in Panama City, because it’s SWELTERING! The humidity is actually worse than the heat itself (35C). I’m not one that removes clothing during a wod (I usually try to keep it on so I can sweat more!) but I had to take off my shirt after the warmup. (Fun fact: My shirt actually made a sweat-stain on the ground….. eww.)

The work out was pretty brutal (In a great way)- nothing overly complicated or show-offy. At the end of it, I felt done. Like I just did something amazing (aside from finding the place—which did take a bit of patience…. Call/Facebook message in advanced so you can ask for directions.) But I felt like I accomplished something great.

When I first showed up, Jamie asked if I could do a muscle up. I kinda giggled at him because, dude… how many girls do YOU know who can do muscle ups? (I don’t know that many). He showed me some exercises before we started on modified progressions.


-doing knees-to-elbow (not after a wod, mind you) and bowing your knees out (like you are jumping on a box) and getting your ass as high as possible is a good exercise for muscle ups.

-putting the balls of your feet flat on a box while you are hanging on the rings and working on the “worm” from that position is also great practice.

(Of course, you need to work on just getting your hips up in the first place… This just takes a few weeks of constant practice.)

Either which way- I greatly appreciated the extra attention and professional tips from Jaime at Dragao. I highly recommend this place to anyone who is traveling through Panama City.