Name: Tom Graff
DOB: December 17, 1959
Gig: Husband, Father of 2, Son, Brother of 7, US Navy Captain Retired, Commercial Real Estate Broker, member of 4 non-profit boards, parishioner at Christ Our Hope at 2nd & Stewart… basically I am too much.
CrossFitting Since: Feb 2011 (at the McGuire!)
First Memorable CrossFit Experience: 2 early events: In the olden days, bootcamp was one-on-one with Eric. He put me on the rower and was so happy that a newbie could row. I remember thinking “This is odd. What is the big deal? It is just rowing.” Little did I know the way to Eric’s heart is to row well. My first true exhilaration in CrossFit was doing a WOD RX’d for the first time. It seemed unreal that I could do a WOD RX’d and it was fairly early on. I have learned the hard way that RX’d is not actually the point but at the time I was thrilled and hooked.
Favorite WOD: I am a long distance runner (first marathon at 12 years old), so practically all the cardio and body weight movements I quite enjoy. Cindy is Go-To for me.
Favorite Lift: I never touched a barbell until I started CrossFit at 51. I also have a very long back so all the barbell movements from the deck require a ton of travel and I have no natural form. Bad combo. All lifts from the deck require a crap-load of coaching and psyching up. With that said, the overhead squat I love. Once in place, my hamstrings do their thang and I am in barbell bliss. I actually feel like my body craves the overhead squat. I admit this is bizarre.
Least Favorite WOD: Of course everything has an exception, and in the cardio vein the double-unders have been the devil’s singular punishment to me. It is the one cardio workout to cause me complete frustration until literally a week ago. Last week, I finally did a WOD with double-unders and the movement was just like rowing and/or running: Zen. So the lesson learned: if I can do them, ANYONE can. But you don’t get better at double-unders unless you practice them (again devil’s singular punishment). Note to self: double-unders are all about the wrist.
Favorite CrossFit Moment: I am embarrassed to say I do like the CrossFit Open. It is the one time I am focusing more on myself and can see how I compare to men in my age group (and I also generally push my open judge to cheer and coach me continuously or in Eric’s case, take me to the brink). I rank in the top 50-100 in the Northwest which makes me feel a bit better about myself since in the box I am, at best, average (oh, that is right, it is not how you rank up. I keep forgetting.) I encourage folks to do the Open if you never have. But the Open is not a moment. My favorite CrossFit moment is the affection I felt upon my return to CrossFit after a 5 month absence.
Why You Do CrossFit: I realized when I was in 48 years old that I could not just run to keep this body going. I needed a more diverse training regime. I started working with a personal trainer and liked it but he eventually moved on. So I asked Eric if old jerks are allowed to join his tribe and he claimed he had been meaning to ask him to join (I met Nadia and Eric when they opened at McGuire). I truly enjoyed CrossFit early on. I liked the youthful energy, starting (and mostly ending) a workout together, the music, and the dedication everyone puts in. It is all infectious to try your best and see the improvement. I am so thankful the gym does humor me and allow such an old person to work out with them. I have been to other CrossFit gyms with folks more my age and I find them too restrained. The youthful energy in Belltown presses me harder and I freely admit I am determined to show that you can be in shape when you are your father’s age.
Favorite Cheat Meal: Nachos and Cheeseburgers. I do, however, restrain myself and don’t eat them together.
CrossFit Secret: You cannot think about the entire WOD routine or what is left once the WOD has started. You must focus on the current movement and moving through it well. Which is not to say you don’t think about pacing yourself, and working on a strategy prior to the start of the WOD. However, once the WOD has started then you must focus on the here and now. About 2/3’s through any WOD, my mind says it wants to quit because there is too much left to do. Crush that thought, and think about getting through the next movement or two with perfect form. Then repeat and repeat and repeat this process until you are done with the WOD.
What Do You Do On Rest Days: I do CrossFit only 3 times a week. I try to run a 10k once a week. I try to swim 40 laps once a week. And I try to do yoga once a week (this old body is very stiff). I don’t generally get it all in but that is the goal. I am also an avid gardener. It is my go to stress reliever and my non workout Zen.
What Can’t You Live Without: My wife and children. They literally are my best friends (I recognize this is not normal, I have no idea how it happened, and I count my blessings every day).
Favorite Vacation Spot: Any great city in a wonderful urban apartment with my wife cooking. Every 2 years we do a month in a great city. We’ve done Paris, Florence, and this year it is Barcelona in September. Back up vacation spot is Whistler at New Year’s. We have gone every year for the last 18 years. Among other things, CrossFit really helps your skiing!