Northeast Tennessee

St. Louis – Launch Week 3

Northeast Tennessee Starfish Qs

QIC made the road trip to F3 St. Louis for week three of their launch series (I lived in St. Louis from 2000 to 2004 and have some great friendships there). After scoping out the weinkes (or is it weinkies?) for weeks one and two, I decided I needed to bring four “gifts” from Northeast Tennessee to Eastern Missouri:

  1. Coupons, in the form of 30 pound cinder blocks.
  2. Pickle Pounders with an “Ugh” at the top stroke. (goes without saying)
  3. Motivators, and lots of them.
  4. A call to encourage one another and build one another up in the faith.

It was 32º with a chilly wind at start time, but we warmed up quick.


  • Not a professional.
  • Modify if you need to, but push yourself.
  • Run your race at your pace. Get better.
  • Encourage one another.
  • Faith.



  • Merkins 10 IC
  • Fist Bump x 2 and say, “So far so good.”
  • Motivators from 7
  • Fist Bump x 2 and say, “That sucked.”
  • Through The Tunnel 10 IC
  • Pickle Pounders 10 IC (with “Ugh!”)

Note: There was a slight hesitation from the PAX after my demonstration of Pickle Pounders, since there were several women sighted, walking their dogs in the area. We got past this though, and the “Ugh”s were pretty enthusiastic once we got started.

Note #2: While preparing for this Q, I realized that Northeast Tennessee’s version of Pickle Pounders is a whole different thing that the version listed in the Exicon. Not sure if a re-name is in order at some point?

  • Imperial Walkers 10 IC
  • Hillbilly Walkers 10 IC
  • Little Baby Arm Circles 10 IC
  • Little Baby Arm Circles (Reverse ) 10 IC
  • Squats 10 IC
  • Motivators from 5
  • Fist Bump x 2 and say, “I’m warmed up.”


Part 1: My gift to you… A 30 pound block.

  • Block Curls 10 Count
  • Overhead Block Presses 10 Count
  • Block Rows 10 Count
  • Rinse, repeat. 4 times
  • Fist Bump x 2 and say, “#stud”

Part 2: DORA 123 (Buddy up to take turns running or working on cumulative totals.)

  • 30 Yard Run
  • 100 Merkins
  • 200 Squats
  • 300 Crunches

Encouragement included lots of passing fist bumps and side fives; a variety of verbal encouragements as we passed one another and exchanged places like: “that’s good work,” “you’re killing it,” “way to work hard,” “stud,” and others; at least one “C’mon! Are you going to let a ten year old hispanic girl kick your *ss?” screamed (encouragingly) at the group by an unnamed PAX; countless nods of encouragement and grunts of solidarity as we put in the work; and a rally from the first finishers to help unfinished groups complete their cumulative totals. Well played F3 St. Louis. Well played. All three Fs in full effect.

  • Fist Bump x 2 and say, “Good work.”

Part 3: Cinder-Block Blackjack

  • 20 Block Curls
  • Run 30 Yards
  • 1 Overheard Block Press
  • Rinse and repeat, reducing the # of curls by one each time and increasing the # of overhead presses so that the total # of reps is always twenty-one.

Note: I’m not sure how far everyone else got, but I only got to 9 curls and 12 overheads before I called an audible and wrapped up for some MARY.


  • Motivators from 5.
  • Boat/Canoe 10 IC w/ a 10 second (give or take) hold on the last one
  • Do that ^^^ again, counting the last couple in quarters (1 3/4, 1 1/2, 1 1/4, etc) to the great displeasure and groans of the PAX. Abtastic!


Countarama: 12 PAX, including 4 FNGs.

Welcome FNGs:

  • Jason Sarino. A multi-instrumentalist musician who works for a company called Avatara, selling cloud technology solutions. Considered “Bad Company” (Feel like making love) and “Avatar,” but it didn’t quite roll off the tongue. Went with “Blue Man.”
  • Eric Peterson. COO at Goedeke, which rents heavy construction equipment. Considered “Bozo” for reasons that will remain in the COT. Considered “Guitar Hero” since he’s an accomplished guitarist. Went with “Bob The Builder” because it was less cool.
  • Adam Hull. Mortgage banker with Wintrust. From Kentucky. Considered “Pretty Mouth” and “Deliverance” but memories of the movie made some of us shudder. Went with “Banjo.”
  • Cory Franklin. Attorney with Lowenbau Law. Avid outdoorsmen who runs and has done Go Ruck events. Four kids (or was it five?) who keep him running with soccer, etc. We went with “Soccer Mom.”


Men, I can’t begin to express how energizing it was to make the trip to St. Louis, and although I really enjoyed the workout and coffeeteria (what a *GREAT* group of guys), most of my praise and gratitude has little to do with F3, and more to do with how God is working things out for the good, in my life, and in the lives of my friends.

Most of the details are too personal to share online, but the visit to F3 St. Louis is riddled with moments, whispers, inklings, and opportunities to say yes, to encourage friends, to redeem some of my own failures by being transparent and grace-filled with others, and to love others the way that God has loved me.

If I ever doubted that God is working out all of the details of our lives, I don’t any more. I’ve seen the way he’s used Crotch Rocket and EDB, so that I could be used, so that X could be said, so that Y could be prayed, so that Z could be known… I’m telling you. I’ve never seen it more clearly than I have this week and I’m so grateful for what I’ve seen.

There’s a song that poses the question, “What has God done to relieve suffering and injustice,” then answers, “God created you.” And, although it’s a bit hokey to say… It really is true.

A few years back, I decided to start saying “yes” to the Holy Spirit. I decided to send an encouraging text when a friend came to mind. I decided to make a phone call when I felt led. I decided to *not* make a phone call if I doubted my ability to control my tongue. I decided to do whatever I felt like the Lord was leading me to do.

And you know what’s funny? So far… It hasn’t typically been anything big. Most of my yes’s have been small.

It’s been a thousand little acts of obedience. It’s been hundreds of words of encouragement. It’s been a few dollars here, or a few minutes there. It’s been coffee for a widow or flowers for a daughter or silence and gratitude when someone tells me something I already know (just let someone else be smart, Jamin).

It’s been amazing.

For reasons I won’t get into here, the last five years have been the hardest of my life, and you know what? Jesus hasn’t answered all of my prayers. He hasn’t met all of my expectations. He hasn’t done what I wanted him to do. He hasn’t made *others* do what I wanted *them* to do. (Ugh. I repent.) Some really serious stuff has gone wrong. Some really big hurts have occurred that will take years to fully resolve.

But you know what? He has answered my prayers. He has helped me. He has given me what I needed. Every time I’ve need it, he’s reminded me that: His mercies are new every morning. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Be strong and courageous. Be humble. Be kind. Be loving. Be filled with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 (the fruit of the Spirit). 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (the love chapter). He has given me exactly what I needed — His words, in front of my eyes and in my heart, through His Word and through my friends — and always, just in time.

And not only did He encourage me, he gave me the opportunity to encourage, serve, and love others. And it’s the latter, as much as the former, which has made it so clear that He loves me.

So… Here’s my encouragement to you, F3 St. Louis.

Say yes.

Say yes when He asks you to do a good thing — to build someone up, to say a kind word, to pay a compliment, call out the good, and maybe just to pick up the trash in a bathroom or parking lot before you leave.

F3 has a hashtag (#him) that represents a high impact man, and that is what God wants you to be and have… Impact. You can make a difference. You are important. In fact, you are an integral part of His plans in the lives of your family and friends, and wherever those ripples of good go out into the universe to influence what is coming to be.

Say yes to the Holy Spirit. Say no to the Liar and Accuser (and don’t be one). Accept good names for yourself and give good names to others. Be faithful in the small things, because small things are big things once they’ve run their course, with ripples into eternity.

Thanks for saying yes to me. I’m better for it, and it’s already begun to pay forward.


  • We think (?) we have three more launch weeks, and will need local leadership to take over the Q after then.
  • Come back. Bring a buddy.
  • EDB will follow up about a weekday workout this week.

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