Meet a Root    December 29 2011


21-15-9 reps for time of:
135 pound Clean
GHD sit-up

Paul was one of the original members at Roots. He took the 3rd Foundations Course ever offered at the shop.

Meet a Root – Paul Sommer

1. Months CrossFitting?

27 months.

2. Favorite WOD or lift (pick one)?

Anything with double-unders included.   It’s the only way for me to put decent times up on the board on METCON days.  I like the rowing workouts a lot too.

3. Least favorite WOD or lift (pick one)?

Anything with a friggin’ clean movement required.   I just can’t seem to fire on Zack’s “SHRUG!” command.

4. What do you do for work? (career)

Technical Director, Sales and Supporting Services at JNBridge, LLC (1 of 4 equity owners).   JNBridge sells products that solve low level software interoperability problems between Microsoft’s .NET and Oracle’s Java/JEE development frameworks.  It’s the sort of thing my parents just can’t understand.   To this day they still don’t know what the hell it is I do.   Oh well.

5. What is your favorite thing about CrossFit?

The amazing people, of course.   The coaching staff and overall root crew are exceptional folks.   I also greatly enjoy the team aspect of the WODs and the simplicity of it all.   The beater building is a plus too.

6. What is your least favorite thing about CrossFit?

Torn up hands.   Seems like no matter what I do, my hands tear.  Oh wait, that’s right…it’s usually after at least 50 pull-ups.   What should I expect?   Regardless, it still bums me out.

7. Do you have any goals in CrossFit?  Anything specific you want to accomplish?  (muscle up, pull-up, handstand push up, body-weight squat)

Fran in under 10 mins (without tearing my hands). A 300 lb. Dead lift.  To develop a more controlled handstand.  Of course a more consistent muscle-up would also be nice.   It’s all within reach this year, so I’m stoked!

8. When you’re not CrossFitting, what activities keep you busy?

When not being a Dad, currently my primary hobby / obsession is playing mandolin both individually and in bluegrass bands.   I can’t seem to get enough of it.   It’s like CF — the more one throws down, the more positive energy that flows back.  I love it.

I also have a passion for fly fishing and probably more importantly to me, boats.  I’ve built hundreds of sea and white water racing slalom boats (was my “profession” at one time).   The bigger boat in the picture was built over three years in my driveway while my baby daughter napped.   I’d have the baby monitor going.   You get the picture.   The shot was actually taken a couple years ago up on the Green going through the Red Creek rapids.   I was freaking out, but made it cleanly through.  Oooo Ahhh…

9. Where were you born/raised?

SE Denver back when there were a lot of dirt roads and people said, “hello”.   I was driving my brother’s Land Cruiser at age 12 and generally having a great time exploring our surroundings.   My parents had no idea how far we’d roam.   I still marvel at the freedoms we had back then.

10. Married, kids, family?

Yep, the whole enchilada — 1 girl, 1 boy, rodents, cat, etc.   Being a family man is awesome.

11. How do you make CrossFit a part of your weekly schedule?

By committing to it on my calendar so the time is locked in.   I have some good flexibility in my schedule too since our company is so small.   What works well for me is to get in early, work a few hours and then hit the 9 AM class.   It’s a great way to break up the mornings and then I can go swim, ride, row, hike or jam on the mando over the lunch hour.   Love it…

12. Any favorite stories from Roots or a group class?  Funny, comical, happy, cool?….

One incident that always cracks me up when I think about it was a year or so ago when we were doing one of the all-out 500m x 5 rowing efforts in teams.   I’m always falling out of the sculling boats over at the res, but Jason Emmanuel showed me that it can also happen in the shop.

He was raging hard on the urg going for gold when all of a sudden a foot rips out of one of his shoes.  How?  No idea.  The empty shoe actually stayed behind in the foot lock which put him into a sort of flat spin on the seat with the free leg ripping through the air.   Next thing I know he’s bounced off the rear bumpers that keep the seat from shooting off the end of the track and is now headed full speed back to the catch position.  When the ensuing bewilderment subsided, he’s sittin’ there on the floor with one foot still hooked into the urg and a looking up at me as to say “what the hell?!”   Classic…

12. Anything you’d like to add?

Sure, just a big ol’ thanks to each and every one of you guys for contributing to Roots in such a positive way.   I’m really enjoying all of it while I can because as they say, “nothing lasts forever”.

  • Molly Molter

    Great bio and pic, Paul! Wish I could’ve been there to see Sugar bite the dust on the erg!

  • Ali

    I might have chuckled out loud at my desk just now :)

  • Chad

    Awesome picture Paul – you may have been freaking out, but you don’t show it – steady on the oars.  Ironic how the day your bio is posted coincides with a WOD full of cleans?

  • Paul

    Yep, cleans and I’m nowhere in sight today.  How cruel.   Some yoga perhaps?   You know, always working on that squat depth and “steady” focus.

  • Jason Emmanuel

    That’s great Paul. I’ll be quitting CFR later today….or charging $5 per person to watch my spastic monkey rowing technique. Not to brag, but I’m hilarious to watch digging holes in muddy ground and am terrible with a snow shovel. My lack of athletic ability is currently on display 4 mornings a week at 8am. Tell your friends.

  • Shane Upchurch

    Paul, probably the best Meet a Root post I have read yet!  Thanks for being awesome.  

    I expect to see a jam on the mando at the next Roots party….and an erg race between you and Jason.

  • Jason Emmanuel


  • Paul

    Sorry buddy. We all have our moments of notoriety

  • Christine

    Paul – happy to get to know you better! Hope to see you at 9am soon! C

  • Paul

    Thanks for all the comments.  Got to say, kindna fun being up there standing on the shoulders of giants (as Newton would say).   I should also send a speacial shotout to Ben O’Brien who had me looking at the mainsite from the beginning.   Thanks Ben!