Comfort is easy. Complacency is bliss. Who doesn’t prefer comedy over tragedy?
Yesterday I had my first encounter with Fran. She didn’t crush me. And that crushed me.
I didn’t perform the workout as prescribed – I scaled it down both in weight and had to jump some of my pull-ups. I finished with a time of 9:32. Afterwards I was sweaty. I was tired. I was sore. I wasn’t beat though. I didn’t need to lay down. My breakfast was not close to making a reappearance. But here’s the kicker… I wanted it to. I wanted to feel that beautiful pain of pushing yourself to the limits that I’ve read so many people feel after Fran. I wanted to be a prone puddle of destruction on the floor. I was ashamed that I wasn’t. And right there was when I made a vow to myself to practice getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I am not new to fitness but I am new to CrossFit. I’ve worked out consistently for the last 10 years. I’m 6’2″, 178 lbs. I’ve been that size for the last 10 years. When I wanted to exercise my chest, I’d load my body weight onto the bar and bench press a few reps. Been doing that for around the last ten years. I’ve worn a 32″ waist since as far back as I can remember.
Beginning to notice a pattern?
I am on a 10 year plateau. Granted, my plateau isn’t a terrible place to be. I’m healthy. My diet is healthier than the average American. I have pristine cholesterol numbers and my blood pressure is spot on. No daily medications. I am absolutely alright physically. Hell, maybe I’m even pretty good physically. I’m 31 and most days I feel just fine. Contentment is uncomplicated.
As I sat on the floor regaining my breath post-Fran, I felt something I didn’t think I would feel. Prior to the workout our trainer, Jesse, gave us the history of Fran along with his personal history of Fran. He explained how “what’s your Fran time?” is the CrossFit equivalent to the meathead “how much do you bench, bro?”. I had been pumped to discover my first benchmark time with this lady. I had felt that obtaining a Fran time would make me a legit CrossFitter, not just some poser in Reebok gear. After I gave Fran my 90 reps, I didn’t feel like a CrossFitter.
I felt like a loaf of bread in a paleo diet.
I felt disconnected from the long line of athletes that have broken themselves on the altar of Fran. I knew deep, deep down in that place we humans are usually afraid of, that I had not given my all. That deep, deep place served only truth on its menu, and it left a horrid taste in my mouth. Others in the box (CrossFit for gym) with me were in various states of Pterodactyl, spread exhausted on the floor. I was not. That truth, way more than my physical exertion, made me want to vomit.
(Side note: I did push myself. I was sweaty and tired afterwards. I’m sore today. I gave my normal plateau effort, which is effort after all.)
Humbled by my lack of total effort given and by the effort of others in the box tackling Fran with me, I made my vow. I made a goal: I will complete Fran, as prescribed, in under 5 minutes. True, this is a 100% total arbitrary goal. The goal itself is not the prize. The prize is so much greater than a sub-five minute time. A Rx Fran completion under 5:00 would represent a level of commitment and dedication and discomfort that I’ve never achieved before. It would be that something worth having that is not easy.
I could stop there and have quite a journey to write about. You could follow me along and cheer for me as my sweat is poured out in pursuit of my goal. But that would’t be epic. Epic is what serendipitously manifested in my mind on my way home from CrossFit 865.
My plateau does not just encompass my fitness level. My plateau encompasses my entire life.
Wow. Nine and a half minutes of chipping away at 90 repetitions and I hear a voice from the sky asking me ‘what are you doing with your life?’. Epic.
My life parallels my physical fitness. I’ve got an alright life. Hell, maybe my life is pretty good. I have a fine job with great pay (I do mechanical engineering design work for a nuclear power plant – yes I’m a dork and there will be plenty of nerdy references in the future). I have a house with a yard and I can hit my driver over 250 yards and land it in the fairway (sometimes). I have family and friends that love me.
Sounds decent enough right? Here’s the thing… aside from my family and friends, I don’t love any of that stuff back. I don’t love my job. I don’t love my house. I don’t love the answer to the question ‘what are you doing with your life’ because I don’t know what I’m doing with my life!
It comes down to two words: fear and passion. I fear the effort required to change things. I don’t love things because I am not passionate for them. I have no passion for sitting at a desk for 10 hours a day making changes to pipe sizes. I fear the effort of looking for a new job and I fear rocking the boat on my comfortable ocean of getting a paycheck every two weeks. I’m good at what I do and I’m content doing it for the pay I receive. I have been complacent with feeling the muscle burn after chest day and leg day. I have not had the passion to record my workouts and track my progress in weight/rep/time/etc.
I’m happy with being happy… except I’m not. Happy is no longer good enough. Joyful, passionate glee is my new goal. Getting through a workout is no longer good enough. Exceeding yesterday is the new goal. Life is too short to be anything but awesome.
My box has this written on the wall. Pay attention to the last line.
That’s where I am. My life can be summarized by a whole string of yesterdays. That ends today. My life is my life and no one else’s. Why shouldn’t I passionately love every precious second of it? If something is holding me back from happiness, then that thing is cancerous and it must be removed. Why shouldn’t I strive to mold my body into the most impressive machine it can be? If my body is a temple then it is time to exalt it.
Mortality is scary. We have such a short time on this earth. There is no time to waste. It is time to fight the good fight.
Rome wasn’t built in a day; I won’t find a career that I want to get out of bed everyday for tomorrow. I won’t be able to do bang out 21 reps of 95# thrusters tomorrow. But tomorrow, I will be better than I am today. Today I step off my plateau and start my journey up the mountain. I know my feet will blister, my legs will ache, hands will bleed, faith will be shaken. But, doesn’t that just mean I am alive? That I am alive in this wonderful world and I have the power to shape and create and chase my destiny? That I can do anything I set my mind to?
Thank you for choosing to follow me on my new to CrossFit journey. I owe you my commitment and my accountability. Your encouragement will be paramount to obtaining my goals. I’m going to be awesome.
Fran, you mysteriously wonderful, awful bitch, I’m coming for you. I do not fear you. My discomfort will be my comfort. I accept your challenge, and I will crush you.