I was watching Shark Tank the other day, foam rolling my sore legs after a 24-hour period that featured both squats and thrusters when I realized I never officially documented my last encounter with Fran.
The way I see it, it’s kind of like a relationship status on Facebook – not really real until it’s posted there. Same thing with Fran and ifailedfran – I didn’t really do the WOD if I didn’t write about it.
Jump in the time machine with me and let’s revisit my most recent Frantastic time.
It’s hot. Mid July. Humidity of about 249%. You get wet just stepping into CrossFit 865.
I knew Fran was coming. I arrived prepared with my lifters and hand rip protection. I also brought my usual self-doubt and apprehension.
My current PR to date was just slightly sub-10. 9:56 to be exact. I was in a bit of a CrossFit burnout funk in July. Combine that, the heat and humidity, and the fact that I just wasn’t feeling Fran for that day… I expected to not get anywhere near my PR.
In fact, I seriously considered doing the workout less than Rx.
That was my plan going into warmup. By the time I got 75 lbs on the bar and thrusted it a few times… it actually felt ok. I actually felt… good. Well, as good as a thruster can feel. So yeah, I went ahead and got those two 25s on the bar and was ready to rumble with 95 lbs – Rx baby.
For the record, pull-ups are never a limiting factor for me on Fran. First and foremost it is the suckiness of the thruster, followed by the total cardio gasser that the WOD truly is. The pull-ups in and of themselves are really no big deal. That’s why I usually don’t write much about them. Just saying.
I wanted to go 11-10 on the first 21 thrusters. I’d never been able to get through 11 at first.
Well… I did that. Boom. Done. I got through those first 11 and then let my bar clang to the floor.
I don’t recall if I got the next 10 unbroken or not… I don’t think I did. Probably went 5-5 or 6-4. Whatever the case, I know that was the quickest I had ever made it through the initial onslaught. Woo freaking hoo!
Given that this WOD took place over 100 days ago, I can’t give you an exact play-by-play as to my time splits when I made it back to the bar for the round of 15. I know I was at a pretty decent pace per my standards.
And that’s when the heat and humidity and the suck got to me.
Pretty sure I did a grand total of three thrusters before dropping the bar. Dang. Did I blow my WOD too early?
This brought me to my all too familiar place of toeing that thin line between normal suckiness of a workout and pushing into that dark pain cave. More on that later, but for now, for the WOD in question, I think I did a remarkable job of straddling that fence.
And then… well… I don’t remember much else of Fran. How’s that for anticlimactic? Haha.
What I do remember is on my last set of pull-ups, thinking my forearms were going to explode. I guess I squeezed the bar too tight or something but seriously my forearms were so swollen and tight and I really thought they might explode!
Oh, and I remember my time.
Almost a full two-minute PR.
Man, that was good stuff. I don’t know how that happened, especially in the middle of summer and the middle of a funk… but Fran brought the beast out of me. As I lay on the ground attempting to hold my wrists together and catch my breath, I was allowing myself to feel a sense of pride over my improvement.
That lasted for about 5 seconds until I started dissecting my WOD and thinking where I should have pushed harder to go quicker. You all know what I mean. Never satisfied, always wanting more.
That’s a topic for another day. For now, let’s go back to that line between pushing hard and getting nasty. Between getting a good to great workout and having an altered state WOD.
I believe that part of the mass appeal of CrossFit in that it pushes “normal” people – business people, white collared people, soccer moms and desk jockeys alike – to a place of discomfort that wouldn’t otherwise ever be reached.
Nowhere in corporate America or stay-at-homeism is there the opportunity to truly get uncomfortable. To get sweaty. To feel the pain and try to push through it. Nowhere is there such a place to get primal and have a contest with yourself and a barbell. The juxtaposition of a shirt and tie from 8 to 4 to a shirtless monster for 8 minutes and four seconds afterwards.
Sure, you can get a good workout from any number of things, but CrossFit specifically places you in a state of discomfort and then asks you to perform normally. Sure, go to Planet Fitness and knock out a set of 10 bench presses when you are good and rested. Now come to a CrossFit box and do those same 10 reps after running and jumping and being oxygen depleted, then do it again and again and again. For time.
Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s a ubiquitous phrase CrossFitters use to describe pushing into that suck zone. Embracing the pain and discomfort of the present in order to build a better future you.
I have such a tough time surrendering to the dark side. I am so uncomfortable with getting uncomfortable.
I’ve always been that way. Growing up, my Dad always worked on our cars himself. He’d tinker around with the brakes or tires or engine and always have grease and oil on his hands. Yes, he washed them, but he was dirty while working. I never liked getting dirty. I still don’t. I guess I’m unmanly in that regard.
I don’t like doing hard things. I don’t like taking chances. I like knowing I have a safety net before I jump. I don’t like uncertainty. I like plans. I like control.
I’m afraid of failing. That’s what started this blog. Fear of failure. Fear of Fran.
Fear that I’ll push hard and throw up. I’m so freaking scared of throwing up during a workout. Or that I’ll work myself to exhaustion and drop weight on myself or fall on my head. I imagine these worst-case scenarios and use that as negative reinforcement for holding back in a WOD. I blame it on all the worst-case analysis I do as part of my day job in the nuclear power industry. Or something like that. Maybe. I dunno.
I have missed out on so much in life already because I’ve simply been afraid. Afraid of rejection or ridicule. Afraid of making the wrong choice. I’m still too afraid of doing certain things I need to do.
And with CrossFit, I’m still more apt to look at a set of 12 and break it up into 4 sets of 3 instead of 3 sets of 4 or 2 sets of 6 or just trying to push through as much as I can before breaking. Pacing is very important, don’t get me wrong, but I take it to an extreme and plan out my exact rep count before breaking, and it always errs on the conservative side.
My improvement and growth has been stunted because I place these self-imposed limits on myself. I’m not pushing my limits often enough or far enough and therefore am not getting that growth stimulus to adapt and better myself. In the gym, in life, in everything.
Stop being so damn scared Chris! Geez.
Wow, that digressed a little didn’t it?
(Big shout to Brandon for capturing me absolutely spent post-WOD. Want to check out his journey? Find him on Facebook here.)
Thanks for reading along. I’m really happy I finally worked the word juxtaposition into a blog post. I’m really happy that I actually posted again in general! And I’m really happy to be just over three minutes away from my goal of a sub-5 minute Fran.
Progress baby. Hopefully the uncomfortable will start getting comfortable.
Your Turn -> How do you approach getting comfy with the uncomfy?