CrossFit: Dancing With Fran

Dear Fran,

I’m still learning how to do thrusters (and hold on to a pull-up bar)… but I’m comin’ for ya, sweetheart. Brace yourself.

You have been warned,

Last week was a particularly rough one for me. The thruster & burpee box jump workout we did almost made me hurl (and I LOVE box jumps), and I was ejected from the rig while doing a set of 10 pull-ups, landing flat on my back & knocking the wind out of myself.

That’ll wake ya up at 6am on a Friday.

Enter Fran

A quintessential CrossFit benchmark workout, this woman delivers an enormous amount of pain in an incredibly short period of time. And leaves you breathless. Literally. Without air.

And today was the day.

Our First Dance

Not unlike your best friend’s wedding, when you ask that pretty girl sitting across the table if she’d like to dance. You’re surrounded by your best friends, most of whom are out there throwing their inhibitions to the wind. You know you should be out there, too. You want to be out there. You just needed that little push.

But before you ask her, you go through at least 10 different scenarios of how this will play out. Like a quarterback reading the defense, going through his progressions. How do I ask her? What should I say? Nah, she’ll think that’s dumb. If she wanted to dance, she’d be out there already.

The clock is ticking. If you wait too long… sack. It’s over. You lose your chance.

Make Your Move

And then you realize, of course she wants to dance. So you don’t ask her. You put a smile on your face & say, “Hey. Let’s dance. Come on, let’s go,” as you gracefully spring out of your chair & extend your hand.

* That first move out of your chair is important. She’s using that to judge your dance moves, so don’t screw it up.

The Dance is Happening. Embrace It. Enjoy It.

You’ve danced before. This ain’t your first rodeo. And those who have danced with you know you’re not all that bad.

* Did I lose you, or are you still making all the connections to CrossFit?

But you’ve just never danced with her before. So it’s your first dance. It’s OK to be nervous. Just smile, and keep moving.

Dancing With Fran

That girl sitting across the table—her name is Fran.

So in case you didn’t make all the connections, let me break it down for you.

You’re in a gym, surrounded by all of your friends. (much like a wedding)

All the reasons why she won’t want to dance with you, those are all the excuses why you’ll struggle with Fran (That weight is heavy for me. My hip mobility isn’t where it should be. I can’t keep my elbows up. I haven’t learned butterfly pull-ups yet.)

It’s all mental. You’ve already put in the physical work (you can dance). The rest is in your head. Psych yourself up, not out.

Don’t ask her to dance. Don’t ask Fran for anything. Tell Fran how it’s going to be. You are in control.

That first move out of your chair (when beginning a dance) and that first move getting out of your squat (when performing a thruster) is crucial. Set the pace early. Show her that you’re ready to dance. Show Fran that you ain’t messin’ around.

…but pace yourself. Don’t come right out with your best dance move. Save that ’til the end. Don’t push Fran too hard early on. Save some in the tank so you can go unbroken that last set.

This ain’t your first rodeo. You’ve done thrusters & pull-ups before. You’re a good dancer. So be confident. It might take you a few reps (or steps) to find your (and her) rhythm, but you’ll find it.

Be nervous. That’s a good thing. Maybe you kinda have a thing for this girl. Nerves mean you care about what you’re doing (if we didn’t, why in the flying f*** are we doing FRAN!).

Smile. Keep moving. … OK, I realize the smile part gets tough after… well, after the first 5 thrusters, really. OK, soooo smile before it starts. Because you won’t be smiling at all during it. But definitely keep moving. Stopping in the middle of a song is just plain awkward.

Analogies Aside

I finished Fran (Rx) in 7:00 today.

I’m happy with my performance, but I’m even more proud of my attitude.

Everything with CrossFit is relative. I have to keep reminding myself of that. And I try to remind others.

Today was our first day using Wodify. Everyone recorded their Fran times, and hovered around the 2 big TVs, checking out the Leaderboard. Competition often brings out the best in people. But when you’re not at the top of the Leaderboard, it can have the opposite effect.

Don’t get me wrong, I think using Wodify to track workouts will provide many benefits, and I’m glad we’re using it. As you post your workouts, just remember why you’re posting them. Keep in mind who you’re competing with.

We all love seeing our names at the top of the Leaderboard, whether that Leaderboard is displaying our Fran time on Wodify or “World’s Greatest Dad” on our coffee mug. But when I post my times, whether I’m near the top, or all the way at the bottom, the most important Leaderboard to me only has one name on it. And that’s mine.