I’ve only done FRAN three times in five years of CrossFit.
The first time I did it was in an intro class on my first day, and I used a box for jumping pull-ups and used a 55 lb barbell. I remember getting done at 9:35 and looking up at the record boards of the gym to see athletes that did it in sup 3:00, some closer to 2:00 and was in complete disbelief that was even possible. That people could do it with RX pull-ups AND ten lbs heavier then I did it, and was trying to fathom where they could even make up time when I was trying my absolute hardest to stay conscious in that workout.
The next time I repeated it was three years down the road. I hadn’t redone it because I was actually afraid of what the number would be, thinking it would identify me and label me to how fit I was. I will never think that again. We are not our stats. It’s a workout. It’s another excellent combination of gymnastics and weightlifting that give us the zeal for life we’re looking for when we walk into the gym. I got 2:48 that day and was completely ecstatic that I went my hardest and had a crazy realization of how much time had passed and how much my work capacity had changed in the hours, days, years… to improve.
Today, almost two years later, I redid Fran and still was unsure if I’d beat my standing personal record. I asked myself why it mattered so much. Why it mattered in this particular workout what my time would be – as if that mattered more than the other hundreds of workouts I’ve logged this year. I still didn’t know if I would PR, even though I did believe I was “fitter.” Would I feel bad if I tied my last year’s time? What if I did worse? Would I feel the same contentment and just hit another workout and put it in the back of my brain, or would it eat at me until I redid that dreaded combo? As an athlete I fight demons daily that say I can’t… or that I could but won’t, and ones that say I shouldn’t try. As the clock counted down I shut those far away from my brain. I filled my brain with positivity and focused on truth and the sheer adrenaline that was pumping through my veins. There was actually no time to think during the actual thrusters and pull-ups but “stay fast…. stay fast.” In sprint workouts that’s a mantra I use often, to remind me that I’m doing great! But I need to staaaay doing great. As I did my last pull-up I saw 2:28 cross the clock and was completely surprised.
Not surprised that I finished in a certain time and it was “good enough” or that I had found my worth in a time or a workout. Because I’ve learned from thinking in that way. It can destroy you. It can be a dangerous mental trick that will lead to burning-out and idolizing performance. I do CrossFit because I love the way competing makes me feel, and I was wired for it. It’s in my DNA. I was created a passionate person burning to see progress in myself and other people. But it’s not everything. Instead, I was proud that my training had paid off and I was, indeed, fitter. I felt smooth and un-panicked and confident with the talent I’ve been able to work so hard for. And then I was done with it. I was relaxed and able to think of it as another workout and know that maybe again, next year, on an un-dreaded day… I’ll do it again and feel the same way:
Up to the challenge and proud of the progress….. And on to the next.