A love letter to Fran

I love hard workouts. I've heard success in distance running described as being able to be really good at pain management. While no one can ever truly know another person's threshold for pain (and I cannot STAND when someone says they have a high tolerance for pain - how do you know?! Are you a Navy Seal?! No? Then you have no idea if you have a high tolerance for pain.), I believe I possess the ability to manage pain from hard workouts after years of distance running. I enjoy workouts that hurt a little bit. Not every day! And as I get older I'm finding myself enjoying those less-red-lining, more bodybuilding, workouts more and more. But I still love a challenge in the form of a tough workout. There are some workouts that provide a place to hide, so to speak. A really long chipper with a ton of different movements or a long run where intensity is replaced by just endurance, for example. I love those too. But there is something about the simplest workouts that I love the most. There is a beauty in their brutality. Like a 10k race - long enough to require grit and fast enough to truly hurt. Or like Fran. 

Fran is one of the original "girl" workouts in CrossFit. It is a sprint, consisting of 21-15-9 repetitions of just two movements: thrusters and pull-ups. Since I'm at home, I use 22.5 pound dumbbells as a substitution for a 65 pound barbell. It's workouts like Fran where I miss having a real gym and look forward to the day when I have a garage that I can fill with Rogue equipment and be able to do it all. But for now, a pair of dumbbells and a good pull-up bar work just fine. You really can't hide during Fran - either you move well and quickly or you do not. It's more like running the mile than a 10k, you have to move fast; you have to blackout a little bit and you can't really breathe or feel your body when it's over. But if you're doing it well, it doesn't last very long. 

Last Saturday, I did triple dumbbell Fran in my living room. I'd heard about a guy at my husband's office having done it (he apparently competed in the CrossFit Games in 2005) and knew I had to try it. I set it up as intervals so that I wouldn't blow up - I looked at the clock when I finished a movement, 21 dumbbell thrusters, for example, and then rested for that amount of time before moving on to the next movement. 21-15-9-21-15-9-21-15-9. Obviously, the only time this scheme wasn't perfect was between the sets of 9 pull-ups and then 21 thrusters, but it wasn't so bad. I finished the whole thing in under 30:00, with rounds of around 7, 9, and 11 minutes, getting longer as I got tired from round 1 to 3. I loved every second of it and was sore (but not debilitatingly) for days. 

10/10 highly recommend. If you like that sort of brutality :)