Four years ago today I did my first main site WOD. It was Valentine’s Day and I had a date with Fran. Depending on how you look at it we’ve had a rocky relationship ever since. Now before I go into the details about our romantic afternoon I’ll give you some background information as to how I got to this day.
In the Fall of 2007 I was doing the corporate America thing, working for a big financial company wearing a suit and tie everyday (don’t miss that). I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I had a server case of vertigo. The vertigo would come on at the most random times, but it was always worst when I tried to exercise. I would be on a run and out of nowhere everything would be spinning, I looked like a drunk staggering out of the bar at 2am, and would have to stop and lie down on the side of the road until the vertigo passed. Needless to say I stopped working out for several months until I final relented and went to a doctor. Combine the non-active lifestyle with the non-healthy breakfast, lunches and happy hours working for the big company, and you can guess how quickly I put on a few extra pounds and became horribly out of shape.
Now, fast forward to January 2008, the vertigo had gotten much better and I was able to start working out again. I also decide that corporate America would kill me or I would kill someone at corporate America so I decide to part ways and start looking for something else to do with my life. While I was figuring out what that something would be I figured I would pick up a part-time training job to make some cash. Around that same time a good friend of mine, who is also a trainer was showing me some videos on youtube of people doing some crazy workouts in their garage or basement and one of those videos was a CrossFit workout. That video eventually led me to the CrossFit.com website. I was intrigued but skeptical. I came from a strength and conditioning back ground so I loved a lot of what they were doing on CrossFit.com but they were also hyping up “get in the best shape of your life with 5-15min workouts.” I thought, here we go, another dumbass fitness fad. I also couldn’t understand why CrossFit.com gave away so much free information. There had to be a catch, right.
I started spending hours a day, literally six, eight even ten hours reading the blog and message boards watching videos, etc. I would incorporate some of the exercises and movements into my own workouts but still didn’t time or score any workouts like the main site suggested to do.
Finally after a few weeks and hundreds of hours spent on CrossFit.com I decide I needed to try one of these workouts. I was working as a part-time trainer at Breakaway Fitness in Tyson’s Corner. Breakaway Fitness is about 2000 sq ft and located on the 3rd floor or a high-rise office building right next to the building’s day care center. It’s a typically global gym with machines and ellipticals, but the owner was an x-olympic lifter so they had a platform and bumper plates too. The pull-up bar was in the middle of the cable cross-over machine.
I had decided the night before that I would do the workout that was posted the next day, so after I finished with my morning clients I logged on to the main site to see what I had in store. It read….”Fran” 21-15-9 reps, for time, of: 95lb Thrusters and Pull-ups. I thought to myself, that’s it? This doesn’t look to bad, should be quick and easy. (Piece of advice: If it looks like it won’t be bad, turn and run). I checked what others had posted for times and it seemed like under five minutes was a good time to shoot for.
I loaded up the barbell and got my stopwatch ready, by this time the gym was pretty empty so I wouldn’t have to wait for the pull-up bar. 3….2…..1 go. I cleaned the barbell to my shoulders and started in on the thrusters. Probably somewhere around seventh or eighth thruster I dumped the bar from the top of the movement. Well, dropping 100lbs when your on the 3rd floor of an office building tends to shake the entire floor, and if you are next to a day-care, it tends to scare the shit out of the kids, so the owner quickly put a stop to me dropping it from over head. I had to bring each one back to the ground with both hands on the bar, under control. It probably took me at least five minutes just to get through that first set of 21. On to the pull-ups. I still had no idea what a kipping pull up was and even if I did, I still considered it cheating at that time. 21 Deadhang pulls, slow but sure I got through them. Two more rounds to go. Eventually, somewhere around the 18 minute mark, I finished.
I laid on the floor for quite some time trying to figure out who had just mugged me. I felt like I was hit by a car, so I canceled my afternoon clients and went home for a three hour nap. Later that day, after I started feeling normal again I thought that the people posting their time online must be lying. I knew I was out of shape, I had only been back working out for maybe a month, but could I be that out of shape? No way I thought. A couple of days passed by and I was back on the main site watching videos. I came across an old classic of Greg Amundson and Annie Sakamoto, two of the original CrossFit firebreathers doing Fran at the original CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz. They both finished Fran in under 3 minutes. It was time for me to become a CrossFitter and get back in shape.
21-15-9 reps of:
95 lbs Thrusters