Benchmark “Fran” at CFZ

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“Fran.” Ugh. Having known that we were going to do this benchmark WOD since late last week, I was dreading going to CFZ this morning. I did indeed rest yesterday, but, as like every other time I rest a day, I felt incredibly tight and inflexible when I was awakened – at 3:58! – by Zac and Meg. My first thought was, “Wait until the alarm sounds.” My next immediate thought was, “’Fran’ is today.” I was then (not “than”, Michael Kelley) wide awake…

I fed and then played with Zac, Meg, and Luke, ate a light breakfast, prepared my protein shake, and departed for CFZ at 5:20, 10 minutes earlier than I normally do. I was stretching when Michael Kelley entered the box, sporting a new doo. It makes him look ever so slightly less fat, although it makes his ass look even more incredibly huge.

Michael Kelley led us through a painfully delicious mobility session, and then we were off to the racks.

Low-bar back squats

Michael Kelley reviewed proper form, including sending the hips back first, bending or folding upper body, and driving with the hamstrings when ascending.

I completed 3 reps of 135, 155, 165, 175, and 185. I will admit, however, that I was obsessing about “Fran”. Michael Kelley said, “We have plenty of time before ‘Fran’, so let’s spend some more time on mobility.” I seriously considered punching him in the throat.

We were finally ready to prepare our workstations for “Fran”. Michael Kelley said, “Choose a weight and a band for pull-ups that you think you can use and still complete workout in less than ten minutes.”

The last time I completed “Fran” was a little over a year ago, and in a time of 8:34. It was a struggle, and I know my form was less than spectacular. This morning my head was swimming with ideas, and “Go light, but go fast” was what I had decided to do. I didn’t, however, communicate this to Michael Kelley, and he said, “Use 95 and see what happens.” Ugh.

I warmed up thrusters with just the 45 lb bar, and then added 2, 10 lb plates and warmed up with 65. I once again added 2, 10 lb plates and warmed up with 85. My shoulders were on fire, and I didn’t think I’d be able to lift 95 lb once, let alone 45 times. I nonetheless added 2, 5 lb plates, and lifted 95 lb twice. I did not, however, replace the plates with 2, 25 lb plates, as I thought for certain that I would have to drop weight from the bar – and I wanted to be prepared to do so.


95 lb thrusters
My one and only goal was to finish in less than 7 minutes – even if that meant dropping weight. While not a goal, I told myself that I could do all rounds in sets of 3, e.g., 3 sets of 7 for round of 21. Oh, if only I had been actually able to do that…

The timer sounded, I cleaned the bar, and completed 15 thrusters. I was already spent, and already dreading picking up the bar. I nonetheless did and completed the last 6 thrusters, and I was the last person in the 6am group to do so. I was stationed about 5 or so meters from the bar, so I walked to the bar and completed round of 21 pull-ups in reps of 12, 6, and 4 (although my count may be off for this and all rounds of pull-ups). Oh. My. God. Pull-ups. Hurt. Like. Hell. I thought my shoulders were going to dislocate.

I dropped from the rig, walked to my bar, and completed round of 15 in reps of 5, 4, 4, and 2. Ouch. The entire time I was doing thrusters I kept thinking to myself, “Just stop. Quit. If you keep going you’re still going to have another round of 9. Step away from the bar.” Each time I dropped the bar it bounced farther (not “further”, Michael Kelley) from the pull-up rig. Near the end of the round I grabbed one end of the bar and dragged it closer to the pull-up rig. Michael Kelley said, “Follow the bar, Paul.” I was tempted to drop the bar outside of CFZ and follow the bar damn home. And then go to a bar. I completed round of 15 pull-ups in reps of between 5 and 2. Ouchouchouch.

I walked from the rig to my bar, and completed the round of 9 thrusters in reps of 3. It took every ounce of resolve I had left in my body to not drop the bar after the 8th thruster, as I so very much wanted to do so. I completed the round of 9 pull-ups in reps of between 4 and 2, and called time at 6:57, 1:37 faster than my previous best time. Not stellar, but certainly better.

My body was aching, my head was reeling, and I dropped to the ground in child’s pose. Uhm, I don’t know that I’ll dread “Fran” any less the next time we do. Just saying.


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