I appreciate many things about F3, especially the freedom to fail and the sense of fun.  The paradox of pushing one another to succeed but encouraging one another when we fail is a beautiful thing.  Laughing in the midst of physical exertion or pain so intense that newcomers occasionally vomit or pass out ranks just below this paradox on the ladder of glory…

The Thang:

It was still cold enough when we started that we actually needed to warm up, which we did with a round of sideshuffle hops, imperial walkers, arm circles, and windmills.

We then ran to the playground, home to the wheel of pain and other delights.  We first paired up and did alternating sets of merkins (3 x 15) and low rows (3 x 15) on the swing set—no rest.  We then took up stations around the wheel of pain for three more sets, alternating quickly between Carolina dry docks (3 x 15), dips (3 x 15), and pull-ups (3 x 10).  Odd man out spotted on pull-ups.  We then ran back to the field, where we went all-animal in the BARNYARD DANCE.

The BARNYARD DANCE, like my favorite F3 exercises, encourages competition but punishes finishing early.  We lined up on the end line and did several animal-themed races to midfield (50-65 yds.), did five burpees, sprinted back to the end line, did five squats, then waited in plank position for all to finish before doing five merkins in cadence.  A ten-count separated the first four animals: we crawled like BEARS; walked like CRABS; made like GORILLAS; and hopped like RABBITS.  After three ten-counts, we then partnered up for the GIANT TORTOISE, carrying one another to midfield and back (and doing the burpees, squats, etc.).  Finally, we reoriented to shrink the field a bit (to 45-55 yds.) for the ZOOKEEPER.

This is where it all fell apart, in splendid ways.  The ZOOKEEPER cleans up animal poop with a wheelbarrow—so we stayed with our partners and did wheelbarrow races down and back.  One pair paused along the way, while the other made it back to the starting line before realizing neither one of them had enough arm or core strength left for a good plank.  It was glorious—everyone pushing themselves to their limits, failing, recovering enough to go on, and doing it again.  TI has the gift of encouragement and used it.  Five merkins in cadence brought an end to the dance.

Mary was nothing after the animals: a round of Dolly, WW IIs, LBCs, and Plank-o-Rama.  We talked up the BBQ on November 1 and closed it out with a good word from Vortex first-timer, Backdraft.

(Posted on Behalf of Assisi)