Posts Tagged ‘running’

One of our own, Todd Shirley, ran the Chicago Marathon last weekend and approached me about writing an entry for the blog chronicling his experience.  I thought it was a great idea, especially for someone like me who feels a 2 mile run is pushing the limits of what I can handle.  Todd has really utilized CrossFit to improve his running endeavors.  Oh, and for you blog neophytes, please make sure you click “read the rest of this entry” after the second picture to read the full post.  Without further ado:

CrossFit After Chicago

By: Todd Shirley

Pre Race

While jogging two nights before the 2011 Chicago Marathon, I noticed something was different with my body. On each turn or incline, the muscle fibers in my legs were twitching. Every cell was letting me know it had not forgotten about the pain from each WOD over the last 7 months. It was as if electricity were running through my thighs and they were telling me they were ready to race.


Two years ago and a half years ago from this point, I was running the Pittsburg Marathon and my body was at a different place. Pittsburgh was about doing it all wrong. I followed a fitness plan that I found online and worked out by myself.  This work took me to my heaviest weight.  I lost muscle definition and at mile 11 I almost quit the race all together.  When I left the medical tent after I finished, it still felt like I had so much to give to the race. I hadn’t left it all on the field.

This time around, dramatic improvements were in the cards.  These improvements came from a lot of places but the unifying force has been  Crossfit717.

Pace. Pace.Pace.

I started Crossfit717 out of desperation. Laying bloated on the couch Easter Sunday 2011, I knew I needed a change in my training or I was headed down the same road as Pittsburgh.

After my first week of Crossfit, I had been humbled but I felt certain these high intensity work outs would translate to results in a 4 hour race.

I vaguely remember my first few AMRAP work outs. I do remember throwing some weights around and then sprinting. Although the clock winded down to 0 after some 10-15 minutes,  I would feel depleted and proud. After about a month, I saw my times improve on my long runs and my nagging pains reduced.  This positive change came because the nature of the work outs force pace even though they are short.  In marathons, smart pacers have less pain and better results.

On more than one long run in the woods, i remember counting down the miles (runs past 10 miles really test my mental focus) and finding it easier because I spent the last week counting down rounds in a RFT work out or minutes in an AMRAP. These two work out approaches taught me to find a cadence and rhythm. In hind sight, I am glad I stuck through these work outs and didn’t quit. If you find yourself struggling, remember that your hard work will help you somewhere a along the line as you pursue your goals.

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