Last week I decided to take a gamble. I’m injured again (although that is getting better). I’m weak. Yeah, I can run far at a decent clip. I’m faster than a lot of recreational runners – or I was until I got mono last November and struggled with extreme fatigue and bad performances through the spring and now I am injured again. But that’s about it.
One of my husband’s old track mates has a crossfit gym with her boyfriend. She trained me using crossfit type workouts a couple years ago back when I started running and I was getting really strong. I ran a bunch of PRs (a lot of that had to do with increased running mileage and experience) and was injury free (that had to do with cross training). But then I was running more and more and cross training on my own, of course I started cross training less and less until I was doing the bare minimum. And I kept PRing. Really nice PRs for the amount of work I was actually putting in. And eventually I dropped upper body strength and focused just on core and legs. I slid down a very slippery slope.
I ran my first marathon in 3:26 back in June 2011 (oh so long ago ha ha). It still kills me a little that my time includes the 2 minutes I spent waiting for a train to cross the course between miles 20 and 21. But fair is fair. Whatever happens after you cross the start line is part of the race course. I am slightly paranoid about train crossings on race courses now though.
I wasn’t cross training a ton, I wasn’t running a ton of miles, but I was focused on running and paying a lot of attention to speed work and tempos. And then I was injured. And then I was sick. And then I was injured again. It’s been a vicious cycle since last September. Both of these injuries were preventable! I think I got injured because of lack of strength and cross training.
My visit to the PT was a wake up call. A big one. My right side is ridiculously weaker than my left. I have minimal upper body strength. I eventually resigned myself to the fact that the rest of this year is shot running wise. I’m not one to wallow for long. It never does any good. Best to acknowledge the truth and move on to fixing things. It was time to form a plan and take action.
I sent a message to my old trainer and made an appointment. I did my first workout last week. It was actually not too hard. 5 rounds: 10 dead lifts, 20 tuck jumps. I finished in 4:58. Not too shabby. But my legs are strong from running and I am good at tuck jumps.
After the workout last week, I was in. I signed a bunch of paperwork, some of which included information about rhabdomyolysis and other adverse side effects of cross fit. I didn’t read too much about that. I’m a long distance runner. I know all about adverse side effects. I’m not going to go into the side effects I’ve personally experienced because they are not pretty. Not pretty at all. Some of them are actually pretty nasty. I could get into all the gross things that happened to me, but I will move on.
I went back today. It was a tabata workout. 32 rounds. 20 seconds on. 10 seconds off. 8 rounds each of pull ups, push ups, sit ups, squats. Do 8 rounds of each type of exercise before moving on to the next type.
Let me tell you that it was embarrassing how few pull ups (kipping, using a elastic thingy) I could do. The workout leader was trying to help me. But I failed miserably. Ugh. And then girl push ups. Which I also struggled through. But I knew once I got to sit ups and squats I could take off. And I did. But then the workout leader was telling me to squat lower. I said I was tall, so it might look different. And the tall guy in the class just died laughing. Yes. He was glad to have another tall person. I ended up with 260 reps all together. Most of those were sit ups and squats. ugh. I have so much work to do. So much room for improvement.
The good news is I have the rest of summer and all fall to work on healing up my hamstring tendonitis completely and building overall strength. I am cleared to run low mileage. I’m getting a mileage building plan from my PT this week. I hope to keep my mileage around 30 to 40 through the fall and early winter, then start training for a spring marathon in January. Big Sur won’t be a PR because I’m running with Matt and I don’t think he’ll run faster than 3:30. More like 3:45, realistically. I’m leaning towards May or June for a target race. More likely May because it will allow me to use Big Sur as my longest distance training run.
I am using Crossfit to build overall strength and conditioning. My hope is that between the exercises the PT gave me and Crossfit two times a week, I can prevent injury in the future and become stronger overall. It’s a HUGE experiment. Crossfit is extremely controversial in the running community for a few reasons I won’t go into. Google it if you are curious. I’m gambling. But I have nothing to lose at this point. It will be interesting to see what happens.
I’m working on my race report from the Haulin Aspen Half Marathon I ran/walked with my dad Sunday. It was hot, dusty, and fun! My hamstring is no worse for the wear. It actually feels a little better.