September 28, 2014

Why I quit running to start CrossFitting (again)

“Goals are just dreams realized…”

After 16 weeks of training I am happy to report that the Akron Marathon is over and I can get back to my regularly scheduled CrossFit. When I wrote my piece last week about quitting CrossFit to run the Akron Marathon, I was amused by the responses. Some were supportive and understood what I meant while a few felt the need to defend CrossFits methodology. I’ll say it again, I loves me some CrossFit but yesterday confirmed for me that it is damn near impossible to run a full Marathon by exclusively CrossFit training. Here is basically how my day went.

First of all, Akron throws a great race. It’s well put together from start to finish and has an overabundance of women in booty shorts. God bless them every one. They put us in corrals like every other race but we were so packed in there I was afraid the girls that forgot duct tape would poke my eye out. That’s not a complaint by the way but I forgot my eye protection…

Once we got started it took me about a couple of minutes to get to the starting line and then about 5 minutes to get out of the crowd and actually running. I ran pretty well through the first half. I was really taking it easy. I walked slowly through every water station and took a few bathroom breaks and still (according to my watch) was at 2:02 at the half which was faster than I ran the Cleveland Half so I felt great about that. I was a little surprised at how fast the time went by and at how good I felt. At the Cleveland race I could barely walk at this point so the fact that I was still on pace and in no pain felt like a huge victory for me.

Fast forward 5 miles and about 30 pairs of booty shorts. (Yes, I was keeping inventory) My right foot and left hip both started hurting pretty good. The hip I could deal with but the foot hurt bad enough that I was a little worried about a stress fracture. This is where I credit my CrossFit training. If there is one thing that CrossFit has taught me is how to push through pain and break things into small measurable pieces so they are doable. It has also made me dumb enough to think to myself “If it breaks, it breaks but I’m crossing that finish line even if it’s on one foot…” 

My buddy Rick (aka Big Ricky Pooh aka BRP) had joined me at this point and was talking me through the pain and distance. He’s run many a long race and was invaluable to me. I owe you one BRP…

By mile 20 I was seriously wanting to tap out. The hip pain had escalated to my back and I had slowed down considerably. I ran past a first aid station and must have looked like hell because the attendant yelled to me:

Attendant: “Do you need Gatorade?”
Me: “No but I’ll take an epidural!”
Attendant: “We don’t have that.”
Me: “Then you are dead to me!”

It felt like it took forever to get to 23. As I realized I was only 3 miles or so out, I started to become overwhelmed with emotions. I thought about how long it had taken me to get to this point, how my daughters inspired me, and what once seemed impossible was now in my grasp. It was a feeling that I was not expecting and was not prepared for….

I somehow made it into downtown and could see the finish line. Running into the stadium is a very cool feeling. Months of preparation reaching a conclusion is an unbelievable feeling. I crossed the finish line and was met with a handshake and congratulations. I simply walked over to the gate and had to bow my head and compose myself for a minute or two. I walked hobbled over to get my medal and found out you also get “Finishers Socks”. That seemed weird but I went with it. I was so tired I couldn’t hold a conversation…

Sock girl: “What size socks do you want?”
Me: “What do you mean?”
Sock girl: “They come in 3 sizes. Large, Medium, and Small.”
Me: "Which one will feel best in my pants cause my ass is on fire.”
Sock girl: “Ummmmmm…..Large I guess.”
Me: “Good call.”

Thank god she didn’t say small.

The day after I am still assessing my pain. Part of my right foot is numb so that's odd. My hip still hurts a little and my lower back is really tight. I told my coach that of all the tips he gave me he could have  told me that my “Gooch” was going to be 50 shades of red. My bottle of Neosporin got to third base this morning and I’m pretty sure we are going steady now. Basically I feel like I spent a night in prison…

Also I am smiling ear to ear….


  1. Respect, man. Mad props to you. I loved this and the post before it. You ran for all the right reasons. Awesome job. I hope all your body parts and functions have returned to normal.

    1. Thanks my brother. My foot is still a little numb but otherwise I think I am back to normal. I plan to do my 1st WOD tomorrow after all this running. I am sure it will hurt like hell but it has to be done…

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  3. Congrats! Really really awesome that you did this. I wanted to comment that I really appreciate your recognition of how much hard work is required to run a marathon.

    I'm a serious runner and less serious crossfitter. I love crossfit as it's done nothing but good things for myself and my running. But in the end, what gets me across that finish line as fast and painlessly as possible is my long runs and marathon training. I have to admit that it gets on my nerves when someone has the attitude that all you need to run a marathon smartly is crossfit--you really DO need to practice being on your feet that long.

    Good luck with your recovery, and enjoy getting back to WODing. I went yesterday for the first time since Akron and it was not pretty...

    1. You are a braver soul than me. I’m still recovering but I think I will do my first WOD on Saturday. I think calling the marathon training “hard work” and “practice” is an understatement. I found the entire thing grueling and the race itself hurt. I thought I was “one and done” but now I’m leaving the door open for one more. I’ll do the Cleveland 1/2 for sure. If you run that one make sure to say hi.