Okay, I have a confession to make…I’ve been going to CrossFit. For a month.
Bur first, a long back story:
I have been running since 2008. My grandma was always a runner and in 2008 she was doing a race called the Muddy Buddy and asked me to do it with her. The race is between 6-7 miles long and alternates between running and biking with your partner. One person starts out biking and drops the bike at the designated spot. The other person starts out running and grabs the bike. This continues the whole race with about 6 obstacles along the way.
At the end of the race, you must climb through a giant mud pit to cross the finish line.
Anyway, this was my first experience with running. I remember practicing and practicing and being so excited I was finally able to run a mile without stopping. After that race, I continued running. I run tons of 5ks, a 10k, and a 15k.
However, I have never been a strong runner. At first my goal was never to train for a half marathon or marathon. I just ran because it was a challenge and made me feel accomplished. I liked running races with my family.
I was always a slow runner. Like I said, it was hard work for me. I couldn’t quite master the breathing and I always seemed to have some kind of injury. But I kept up with it and my race times went from 36 minutes to 30 minutes.
Some people are natural runners. They can run fast, they can run far, they can run without injury. This is not me. Running is extremely hard on my body and as a result, I have suffered many minor injuries.
I’ve had hip bursitis and had to get cortisone shots. I’ve had torn rib cartilage – so painful! I’ve also had plantar fasciitis.
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with compartment syndrome, which basically means that my calves muscles are too tight in their sheaths. This is something that can only be fixed with surgery which I decided not to do. This also means that my calves get rock hard and painful whether I’m running one mile or ten. I usually wear compression sleeves when I run even short distances. After a race, my calves stay hard and tight for up to three days. I did physical therapy for weeks but it never really helped. It’s not super terrible pain, I just make sure that I stretch and foam roll a lot.
As you can see, running causes me lots of problems. But the biggest problem I’ve faced was femoroacetabular hip impingement and had to get hip surgery last summer.
At the time, I was teaching BodyPump and training for my first half marathon. It was just too much for my body to handle. I had a small abnormal growth on my hip bone and the repetitive movement caused the growth to tear my labrum in two places. This left me in constant pain especially in my quad. This was something that needed surgery to be fixed.
So, last July I had hip surgery to shave down my hip bone and repair the tears in the labrum. I spent one month in a hip brace and on crutches. I spent six months in physical therapy. Even today, I am not 100%. My hip gets sore very quickly and my quad still bothers me. Of course, it feels so much better than it used to but the recovery process is long.
As you might know, I’ve always wanted to run a half marathon. To me, that seemed like the ultimate goal.
But lately, my thoughts have shifted.
I honestly don’t believe that my body was meant for running. I have suffered from numerous injuries. And I still have calf, hip, and quad pain when I run. It seems like the more running I do, the more pain I cause my body. So why do I continue to do it?
Why do I feel the need to run when it hurts? Why do I feel the need to run when it causes me injuries? Why do I feel the need to run when it’s obvious my body doesn’t like it? I don’t know. I guess running made me feel like I had a goal. Running made me feel like I was accomplishing something. I could say, “I’m a runner.” I come from a family of runners so it seemed like the natural thing to do.
My stepmom is a fast runner. My grandma has run a marathon, half marathons, triathlons, and plenty of other races. My sister-in-law ran a half marathon and a full marathon in two days. My husband is training for the Chicago marathon.
I cannot do any of these things. And trust me, it’s not for lack of trying. My family is extremely supportive of one another and have always supported me in what I’ve done but I felt the need to do what they could do. If they can all run, why can’t I?
I’ll tell you why – because my body was not made for running. Sure I can run a 5k. I’ve even run a 15k and 10 miles on the treadmill. But the more I do it, the more it hurts, and the more I push my self, I’ve come to realize that I don’t enjoy it.
Yes, I feel accomplished every time I cross that finish line but I also think why couldn’t I have been faster? Why does my leg have to hurt so much? Why do my calves always have to be tight?
I’ve come to the realization that maybe running a half marathon isn’t my dream anymore. Maybe I should focus on other goals. Goals that make me happy. Goals that make me feel accomplished. Goals that I enjoy.
And that brings us to why I have been doing CrossFit. Instead of running, I am focusing on a new activity.
If you aren’t quite sure what CrossFit is, it’s company founded by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai. It involves using functional training movements through high intensity interval training. It also includes Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, and calisthenics. Each workout consists of a WOD (workout of the day) in a CrossFit box (gym).
The workouts help you achieve speed, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, balance, coordination, etc.
I have been taking the CrossFit beginners class for about a month. Even though it’s a beginner’s class, it is in no way easy. I leave drenched in sweat, tired, and burn between 450-550 calories each workout. I love it.
CrossFit lets me focus on goals like learning proper form for Olympic weightlifting exercises such as deadlifts, cleans, push presses, overhead squats, front squats, and more. It has been helping me work on my pull-ups and double unders (jump roping while passing the rope under your feet twice in one turn of the rope). I work on rowing, running shorter distances, and really work on challenging myself.
Most CrossFit workouts are time-based. You want to finish the workout or a certain amount of rounds in the fastest time possible. For example our WOD the other day was a 800 m (1/2 mile run), 50 push presses, and 30 pull-ups (I did mine with a band since I’m still working on a regular pull-up). My time was 10:31.
Every workout is different and challenging and lets me push myself in a way that makes me feel accomplished. So far, I am really enjoying CrossFit and plan to continue. I don’t think my running days are over – I’ll still run races here and there. I just don’t think running is going to be my main goal anymore.
Stay tuned for more posts on my first CrossFit class and more!
Have a great day!
- Have you ever tried CrossFit?
- What’s your biggest accomplishment or a goal you’re currently working on?