10/09/2012 Running, If I have too…


Over the last few weeks I’ve been working hard to prepare
for my trip to Mexico
on the 19th of this month. 
Along the way I’ve had some moments of frustration, uncertainty, and a
couple of moments I can take a small bit of pride in, which is somewhat
interesting because one of those moments was from an act that I find stupid,
and pointless.

I started CrossFit Endurance back in March of this
year.  When I initially signed up my
intent was to try it for a month, and then possibly do a month here and there to
improve my running ability.  The second
week into CFE I realized that as a methodology CrossFit Endurance is not one
that you can dabble in, it’s either a part of your routine or it’s not. 

I had originally planned to stop CFE after the Tough Mudder,
but an injury to my right shoulder completely altered my ability to do regular
CrossFit WoDs, which sealed my running fate. 
CrossFit is about intensity, and the intertwined relationship between
your intensity and the work that is carried out over a given period of time.  Some workouts are a sprint; others are more
about pacing the proverbial grind, while still others are about concerted
explosive periods of work, followed by recovery.

This above dynamic is created based on the movements, rep
schemes, and areas of muscular loading, when you have an injury and have to
either scale, or alter the movement it greatly effects the intent, and type of
workout you can perform.  Essentially my
shoulder injury created a situation where the limitations placed on my ability
to work altered every single WoD. 

I was quickly frustrated because there was no rhyme or
reason as to when I would get a good workout, versus a shitty one.  Doing ring dips is nowhere near as taxing as
doing push-ups, and doing sit-ups is not even close to doing toes to bar. 

Through CFE I was able to maintain some consistency in my
routine because, the metabolic taxing that I was missing from my Metcons was
being replaced by the all too stupid act of running.  You could say that CrossFit Endurance is the
reason I was able to maintain my current trajectory, and not fall into the fat guy

Let me be clear that CFE is not jogging, it’s running.  The difference is that we jog once a night
for our warm-up, the rest of the programming involves running.  Jogging is what 80% of the people you see in Arlington doing, we’re
doing what you see the other 20% doing; they’re easy to pick out because they
each have a look on their face that says “FUCK ME”. 

In any case prideful moment one of the past few weeks involved
running.  At the beginning of the year
when the thought of running a mile was like going to the dentist for a
root-canal without Novocain, I set a simple goal of running in a 5k.  I know for most people who jog or run, 3.1
miles is nothing, but at the time it was reasonable goal. 

Originally I was going to run a 5k in June with my sister,
but for various reasons she wouldn’t run, so I bagged it.  Along the way this year I did a 10k that involved
CrossFit workouts in the middle of them, but that was actually not that bad, in
fact I would do it again, I did a Tough Mudder that was over 13 miles, but
again the running was broken up with obstacles. 

The week before Clarendon Day, Kourtney P who was the one
who so eloquently sold the CFE programming to me by saying “Running sucks less”,
signed up for the Clarendon Day 10k.  She
was asking me on a regular basis if I wanted to do it, each time I replied with
something flippant, I’m pretty sure what I said was something in the
neighborhood of “Child Please…”(If you don’t know watch this…).

Each time she brought up the race, I would brush her off,
but it made me think about the fact that I hadn’t done a real road race yet,
and that I needed to get this off of my list of goals for this year.  So the Thursday before I said fuck it and
signed up.

I did the race which I can easily say was one of the most miserable
experiences of my life, before I reached the halfway point, I kept telling
myself, fake an injury, or turn around at the 5 k race marker, but I pushed
myself, and finished in a time faster than I had planned.  I told myself at the start of the race if I
can maintain a 10 minute mile for 6 miles I’d be happy with that, I finished
the race in 54:45, and I’m pretty sure had I not started to whimper at the
halfway point I could have finished under 54, either way I’m pretty happy with
my time, and I feel good that I finished something that was unthinkable in the beginning
of the year.

My second moment of pride was during CrossFit Total.  CrossFit total is one of the benchmark
workouts in CrossFit.  It’s a simple test
of your 1 rep maximum of three lifts back squat, press, and dead lift.  They have to be done in that order, and your
score is your total weight of each one.

At some point this year I knew I wanted to break the 300 lbs
mark for my back squat.  During CFT I got
up to 305 lbs, while I attempted 315 I failed twice.  I’m pretty sure I can do 1 rep at 315, but
right now it’s mentally just beyond where I am, crossing this threshold makes
me happy.

 It’s been a tough few
months since the Tough Mudder, there were periods of time where I really
thought about just bagging all this shit, it takes a great deal of effort to
fire yourself up as often as I do to workout intensely, and then eat clean, but
these two moments in particular are my payoff with sticking with my plan even
when my self-pity really made me want to quit.

We doubt ourselves more often then we should, even those of
us who strut with a presence of confidence, have doubt in our ability, our
dedication, our determination to succeed, but it’s like everything else in life…it’s
not the doubt has entered your psyche, but what you do to that doubt that

You can choose to allow the doubt to take up in your mind
like a fat relative taking up on your couch indefinitely, eating your shit,
farting in his wife beater, and scratching his balls in front of your kids,
then eventually occupying so much space that he’s banging your wife, and
beating your dog. 

You can choose to let this fat fucker destroy your efforts or
kick him in his fucking balls, by taking action every single day.  When it gets tough, you have to get tougher,
even if it means doing something stupid like running. 


  1. I will try not to take this personally 🙂 when I blew my knee out I opened a magazine one night as I was sitting in my own self pity (I had gone from Ironman to broken in a matter of 4 months) and part of a quote by Ernest Hemingway was staring back at me: The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. That hit home hard. I looked at it as an opportunity to rebuild and focus on fine tuning other things. It is what I lived by every day of my recovery and it came true. Stay true to yourself. Be smart in your training. Be patient. Be strong. You will emerge more of who you are than when you went in.

  2. Tes,
    Thanks for the awesome quote, for sure it’s going into my quote Rolodex (not that anyone knows what those are), what is the quote from?
    BTW Thank you for all of your efforts, a big part of my progress with running is a direct result of your coaching. You rock!

  3. Lou, I’m not sure exactly what it is from but the rest of the quote isn’t as nice: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” – Ernest Hemingway
    I did not know what the rest of the quote was during my recovery and rebuilding phase and I didn’t care. I made the first part of the quote a positive thing and something to help get me on track and keep me moving. It is true. The world does break everyone and sometimes those who are strongest are broken the hardest. It is how you rebuild yourself (mentally) that will determine who you are and where you will head from here on out. You have done an amazing job so far. Don’t lose focus but don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for even the smallest of victories because those steps are going to be what move you forward. The larger the steps forward the greater the feeling of success but you can also risk a harder fall backwards if/when something happens (ex. going up in weight too fast on a DL without proper technique will give you injury and longer recovery)… baby steps are easier to recover from and to make adjustments on. Just remember to cherish the moment, enjoy the victories and make sure that you can laugh at the falls and failure. Those, after all, are what build character and the best stories when you arise successful on the other side!

  4. And congrats on the 10k!! I remember being worried about you at the RARE until you passed me with ease as I was catching my breath on the side of the trail. Then I just got to hold onto your coat tails… er… eat your dust for the rest of the race 🙂 So glad you have been in our program. You have been a huge inspiration, motivator to the group and thanks for the humor you bring to every class. Who knew that wearing your shorts around your ears made you aerodynamic!

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