Friday, November 9, 2012

Raise your hand if you've been hiding...

So…here we are. Nearing the end of 2012, and again I find myself amazed at the evolution of a year. My life has so drastically changed in the past 10+ months, I’m not quite sure where to start. But, this isn’t a “dear diary” kind of blog, so I’ll make it short and sweet. I came to Afghanistan in January with the intention of leaving after a few months, but found myself going through a divorce and decided to stay for the rest of the year. I ran a 50k in Sweden in April, then quit running distances beyond 10 miles. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t find it in me to post a RR on Sweden. I am, over 6 months after my last race, and not a concern in mind about the next marathon or ultra I’m going to run. Mainly, running over here sucks. There’s an 8 mile loop, though with the amount of vehicles driving by I’m constantly eating dirt. It was hot (go figure) in the summer, and I just didn’t care that much to get out there for more than 90 minutes at a time. I think I lost hope when a kid was throwing rocks at me over a fence, and decided I didn’t want t be a target for little terrorists-in-training. I’ve limited my distance to 8-10 miles depending on my mood, and have spent more time at the gym than pounding pavement (err, dirt and rocks).

I was gifted with a fab roommate who convinced me to start Crossfit with her, and have since spent about 3 months going from looking insanely awkward to looking like I kind of know what Crossfit is. I’ve never been in to weights, the only thing that doesn’t bore me is running, but Crossfit has more than given me the endorphin boost I’ve been missing. It is certainly NEVER boring.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I was thinking the same thing 3 months ago. “Crossfit? Uggghhh, that clan is so annoying. I do NOT want to join their weird cult”. But guess what? If you’re one of my running pals…hello pot, meet kettle. You’re both black.  If anything I see more similarities between the Crossfit folks I’ve met and endurance runners than any other population. We’re all obsessed with PRs, we’re concerned with our diet, we talk about our workouts when we hang out , we’re religious with our workouts, and God save the person who gets in our way. I visited Crossfit Sarasota for a week or so while I was home on leave, and the people there were so kind and helpful it was no different than running on a track with a diverse range of runners.

Roomie and I were taken under the wing of gym owner/athlete extraordinaire Chris Jernigan who runs a Crossfit 910 in Fayetville, NC. He was unfortunate enough to be stuck in Afghanistan with us for a bit, and taught us the basics. When we started out, I was determined that I would hate it and go back to strictly running, but I found myself feeling great and noticing major changes in my body. I actually feel athletic instead of just reasonably fast, and I’m enjoying the change in pace (err, pun not intended). I’ve been running 30-35 miles a week in the mornings, and doing Crossfit 5 days a week, but I’m going to take the plunge and jump into a Crossfit Endurance program Chris is designing for me to train for the Gasparilla Half  in Tampa on Feb. 24th. No more long runs, no more crazy mileage. Opposite of everything I’ve ever trained for.
Me & Roomie

Who knows, it might be a fun experiment seeing what happens to an ultra-runner-turned-(temporarily)-crossfit.  By no means are my ultra days over, just taking a little side road to see where it leads. After all, that’s how most of us got where we are today.