Wednesday, February 6, 2013

CrossFit & Running: Oil & Water or the Perfect Marriage?

In an attempt at hardcore, after the 15 mile trail on Sunday, I dragged my somewhat recovered body to CrossFit on Monday. The WOD, like they so often are, proved more taxing than expected. It was "Dede", which is 5 rounds of 5 power cleans, 10 ball slams and a 200m run. I was already anxious about the running portion as the 400m warm up at the beginning of class had nearly done me in. Before we started, one of the trainers, Sam, pulled me aside. He told me that I needed to crush this WOD, that I could handle the weight and that he wanted to see me sprint the 200s - no jogging sh*t. This is one of the many reasons why I love CrossFit. The trainers push you and because of it, you surprise yourself with what you can handle. I made a last minute decision before the WOD to not completely go for broke and dropped down to 93 lbs for the power cleans as opposed to the prescribed 100 lbs. This was a good decision as the runs were rough and each 200 meter sprint felt like triple the distance. I finished with bright red shoulders from the power cleans and bruised legs shaky with was awesome.

After CF, I was pretty worked. My legs felt heavy and for the rest of the night had that funny buzzing sensation that I always get when my muscles are truly tired. But come Tuesday, I had another run on the docket: 1 mile easy, 4 miles fast, 1 mile easy. I got it done in the morning and besides the fact that I did come perilously close to dumping my pants, it wasn't horrible. However, I could definitely feel the CF from the night before and my arms and legs were achy for the majority of the run. I came back to the house and decided I would go to a yoga class that evening to help balance everything out.

But then later in the afternoon as Graham was getting ready to CrossFit, the CF bug bit me. Not only are the workouts insanely hard and somehow equally fun, but the CF community is AWESOME. Yeah, I was interested in trying the scheduled WOD for the day, but mainly I wanted to go and see everyone at the gym. My favorite ginger trainer, Chris, was teaching and I wanted to see the 4:30 crew. So I tossed my yoga mat aside. The strength: 5x2 snatch (see this video if you think I'm referring to a woman's...nevermind) was fine and I kept it light. Then the WOD: "Freddy's Revenge" 5 rounds: 5 shoulder-to-overhead @ 125 lbs and 10 burpees was rough! I didn't even come close to the 125 lbs prescribed weight, but it was enough. I was really, REALLY tired.

But today (Wednesday), I had to run...7 miles in fact. Fortunately, it was a slow recovery run, but even going slow, I felt like hell doing it. My legs felt wasted and I felt blah. So it got me thinking about the sagacity of using CF as my cross training. Is it too intense and will it leave me too sore after every post-CF run? Will putting on any additional muscle mass be a detriment to my endurance and speed? Should I just be running and when I'm not pounding pavement, should I stick to doing yoga or gentler activities? I could see an argument there.

But on the flip side, it is so fun and challenging and I have gained so much strength since I started CrossFit. I love all the people there and going literally makes me a happier girl. Plus, all the running books and websites say that strengthening exercises like squatting and lunging are crucial in building up all the support muscles in your legs to reinforce the joints and big muscle groups that take a beating when you run.

"For" Argument!

So, although my Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday miiiight have been a little much, I think that FOR ME, CrossFit works as cross training for marathoning. I do think that I'll have to pick my CF workouts carefully and continue to make my training runs the priority. I will have to drag my inflexible butt to some yoga classes too. Anyone in Santa Cruz want to hit up DiviniTree with me??

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