Zealot

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Running became my ‘religion’ some time ago.  I found solace, peace, comfort, rejuvenation, and strength through long hours of meditation on the trails.  I’ve studied many of the ‘required’ texts in this enlightenment, reading Runner’s World, UltraRunner, and Running Times monthly; along with biographies exalting the feats of new founds saints such as Dean Karnazes, Steve Prefontaine, and Pam Reed.  I became enraptured and dedicated, I loved running.

And then I couldn’t practice my faith.  My body broke down and wouldn’t allow me those hours of meditating, that time of peace.  My faith was being tested, it was shaken and I started questioning if this was the only way to adhere to principles and beliefs the road had taught me.  I had learned to push through discomfort and find serenity, that the statement and pursuit of a goal is an  important psychological test, and that there isn’t any ‘easy’ way, just efficiency.  I had learned a lot and wasn’t ready to give up.  So I did what any sane person would do and started looking for other ‘churches’ that may fit what I had found to be true.  I scoured the internet looking for information on how to find that peace again.  My search led to CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance.  Here was a group saying that hard work leads to great reward.  That the pursuit of excellence is a noble and dignified achievement unto itself.  Here was an organization that welcomed newcomers, encouraged input, and pushed you to better yourself.  I was hooked.
So I started the path of a new convert; reading the texts, watching the videos, gulping up information about General Physical Preparedness and how Olympic Lifts could make me run faster.  Most importantly I practiced my new found beliefs.  I learned to properly back squat, do handstand push-ups, and how quickly a C2 Rower can destroy any delusions of fitness.  I kept the core of the things I learned from running, they were just amplified and more forth coming.  I was able to run, plus deadlift, overhead squat, and do many, many pull-ups in a row.  Life was great.
Then one day I realized I was acting a bit too much like a new convert.  I had started looking at all other methods of physical training with disdain.  A feeling of superiority filled me because I knew that ‘my way’ was more effective and achieved better results in half the time.  I knew that bicep curls and lat pull downs didn’t replicate real world physical activities.  I started feeling better than everyone, I had become a total religious zealot, MY WAY was the best way.
Luckily I recognized my behavior.  Hopefully I’ve corrected it.  While I know training in a CrossFit model and following a CrossFit Endurance protocol is the best for me, and feel it would probably benefit most people, I recognize it’s not for everyone.  And I’m fine with that.  If doing Pilates, running long and slow, or curling dumbbells in front of the mirror does it for you, then continue to do it.  If it gets you off the couch and moving then have at it, because that’s the real evil.  Sloth and everything that derives from it.

Finding CrossFit

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Someone asked me today “How do you even start to train for a 100 mile race?” I responded “By finding my one rep max for the Clean&Jerk.”
Insert quizzical look
January of ’09 I started off my training for the big goal, to run the Burning River 100. By early February I had serious doubts as to whether I could even run a 1/2 marathon effectively. My body just didn’t like doing more than 25-30 miles a week. How was I supposed to run a 100 miles in under 36 hours if I couldn’t handle 25 in 7 days?
Then a little birdie reminded me of this workout system called Crossfit. Then I found Crossfit Endurance on the net!
Now here’s a training protocol that flip-flops the focus of most marathon and ultra style programs. Instead of lots of running supplemented with some circuit/weight training you use Crossfit
As your mainstay and work in run specific workouts.
“So what’s the catch?”
“INTENSITY”
“Intensity?”
“Yep, intensity. Trade in long hours of repetitive ‘exercises’ and use functional movements. Blur the distinction between cardio & lifting days. Step away from the lat machine and grab a pull-up bar.”
“So what’s so intense about that?”
“Well then you mix those things together & do them as fast and heavy as you can.”
To do Crossfit & CFE right, you have to find that space inside your head, that primal cave were you’re power animal dwells, where there is only you and the work to be done. It’s a lot like mile 20 of a marathon, it just doesn’t take as long to get there.
So I traded in my long run Sundays of 4+ hours on the trail and started learning how to Clean & Jerk a barbell. Found out what muscle-ups are, and learned to have a love/hate relationship with burpees. I stopped going for easy 10 mile runs and started doing 2 mile Tabatas. I met Fran, Angie, Murph, & Tosh. They have taught me I need to be strong & fast. Along with the other 8 physiological adaptations of the truly fit.
I had found CrossFit.
So how do I start to train for a 100 mile race? By finding my ‘baseline’ and working from there. By using constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements. By trying to increase my work capacity over broad time and modal domains.

Putting some soul into it

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So I had GRAND plans for the beginning of this blog. I wanted to start the year off with all my stats laid out; benchmark WOD’s completed, blood work pulled, body comp conducted, etc. etc.
Well, that is not how we’re going to start. If I had waited for everything that I originally planned for the first real post, it wouldn’t be until I was finishing the Grindstone 100 in October that it would have gotten it up.
In re-evaluating what data I could collect I re-evaluated what I want to do with this online journal. Instead of being solely the numbers, I’m going to try and put some soul into it. Because all the data in the world is worthless if there is no persona, no mana to go along with it. Life is WAY more complex than numbers in a spreadsheet can predict.
So what is THIS going to be about? A journey to accomplish a goal & bring some good into the world while doing so. I’ve wanted to run a 100 mile race since before my first marathon.  I’ve also been wanting to get involved with a charity. So on October 1, 2010 I’m going to run the Grindstone 100 in Swoope, VA. Along the way I’m going to raise awareness for Hope For The Warriors (H4W), an organization helping severely wounded vets & their families.
It should prove to be a bumpy ride, there’s a lot more than running the races going on this year. But if you don’t set the bar high, how do you know if you’re even trying?

Train Hard / Live Easy
Ryan

On a side note, for all the geeks out there (which I’m one of). I’m keeping a detailed log of workouts, nutrition, and general attitude. I’ll make sure to post (and make available) some of that data.

Last-minute Mods

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I had planned on making the first entry all about WHAT this is going to be about. HOW I’m going to track various aspects of training & nutrition. And WHO I was doing it for.

Well I’ll get to all that another day. In true Speed fashion I changed things at the last-minute. Nothing major, just where this blog is to be hosted. It affects no one but me, so I do it confidently that this was the best decision. Hopefully by switching venues I address potential growth & atheistic factors before they even arise. But, with the last-minute switch I’m sure I’ll be making some tweaks, changes, and mods.

It will most likely be a bumpy ride at first. But planning on running a 100mile race isn’t going to happen without some kind of mishaps.