This started off as an email. It was suppossed to be short & sweet. A quick bio for a sponsorship. Yeah, I know, it’s weird, I’m a ‘sponsored athlete’. What makes it weirder is the fact that it’s by a PowerLifting/Strongman Gym. An endurance athlete, looking to run a 100 mile race, sponsored by the Gorilla Pit. I guess that’s one of the great things about CrossFit; you learn to function in many modalities. That pursuit of well rounded fitness puts us in contact with all different aspects of sports, and the wide variety of personalities that populate them.
So get out there, learn something new, step out of the comfort zone for a minute. Keep an openness to learning and it could lead to great things.
Ryan R Speed
Weight 165 lbs
Marathon 3:39:58; Akron Marathon 2006
Double Marathon 10:09:00; Run With Scissors 2008
Deadlift 340 lbs
Backsquat 245 lbs
PushPress 165 lbs
In 1992 at the age of 19 I vowed to run a marathon someday, on a whim, because “It would be cool”. By late 2005 I still hadn’t completed that quest and knew I needed a goal for the upcoming year. The Akron Marathon looked perfect, late summer race date left plenty of time to train. Late summer/early fall meant a likelihood of nice weather. It was close, but far enough for there to be different scenery then I would be training in. It looked perfect for my 1st marathon. I registered and started educated myself on how to train for the task ahead. My readings lead me to Dean Karnazes‘ “Ultramarathon Man“. Now here laid tales of men completing 100 mile foot races, in a day! I was hooked and once again made a vow to myself. I would run a 100 mile race someday. Why? Because even though I had never even ran a 1/2 marathon I KNEW I could completed an ultra-marathon, I just had to prove it to myself.
My first marathon left me wrecked, unable to run for a month, but I was hooked on the long distance races. The preparation, overcoming doubts, the emotion attached to achieving a goal. So I became diligent in my planning and training, I still had to run that 100 miler. Fortunately the subsequent long-slow-distance training (LSD), lead to overuse injuries, and long bouts of the inability to run any sort of ‘distance’. I say fortunately because I didn’t let it deter me from my goal. I KNEW I could do this, I just had to find a way.
I began scouring the internet, reading everything, everywhere, looking for a way. A friend of mine mentioned CrossFit, but those guys were nuts and they weren’t interested in ultra distances. Another friend of mine laughingly told me her husband had “joined a cult, but a good one”; it was CrossFit CLE. Then I happened to notice that an ultra runner’s blog I follow had a CrossFit link. I’ve learned to pay attention to ‘coincidences”, the universe tends to give us what we need. So I started to check it out.
I quickly became enamored. First, I found CrossFit Endurance. They’re saying I don’t have to run 80-100 miles a week to train for ultras? I can cut my training time almost in half, by switching my protocol, and here it is, laid out, for free! High Intensity can lead to endurance? “I can do high intensity” I thought to myself. So I went into CrossFit CLE, and was hooked. There I was laid out on the floor after a mere 10 minutes of Wall Balls & Box Jumps! I had ran for 10+ hours, covering 52.4 miles, I thought I was in shape. CrossFit quickly showed me otherwise. I grew to remember an old USMC motto, “Get Comfortable With Uncomfortable”.
So I used CrossFit to train throughout 2009. I learned about Burpees and Ring-dips. Was introduced to the Clean & Jerk and the Snatch. I learned how lifting heavy things could make me a better runner. I ran two marathons in ’09. Everything did not go smoothly, there were some bumps in the road, but I learned a lot about myself as a person and an athlete. And I knew CrossFit was working, because I ran those 2 marathons within 6 weeks of one another, and I PR’d Annie two days after the first one. So I was stronger, I just needed to get faster.
2010 shall prove to be the testing ground. I plan on running a 1/2 marathon, a 40 mile ultra, and that 100 mile goal is in sight. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.