Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Crossfit and Running

So I have been doing CrossFit for almost a year now and it really has changed my fitness level. It even has changed the way I look at myself and how I train. In the past I had to have some sort of training schedule to complete and a race to train for. That was my motivation and that was what kept me going.

Last year, I did Mount Diablo 50 miler and then IM Cour D’Alene. After that I was pretty beaten, and had horrible
plantar fasciatis and my IT band was killing me. I also was not very motivated to run anymore. So I took CrossFit as an alternative, as a recovery period. God, what difference has made.

Me and Tony Doing handstand pushups... A year Ago I could never had been able to do this..

I learned about CrossFit first from my friend Q (Jeff) , he was doing CrossFit and his times on the run were going down, significantly. A couple of friends from my running club started CrossFit and invited me along. I have seen them run and after they started CrossFit, they got stronger. So I went, and when I got there I barely could do 5 consecutive pull-ups. It took me a while to get going but once I got going, I could start to see the differences in my body and the way I was feeling. Yes, you still have to work specially if you are an endurance athlete, but having CrossFit has definitely made me a better runner and a fitter person, that is for sure.

When I started Crossfit, I could barely do a couple of pullups.. I can do Angie now, 100 pullups followed by 100 pushups, 100 squats and 100 Situps..

How it works physiologically? don’t ask me. .. Check the website (www.CrossFit.com), or come to Maddawg fitness in Redwood City, all I know is that it works. It has do to something with Increasing VO2 max, metabolizing fat, building muscle, getting stronger, and getting faster because you are getting stronger. . Therefore, performing more work in less time will increase your strength, fitness, and overall health! Who would have thought that a 4 minute Fran can make a difference.

Check out Fran, this is a great workout. It is amazing and grueling.

Just recently another friend, Haley, a marathon runner/triathtlete started CrossFit a few months ago. This past weekend she ran a marathon with very minimum running training and PR’d by 18 minutes… I know this thing works, it is amazing.

Check out Haley, isn't this low?

Personally, as a runner I have become stronger. At the end of 2008, I did 4 ultras in 4 consecutive weekends and I PR’d each one of them. And just recently I did Headlands Hundred and I never though I could finish in under 28 hours, and I posted a 25 hour and change time. I could have done faster, but there were other issues besides fitness that came into play. And now that I am training for an Ironman, I realize that I am stronger not only on the run but on the bike and the swim as well. Last year prior to IronMan Cour d’Alene at this stage of my training I had swum almost ¼ million yards and I barely broke 1 hour 15 minutes for the whole 2.4 mile swim. This time I have only swum 34,000 yards and I posted a 1 hour 9 minute 2.4 mile swim a couple of days ago. I am freaking elated.

Having found Maddawg Fitness in Redwood City, basically changed how I train. My perspective is now becoming stronger fitter person overall, rather than posting a PR in a race. All CrossFitters are amazing people and the most encouraging people you’ll ever know. I often hear people say they are intimidated by the thought of training at a CrossFit gym. Most of them believe it is a gym that it just involves lots of weightlifting and grunting. It is not a traditional gym, believe me. In this gym there are not TV’s, no Magazines, definitely not people in uniforms cleaning after your sweat or guys trying to pick up girls. Everybody sweats, everybody grunts and everybody gets fitter. The secret? One small class going at any given time. Each class is lead by a trainer who coordinates the warmup, skill development and workout. And the best thing of all, is the camaraderie between members. We all come from all different walks of life, different ages and different fitness levels. And they all encourage each other all the time. Oh, and here is another reason why do you want to avoid regular gyms.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Plate to Plate 5K

The controversy:

Do you remember the Nike Woman’s marathon last year where one of the regular people finished way ahead of the elite runners by chip time, but her gun time she was slower. Nike didn’t want to acknowledge her at first because she was not in the elite group which to me makes no sense whatsoever. You go and run your race and if you win you win, I don’t think that the position in the field should have any merit on the results, period.

Interestingly, when we were looking at our results on line, some of my buddies noticed that their chip time was the same as their gun time. This did not make much sense since they were way back at the start of the race. Well apparently they “placed” in their age group, but because of this particular rule if you place in the race your chip time is overruled simply because if you knew you were that good, you should have gone to the front and battle it with the other folks that placed too. For my buddies and myself that does not make a difference, most of us are just looking to go have fun and have the best race we can, but if somebody place in their age group, they should have the recognition they deserve.. right?

I have to say that this particular race there so many people >3000, and all runners lined up at the start whichever way they could. Some of them went to the front and others, like me, wanted to get to the front but could not, and some like my other friends, they stayed back. The point is that I think that if there is not money involved, everybody should have their chip time reported, after all that is their real time, right? if money is going to be involved, then the people battling for the money can go to the front and gun time applies, Right?

Just after the race and before going to a "fun" ball game.. From left to right, Fred, Me, Joe, Calvin and Michelle in the front.

The Fun

This race was a fun one; I belong to two different groups, one eating club and one drinking club, both with a running problem. The Mid Peninsula running club and the Top Shelf Runners in San Carlos. Both are great and I love being able to run twice a week with my friends and then we go eat or drink depending on the day and the running partners.

This past Sunday, my Top Shelf Runners and I went to San Francisco to run the plate to plate 5K. I got to say I was skeptical abut this race since it is relatively short and relatively expensive too. Needless to say it took some convincing, but once I got into it I was eager and happy to be able to go do it. But it did not help that I had a couple of friends visiting from Houston so the night before I went to bed really late… but it is only 3.1 miles right? how bad can it be?

We met at the ATT stadium and had enough time to go for a little warm up run, and then it was time to go to the starting line. I was not counting that there were going to be so many people. I could not get to the front and I had to stay behind. The gun went off and everybody started moving slowly towards the front. When I finally reached the front it took me a whole lot to navigate through the mass of people, I knew right then that it would be impossible for me to PR this one.. I finished in 21:14 or so, not my best time, but I had a great time in this race nevertheless.

After the race we all congregated in a corner and cheer for the rest of our team members, once we were all accounted for, we went to get something to eat. No luck, all restaurants had an incredible waiting time and provided that our party was very large there is no way they were going to be able to sit us. So we decided to go to the ball park and eat ball-park food. I had an overpriced vegetarian burger, it was decent.

And finally we went to see the Giants beat the Rockies. And being the BB fan that I am, I was rooting very hard for someone to win, please no Extra Innings. I just wanted this to be over with so I could go home. Finally after an exciting game (I was told it was very exciting), it was time to go home. And that is how it ended.

In my way to the home plate and a 21:14 5K run..