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Old 11-08-2006, 04:51 PM   #1
Jeff Northrop
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A first post! This is long overdue since I've been following the WOD for about a year now but honestly I have never felt like I have much to contribute here. Today is the day I have something worthwhile to report: I just completed my first marathon and I did it primarily using CF.

I'll start with the end of the story: On Sunday I completed the NYC Marathon in a time of 3:58:45. This was not only my first marathon but my first long distance race.

It all started a year and a half ago when I committed to running in the '06 NYC Marathon with my brother. The commitment was a BIG deal for me as the farthest I'd ever run prior to this was a 6 mile death march in the previous summer. I call it a death march because I ran it at an 11:00/mile pace and was certain I was going to die before it was over. Leading up to this run I had been following a 4-run/week 10k training plan.

Things were going well enough except that my IT band had been steadily getting worse with each run. A significant increase in my chronic knee pain following that 6 mile run forced me to quit the plan 3 weeks early.

Its also worth mentioning that before the 10k training I was in pretty good shape. I'd been following various strength training for a couple of years. I was no "CrossFit elite" but I was no couch potato either.

So here I was with a bum knee and no natural abilities for long distance running and I had only 12 months to prepare for my first marathon. I decided over the winter to work on my muscle imbalances and general overall fitness with the hope of prolonging the re-occurance of my IT issues. I chose CrossFit for this "fix it" stage. I faithly followed the WOD from November-March performing each to the best of my quickly increasing abilities.

Some time in March a 10K WOD came up. This was going to be a chance to test out what CF has done for me particularly with regards to my knee and see if I can do something better than my previous "death march" performance. I ran it at a 9:00/mile pace! I was shocked. Since my performance was so strong (at least for me) I decided to re-evaluate my original plans of picking up on a 10k training program in April (with the intention of moving to a marathon training schedule in August). I concocted a plan to continue the WOD

Monday-Thursday, which I was enjoying immensly, but add a long run on Saturdays. The plan was to increase my weekly mileage slowly and carefully monitor my progress. If I noticed a consistent performance drop off I would start to add more runs as needed in place of WODs.

I started my new plan in April. The first thing I did was run a 10k as fast as I could. That was going to be my benchmark. I would use this benchmark to gauge whether I needed to add more runs or not as I increased the miles. I planned to increase my miles every 4th run by one mile at a time (so April was 6 mile runs, May was 7 mile runs, etc.). At this point I was expecting to be running twice a week (if not 3x) by early August when I would be attempting 12 miles runs. By August I figured I would be ready to transition to a traditional marathon training program.

To Make a long story short I continued the WODs and increased my mileage without any problems whatsoever right through mid-September where I was running 14 miles every Saturday at my benchmark pace of 8:30/mile.

At this point, for some reason I lost confidence in my plan and feared I was not running enough. I mean, who trains for a marathon by running only once a week? So I added an 8 mile run on Wednesdays. Also at this point I needed to increase my long runs by bigger jumps and more frequently. I moved to a schedule that increased my miles by 2 miles every 2 weeks (which brought me to a 20 mile run 3 weeks before the marathon).

I had no problem with the increasing mileage or volume. I felt great on marathon Sunday and am tickled pink that I was able to complete my training and run the marathon injury-free. I'm living proof that even someone who is not genetically blessed with "endurance genes" can use CF with the inclusion of a very modest running schedule and successfully complete a marathon.

Thanks CrossFit!

P.S. On aside, I was fortunate enough to have met Lynne Pitts and Jon Gilson two weekends ago at a seminar in MA. Two of the nicest people I have ever met -- but you all knew that already, didn't you?
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:47 PM   #2
Keith Wittenstein
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That's awesome, Jeff!!!! Welcome to the boards. When we open CrossFit NYC, you'll have to drag down all the marathoners and tell them your story. I have been trying to convince some people lately, that they should be doing more CrossFit and less running in order to train for the Marathon, but they all scoff. I think your story is proof positive that it works.
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:30 AM   #3
Lynne Pitts
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Hey Jeff, great to see you on the board! This is an awesome story.

I'm going to move this to Testimonials, because this is certainly a great testimonial, not just to CF, but to your own dedication and efforts. Congratulations!
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Old 11-09-2006, 05:03 AM   #4
Anthony Bainbridge
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This gives me hope! Thanks for the story, Jeff! And congrats on your race!!!
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Old 11-09-2006, 04:14 PM   #5
Jeff Northrop
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Thanks everyone!

Keith, if I run NY again -- that is if I'm lucky enough to get another lottery # -- I'll be more than happy to promote a new facility!

Edit: In any case I'll be happy to be a poster boy for CF :-)

(Message edited by jnorthrop on November 09, 2006)
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