Sunday, November 28, 2010

Prologue: IMAZ '10 - A different approach. You do it your way and I'll do it mine.

I want to start my IMAZ '10 race report with some thoughts about Crossfit and Crossfit Endurance. This year has been an experiment for me brought about by my need to spend less time training and to keep the training interesting and challenging. This being my third IM in as many years, I began training in January/February of this past year and immediately felt the remnant mental and physical fatigue of two prior years of training for IM. I was coming off a very successful season in which I had PR'd most of my races (two HIMs, one DU, one Oly, one IM and a marathon) including IMLP and tacked on a marathon just for fun. Yup -- just for fun... :). Additionally, the new job I started almost two years ago continued to be very challenging and a bit consuming. I had started a very big project early in the year that I knew would require most of what I had. So, you might ask "well why didn't ya just bag the IM and make it easy on yourself...?" Hah! For those of you who really know me... well, you KNOW me :)

I had done a little poking around this whole Crossfit thing on my own and had also attended a free Trimax session with Max in the previous year before IMLP. That session -- which included squats, burpees and 200 meter sprints left me lame for a good two weeks. And when I say lame, I mean I couldn't walk for a few days! I was too far into my training for IMLP at that point to change from the long, slow training protocol to this short and intense, functional strength based protocol, but I was intrigued and knew that others were having success with it.

So I start with this because I'm here to tell you that if you are looking for an alternative to the more traditional training protocol, this is it. I won't lie to you. There's an adjustment period you have to get through before you begin to see the effectiveness. Also, you have to proceed carefully with the intensity so as not to injure yourself. But if you stick with it and follow the plan, its powerful stuff.

As a 47 year old female, I can tell you that I've never been stronger physically. I know that at my age, if I continued to run a thousand miles a year and ride 3000 miles a year and swim 150,000 yards a year, something will wear out or break. So cutting this kind of mileage by a third or half can only be a good thing. Additionally, CF makes me stronger for everything in my life -- not just my athletic endeavors. As we hiked and climbed our way through Sedona post race this past week, this was very apparent to me. I recovered quickly from the IM and was able to keep pace with my husband and son as we hiked around the rim of the Grand Canyon on Tuesday, climbed several of the red rocks of Sedona on Wednesday and hiked 8 miles with 2000 feet of elevation on Thursday. I even jogged a little on the trail to catch up with the boys on Thursday as I fell behind while taking photos of the amazing scenery.

So, I'm not interested in arguing about which protocol is better. I'm just saying that there's more than one way to get where you wanna go. My observation is that lots of swim, bike, run will prepare you well enough to do lots of swim, bike, run. Throw in some CF/CFE and be prepared for anything else you might wanna do in your life in addition to conquering that next triathlon.

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