Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I have been interested in trying  a CrossFit class for quite some time. I don’t do anything very quickly.  Running is long and slow, weight training is slow and deliberate. I wanted to try the high intensity of CF.

A few of my ultrarunning friends absolutely love CF. They live on the West Coast and CF has been around for ages out there. Many use CF to compliment their running a few times a week. The past few years CF has made its way to MN and boxes are popping up here and there.  The closest one to Big Lake that I could find a few months ago was in Maple Grove. Because I have been driving an hour to go to my favorite CorePower Yoga class, I really didn’t want to drive that far to CF.

A few weeks ago I again did a search for CF in the area and low and behold I got a hit!  A master Taekwondo instructor in the area who has his CF certification was holding classes!  Woohoo! He just began classes last month. Only 20 minutes away!

Yesterday I attended my first CF class. Well, actually, it wasn’t even a class. It was a required introduction to a beginning class.

I was apprehensive. All that I know about CF it that it is bad ass, intense, pull ups and throwing heavy tires around.  I had looked at YouTube videos and different blogs and such. Many in my paleo community practice CF.

Ryan gave me an in-depth introduction to CF. He explained that CF is not a specialized fitness program but an attempt to optimize physical competence in 10 areas: cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.  Oh, is that all?

He explained some CF terminology, the WOD (workout of the day), the scaling back of w/o’s to ability level, etc.

After the introduction and 101 questions that I had it was time for my workout.

The workout was 500 meter row, 50 squats, 40 sit ups, 30 push ups, 20 pull ups; for time.   I didn’t think it seemed too brutal, I was wrong!

My body isn’t used to doing anything fast, this is why I wanted to begin CF. The intensity!  I can run long and slow, I can lift long and slow, but fast..I haven’t been doing fast! I am ready to give my body a wake up call.

I began to row and that was fine, it took me about 3 minutes to finish 500 meters, I unhooked the safety straps from my feet and went to the squat. I was to squat deep, touching my but to the ball each time. No problem but my heart rate was increasing and sweat was beginning to roll. Good stuff.  Onto the sit ups. Oh lord. I normally do ‘crunches’ .. why? I’m not really sure. I quit doing regular sit ups quite some time ago when I began this long session of crunches and have been doing them since. I had to chuckle. I told Ryan “my son is going to be so disappointed that I can’t do normal sit ups!” He told me to extend my arms and use them as leverage. Silly!  I felt like a fool.  Oh well, suck it up and move on. I completed the 40 and went to push ups.

20 were no problem and then they were s l o w and my form was becoming very improper. These were ‘chest to deck’ pushups. Touching my chest to the floor for each pushup. I haven’t done that before. Pretty soon I moved to KNEE pushups.  Yes, truly. Knee pushups!  Good grief.  After 40 I wobbly walked to the pull up bar.  Oh dear. During our intro he asked how many pull ups I could do. I told him about 10 at that point. I didn’t bother telling him I could do many more before this past year and of my injury.  I did 5 during our intro. They must not have been too stellar because he said I could jump off a box and jump up to the bar to do the pull-ups during the workout. 

I jumped up to the bar and was able to get 8 in but after that my arms and back were just kind of done.  I jumped up and muscled out as many as I could. I was panting and spit was coming out of my mouth. Gross!  The last few my form was gone but I was just counting to 20.  At 20 I was beat.  I was panting like a dog. My legs were tired, my arms were tired, my back was tired. I was soaked. Unreal.

I shuffled to my water and towel and realized I was supposed to be completing this for time.  The clock said 10:15.  Sheesh, most intense 10 minute work I’ve ever had.

I can only improve, right?

I loved it!

After I finished up we talked about the class schedule, payment, etc. I decided I’d begin with a few free classes at the beginning level. He feels that I will be able to walk into beginners and be OK. I don’t know about that but I will try it.  I will be going  to class today at 530, after Topaz and I get our Run On.

Instead of leaving with my tail tucked between my legs and my ears down I left with a smile upon my face. I can’t wait to go back today!

Do you CrossFit?  Do you CrossFit and Ultrarun?


Damon said...

Julie, I've been doing CrossFit for about 18 months now and I love it. But, at the same time, I haven't run an ultra since I started CrossFit. I don't know if I'm done with ultras or not, but right now, CrossFit fits in well with the amount of free time I have. In the winter, I do CF about 3x per week and I teach alpine skiing on the weekends. In the summer, I do CF 3-4 times per week and then run or bike the other days of the week.

Willie said...

I do not belong to a CrossFit gym but I do incorporate their circuit style workouts into my program 2-3 times a week. It's time efficient, you think it's simple and then you get up the next morning. Wow! that worked! Since changing from workouts geared toward bodybuilding to crossfit/circuits I feel more limber and have less muscle tighness and cramping during my runs. Hope it works for you!

Olga said...

Would love to follow your journey. I can't afford it neither in time (driving to - doing an hour - driving back) nor in money, but I am curious. If I say I incorporate the idea, I'd be half-lying, because unless you're yelled at, you never push hard enough - proven even by my weight training coaches, running coaches, and simply track intervals with others.

Lisa said...

Where is this cross fit instructor located? My husband and I have been wanting to do this and we live in Northern MN East Bethel area. I wanted to add it to my running. I have done a few WOD's with my husband from the website and they kick my booty! It is fun in a weird way lol.

Julie B said...

Damon, I am beginning with 2x a week; Tuesday and Thursday. When summer comes and I am off work for 10 weeks I'll increase to 3x a week. I am really enjoying it, however, I've only had 4 WODs!

Willie, I enjoy this more than the BB workouts. It just makes more sense to me to complete all body strengthening, fast cardio, etc. I'm loving it!

Olga, I hear you on the driving. I was pretty bummed out when I looked for CF a few months ago and all of the boxes were at least 50 miles away. Too far. Yesterday I drove 4 hours combined trip to run 4 hours. That's my run rule. I have to run AT LEAST as long as the drive!

Lisa, this is Avery CrossFit-Princeton.