Some of you know that our own Vicky is pretty into running...in fact she runs a LONG ways! This is her story about how CrossFit helped her with her last ultra marathon!
An Ultra is defined as any distance over a marathon. During 2008-2012 I ran several. I loved the Ultra scene, laid back and easy going, nothing too formal. Each one is unique offering a new nemesis for the day. The cypress roots at Sunmart, the runnable hills at Freestate, the unexpected snow storms at the Snake Run, the scorching heat at Desert R.A.T.S., each one providing you a different challenge. We Ultra runners have a couple of sayings; relentless forward movement, embrace the suck. They are subtle reminders of how to finish the event. I have suffered every foot strike on these trails and others and I loved them all. Traditionally, training for an Ultra would include 60 plus miles a week for months. As much as I loved the events, it was not a sustainable practice for me. So I gave them up and moved on to a new twisted love. Crossfit.
It didn’t take long before I became hooked on the workouts. I still missed the solitude of long runs, the flowing feeling of running down a winding trail to the rhythm of my heartbeat. On Thanksgiving of last year I decided to go on, at the time what I considered, a long run. I busted out an easy 11 miler. I was shocked. I thought to myself what am I capable of? I began looking into Ultras again. But this time the training had to be different. My original plan of treadmill work didn’t last long. I’m a trail runner and the treadmill is torture. I went on to plan B. I decided to used Crossfit and Egoscue as my base modality and supplement with long runs only. Egoscue is a method of posture alignment therapy. I was introduced to the method in 2006 and utilized it as much as I could, although my understanding of it was limited. In March of 2018 I finished my education and training in the Egoscue method as a posture alignment specialist. It has made a world of difference. I should also mention I changed the way I run most notably the foot strike. I adopted the Pose style of running as suggested by Crossfit and it has made running much more pleasant. To help with long runs I ran in the Herron Half Marathon in early June. I put in a 14 miler, 19 miler and a 25 miler spaced about 2 weeks apart and then the big event, the Elkhorn 52K.
As Ultras go this one was no acception. The challenge was the climbs and the downhill. We had over 7900 ft of gain on this course. Tough stuff, in fact the most challenging single event Ultra I have completed to date. Some Ultras require qualifiers to participate. The Elkhorn is a qualifier for Mont Blanc, a gnarly Ultra in France. At times the climbs were a death march up and the downhills were sliding on your heels. I loved every suffering moment. The Elkhorn was well marked and had fantastic aid stations. I even found a beer at the finish. I think this Ultra will be one of the most memorable finishes because I changed the way I trained. I have found a sustainable method through Crossfit and Egoscue as well as a few well planned long runs. I cannot express how pleased I am with the time I spent training as compared to the time I would have spent running 60 plus miles a week. Don’t misunderstand me I do love a good long run, Ultra anyone?