Yesterday I put the last 12 weeks of my CrossFit Endurance training and programming designed by my pal, Benjamin Palmer, to the test at the 3M Half Marathon. 

Leading up to this race I’ve felt a lot of pressure within.  It’s no different pressure than any other race.  I always get nervous, there’s always some little ache or pain that arises in my body within a few weeks from the event; I always question whether or not I’ve eaten enough, gone to the restroom enough times, etc etc….  I often think to myself, “I wish I could just run a race for fun; without having a time/pace goal, and without letting the outcome of the race determine if I’ll be upset with myself or excited the rest of the day.”  

Why the Pressure- What Did I Have to Prove to Myself?
 – This is the first time I haven’t trained with a “traditional” running group

– My training included 4 CrossFit workouts, 2 track/interval workouts, and 1 tempo/time trial run a week (plus Bikram Yoga) and NO LONG EASY RUNS. Vs. Running, running, running, with long, slower running, and only doing a little bit of weight training as before.

– I’m racing as a slightly larger, endurance athlete.  Before you roll your eyes, hear me out on this….when I ran my fastest half in 2004 (1:30) I was 25lbs lighter than I am now.  My second fastest half in 2009 (1:31) was 8-10 pounds ago.  So, I felt the need to prove that even though I am no longer a skinny, starving, over trained runner, that I could run just as hard, just a fast, and feel not just as strong, but stronger.

– I wanted to prove to myself that the CFE programming really does work.  

So….Getting to the Good Stuff….The Results:
Thanks to programming a la Benjamin, and pacing from Sam through mile 5 to the end (and 3 miles from Rick) I ended up running a 7:09/mile pace; giving me a finishing time of 1:34:07.

I started the race 4 minutes later because I was standing in line for the restroom.  By the time I made my way to the start, I was stuck in the pack of the 2+hour half marathon pace groups.  I spent the first mile running on the grass bike trail alongside the run course to avoid the cluster; which was great because it reminded me a little of Cross Country running.
I felt awesome the entire race.  I never really got tired or winded until the last mile.  My calves started to get pretty tight around mile 12 and I was trying to push the pace without “kicking too soon”, but thanks to my excellent pacer(s) I was able to finish strong and with a time I am satisfied with.

Final Thoughts
The Pros: I am here to tell you that training strictly CFE works! I never felt over trained, maintained less than 20 miles a week of running, based on quality-not quantity, and was pretty much injury-free aside from some minor things here and there.

The Cons: Because I was trying to really test the programming, I didn’t get to do much of anything else (bike, swim, etc).  I also didn’t enjoy doing most of my Tempo/Time Trial runs by myself. I really enjoy running with other people and don’t run with music; so running alone and trying to maintain a solid pace got old, real quick.

The great news is now that the race is over, I will continue CFE training for duathlon season, along with my Bikram Yoga challenge, and Strictly Strength…I’m ready to #getstrong and start filling out my jeans again; develop that “apple bottom”.