Can CrossFit get me through a Marathon?

Running a marathon was something that was always on my bucket list.  I ran for 3 years in high school, but not too much after that. I researched and saw the amount of training needed to really do this well.  It was a lot. I didn’t like running that much. So training for it went out the window.  Was this smart?  Hell no!  More on this later.
I signed up to do the Baltimore Marathon (2013) with my friend and fellow coach Toni.  She is a great a runner with several marathons and tri’s under her belt.  She was super encouraging so I said screw it, let’s see what happens.  My longest run recently was 3 miles at once.  I did that twice in the 12 months before the race. At this point I was 37 with almost 4 years of CrossFIt experience.
In CrossFit we run plenty of 200’s, 400’s, the occasional 800 and very seldom a mile.  I considered myself pretty fit and mentally tough so I could hack it.  Race day came and we took off, I set out at a nice easy pace knowing it would get tough at some point.  At the halfway mark (13 miles) I thought to myself that this wasn’t so bad.  Several miles later things changed a bit.  Around mile 18 we had not stopped running yet other that a quick pee break.  My adductors (inside thighs) decided to lock up on me.  I walked about 30 feet or so until they loosened up and then we continued to run.  The last 8 miles was a continuous lock up, walk, release, run again cycle.  It was mentally defeating.  My lungs were fine and I mentally wanted to keep going.  My legs were just not having it.  Rightfully so, I did not properly prepare myself for this.
Approaching the finish line was one of the greatest things ever!  Not that I was proud of myself it was just pure excitement to be finished!
So what’s the point?  If you want to accomplish something huge once, you might be able to half ass it, take the chance of getting hurt and barely squeak by.  If you want to do something huge well, it takes proper planning, training and direction.  You will never accomplish your goals without putting in the work.
Side point – CrossFit shaped me as an athlete.  It built my work capacity across broad time and modal domains. I believe CrossFit is the reason I did make it 18 miles without stopping (PR).  It is also the reason I did not get hurt and the reason I recovered quickly and was back in the gym that week.
Can CrossFit help your sport? YES.
Can CrossFit help you on the job? YES
Can it help you get through daily life? YES
So, can CrossFit get you through a marathon?  Yes, I proved it.
Was it smart, not at all.
Did I hurt myself, no.
Was I sore for a few days, hell yes.
Would I do it again, nope.
Would I do it again if I trained for it, no I told you I don’t like running that much! (and I ruined the experience by trying to take the easy way out)
Bucket list is checked off!
-Coach Bret
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