Friday: Once upon a Scott
Hey everyone! Today we are presented with the privilege of hearing an awesome CrossFit tale from our very own Scott Collins!
The Story of Scott Collins:
I am an endurance athlete. If that makes you think of a ripped Greek hero dodging thunderbolts as he scales gloriously up the face of Mt. Olympus for hours on end then please stay with that image. It sounds good to me.
Alas “endurance athlete” is our era’s fancy term for “person who runs bikes or swims for ridonkulous periods of time.” I’ve been running for my entire adult life – or at least the parts where I’m not in my crib chillin’ to Manilow. Unfortunately heroism has had nothing to do with my running. I took up running because I’m a bookish dork who sucked at all the other sports. Plus if I could outrun the football jocks I might stand a slightly better chance of not getting beaten up.
I discovered CrossFit in May 2011 while reading a book about barefoot running (notice a theme here?). I looked up various boxes online and finally settled on CFHV after seeing a picture of Tim and thinking “Here’s a guy who’s much skinnier than I am and could still kick my ass without trying.” Tim gave me a baseline assessment which I passed with flying colors if flying colors means “unable to complete a single pull-up without help from FEMA and a Marine Corps platoon.”
I had followed a diligent weight-lifting regimen since college but diligent didn’t mean good. I was under the mistaken assumption that I could teach myself all the right moves when it came to fitness. This did not work for weights as it also did not work in my attempts to teach myself cooking banjo French and the Kama Sutra. My deadlift was stuck at 135 lbs. (at the time I weighed about 175 lbs.) and I couldn’t figure out why. Also I developed a rotator cuff injury due to lousy bench technique and other training errors. Fun!
The problem was that I didn’t know how to deadlift not to mention the more complicated movements even though at the time I was sure I did. I had thumbed through Men’s Health and looked at all the how-to videos on YouTube right?
I worried at first that endurance training and CrossFit might not be a good match. CrossFit is all about overall fitness and runners are specialists – which is a polite way of saying that most runners couldn’t do 10 unbroken pull-ups if you rested the business end of a Sig Sauer against their temples. But for me that’s the point: I had the endurance part down. Now I needed help with strength and flexibility.
Eighteen months of CFHV have made me a better and more confident athlete overall. The effect on my weight training has been enormous. Tim and the other coaches have taught me how to deadlift properly. My PR has zoomed from 135 lbs to 270 lbs. I’m not good at math but even I recognize a 100% improvement. Not too shabby. Other movements have seen similar gains.
And guess what? Some of my running times have improved too. Earlier this year after about 9 months at CFHV I PR-ed in the half-marathon my signature event (1:37:02). Endurance training and CrossFit can mix quite well.
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