When I moved back to Pittsburgh in 2012, I decided to register for the half marathon. I was just coming off a stint in physical therapy for my knee and wasn't sure how it would hold up in a long distance race. Fortunately, I was reacquainted with Christina who I had met years earlier through a mutual friend. We were reunited as bridesmaids in our friend's wedding. We found out that we were both running the half marathon and only lived a little over a mile away from each other. We quickly became running buddies to train for the half marathon.
Running with Christina pushed me far beyond my comfort zone. When I ran on my own I tended to run loops around my house so I could bail out if I wanted to. The first time I ran with Christina we ran so far from home we had no choice but to run back. And forget about those hills! While she bounded up them with endless energy I slowly dragged myself wondering if I would ever make it to the top. I did eventually make it to the top. In fact, when we were finished we had ran through three suburbs of Pittsburgh and covered eight miles. I had no idea I could run such challenging terrain. It changed my outlook on running.
Last year after much coaxing, Christina convinced me to try Crossfit. Once again I was thrust out of my comfort zone. Now I'm doing Olympic lifts, handstands and so many other things I never knew I was capable of. We attend the same gym so we get to work out together and encourage each other.
Christina has always encouraged me, especially when I've doubted myself. In addition, she has always pushed me, even when I didn't want to be pushed. I'll forever be grateful for that push, because she's convinced me to do things I would have never done on my own. I know for a fact that without Christina's influence I wouldn't be nearly the athlete I am today.
Since Christina has had such a big impact on me over the past two years, I asked her a few questions about running and Crossfit.
When I moved to Pittsburgh in 2012 I hadn’t run hills in five years. What’s your approach to running up a hill? I personally love hills! It's a great place to pass people during a race while they are walking. My approach to running up hills is to keep on running, never walk and continuing running even if its snail pace.
What was your first race? My first race not related to competing in school would be Race for the Cure.
I know you love your shoes. What is your favorite pair of running shoes? I love pretty, bright, flashy shoes, but they have not always been my best friend for my flat feet. For fashion, my favorite pretty shoes are Brooks Pure Cadence. For function, my favorite pair of running shoes now are Mizuno Wave Inspires. They fit my feet perfectly but are not so pretty.
What is your favorite race? My favorite race was probably my first Pittsburgh Half Marathon. There was so much energy in the crowd. Cheering that I had never experienced before. The race sucked though, because it was so freaking hot!
What’s your favorite post-race meal? Anything and everything and the greasier the better. But I have to have a banana. The Casino Buffet - they have a variety of food and drinks!
You’ve encouraged me to run half marathons and marathons, but you’ve also encouraged me to try crossfit for the first time. What do you enjoy the most about crossfit? I enjoy crossfit because I am always surprising myself of what I am capable of doing and it constantly challenges me. I love the feeling I get when I am done with a WOD (workout of the day), especially one that I do not think I am capable of finishing. Also in that ten minutes, or however long the WOD is, you get to clear you head with your only focus being you and your workout.
What is your favorite skill in crossfit? My favorite skill would be deadlifts.
How do you think the group atmosphere of Crossfit compares to group running? I think they are both very similar. Runners and Crossfitters are very enthusiastic about their sport. Both are individual sports so how you perform depends on you. What I love most in both is always having someone encouraging and pushing me to finish strong and work harder. Especially when I am physically exhausted and think I have nothing left in me but I manage to finish strong and find energy from within to get the last few reps in, or kicking in the last few strides to finish a run/race.
What Crossfit move do you wish you were better at? I wish I could be better in everything! The snatch movement! Skills that I do not have are kipping, hand stands, double unders and rope climb. Hopefully one day, I can do one of the above skills.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to try Crossfit? I believe anyone can do Crossfit. I think I am a great example. I am petite size and a baby about everything! If I can handle crossfit, I think anyone can. It doesn't matter what size or age you are. It's all about scaling down to something that fits you at your level and size. Also, you can't compare yourself to other people at the box since everyone is at a different level. If you finish a WOD, you should be proud of yourself for even attempting.
Author: Sarah Warman
I like to run, take pictures and write. I've combined all three in this blog.