“Dream big and dare to fail.” –Norman D. Vaughan , American Colonel

Operation Marathon is a GO!
Sometime in early February of this year, the thought of running a marathon started becoming the common theme of my sporadic daydreams. I think it all started after I came across a copy of the Hawaii Sport magazine and saw all the races Hawaii has throughout the year. After a few months went by and the idea hadn’t faded, I knew I was going to have to run a marathon. Curse that dang magazine!
Shortly thereafter I made the decision to run the Honolulu Marathon, which would take place on December 13, 2009. Having about six months to train I felt great about my decision and looked forward to December. Initially I had planned on marathon specific training using Crossfit only as a supplement, but… that all went out the window after I joined Crossfit Hawaii aka Hardass Fitness. While I had a decent foundation in Crossfit, it didn’t take long training with Coach Kimo, Josh, and several other hardasses and my capacity grew like never before. While my fitness improved so did my confidence in Crossfit’s prescription and methodology. As my desire to keep getting stronger and faster grew, the idea of logging heaps of virtually empty training miles became less appealing and actually quite frightening. That’s when I decided I would not train specifically for the marathon. I was still going to run on race day, only I would just treat it like any other WOD, a 26.2-mile WOD! Crossfit prepares you for the unknown and unknowable, right? You never know when you might need to run a marathon…While I wasn’t running miles in preparation for the marathon I was lucky enough to participate in Crossfit’s Running Certification which was held on the 14th and 15th of November. The two-day class taught by Brian Mackenzie and Marc Homan was really a wake-up call for me, proving the importance of correct running posture and technique to become an efficient runner while remaining injury free. I had never trained or practiced the movement of running like I trained the squat, clean, and other technical movements. In the past I was oblivious to my running technique and when I did run I was always concentrating on my pace without ever giving thought to posture or technique. After two days of running and endurance education I left with a new skill and a renewed desire to complete the marathon. As race day got closer and closer I was unable to contain my excitement! Nearly every conversation I had would eventually lead to me probing for marathon advice and explaining how I planned to complete the race with no running in my training. Nearly every conversation went the same way. It started with a discussion of my plans to run the marathon and the person would nod with an agreeable gesture sharing my enthusiasm. Yet, as soon as I mentioned there was no running in my marathon training I could see in their eyes that I had immediately lost all credibility, some even expressed their dubious thoughts by telling me I was crazy and laughing in my face. I specifically recall one person say, “don’t go run the marathon if you have not trained for it, that is just… DUMB!” Needless to say every time I received negative feedback the fire under my ass grew larger and larger.Contrary to the naysayers I found several folks who were interested and intrigued by my “experiment” as I had come to describe it. I had even talked one friend into completing the race with me. From my perspective the commonality of all the people who encouraged my experiment were those of phenomenal physical capacity and those who also shared an interest in pushing their performance far beyond their comfort zone.Well race day came and went like a blur! Heeding the advice of nearly every marathon veteran I interrogated pre race, Josh and I started out slow, REAL slow! I think we were cruising around a 13-minute mile, which was only slightly slower than the guy running in wooden clogs and the Playboy bunny, as they both passed us during the race! As far as my cardio endurance goes, I was gold. I kept my heart rate and breathing down to where I could easily carry a conversation throughout the race. I think Josh will agree when I say we didn’t really run into any problems until about 20 miles in. After the 20-mile marker the race became damage control. Our pace slowed and our stride began to retard! It had nothing to do with our muscles; it was the impact on our joints. This was the limiting factor in our performance. While Crossfit’s short duration, high intensity training provided us with ample endurance for the race; it didn’t condition our joints and bones to take the beating a six-hour run delivers. With that said even in the realm of the unknown and unknowable how often will you find yourself needing to run 20-plus miles? Yet, if you ever find yourself there, this is proof Crossfit will take you where you want to go.This was an awesome experience for me as it pushed me far out of my comfort zone from a conditioning stand point and it allowed me to cross off one more item from my “Things to do Before You Die” list. Lastly, I would like to thank:Coach Kimo- for the pre race hotel accommodations. (The Hardass Inn!)Maria (Scrappy)- for the post race Jacuzzi, bbq, and beer. That was awesome!Josh (Buck)- for doing the race with me. Okay, so check this out. The night before the race I am prepping my race gear i.e. Pinning my number on my shorts, preparing my meals, keeping hydrated like I imagine most runners did. Well Josh was slamming Heinekens and singing karaoke until 1:00 AM on the morning of the race. After he slept a whopping one-hour he threw his board shorts on and ran a marathon. SERIOUSLY, board shorts! How awesome is that!!!Thanks to all the Hardass Crossfitters who kept me motivated and encouraged my efforts.

Congratulations John on fulfilling yet another goal! Thanks for sharing your story.

Today’s Workout:

Five sets to find your heaviest deadlift for 5 reps
If you are new to the deadlift, keep weight moderate and practice good form for more reps.


Max reps of burpees in 2 minutes. Two scores. How many consecutive burpees were done before your first rest break and how many total. For some it is the same number.