Heart Health

FYI – I’m failing on my Vegan CrossFit adventure.  After the soreness subsided from my first outing, I was left with a screaming IT band.  I’ve never had an IT band that tight before and rushed right to the chiropractor to cash in on a sports massage before my insurance deductibles rolls back to $0.  It hurt.so.good.

Lots of pigeon and stretching ensued for a solid week before I felt any relief.  This move worked wonders.


The tight IT band was causing symptoms of my previous injury to emerge.  And I got scared.  So I’ve stopped my CrossFit adventure for the time being.  I’m really worried about all the squats, ball to wall, etc. as I’m convinced all the leg work and heavy lifting I was doing  in the past is what caused my injury (even though the doctors tell me it’s all the football and gymnastics I played as a child!?!).  Luckily, I have no pain today. 

I really enjoy lifting, but I also want to be able to say, “Nope.  I’m not doing that exercise”  and I don’t feel comfortable doing it in the Box since the workout is essentially a race, in a group environment, and sometimes with partners.  CrossFitters, can I ask for modifications? 

Anyways, I’ve been doing my own thang as the usual – a little bit of running, a little bit of spinning, a little bit of riding, a little bit of yoga, a little bit of swimming, a little bit of lifting.  I’m kinda wandering aimlessly without a big race I’m training for.    But…


I did run a 5k on Saturday – the Palm Beach Turkey Trot.   I didn’t PR, but it felt good to get out there.  Actually, it hurt like hell.  It was in Palm Beach, so the run was beautiful.  We passed beautiful mansions, manicured lawns, and yachts galore.  It’s fun to see how the 1% live.  I could get used to that lifestyle.


Honestly.   I couldn’t even look around much because I was so concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and thinking, “where the hell is that f-ing finish line?”

14/66 in Age Group.  8:33m pace.   26:29. 


Not my best, but I got out there and did it.   And it was good to judge where I’m at in my running game.   And I also had to check myself against an article I recently read in the Health-e-Times magazine that I picked up as a freebie from the health food store.  Read on.

Heart Health by the Mile

How fast can you run a mile?  New findings in Texas may make you want to hop on the treadmill.  In two separate studies, researchers analyzed fitness levels of more than 66,000 people and found that, for middle-aged adults, how quickly they could run a mile was a strong predicator of long-term health.  “In both these studies, how fast you can run in midlife is very strongly associated with heart disease risk when you’re old,”  says Dr. Jarret D. Berry, coauthor of both studies. 

Dr. Berry calculated that a man in his 50s who can run a mile in 8-minutes or less or a woman who can do it in 9-minutes or less shows a high level of fitness.  Moderate fitness is represented  by a 9-minute mile for a man or a 10:30 for a woman, and men who can’t run faster than a 10-minute mile and women slower than 12-minutes fall into the low-fitness group.  The small difference in speed made a big difference in heart disease risk- participants in the high-fitness group had a 10 percent lifetime risk, while those in the low-fitness group had a 30 percent risk.  “If we’re trying to boil this down into practical implications, it’s the speed at which you can run,”  says Dr. Berry.  “Heart disease risk increases markedly for every minute longer it takes you to run a mile.” 

Okay, so I’m not a middle-aged adult, but I thought these findings were interesting.  I guess I’ll have to do a time trial in 20 years and see where I fall. 

Do you think a timed mile is an indication of your fitness level? 

Be well,



Filed under CrossFit, Exercise, Healthy Living

7 responses to “Heart Health

  1. Now, bearing in mind I’m no expert, but here is what I’ve come to learn about Crossfit exercise and Plyometrics. You need to have a per-existing strong upper and lower body strength first. The rule of thumb is be able to press you own body weight before taking on serious Crossfit/Plyometric stuff. Not saying you are weak, but if your body wasn’t ready for that type of exertion it must have come as a shock to the system…hence, the IT issue. I think that easing into it a bit more with yoga and regular weight routines and then start off light with the Crossfit would be the better idea.

    Also, I have it on good confidence that many Crossfit programs care little about your future goals and will push, push, push you into going harder, faster, bigger, etc. This is not necessarily the way of the endurance athlete…so to speak. Make sure they KNOW your goals and help you build to them, not deter you from achieving them by over-exerting you.

    Again, I’m nobody. But I’ve learned a little here and there. Take this with a grain of salt, but I’d hate to see you take on the triathlon because some hepped up robo-trainer pushed you too hard too soon. Remember, you’re in your “rest” or “off season” training. Nothing has to be too heavy or serious. Take it easy and build into it.

    As always, best wishes.


  2. It depends on the CF box, but in my experience, YES, you can modify as needed. I do almost all of the WODs with modifications because I’m not strong enough to do pull-ups, etc on my own yet. Though, personally–I’ve had the opposite effect from heavy lifting. It’s made me far less injury prone, provided I’m doing the lifts correctly…which is where my CF coaches help me with technique.
    Tell the trainer before about your ITB issues and they should be able to help you modify appropriately. Don’t be shy. No good coach wants anyone getting injured.

  3. My Boss found an article on MSN about heart health & how far/fast you can run. He says according to the article he found, I’m going to live forever. I tried to find it on MSN, but it’s been weeks ago so it’s lost in the MSN archive abyss.

    Nice job on your 5k! That’s a great pace!

  4. I’m going to have to strongly disgree with Terry up above. I had zero upper body strength and the only lower body strength I had was from running when I started CrossFit. I told my trainers from the get-go what my goal was: to run a 4:30 full marathon (an endurance event). They have never pushed me too hard or beyond what my limits are and have always supported an extra rest day if I felt like I needed it. They have always been mindful of what my goal was and even point out specifically to me what each exercise does to help my running. Several of the people I train beside have run marathons themselves, one has even completed 2 full ironmen (ironmans?). Just because you are an endurance athelete doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from CrossFit, quite the opposite actually. I shaved over 30 minutes from my marathon time, achieving my goal, and I credit that largely to CrossFit.

    Never be afraid to ask for modifications. Always be open and honest about your body and what is hurting you. Not speaking up will only result in actual or further injury. Like Brie said, a good trainer will make you better without injuring you.

  5. Glad to know I may be wrong. Live and learn. 🙂

  6. Carolyn,

    I’ve had a similar experience with Crossfit kicking my butt a little bit more than makes me comfortable. I love the “idea” of it, but the practical application has me feeling like I might “blow a gasket” if I push any harder.

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who’s had this experience.

  7. Amanda

    The trainers at my box in Ramona, CA say all the time that getting hurt is not going to help anyone. They harp on technique and the fact that we do these workouts to get better at doing all we need to do in life. They are very strict about correcting form and making people take weight off if they are not ready. It is the only one I’ve gone to, so I can’t compare though. Every time I workout at crossfit there are people do all different versions of exercises based on their ability levels and technique and they do alter the WOD exercises for those who have injuries. I say speak up to the trainers and if they are not willing to do these things go to another box if you can! Good luck!

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