Hi, my name is Nick and I’m a runner. I’ve been a runner since 8th grade. I ran Track & Field from 8th grade through high school, adding Cross Country in college. I continued to run “competitively” until a few years ago when I was unable to recover from injury. I had that dastardly Plantar Fasciitis and it took me almost 3 years to completely heal from it. Between that and my slowly getting older my running times went downhill quicker than anticipated. A large part of my identity is wrapped up in my ability to run or at least be an endurance athlete. After my injury I dabbled in other endurance sports – triathlon and cycling specifically. During this whole time my uncle kept talking to me about this thing called CrossFit and functional movement. I listened for awhile and then finally broke down and in January 2013 I read Brian MacKensie’s Power, Speed, Endurance: A Skill Based Approach to Endurance Training. My uncle said that I could easily do CrossFit or CrossFit Endurance at home, but I knew that if I was going to I would need to find some place that could actually coach me through the movements. I searched around Minneapolis and quickly realized that CrossFit Endurance isn’t offered many places and wouldn’t fit into my busy family life and work schedule. I stumbled upon this new gym that was opening a mile from my house (at the time) and my wife got me a membership for Father’s Day in 2014. I can say that I haven’t regretted the decision to join Solcana once (except maybe when I can’t walk or raise my hands to wash my hair after a workout).
The coaching staff has really challenged me to improve. It has been hard to take lifts and movements that I’ve been doing on and off since high school and have them broken apart and fixed so that I can do them correctly and get stronger. Things like pushups and squats that I’ve been doing with bad form. It has happened, slowly but surely. It wasn’t easy on the ego to be corrected on those things – especially when I had to significantly reduce weight to do them – but doing them correctly and without injury is more important and I’ve since seen the benefits. I really struggled in the beginning with some of the more dynamic lifts and remember one of my first mornings working out with Jeff. No one else, just Jeff and I. The workout included a kettlebell movement and we drilled it for quite awhile and I still couldn’t get it. Jeff was great and encouraging the entire time. I’ve come a long way since then!
When I started I think my focus was on becoming a better runner and all around athlete. I didn’t have any specific goals in mind. I knew I needed something both a little radical and structured to help me be engaged and to improve my core strength. That has definitely happened and much, much more. I’m still surprised sometimes about what my body can do and how it can recover and respond to what Hannah dishes out. I’ve seen gains in some of the “functional” movements throughout daily life, like hauling dirt by the bucket loads!
One of my biggest challenges since starting at Solcana was being diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation. Afib is an irregular heart rhythm that for me has been partially corrected by a cardiac ablation and is currently controlled by medication. This definitely put a damper on all of my athletic endeavors while we were diagnosing and trying to fix it. I’ve struggled with pushing harder at times with this concern in the back of my head. I’ve taken time and slowly worked back into a regular routine of CrossFit, running, and cycling. I think there are some lingering issues that will continue to get worked out as I approach the one year mark from the procedure. A funny story relating to my recovery was when we were talking about the recovery from the procedure and they kept saying “in two weeks you can return to normal activity.” Finally, I clarified and asked if CrossFit was considered a “normal” activity. The Physician’s Assistant laughed and said that I should give it at least another week or two beyond the “normal” activity.
Another big challenges both lately and over the years has been the ability to be consistent. My family’s schedule has changed several times and I’ve struggled to change my workout schedule to match. I love the 5:30am crew and that time slot to work out, but I know I need to adapt and start spending some time with the 4:30pm crew to continue to see the gains. I am a morning workout person and always have been, I’d much rather get up at 4:50am and workout than trying to workout after a long day of work. I know the afternoon people think we are nuts, but I think the feeling goes both ways! Off and on through the years I’ve worked around scheduling issues by going to the YMCA, but I can tell you lifting at Solcana is 1000% more fun than doing the same lifts at the YMCA!
I recently was training to run the TC 10 Mile and struggled to find the time to train for it and also get a day or two in at Solcana, and then I did a month of Cyclocross bike races. I just can’t focus on one sport – I guess that’s what I really need to work on! CrossFit, especially the Solcana version of it, is a staple in my life and training as an athlete and I’m not sure how my running would look today without it. I will continue to find a way to balance my family and work schedule with the crazy ideas of running, riding, and CrossFitting.