CrossFit Stole My Running Buddy or Don’t Drink the Shake

Why did you leave me for … THAT?!

It began innocently enough. You missed a long run one Saturday and when we got together the next week, you casually mentioned that you bought a Groupon for a month-membership to the CrossFit place in town. I snorted, “CrossFit?! So how long before you contract MRSA and slip a disc doing burpees or bungees or kippers or whatever?!” You laughed, and promised you’d only push the small tires around the gym so you wouldn’t have to miss any runs, and, like always happens, the conversation drifted on with the miles.

I signed up for the local spring marathon, the one we’ve trained together for three times. As I began to plot out my training plan, I felt a chill in the air when you told me you weren’t going to do it this year; you told me on a mid-week 5-miler, the longest run you’d meet me for anymore. Ok, I thought. I’m a big girl and I don’t need to always have friends training for the same race as me. I swallowed my disappointment, and the conversation drifted on. You proudly showed me your raw, blistered palms and described the rope-climbing competition the day before. I caught a glimpse of the rope-burns on your ankles, too. Rope-climbing? What is this, elementary school gym?

“Want me to grab you a mocha after my run?” I asked a few weeks later. You declined, saying something about counting your macros, and when I showed up at your place to hang out you were drinking what looked like thick chocolate milk out of a fancy plastic container. Sugar-free soy whey vegan free-range protein blended with ice, dark-chocolate, and peanut butter. “Like adult formula?! Want a bottle?” I said while snorting. You didn’t laugh. Your bicep caught my eye as you put your formula … errr, shake, down on the counter.

“I guess I can do three miles,” you said the last week before my marathon when I begged you to meet me for a run. Your defined shoulders and arms pumped in the sun, and some faded Sharpie stained your calf from a weekend competition. You were happy that the chiropractic adjustments were finally working, and your slipped disc was improving although your rotator cuff was askew because you RX’d yesterday’s WOD for the first time. See??? I wanted to scream, See what they’re doing to you??? But I held my tongue.

“So-and-so got rhabdo, have you heard of that? The WOD was an AMRAP of kipping pull-ups. He went so hard his muscles started breaking down into his bloodstream and he ended up at the hospital on dialysis. But he can’t wait to get back!”

FUCFWhat. The. WHAT??? I couldn’t take it any more. Who. Are. YOU??? Where is my running buddy? Where is the girl who is always up for a 15-miler at 5:00 in the morning? The badass chick who gets up at 3am to road-trip for a quick half marathon and post-race mimosa party? Where is my friend who scoffs at cross-training and fad exercise ‘fixes,’ who considers a couple of baby wipes a ‘cleanse,’ and happily eats a cinnamon roll after a hard run without cataloging every crumb into her food tracker? Who is this toned girl with actual biceps speaking gym-rat-ese, drinking adult formula, who can’t say running without inserting ‘just’ in front of it, who would rather spend time in a stinky padded room instead of on a path in the woods??

It happened right in front of me, but before I realized it, it was too late. CrossFit stole my running buddy.

Have you lost any running buddies to CrossFit or other sports? 

What the frick is in that shake, anyway?

I'm an elementary P.E. teacher with a long-term, ongoing marathon addiction.The next big goal? Keeping up my BQ streak while aiming for a 3:10! I write about the not-so-glamorous side of running and fitting in serious training with a family while staying sane(ish).

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  1. Girl, you can do some much better! Someone who really loves training with you wouldn’t leave you like that. no matter how disgusting the shake was.

    In all seriousness, we might have lost a Saltine or two to CrossFit! Some people just don’t have the willpower to resist the kettle balls, I guess.


  2. ummm hi…. /sheepishly hangs head

    I have recently reduced my running by like a lot for swimming. I will attempt a long run this weekend as penance. And if you make me have a cinnamon bun as well then FINE! I will do it for you guys.

  3. I am one of those people who needs variety or else I get burned out, so I’m sympathetic to the cross-fitters and other seekers! Also, most of my running buddies who branch out to cross fit or other options do it to enhance their running, or to get some much needed variety to avoid overdoing it on the running. If it makes them happier and healthier runners, that’s great in my opinion. After a very intense marathon buildup with higher mileage than ever before (for me), my target marathon in January was cancelled due to crazy weather… I decided at that point that I needed to totally switch it up as I look ahead to Boston in April – cut the mileage almost in half, add in some serious cross training (mostly swimming) and one day of HIIT. I couldn’t face another 3 months of nothing but running after that disappointment.

  4. I totally can relate to this article. One of my closest friends who loved to run started dating a guy who is essentially a power lifter. She started lifting a LOT and before I knew it, she would meet me for coffee and be snacking on broccoli and telling me she doesn’t eat dairy, she cut out sugars, and her shirts don’t fit her any more because her biceps have gotten so big. Our conversation went from miles and our love for dogs to how many lbs she squatted yesterday maxing out and PR-ing. She refused to admit for a while she had become a power lifter but now takes side profile shots of herself on Instagram comparing her new self to her old “skinny” self. We don’t see eye to eye anymore on a lot of things, sadly, though I’m happy she is still active and I guess her new obsession could be worse?? I guess I lost our friend mojo once she started sending me pictures of her bicep new and old comparison. My bicep is probably as thick as her wrist now 🙁

  5. I love functional fitness. The idea that I know exactly how long it would take me to run home if all of London stopped working or how many logs I can chop over a day or roughly how many bags of groceries I can deadlift. The appeal of Crossfit is there…but then I met the Crossfit widows and widowers. People who remember friends who trained outside rather than googling the nearest centre. Or suddenly started eating deer liver in the work canteen. Or worst…looking like a dork while trying to do something they claim is a pull up. I feel your pain. On a bright note…those that leave the cult and take that mindset BACK into past training and hobbies and passions can be pretty rad. Its like yoga. I am glad I did yoga for a spell and will take those learnings with me forever but don’t expect me in a class anytime soon. I rather chop or lift some sh*t. Run on… Run on…

  6. Crossfit is one of those things that I have a love/hate relationship with- I say that with little personal experience but more from others. A few years ago I bought a groupon (lol) for a month of bootcamp classes. I actually enjoyed the classes and workouts and felt it was good for me- but didn’t like the emphasis on speed/ #’s rather than form. I really worry about injury! I have friends who are active in the CF community but also avid runners- but they have found the right “box” for it. My good friend Britt uses it as a way to get stronger as someone who has been injured a few times- and it really does help her with her running. She also found a gym that really seems to focus on form and doing things so they’ll help you and not hurt you. CF and running are similar in that you need to do things in a certain way (that is individual for each person) otherwise the risk of injury goes up drastically. But another similarity of running and CF is that both tend to be pretty intense when “all in” with it, which can create extreme differences in opinion on things.

  7. Aw this one hits me right in the feels because I CrossFit AND run marathons (okay just one so far, I prefer half!) So the thing is, I belong to a gym owned by a physical therapist that specializes in endurance sports, mostly running and two triathletes. They have regular CrossFit classes but aren’t AS crazy about the food things and they have endurance classes where we practice running drills and running specific exercises. But there’s totally crazy ones out there. It took me a few to find what fit ME. And I’m happy because they work towards my running goals which is my main priority. You can do both, I promise! I’ve had less injuries (read: none) since starting, as opposed to many before and I’ve gotten stronger and faster so I’ll keep up my 1-2 times per week classes 🙂

    1. I totally buy it! There are elements of running that are beneficial to competitive CrossFitters and elements of CrossFit that are beneficial to runners. Can you be extremely competitive in both, probably not. Can you dabble in one while excelling in the other, sure! Thanks for the reminder that not all CrossFitters drink the shake! Ha!

  8. My former running buddy ditched me for Cross Fit last year. 🙁 He’s since ditched Cross Fit for Olympic lifting. I’m not entirely sure what that is, because if I asked him he’d tell me…for half an hour.

    Anyway, I feel your pain. I was just thinking about the spring half we always used to do together, and whether I’d want to run it (and likely travel to it) by myself this year. 🙁