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One CrossFitter’s journey to the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon

Blood, Sweat, and PR’s from Rachel Boehm on Vimeo

When registration opened for the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon I chickened out. I was not one of the 30,000 people that helped the event sell out in less than three hours. Instead, I deleted my iCal alarm, which I had set up months before to remind me to log on just before 3 p.m. when registration opened.

I was no longer a runner, a thought, not really. I had been doing CrossFit for about a year and a half, and save the occasional 7-mile run, was no longer putting distance on my running shoes. I simply did not believe it was possible anymore for my body to go from seven miles in March to 26.2 in October.

And even if it could, I didn’t necessarily want to. Despite everything I had been told and everything I had learned, I still believed that to run a marathon, or rather to finish a marathon, I needed to train the way I had for my first marathon—running, all running, all the time. I was bored just thinking about it. So I let my excuses get the better of me; and then felt such shame that I made a deal with myself. I will register for 2013, but if anyone offers me a bib for 2012, I have to take it.

In late August a fellow Trident-er offered me his friend’s bib. I went pale, cursed the fates silently while thanking him with a forced smile. I hesitated for a few hours, but decided I would not be the person that breaks a pact with herself.

I had 64 days to train. I was told that working CrossFit into my marathon training would help me get to the finish line. I believed it might. But most importantly I could not give up the Trident community for two months. The gym, the group, had become too important to me. It was too much a part of my life.

Trident housed the first team of coaches that ever believed in my athletic ability. More importantly, Trident coaches were the first to ever make me believe in my athletic ability.

When I first started I was afraid to make noise, drop the bar and touch 26lb kettlebell. Now, well as one coach said, “you’re making that 36lb kettlebell your b*^#%!”.

I could not have crossed the finish line Oct. 28 without Trident. And by that, I don’t mean I was physically incapable of finishing. I mean I never would have had the self-confidence to start.

The coaches and my fellow gym-goers were an incredible support. Advising me, cheering me, encouraging me, helping me with my video documentary, and helping me keep everything in perspective. They helped me shake off bad training runs, long-distance boredom, and mind and body walls.

My first marathon, in March 2010, was miserable. I finished, though 4 minutes over my goal. My training and recovery were a disaster. I swore “never again.” My second marathon, the 2012 MCM, was humbling and empowering at the same time. I finished 22 minutes under my last marathon time. I also PR’d in my 5k and 10-miler races that came up during the course of my training.

Running great Rich Davis said, “long distance running is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.”

Trident helped me keep my head in the game.

Rachel Boehm

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Chriss Smith

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