Outside the Box: CrossFit + Marathons

Cindy and Heather are getting OUTSIDE THE BOX by hitting the pavement running. Cindy was a runner first while Heather started her fitness journey with CrossFit, and neither had athletic backgrounds prior to pursuing their respective sports. They cannot imagine life without movement (a.k.a. stress relief) now! Tune in as they tackle the Quad Cities Marathon in September, which also happens to be Heather’s first full marathon.

What is your sport/activity/hobby?Heather DeCastecker Race Like a Mother

CINDY: Running races and Low Impact CrossFit + Run-O.C.3.

HEATHER: CrossFit + Run-O.C.3. and running races (I’m admittedly a fair weather runner in the summer only).

How and when did you get started in it?

CINDY: I played softball in high school but was never a runner. It wasn’t until I hit 40 that I started running, and I have stress to thank for that! I actually started with walking, and, before long, walking turned into running. It all started with two women who formed a group that grew into a running club. When my friend invited me to join, she was the only one I knew in the group, and now we’re all close friends. The seven of us have been running together for 15 years now!

HEATHER: I started CrossFit in 2010 when my husband, a coach at CrossFit OC3 in the Quad Cities, introduced me to it. I thought he was insane when he would come home and tell me about his workouts. I finally gave it a try and the rest is history. I can’t imagine doing anything else! I get bored easily so I love the fact that every day is different.

I started running shortly after I got into CrossFit when a 5K for time was programmed as the workout of the day (WOD) and realized I was fairly good at running. Having had no athletic background, this was a fun self discovery! The Quad Cities Marathon in September will be my first. It’s something I honestly never thought I would or could do, but I am a highly goal oriented person who loves challenging myself and doing the impossible! So here’s to tackling that next one, or dying trying!

What have you noticed since adding CrossFit to your routine?

CINDY: I’ve done a few short races and, in addition to noticeable improvements in my times, I don’t feel as fatigued while I’m running and I definitely have a little more upper body strength. Mentally, it helps me get my mind off the things. Like so many women, I’m always thinking about what needs to be done at work and home but those thoughts are completely gone while I’m running or working out!Cindy Taylor

HEATHER: I am strong. I like my femininity but also love being a badass. I help people lift and move things that many other women wouldn’t be able to. Also my endurance has improved tremendously. Since starting CrossFit, I have done four half marathons (without any training outside of the gym). My first one was only three months after having a baby! I honestly feel CrossFit has taught me to challenge myself and know that I can do anything if I put my mind to it. Most workouts are just as much mental as they are physical, so I’ve learned to be both mentally and physically tough. I talk myself through a lot of our gym workouts and I do the exact same thing on long painful runs. I never let myself quit no matter how much I want to.

What is your favorite CrossFit workout or movement?

CINDY: The plank.

HEATHER: Have you seen my quads? I’m all lower body strength! My favorites are deadlifts or back squats and I could squat for days! My deadlift PR (personal record) is 305# and my back squat is 255# and I’m pretty proud of those.

Why is health/fitness important to you? What’s your why!

CINDY: Life started tipping to be more stressful than I could handle and, although I’m not a drinker, the way I saw it I had a choice: drinking or running. I chose exercise as my stress relief. Since I started with walking, you could say that I walked before I ran, and it really was as simple as that.

My goal is to do full or half marathon in every state and I’ve hit 32 states so far. In total, I’ve completed 15-20 full marathons and several half marathons the past few years. I hope to do another full when I retire, but as part time magistrate and a full time lawyer in the state of Iowa, I just don’t have the time to train!

lowimpact-2It’s also a family affair. I did a spur of the moment race in New Mexico back in March with one of my daughters and the Firecracker Run here in the Quad Cities last week with another; all three of my daughters run. My husband, who prefers the shorter races, travels with me for about half of them and will do a half marathon with me every now and then. Plus, I get to work out with my sister, one daughter and nephews at the gym. I like the familial integration and how it’s this symbiotic thing that is good for us in so many ways.

HEATHER: Since I’m not someone who has been involved in sports or was active my whole life, this was all very new to me. I actually didn’t start working out until I was in my twenties. It’s important to me now because it has become a way of life. It’s my stress relief. After I’ve had a bad day, throwing around some heavy weights or going for a run is therapeutic. Heather Run OC3

I also see it as what I’m teaching my children. They were both practically born into this lifestyle, having been a part of the CrossFit community since they were both infants. My husband, Brent, is a coach so it’s what they see their parents doing and it’s what they know. My son, Brock, is competitive now and loves running races and playing sports. At three, my daughter Ella has started running with me. I’ll even catch her doing burpees and squats on her own! I love that she sees her mama lifting heavy weights at the gym and that I’m showing her she can do those things, too!

It makes me really happy to know our kids are being raised to know how important it is to stay active and take care of their bodies, especially since I wasn’t raised with that same emphasis on health and fitness.


Last three photos: Iron & Lace Photography

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