By Jamie Dana

I live across the street from Jamie and cannot tell you how many mornings and evenings I saw the AM Morning Crew in running action. Their dedication, determination and desire to complete a couple of marathons this year using a mixture of training models was – and is – truly inspirational. I am personally in awe of each and every one of these girls. They give me something to hope and train for! Great job, ladies. We are so very proud of you1 – Lisa

I ran my first marathon when I was 16 years old and it was a transcendental experience. But as I entered by 20’s I came to believe I would never again be able to complete a long distance run because I had developed re-occurring hip and knee ailments. Then in 2012, I was introduced to CrossFit by my neighbor, Vanessa Keane.

CrossFit has also been a place to be able to connect with other people who enjoy challenging themselves the same way that I do. After working out with the 5:30am crowd for two years, Vanessa and I convinced a few of the regulars to join us on our runs over the weekend (shout out: Melissa Ellis, Chrissy Nguyen, Ami Krein, and Stephanie Tripp). Of course, this group doesn’t do things half-way. After a few 6 mile runs, the group agreed to train for a 10K (9 mile) “fun run.” And then the training took on a mind of its own. Pretty soon the group had not only trained for one, but two marathons. Once again, the races were incredible experiences, but creating memories pounding the pavement for hours with this amazing group of women is the part that I hold closest to my heart. For any of you who would think that running for 2+ hours would be boring, ask one of us about our conversations (but be prepared to blush).

Through a combination of CrossFit, yoga, and twice-weekly distance runs, members of our group successfully completed the Lost Dutchman Marathon/Half and the San Diego Rock & Roll Marathon, injury-free. I cannot emphasize the benefit of integrating CrossFit into my training. After running my first marathon, I was sidelined for a long time due to hip and knee over-use injuries. Every physical therapist I saw said the issue was an “under-development of lower body muscles.” CrossFit has been the best way for me to incorporate lifting (which I previously and sometimes still hate) to keep me running safely J

And physically, I am in better shape running in my 30’s than in my teens, thanks to my extra muscle from CrossFit. I finished my first marathon 4h 26m in high school (that’s a 10:09 average mile). I finished my 2nd in 4h 08m, and our last race, I clocked in at 3h 52m (by far the most challenging course with an 8:51 average mile)! I couldn’t have accomplished this without the dedication and help of our awesome trainers at Incendia, helping with weight and running form, and encouraging our little group along the way!