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Athlete of the Month: Shad

Shad Mika is an endurance athlete who CrossFits to support his main objective: run forever and ever. We are so impressed by his accomplishment in becoming a Leadman this summer! In his last race of series, he completed a 100 mi run, all above 10,000 feet above sea level in 24:00:36. This was preceded by a trail marathon, a 50 mi mountain bike race, 50 mi trail run, 100 mi mountain bike race, 10k run, until the final 100 mi run. We have all seen him smash any running/cardio biased workout in an unearthly way, so it's not really a surprise he has spent his summer hitting the trails. We had to highlight this athlete and learn more about how he ticks.

Age/Weight: 39 pushing 40, I bounce around 170lbs. Sometimes lighter, sometimes heavier depending on the time of year and how many of my wife's cookies I eat. How long have you been CrossFitting? I have been doing Crossfit on and off for about 4 years, mostly off. I have not been very consistent with it like I would like to be. I seem to go through periods where I am all in for 3-4 months then I start something else that my focus turns to, usually long endurance based like training for some race. My wife and I started turning half our garage into a small gym with some basic CrossFit equipment this year with the intention of being more consistent over the long term with it. Athletic/Sports history/highlights: In my younger years growing up in Nebraska I did the traditional high school sports of football, track, baseball and basketball with football being the "main" sport. After moving to Colorado the beginning of my senior year of high school I quit sports all together. Around the age of 27 or 28 my uncle introduced me to running and I did my first race that year. Ever since then there is this aspect of what is the next big thing to do? It started with 5k's, then Marathons, then Triathlons, into climbing, onto Ultras, ect.... Right now my focus bounces between ultras and mountain biking with some 14er climbing and shorter races thrown in for fun.

How did you get into CrossFit? My wife Ashley actually introduced me to it a few years ago and I have played with it on and off since then.

You just became a Leadman last weekend! What was one high and one low of your experience? It was quite the summer that is for sure, one I will never forget. The high for me happened at mile 40 of the 100 run as I was passing through an aid station called Twin Lakes, as I turned the corner after the aid station to head up Hope Pass, my wife Ashley was standing there looking for me. Took me by total surprise! She was not supposed to be there and was supposed to be at work down at Manitou Springs. I actually got tears in my eyes as I was hugging her because I was so happy to see her and that she came up to Leadville to support me and see me finish the Leadman Series.

There were many lows though out this summer of training for sure but one that sticks out in my mind happened during the Leadville Marathon which was the first race of the Leadman series back at the end of June. At about mile 20 to 21 of the marathon I found myself on the side of the trail puking my brains out due to being dehydrated and overheating from a really hot day. It was a friendly reminder that I needed to pay more attention to my hydration and effort level if I wanted to finish this race series. After a short break in the shade I was able to jog the last 5 miles downhill to the finish line in town feeling bad the whole way. This seems to be a lesson that I have to relearn every year, sometimes more than once. I should have the race report for the Leadville 100 run up on my blog at by Sept 7th and all of the other race reports from Leadman are on there already.

What is your favorite WOD/CrossFit movement? Bet you can't guess what it is. I of course enjoy workouts with running, Airdyne, or anything cardio based. I will admit that I have been cherry picking workouts that are more endurance based and would benefit me in reaching the goal of finishing the Leadman series. What is your least favorite WOD/CrossFit movement? Overhead squats by far. I have been putting off working on them while I have been getting ready for race season but think I may work on them this off season. I just don't have the shoulder strength or mobility to do them correctly or with any type of weight. What is your most memorable CrossFit moment? Doing Murph. I have always avoided it due to the 100 pullups and how bad I am at them. Funny thing was that the pullups were not the worse part, the pushups is what ate up the most time and destroyed me the most. I am looking forward to giving it another shot in the future. How does nutrition play a role in your fitness and recovery? I am not a low carb or Paleo guy that is for sure. I try to eat healthy but when I am hitting my higher hourly weeks of 15-20 plus hours of endurance training I get to the point where I eat whatever I can get my hands on just to make sure I have the calories to support the training. Not the healthiest way to eat by any means but with putting in hours like this it is not really about health as it is about supporting the goal. I find as I get older I have to watch this a little bit closer than I have in the past to make sure I don't go over board with it because I have a huge sweet tooth. How has CrossFit improved your overall wellness? For me, personally, it has allowed to me to get in some "work" outside of my main focused sports and help prevent imbalances that can happen from working in one plane of motion like you do with most endurance sports like running, cycling, ect. It has also allowed me to increase my overall monthly hourly workload by a few hours without having to add more miles. Advice to new people: Be consistent day to day with whatever activity you choose to be your main focus whether it is running, CrossFit, cycling or something else. One of my favorite quotes from Jerry West that applies to this is, "You can't get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.". I am a big believer in taking rest days but I also think that you have to earn your rest days. You do have to be careful thinking that way though. I have gotten myself into a pretty deep hole at times. Just listen to what your body is telling you and take the time to understand what it is saying.Stress is stress, whether it is from a hard workout or from your job or from day to day life situations, your body does not know the difference between different types of stress so listen to what it is telling you and plan accordingly.

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