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How to Spot a Crazy Person – Why One Man Simply Can’t Run

Posted by on Mar 20, 2011 | One Comment

[The following is a guest post by Pete Kemme.  I frequently mention Pete here and finally convinced him to make a guest appearance.  I regard Pete as one of the leading experts on functional fitness.  His crazy-ass brutal crosstraining workouts have helped me finish run ultras on relatively low mileage.  Check out Pete’s fitness site To see what he does, check out this YouTube vid.   Pete, being the humble guy he is, wouldn’t mention that he’s also a talented artist.  Check out his work here.]

I like runners.

I have always had an inclination to become a runner.

I have friends that are runners.

I have tried several times to be a runner.

But I keep having problems. Let’s put it this way. Running with me would be like taking your dog for a walk. Everything would be going fine—he would be heeling right at your side. Both of you smiling, the sun warming your face. A gentle breeze in the air. Then all of a sudden, he would wander off into the grass and take a dump.

Ok, actually that is where the analogy falls apart. I should be clear here: I do not have a bowel control issue.

No, if you were running beside me, you would soon see that I have this natural instinct to wander off and perform some weird exercise. It wouldn’t be too many reps, maybe 10 or 20. I’d start right back up running, but then I would see a fire hydrant. No wait…I mean a bike rack. Those are great for Dips.

I might even simply stop at the side of the road and do 20 Plyometric Spiderman Push-ups or 10 Burpees. Quad Squats and Leg Swoops are fun as well.

“Oh is that a playground? I’m sorry, but I am going to be a bit.” Pull-ups, Knees to Elbows, more Dips, Muscle-ups, and a Wild Bear Walk (that is basically where I Bear Walk over and under everything I see, and a playground would provide ripe obstacles to conquer).

I’m sorry. I want to be a good runner. You see…I just can’t help myself. For some reason, I can’t continue in a straight line for any length of time. I never get to that “runner’s high.” I never seem to find my inner peace or my running groove. I see something like a park bench and my body aches and yearns to do Box Jumps. Oh and railings are only good for one thing—Suspended Bodyweight Rows!

For years I was not sure what was wrong with me, so I recently Googled “how to spot a crazy person.” I found an entry on They claim that there are 4 telltale signs:

#1: Is the person always in a hurry? I have been accused of being on speed when people have observed my workouts. I tend to do many different exercises back to back without rest.

#2: Does the person continually focus on him/herself? I have this problem too, although I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with fitness or my workout program. My wife would say it is just me being self-centered.

#3: Does the person go above and beyond to draw attention to him/herself? Just because I crawl over everything, do things on one leg, or hang upside down at times, does not necessarily mean I am trying to draw attention to myself. Right?

#4: Does the person say random things that aren’t appropriate to the conversation or situation they are in? I am not sure about this one. If I yelled at you while we were running and said, “Give me 10 Frog to Side Planks,” or “Man, if only I had a slosh tube right now,” what would you think?

I’m not sure how I got this way. I remember in my early twenties that I would run five miles a week (or more accurately, up to 5 miles a week). Then I resorted to a mere few Push-ups and Sit-ups at night before bed. That seemed to keep me content for many years.

Something strange happened next. Back in 2005, I cut off one of my fingers. Apparently I am not very proficient on a table saw. For some strange reason, that motivated me to get into shape. I’m sure it has to do with something about overcompensating for something or other. Anyway, the best way to get into shape, from what I understood, was to literally shape my body. That is when I spent a year and a half bodybuilding. I never did get very large and I got frustrated on many levels. I was sore a lot, I didn’t really have tons of strength, and it was hard to keep my bi-ceps and pecs inflated. I do feel the best word to describe that is “inflated.” They were not real muscles—at least not muscles that worked well with the rest of the muscles in my body.

Then through a series of strange encounters, I learned about Core Performance©, Crossfit©, and Gym Jone © (thanks for those last two Jason). By then, I was in my early thirties, and over the last five years I have developed my Functional Fitness and am in the best fitness state of my life.

What I don’t understand, though, is how I got to be so crazy. It seems like I am finding and using more and more strange movements and ways to work out. But I have no back pain like I had since I was a teenager, and I am enjoying great anaerobic capacity, strength, agility, and power.

Damn it! At this rate, I’ll never be a runner!

Pete Kemme

Come try my free eight week program, K-Crosstrain, at, designed for runners and ultra runners to learn about cross training.

Be careful, however. You may find yourself being tempted to gravitate towards a jungle gym the next time you are out running.


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1 Comment

  1. Gary
    March 21, 2011

    Thanks for this post. I love Pete’s site and the creativity of the workouts.