Athlete Spotlight – Justin P.


Athlete Spotlight – Justin P.

The 5:30am crew is a special group of people. Every once in awhile they come in when the sun is up and we get to see their awesomeness.

I love when Justin shares his runs on instagram – so much that I wanted to find out more. I (Alison) ran more today than I have in FOREVER. As I was explaining to some today, I love the process of running, but my brain gets in the way. At one point during the 2.5 miles today I thought “Ooh I get to be alone with my thoughts, no one else to be concerned of, focus on me.” And that was quickly followed up by” OMG! I am alone with my THOUGHTS!” (Apparently the more you run the less this happens.)

Thanks to Justin for sharing his thoughts on running & CrossFit AND sharing a bigger glimpse into his life.

1. Tell us a little about yourself – are you from the area, profession and family life, any sports growing up? What made you go down your career path?

My family and I moved to Oakdale when I was in elementary school and I graduated from Oakdale High School. I grew up enjoying and participating in organized sports like football, basketball, and running track all through my school years. I graduated with a B.S in Exercise Physiology from BYU-Idaho and received my Doctor of Physical Therapy from South College in Knoxville,Tennessee.  I have been married to my wife Hillary for nine years. She currently teaches 4th grade at Fair Oaks and together we have a daughter, Brynlee, who is five years old. As a family we enjoy going to Disneyland, day hikes, the beach, and doing all things together. 

I chose the field of Physical therapy because as I watched physical therapist during my years in sports I loved the idea of helping others recover from injuries through fitness and exercise. Serving others has always made me happy and I found that helping patients improve their lives through exercise and recovery brings me so much satisfaction 

2. What got you into CrossFit? Did the running come before or after you started? or have you been a runner for awhile?

Some of the faculty members in my continuing education classes were training in CrossFit and implementing the CrossFit lifestyle into their practice as clinicians. I have always enjoyed being physically fit and hearing them talking about CrossFit sparked my interest. I figured I would give CrossFit a try and see what kind of things I can learn from it and how I could implement CrossFit lifestyle into the way I treat my patients. Since starting CrossFit last summer I have thoroughly enjoyed my training. 

I have always enjoyed long distance running and this is something that I have been doing consistently since 2012.

3. Tell me a little about your running schedule – do you have a set amount of miles to run per day, week or month? Indoors or outdoors? 

I don’t usually follow a strict schedule when it comes to running but I do make sure I run at least 20-30 miles a week. I just recently participated in a virtual challenge where I accomplished running 78 miles in a week which was the most I have ever ran in one week. Usually all my running is done outdoors and early in the morning. In my opinion the mornings are the best time because it allows me to run while it’s quiet and without traffic which helps me enjoy the moment that I am in. 

4. Pandemic has thrown off MANY races – what are your goals of races to qualify for and how do you go about qualifying during this unprecedented time?

COVID-19 has really thrown off some of the races and events I was planning on running and participating in. I was planning on running the Modesto Marathon with the hopes of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. I was also planning on competing in a few Spartan Races. I have goals in the next year or two to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon, and an Ultra Marathon (50-100-mile races). With these goals in mind I continue to run consistently to be ready when races open back up to the public. 

5.What mental tool do you use on your longer runs?

I keep the same mindset whether I go on 15 mile runs, trying to establish a 1RM, or completing the days Metcon. That mindset is to work as hard as I can to see how far I can push my body. The thing that always keeps me going through these activities is the phrase “callous the mind” from David Goggins.  When we do pull ups, deadlifts, cleans-we build callouses on our hands. When I go on these long runs and my body hurts, or I get a side ache, or I am tired I will keep going because I am trying to callous my mind. I want to be able to do hard things to make my mind stronger so that when I am up against any hard obstacle in life I know that I have calloused my mind to be able to withstand these obstacles.

6. Is your running recovery and mobility different than your CrossFit/strength recovery and mobility?

My mobility and recovery is not much different between running and CrossFit. I really should spend more time on the mobility part because I am pretty stiff in general and I do believe adding mobility work more to my routine will help me be a better runner and CrossFit(er). As far as recovery, there are really no days where I don’t run or workout. It is part of my life. When it comes to recovery, I try to listen to my body and and how it feels and try to participate in some sort of active recovery. This is usually running or jogging at a much slower pace than I normally would. 

7. What would you recommend to someone who may be interested in adding running into their fitness arsenal?

The joy of running is something that is not easy to find or maintain. In fact there are some days where I do not want to be out running. However, I always remember that I can get through hard times. Running will make you a mentally stronger person. There is not much that is harder than you being by yourself against the pavement. With that being said, it is also extremely gratifying finishing a run knowing that you were able to work through that run and did not succumb to your body and mind telling you to quit. I would always encourage running to someone because there are great health benefits from running. It doesn’t matter how fast your pace is or how long you run for. Just get out there and keep hammering. I promise it will make you stronger. 

Workout of the Day

Back Squat for load:
#1: 20 reps