As a 44 year old professional duathlete, who, at the age of 20, found a real passion for multi-sport, was forced to take some time away. I was hit by a car in 1996, leaving me rather injured and finding a comeback difficult. So, I finished law school, passed the Illinois Bar exam and thought my time in the sport was over.
In 2002, I was fortunate to have some close friends, who were concerned about my physical state, encourage me to get back into the sport. It wasn't easy, but I came back to it with more desire, drive and passion. I worked hard under the coaching supervision of the great Jennifer Garrison, and in 2008 I was offered an opportunity to turn professional. It was a dream come true. I left law in 2009 to pursue my dream of being a professional multisport athlete and I have been blessed with the opportunity to do more with the sport, and meet a ton of great people along the way.
As the 2010 season started to heat up in June, I was out for a training ride and once again, hit by a car. This time, I was left with a broken right collarbone and 3 broken ribs. My doctor insisted that even with surgery, I would miss the remainder of the season and would most likely not even be able to train hard until the start of 2011. I refused to believe that I would be limited for that long. So right after surgery I went to see Nate Aye and John Conquest at Crossfit DuPage. I was very honest about my goals as an athlete and the desire to be in the top tier of pro multisport athletes in 2011. They were very honest in turn, and made it clear - my goals were attainable, but it would take hard work and an open mind. From that day forward, I never looked back.
A short 6 weeks later I met someone I knew would be a friend for life. Someone who was as driven as I was, constantly challenging the norm, and believed that working smart was the key to success in multisport. Brian McKenzie from Crossfit Endurance opened my eyes to even more change to my training methods, breaking down old school endurance training ideology, improving my running form, and changing my mentality as how I approach training and racing. I was skeptical for the first hour I heard him talk, and then I watched as in less than 48 hours, I had improved my running efficiency by 53%. I was a believer.
With Brian's help, I was able to achieve 2 things in less than 5 weeks - continue to speed up my healing process, and improve fitness. When I went to see my doctor at week 9 post-surgery, the x-rays showed 90% bone growth, and I was cleared to race duathlons. But the most amazing part - my 5K time dropped, my LT wattage on the bike increased by 33% and I was 8 lbs. lighter than pre-accident. This wasn't by accident; this was due to following Crossfit Strength and Crossfit Endurance principles. Best part, I'm still improving. To spread the word of my recovery and passion, I was the focus of a Triathlete Magazine article in the February 2011 edition, written by TJ Murphy. I was then added to the book written by Brian MacKenzie in November 2012 – “Power, Speed, Endurance, a skill based approach to endurance training”, and featured in Chris Solomon’s article in the January 2013 issue of Outside Magazine, where Chris chronicles his use of Crossfit Endurance to train for a marathon. To prove that I practice what I preach, I’ve been working with Cody Burhardt, head coach at Power Speed Endurance, to help me reach my current world rank of 10th in Duathlon.
One of the most important things I’ve been able to do is give back to the sport by coaching endurance and CrossFit athletes, helping them achieve success by training smarter, dumping junk mileage and staying injury free while pr’ing along the way.
Guy M. Petruzzelli