Days 82-83 – Wacky Wednesday

24 03 2010

“It all began with that shoe on the wall. A shoe on a wall…? Shouldn’t be there at all. Then I looked up. And I said, ‘Oh, MAN!’ And that’s how Wacky Wednesday began.” So goes the Dr. Seuss library book we picked up yesterday. Quite fitting for a late March snow that cancelled school and my husband’s flight — but turned to dripping slush in the sun by 4 p.m.

Temperatures tumbled back toward freezing Tuesday with the heavy, wet snow falling all through the night. Thanks to my bothersome cold, I traded a 2-mile run for Pilates — trying out my newly arrived Pilates Plus DVD. An Exhale three-DVD set from Amazon also includes Thighs and Glutes and Body Sculpt. Fifty minutes of Pilates was tough with lots of core work and good stretching.

I finished Born to Run the other night and think anyone who runs should read it. True stories about amazing endurance runners are hard to put down. It also ties in anthropology (why we might literally be born to run) and examines the history of running shoes that may be limiting our ability to run without injuries. It mentions Chi Running and other proponents of mid-foot striking and barefoot running. I’m not ready to chuck my shoes (if it ain’t broke…), but the midfoot strike makes sense to me as I up my mileage and try to limit wear-and-tear on my feet.

Since my husband practically cries walking through the living room after running, I’m obsessed with ways to heal and prevent foot/knee injuries. Finding similar answers is what started author/runner Christopher McDougall’s journey that lead to his book, which is now on Scott’s nightstand. I’m trying to get him to deal with his plantar fasciitis instead of just hoping it goes away. Sent him this Chi Running article that has good info on the subject.

McDougall even brings coyotes into his book listing them among animals that can run up to 40 mph, but don’t have endurance. So I’m thinking if I do see one I just have to chase it until it’s tired the way our carnivorous ancestors may have worn out their food on the hunt. Humans evolved to breathe for the long run, while even the speediest animals will tire out.

We didn’t see any wildlife sledding in the soccer field across the street today. Just our 40 mph lab who chased her tennis ball for two hours straight. Hopefully we wore everyone out on this snow day filled with arts, crafts, forts (indoor and outdoor varieties), hide-and-seek, baking cookies, movies and sledding. I’m now totally out of ideas. The munchkins are on their own for entertainment while I pop in a Firm DVD. Time for an outside run tomorrow assuming there are no more wacky shoes on the wall!


Days 62-63 – Chi Running

4 03 2010

I have a renewed energy inspired by a book I picked up on Tuesday called Chi Running (pronounced “chee”). Built on the principles of T’ai Chi, this method involves relaxed, efficient running with a mid-foot strike to prevent and/or recover from injuries.

Barefoot running is getting a lot of attention these days, with near-soleless running shoes on the market and books like Chris McDougall’s Born to Run touting the advantages of running without the aid of modern-day, high-tech shoes that may actually be causing injuries.

Chi Running’s Danny Dreyer is quoted in Time and on NPR, along with McDougall, and a Harvard researcher about theories and research on the fascinating topic.

So for me, all of these random things I’ve been doing and reading about are finally coming together in one place. I am desperate to prevent injuries as I increase mileage and head into my 40s. I want running to help me — not hurt me! I have felt so much better doing stretching based on Pilates and T’ai Chi (Classical Stretch) on my off-run days, so I was looking for more info. on T’ai Chi when I came across the Chi Running book. I’m just a few chapters into it, but anxious to keep reading and refocus my runs on my form. Running for 1-2 hours gives me plenty of time for that. Approx. 200 miles to go until the half-marathon!

Yesterday, I broke away from my book to try a new DVD from the library — Exhale Core Fusion for thighs and glutes. There are five 10-minute workouts, and you can do all of them in a row, which I tried. It’s very Pilates-like with stretching following strength building to elongate muscles vs. build bulk. My legs were shaking during several parts — in a good way!

Today I took my thighs and glutes on a 7-mile run in amazing 57 degree sunshine! I tried some of what I understand so far of the Chi technique — leaning forward, mid-foot striking (no pushing off the ground with your toes) and relaxing arms and shoulders. A lot to think about all at once. When I ran home heading east, I could watch my shadow to see the difference in leaning forward — letting gravity pull me along — a little awkwardly!

The downside to this new posture: when you lean forward and you’re sweaty, your sunglasses fall off and your nose runs. Guess I’ll deal with that if it saves my knees!