Thursday, July 12, 2007

The More I Learn About Running

The more I enjoy doing it. When I ran with Melissa on Monday afternoon, I only took a 2.74-mile run around the track at the rec. center before rapidly walking another mile with Melissa as we talked about my stride.

I told Melissa, who is a famed and fantastic runner, that when I shadow-check my stride, my arms seem to be right and my kick-back isn’t bad, but I didn’t think my knees were moving much at all. And she agreed. It turns out that I’ve been running pretty much flat-fronted, and not in the way that I would prefer. While I’m not sure whether it’s been a long-term problem or emphasized by my most-recent injury (of the many), I’ll have to start working on it.

On the bright side, Melissa reassured me that the rest of my stride was actually quite good despite all of the misaligned, pulled, tweaked and ached things going on with my bones and such these days. All I have to do is continue to maximize the productivity of my stride… and then I can start thinking about other things like cadence.

But before I even start thinking about cadence, I’m focusing on building my distance again. I have felt great on all of my recent runs (the sciatic pain is very slight and warms away about a mile into my run), but have shied away from too long of runs for fear that I’ll end up in the woods with a bear and a sciatic nerve biting my butt. I am, however, trying to add a little bit of distance each time.

So, on Wednesday night I headed out after work on what turned out to be a cool and pleasant evening. I walked my 2-mile brisk warm-up and then started on my run. After about 300 meters, my lower back was stinging and all of my worst fears rushed at me. But it wasn’t that bad. I started walking quickly again, stretching my arms, legs and back as I strode along. After another 250 meters, I kicked the walk into a slow jog and picked it up from there.

Everything felt all right after the first half-mile, so I started looking at my stride again. One of these days, I promise myself, I will get this running thing right!

For the first half-mile, I ran with over-emphasized knees, which felt really goofy at first. And for the next half-mile, I tried to run my stride with a little more knee. It felt far closer to natural on the back half, but I could still see in my shadow that I was a little flat-fronted (yes, I shadow run from time to time; it’s very safe). Unfortunately, it wasn’t just a bad shadow angle.

Have you ever heard of someone with such difficulty with putting one foot in front of the other? I don’t know what my deal is, but I tried to run the remainder of my 4.26 miles with varying degrees of knee success. It will be yet another thing to work on…

But for now (my office air conditioning broke and it’s just not pleasant Web designing in an 86-degree office), I’m going swimming. I can do that!

[NEWS ALERT: Magnolia bakery has been temporarily shut down for health code violations. Gina is recovering from the shock and will seek treatment at the still-stellar Main Street Cupcakes in NEOhio.]


miss petite america said...

i've always wanted to get my stride checked out but i'm totally afraid they'll tell me i'm some sort of fumbling neanderthal gimp who should stick to eating twinkies instead. crazy, i know.

good luck with shadow running :)

Jim said...

Way back when I was in high school I used to have a really wonky running stride. I always wondered why EYE was the only one who would get splashes of mud and dirt all up my calf and back of my leg. My coah said I had an excessive kick backwards with my legs which spews crud up onto my body. I think it was a product of being young and full of hyper energy because that cerainly doesn't happen to me now.

In fact, watching myself on my fitness training video makes it look like I have an extremely mellow back kick. Hmmm, this might be a reason why, at age 46, (and 200 pounds) I've been extremely lucky to not have any knee or hip or ankle problems.

Of course, finding the right running shoes for me was HUGE. Before finding my current Brooks Beasts, I tried several other top name brands and DID get nasty knee pain. Apparently the Brooks are the perfect shoe for my physique and running style. Have you tried
multiple shoes to see if any particular ones work beter for you?