TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I Believe!

Continuing to work on form, I ran my usual timed loop (elevation profile pictured below.)  But I didn’t race.  Sure, I glanced down at the garmin here and there.  But my objective today was NOT speed.  My objective was form (Chi Running form).  Again,  my focus today was my step (my mantra, I know it’s simple, was “lift, lift, lift, lift, lift as in LIFT MY FOOT – you’d think that would be obvious, but to my body, it’s not). 

My Activities aliso wood cyns 4-13-2011, Elevation - Distance

I did not run myself into the ground running through Wood Canyon like I usually do when I time this loop.  In fact, I stopped several times in order to check my column.  I must have stopped five times running through the Canyon.

The dilemma today was of course, Meadows Trail – the big, big climb.  I jumped quite ahead in my Chi Running training by taking on Meadows Trail (about miles 3.5 through 5 on chart above).  But I just didn’t want to give up my hill training.  So I read up again on hills in Chi Running before heading out this morning, and gave it a shot.

To begin, I usually run Meadows in its entirety when I race this loop.  But I often run on my toes when it gets really steep.  Today, I NEVER ran on my toes using an interesting technique described in Dreyer’s book.  I even stopped at least three times going up Meadows to re-straighten my column.  And still, after all the stops, and the fact that I wasn’t racing, I made it to the top of meadows in 1:03!!  That’s my usual time when I RACE this loop!  Believe me.  I was quite surprised.

I cannot really say that Meadows Trail was easy today.  I found it difficult to lean into the hill and keep my core engaged.  But I tried, and when I reached the top, I was not drop-dead tired.  I kept on running on to Top of the World.  And when I reached it, I have to say that I kicked butt running across the ridge. 

Me? Kick butt? 

Nah.  But I did run comfortably, with strength, and at a greater speed than usual after running up Meadows Trail.

Running Ridge Toward Top of the World

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Looking Back on Meadows Trail

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The remainder of today’s run was pretty dang enjoyable.  I stopped a few more times to check my column.  I took the downhills with ease, not having to run them zig-zag in order to keep my speed down.  I actually ran straight down the two steepest portions on West Ridge (I simply changed gears, lowering them by decreasing my lean to keep my downhill speed manageable).  Toward the end however (running down Cholla Trail) proof that I need a stronger core was evident, as I found it extremely difficult to engage my core.  I began using my legs to slow myself down -- boy what a difference!  It is much more strenuous and jarring to slow down using my legs compared to using my core.

Here’s the best part:  I didn’t race, I didn’t run myself into the ground, I stopped several times to check my column and even take photos.  AND GET THIS.  I finished this loop in 2:01.  Only ONE MINUTE slower than my best time – MY BEST TIME where I wanted vomit, when I felt like the earth was spinning (Yah, I know it does spin, but it seemed like I could see the sky moving past me the day I made my best time on this loop). 

After crossing the “finish” line today, I was tired, yes.  But I kept on walking to cool down.  By the time I was stretching, I felt revived.  I am a believer, thanks to Ben Boyd and his clinic.  Though I’ve read Chi Running, I really needed someone to put all the parts together.Smile

Looking forward to even greater adventures!

Miles logged today:  9.5

6 comments:

  1. You are certainly in good shape at the moment. You've been training very hard and it shows. Keep it going!

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  2. Thanks Johann for being so positive. It had seemed lately that while working so hard I was growing weaker. It's such a relief to feel progress.

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  3. Hey! Sounds like I need to read this book!! Congrats for second best timing it and feeling good at the end no less!!

    When I read blogs I feel like most the people in them are recently injured or nursing an old injury. I don't want to get to that place so i never really run long, long distances even though I would like to be a long distance runner.. lol Sounds like this book might have the answer!! Although I think I read that you actually went to get your gait examined? Did that cost a lot?

    Anyways cool post!! :)

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  4. Hi Kate! Looks like my comment didn't take when I wrote it yesterday. It probably won't be as clever today. It never is : )

    Anyway, the clinic was $125. I read the book twice, and since I learn more by "being taught," I decided to fork out the $$ for a clinic. It was well worth it, since there was only one other runner attending (a really lovely lady half my age).

    My main goal for taking this class was to run a year injury-free (speed of course would be an added delight).

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  5. So...have you strategically placed mirrors throughout the wilderness, so you can check your column as you go?
    Well done. I'm pleased to hear about your successes.

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  6. Thanks Windnsnow! No mirrors unfortunately. But I was taught a technique to quickly check my column.

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