Archive for the ‘Thoughts and Ponderings’ Category

Tightrope and Chi Running

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Tonight Shauna and I took Kyler to his first circus. He loved it!

My favorite part was a trampoline routine they did. However, the part I thought was the most interesting was the tightrope walker.

I noticed that when they walked across the rope, they would place the ball of their foot just in front of their center of mass and then slide it forward. As I watched this I thought about Chi Running.

I thought about how it is interesting in Chi Running your stride lengthens to the rear and the tightrope walker lengthens towards the front. At first glance this is exactly opposite and it is. The interesting thing is: even though the movements are in opposite directions the reason is the same. Cooperating with gravity is the common thread between Chi Running and tightrope walking. With the tightrope, the purpose is to go forward from one end of the rope to the other without falling off of the rope. With running you move from one point to another without falling on your face.

Next time you see a tightrope walker, focus on how they balance in relation to their center of mass. Hopefully this will be a good reminder of how we work with gravity when we run. If you can begin to really feel this in your own running, you’ll be well on your way to running energy efficiently and injury free!

A dog ate my shirt!

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Okay, a dog didn’t really eat my shirt.  Here’s what happened though:

So, last week I was staying with Shauna and Kyler at Shauna’s grandma’s house in Bath, NY.  Bath is a nice little town and a great place for a run.  We started out our trip on Tuesday night by pulling an all-nighter to get from SLC to Bath.  Thankfully, Kyler slept the whole entire first flight.  Then after a two hour lay over at JFK, he slept the whole flight to Rochester.  That’s only 5-6 hours of sleep for him and only about 2 hours of sleep for Shauna and I.  So because of that, I took Wednesday off from running.

Wednesday night I researched a good long route to run.  I checked with Shauna’s grandma (Mary) and she warned me that there was a big hill.  She said it wasn’t very long so I wasn’t too worried about it.  She also warned me that it wouldn’t take me very far and I would be on roads that she wasn’t familiar with.  Since she’s lived in Bath for 58+ years, that made me a little concerned.

So my plan for Thursday was to wake up at 6:30 and run for 10+ km.  Unfortunately, I slept in until after 8:00;  I would have to cut my run short.  On top of that, when I went outside, I found that it was lightly raining.  I went back inside and got a plastic bag for my phone.  I started running.  After about five minutes, the light rain turned into a complete downpour.  It only took a few minutes and I was completely soaked.  Once you’re soaked,  you just forget about being wet and run.  It’s a pretty cool feeling.

It didn’t take long and I was at the base of the hill Mary had told me about.  It wasn’t very steep (maybe 6 degrees) and at first it did look like it was going to be a short climb.  Well, I was wrong.  It was about 1.5 km.  I kept going and going in the pouring rain.  Shortly after I left, I decided that I was going to run to the end of the street or 2.5 km which ever came first.  Funny thing is: it was almost exactly that long to the end of the street.  So I turned around and finished a wet and enjoyable 5K.

I got up the next day and started the same route. The weather was perfect and physically I felt really good. I got to the base of the hill and the pavements stops shortly after. What I thought was a small hill that leads to a road that goes around the mountain was actually a hill on the road that goes to the top of the mountain.

As I got going, I started getting some nipple chafing. I was running in the middle of nowhere so I thought it would be okay if I took my shirt off. So I did. At first, I thought I could just leave it hanging around my neck, but I quickly found that was uncomfortable. So I took my shirt off from around my neck and looped it through the bungie cords on my running belt. I kept running as the hill kept going…

As I got close to the top of the mountain and deeper into nowhere I came to a farm and a dog came running out. This dog looked like the same kind of dog that Sirius Black was in the Harry Potter movie. So kind of a dog/wolf. It was barking at me in a very mean way, but wasn’t chasing me yet. So I kept running, the dog was following me and still barking like it was going to eat me. I took my shirt off my pack and wrapped it around my arm in case it decided that barking wasn’t good enough and attacked me. Then I turned and looked at the dog and told it to go home. When I turned and looked at it, it stopped walking towards me, but continued to bark. So I started to run sideways to keep moving forward and keep looking at the dog. It would still back, but stayed put. Eventually I got far enough away that it got bored and went home. I looped my shirt back int he bungie cords and kept going.

About a mile more and three dogs came running out and barking at me. I reached back to get my shirt to wrap around my arm again, but it wasn’t there! Now what am I going to do?! I kept running and decided I’d try talking to the dogs. I started talking and it turns out they were nice dogs. So nice that after a bit, two dogs went home and the third on kept running with me. I figured that it would get bored soon and go home, but it didn’t. Eventually I had to stop and tell it to go home. It looked at me turned around and started walking back towards home. Then it would stop and look at me to see if I really meant it. I did, so I’d tell it to go home again. After three or four times of that, it finally kept going and I was able to start running again.

Now that I wasn’t worried about bringing a dog home with me, I had a chance to process that fact that I was missing my shirt. I also had a couple of miles to think about how it would be to run through town without a shirt on. I decided that all I could do was keep going and wave at everyone that drove by. And that’s just what I did.

When I got home Grandma Emmerson said, “Didn’t you have a shirt when you left?” We all loaded up in her van and I told them the story as we went back up the mountain to see if we could find it. It turns out it was only a few hundred yards away from the mean dog. When I put it back on my pack, I must have completely missed the bungie cords. (As far as chafed nipples go, I have started wearing a sleeveless Under Armor Compression Shirt.)

Later that evening during Shauna’s cousin’s wedding reception, a nice little old lady came up to me and said, “I didn’t recognize you with your shirt on! When we passed you, I said to my husband, that must be Mary’s grandson.” So it sounds like most people in Bath saw me and a good part of them probably already knew who I was!