Learning A LOT – Week In Review 10-29-17

Well another week of low mileage running, but with a lot of progress being made – at least I hope that is the direction I am headed.

Favorite Photo of the Week

KIMG0002.jpg
Bennie looks pretty comfortable

I have been reading Chi Marathon as a part of my re-introduction to Chi Running and found that it is helping me understand what I am supposed to be doing better than the Chi Running book does. I am not sure of the differences, but it seems like it lays out the principles of Chi Running in a more practical manner that I relate better to. It also shows me how I would incorporate this style of running into my training – well when I start in again.

However, every so often I still find myself wandering down other rabbit holes about all the  other different running form programs – more because I want to see what the major differences are between them and Chi Running than I want to use something else.

What I am finding is that most running form change programs seem to share many of the same major attributes. The biggest differences are how they use different terminology to describe similar actions to be performed or use slightly different warm-up, cool-down activities and drills to reinforce the changes they promise to bring to you. Continue reading

Surprise Surprise Surprise – RunLog 10-28-17

To quote Gomer Pyle, USMC

I guess Surprise, Surprise, Surprise is the best way to describe today’s run.

Remember in yesterday’s post, I talked about how my right leg seemed to release some scar tissue in the quad area. Well today I was able to walk with my right foot “straighter” without feeling that impingement in the outside of the leg for the first time in probably 7-8 years and not have to constantly “think” about twisting the leg to keep the foot straight. It doesn’t mean everything is great, but it sure as hell felt like huge progress.

Also we did the Lancaster, NH flip flop – that drive over in the morning, do some stuff around the house and drive back in the afternoon. Pretty much 6-7 hours of sitting in the Transit. A long day needless to say. It also meant that we got back after dark.

Okay enough crap…

Let’s talk about the run.

It was dark when I started, so that definitely means no headphones, which in turn means no metronome – I refuse to have added noise around me when I am running outside, on the road, after dark. It is simply a safety issue to do it.

I also had to find new batteries for my running flashlight – I haven’t run outside at night in probably a year or two. I want to see and be seen and with that flashlight there is no doubt about either – as some arsehole found out too when they refused to put their beams back down to low beams – they put them back down when I put that flashlight on them. They probably called me every name in the book, but I couldn’t see too much at that point when they blinded me.

The joys of running in the dark.

It was a bit weird to be running without the metronome though, I didn’t realize how much I had come to rely on it to keep up my cadence. Weird how we adapt so quickly to using something as part of our running. So I started off at what I thought was a fairly quick pace and after the first quarter mile I realized something.

I wasn’t thinking about how I was running – I was just running. The other thing was that my right hip was not getting in the way of my running.

Can you believe it I was just able to freaking run!!!

It has been a while since I could say that. No aches, pains or distractions from running for almost the entire first mile!!!

Other than having to get off the road for the two cars coming in opposite directions, I felt as though I was flying – although the Garmin told me I was full of shite.

The second mile still felt really good, but I could feel just a bit of the hip, nothing serious, but just enough to stop me from saying nothing was wrong. I didn’t really feel as though I was slowing down all that much, the pacing according to the GPS was all over the place and yes I had to stop, get in the ditch to let a couple of cars go by. I prefer to have my time all messes up than to play chicken with two trucks after dark.

I believe that running in the dark, does through off your feeling for the actual pace you are running and that you feel faster running in the dark, even though you really are running a lot slower.

I will take it though, after a month or more of whining, pissing and moaning about that damn right hip of mine — to actually be able to run again is some pretty cool stuff.

Now to see how it feels in the morning.

I do think that I will probably run at least a couple of times a week without the metronome, just so I can relax and enjoy my running. With the metronome I have to focus so much on how I am running in order to keep up with it, without it I just run.

Oh well, I am just happy that I finally had a run where I just ran!

Can’t you tell.

It was even a little more than 2.0 miles, I could have made it to 3.0 without any issues, but I am trying to stay conservative and not get too far ahead of myself too soon. If I feel good and there are no hiccups with the hip, I might attempt a slower 3.0 miler without the metronome on Monday. Tomorrow will only be 2.0 – well unless I am feeling amazing.

BTW

Coming back from NH, guess what we saw around Mt. Washington

kimg0014.jpg

That white stuff will be here before we know it.

Hunting Season and Running

steve-with-big-buck
My brother with big buck back in the 90’s

Every year, I post something about the start of gun hunting season in Maine. Just as a reminder for runners and others who are out wandering around in the outdoors that they will be sharing many of their favorite haunts with guys and gals that are carrying guns and have as much right to be in the woods as they do.

I usually start from scratch, but I re-read my post from last year and to be honest, it still says I want I want to share with a few updates/edits.

So here goes.

Well the annual big event in rural Maine — Opening Day of Gun Deer Hunting Season happens this weekend. In many areas it is a huge deal, with Hunters Breakfasts, family gatherings, gettin upta huntin camp and all the other hoopla.

I get it, I used to get all excited about it too and was into archery and gun hunting as much as anyone. It was something that I grew up doing and I loved going out into the woods with Dad, even when it was -10*F and walking on stumps (that my feet had become in my old gum rubbers) back to the old Torino station wagon. The memories of hunting seasons past, keep it alive in my mind.

Pretty much, to the rest of my family, hunting is still a big deal and every so often I get the hankering to get ready again to join in and go hunting again, but then it fades. Continue reading

Better – RunLog 10-27-17

Better is a loaded phrase in my world as a runnah. I am, well most of the time a glass half-full kind of guy and try to be positive as often as possible. Today’s run was yet another 2.0 miles and that’s all folks.

IMG_20171027_101749.jpg

The good thing is that I did get to run 2.0 fairly comfortable miles at a decent pace, in the sunshine and the road was in good shape, despite all the rain. Hell I even ran slower on the way back and kept the cadence decent which is something I have been trying to do, it just took coming up Stevens Hill to slow my arse down. Both really good things.

My right foot is pointing in the direction I am walking or running probably 85-90% of the time, which a couple of weeks ago when I first started to crank it in to correct that splay foot that resulted from falling off a ladder injury, I never thought would be possible.

I am also enjoying the challenges of attempting to change my form to more of a Chi Running one. It definitely is challenging and sometimes the focus on what I am attempting to do is overshadowing the simple pleasures I typically look forward to during my runs.

However, I am still seeing the Chi Running as a part of the solution to at least some of the injuries that I seem to collect all too often. I have to take the long-term view and what will be best for me next summer, not just next week or tomorrow.

One of the things that has helped me this time, is reading the Chi Marathon book, which presents Chi Running in a slightly different way than the Chi Running book. It still is Chi Running, but presented the mechanics differently enough that it and some of the YouTube videos makes a lot more sense to me this time than when I first attempted this bak in 2012.

On another good note, I was walking Bennie on his final walk and while going against the wind I put my hand in my pants pocket and pressed it against my quad. When I did, the quad felt well weird – like a hard knot in my leg that hurt…I rubbed my thumb up/down in the area between the Rectus Femoris and Vastus Lateralis and felt something release. It was painful for a couple of seconds and then a feeling of relief.

screenshot-en.wikipedia.org-2017-10-27-19-50-39-642.png
Colorized by Michael Gasperl – Gray’s Anatomy, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31906481

I was able to press my thumb between the two muscles and it felt as though part of the restriction I had been feeling while attempting to keep my right foot straight had been released. There was a lot less discomfort walking after that. I am not sure what happened, but will see tomorrow if it was anything or not. I am hoping that it was a scar tissue adherence between the two muscles and that it is now gone.

So those are the glass is half-full activities today, actually when I write it down like that this, it does seem like a pretty good day where I did get a lot done.

However, the other side of the coin is that I am still limited to only a couple miles of running, before I know that it is time to stop. Which is pretty frustrating for me, but at least I can say I am running and able to work on changing things a little, while not attempting to run longer distances.

The right leg/hip is starting to feel better, but it still is not where I want it to be to run without any discomfort. Patience is not one of my strong points, especially after four weeks of this stuff – I just wanna run.

Gotta stay positive, otherwise the gremlins will chase me down :-).

Raining – RunLog 10-26-17

So today, when I started my run in the rain, the old body was pretty much resembling 2×4’s and not really interested in doing this running thing.

KIMG1839

What did you do Harold?

Well, the last couple of days have been a blur to say the least!

SD2 sold her house and was closing today, so Tuesday and Wednesday were moving days. I don’t care what people say, moving days are tough even if you are not the one moving and just helping out. All I know is that I have plenty of sore as hell muscles, more than a few bruises from various objects wacking the hell out of the body. When you add in various shades of downpour throughout the entire move.

We got her moved and into a different place – I just didn’t have anything left to go ahead run in addition to all the work I did moving yesterday and took the day off. This morning I woke up and it felt as though my shoulders and legs had been beaten with a baseball bat. Yeah, this runner is not all that good lifting stuff and carrying stuff up and down stairs.

I am in shape for running, but not for other stuff – the story of being a wimpy-arse runnah. 😉

 

Back to today’s run.

I kept going and since I am purposely attempting to run slower, but maintain the higher cadence, it wasn’t horrible, but certainly not comfortable. About halfway up the hill the metronome suddenly turned off and I had to stop and figure out what happened. Not sure, but my phone has been screwing up the last couple of days, so I am going to reset it back factory specs tonight and then reload what I really use for apps.

Get to the run…

So I got the metronome working again and instead of purposely running slower, I just ran and automatically picked up the pace to my normal running, while trying to focus on maintaining that 180 SPM cadence and keeping the body moving in the same direction — especially my feet.

KIMG1838.JPG

If you look closely you can see the footprint in the mud that I made during the last 200 yards of the run and it is about as straight ahead as my right foot is going to get. So that made me feel pretty good about that.

However, the run itself just never felt comfortable. I couldn’t find a good stride that synced up with the cadence I was looking for – everything felt forced. The only good thing was that my right hip/leg didn’t seize up like it did on Tuesday and bark at me. Unfortunately, it still didn’t feel good enough to even think about going beyond 2.0 miles.

The good part – I got in 2.0 miles. 🙂

Things are still not where I want with the right hip/leg, but they are getting better and I think if I didn’t abuse it quite as much with things like helping move, it would have been a lot better today.

The other thing is that while waiting at the Ford Dealership while getting some work done on Clifford-The Big Red Van, I read about half of Chi Marathon and a LOT of what is presented in Chi Running is re-explained in a slightly different way, but it is in a way that I seem to understand a little better and hopefully will be able to put the theories that I am reading about into practice.

So while, today’s run was not all that great, it was still a pretty good run and better than not being able to run at all. I am making progress  with Chi Running and am a work in progress, but getting this right leg to actually be straight and not feel as though someone is constantly twisting it and the amount of discomfort that it does bring to the table, will be nice.

We did get a walk in between showers in Waterville along the Messalonskee Stream Trail behind the Alfond Center. We wanted to walk on a path, but with all the rain, didn’t want to do a dirt trail so this was a nice compromise and it was pretty along the stream.

KIMG1840.JPG

Chi Running – Initial Thoughts the Second Time Around

Yep, this is the second time I have started to use Chi Running to help “fix” some of the glaring problems I have with my running mechanics. You can read more about why I picked it here, but the short and sweet version is that I had yet another overuse injury that caused me to stop running again. I knew that I had to do things differently if I want to keep running and chose Chi Running to help me get there.

KIMG1835.jpg

However, knowing what I know now, I really wish that I had continued to work the Chi Running program when I started it in 2012. I have a feeling that it would have saved me a LOT of pain, discomfort and aggravation over the last five years. Who knows I might have even run more consistently – that would be a first.

I guess the only answer is – I wasn’t ready to change back then, I was too busy running to fix my running, so I can keep running as an old fart.

What I am actually doing with this Chi Running thing.

After watching several Chi Running YouTube videos and making the decision to start using it again, I got the Chi Running eBook from Amazon. It took about three days, but I read through it, after all I had read and studied it pretty thoroughly back in 2012, so the material was not new, which made things a lot easier to grasp.

After watching multiple videos on YouTube and all the other books I have read on running and other subjects, the philosophy and mechanics of Chi Running made a LOT more sense to me this time than it did five years ago.

Stuff I Needed

Screenshot_20171024-141652.pngTo help integrate all the stuff I need learn I did invest in the Chi Running app for my phone. It is a pretty basic GPS phone running app, but it gives a good idea on what the pre and post run routines are and it has a metronome set to 180 SPM, which I am finding invaluable.

Although I had a few hiccups when I first started using it, I now have an understanding with the app, so it does what I need and I won’t delete it.

I ordered the Chi Running Book and Log Books, since it is easier to thumb back and forth in the physical book quickly than it is to go on the computer or phone to figure something out. Also for down the road, I got the Chi Running Half Marathon and Marathon training guide, more to see how it compares to other training books I have than to prepare to run a marathon. I don’t see me doing a marathon anytime soon, but I would like to start doing Half Marathons again.

However, I probably should have gotten the Chi Walking book instead, because right now I am doing a lot more walking than I am running. The curse of the injured runner, but it is also forcing me to stay focused on this change and keep doing what I need to do. I will check at Barnes & Noble to see if they have a copy in stock I think.

So I have the books, the app, watched way too many videos and have started to run as much as my right hip will let me (up to 2.0 miles max) – what’s going on?

ChaChaChaChanges

Changing anything about my running after more than 40 years of doing it “my way” ain’t going to be easy – as I found out the all the times before that I have attempted to “improve” how I run.

This time I am going into this with the mindset that I am going to work on making my running more efficient over the course of the next year or two, which should lead to fewer overuse injuries versus a wholesale change of how I run overnight.

If I went into Chi Running with the idea that I have to change everything about my running immediately, it is very intimidating and would be setting myself up to fail – again. Chi Running is a series of processes to remember and it takes time to make it how you run instinctively versus thinking about every little step that it goes through.

This time I know it will take quite a while and a lot of repetition to change the muscle memory and brain to running  differently than I have for so many years.

 

Posture

The biggest thing I know is that I need to work on my posture and get all my body parts going in the same direction at the correct time.

I have a horrible duck walk that looks like an “V” when you look back in the snow, that is exacerbated by a twisted right leg due to an injury in 2008 from falling off a ladder.

When I run, I have pretty much straight legs before driving my heels into the ground on landing and I sit back in the saddle (almost a backward lean). About the only good thing about my posture is my arms, I do hold them at about 90* and don’t cross the center-line too often – that I carried over from the first time I tried Chi Running.

Needless to say the posture was the first thing that I need to work on and will need to continue to work on for a long time to come.

I am making progress, even when I am not running, I am focusing on walking with my feet straight – a lot less duck walking. It is working, although my right hip doesn’t like the change at all. It was hurting before I started all this Chi Running stuff and the stress of changing how a twisted leg is being used while it is healing at the same time probably ain’t a good thing.

There seems to be a constant discomfort around the right hip, well when I walked on it today and really focused on what was going on – not really so much discomfort as much as a constant tugging against the turning in the right hip and upper leg area that I am doing to walk with my feet straight. Especially since when I go back to walking or running “normally” it doesn’t bark nearly as much.

However, due to the amount of change that is going on in my body when I walk with my feet straight, I can tell it is something that needs to be done to help get rid of the twist in my right leg.

Go slowly grasshopper.

The other thing that is helping with straightening out my feet, that really surprised me is a pair of Newton Kismet 2’s. The forefoot design with the Action/Reaction plate gives me feedback when I don’t have my foot fairly straight. I have run well in Newton’s before and I wonder if that was part of the reason – they helped me get rid of some of my duck-like stride? I can tell the difference in my stride when I wear Newtons and when I am not.

That is the reason they have become my primary walking and running shoe lately.

Cadence

The second thing that I have been working really hard on is increasing my typical cadence on most runs from 165-170 up to 180 SPM. This forces me to take shorter strides to maintain the turnover necessary for that cadence. Which in turn forces me to land with more of midfoot/forefoot landing, instead of that stiff-legged inverted “V” heel slamming running style that I typically exhibit.

Although I still slam my feet down from time-to-time and get off cadence a bit, I am making progress, learning to be a little “lighter” on the feet and land under my hips.

At this point I am not really concerned so much about how my foot is landing or if I am toeing off (which is going to be a bitch of a habit for me to break), I am just focusing on getting that 180 cadence at different speeds down.

Before getting back into Chi Running I used cadence a lot differently than it does. When I run faster, my cadence is faster, whereas Chi Running uses a steady 180 SPM cadence for all of its running and to me that would mean about an 8:00 per mile pace. Which I proved to myself on an earlier run before I had the metronome going.

So in the short time that I have been using the Chi Running method, it has meant that I am running faster without wanting to run faster. I know it doesn’t make sense, but it feels odd to me when I am running to have a 180 SPM cadence and attempting to run at a 9:00 minute pace.

I am getting better at slowing down and maintaining that 180 SPM cadence, but the body and mind are very confused about this change.

The tool that is helping me with this is the metronome in the Chi Running App. It keeps me focused on the correct SPM and when I change the lean (shift gears), I don’t slow down the cadence to go slower. If you are new to Chi Running or even a veteran at it, the metronome is a necessary tool to keep tweaking your cadence.

The other part of the equation was the first time that I attempted Chi Running I didn’t really have feedback on whether I was maintaining the 180 SPM and this time I do. My Garmin 230 has a cadence field in the data it provides, which shows me how well or not I am maintaining the proper cadence.

The metronome and GPS watch that gives your cadence working together has helped me see how I am doing much more clearly and gives me the feedback I need.

Proper feedback is a good thing.

Skipping Around

Those are the two things that I am primarily working on right now and probably will be for a long time before I get really comfortable with the changes I am making through Chi Running.

However, doing it this way means that I am picking up bits and pieces of the program in a jumbled order from the book. Although it seems as though for experienced runners (like me) the program is a bit more fluid than it would be for a newbie runner.

I know that I have skipped a lot of methods and steps in the process that Chi Running lays out in the book, but I have a pretty good idea of the weakest parts of my running and am picking up some of the other parts of the program as I go along thanks to the videos that are available online.

I am doing the drills to work on things and they are helping as well.

Long Ways to Go

So while I believe that I am making pretty decent progress in a short time, I do know that I have a long ways to go before Chi Running is instinctual and I am proficient enough to see the improvement that I want and need with my running.

However, there are a few extra aches, pains and discomfort in the old body since I started using Chi Running. Which to be honest should be expected. After all I am changing how the body does things and using the muscles differently than I have in a long time. They are not all that bad, just a part of what happens when you change how your body does things.

I am just starting this part of the journey and only a few steps into it. I take heart with the knowledge Mark P. has had great success using Chi Running and I can only hope to emulate some of the success he described in a previous comment.

The adventures continue.

Blogging Anniversary – Missed

I missed a very important anniversary in the annals of my blogging career.

Ten years ago on October 21, 2007 –  I published my first ever blog post.

It was really riveting stuff – about two paragraphs and had me wondering what the hell I was going to use or do with this blogging thing.

I just want to talk a bit about how difficult it is to teach in today’s world. How do you decide how to teach with Blogs, Wikki,  OpenSource,  Proprietary,  Google, FaceBook,  YouTube, TeacherTube and everything else that is out there to “help” you teach. All these things that I am just starting to see, but not yet use in the classroom. I am willing to start, but am feeling very overwhelmed.

Technology is not new to me, I have been using computers since the old Vic 20 with a cassette tape as an OS, but I am a bit intimidated about using all these web based applications to “assist” me in my classroom teaching.

If anyone out there can assuage my uncertainty or give me some helpful hints to help me be successful 😉

Thanks
Harold

Lke I said riveting stuff, but that is where I started. There are not too many people out there that read that post that day – well maybe Craig Suttie, but he is about the only one.

Actually that was a pretty significant milestone for me – who would have thought that I would keep writing posts for the next 10 years.

Screenshot-2017-10-23 One Foot In Reality
One Foot In Reality – My most successful blog.

My career as a blogger had very humble beginnings, to getting heavily involved in the Edublogging world (Education), then after I left teaching searching for a new focus for the blog I tried a few thing, but eventually settled into the space where I am primarily still writing – the RunBlogging world.

Hard to believe, but I have been writing about my running since 2011 – a long time to write about something that I am not really all that good at – so I guess the joke is on me. 🙂 Continue reading

Backsliding – RunLog 10-23-17

Bennie and I walked 2.5 miles this morning. it was nice down-back and while the temps were still way above average, looking at the amount of leaves on the ground – I have a sneaking suspicion that winter ain’t that far away.

KIMG1833.JPG
Down-back is starting go the other way on the colors – Winter ain’t that far away now.

Today’s run was supposed to be a relaxing pace, work on my cadence and form for 3.0 miles, at about a 9:00 minute pace, errr nope – didn’t happen. I was able to slow down a bit and got over 8:20 for the first mile, then the body just ran the second mile and there was no third mile.

More on that in a minute.

I am really focusing on the 180 SPM because for me I do believe it is part of the solution, along with getting the posture and body aligned for forward motion – not that waddle step that I normally walk and run with.

Finally, I am getting the hang of the Chi Running app on the phone and let it start beeping that frantic 180 SPM beat, before I started my Garmin. It didn’t feel all that hard, but after so many years of 180 SPM being around an 8:00 minute pace…well old habits die hard. So I gotta work on keeping the cadence up and not letting the pace creep up too.

Unfortunately, not everything was all peaches and cream. I had planned on increasing the mileage up to 3.0 miles, but when I got back to our mail box on the second lap – about 1.7 miles into the run, the right hip got a little cranky. Nothing serious, but it was definitely telling me that running an extra 1.3 wasn’t going to happen today. I pushed things to 2.0 miles and called it a day.

As soon as I stopped the hip stopped complaining, so it wasn’t anything overly serious, but at least I sort of listened to my body for a change.

After lunch, we decided to go register the Transit and were pleasantly surprised at the lower than expected costs. I guess a 4 yar old vehicle with low mileage does have its good points. It will be less to register than our 2005 Maxima was – a pretty sweet thing if you ask me.

Unfortunately, when I went out to put on the plates, the bolts that I was given when we bought it were not the correct ones and one of the screw holes was stripped. I probably could have jury-rigged something that would have worked, but we have had it less than 10 days, so when you add on an tire pressure idiot light that wasn’t going out, I decided to visit the dealership.

The Service Department was great and Steve just shook his head when he saw what was going on, they have ordered some new parts and I have an appointment for Thursday to have them installed and get rid of the annoying idiot tire pressure idiot light.

There is always something else of course.

When I got home Mary explained to me as only a frustrated wife can, that the rototiller’s gas lines were all dry rotted and because of that she couldn’t get going on buttoning up the garden. So we went out and manually worked on turning over dirt for a while. Good exercise, but my hip wasn’t really enjoying the workout.

Mary called it quits so we could take Bennie for his last walk. Just in time too, I was ready to stop about ten minutes sooner, but I wasn’t going to say anything since the repair work is on my plate and I had screwed up again with the rototiller. That thing has been the bain of my existance – it is time to get a new one if we are going to keep having a garden.

On the way back from walking Bennie, I was gawking and talking, when Bennie decided to lunge the other way. Unfortunately, he did it at the exact same time I was landing on my right foot.

I about went to the ground – that sudden flare of pain in my hip was excruciating. Then walking back to the house that last 50 yards was not all that much fun. I went inside, sat down and put the ice too it. After that it didn’t feel too bad, but still not that great, but at least I can walk on it. Just one of those things that happens, but damn it hurt like a sumbitch.

Oh well, I plan to take one of those Epsom Salt baths tonight and see where it is in the morning, but it feels like it did a couple of weeks ago – so it is a bit of a setback, but I will see how it feels in the morning. It might mean a couple of days off from running to let it calm down – yet again.

Kind of sucks, but there ain’t nothing you can do about that kind of stuff. Suck it up, smile and let thing heal some more. At some point it will get back to normal and I will be able to start increasing the mileage again.

Gotta stay positive and keep running as best I can.