Everyone knows that honesty is always the best policy. When I started this blog my intention was to be honest about my life with all the ups and downs. This post is about one of the downs. If you have read any of my previous posts regarding my running (here and here) I talk about gearing up for a half marathon that was supposed to take place this past Saturday.
Wow, that is really hard for me to say. I am an absolute perfectionist and when I commit to something I finish it. That has always been my work ethic, ever since I was little girl and started playing sports.
Let me start from the beginning. Back in August, Bret and I started to train for the Aspen Half Marathon only to find out that registration filled up faster than we thought. Not a big deal, we just signed up for the Colorado Springs Half Marathon instead which would actually give us two more weeks of training. Score!
Up until Labor Day our runs had been great. We were on target for setting a consistent pace and getting used to running in the morning. But then Bret’s job hit the fan and he started traveling like a mad man. Just think, he has basically been gone every week since Labor Day. Crazy, right? So, with great sadness he decided that training for a half marathon would not be in his cards this time.
My heart sank. I just lost my running buddy. What was I to do? So, I did what any athlete would do and kept running. I figured that I could run the half marathon for both of us, figuratively of course. But as much enthusiasm as I had in continuing my training, it was not meant to be.
I lost all concentration when my hip started to scream VERY loudly on one of my long runs. I knew something wasn’t right when I couldn’t even finish 9 miles. The funny thing is I went to Steadman Hawkins here in Denver, which is like the messiah for sports therapy and training. I had an x-ray taken and to my surprise there was no breaking or pulling of the muscle, and no excess cartilage around the hip. Basically, no surgery required which angered me more since there is no way I just “strained” my hip. I was in pain.
At this point it was the middle of September and I just stopped training. I knew if I kept pushing it I would hurt myself further. I have never felt so ashamed as an athlete for not completing a race. And then Bret brought something to my attention.
Maybe it is your form? What? Why would it be my form? Are you crazy? I am perfect. I have run a half marathon before, if I rest my hip for a couple of months I will be fine. I was wrong.
This is why I love my husband. Instead of getting emotional and being stubborn like me, he puts his good engineering logic to work and did his research. He found this book called, Chi Running written by Danny Dreyer who is an ultra-marathon runner, someone that can run 100 miles or more. In this book he teaches runners, of all levels, how to run more efficient in a natural way. Meaning instead of just focusing on strength and conditioning, and powering through race courses, you actually work with your body to try and keep everything aligned. Thus, using less energy and reducing your risk of injury.
For the longest time, I always thought running was easy. I never actually thought about my form because as a kid you just jetted off too play. In school you ran because your coach told you. So, for me understanding the mechanics of running never crossed my mind, until now.
I have been working on my “chi” running for about a month and it’s not easy. Re-training your body after 27 years of doing the same motion, over and over again, is a challenge. But, I am slowly getting better and my hip hurts less and less. The biggest help to me is running in my Vibrams. They give me immediate feedback on where I need to place my foot strike and forces me to keep everything aligned (especially my hip) vs. regular running shoes. Plug, much?
I know this probably sounds crazy to most people but when doctors tell you nothing is wrong with you and you’re in pain….you look for other alternatives. My plan is to keep working on my form because I really want to do a half marathon next year and actually get back to enjoying running.
I plan on doing a post soon that will give the cliff notes version of the book in case you are interested. Thanks for listening to this long post, but I am really glad I got all of that off my chest! Whewww.