Sunday, January 30, 2011

Could ChiRunning be for you? It's at least worth a look

Most of the time, when I get the chance to talk to a new runner or a runner with injuries, I will bring up ChiRunning. Given my positive experience with it, how could I not? It's a form of running that took me from knee pain and hopeless to a fourth season of triathlons and a knee injury-free world at my doorstep.

I've written about my experiences with it a couple times on this blog, most recently two years ago, and a recent comment from one of the ladies in my mentor group, took me back to a video that helped give me an a-ha moment with regard to how I approach running.

I will usually pull from this video to give my elevator speech on ChiRunning, though I'm sure the author might suggest a better one. Basically, instead of forcing your legs out in front of you to generate power, and letting that force pound your body, fall forward and let your legs fall behind you. Instead of fighting gravity, you cooperate with it.

Danny Dreyer does a much better job of explaining it in the video. It's only 4.5 minutes long, so I hope you get a chance to check it out. Also, below you'll find my post from March of 2009, which goes in to a tad bit more detail about how I came to be a ChiRunner. Maybe it's for you, maybe it's not, but - as I ask below - what if it is?


Some of you may notice a link on here to a Web site called ChiRunning. If you want to run better, and pain-free, you have to check this out.


I was skeptical when I heard about it, too, but about a year ago, I decided to pick up running. This was right before triathlons got on my radar screen. I started out running a half-mile and then worked up to one mile. The trouble is, my knees started to really hurt - again.

In fact, I decided to take a break from running and work on building leg strength for a few months. If the muscles surrounding my knees were strong, my knees wouldn't be so weak and, therefore, as able to be injured.

Meanwhile, I got interested in triathlons. I read a swimming book,
Total Immersion (TI), and just fell in love with the theories behind the author, Terry Laughlin's, techniques. At the end of his book, he recommended ChiRunning by Danny Dreyer.

Soon thereafter, I got a copy from the library. I read it in one day.

I won't go into all of the details about the mechanics of it. It would take a book to explain and Dryer's already written it, but basically it's about falling into your run instead of forcing yourself to run.

Here's a short video of Danny Dreyer, the creator of
ChiRunning, explaining the difference between ChiRunning and typical running.

I can say that since running this way since April, I have experienced no knee pain during or after running - none!

If you're tired of your running causing you pain, it is definitely worth your time to check out the book and/or DVD. It may end up not being for you - but what if it is?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

One way dogs and triathlon don't mix

"Do you know what that could be?" my husband asked me as I walked into the house after work, laptop slugged over my tired right shoulder, handbag and lunchbag clasped together in my left hand.

His hand gestured to little, white plastic pieces gathered on the kitchen table that he'd picked up off the floor; evidence gathered for me for an investigation I was too tired to pursue.

I managed to exhale, knowing what had happened, just not knowing the answer to his question.

"Not again," I sighed.

It was our Great Dane. She had decided to have an adventure while we were at work. Last time, she'd chewed up some electrical tape, the time before that she'd had some fun with my sunglasses. She was clearly upping the stakes lately, choosing newer items over her old standbys: paper towels.

At first glance, I had no idea what she'd gotten into.

A few minutes later, after having settled in some, I went upstairs. The answer to my husband's question could be found lying on the floor of my office. It was my brand new Marshall University ball cap, one my mother had just given to me as a Christmas gift.

"Oh, man!" I managed to exclaim as I picked it off the floor. "That was my favorite ball cap," I said to my husband as I came down the steps. "That was the best-fitting hat I've owned in years."

I should have known better than to leave it lying out. She'd gotten a hold of my other favorite ball cap in 2004, but I was able to learn about her mischief and coax her out of the bite before the chewing got too out of control.

So, my husband and I just shook our heads and started laughing about the situation.

She must have known that we were talking about her, though, because when I went in to pet her, she was hiding her face behind her blanket, sheepishly. As if by hiding her face, I'd miss the 120 lb. animal laying on my bed.

As frustrating as losing my new, favorite ball cap was, nothing beats the time she drank half the oil out of the Fry Daddy when she was a pup. Poor thing was smacking her lips and tongue for the next two days.

Well, maybe it's a renewed sense of adventure she's discovered come to think of it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Don't worry, there will always be something else to buy

A user on one of the triathlon forums I frequent asked if he should trade in a transition bag he received from his family for Christmas for other gear he could use just a little bit more.

Many folks commented, with nearly everyone advising him to keep it for one reason or another.

I was one of them. I suggested that he keep the bag, adding, "Upgrading and accessorizing is inherent in this sport, and this won't be the last time you'll wonder if you've spent money on the right gear at the right time."

How often this is true for me. We'll have some extra spending money and I'll wrestle for days with whether to spend the money on one big item, or break the dollars up into smaller things I need. If I decide to spend my money on a more expensive item, I then wrestle with what.

Do I need the heart rate monitor first or a new saddle? Do I need aerobars before I get a trainer? The agony can be endless. And then the subsequent relief I feel after I made the purchase only lasts for a few minutes. Did I still make the right decision? Do I really need this more than that?

After a few days of questioning - and the date on the return policy deadlined - the relief returns as I get immersed into my new gadget or gear and forget what else I'd even been considering.

Once you realize that you're always - always - going to be spending money in this sport and wondering whether it was the right purchase at the right time, the easier it will be to drop a few thousand on that tri bike you've been eyeing.

Okay. Maybe that's a bad example.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I'm gonna cry about those numbers and move on

I really don't celebrate New Year's. My husband doesn't either. In fact, though I was awake five minutes before the new year, I forced myself to go to sleep before the ball dropped just to reaffirm how much I don't care.

I believe that each day is a fresh start and should be cherished, so the beginning of a new year (because it's just another day to me) is irrelevant.

There is something to be said, however, about a look back toward accomplishments, or the lack thereof, during any given period and the dates of Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 happen to be a good place. Also, Beginner Triathlete has these totals listed by year, and they're just easy to review that way.

To write that 2010's training volume was significantly down from that of 2009's is not doing justice to the truly embarrassing stats, so I'm providing them below. While I was at it, I took a look at 2008's numbers. Other than the swim, I still did more training my first season than I did this last season!

2010 Swim:     20,908 yards in 10h 54m 04s
2009 Swim:     64,058 yards in 31h 09m 53s
2008 Swim:     18,598 yards in 15h 32m 19s
                        43,150 less than 2009
                        2,310 more than 2008 

2010 Bike:       115.9 miles in 6h 56m 09s
2009 Bike:       541.77 miles in 36h 14m 52s
2008 Bike:       456.66 miles in 40h 08m 21s
                        425.87 less than 2009
                        340.76 less than 2008
2010 Run:       254.79 miles in 47h 47m 28s
2009 Run:       350.98 miles in 61h 14m 31s
2008 Run:       280.86 miles in 70h 10m 33s
                        96.19 less than 2009
                        26.07 miles less than 2008
                       (To be honest, about half of these running miles were straight walks. In '09, I started logging my walks from Runs to Walking in my Training Log.)

Yeah, those numbers are enough to make me want to cry. But they are what they are. I cannot change them. So, what do I do about them? I have to learn from them.

Seeing them posted back-to-back in this manner is an invaluable reminder of how easily time can slip away, and how having a passion for something challenging helps muster the drive to get there.

So, I'm looking forward to the next training chapter in my life which begins with my new training plan tomorrow. I'm excited to see what challenges, new and familiar, I face as I train, and I'm excited about setting a personal record for total mileage by the time 2011 is over.


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