Sunday, May 21, 2006

Agony of Da Feet -- Euphoria of Success

Last Wednesday I tried running a new route I fashioned from my work down along the Columbia River. It was about 8.5 miles. I got to my turn around point and my feet just started aching. I ended up walking a good part of the way back, aiming for as much grass as I could for
relief, but even walking became very difficult and painful, grass or not. My skin was fine, it just felt like my bones were tired and over-stimulated. That was the 'agony of da feet.' Very disappointing.

Today I decided to re-do the same route - the old idea of "if you get bucked off, climb back on and show him who's boss!" I really focused on form: bent knees, putting my feet down beneath me, gentle BHB, etc. I decided to skip the grass and stick to the sidewalks/pavement, rough or not.

Today I was euphoric! I thoroughly enjoyed the run. I found myself just rolling along easily clicking off the miles, gentle rain making some nice puddles along the way. I arrived back at my work feeling very comfortable, my feet still feeling fresh. I felt like I could have kept running all day long! After the run, my feet feel absolutely no pain at all - just warm, happy tingling.

I'm convinced the difference was staying true to good form. There are subtle nuances, only different by fractions of an inch or slight variations of an angle, that make all the difference. Its easy to slip back into old habits because they can be so close to the correct form that they seem 'close' to right, but not 'quite' right. If I'm not careful I end up getting hurt by allowing my form to be just so slightly off and going too far that way.

Today I realized one problem I have to watch out for is allowing my shoulders to be too far back in relation to my waist. I tend to do this if I'm tired or if I'm on really rough surfaces. In my mind, its "un-cocking the gun" - losing the forward lean that gives me automatic propulsion. I then end up having to reach forward and "pull" with my legs and feet to keep moving forward, which makes my feet slap the ground with too much force and create shearing effects - wreaking havoc on my feet. Several times today I had to remind myself to "cock the gun" - pull my shoulders forward of my waist, keep my knees bent, put my feet down gently in BHB fashion. It worked. I had a great run, no discomfort, no damage, no skin erasure, no aching bones in my feet, and a feeling that I could have just kept on going and going.

Its days like last Wednesday that had me thinking I might have to go back to wearing shoes.

But its days like Today that make me think a marathon just might be in sight! Mark me down as one happy runner!


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