Tuesday, March 20, 2012

An Epiphany of Sorts

Alternate Post Titles:
1. Why Trail Running is Bad for Me
2. It's All in My Head

Solid progress since my last post, which was highlighted by a 3-mile, nearly pain-free run today. My range of motion and flexibility have dramatically improved. Additionally, the pain in my left knee is no longer nearly as acute when running. The mandate is still "run to the point of pain," but that point is less painful—more of a tug than a stab. Still, my longest run until today was 2.5 miles, but most have been 1.5 miles. Yes, its frustrating, but I am seeing progress. Today was an affirmation of that.

In my last visit to Jamie, he worked a lot on my right hip flexor and back. And, yes, for those of you scoring at home, the pain is in my left knee. He did do some focused work on the adhesion in my left leg, but based on how tight my entire body is he wanted to focus on, essentially, lengthen me. Since there's no way I can accurately explain how all the pieces are affecting each other, I can say that it's clear that "it's all connected."

With that in mind, I set off on my run this morning not thinking about my leg, but about my back. I wanted to stay long. Stay tall. And, in this process, I started thinking about my head. I realized that everything was titled forward.

Look at these pictures:

In both of those photos, note how rounded my shoulders are and how far forward my head is. I believe that position is causing strain on my back, pelvis and leg. "It's all connected." In short, my posture sucks. Granted, my everyday posture isn't the best (although I'm sitting up very straight while typing this), and it translates into and is exaggerated in my running posture. So, today on my run I really focused on keeping my head up and "running tall." I think it made a huge difference. And, I think with practice, it will make an even bigger difference moving forward. It did feel a bit odd, but that's just because I'm not used to it. I'm used to trail running and having to look down (to save my weak ankles—"It's all connected.). All that looking down has lead to bad posture, tightness and a jacked up knee.

Now, I know it's not that simple, and Lookout Mountain was the tipping point. I asked Jamie about that, and he said that that's exactly the case. All these small issues have existed, but putting them through 50 miles brought them over the edge. Now, each of them has gotten bad enough that they've each taken on a life of their own. But, we're addressing each one. More importantly, all this work has made me realize that I need to work on my mechanics. I need to "run tall." And, it's affirmed the notion that I'll be better off in the long run. Jamie feels that at this point, aside from the acute IT issue, we're really doing work that will set me up long term. I'm a big fan of that.

Admittedly, my knee has been sore this evening, but that's not a surprise. I'm not ready to start running for real yet, but I can feel myself inching closer. Almost time to put the training schedule into the planner for that goal race in the fall.


mindy said...

Hm. So does this mean you're giving up trail running, or just falling down a lot since you can't look down...? Glad things are slowing improving, it really is work for the long term. I tried to run tall once, but no one noticed :( (sad clown)

mindy said...

slowly improving

pathfinder said...

I think you can run tall and still look down...it seems, snow shoe running probably may not show your normal running posture...keep up the good work

Jamie said...

Progress is progress. Can I call you a roadie now?

Judson Cake said...

Hopefully you've figured it out. I'd say lots of core work with extra back extensions would be good for you. I'll have to show you the core routine we did at zap which also included hips and other stabilizing muscles. Doesn't take long and it helps with injury prevention.

sn0m8n said...

Thanks y'all. Not giving up trail running, by any stretch. I'll just be altering the way I do it. I'd already been thinking that anything super-technical wasn't for me, so this may affirm that.

Jamie - You can call me a roadie...if you can stay up with me.

JCake - Been working on dialing in a good routine, but I like the sound of "doesn't take long." Core work sucks.

Jeremy Bonnett said...

You need to start running with snowshoes on your head.

unstrung said...

progress! sweet. changes in posture are hard but no harder than all the other stuff we do to ourselves. you can totally do this.