I can be a Chi-Runner
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Fifty-four years old and I have *never* been a runner. I tried it out a few times, many years ago, with the most recent being 2002 - over 10 years ago. Hated it every time.
In July, I took a Chi-Walking class. With a goal of increasing my pain-free walking distance to be over 5 miles. Before Chi-Walking, if I went over about 1.5 miles, my low back muscles would tighten up and ache for several days. In Chi-Walking, I learned that my stride was causing the problems. Instead of letting gravity help me, my legs were stepping way out in front of me, heel-striking, and torso leaning back - as if I were trying to brake and move forward at the same time. Just like riding the brakes on your car while pressing the gas pedal will cause wear and tear, my walking style was causing wear and tear!
After the Chi-Walking, I began walking at least a mile every day and walking 3-5 miles one day each weekend. With no back-aches. No leg aches. No nothing aches. The walking became easier and easier for me. Distance became easier and easier. And it was time to add a new challenge.
In October, I signed up for a mid-December Chi-Running class, with the thought that at least I could *try* to run. Though there were classes scheduled sooner, I was traveling three times in October & early November. December was the soonest I could fit into my busy calendar. However, not enough people signed up, likely because their December calendars looked like my October-November calendar! Class canceled.
However, the lovely instructor (Lisa Pozzoni, LPOZZONI on SP) gave me first choice of any class on her calendar. Lucky me! January 27, I took part one of my two-session Chi-Running workshop. We learned about Chi-Running form & techniques. How to properly warm up (not stretching, BTW). How to set our posture - first in standing, then in leaning to the run. How to land our feet (no heel-striking!) How to focus on our breathing. And how to use gravity to propel us forward like a wheel rolling smoothly along the road.
Lisa ran with each of us for a short run, focusing on each student to help them correct running techniques that hinder and adopt running techniques that add energy rather than subtracting energy. We learned how to run "effortlessly," or in my case, with less effort than before.
This Chi-Running is not something you master. Like Yoga, it is something you practice, focus on, and continuously find improvements and increased ability.
Going from Walker to Runner is an interesting concept for this girl, who never thought in a million years that she would ever run. I'm taking it slowly. Sunday afternoon, I did a 15 minute walk-run combo with probably only 3 minutes of actually running. Today, I went for 32 minutes, with a combo of approximately 4-5 minutes walking followed by 1-2 minutes running. It felt AWESOME!
Yes, I can be a Runner. Yes, I will. Slowly, one minute at a time...