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Sweating The Details

July 12, 2010

Take two on another Dimity original. FYI: it was shot in one unchoreographed take because cameraman Grant was overdue for a bike ride.

Let me start by typing something I haven’t typed in months: I had a great run this morning. Yes.  GREAT. Almost five miles, on a hilly route around my house. I was keyed in on my form, but it didn’t feel as onerous as it usually does. Dare I say something is clicking? I don’t want to curse it it by thinking about it too much, but suffice it to say, Grant remarked that this was the first time in a very, very long I’ve come home from a run not limping, not grabbing my ass in pain, not teary and all woe-is-me. I was truly happy–which hopefully you can tell in the video from above.

Up until early June, when I sweated my running details, I obsessed on the numbers. How fast, how far, how many days. I didn’t care what I did to my body, as long as I saw the numbers I wanted to (which, truth be told, weren’t all that fast, but they met my standards). Check that. I did care what shape my body was in, but not enough to stop worry about the numbers. I kept pretending my left side would magically heal, even as I pounded out speedwork on the treadmill in agony.

Just wondering: can endorphins be classified as a hallucinogenic drug?

These days, my details are way more tangible and physical. When I run, my first–and constant–thought is this: is my head up? I swear, if I keep my focus forward–like on a tall tree 20 feet in the distance–75% of the rest of my body falls in line. Are my hips teeter-tottering? Can I land lighter? (One tip that works for me: pretending like you don’t have any lower legs, like you’re landing on the stubs of your knees. Teaches you to tread lightly pretty fast.)

And the obsessing doesn’t stop after the run: Did I take my vitamins? Have I done my balance exercises? Have I stretched? And did I hold each stretch for a minute? (For some reason, that seems to be the tipping point for my legs especially to finally let go.) Can I get to bed earlier? Do I really need to stuff my feet into some flats that really don’t fit?

I’ve got other details to share–stuff that deserve a full blog treatment like Pilates, rolfing, and Chi Running–but suffice it to say, the only number that matters to me right now is total time I am able to run with drastically reduced pain. (Which, in case you’re wondering, is not gone yet: the sucker is more stubborn than a leech.) Still, if my pain-freeish duration continues to climb, I’ll put one in the “W” column.

I’ve told myself that if I can run 10 miles by early August with a pain level of 3 or below on a scale of 1-10, then I’ll take on the marathon training for NYC full throttle. But if, say, I the pain rates a 5 on a 7-miler, then NYC is no-go. Like I’ve said before: no marathon grind this time. My body and mind can’t hack it. Today makes me very optimistic, but I also have to be realistic.

That said, when I was stretching the other day, I visualized myself standing in Staten Island, at the start of the NYC show. I remembered how unreal it felt to run across the Verranzano Bridge with thousands of other people’s footfalls on the metal grating. When I’m running and allow my mind to wander for a second, I wonder how the Queensboro Bridge will feel after training at altitude for so long. I think about people I’ll chat with the race, friends I’ll be watching for on the sidelines, the sweaty goosebumps I’ll get seeing Central Park.

In other words, if I sweat the right kind of details now, I’ll get to experience the much better kind in early November.


p.s. Once again, a winner announcement globbed onto another blog post. Sorry; it’s just the way my life rolls these days. We *hearted* your honest, funny, insightful comments about what part of your life takes a hit from running. Sex, houses with gross bathrooms, kids in front of tv’s, bad diets, the list goes on. Suffice it to say, glad we’re not the only ones.

The winner of the $100 Lole gift certificate is Curare Z, who writes this great little tidbit:

My 3 y.o. daughter’s preschool teacher told me at our last conference that, “Your daughter always seems to be in a hurry.” I could only smile, chagrined, and say, “Well, that’s probably my fault.”

I am ALWAYS hurrying my daughters because I’m always in a hurry to GET RUNNING! If I have a long run planned, I’m always rushing their little bodies out the door — right on the edge of screaming my head off — because I just have to get there and get it started.

Then, after the run, I’m hurrying them home for lunch, for nap, for whatever it is we still have left to do that day.

I feel guilty sometimes, rushing them around just so mommy can get her run in. But, my daughter already loves to run and asks if she can go to the gym with me all the time. So, I hope I’m teaching her that sometimes it’s o.k. to rush to take care of yourself. Sure, I need to take a deep breath sometimes and slow down — but hell — if I do that, I might not PR at my next race.

Curare: we viscerally feel your hurry, but promise us you won’t rush to pick out your Lole clothes. Congrats!

15 Comments leave one →
  1. July 12, 2010 4:26 am

    THANK YOU! Those look perfect. What a hoot that your kids did so well “letting Mommy make her video” for so long and then just couldn’t contain themselves. They are great! (As is your cameraman, I’m sure.)

  2. Susan Riley permalink
    July 12, 2010 4:56 am

    Thanks for the exercises – I have wonky hips too! This is very helpful.

  3. July 12, 2010 5:01 am

    my life these days is a return to sweating the small stuff as well 🙂

    in runs and fitness and beyond…


  4. July 12, 2010 5:47 am

    GREAT POST. THANKS for the video of these exercises. (The kids and dog where a great touch!) I, too, just had a great run-well run/walk-of just over 5 miles (coming back from periostitis). Pain was maybe only a one or two!!! (Which is why I kept the walk breaks in.) I’m going to have to make or buy a step as I trashed my aerobic bench a couple of years ago along with the Jane Fonda tape (I’m dating myself, I know) and there are no steps around anywhere for me to use. These exercises add to the list I have that need a step to work properly….so today is the day I make it so!

    After your Newton post, and obsessively researching for days, I ordered a pair; I’ll start using them this week for .5-1 mile of my run (until my calves get stronger).

    Keep pouring out your knowledge–I’m not the only one out here soaking it up; my running life is all the better for it!!


  5. Curare_Z permalink
    July 12, 2010 7:07 am

    YAY!! I can’t believe I won. I’m so excited to pick out my clothes from Lole. I promise I won’t hurry…shopping is ONE thing I always take time to do. 😉

  6. Iliana permalink
    July 12, 2010 7:56 am

    I also have been dealing with injuries for the past 3 months or so, and after serious physical therapy and cutting down on distance and frequency of runs, I am slowly getting better. I am a bit bad when reading instructions on how to do after-run excercises, so the video was fantastic! I also had one of those magic runs when all the aches and pains went away last week while traveling to London for business and I had the chance to go out for a run by the Thames. I am not sure if it was the scenery or the lovely weather, but I felt like I was floating in a sea of endorphins and the pain was gone. Now that I am back, some of the pain is back but it was inspiring for me to see that we are all together on this and yet, we keep going!
    Thank you for the video once again, and keep posting!

  7. July 12, 2010 8:29 am

    Thanks for those! I’m in the exact same weak-hip predicament.
    Fingers crossed you make it to NYC in fine running form!

  8. Judy permalink
    July 12, 2010 11:55 am

    I am also in the weak hip group. I am been working on it daily with similar exercises and I am slowly seeing improvement. I am going to add some of your suggestions to my mix. Thanks PS Gosh, you look skinny in this video. This is meant as a compliment 😉

  9. Pip permalink
    July 12, 2010 12:52 pm

    Great to hear your enthusiasm 🙂

  10. July 12, 2010 3:13 pm

    Just need to shout a great big “yippee!” on less pain!! Rome was not built in a day. Thanks for showing everyone that each day counts and doing the work will get results!

  11. jord permalink
    July 12, 2010 6:02 pm

    I’m glad you had a good run! I’m pulling for the 10 in early August to be 0-1 on the scale. 🙂

  12. PattiC permalink
    July 12, 2010 11:14 pm

    Thank you so much for these exercises!! And, congratulations on your great run!

    I have struggled with injuries this entire past year. Then, after trying to ‘heroically’ run the Seattle Rock&Roll Marathon on June 26th with a sore hamstring — I had an ‘Epic Fail’ (as my gamer son would call it) — my leg just almost entirely gave out right from under me, I fell (& almost got run over by thousands of runners) and ended up ‘finishing’ a half Marathon barely able to walk. Turns out I pulled my right hamstring pretty bad, causing my entire back leg from calf to hip to bruise up!

    Now the physical therapist tells me my form is all off & if I want to run a Marathon again I not only need to change my ‘form’, but strengthen my hips/glutes/pelvis –which didn’t come as a surprise to me, since I’ve had 4 children … I mentioned this to the PT who just kinda looked at me oddly ???!!

    I am dying to run again & keep re-reading your injuries section in your book for comfort … I am looking forward trying these exercises & hoping to run soon. I made it IN for NYC and am dreaming of running it too …

    I hope all goes well — all the best to you & thanks for the exercises and post — I finally feel ALOT less ALONE : )

    • July 13, 2010 10:27 am

      Hey Patti–
      Sorry to hear about your epic fail (but love that description). Really sucks. A few things that are working for me besides those exercises: Pilates is huge. Getting much stronger so I can support my weak hips. Reading the book Chi Running, which is an excellent form primer. Definitely pick it up or get it from the library, and when you start running again, try to implement form changes they recommend. Stretching a ton. Stopping when I know the run isn’t going to get any better. Basically, doing all the things I’ve thought about doing over the past 3 years, but never have until now. Hopefully we’ll meet on the streets of NYC! xo.

  13. JnetRuns permalink
    July 13, 2010 11:28 am

    It’s wonderful to hear you had a great run at last. And thanks for these videos they’re really informative, but I was wondering how do you know if you have weak hips? Is there some kind of test you can do or do you need to get a gait analysis done? Not sure if I have this problem but would like to find out. Thanks.

  14. Csaf permalink
    July 14, 2010 7:54 am

    Awesome video — thank you! Loved the dog and kids. So your house is just like mine, huh? (sans dog — but it used to be my beloved kitty who would come sit on me as soon as I came in the house all sweaty. Nothing like being in a full-sweat and covered in cat hair!)

    I’m still dealing with a wonky knee and sometimes the exercises with a ball between my knees aggravates it, but I’m definitely adding the one-leg lunge and hip drop into my repertoire. Thanks!!

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