Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Finding My Chi

I was waiting in line at the post office today to send some SUAR shirts to Australia and Canada (people like to shut up and run in lots of countries, apparently), when it happened.

For starters, this is a VERY small town post office. Like, one room. I try to be aware of personal space, so I gave the gentleman at the counter ahead of me a good five feet. That was a smart move on my part because while I was waiting, a fart slipped out. Of me. Not an SBD, mind you. But a full-on airy, loud one.

There were only three of us in the room. Yet, I somehow thought I could get away with it. I gazed around, my eyebrows raised, as if to say “Are you kidding me? Who DOES that in a small room??

I like to think I left them wondering, “Was that a fart or was that duck? Wait! I didn’t see any ducks. Maybe it was my imagination. Now way in hell that girl waiting in line would rip one right in front of everyone at the post office.” If only they knew who they were dealing with.

The fart kind of took my by surprise. I had just come from my daughter’s fifth grade graduation where I had an ample slice of a giant gluten-free chocolate chip cookie. Some people are allergic to gluten and it makes them fart and do other things. Apparently, I am allergic to gluten free products. Go figure.

Oh yeah, this is a running blog, not a fart blog. Well, it is actually kind of both, but let’s move onto running for good measure.

I know you will be surprised to hear this from the injury/fart queen, but my running is actually going well - when I finally get out the door after nine cups of coffee. I put in about 20 pain free miles last week.

P1120597

I have had two sessions with my form coach and three PT sessions. I am working on:

  • Making sure my glutes are firing properly. HAHA – just like at the post office today
  • Building glute strength
  • Landing on my mid foot
  • Keeping my feet under my center of gravity (hips) when I land
  • Having a slight lean forward at the ankles
  • RELAXING, letting my upper body release.

Let me tell you I can feel the difference in my form. I have almost no pain in my glutes and hamstrings - the source of my pain for so long. However, trying to change something like the way you run is like trying to get milk from a bull’s nipples.

Bottom line, it is hard (the running, not the nipple). There are times when I want to just go back to the way it was, where I could run without thinking about it. But, look where that got me.

I am trying to remember that it takes time to change habits and patterns (great article about changing habits found HERE). I am incredibly impatient. I want it and I want it now.  I am learning that change is slow and it helps to work on one thing at a time. Eliminate one bad habit or adopt one good habit a month. Don’t try for too much and set yourself up to fail.

On that note, I was incredibly excited this week when I got in an invitation to attend a Chi Running workshop with Chi founder, Danny Dreyer. It is on June 2 in Denver, for any of you wanting to learn more about this stuff.

Here’s a snippet about Chi Running from the website:

Running has gotten a bad rap. For many years people believed the myth that running causes pain and injury and is actually harmful to the body, despite its many health benefits.

One aspect of our mission is to disprove this myth. Since 1999, Chi Running customers have changed their running technique, reducing, preventing and recovering from running injuries. Beginning runners have found that our natural, full-foot running technique is easier and more enjoyable. Competitive runners have found increased speed and decreased recovery time, without being plagued by running injuries. Injured runners come back to running empowered with information to prevent recurrence.

If it sounds too good to be true, let’s hope it’s not. Optimistically, I am choosing to commit to a more natural way of running with hopes of becoming a more efficient and injury resistant runner. If it’s not for me, I’ll move onto the next thing, like trying to get milk from a bull’s nipple.

Having an open mind is a wonderful thing.

Any habits you are trying to change right now?

Have you tried Chi Running before or attended a workshop?

SUAR

46 comments:

  1. I'm totally into the chi running thing. Love it.

    I often fart in public, which I realize is just plain rude, but if I don't fart then I end up with a belly ache! Angela always gets so mad and says "no one will believe that stink came out of you! they'll think it was me!" I'm not sure why I appear less likely to let out a stinky fart, but apparently she thinks so and is afraid everyone at the grocery store (or wherever) will think it's her.

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  2. Whoa! First commenter. I feel A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

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  3. Yes, I have been a convert for some time now.

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  4. Love the fart stories, always.

    Trying to change the negative habit that has come with a recent injury.

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  5. I have never tried chi running. Or farting in the post office. But I have definitely been in a line/an aid station/a train station etc and heard many a fart!

    Also, I know what you mean about the coffee drinking and getting out the door. Sometimes it's an entire pot (and probably some useless internet stuff as well) before I get my butt in gear.

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  6. I read ChiRunning. In the middle of your post where you mentioned leaning from the ankles I wondered if you had read it too. But a workshop is even better.

    As I tell my daughters, even the Queen of England farts.

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  7. I don't know if you realized this or not, but "chi" means air in Chinese... which makes your post an awesome double entendre!

    I have not tried Chi Running, though I bought the audio book years ago. It seemed too complicated to me at the time, but maybe also because I wasn't really running and putting the skills to practice. Last year, I read Jason Robillard's book on barefoot running because I was starting to run with Vibram Five Fingers. His comments on barefoot/minimalist running form have a lot in common with Chi Running (forward at ankles, relaxed upper body, mid/forefoot strike). While I think these are all good things to keep in mind, I think it's also important to find YOUR best form and not to overthink it. Just my 2 cents.

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  8. I'm a Chi convert - though still a work in progress. If you get the chance to take a Chi workshop - do it! It was key for me!

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  9. A work in progress here as well. I'm trying to get rid of my over-striding. I tend to over reach when I want to go faster instead of using a faster turn over. I'm also a heel striker...strike two against me.

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  10. My coworkers fart in the elevator & its trapped in their waiting for the next person to get in the elevator. I would rather have someone fart in the post office.

    I have not tried Chi running but I would be interested in it if I was faster and lighter.

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  11. I have been meaning to read Chi Running again, and maybe take the refresher course offered by the local guy that is certified to teach Chi.

    The rule is that everybody lies about sex. Is the same true for farts?

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  12. Yes! to Chi Running. Read Dreyer's book a few years ago on the advice of a friend and have since done a couple of workshops with a coach. I've still got a long way to go to perfect my technique but it's already helped enormously. I am soooo jealous you get to go to Danny's workshop - but I look forward to hearing what you think of chi running as you practice the techniques.

    Great to hear you were running this week without pain, by the way. :-)

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  13. I am in the same boat in regards to changing form. After this hamstring injury I have had to focus on short miles until full training starts June 25th and this has allowed me to slow down and work on form. I am proud to say when I got analyzed the other day I am now considered a mid-foot runner. I am trying very hard to maintain that. Let me ask you. You said you have almost no pain in your glute or hamstrings. My PT and my sports med doc both told me while I am healing to wear my thigh sleeve when I run and that I may have achy stuff in the upper part of my left hamstring after until it is completely healed. I do have that occasionally and in my left butt. Kind of like you mentioned. It is not terrible pain like it was 2 1/2 months ago, but it is annoying. I am guessing this is in a sense the same thing you are talking about. How do you deal with it? Also let me say if this whole form thing does not work for us I did have an idea with my girlfriends in high school about inventing a product that when you fart it smells like flowers or something fresh out of the oven. LOL!! Perhaps we could work on that!! Then when those stinky ones come out people will be like "Ooooh, who has flowers here.". LOL!! I love your fart posts. My husband once had one when we first started dating that filled up all of Blockbuster it was so stinky.

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  14. Never tried Chi running, but looking forward to your reviews.

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  15. I need help with form as well but I live in Maryland - SIGH. Not exactly the mecca of PTs who know what the hell they are doing with runners (particularly in Annapolis). I would be SO grateful if you could ask your PT for a recommendation for a MD based PT who could coach me in run form. I will try to private message you with my email address or you can post here.

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    1. Try contacting one of these certified Chi Running instructors... http://www.chirunning.com/learn-it/find-an-instructor/

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  16. I am trying to cut out dairy. Everything has some sort of dairy product in it - this is bullshit. Is dairy a habit? I don't know but not eating is putting me in a bad mood - I might go fart in a crowded elevator just to make myself laugh.

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  17. I started Chi running before my first half marathon. I had developed shin splints. It has really helped me. I am kind of injury prone runner but since learning "Chi" form I have been able to come back from shin splints and an IT band issue. I did my most recent half last weekend and made sure to keep my form in check. Pain-free and a PR! It does take a bit of work to change how you run but if I hadn't I wouldn't be running today. I am jealous that you will get to go to a Chi workshop. I had to learn Chirunning from a book on my own. (no workshops near me). I still refer back to the book and continue to learn from it. Good Luck!

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  18. I TOTALLY know what you mean about letting one "slip out".. i was going down the stairwell at work with a coworker, trying really hard to hold it in, as I get so embarrassed that i just want to die! anyway, he and i were going down, and another guy was coming up. I caught my toe on the runner on the step and PFFFFFTTTTT!!! It was so loud that it sounded like a gun shot and echoed in the stairwell! lol the guy coming up just looked at me in amazement, but I dont know if my coworker realized that came out of me, or if it was just a sound in the stairwell. I was soooo embarrassed but didn't let on!

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  20. Love Chi running!! Great techniques!

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  22. It sounds like we might have the same PT. I love running but have always been plagued with IT band issues. Despite weekly dry needling sessions I am still in a lot of pain. My PT is focusing on changing my running technique and my glutes! I am training for a 1/2 in June and am hopeful to eventually get to the point where I am pain free when I run! Is Chi running the same idea as Pose Running?
    Thanks for documenting your struggles...it gives me hope that if I stick to my PT work I might be able to run pain free someday!

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  23. i hate the phrase "lol" but your post office story totally did have me lol'ing. Too funny and I'm so glad it happened to you and not me! I just live in fear of letting something slip while running the trail at the local park -- i see these same people several times a week -- how could i ever face them again if this happened?!

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  24. Yeah, the coworker knew, just to polite to say anything. LOL!

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  25. Yeah, the coworker knew, just to polite to say anything. LOL!

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  26. We have a running joke about spilling your Chi... I mean, it is funny. But his stuff works so I'll keep my giggles to myself.

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  27. Gotta just own the fart, girl! If I rip an audible one in public I just laugh and raise my hand.

    Haven't followed the Chi running thing but I've always steered clear from overly built-up sneakers. By starting out as a (wannabe) sprinter, I've naturally run on the midfoot or balls of my feet from the beginning, which is probably why I've never gotten shin splints or knee problems. I'd say if nothing else, working faster intervals into our running routine would help further encourage proper running form.

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  28. It took me about 4-5 months to change 30 years of bad running habits....but now, even when I "try" to heel strike, I just can't even force it. Crazy. So happy to hear you're pain-free...I think this is going to be your magical cure this time!!

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  29. 20 pain-free miles in one week is pretty fucking amazing. Yay!

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  30. Yay for the 20 miles pain free! Yay for the post office fart! I hate standing in the post office queue. Somehow there are always some smelly person there. I must get a SUAR shirt here in South Africa. Not sure if there are any others here?

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  31. I read the Chi-running book. It was really good. You can also get the DVD on Netflix.

    Some of the best advice from the book was - every so often, as you run, check your form- make sure you are relaxed- if anything is hurting-relax it. I do that often now, and I feel like it really helps.
    Kelly

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  32. 3 people...that's it?

    Guy I knew in grade school let a 10 second fart rip in the middle of a school assembly (approx 400 students) just as the principal was taking a breath to finish his sentence. 10 seconds of silence followed by howling laughter and the poor kid was crying because he was laughing so hard and the ring around him was getting bigger as the seconds went by. Buddy went into the history books that day. Must have taken the principal 10 minutes to settle everybody down as kids would just start giggling randomly for the rest of the assembly.

    Glad to hear you are running pain free. Very impressive!

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  33. I used Chi running when I ran Boston in 2007 and I've really loved it ever since!!

    Ok I should know better than to read your blog while I am in front of kids. I was cracking up....good thing it's seniors and they're taking a final! Hilarious!!!

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  34. Well I made a consultation appt. with Douglas as my old coach is in Virginia. I hope he goes well! Thanks!

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    1. Fill me in after you see him...give it some time...you really have to get into a different mind set.

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  35. I have heard of Chi running. Need to spend some time studying the concept. They say it takes 21 days to make a change good or bad. Glad your running without pain awesome!!

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  36. This tempts me to try it. Chi Running that is. I already fart enough in public.

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  37. OMG I can't stop laughing. That is so awesome that you ripped one in the post office. I have to tell you that the best way to act like you didn't do it is to NOT look around. Just go on with your day as if nothing happened. It seriously makes others look around and not at you. Go back to the post office and try it.

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  38. Oh, I'm chi running and I didn't know it! I'm coming off an injury too and find I'm sooooooooo much better off running this way; though it's definitely a lot to think about :D

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  39. Just started reading that book...so lucky that they are coming near you. it all makes such sense...so look forward to reading and hearing about how it went.

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  40. Farts, nipples and running, those are a few of my favorite things!

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  41. Just thought I would let you know I am one of the converts in Oz that likes to Shut Up & Run...
    I will be marshalling on the course of my local running clubs 3 & 10km fun run on Sunday and will be encouraging the participants to SUAR in my shirt.
    Some would say Sunday morning love right there!! lol

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  42. Following a tough 1/2 this past weekend I was causally talking to my new neighbor. She asked me some questions about what I had trouble with. Her questions made me believe she knew running. I guess finishing 4th in the NCAA cross country championships means you can talk running (Her husband then said he often cycles while she is running 5:40 miles chatting away with him. I am in awe!!). Anyway, she nicely agreed my form basically sucks. I need to straighten up, relax, bend forward at the ankles (not the waist) and keep my stride under me. Sounds like CHI! Tried her recommendations yesterday, felt good, BUT boy do I have a lot of work ahead. Had to keep stopping to regroup and focus. Oddly though I was faster for my short 'tests'. So enjoy the Chi Running workshop!! Sounds like the timing is perfect!! Will look forward to reading about things you learn!! Happy Memorial Day, have fun at the BB Monday.

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  43. If I did that my 4 year old would have shouted, "See, girls fart too!" I joke with my boys that girls don't fart. I would love to go to a chi running workshop. The book is too hard to read and put to practice.

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  44. I, too, have returned from (hip joint) injury having to focus on form and all that. I had the same thought you expressed when I got to about mile 7 of Saturday's Soldier Field 10 Mile race, "Why can't I just go back to the way it was?". I can feel the difference when I have correct form, but right now it's not as easy as it sounds. It's work. Don't I do enough work during the week? Guess not. Until it's second nature, I'll keep focusing. And remembering there is wine at home when I get back.

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