Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Very Own Adjustment Run

This morning I had my very own "Adjustment Run" as PT has so aptly put it. You know, a run where you have to get used to the fact that the seasons are changing, transitioning from the magic of summer (a few days of it actually) into the general dreariness of the fall and winter here at 47.45 N 122.30 W. I can already tell that this is going to be a hard winter for me. My neighbor, ShortWaveRadioMan, was telling me a few weeks ago that the lack of sunspot activity might mean we have a colder and wetter winter (this was when I learned about the Maunder Minimum). He told me this as we were sitting on his stoop, in the sun, waiting for the UPS truck to arrive. I really hope he is wrong. :-)

I became aware of heavy rain about 0600 and thought to myself "I really should get up and out there." Listening to the increasing intensity of the rain I thought "Nah!" I am usually not this squeamish but the thought of running out there and feeling drops of rain hitting my head and then slowly running down my neck was not doing it for me. So I turned on the light and finished reading Baker's The Graveyard Game. Even the dog did not want to get up this morning.  

Kitted up just after 1000 and headed out the door at 1030. It wasn't raining but it started up once I got past the point of no return, about .25 miles down a hill. I just kept going getting wetter and wetter, drop-by-drop. Six to Eight easy miles today, that is what Coach said. 

My initial thought was to head to Cougar but I am SO behind prepping for next weeks follies at the Learning Factory that a drive out the mountains (OK, it is not really that far) was not an option. I decided at the last minute to run from the neighborhood down to and around Green Lake, eight miles of concrete and dirt track mixed. A pretty run too, even in the rain. Ravenna  Boulevard is one of those signature Olmstead constructions that just seem so peaceful inviting (even if they run through the heart of the UW's Greek Row as another example does). J was having a blast. The water seems to unmask or renew all kinds of smells and it was all I could do to keep her from stopping to sniff and mark every few feet. 

Lots of people out today as well. The cars sounded so much louder as they rushed through the water. I was most surprised to see as many runners out as I did. J and I were getting muddier and muddier with each step and her chest, stomach, and legs were black with grit. It was nice to see her having as much fun as she was. I was having a great time too. Moving well, enjoying the air, and exchanging greetings with oncoming runners (Note to skinny brunette wearing all the requisite distance running paraphernalia who gave me, or was it J, the most brilliant smile at the corner of 50th and GL Way: "Thanks. You helped make this a great run. Hope yours was fantastic."

Wait a minute! I was moving well? When was the last time that happened?

Those of you reading this blog regularly probably know that I've not been running so well lately. This summer's exertions really seem to have taken a lot out of me. Perhaps you can imagine my surprise (or relate to it) at learning that, in fact, my hips, quads, and glutes were all weak. As a consequence, I have not been moving well and, in fact, barely moving at all after the Cougar 13.1 beat the #@$% out of me (found out the other day that I was not alone). 

What happened?

Every time I get injured I start thinking about my body as a system rather than as a set of isolated muscle groups or parts. This time has not been an exception. What is different is that I have actually taken action in three ways: changing my posture, following through on PT, and actually seeking to understand and sense the ways in which my body moves as an interconnected system. It was in service of this last action that I started working with a Feldenkrais practitioner. 

Last night, DW and I attended a Awareness Through Movement  given by CL. Basically this was three hours of rolling around that felt really odd by the end. Feldenkrais is all about movement or rather recovering the ability to move. As near as I can understand it this is all about sensitizing yourself to your movement habits (how you roll over for example) and exploring other ways of accomplishing a given movement. The purpose is to recover the body's and mind's ability to move in any direction (think about how cats react), especially if you are about to be attacked by a Smilodon

Let's just say that I left this feeling really odd but also oddly balanced and this really manifested itself during the run. I could feel the different ways that I was moving and could really tell when what I was doing changed. For example, I have been told by another PT specialist I am working with that I run with my calf muscles instead of the whole leg. This makes sense if you look at video of me leaving from a Ragnar Exchange (thanks PT):

See that the center of action is actually so low?

Anyway, back to this story. This turned out to be an 8 mile run, my longest since the Cougar 13 I could actually feel the moment when my body began to tire shifted back into its old habits, over-relying on the hamstrings and calves, and adjust accordingly. Wonderful feeling actually and I look forward to finding out where Feldenkrais is going to take me. 

Other adjustments were not so fun or as inspiring. 

Did I mention that it was raining? Well it was. A lot. I was pretty soaked by the time I got home. Nice stretch and then I hit the shower. 


Ah, I had forgotten Embarrassing Running Problem #7: Sore or Bloody Nipples

No blood, just a massive stinging pain on my nipples that only slowly receded only to start up again once water hit them. Then, and only then, did they become sore. 

Yep, it is all wet again. Adjustment #2: Better remember the Body Glide . . .  :-)

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