The Swamp Land of the Soul

Saturday, I was supposed to do a 21 mile training run.  It began with me trying to find some dry running clothes–its been a wet week and all my warm running clothes were WET.  Sigh, I slipped on some cropped running tights, layered up a few lightweight long sleeve tops and set off in the wet muckiness.  Within 2 miles, snow began to mix with the rain.  By mile 5, my hands HURT like CRAZY.

In 2004, I climbed Mt. Rainier with a group of people from my university.  We had to stop for longer than intended to switch up the rope teams as some people decided to turn back down to camp.  We sat there for a good 40 minutes and by the time we were ready to move out, I was sick to my stomach because my hands were so cold.   As I tackled the first hill at Point Defiance Park, I felt that same sick feeling coming over me.  I felt a lump growing in my throat–I was fighting back tears.  I thought, “Surely I am going to die!”  For the next 4 miles I went back and forth, “Come on, be tough and finish the 21 miles.” and then, “Melissa, you don’t have to prove anything!  16 is sufficient!”  and then, “You can work out inside this afternoon!” and then “What the hell is wrong with you!  16 miles! You don’t need to work out again this afternoon!” Sigh, and so it went over and over again.
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Core Running

Chi Running, like barefoot running, advocates that you run from your core.  This doesn’t mean you slide around on your belly like a penguin (haha, get it, “running from your core”?).  It means that the main muscles at work while you’re running (or walking) are the muscles that comprise your core.  Say what?  But what about my legs?  Once you learn to run from your core, your legs will just kind of come along for the ride.  This is something I still have to remind myself of on every run–usually about every 5 minutes.  When I start to get tired and distracted by my tiredness, I find myself doing this horrible little trot with my legs working way harder than they should be.  When I’m snapped back to my body, I realize I’ve let my core go loose and my legs are picking up the slack.  The moment I engage my core, I instantly feel some of the pressure come off my legs and I’m ready to rock.
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Walk Breaks Part II

So yesterday I wrote about how wonderful walk breaks are.  After I posted, I headed out for a run and I realized I had forgotten to explain just how to use this method.  Your run/walk ratio is going to depend on several factors—how long you’ve been running,  what distance you are running, weather conditions, and your overall feeling of wellness on any particular run.  Here are some guidelines that you can use to implement the run/walk method into your running routine.
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What’s on MJ’s Feet?

In the past couple of years the Barefoot Running trend has become a hot topic for discussion. I won’t lie, I was skeptical at first. Conventional wisdom told me that the more “protection” my feet had the less likely I was to get injured. “Experts” at running stores told me I needed arch support, pronoation control, extra padding for the distances I was running.

The week following my participation in Comrades, a 90 KM road race in South Africa, I was distraught with horrible knee pain that left me hobbling around and kept me out of my running shoes and off the trails. After trying to fix it on my own for a couple of weeks, I ended up with a double knee injury and a very gloomy spirit.
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