Enjoying Pain-free Running While Serving in Afghanistan

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After retiring from the Army after 21 years, I thought my running days were over. I’m 46 years old and overweight. I am currently back in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army. While home on leave, my wife (who has never been athletic) asked me to start running again because her sister, who has been a runner all her life, got her started. My wife wanted me to do events with her when I return home. I was very dubious. I’ve heard all the horror stories of running after 40, plus being overweight would put a lot of strain on my body. But I agreed and went out and bought a very expensive pair of running shoes and started looking up running programs and styles on the Internet. Everywhere I went on the Internet I found references to ChiRunning. I didn’t pay any attention to them and ran my first 2 miles in about 3 years. I was barely able to run a minute and walk a minute. The next day I was so sore I could barely walk.

While browsing through some different websites on running I clicked on ChiRunning by mistake. That was the best mistake of my life. This was about 2 weeks ago. I started reading all the blogs by Danny and immediately bought ChiRunning for my Nook. I am in Chapter 6 now and am running without walking for 2-3 miles per day. I don’t feel fatigued or sore at all. I must admit I didn’t follow Danny’s advise and read through the whole book first. I wanted to start running again, but paid for it with calf pain. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong until he said to do the sand pit drill. Well, there is lots of sand here in Afghanistan, so I tried it out a couple days ago and now I have no more calf pain. Wow.

I noticed in another love letter someone else had mentioned that after doing the pool running drill they could feel the pelvis rotating. I did that the other day. Not the drill, I just remembered what it was like to “walk like crazy to get back to the diving board” as a kid, and it happened. I leveled my pelvis, and my pelvis and hips started to rotate.

I have told friends here who are older and have stopped running about your book. Now, there are half a dozen of us waiting anxiously for the books to get here (I wanted to use ChiRunning as a manual – can’t really do that with the Nook so I ordered the paperback, too!)

Thank you so much! I actually enjoy running again!
Phil C., Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan

An Update:

I’ve been running with the ChiRunning method about 6 weeks now. When I first started it seemed very easy. I run almost every day here in Afghanistan and lately, I have been having troubles with my knees. Every time I run, I try to check my posture, work on my lean and other focuses, but it didn’t seem to help.

This morning I planned on a 9.11K run im memory of 9/11 victims, the men and women we have lost since then in fighting for our liberty, including some very dear friends of mine.

So as I was running, my legs again felt very heavy and my knees began to hurt. I concentrated on relaxing everything except my core, but it still didn’t seem to help. About mile 4 of 5.66, my legs were really tired. I was running slow, about a 11-1130 mile pace. Without realizing what was happening, I was falling forward (I think I was just so tired – no sleep the night before, plus a 3am run). I literally “fell into” my window of lean. I could feel my feet landing under me, catching me as I was falling forward. It was amazing. By this time I had about a mile left of my run and I was still falling forward. I looked at my Garmin and found I was running a 8:40 mile pace, without any noticeable increase in effort. My legs were just floating up behind me, my knees started to feel better, and my heart rate stayed low. I ran the last mile in 8:45, which for me is really very good. I tried to body sense what was happening as I did it. We’ll see tomorrow if I remember during my run.

Thank you ChiRunning! Thanks Danny!

Phil C.
Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan