LSD, oh how I love you. (this is a long entry) - Chi Running

LSD, oh how I love you. (this is a long entry)

Posted by Elizabeth Frost on Sun Oct 26th, 2008, 5 comments

Today was my first 10 run.

Not ten miles (though close), but 10 on the infamous scale. Really, it was incredible. I think the version isn’t quite as much distance as I ran, but it might be my happiness/ego getting in the way. I was supposed to do 1:45 hrs, but only did 1:33 (“only” … ?)

Here is the run. It really was awesome. The weather here today was perfect: cold in the AM and lovely by the afternoon. My Mom is in town visiting, so we decided Bent Creek would be a great place for her to walk/bird and for me to run. I knew that Bent Creek loop didn’t go so well for me the last time we did it (Sept 7th). Actually, the last run there was more or less horrible, but I was excited and ready to tackle today’s run.

Before I get into the details of the run, I want to make a few statements:
1) I didn’t do the Thursday run (which would have been rescheduled for Friday anyway) because I didn’t feel like it and because I was sleepy and achy and because it was pouring rain. I didn’t want to deal with the rain or with running on a treadmill. Really, I wondered if I could write that on this blog, to all of you readers, that I just didn’t want to run… but there it is. I gave myself the permission to take care of myself, to body sense and listen to what my body was asking me to do. Sometimes I get into these funks where I try to tell myself I don’t want to go run or exercise or grocery shop or something just ‘because’, when really I am being lazy. You’d think I’d be able to play reverse mind games and just get out there, but no… Sometimes it’s nice to just be lazy.
2) Ivan and I went to a Hatha Yoga class on Saturday. It was my attempt at some physical activity, it was at a good time of day, it was what we wanted to do with our afternoon before Mom arrived. So we went, and it was lovely. Ivan’s first real experience at a yoga class, and it was wonderful. Aided by a calm teacher and yoga props, the class was 90 minutes and sufficiently exhausted my muscles. I woke up this morning realizing I was kinda sore (isn’t yoga supposed to be Chi anyway? You can’t really do ChiYoga. Can you? Can I ever do an intense and enjoyable yoga class without getting sore?). It was a healthy kind, where I could feel my muscles and remember that I have some.
3) I ate a huge breakfast of coffee, water and pumpkin-bread french toast at Sunny Point Cafe. It’s about a mile from my house, so we decided we’d just walk there this morning, and we bundled up and by the time we arrived, were warmed enough to sit outside in the 55 degree weather, not even in the sunshine. Lovely breakfast and I was wanting some carbohydrates to get my sugar and energy up for the run. I drank a LOT of water.

When I started the run I was excited. I am sure that helped me feel good about the entire thing, but I was really excited — for how beautiful the weather was, that my Mom would get to enjoy the WNC mountains, that I was going to rock my run. I took music again for this run (gasp…). Really, I mean, come on, how was I going to spend that long on a loop/out n back run with just the sound of my own breath? (Smile). I know that might sound silly to some of you crazy long distance runners, but that’s a long time for me to be in my own head.

I left my Mom at our meeting place with iPod in one hand and water bottle in the other. I figured I ought to take some water with me, so I took it about 3/4 mile up the road with me and stashed it in the leaves. When I started the run, I didn’t have any music, and I stayed that way until 50 minutes into the run (I have to congratulate myself, because I didn’t think I’d go that long without music if I had it with me). I started the run basically just smiling and happy. I have been asked to be a little clearer with the focuses of my runs, and perhaps I have been a little vague about my actual brain activity on these runs… so, just to set the record straight, the only things I focused with on this run were:

a) ankles up (the woodchips and pebbly terrain were just begging for me to trip, so I kept my ankles up). I didn’t think about it, I just did it. They just went up. There were only a few times that my feet scuffed, and they were when I was tired and when I was going up hill. I was very clear about that.
b) I thought about maintaining a good cadence. I didn’t bring the metronome. How crazy would it be to have the metronome beeping along and have some music on…? Ha, the thought is funny: I’d be like a crazy person truly beating to the sound of my own drum: 87 beats per minute for a little while and then WHAM 95 … slow, back to 67, then 87… oh, wait now I am at 95!..
No, it wasn’t like that at all. I actually felt that my cadence was good. I wasn’t thinking anything except ‘quick, quick, quick’…
c) breath. I didn’t think too much about it except when I started to get short of it or when i got a little twinge of a side ache. Then I focucsed on breathing OUT.

Sometimes in today’s run, I focused on keeping my arms going from elbow to wrist, elbow to wrist, over and over again and quickly, sometimes later in the run if I felt tired, I used my arms to set my perceived quick cadence.

It seems so long ago, (only like 7 hours) but what I do remember is that there were quite a few people on the trail, and I didn’t ever let that bother me, I kept smiling. I was so excited to be able to run almost 10 miles and enjoy it. It’s like I just told myself (even days ago) that today’s run would be awesome and that I could do it… and I did! Thank god for Michael Jackson. Just when I hit the biggest hill at about mile 6, (not really a hill, but it felt like it) “Beat It” came on and then, blessedly, “Speed Demon” immediately after that. Isn’t that hilarious?

When Danny first gave me the workout schedule, I looked, of course, straight to the last workout to see what I was expected to accomplish. The last run time for the LSD was 1:45. I thought ‘Pashaw, yeah right. Is he crazy?’ I mean, obviously I would have to run at least  that long in the race, but I really didn’t know that I’d be able to get there (only 9 minutes short) within 10 weeks.

[isn’t it so appropriate that today’s run, my “last” run of the 10 week schedule turned out to be a ‘10’ run?]

Anyway: I am trying to stay focused when I am writing this to really tell you how it was, how great it was.

I tagged this as ‘almost euphoric’ for a reason, and now I am having a hard time chronicling how I made it, or how it just was awesome.

I felt fast, I felt in form, I felt happy, I felt grateful, I felt like I was doing something for myself and I was being a successful do-it-for-yourself-girl. I was so happy to not have speed work or to have a particular ‘agenda’.

I am sore now, which is okay, but I know it’s from the yoga. I had a little bit of knee ache that started around the :45 min mark and lasted through the run, but as soon as I walked it out afterward, it was gone.

I am in disbelief that I ran 1:45 hrs today, without injury, without pain, without tears. I did run 1:45 hrs today, with grace, with happiness and with fun.

Folks, if I can do this, you can do this. I work for this company, for heaven’s sake, and I am just as amazed and grateful as any of you. This is the good stuff. It’s called LSD for a reason.



  • music,
  • food,
  • grateful,
  • knee,
  • meditation,
  • michael jackson,
  • side ache,
  • weather

5 CommentsLeave a comment below

Ivan Vinueza Oct 27th, 2008 05:47am

It is so awesome to see your development during the short, but already accomplished training regime. It is a testament of ChiRunning’s efficacy and of your many talents.

Amazing stuff!


Excellent writing.

Your blog is interesting! Keep up the good work!

I’m a new chi running person. I’m a bit confused now about the heel lift during a chirun. With all the focuses in chiruns, does the following single focus help or hurt, do you think?: visualize leaning and doing the old static basic relaxed heel pickup exercise as in BASICS video.

It seems easier than what i have been doing prior to my discovery above(if it’s valid!): midfoot, slight ankle raise to back, lock in lower abs, slightly lean, don’t let knees come forward (aha—when you stand vertical, the knees MUST come forward for balance, hip swing to rear, etc. correct if wrong, but is seems that with leaning and moving, the same motion of just ‘lifting’ the ankles as in BASICS will actually result in the perfect leg motion. True?

Hi thetrojan—

Thanks for your note.  Here are things to think about:

1) The heel lift is designed to get your lower legs moving in a circular stride. On the Chi Running DVD there is an excellent shot of Danny running in 4 gears that shows the varying degree of “circular” motion depending on his speed.

2) The circular motion isn’t something that you DO, it just happens as you lean more and begin to fall down the road faster… if the road is coming at you with more force (faster), then your stride length/size of circular stride is directly related.

The circular stride, when done properly, also inherently creates a midfoot stride; by the time your foot is finishing the circular motion of the stride, it’s approaching the ground in a neutral, mid-foot fashion.

Does that help?

You’re right, simply thinking of lifting the ankles is basic enough and will accomplish all that you need, as long as you relax.

What are your thoughts?

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