i have a lot to learn

So, I ran yesterday with Danny. And we did hills. And he rocked it. And I didn’t

But you know… He’s Danny Dreyer and I’m Liz Frost and there is a distinct difference between us…

Namely: about 25 minutes into the run, we checked our heart rates. I was hovering around 180. Danny doesn’t wear a heart rate monitor, but he felt his pulse, and lo and behold! The man’s heart rate was barely 120 bpm. WHAT? I mean, talk about crazy. He barely broke a sweat! It had rained earlier in the day and was quite humid: I of course was the slobbering dog version of me, but a bit more red-faced and wet with sweat. Awesome.

We ran 48 minute in a loopy-loop around the neighborhood hills near the office. I’ve tried to recreate what we did, but it was random, so it’s approximate.

I didn’t really think of any focuses, but Danny sure guided me during the run… Here’s the latest on my form:

  • My chin is way too high up… still. I need to work on it, ‘Like ridiculously low, more than you think is normal’ says Danny. Dang!
  • chin down chin down chin down. annoying. After all these weeks and here I am still with my chin up in the air. Nicole had a really great idea the other day: what if I stand in posture and get my chin where in needs to be and then put of tape under my chin down to the top of my throat. Then, when I go out running, any time my chin starts jutting out, I’ll know because the tape will pull on my skin. That’s a great idea. I need to try it sometime.
  • Downhills:I have decent form on the downhills, as long as I keep my chin down and keep my y’chi focused. My heel lift/rotation was good, i just needed to have the focus of this: the moment my foot touches the ground, imagine that it’s already moving to the rear, and that is being facilitated in part by the pelvis rotating backwards. I got a cramp at the bottom of one of the first hills: to much bounce. Danny said to keep my y’chi really focused by keeping my chin down and that will take care of bounce because it will focus my energy forward instead of up and down. It worked.
  • Arm Swing: I guess my arm swing was more like 45 degrees instead of 90. When Danny pointed it out, I realized that I’d been running that way for a long time. Blargh. So crazy, it feels so different and I really had to focus on 90 when we were on the flats. Dang2!
  • Breathing: When we got about 1/2 of the way through the run we were on a long uphill and I was feeling pretty labored and my HR was about 181. Danny listened a minute to me and then said, ‘You’re breathing too slowly. I know you’re trying to breathe out as much as possible, but you’re taking too long to do it. If your heart rate is that high, you need to double-time your breath. It’ll really oxygenate your body and you won’t get so fatigued.’ So on the uphill we started with ‘Out-two, in one/out-two, in one/out-two in one/out-two in one’. That really did help, and I couldn’t really do the out-breaths with my mouth and in-breaths with my nose because I was stuffy in my nose, so I just opened my mouth and breathed in and out with my mouth. Then on the downhills and flats, I breathed on this count as much as possible: ‘out-two-three, in-two/out-two-three, in-two/out-two-three, in-two/out-two-three, in-two”. Try it, it’s great.
  • Uphills: the hardest for me. I hate going creepy slow. My big fat ego gets in the way. Plus, I have a hard time body-sensing what it means to virtually not use my legs, but still keep the heels ‘up’ and making circles. Then there’s the issue of arm swing. Danny said that he’s been really focusing on his arm swing when running up hills: to really get them back as far as possible with the 45 degrees, and then when swinging up the hill, to really SWING up with good force, and make sure that his elbow doesn’t go beyond the side of his body and then do it over again. His visualization is that there is a punching bag in front of you and you want to hit it, but your elbows can come forward of your body’s midline, so all the force of the arm swing has to be from the rear-most point of the arm’s swing to center and do it over and over again. The idea is that there’s already an upward for because your arm is at 45 but the force is coming from your elbow going from point to point with as much directed chi as possible.  And of course, there’s always the issue of a smaller stride. I’m somewhere around 5’9″ and I have a lot of leg to deal with… SO, smaller stride is difficult but essential.

Near the end of the run, my feet were starting to scuff a bit. I really needed to take smaller steps. Once I did that for a little while, I felt better and like I was efforting less. At the end of the run, we had a mini downhill, and Danny likes to always end a run as much as possible on a downhill really opening up as much as possible. It was probably less than 400 m, but you know when you end a run in good form. I think I did. It felt so nice to just stretch out and leg gravity take over. I kept my y’chi focused, my chin down, my arms at 90, my heels up nice and high, a quick turnover and a good pelvic rotation.

Scale: 7/8. I have a lot to work on, especially if I am going to be teaching people!


Posted in Technique

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