Sub 3 Hour Marathoner Intensively Studies & Practices ChiRunning
Looks Forward To Learning Directly From Danny Dreyer In Portland, OR This Weekend
George is part of a group of faster runners I tag along with sometimes on training runs when everything feels good and I'm ready to push myself. Now in his early 50's, he played soccer and ran track in high school in his native Greece; then completed a marathon in his 20's. After that, he took a long hiatus from running. At around age 40, he picked it up again to lose some weight and get back in shape. Since that time, he has completed close to 10 marathons, the fastest of which in just under 3 hours. He's also run numerous 10K's and half marathons.
Several years ago, George developed persistent knee pain. Although he sought advice from medical professionals, took frequent breaks from running, and transitioned to triathlons in hopes of reducing wear and tear on his knees, nothing seemed to help. When he was just about convinced that his running days were over, he picked up the ChiRunning book and DVD. Previously, George had always assumed that he already “knew how to run.” Working on his running form had never struck him as a worthwhile pursuit. On the verge of giving up running, he figured he had nothing to lose. As he delved in to the ChiRunning book and DVD and worked on applying the principles, his knee pain began to subside. Now free of knee pain or any other injuries, George is back to running marathons. He completed the 2013 Boston Marathon in 3:10.
George has long read voraciously about fitness in general and running in particular. He says his wife and kids joke that with all the research he's done, by now he ought to have a PhD in running. He's applied that same thorough approach to his study and practice of ChiRunning. “I have read the ChiRunning and Chi Marathon books multiple times and will continue to do so,” he says. Each time he runs, he designates at least a couple of ChiRunning focuses to work on. Last March, he attended one of my 4-hour ChiRunning introductory workshops, the first time he had the opportunity to work with a certified instructor. He credits the workshop with helping him gain a better understanding of pelvic rotation, the gateway to even faster, more relaxed running.
Aside from injury prevention, another benefit George attributes to ChiRunning is reduced post-race soreness. Formerly, he would experience sore muscles, achy joints, and difficulty walking for up to a couple of weeks after a marathon. Now, he experiences only minimal post-race soreness and recovers much faster. George's need for recovery time after long training runs has also diminished greatly, enabling him to increase his weekly mileage. Prior to ChiRunning, he would often run 12-16 miles with his training partners on a Saturday. The next day, he would be so sore and fatigued he would have to rest. As George became more adept at practicing ChiRunning, he found that his Saturday long run no longer left him feeling sore or depleted. In the latter part of 2013, he decided to challenge himself to complete the equivalent of a marathon every weekend by splitting the mileage between Saturday and Sunday. He was able to complete 11 consecutive “weekend marathons” before his streak was interrupted by the Holidays.
When running with George, it's evident that he simply feels good in his body. One day as we were running along Portland’s Willamette River, he confided that when he runs, he feels like he's a 10 or 12-year old kid. He laughed and said, “Then I stop running, and I'm old again.” This reminded me of Danny Dreyer's discussion in the ChiRunning book about the process of learning to run like you did when you were a child. On page 10, Danny writes, “Through my T'ai Chi teachers, I have learned that losing the beautiful ease of movement we had as children is part of the process of maturing as a human being. Children move naturally but not consciously. It is our job, as adults, to learn how to move consciously through life with that same flow and beauty. It is through conscious action and understanding that we can become masters of our bodies and ourselves. The ChiRunning technique is the vehicle that will allow you to experience once again what it's like to run with a sense of power and connection in your body.” Thanks to his commitment to ChiRunning, George routinely relives that experience.
Ever the student, when Danny Dreyer teaches his first-ever ChiRunning workshop in Portland this weekend – on Saturday, April 5 – George will eagerly attend. He explains, “I have benefitted so much from ChiRunning that I hope to meet Danny and personally encourage him to continue his work.” George also looks forward to having Danny and the other instructors present observe his running form and offer him suggestions. He predicts, “I am certain that I will find one or two key focus areas that I can improve.” To secure your spot in Danny's Portland workshop, register now at https://nk149.infusionsoft.com/app/storeFront/showProductDetail?productId=187. There are only a few spots left!