Stride Right

Since the half-marathon, I have run 3 times.

The first time, I felt like I might die.  Each step felt like a sledgehammer pounding my joints.  My left knee hurt.  I had no energy.  My calf muscles felt so taut they might snap.  3.1 miles stretched out endlessly.  As I struggled to finish the last .5 miles, I remembered that the photo taken of me during the final sprint of the half-marathon showed me blatantly heel striking.  Blatantly.  So, I thought I would switch up my stride.  Born to Run describes running with short, quick steps, of course with a midfoot or forefoot strike, so I thought I would give it a shot.  And… the running got easier.  And I got quicker.  Just for that last half mile.

I kind of figured it was a fluke.  Maybe I just changed my attitude.  Maybe I caught a second wind.  Or maybe… maybe… it was the stride?

My second run was on Thanksgiving.  I just need to pause to tell you that I never thought I would choose to run on Thanksgiving.  Running has become my idea of relaxation; it is what I do on vacation.  Weird.  Anyway, I ran four miles with those little bitty strides.  My run was pain free.  And quick.  For me, at least.  I could kind of just zone out and cruise along.  Such a huge change from that first run.

I did the third run today.  6 miles.  Might have been the fastest I have ever run 6 miles.  If not, it was darn close.  Again, I used those itty bitty strides.  I kept my feet under my hips, and I zipped right along.  Crazy how much a stride can effect my perceived effort output (something discussed in Chi Running–which I have yet to finish.  But it is next on my list!).

These new developments have cemented my decision to run the Gasparilla Half-Marathon in March 2012.  Bring it on, I say.

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