First Chi Run.
I couldn't wait to practice my ChiRunning but decided to go after work rather than hurry before. By the end of the day on Monday though I was so sleepy I almost talked myself out of it. But I have committed myself to get this thing to work, and after "practicing" for the past month or more, it was time to put this method into real action.
I am not one who likes to run in the heat. Probably because I am so slow that there's never any "quick" run and be done. Added to my slowness, heat usually ends up making the whole ordeal a death march.
To avoid this mental block, I didn't even look at the temperature before heading out. It was a beautiful June day, sunny, with blue skies, a nice treat to enjoy. I didn't want to deny myself the pleasure of experiencing this.
The first thing with ChiRunning is to position yourself. This takes a minute at most and is worth the time. It is like focusing yourself for the run you are about to partake in. Its no different than any other mental focusing, but you do a few physical things (aligning your posture) as well. That can't be all bad. I found during the workshop that by realigning myself before each running drill, by the end of the class I was already holding myself straighter.
So I positioned myself and off I went. Ugh. My legs felt like I had just biked 50 miles. It couldn't be the heat, could it? It didn't feel that hot. But then I remembered that even though we probably didn't run more than 3 miles during the whole workshop, we were on our feet the entire 5 hours of class. That would qualify for something. I persisted, trying to focus on relaxing the hips and my calves, especially, since I had been experiencing tight calves, leading to sore shins too. So I reminded myself to relax, relax the hips, relax the calves, and also relax my feet. I decided to try an exercise the instructor had mentioned as a first test--I would run until my breathing seemed labored and then stop. That was his advice.
Well, surprise, surprise! I normally figure I can't run more than a mile without needing to stop and catch my breath, and today I was over 20 min. before I decided to just turn around! Woo hoo! I actually thought of stopping right there and walking, which is my usual for a minute at least, but the mosquitos were so bad, I was forced to keep moving or get eaten alive. I quickly repositioned myself and off I went.
By this time my focus was really broken for relaxing and concentrating, and we were told at first this would be normal and maybe even to only let ourselves concentrate for that long to start, but I still made it past 30 min. before I actually stopped for a break. This is a huge breakthrough for me! I wasn't as much worn out as just getting a little fatigued, thirsty, and hot. And needing a bathroom. But I managed to go the rest of the way in the run with just that short break and felt fine after. I was not gasping or dying or anything! I know it doesn't sound long for many people, but remember I have been attempting to rebuild my mileage using this method, and until really learning it, I was most likely running too fast.
Go slow to go faster is to become the mantra. Like Larry said, there is no substitute for putting in the miles. We can't get up off the couch so to speak and expect to run a marathon (darn! that's what I was hoping for! :)) We still have to put in the miles. But in this case, the miles are becoming easier and more enjoyable! Can't wait to tackle the hills!