Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I feel like a prancing doofus

Brian's outside in his socks watching me run circles in the street until he's too dizzy to do it anymore.

"Back straight!"

"Back straight!"

"You're sticking your neck out too far."

"Back straight!"

"Look down."

It's my very first time Chi running and there's way too much to think about. But it's kind of fun. I'm running poker slow, mincing really, keeping my neck straight, hitting the ground with my mid-foot, peeling my feet up from the heel and kicking them out behind me, relaxing my ankles, woo hoo! Bye, bye Brian, there's no stopping now, I'm taking her for a spin around the block!

I have been reading Danny Dreyer's book ChiRunning for a couple of days. The number of people recommending this book to me reached a critical mass last month, so I interlibrary loaned it, and it finally came in. Looks like this one's a keeper. I've ordered my own copy from Amazon, should come tomorrow.

Brian is a good guy to help me with my Chi Running. He more or less runs this way naturally. He's a physics guy. Why fight gravity? Especially if you spend half your waking life thinking about it. The idea is to make your body a straight line, lean forward slightly, and fall into your stride. Makes a certain amount of sense. Especially if you're married to Brian.

So I'm giving it a whirl. As I (what do I call this?) trot, skimp, measle-weasle my way around the block I start to see people I know. Neighbors. My neck is high and straight, my feet slap the road, and my chest is way out in front of me. It's right about here that I start to feel like a prancing doofus.

But no one notices.

"Hi, Pam! Beautiful afternoon. Good to see you running!"

They all say stuff like that. I stop to chat with one neighbor who is thinking about getting a rescue dog. "Don't let me slow you down," she says.

Are you freaking kidding me? Any slower I'd be drilling through the pavement.

The thing is, when I run like this, nothing hurts. My foot feels fine. My knee feels fine. When I start to slump back into my old neanderthal running posture, the knee starts to hurt. For the first time this winter I am somewhat grateful for the bum knee. It's keeping me honest. It's letting the chi flow free!

Starting tomorrow I am going to begin with Lesson 1 and work my way through Chapter 5 of the book, "How to Learn Chi Running." DD very helpfully lays out a simple and gradual plan to get you running like a Chi master. It doesn't matter how long it takes. He is very kind.

I like this book because there's very little fluff. The text is useful and dense. He really breaks it down for you, and gives incredibly helpful analogies and body feel tests. I don't, as I do with so many sketchily written running books, feel the urge to hurl it across the room. It's well written, concise, and totally helpful. I don't find myself skipping paragraphs or chapters. I'm right with him.

Tomorrow I'll try ChiRunning for an hour. If I can concentrate for that long......


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Fantastic! I love that you're giving this a try. I've had this book on my shelf for almost three years now. Maybe one day I'll crack it open and see what I can learn from it :) I hope you continue to find improvements, Pam!

  3. Thanks, Paige. It feels a little awkward, and I'm sore in weird places. I'm definitely climbing the learning curve here. Since I can't run fast anyway right now, this is the perfect time for me to work on my (injury producing) form.
    The book is worth a look. It's fairly good reading, if nothing else.


Please feel free to leave thoughts, suggestions, advice or queries. I love comments!