Monday, November 3, 2008

3:51:38 and I'm satisfied!

Yup, ran another road marathon yesterday at the Manchester Marathon in Manchester, NH. I ran this last year in 3:45, trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon and just squeaked under the wire by several seconds. This year was a different story...

...about 4 weeks ago as you read below in a previous post, I ran a marathon and had to stop at mile 20 due to knee pain. This was Patella Tendinitis, which I have had for 20+ years, but had gone quiet by running trails. My recent interest in running some road races the past 2 years caused it's return. So in my research in this knee injury I cam across the ChiRunning website that I discuss in the post before this one.

After the marathon 4 weeks ago, I figured I was done for the year. Time to recover from all the hard training and racing and ramp up for next year. I had also sprained my ankle during a trail run a few weeks ago, so now I was really done! But the ankle came around and ChiRunning was feeling pretty good, so last Wednesday I entered Manchester just to see how this new running technique would work with the knee.

While running I was trying not to actually notice the time or pace I was running, rather focus on the form, the lean and midfoot landing of ChiRunning. But it was hard as every 5 miles they had a digital clock on the course, so I noticed that at 5 miles 43:28, I was cruising along at a comfortable, but a little faster than training pace. I was running behind a BQ pace, but this same thing happened last year, also because of the hilly beginning of the course. By 10 miles (1:24:16) I had caught up to and was running a little faster than BQ time and I wasn't even trying. So much for not training for this and only averaging about 15 mpw since mid October! At 15 miles I hit in 2:06:42, still under an 8 1/2 mpm average and I felt great. But for some reason at the 20 mile aid station my hamstrings were beginning to cramp, somthing I never experienced before, so I guessed it was from this form of leaning and striding backwards. So I stopped and drank a cup of water, did a gel and stretched out the hammies, never having a problem with them again.

At this point just trying to focus on my form was getting hard, but that was what I put all my mental energy on so as to not hurt the knee again because this couse had a lot of ups and downs, the downs being the knee killer. Yeah, like in any marathon it was getting hard, but I was still passing a bunch of runners who had gone out too fast on this cool day. I no longer looked at any times and just ran. I didn't want to see that if I pick it up in the last couple of miles, I'll get that BQ, rather I wanted to come out of this injury free...and so far at mile 23 my legs were feeling great (my head wasn't feeling too good, though) ;-) But I ground out those final miles, now running all alone, several runners going by while I went by several. I turned the corner to the finish and saw the clock at 2:51, I immedietly thought about my knee and how there was no pain at all....good news!

After the run it was a treat to have Senator John Sununu greet me after the ifnish.

Today I decided to not go for a run, but I probably could have. My legs are a little stiff, mostly due to no mileage. How many people do you know who can run a marathon on 15 mpw with no long runs ;-)

So that be that, all is well and I am now hoping for a high mileage winter!


Peter Lubbers said...

Great stuff!
There are definitely some very good techniques in Chi-Running. I heard Karl Meltzer also uses it.
I took a lesson a few years ago and try to incorporate some of its principals in my running. Great to hear how much it helped you.

Greg said...

Nice job Steve. Glad to hear it was more fun than your last one and that you remain injury free.
I'm digging the Van Aaken Method. I'm convinced and I'm upping my mileage currently. I run everyday, trying to keep hr right at 135. I've sorta combined Maffetone, Van Aaken, and Mittleman.

I am a runner. "We are what we repeatedly do" said...

Steve you are the man. Nice work and Kepp the quad and hip flexor stretched out!!!! (says the PT) I look forward t running some trails with you in the spring. Come down for Boyers furnace Jan 4th if you can of TWOT Feb 7th, or RR Feb 21st. At this point I am thinking about the unthinkable...entering MMT one more time!

Carl Asker said...

Steve, nice job! Give the new form some time (6 months) and I am sure that you will not regret it. And you will run faster again I am pretty sure about that.
Best Carl Asker

Dave said...


I know its been a while since you posted this, but I gave the ChiRunning a try after your post about 6 weeks back.

Anyway... I set a 50K PR this way (which is tough; since I've run a dozen of them over about a dozen years) at age 45. Only problem is that I did get injured. I tried to keep the current mileage while maintaining the new form. It was a bit much on the peroneal tendons. So... I'm out now with 3 weeks of down time - but still think it's the way to go long term.

Take care,