A few weeks ago, I did my long run as a few laps of a local 5K course that the poet and a good friend were running. Before you flame me for banditing, I attempted to complete my laps before the race began (and was registered anyway, although I let the poet run with my chip). I didn't quite make it, and the photographer grabbed some pictures of me. I ate my breakfast several hours before running (mistake) and didn't carry any fuel with me (mistake), so I look pretty miserable. However, I had no idea these photos were being taken, and I was at least an hour into a long, slow run. Perfect for analysis.
First, the bad stuff. One of these photos revealed a heel-strike.
It's still not as bad as it used to be, but I had thought it was gone. My knee is slightly bent, which is okay, but my foot is also crossing the midline just a bit. The next click of that stride looks like this:
Ouch. Knees aren't quite knocking, but that's the magical hip collapse. I have no idea what I was looking at. And another step...
I think what's going on is I wasn't springing off the ground, which is why my left leg looks so stagnant, and that's definitely a post-pronation step. However, I wasn't a heel-striking mess the entire day. Here's just a moment later.
That's a midfoot plant, baby! I shouldn't be looking at the ground, because that makes me hunch over, but from the belly button down, this looks hot. My back leg is twisted just a bit, which I think is in part due to my still-tight right adductor.
More good stuff:
My feet are probably still landing a bit too close together, side-to-side, but I don't think they are crossing the midline here. My landing knee is bent and my hip isn't collapsing forward, which is a great sign of functioning glutes (even if they are lazy and only working intermittently). I'm not hunching forward and my shoulders are down and back, which means I'm doing what I can to send my hips forward so my glutes can activate. My dorsiflexion is perfect. And the best one yet?
This might just be the best shot I've ever seen of myself running. Not because I look dead sexy (although I do), but because I look like an actual runner, not some Frankenstein-hunchback sleeping-glutes mess. I'm not bent at the waist, my leg is forward and my knee is slightly bent, I'm about to land on my mid-foot, and my left arm is exactly right. My right arm should not be crossing in front of me and I shouldn't be looking at the stupid ground, but I'm still calling this a huge success. And it wasn't just a singular moment in time. Here I am, fuzzy in someone else's picture, but about to land perfectly on the ground.
So, still quite a bit of work to do to make this show up all the time, but some serious progress.
But the best part of the whole day was a LOT better than more analysis of my ass. It was when my friend crossed the finish line of her first 5K. She's only been running for a few months, and she had a fantastic day on the course.
Like the poet says: what is the theme of your life? Mine: you have no idea what you can do.