Monday, September 12, 2011

progress is

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.

24 comments:

  1. I have no theme to my life, must find one. I wish I had so damn many pictures of myself running, since I was thinking about what you wrote last week about your butt and wondered if I had this pelvic tilt thing going on. My piriformis has been wicked lately, grabbing hold and then I get the hip flexor overuse fatigue. So I tried feeling like I was being pulled forward by a string from the middle and it did seem to make a difference. Not sure how brilliant it is to try to mimic someone else's tricks, but I did have a pretty decent finish to my 10 miles.

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  2. I love the sexy running pic. Fav pick is the one of poet and friend crossing finish line. Pretty much sums up the whole spirit of running comaraderie.

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  3. They got so many pictures of you! Thank you race photographer for an updated gait analysis.

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  4. you look great! i like you in orange btw.

    i have no theme right now other than work sucks. lol!

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  5. Number 360 is wearing the face of achievement. She's hooked!
    Nice analysis. Lots of positives there, I would say. Progress is, like the name of the post says. Hot dog!

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  6. Love those photos! And your analysis of them. Is heel striking really that bad???

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  7. I love this sort of self-analysis!!! You do look fantastic. :)

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  8. I love your scientific analysis. I think you could charge people to come here and learn baby!
    Congrats to your friend!
    Love the theme: so true.

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  9. That is so great I love success stories like your friends! As far as your own analysis, good job! See I don't have the patience for that which is probably why I haven't improved my running. I do remember I use to cross my mid line with both arms and legs so hey that's a start right!

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  10. Great post! I do the same thing with analyzing my running gait when I can get a handful of pictures from one event. Its hard to get that many from one run though, so kudos to you. I hate it when a race photographer catches me at that one moment where I couldn't possibly have worse form, be making a poutier stink-face, or looking more miserable. And that's always the one they want you to pay a million dollars for! :) These days, this baby bump is making my form wretched, but I'm holding out to improve my form. I have found that running on a treadmill along side a mirror has been helpful.

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  11. You look really strong!!.......and really super pissed off?

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  12. It's definitely progress, though! And you don't have the tired, hunched look anymore (even though your face looks a wee bit tired). Yay!

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  13. Holy crap. You weren't even running the race (and it was a 5k??) and you had that many race photos taken??? I'm lucky to get one photo in a LONG race.

    Anyway... glad there seemed to be more good than bad!

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  14. I love this!! And you look awesome in these shots - WELL DONE my friend!

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  15. Awwwwwwwww. It's me in that pic. Thanks for being part of my special day, friend!!!

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  16. You should charge $$ here for your scientific analysis. So much great info!
    Congrats to your friend.
    Love your theme: so darn true!

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  17. Most people don't get that quality of picture when they DO the race - clearly banditing, pre-race, is the key!

    Joking aside, what an awesome opportunity to look at what those feet + legs are doing. I see the focus on that face - HR down, Long Run to keep slow, watch the form! ;)

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  18. Now I can't wait to get my half marathon pics so I can analyze them this way. Impressive how many shots they got of you. Looks like you've made a world of progress!

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  19. I do like those glutes. When they work right it's a beautiful thing. Great form!

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  20. a few items of note:
    1- I believe I am now Doogie Howser MD from all of this analysis. Why go to medical school when I can come here?

    2- Congrats to your friend. That is just pure awesome!

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  21. You should send this to Dr. Maggs. Maybe he'll put it up on his wall.

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  22. Looking good girl! Your photos really show how much your gait has changed. Only a matter of time until the shoe companies are hounding you to be their cover girl!

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