Thursday, May 18, 2017

Feet Picking

Since a couple of months, I have been running between 15 min to 40 min every day focusing only on form. No intensity, No pacing. Just form.
Today, 30 minutes thinking only about foot picking.
Left. Right. Left. Right. Repeat.

One of my favorite play-field, next door,  next town, few baseball fields in the park, mostly because it is (almost) flat.
The loop is short, little bit less than 1 mile.
And as always, on the Haleakala flank, there is the view.

Running at sunset got its perks.

Foot picking or pulling.
While running, instead of pushing forward and lifting your knee, imagine picking back your feet behind, bending the knees. Start like a Heel to Butt, but the foot ends at knee high.
It is a fast circular movement.

Here is the rational:
This is a reflex, low energy, highly efficient.

Chi Running is all about NOT using your muscles when you run.
Therefor you should never be tired and could run for ever.
As enlightenment  in yoga, this is certainly true, ...
... at the end of the path.

See you there.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

All About the form

It seems that finding the perfect form is an ongoing battle for every runner.
Form does matter, specially if you want to run forever (tm).
Studies prove that running with correct form do not damage your joints or knee, it actually reinforce them. But run with poor form and likely past few marathons or few years, you will end up playing golf.
I am now convinced that my recurring single (right) leg injuries directly relate to a chronic hip imbalance, unsurprisingly built over the year of sitting in front of a computer. 

No secret. First you have to run and sit correctly - do not make it worst.
Sitting is a story by itself.
Running correctly. Doh.


People wrote books on the running technique.
I still recommend the 'Chi Running' or 'The Cool Impossible' ones.
Or a running camp. At least, video yourself and compare to one of the hundred YouTube video available.

Nowadays, I really like James Dunne's stuff:

I think I got tired of the All American Run Experience Ad program eventually.

My personal story is : I learned the forefoot strike, but never really got the leaning part. When I started to try to go faster, I actually went back to a heel strike pattern and front leg extension. The faster I was running, the faster I was hurting myself.
I had to step back , and learn it again.
Few tips:

- Running with the core, from the belly button. Leaning lightly, Tall but not that tall
- scoop with the arms, helping for the hip rotation
- Forefoot striking, below the hips
- picking up the feet

No pulling, no pushing. Falling. With grace and effortless.
That last part is still WIP.

Slowly, I am starting to see some improvement. I hurt less. I am able to run between 45 min and one hour every other day. Heel tendonitis is healing. Hip pain is slowly resorbing itself.
Right knee is usually silent.

Running form is not everything though. You need some sort of stability in the body to support it.
The next natural step is to strengthen and rebalance your full kinetic chain. 
Core, more core and even more core.

I setup for a daily (almost) shorter and less painful (but more often) program:
- 3x 1min planks + side.
- 90x Squats, Lunges and SpiderMan pose.
- Bosu squats, single leg balance, Jumps, ...

Overall I can fit it in 30-45min per day, less the day I a trying to run 45-60 min.

I am hoping to be able to run pain free a couple of hours at slow pace in July, and be able to start train for a marathon afterward.
Future will tell.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Chi Running

Sell me 'Running injury free' and I am buying.
Coach Mike suggested that this method of running in harmony with your body, from your Chi - center of mass for us non-believers, could be of some interest.

What is obvious is that after we did a quick running evaluation, I realized I was not where I thought I was from a running technique. No surprises, it happens to me a lot.

Heel strike was the most glaring issue, Hip drop, and few others details.
Back to the design board.

Working hard of changing the feeling of running.
Falling from the belly button.
Rolling the hips.
Cycling the legs.
Stop reaching.
And stop reaching.
Loosing the arms and shoulder.
Light. And fluid.

Don't get me wrong, I have the basics.
90 strides/min. (Usually) forefoot landing. That's about it.
A little sad after reading all those books, doing those training camps and running... running...

After one week of filming myself and trying to forget everything we learned for years, go back to our natural - childish - way of running, I am starting to have some form that look like the pro(s) in the book(s). At least, As far as I can tell.


Can't wait tomorrow morning and see what Coach Mike will tell :)
Pretty sure there is room for improvement, but if you saw my previous showcase .... Nothing to be proud of.

Limiting my running to 30 min / day - more and start to ache my Achilles tendon - allow me to try to be qualitative, and really focus on technique.
And hopefully, eventually, one day, maybe, who knows, stay injury free.

Now with a video that works. The session with Mike was really good. Of course, I was not there yet. my trailing leg is way too short, knee drive not deep enough, and -of course - that cause me to over-reach. However, we agreed I was on the right track.
The main work is actually not where I thought it will be : Loose the upper body, swing shoulder and hips, and Loosen the ankles - the secret for 'ninja' running. He gave me a couple of drills to 'reset' the posture every know and then.
Toward the end of the session, I seemed to get it and have a very smooth and efficient running.

Now.... You do not unlearn decades of bad running mechanics in 30 minutes. It is gonna takes time. I have a 'strong' hip drop - either weakness or compensation because of my right groin pain - TFL. And the left shoulder is totally out - TLN.

But at least we have a good starting point.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

This will have to wait...

It is no secret I was planning to go south next Spring, the good weather window for a sail from Hawaii To French Polynesia. It was not official - as I am starting to post about it in the blog - but kicking off the boat repairs, pouring the money into the project....

Well, this will have to wait one more year.

South Pacific

First, this happened.


We still have no real clues of what's going on, and I am not hopeful on tearing apart the injector pump. Bu I am no mechanic, and two mechanics confirmed it. Let's follow the flow. A tweaking round of that pump cannot be a bad thing anyway, since the time.... This engine is almost as old as me.
But that's a serious project to take on (next week), and who knows how long the boat will be immobilized ( I am actually moving it to another marina to start again the 120 days clock - hopefully, that will be enough).

Then, This happened.


I am not sure when I hurt myself, but I know for sure I do not have much power left in my left harm. I actually -somehow- damaged a nerve running from the next to the shoulder blade.
It is a not uncommon injury, but there is not much to do except waiting - waiting a long time - 6 months to a year ! Nerve tissue is slow to heal.

(more details for the curious :

It is more impressive than painful, but all activities implying the back muscle should be avoided, as you might compensate with (weaker) shoulder muscles. And not much physical therapy to do until the muscle activate itself (I cannot even trigger it at the moment).

Surfing, paddling, swimming and winch grinding - sailing, all unadvised.

Well, that's all for the bad news - so far.

The good news is that I found an awesome Physical Therapist on Oahu, and with me, he will have work for years :P

Michael Turner, DPT, OCS, MTC, FAAOMPT

Well, actually we will see how that turns out :)
    - Achille tendinitis
    - Hip Impingement
    - TFL Issues
    - LTN - Winged Scapula

But so far, I am back at running - not fast, not long. I am actually spending twice the amount of running in stretching, then maybe I should consider my self a 'Stretcher'.

Jeez. I just did a 26.2 in stretching.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Aloha From Portugal

As we are slowly but surely planning our trip to Portugal for this summer, and I relentlessly surfing the web of catamarans - my new, we found this affordable - sizeable - french cat named Aloha in Portugal.
Too many coincidences to be ignored.

Aloha From Fountaine Pajot

Living aboard has been on my dream list for quite a while now. We tried - unsuccessfully - On 'Mobylette' - A Beneteau 43- half a dozen years ago already.
It is tricky.
Very few marinas allow for official liveaboards. Most of people 'sneak-a-board'. Which is certainly a valid strategy if you are in your twenties without money and family, but less appealing as a grown-up with responsibilities.
Living on a boat is quite complicated in places where there is real seasons. Cold is really an issue as boats are usually very badly insulated. Of course, bad weather is extremely hard to cope with.
Livingaboard is living outside before all.

Now I slowly accepted that a boat is not the best adapted house for our family - with pets and kid.
Sure people are doing it. all around the world. Mostly traveling.
Well, sooner than later Kids and petz will leave home to live their own (kid and petz) life.
And (soon-tm) will be the time to revisit that statement.

Now, Catamarans have a very appealing advantage over monohulls. They are roomy and comfortable AT ANCHOR.
This simplify a lot if you can actually be on the boat at anchorage and not rolling left and right all day long. Now, you are not relying on expensive private marinas slips for docking.
Now, you are auto-sufficient.
Making your own electricity.
Your own water.
Simpler, smaller, outdoor life.

And there is a cheery on the cake.

When the world goes deep - after the flood,
You are already floating.