It’s always tough the days following up a race. You feel driftless, tired, and a general malaise. You no longer have purpose, you’re still tired and recovering (particularly with a relay series where you get barely 2 hours of sleep), and for those of us with kids, you would willingly get back in the van with the stink and run another 20+ miles to escape the screaming, fighting, and demands for attention. Ha. How else do you think I was able to convince 23 other women to do this?!
One of the things I always detest after races is getting my race photos. Inevitably, they are hideous. i’m always caught mid-step, looking down, looking miserable, looking squashy, what have you. Maybe it’s because I try to be too cool for school and refuse to smile or raise my arms up in victory when I see photographers so they just get my grimace. Anyway, I have resigned myself to never be this guy
Race photos are usually pretty rough for alot of people, so of course the above photo went viral because it was so ridiculous (hence the meme is called “ridiculously photogenic guy”). I take the photos in stride (haha, get it?!) and usually just see if theres anything I can learn from them regarding form, etc. I was sad to my Ragnar photos from the last leg of the relay. Now, granted, it’s the last leg, and I did an extra leg so I was super-tired. Still, I feel like the photos are fairly awful. I look like I’m totally collapsing inwards on myself.
I won’t horrify you with the whole series, but I was struck by how bad my form looked. One of the key (and simplest) things to remember about form–beyond cadence, midfoot strike, whatever–is to RUN TALL. I look like I’m trying to conserve my space in the world and running anything but tall. I was also unaware I was collapsing in to my hip so much. Here’s the same photo as the one above with lines to indicate difference in a straight midline and where my hip is. I’m not fancy enough to get a protractor on this photo to measure the degree of change, and I should probably do it again making sure my shirt is straight; however, I’m pretty sure you would agree that the photo indicates I drop my hip.
Sigh. All these little things build up to create imbalances in the body. I drop my hip because I have weak hips and glues, a common issue for runners. Because of this, my stride is a little different. For example, I’ve noticed that the left heel of my Newton’s show more wear than my right (yes, that means I am heel striking and not mid-foot like I pretend to myself), and I get more tightness in my right hip. You know what this means, right? Ugh, strengthening moves. I did some quick Googling and found some one-legged squats you can do off a stair or box and some side leg lifts. You can also check out this resource for more exercises. You may also recall I posted before about running form. That post had more resources about stride analysis and such.
Just as a point of comparison, I have included another photo from Ragnar. This is Patty from Team 2/Too. She’s awesome, super-supportive and enthusiastic, and qualified for Boston (first time) at Chicago last fall. Look at her form. She looks like she’s got legs of steel; she’s airborne, and she looks strong. She’s my role model… I won’t reveal her age, but she has a kid in college! Seriously amazing.
Another residual effect of Ragnar has been my extreme tiredness and inability to wake up early to run. That means I am running mid-day in the heat and humidity. Yesterday was actually not crazy hot, but it was extremely humid. I was drenched by the time I was done. You can see my nose wrinkling in disgust, ha. I actually used some Body Glide before the run, which added to my general sliminess. I don’t generally chafe, but in the summer, I tend to get some chafing/irritation on the back of my armpit/shoulder area.
You can also see the awesome runner’s tan I’ve been working on. I am not comparing myself to Kara Goucher in any way, but she did post recently about her runner’s tan pic that went viral. It’s probably the most in common we’ll have 🙂