We never know where life is going to take us or what challenges it brings. In January 2010 I was happy, so happy I wanted to stay that way for as long as I could. I realised that if Ali and I wanted a long and healthy life together, we had to change. I was clinically obese, had a bad back and my knees were feeling the strain. I had various health problems and I was ageing faster than my years. I looked ahead to a life I did not want. It was time to change. By the end of the year I had lost 4 stone - 56lbs. My confidence rocketed - I had taken control and it had worked. I was exercising, enjoying buying clothes, speaking up for myself.

I began to believe in myself again, I began to dream. For years I had watched marathons with admiration and a lump in my throat. In April 2013, I ran my first marathon.

This blog is about living life as a slim person, staying slim and fulfilling my dreams. Come and join me, support me, advise me!

Take care, Sue

Monday, 9 June 2014

Running FAST - the Magic of Chi Focus

My weekend at Nick and Mark's Chi Running and Yoga camp is working its right brain magic.

After walking the hills, beaches and roads of Ullapool and environs (blissfully beautiful) I had my first run in a week. It was a morning to run, with blue skies and sun shining at 6am so I hit the beach.  It was very low tide and the sand which wasn't covered with seaweed was dry and deep and hard, hard work. Good - more bangs for the running buck.

I started off slow, heading up towards Yellocraigs beach with no one in sight.  I went carefully, watching my feet as the sand had covered lots of the rocks. A knee niggle came and went as I settled into the run. As I ran I started singing that song -  "Your toe bone's connected to your foot bone" - thinking that should be a good mantra for alignment. My mind drifted off savouring the early morning beach.

I watched the gannets dive off the beach right next to me - don't think they show up in the photo but I know they were there. I watched a rabbit scuttle back into the gorse (never seen a rabbit on a beach run before). Crows cackled, oystercatchers screeched, I love beach runs.

Round about 2 miles I get into running mode as usual.  I stopped thinking about how hard it was and how long I'd got to go and start enjoying myself. I remembered that we learnt at Chi Camp about running FAST - Focus, Alignment, Stability and Timing. I focussed on the horizon and ran on.

After a while I noticed another runner's footprint on the beach.  'What a toe strike', I thought and my thoughts immediately went back to camp and Nick pointing out I'd started toe running again (the default for folk with equinus feet). I looked down - sure enough there was a lot more toe than there should have been.

I ran along the beach pondering the mid foot and how I should tackle it. "Why didn't Nick tell me how to fix it?" I grumbled to myself.

I turned at 2 miles (saving myself for my running club outing tomorrow) and headed back. I found myself running alongside two tracks - mine and the other runner.  The penny dropped with a resounding clang. Nick and Mark had taught me how to fix this. I know from Chi Running and Yoga that all it takes to make the change happen is to focus attention in the right place. Even if you can't feel anything, put the focus there and things will happen.

I focussed on the mid foot. How it felt. How it connected to the ground (Melanie's Yoga classes have been really getting me into that). I ran alongside my own tracks and after a while I stopped and took this photo. The difference is quite clear. The magic had worked again.

All I did was focus on the mid foot. I didn't think about not using my toes - the body doesn't work well with negatives (maybe that's why weight loss diets are so ineffective!). I just focussed my attention on my mid foot and the right changes began to happen.  The hard part of course is keeping up the focus long enough for change to become your new normal.

I headed back along the beach with a focus on my mid foot, reflecting on the power of focus and intention and how all our endeavours start this way even if we're not aware of it.  I realised that the long slow run for me is not just about physical training, it's about right brain thinking. The act of running eventually switches my head over and I begin to think differently, whatever it is I'm focussing on. That's why I write blogs, solve knotty problems and sort out my grumps when I run. Maybe it's because I'm one of those folks that learns best when they are actively doing something. Anyway it works!

So I'm going to running FAST. My Focus for my long runs is going to be on that mid foot and I'll build up from there. I'll work on Alignment, working up from the mid foot (connecting to the ankle bone etc). I'll work on Stability - I know I am very lop sided. And of course I mustn't forget Timing.

But most of all, I have to trust the process. I learnt a lot more at the Chi Running and Yoga Retreat than I think I learnt. Being immersed in Chi Running and Yoga means you learn at a really fundamental level. The trick is to let that learning emerge through your running, getting into that right brain zone and let the magic of Chi work. As Nick says, "Practice, practice, practice."

Looking forward to my running club night tomorrow - watch this space...

Take care


No comments:

Post a Comment