Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rim Rock 2010 Re-assess

I was pretty hard on myself for taking longer than 4hr to finish the Rim Rock Marathon. No doubt, I'm not exactly in great shape. However, looking at the stats, I still managed to finish 3rd in my division, and 58th out of 174 finishers. That's exactly the 33% mark, with 2/3 of the racers finishing behind.

I stopped "racing" at mile-marker 25, when I looked at my watch and saw 3:53 race-time. In order to reach my goal of a sub-4hr finish, I would have had to run sub-6min pace. I wasn't moving that fast down the steepest decent! So I "jogged" it in, not even caring that Sarah Labrec passed me near the end. I was more than able to re-pass her, but wasn't about to ruin what was apparently a very triumphant photo-op finish for her. I missed my goal and so nothing else really mattered but finishing. No doubt that final jog padded my time by over a minute.
However, compared to the whole pack, and the fact that I've been injured, I compared decently.
If I had not taken my camera, then finishing sub-4hr would have been guaranteed. Check out my special photographer running technique...

There was plenty of that, stopping, running backwards, even backtracking for the right angle a couple of times.
But I still tried hard, and with every stop, that's a bit of rest, and so not every second of stopping was actually a second lost. I was always able to run a tiny bit faster after each photo break.
So even though I'm still not satisfied, I'm not as upset as I was.

Check out this running form video/photo analysis...
"Bounce" in and of itself is not bad. It's "vertical" bounce which is bad. Cheap elastic energy refers to your springiness. This is good, and leads to reduced injury and increased efficiency. This much is left out of this gait analysis. They do mention "range", but not "spring".
I already have the correct landing angles, and my hands don't cross over, but I'll bet I bounce vertically quite a bit. Last night, I tried to mimic the Ethiopians, not bouncing as I ran. What I found was that in order to avoid vertical bounce, I had to alter the gyrations of my hips. This tired me out very quickly. I also discovered that in order to pull off the type of leg motions with that lack of bounce, I had to move much faster. Since I'm not in great shape, moving that fast, with that running form, killed me in a quarter mile.
On a ragged trail full of rocks and tree roots, much of this falls apart. It is not lost completely, though.
When Adam Feerst first re-taught me to run five years ago, I went through the same ordeal - running the way he taught wore me out in a quarter mile. But the end-result, once the required muscles had been retrained, was that I was much faster and less prone to injury. The knees I ravaged through over-striding were healed and my pace dropped precipitously.
You have to watch closely where in the stride they measure the angles. Many of the Africans will reach forward with their legs, and if you measured when their foot is several inches above the ground, it would look like an over-stride. But it only counts when their foot contacts the ground. As Adam taught, your foot should already be moving backwards when it contacts the ground. The Africans reach forward, and then arc back, contacting with a backwards-moving foot, and the shin is angled back far enough to place the toes directly under the knees.
This video analysis doesn't negate anything that Adam taught me, but it does add a significant morsel, i.e. vertical bounce. I was not able to take all of Adam's clinics, so maybe some of this would have been included? Anyway, very glad to see this, and passing it on to all of you.


  1. Man, stop being hard on yourself! It's a guy thing...Larry does it every run, not only race! Dude, you had a great time, fun, finish, so shut up and think how many people envy you! Besides, we ain't getting any younger:) Hugs!

  2. ooooh! thanks for the link! and agreed...don't be so hard on yourself ;-)enjoy the journey~ jgirl

  3. Nice job on the Rim Rock Marathon. I just watched the YouTube video, great information. I have a few race pictures I need to analyze, then maybe, with a few stride modifications, I too can run a sub-2! :)


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