I went for my 4 mile run the other day and discovered I couldn't run. No. Literally, I could NOT run! My calves were so locked up I couldn't run. Of course, at first I thought I was just being a wuss. I mean, out of all the disciplines I'm doing running should be the easiest, right??? WRONG!!!
I joined a triathlon training group about 4 weeks ago and the overall tri coach asked me what I thought my weakest area was. She thought I'd say swimming because that's what most people say, but I told her running. Definately running. She told me to meet with Coach Brett the following Tuesday and he'd help me with my run.
I went feeling somewhat confident and even a little excited. After all, I'm always looking for ways to improve myself. So I get there and meet up with Coach Brett. He takes one look at me and asks me how long I've been running. I tell him about about 6 weeks. He asks me what distance I run. I told him about 3-6 miles. How many days a week he asks me. I tell him about 2-3 days a week. He says, "Ok. You qualify to be here." Oh CRAP! I thought. I'm doomed! Needless to say, this guy is very serious about running. Then he asks me to run a lap. I'm so nervous at this point I take off running way too fast and poop out (but didn't stop) less than a quarter way around the track.
What seemed like an eternity, I finally make it around the track back to Coach Brett. Eager to hear what he has to say, I approach him huffing and puffing. He then proceeds to tell me that I'm all over the place. I'm completely out of balance and that I'm crossing in front of myself and landing wrong with each stride. He told me to stand by the fence and gave me a few excercises to do. I stood there by the fence feeling like a fool, but did the exercises he told me to do. After a few minutes he comes back to me and tells me to run 2 laps around the track to check my pace. OH CRAP! I think again. He sets his watch and I take off. Six minutes later I complete 2 laps. As I had expected, Coach Brett told me I needed to work on my pace. Poo!!!!
By this time I'm looking at my watch hoping the 50 minutes was over. It wasn't. But, to my surprise, Coach Brett asks me what more I thought I could do. Thank goodness he could see I was discouraged and struggling. I told him I thought I could do one more lap. He said okay and then told me to lean into me step and to hit the ground with the forefront of my foot, keep my head up, shoulders square and swing my arms forward and back not across the front of me. So I did. And to my surprise my knee pain vanished. AND I completed the lap with less struggle! Shocker!!!!
When I was done with the lap, I was dismissed. Coach Brett told me that he didn't want to overwhelm me (too late) and to practice what I learned. I was both grateful and relieved. Who knew running was going to be so difficult???
I wish I could say that now I'm an avid runner. Not quite. After all, as I mentioned in the beginning, I just tried to run my usual 4 miles and my calves locked up on me. However, I figure this is a good sign. After all, the correct muscles are working. Now if I can just get them not to lock up I'll be in good shape.