Thigh of the Tiger

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December 26, 2015 by scratchtype1

Christmas day I decided upon a present for myself and put down the money to get a digital copy of the first good picture of me by Island Photo in a half-marathon. Actually, my face looks a bit unbecoming, but I was interested in seeing the high-res picture because of the captured moment of how the muscles were working in the right thigh. Jen (pronounced yen, it’s Esperanto for saying Look! Voila! Here!) the photo —

In many ways, that moment has a lot going on behind it. I ran more miles than ever to be there that morning. I ran through Lyme disease to get to there. The running streak was more than 200 days long that day. There was learning about the basal-bolus method insulin treatment which created an opportunity to run for long periods of time. There was the time away from running and emptiness in the heart. There is still emptiness there, but running makes it more manageable. Maybe. Or maybe I’ve just gone fucking crazy in the overall fuckall of things. It hurt some spending that much money for that picture. It might have hurt more letting it disappear into the digital ether of deletion sometime next year.

Now it’s your unfortunate fate, dear wayward reader, to see me be too proud of it. I thank you for your patience.

—-

There is more to running than muscles. More than the heart and lungs. I expect now that sharp-thinking readers of that might start thinking he’s talking about the brain. And that’s certainly true. The brain is the coordinator of the body’s systems. It sets limits upon us to try to keep us safe and it can also be trained over time to take on deeper levels of suffering. That was one of the reasons why Matt Fitzgerald wrote a book, Brain Training for Runners.

But he might have overlooked something even more overlooked. Although he does mention its importance and offers drills that can help to train it.

It’s the fascia of our bodies. The fascia is the elastic parts, and it’s also the wrap going around the muscles. And it’s something I need to work, something I have now been working on for the past few weeks.

I’m coming to believe that fascia is critical to how fast a person can run. Fascia is the spring that you can have in your step. And you need springs to run fast. This finally became apparent to me because of all that happened this year. First there was that long stretch of time where Lyme disease slowed me down. Then came the period of Maff training. I got really good at running slow. And I lost what little spring I had to begin with during that time.

I had first lost springiness because of the effects of Lyme disease. Then all the slow running removed more of it.

But then when reading Brain Training for Runners and other material, I decided to begin doing stuff that would put the fascia to work, make it stretch and spring back, and hopefully become stretchier and springier as the body rebuilds it in response to those demands.

Some faster running. Bounding. Dynamic types of stretches where I actually bounce at the edge of the range of motion. I was pretty pathetic at and still am rather pathetic at doing one legged hops up a few inches to step and back down, especially the left leg. But there’s improvement as the body learns, as the brain learns, as the fascia is challenged to become better. From what I’ve read, it could take 18 to 24 months to effectively remodel the fascia of my body. Fine. I’ve got patience. Hopefully I’ve got the persistence to do at least a little bit every day.

When I get up in the morning, I do some gentle whole body motions to limber things up.

Since it really is a whole body endeavor, that means my shoulders are getting worked too. Which is good. The left shoulder, which went through frozen shoulder from 2010 to 2013 or so, has been getting better during this. It still doesn’t match the range of motion in the right, but it’s better. But both shoulders still have lots of room to improve, as do my hips.

Basically, I think this could be an area of great improvement for me, if I can develop the fascia properly. It will give me extra spring and extra speed. Maybe nothing fantastic, but far better than what I’ve ever know before.

My legs felt springy some this morning again. In fact the past few weeks I’ve finally been feeling some springiness in the legs again.

Cats are springy. I want that thigh of the tiger.

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