Thigh of the Tiger, part 2

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January 3, 2016 by scratchtype1

Or perhaps the title should be Slightly Bloody Thigh of the Tiger. I went trail running again today and there had been a good frost overnight. The early morning sun was working on vaporizing and melting that frost when I reached a southern-facing downhill during the second mile of this morning’s run. I got going too fast and eventually the right foot hit a slick spot of mud and ice and I skidded my right knee, thigh and hip against the earth and mud and freeze underneath. I took some skin off just below the right knee, scratched up the thigh a bit, and later when I went to take a shower, discovered the biggest red patch just below the knob of the right hip.

Anyhow, I ran a total of almost 1941 miles in 2015. The running streak, with at least 1 mile of running each day, reached 266 days today when I did 9.2 miles on mostly trails. There are definitely some benefits to trail running, assuming you don’t clobber yourself too badly with a spill. If there’s one thing I’ve slowly been learning over the years, strength and physical skill is brainwork as well. All those rocks, roots, and mud patches and whathaveyou on trails challenge the muscles, challenge the mind, challenge the fascia in ways that running exclusively on roads can’t do so well. Trail running is good for the body, mind and spirit.

And I’ve been thinking about how perhaps fascia is like spirit. It is the glue and container of what we are as individuals. It threads throughout the body, joining up the muscles and bones, wrapping around our organs like the lungs and heart and is wired full of nerves. Perhaps the human concept of spirit and soul is quite akin to the fascia in the human body. We often say how we need spirit to move us and we very much need fascia to move us, to spring us along, to give us grace and snap.

I bought a book on t’ai chi recently. I’m not actually performing t’ai chi exercises or forms yet, I am content to do the suggested warmups. But I’ve located some open classes that I can begin to attend in February and look forward to developing some skill in t’ai chi as part of creating a daily program that could help to improve and sustain fascial development. That’s very much because I believe it is the primary area of weakness in my running. I lack spring in the running stride.

But I’m beginning to feel some more spring in recent runs. The drills I have been doing appear to be making some improvements now. I can feel it sometimes and when I find myself running without a sense of spring, I try to adjust the rhythm and stride to find some.

There’s a lot more I’ve been thinking about, but it’s hard to get it all organized and I have less time now with steadier work again. But I feel good that I’m on the right path and that I will slowly transform what was a weakness into a strength.

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