Thursday, March 17, 2011

Learning to Fly

The Birdcage - 

Val:         Agador, why aren't you wearing your shoes? 
Agador:  [manly voice] I do not wear the shoes... because... they make me fall down. 

This is where I'm supposed to talk about the latest craze of barefoot running right?  Wrong.  Don't get me wrong - I'm sure there is something there, but not for me in the way it is being hyped.  I have other fish to fry.  I've been losing weight and people have started to notice.  I've lost a pant size (always nice).  I've done four months of running at aerobic pace - ego firmly checked at the gym door.  Hours of elliptical "extra opportunities for greatness" work to burn more calories.

I've never really had great coaching in running.  I know heart rates, paces, power and form things at an intermediate level.  I've never FELT the difference in MY running.

Monday evening, I spent three hours with Janet Leet.  Who is Janet Leet?  Beside a 32:30 10,000 meter runner?  

Janet has over 30 years experience in Cross Country and Track & Field. She has several honors and accomplishments:

New Jersey's High School Cross-Country Athlete of the Century; 
ACC 50 Year Team in Cross Country, Indoor Track, & Outdoor Track; 
Kinney (Foot Locker) Cross Country National Champion; 
28 x New Jersey State Champion; 
10 x Collegiate Division I All American; 
23rd at the World Cross Country Championships; 
Team USA Champion; 
2 x Olympic Trials qualifier
and... former elite runner

Add to this - one hell of a teacher / coach.

Janet actually was able to show me how to recruit the right muscles into my running.  In swimming this is known as a "feel for the water".  I haven't had a great "feel for the pavement" in eight years. We spent time on muscle recruitment and using my own musculature and skeleton to generate power.  It's there.  I surprised myself with some bursts of speed.  It was very cool to feel that again... or for the very first time (with context of anatomy and physiology).

Janet's enthusiasm is infectious.  The mix with my personality and desire to ignite my running was a perfect storm.  

The running I've done since is such a marked improvement that I won't even put the numbers in the blog entry because they are dramatic.  The run now feels like my swim.  I know what I need to do and how to correct it in order to run like a real athlete.  

Looks like I have a run specific coach and I'm one step closer to my stretch goals.

Big announcement tomorrow....

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