Sunday, February 1, 2015

Running is just controlled falling

Running and walking is just controlled falling, at least that's what I've been told many times. It makes sense, we propel our body  mass forward only to catch it with our feet, absorbing the shock into our joints only to do it again with the other foot. If you have ever watched the start of a sprint race (think 100 meter dash) you will see the athletes barely catching themselves, driving their knees forward just before they would actually tumble to the ground. It's actually a really cool thing to watch in slow motion. Here's a video I found, look at how far forward they lean into the start!

Sometimes I'm better at the falling than I am the catching myself.

I am not sure if I would say I'm "known" for falling a lot. But a few friends have made the comment once or twice that I do seem to fall a lot when running. I wouldn't say that I fall a lot, but I do fall on occasion. I remember telling my friend Ryan that I was proud when I fell for the first time on a trail run at Salida. I felt like a real trail runner. Many races later I feel less like the graceful video above and more like this:

QWOP just do it, for your country.

If you haven't played this game yet please try it. You will get a great ab workout from laughing.

No I don't fall constantly, but I do fall sometimes. Falling and faltering are just part of the game. Thankfully I haven't fallen and been unable to continue. That's something I can really thank running for showing me. Life can really trip you up and knowing that you can fall, gash your knee, and finish a race is actually a pretty big deal. 

You have to have the courage to put yourself in that position. Yeah, yeah you have to sign up for a race and all that jazz. But it's more than that. You have to take some risks. If you recall from my Quad Rock Re-cap I had a pretty epic fall at the end of the race. I was tearing down this downhill section feeling pretty confident and then ate shit on a rock on the flat section. I didn't think much about it at the time, but I was charging that hill pretty hard and tried to keep that rolling. I can think back to me running even a year ago and I would have been much more tentative and careful on that type of terrain. This time I put myself out there, literally, and went for it. So I fell, I also got up and finished the race faster than I've ever run it before and...didn't shed one tear as the EMS people cleaned out and taped my knee back together. Sometimes you have to take a risk in a race like charging up a steep incline early in the race risking blowing up at mile 18. Sometimes that risk pays off and you kill it. Sometimes you fall, but you finish, you dust yourself off, you feel bad for what happened, but you finish.

So you have to keep going. Falling sucks. It hurts. I fell at a snow shoe race last year and spent 10 minutes trying to untangle myself on the side of the trail after my snowshoes somehow knotted themselves together.  That wasn't physically hurtful, but it did a bit of damage on my ego. But I eventually got up and kept going and finished the race. 

Sometimes I do wish I wouldn't fall so much. But, I'm so glad that I'm the type of person that can put myself out there and risk a fall.