(Sulcata: aka Spur Thigh Tortoise)
Ok, so it's now something like five weeks since I started to change things up to some type of approximation of proper form, function and an illusion of speed. Time for another update. (as much for me to look back on as anything, I suppose)
I guess I should recap. In the first five weeks of this "class" I'm in, I managed to over-strain my left lcl, flirt with shin splints (I'm told) and pull a hammy. That was running my old way, and under the old "in order to run faster, you run faster" paradigm. In that same five weeks, I managed to take a whopping 23 seconds off my timed mile and a half. Turtles were passing me on the track. Every now and then, one would offer me a ride (probably out of pity, but some turtles also have respect for their elders, or so I've found). Five weeks...23 seconds...whoopee-doo. Running hurt. Running is what felons and masochists do.
At the end of "week 5", I get TCI and a pair of minimalist Brooks. Starting the next day, I kept up with the class during long runs. On that note, I've made all subsequent class runs up with the class since then. After two weeks of the TCI style of running, I shaved another 22 seconds off my mile and a half. Hmmm...this seems to be showing results. Sure, I'm not faster than the speed of sound, but there has been (to me) significant improvement at that point.
More running, more practice runs, foot strength exercises, jedi mind tricks, runs with the class, at lunch and after work and some alterations to my pre-run diet, and I FELT like I was moving faster. Better yet, after 5 weeks TCI, I haven't been injured. Sore? Hellz yeah, but not injured. This is a good thing.
Which brings us to today. Today was the "drop dead" final physical readiness test for us all. I had to shave some serious time off my prior runs to even come close to "failing admirably". Ok, I mentioned that I was slow and lumbering, right? With a blush of embarrassment I'll admit to a time of 18:01 as belonging to me on day one. Maybe slow isn't quite as accurate as "glacial", but nobody I know of has been passed by turtles on a glacier, so...(shrug)...slow will have to suffice. Again, back to today. ALL of our instructors were present to watch the gazelles blaze around the track. Two in particular were leaving flaming trails behind them reminiscent of a time traveling DeLorian. They were poetic. They were athletic. They were lapping me for the second time...bastards. Then a strange thing happened. With a lap and a half to go, breathing well and feeling only slightly puny, three of my classmates (two of them just seconds ago finished with their final lap) flanked me and paced me. Zoinks! The pushed me (verbally) and encouraged me. They coached me in little tweeks I needed to make in my form. They really screwed-up my inner monologue, but what the hell, let's make this a race. At some point on the last lap, I broke the speed of smell. Now, remember, my last recorded run was 17:21 just two weeks ago. When my new posse and I crossed the line, the clock read 15:23! As I...um...how do I say this delicately?...."fed the crickets" immediately past the finish line, I was ecstatic! Seriously, I had a 45 second, maybe upwards of 60 second drop as a measure of success, but...THIS?! In my little pea brain, this was faster than a Romulan skedaddling out of the Neutral Zone with Picard on his tail! It was legendary. It was epic. It was validation. It was still a failing time.
I can't say I don't care, because I do. I care that I have shaved three minutes off of my run in the last ten weeks. I care than two minutes and forty seconds of that difference came since reading/adopting TCI. I'm proud of what I've already accomplished, and very much look forward to continued improvement.
Speaking of improvement...I'm being retested next week. I have to shave another 40 seconds off today's time if I'm to pass this course. I bought a Magellan runner's watch today. (No sweat, my grandkids weren't expecting an inheritance anyway). I'm hoping it functions as valuable tool to help me win this battle against time...and old age. ;)
7 days...40 seconds...no sweat, right?
(*note: Have you ever seen a Sulcata wearing Oaklie MP3 glasses, a gps watch, Vibram 5-fingers, spandex, a long-distance rig filled with energy gels drafting off a (formerly) fat man? He thinks he's friggin' hilarious. Me? It wasn't nearly as funny when the situation was reversed, but MUST he keep "Eye Of The TIger" playing on a loop?!)