Sunday, August 17, 2008


ORN: 10.3 miles, 1:36:38, R6/W1, 9:23/mile

Like many of you, I’ve been fascinated by the Olympics this past week. I sat entranced last night watching the entire women’s marathon. I appreciated NBC devoting so much time to the event. All of us who have run 26.2 sat in awe of their pace, endurance and strategy of the event. Gretchen and I had a personal treat to see a woman from our former African residence of Lesotho hang with the leaders for 16 miles. The athletes from familiar sports provide much inspiration.

Surprisingly, I’ve also found instruction from other, less familiar sports. Most strikingly to me has been sculling. These rowers, particularly the teams of four, show me so much about the importance of form. As these teams glide the pencil-thin hulls in a perfectly straight line, with perfect cadence, working as one, it is a thing of beauty. Watching the close-ups, it is amazing to see the subtlety of each stroke. They rotate the blade of each oar on each stroke. Each arm has to work equally with the other one. The timing had to be coordinated. Oh, and by the way, they are racing the other teams.

All of this centers on perfect form. Which instructs me. I have to pay attention to my running form. Without attention, I tend to arch forward, hulking along, putting strain on my back. With attention, I get my head up, hips forward, hands lower and move close to gliding than plodding. Over and over. I’m not to a point of good form being second nature, like these skilled rowers. Maybe some day.

I’ve been inspired and instructed. A good basis for perseverance.


Wes said...

Yes! I've learned that bad form will weaken the foundation of your body. Then everything goes to crap :-) That's why the farther we go, the more likely we are to get injured. We forget our form, and the test stress on the wrong parts of the body hurts!!

Backofpack said...

Good comments on form. I was surprised when I saw race photos from yesterday and how hunched over I was. I could tell I was suffering! And, you are probably right - I've probably said it all to myself already. Guess I lucked out with that early July marathon and pushed my luck a bit with this one! Rumor has it, that the tunnel run will be scheduled for June next year. I might have to go for a rematch!

Darrell said...

Good form is so crucial. I find myself constantly reminding myself during a run to stand tall. I just sat up straighter at the computer thinking about it.

David said...

Form is function. We must perform with good form or we will not function.

[Wow. Where did I come up with that one?]

Sarah said...

Yes, its amazing how little tweaks in form can make such a big difference. Great observation!