The race continued for about 2 and a half miles uphill over boggy, snow covered moors. It was as much as one could to not to fall over in the the bogs, and opportunities for overtaking only came when you chose a sneaky, quick shortcut across a difficult bit of ground, or where you sensed that the runner in front was struggling on a hill and could surge past. So I’m nearly half way through the race now and I’ve not mentioned Chi Running, or my running form. Hmm. That’s because my mind was on the race and getting up that hill with some energy left for later.
As the course evened out a little, I realised I was not thinking about my running form, so it was time to refocus and take back control of my race. I say my race, because I was never going to get in the front of the field, but I wanted to run my own ‘best’ race – considering I knew nothing about the course.
So, where was the Chi in my Chi Running? That’s where I improved a lot in the second half of the race. We ran down a steep, ice covered bridleway and then on to a level track. Normally here I would have gone hell for leather at top speed. Not this time. I focussed purely on getting back in to the correct form. My foci were levelling my pelvis, and getting my lean just right for the terrain I was facing. In Chi Running your lean is your gas pedal. I was in a race, but still with 3 quite tricky miles to go.
The result? My ‘perceived effort level’ dropped right down, but I overtook consistently. This encouraged me to maintain this focus. I just kept putting my body back in the right posture as I ran. I felt great, and overtook consistently for the whole second half of the race, which is not normal for me at all, especially as most of this was downhill. Chi Running has taught me to run much more relaxed (and much faster) on the downhill sections that I used to.
I continued to run well, full of energy and confidence, overtaking right up to the finish line. So over all I felt I ran the second half of the race really quite well in comparison with my own standards, and within the spirit of Chi Running. I was pleased that when I realised I wasn’t thinking about my running form enough I accepted that in a mindful way and adjusted my behaviour. I stayed fairly well focussed on the moment I was running in and didn’t get too worried about the finish until I got there. As for the first half? Well I’m quite good at running up hill, but what about Chi Running up hill? I think that might need to be one of the next things I concentrate on.