Mrs Doyle in Texas

Mrs Doyle in Texas

healthyjoel was interested in getting an update on my experience of Chi Running (aka 'falling forwards', aka 'Mrs Doyle Running'), particularly with respect to sore knees. So now I have been Chi - ing for a bit, I thought I would write a response to Joel's request, and append it to a tale of woe :)

It's a long post, sorry - skip to the bottom for the actual comments on Chi Running...

I was in San Antonio, Texas a few weeks ago, visiting my brother and his family. As it was a two week trip, and I have the Milton Keynes Half Marathon in early May, I thought I would pack my running gear and see what happened. What did occur was that one morning I got up early (ish) and set off along the River Walk for a supposedly easy 6K run. San Antonio River Walk is a delightful meander through the centre of the city, passing many restaurants and bars. The river was dyed a little green in preparation for St Patrick's day, which added to a general feeling of other-worldly charm.

It was a little warm, and very humid; but I was managing OK, although drinking rather more water than I usually would (I live in Hove, UK). I passed quite a few other runners along the way, many of whom gave me a little wave, as if to say "too hot to talk - but hi!" :)

I was almost home, passing a man with a dog, mind firmly elsewhere, when I suddenly tripped and fell. First my right knee, then my hand, shoulder, and right temple, hit the sidewalk in rapid succession. I leapt up as I felt blood come dashing down from my head - SHOCK! HORROR!!

The man: "oh my gosh!" rushed over to me, ripped a bit off the bottom of his t-shirt, and gave it to me to hold against my head. He made me sit down, which I did for a bit, but I was really worried because no-one knew where I was, so I got up again determined to leave (and actually I felt OK!). The man, whose dog was enjoying the fun :),  commandeered a passing woman to walk with me for a bit. I ended up going to a medical centre and having my head glued up and my knee x-rayed - but everything was fine, I didn't even have a headache! All those strangers who helped me on the River Walk, in the neighbourhood (I got lost finding my airbnb too, ha), and at the medical centre, were so kind and lovely, I felt so so silly. And I had to rest my knee, which was quite sore and stiff, so no running for a couple of weeks after all! 

So, gentle reader, the moral of this tale is: pay attention to what you're doing, and tell someone where you're going! (there's actually more to this story than I'd want to bother you with, but anyway)

So, Chi Running. Well, of course with the forward-leaning posture, one is more vulnerable to falling as I did. To avoid this problem it is necessary to pick up the feet properly, and now that I am up and running again I am being careful to pay attention to this. The other problem I have had is a slight Achilles pull, which may be due to not relaxing my lower legs enough, but could also be entirely coincidental.

The positive aspects, though, I feel I now can't deny. I have had no trouble at all with my knees since I started the Chi Running - even though the one I mashed on the sidewalk was the same that had just recovered from a nasty bout of runner's knee. I have also noticed a considerable improvement in speed, with my 10K best now standing at about 4 minutes faster than it was before I started this experiment. To clarify, I began using the method on February 23rd, and have managed only 11 runs since - or about 2 runs per week, but this is a fairly normal frequency for me. I did 18K just before I went to America, and since returning I have so far managed 15K, so I'm not tooooo worried about the half marathon...

Anyway, thanks for reading,

Love, Mrs Doyle :)

14 Replies

  • Oh dear poor you, not a nice experience anywhere - let alone in a strange city! Thank goodness no lasting harm. And poeple are very kind aren't they?

    I have fallen over flat on my face - both knees bashed, both hands too. Twice I have bashed my arm/shoulder on trees when I haven't been properly looking where I was going, and once I crashed my arm/hip and knee into a railing because it was wet and dark and I couldn't see anything! So embarrassing.

    Interesting to hear your experiences of running 'forward' - it makes sense biomechanically, but I would be careful to stretch your Achilles, as this style will put tension on it.

    Good luck with the Half marathon..

  • Thank you :)

    Ooh, those falls sound nasty! I have read that we can all expect to fall a few times during our running careers, but I'd rather not all the same...

    Yes, I agree with you re. the Achilles tension, and am being quite wary about it. I had a very steep hill on my run yesterday, and opted to walk most of it because of the heel... oh, and also I was completely puffed...

  • Ouch!  I fell all my length on Sunday at the beginning of my long run.  A party of runners was coming the other way on a narrow footpath and I attempted to jump on the road (nothing coming fortunately) and put my foot in a hole.  Worst injury was to my dignity!  But I have bruised my hip.  Made me think about what could have happened and I have resolved to run with a mobile in future and have ordered an ICE bracelet.  Hope you have a speedy recovery.

  • Nasty! Thanks, and the same to you :)

  • Americans can be such lovely people. Met with nothing but friendliness and goodwill when we were in Florida. Glad to hear there is no lasting damage but what a nasty shock. Will definitely work on raising my feet.

  • Thank you :) I love America, looking forward to returning. I had a week in Austin after San Antonio, and it is fabulous!

    The trouble is, I find, when I get tired it gets harder to lean forward and to pick up the feet. More caffeine and sugar needed maybe... ;)

  • Oh dear... You poor thing, but the people who helped you sound wonderful!!  That must have been so awful for you though. I hope things have settled now?? 

  • Thank you, Ju, all much better now! I wished I'd thought to ask for people's names on the street - was too confused, I suppose. The medical clinic was great, and at least I found out the names of the people there. The doctor was from Hungary, and we chatted quite a bit about the NHS and international differences in healthcare, and also the variations she'd noticed even in different parts of the US. It was pretty interesting, which helped soften the awfulness!

  • I've fallen quite a lot in my "sporting" life. A combination of steamed up glasses, basic clumsiness and not picking my feet up. I've been lucky though and hope it continues that way. The last fall (well actually there were 2 on that run) was just a couple of weeks ago and had me giggling at my own pathetic clumsiness. Still it's not a good thing to do regularly!

  • Indeed! Wishing you continuing luck :) xx

  • sounds painful, but its good that there was some people around who where kind enough to help you.  

    Thankfully i have only fallen over twice and both where on soft mud so kinda lucky really. 

    Hope you got over your fall quickly and back out running. 

  • Thanks Ben!

  • So, I'm still unclear as to WHY you took up the forward running in the first place? To help your knees? Or gain speed? * makes mental note to always let others know WHERE he would run in strange cities* then realises if course he'll forget to do that ..

  • The main thing was the knees. I've had a lot of trouble with one of them over the past few months.  I wasn't expecting to suddenly get faster at all! Nice though :) 

    If I'd had my gps switched on I suppose anyone could have known where I was...

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