Check and Go

I ran for the first time in Central Park last night around the reservoir. There's barely anyone there. It's quiet. You get a great view of the skyline. I probably won't run during the day in New York City anymore unless I have to.

I've been dealing with a lingering injury for the past 6 months. The day coronavirus ruined our lives, March 13th, I received a second blow to the face when I got a stress reaction in my foot. That has since cleared up, but while I had that injury, I unconsciously started walking differently in my left foot. My ankle started to hurt when I ran again, but it would usually subside if I took a day or two off and only ran a few miles at a time.

In the park last night, I was thinking about my “mottos” I used to use during races. At the beginning of the race, I'd usually say “sit and kick” to myself over and over again with my few remaining brain cells left to use. (In high school cross country, nobody really knows how to pace properly and the first mile is usually way faster than the remaining. Sit and kick is a term for running slower in the beginning of a race and ramping your speed up as you go.)

By the middle of the race, when my form (and my morale) start to deteriorate, I'd start thinking “check and go.” This was code for checking my form. Making sure my arms were moving straight, I was looking straight ahead, and driving my knees.

When I thought of this, I really analyzed my form. I knew my right foot had good form; it was never injured, so I compared it to my left I realized I was moving my left foot noticeably more inward when I took a step. This makes sense. During my stress reaction, doing this offloaded some of the pain off.

I moved my left foot out to match my right, and it felt really weird. By the end of the run, it already felt better. Maybe it's a mental thing and I just think it feels better because I want it too... but I think it's a step in the right direction.