Here is my top ten list for 2009.Have a Happy (and successful) New Year.
1) Postural Restoration
I have only been to five visits to the Physical Therapist, but the exercises I am doing are working in amazing ways. I am learning how to finally get my left hip to work properly. Basically my left TFL (Tensor Fascia Lata) is constantly engaged and doing all the work (that it is not supposed to do). I am not engaging my left hip flexor at all (psoas muscle), and my left gluteus medius is extremely weak. By doing some very targeted and unusual exercises everything seems to be shifting around in my hip and left leg and it feels so much more stable already, plus I am working on my tight right side (ribs and shoulder) that are rotated to the back position. I am thrilled with the work so far and on the limited runs I have had (my achilles is sore). This therapy gives me a lot of hope for 2010 and it was so unexpected. I was just going to a physical therapist to ask a few questions and I lucked upon a therapist who uses this type of therapy. Hopefully this will be the fix I need to correct my running form and imbalances. However, proper running form may not be all that it is cracked up to be. Check out this video of 2:16 marathon win in Japan this year!
I have learned so much about how the body and muscles are supposed to move around the joints from this simple and relaxing type of exercise.
3) Running on the Internet
I really appreciate searching out all sorts of running information on the web, whether it be medical, race results, or just connecting with other runners. Not only that, but I have been able to watch the World Championship, marathons, and other track and cross-country races live or at a convenient time. The most exciting race of the year was when Dathan Ritzenhien set the American 5000m record at Zurich. Dathan claims his third place medal in the world half-marathon champtionships was a better race and there were some extremely exciting track races to watch this year, but nothing beats the moment when it appears that Dathan is catching Kenenisia Bekele at the end of the race.
4) Snowshoe Racing
I had a pair of Tubbs 10k racing snowshoes for ten years but never ran a snowshoe race until this year. It was a lot of fun and I even won a race (with a very small field), but there aren't many wins at any type of race left in my legs so I'll take it!
Whether it be world class athletes achieving their dreams or beginning runners tackling a new distance for the first time, I am always inspired by the achievements of others. I have watched many of my teammates on the Gate City Striders have breakthough races this year. Nothing compares to the results of Mike and Cathy Merra. Cathy has catapulted herself into national prominance as a 50+ runner, but I think Mike's progress has been just as dramatic. Seeing as all three of us are the same age, that gives me a lot of encouragement that improvements are still doable. It does take hard work, though, as Mike and Cathy work hard on the training and diet.
6) Gate City Striders Wednesday night track workouts
I had a lousy year of running and racing, but my favorite part of running is participating in the Wednesday night track workout. I enjoy the camradarie of running with friends and pushing my body to levels that I could never do on my own. Unfortunately I was playing keep-up during most of the workouts, but some of my best running of the year was the pushing I had to do during some intervals.
7) Born to Run
Great book, if you haven't read it yet, then you are missing out on a classic book!
8) Eating Healthier
I have been learning to eat healthier, although it is harder to do in the winter months. Whether it was the Warrior Diet or a bit later in the year the Paleo Diet I have been learning to eat less "factory food" and eat more real foods. I am still playing around with the diets, but I know that certain things work better for me. Eating junk foods is not one of them (unfortunately).
9) Photo Finishes
This was one of my favorite finishes to a race of all time.
10) Muscle Medicine
I put this book to good use once I strained my achilles last week. Using the F.A.S. T. technique as decribed in the book as well as using the TPMassage Foot Baller I have been loosening up the calf and soleus so I can do a small bit of running as I heal.