If A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words…

…then surely a video is worth more?  It has been a long time since I posted any running videos.  Probably because it has been about a year since I had any taken trackside.  My running coach, James Dunne of Kinetic Revolution, has filmed my running form evolution since our first meeting in June 2011, as a way for me to gain visual feedback on what has improved and what needs further attention.

I mentioned this in my post yesterday about working with a new coach, but I will say it again. Any coach who takes on the challenge of working with me, and specifically of helping me to manage doing sport while managing the issues that my nerve disease Charcot Marie Tooth throws up, is taking on a big challenge. 

But where there is challenge, there is opportunity.

And this video – from Saturday with James – shows where I am now. It is testament to the opportunity for improvement that he saw, and worked with me to achieve.

My husband was at the track with me on Saturday and after my warm up he came up to me and said “you look like a different person out there” – and I have to admit, I do.  Unrecognisable, in fact. I actually had AIR beneath my feet when I was running!

I started learning to run with the guidance of Terence Collins.  The first time I was filmed running approximately two years ago on an icy cold December day – the video below shows where I have come from.


When I first posted this video I cringed.  I felt like a train wreck.  Broken. Irreparable.  But I suspected that I was just being hard on myself.  That I just needed to find the right approach, and that with time and effort and the right training, maybe I would “become a runner”.

With Kinetic Revolution I have paid specific attention to better biomechanical form. With CMT I have a tendency to use my hip flexors for running propulsion.  Over the past 18 months I have spent countless sessions with James working on functional leg strength, re-engagement of my hamstring and glutes for better biomechanical movement. 

James is a key piece of my running puzzle.  But not the only part.  In addition to being coached by James I have met with specialists to sort out and address a pesky peroneal (ankle) tendonitis – including trips to the gait analysis lab in Birmingham, numerous appointments at the National Hospital, and finally a visit to Mick Habgood at Balance Physiotherapy in the search for a sports specific orthotics solution.  I receive twice monthly sports massage treatments addressing issues with tight muscle due to CMT.  As of Ocotber I felt in a good enough place to start to rebuild my running – but this time around I am taking things slowly and patiently with the guidance of Russ Cox – hitting three times a week sessions but so far not going over the edge into the injury zone.

For me I guess it has paid to be stubborn, to hold on to my dreams and not to give up on running.  I didn’t want to quit – I had never felt healthier and better as a result of taking triathlon more seriously from 2010.  The past two years have taught me about patience, about what it means to take a deliberate approach, and about being committed. There are no short cuts in this game – as much as I’ve wished to just wake up one day able to run an easy continuous sub hour pain free 10km, it just hasn’t happened.  It won’t.  But to me, the way I feel makes it all worth it – all the time, the patience, the frustration, and the joy at seeing a video like Saturday’s.

And just like in my professional life I’ve also found that success is better – and easier and more fun – if you find the right people to surround yourself with.  I have been fortunate in finding a great mix of people committed to helping me to become a better triathlete. 

Attitude and people.  Support and stubborness.  Determination and dreams.  With these I think it is possible for anyone to learn to run.  I have achieved what in 2009 I had never even dared to dream.

Thank you James for all of your help – and for continuing with me down this very interesting path for my 2013 triathlon season.

You know you have a cool coach when he agrees to a night out dancing to kick off the Olympics…

Live and learn. Continuous forward motion and continuous self improvement.

3 responses to “If A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words…”

  1. I was just reading your blog Donna and looking at the two videos you posted and your most recent one looks like you are a normal runner, just in slow motion, or so it seems.  You look great.  Congratulations.  smile

  2. Donna, BEAUTIFUL form!
    Glad you have made such fantastic progress.
    BTW: Easy continuous sub hour pain free 10km? No such animal!

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