A Hundred Up Epiphany

So someone posts a link on our class facebook page to a link to a NY Times video that talks about the Hundred Up exercise.  This is an exercise developed by W. G. George in the late 1800’s that essentially starts with walking in place then moves to running in place, 100 steps (or ups) at a time.  

There are all sorts of opinions on this approach, and as a novice I’m in no position to say where it falls in the scale of workouts and exercises.  Being very early in my training for a half marathon though, I do find myself very conscious when it comes to form, because this is the time to get it right.  So for the past two mornings I’ve found myself doing the step version of it.

And it took 5 minutes per mile off my run this morning!  

Okay, not really.  Actually, not even 5 seconds.  I might have slowed down just a little because I was particularly conscious of my form, thinking about how I’m stepping forward, how I’m landing, in some regards almost doing slow motion running because of it.  And at times I’d pick up my pace.  I did 2 miles at about a 14 minute per mile pace.  I think a week ago I was doing 13:30, though I’m questioning if that was accurate.  But one thing I’m noticing is that my stride feels a bit smoother, I’m working on landing on the front of my foot, just below me (not out front) and my run is starting to feel less and less jarring.  

I keep thinking I should have someone film me so I can see what it’s really like, not sure I really want to know, you know?  

So in that regard, at the end of the run I just felt good.  I know people who believe that trying to do this kind of running at my weight is just a knee replacement surgery waiting to happen.  So in that regard, smooth and less jarring is good.

I’m not associating any of that with the hundred ups.  I’ve been noticing a better feel for my running lately without that.  I think that kind of exercise is really more about the very very gradual improvements that come with repetition.  

But it was the cool down walk where I had a bit of an epiphany (which you know had to be there since I threw the word epiphany into my title).  As I’m walking afterwards, I start walking with a bit more of a high knee walk.  I do that kind of high knee stepping as part of my dynamic stretching especially before a run, but as I’m doing it afterwards I start thinking of the hundred ups, and start striding more with a more intentional lifting of my knee as I step forward, and it dawned on me that it’s different than how I normally walk.  My tendency is to propel myself off my back foot, that it’s more the back leg that is the driving force.  When I started more intentionally lifting my knee forward, it seemed like that was driving my momentum forward more.  All I know is that after running 2 miles and having my legs feel a little bit heavy (okay, I”m 330 pounds so they’re more than a little heavy, maybe it’s just more noticable after a run), it was amazing at how much easier it was walking when my momentum comes more from the forward motion than from pushing off from behind.  

I’m almost 50 and I walk a lot.  All of a sudden I wonder if all this time I’m doing it wrong.  Or maybe not so much all wrong but, is there a better way?  All just by a minor change in how I’m doing things.  

The whole point of all this (and the whole epiphany thing) though really has nothing to do with running or walking, but about what that experience says about life.  It goes back to my bracelet.  

(and you’re wondering if there’s any part of his whole experience that included a bump on the noggin, cuz this isn’t making sense).

All of a sudden I’m finding that moving forward works so much better when there is more emphasis on the forward motion (swinging the leg forward) than pushing off from behind.  

And this is where the bracelet comes in.  I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s this ID bracelet that I have, and part of it is this inscription of Phil. 3:13.  Forgetting what lies behind, I press on towards the goal.  I’m telling you, the dude must have been a runner at some point.  Maybe one with pretty good form.  That moving on in life works so much better when you’re focusing on the forward part, letting the forward motion be what propels you, than when you’re focusing on pushing off from what’s behind.

I know, maybe too much analyzing from a quirky way of walking.  But maybe there’s something there?


About Ron Walter

I'm just a guy who was so out of shape he couldn't run to get out of the rain. I'm taking my life back. It's not always perfect, not always successful. The victories though are greater than the defeats. I plan to keep it that way.
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