*Scotta is from France, so please excuse the language barrier.
I’ve practiced ChiRunning through books for 4 years now. As you know, we don’t have any instructors in France. This year, I had a goal and it was to do my best at the 72 hours of the French Ultra Festival in Antibes (Côte deAzur) in June. It was my first experience after my first 48 hours last year. I’m an average runner of ultras for 7 years now. I considered myself as a rookie; in the way I’m always in training for running.
During the 72 hour race, I did my best to think about focusing the mind and doing a Body Scan for a long time. Those Focuses really helped me finish in quite good shape. I ran my best in the last hours at a very good pace for me. ChiRunning helped me to feel more relaxed before the race and during for several reasons. First, the long moments alone (night and hot hours during the day in the south of France) were always times I used to think about my posture, the way I breathe, and how to be as relaxed as I can be. I took moments to talk with friends just to clear my mind. As you know, it’s impossible to think about your posture for a full 72 hours, but I was surprised to see that my way of running was always in ChiRunning. Something very natural came into me, something very calm and resting. I slept 2 hours each night between 2 am to 4 am. Each time after a stop, I took several minutes to stretch and warm up and especially think about what exactly I was going to do during my runs. ChiRunning had an affect on my running and also on the way I managed the race. It creates a certain discipline for your body and your mind. This discipline is not stiff, but controlled with all the elements that composed the race. Sleeping, eating, resting as not separate from ChiRunning because I was always thinking of what was the best for me, and what my body needs, what my mind needs, just to feel good when running. With ChiRunning, everything is important and everything works together. When you have good posture, you feel stronger, relaxed, and you breathe well — so you are less tired, you eat well, you sleep well so you have more energy to last a long time at a good pace.
Racing around a 0.6 mile loop, around a stadium, for 3 days may be boring but it’s not. ChiRunning taught me patience and helped me to think about my running. It’s kind of a dream, 3 days without thinking about your job, house cleaning — only running. When you think of it that way, and when you like running very much, it look like a runner’s paradise. People talked about running but not just running. They also talked about politics, fun experiences, and came to share together the bad and the good moments.
More technically, ChiRunning helped to protect my body. When I felt that fatigue was coming, I slowed down a little bit, relaxed my legs and my body in general. Quickly, my feet became more parallel, my back less stiff, my neck (with the tripod technic) became in line with the rest of my body. Soon, things got better and fatigue disappeared? Sure, it came back after a while but I wasn’t stressed too much about it, because I knew I could do something to try to run without pain. As a real good runner told me one day, “If you think you run slow, don’t forget to slow down a little bit.”
To sum up, I had a great run and I lived a wonderful experience during 3 days. 200 miles was more than a hope before the race, but the pleasure was more important than this distance. In fact, ChiRunning really helped me complete this race, but I became a new runner with less injuries, less pain and more pleasure for my long runs.