Wendy asked yesterday if I ever did any bike riding for cross-training.
In a word, "No."
I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times in the past 10 years I've seen anyone riding bikes around here. We don't have bike trails, our main roads have narrow berms and are cut into mountains, our side roads are single-lane with dangerous curves and oh, did I mention the hills?
If Mr. Shrinking Knitter and I ever leave our beautiful-but-isolated mountain paradise, we've agreed we will find someplace flat. He loves to bike, and enjoyed riding on a rails-to-trails route when he lived in Ohio. The last time I was on a bicycle was when I was a girl, I think. I know it had coaster brakes. I'd probably flip myself over the handlebars learning to use hand brakes. But I'd love to try!
So cross-training for me has usually been walking, easier runs [like yesterday's three-miler that I didn't even time], the rowing machine or a yoga session.
Which brings me to the next thing I've been thinking about.
Some of the images of Haile Gebrselassie running in the New York City Half-Marathon were aerial shots, taken from a helicopter camera. Haile is 5'4" tall – not the typical long, lean, lanky Ethiopian runner. But watching the birds'-eye view of him running was enlightening.
His stride length is impressive for someone of his stature. His legs were straight out in front and behind him; he seemed to float through the air, bounding across the route.
Bounding. That technique is suggested over and over again as a way to increase stride length. I've been trying to bound up the hills when I come to them, although I've yet to dedicate myself to a once-a-week hill-training session.
But I know if I dedicated myself to twice-weekly yoga sessions, I could increase my knee and hip flexibility, which would – in time – lead to a longer stride.
I'm not going to get faster without it.
Do I want to get faster? Sometimes. Honestly, though? I'm more satisfied with endurance than speed. Taking four walking breaks in four miles is a greater disappointment to me than running four slow-but-steady miles.
I don't know where this is leading; I'm thinking out loud here. And that's what blogs are for, right?
P.S. The dog is still here. We thought we found her owner yesterday. You know how when you buy a new car, suddenly you see yourself coming and going every time you drive it? I saw a sign for a lost dog on the very road where I do most of my training. I don't remember seeing that sign before yesterday, but it had obviously been there a while. The man came to look at her and, sadly, said she wasn't his dog. He and his wife might adopt her; theirs has been missing for more than a month. Keep your fingers crossed for all of us!