Posts Tagged With: how to

Runners: Fall Like a Soap Actress

More than a month after falling on a run and busting up my knee on a rock, I was happy to go on my 3rd run this week.  Along the 4 mile jaunt, I was thinking about what I know about falling.  Here’s what I came up with.

Runners fall.  I’ve seen it a hundred times (exactly, I guess).  When you take thousands of steps at a time, you’re bound to trip up every so often (Hopefully not too often, klultz).  So be ready for it.

I have some tips for falling.  Now keep in mind that I’m not a stuntman, but I was a college cheerleader.  And believe it or not, we had to practice falling in practice (coincidentally).

At nationals.

At nationals.

Cheerleaders occasionally fall.  That’s what happens when you’re making a difficult human pyramid.  So here’s what we practiced.

Don't worry, I didn't drop her.

Don’t worry, I didn’t drop her.

We’d climb up on a big box and then jump off it, falling to the ground.  Sounds silly, right?  But it helped.  We were trained to try and roll down – one body part at a time.  Kind of like soap opera actresses who roll to the ground when they faint at some shocking revelation – ankles, lower leg, upper leg, hips, torso, shoulder, then head.

Also, NEVER put your hands down to break your fall.  I’ve seen many a person over the year break an arm by trying to stop their fall with their hands.  I understand it’s difficult mentally to allow your body to hit the floor first, but here’s why you do:  If you ever watch pro-wrasslin’ then watch how they land – perfectly flat back with arms outstretched.  That’s so the impact is spread out, and not just one small area is absorbing the blow.

Here’s a super sweet video I found showing how-to do a wrasslin fall:

It’s kind of like how they say when running you should land more flat footed than with a heel strike – to spread out the force of impact over a larger area, instead of it all come through a concentrated point, thus reducing the shock and chance of injury.

Now you may be saying, “Dude, you jacked up your knee falling, why should we listen?”  Here’s why, smart-arse.  When I fell, my legs got tangled in some kind of metal wire – like a coat hanger.  Unfortunately, there was a large rock that my knee hit on the way down.  My other knee took a bump, but was ok.  I can’t help that there was a rock.  But peep this.  Even though it was hard, I didn’t put my hands down to stop my fall.  I stretched out my arms and allowed my torso, ribs, and arms to absorb the shock at once.  It hurt like a muther, and I got all scraped up, yes, but it’s better than breaking a forearm.

So there ya go, them’s my tips for falling during a run.  Good luck to you, and watch out for those rocks!

Do you have anything to add?  How do you fall?  Do you believe that pro wrestling is really just a soap for males?


Categories: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 49 Comments

Runner vs. Loose Dog

Carving Jack-O-Lanterns with our dawgs a few years ago.  They're horrible at it, BTW.

Carving Jack-O-Lanterns with our dawgs a few years ago. They’re horrible at it, BTW.

If you run, you no doubt have come across your fair share of Fidos.  Most of the time they are just barking at us from behind a fence or living room window.  Sometimes they are coming at us dragging their owner by the leash.   Other times, they are loose.  There are three ways they get loose.

1.)  The owner thought their dog was such a “good widdle puppy” that they could take the leash off and the dog would stay by their side and obey every command.  Here’s a newsflash for those people:  Your dog will not care about you when it sees some random person running, and will instinctively run towards said person.  Keep the leash on.

2.)  The owner opens their front door to get the paper or mail or chat with a neighbor and the dog takes this opportunity to run out the door and chase the jogger down.

3.)  Dog escapes another way like digging under a fence, or the owner accidentally leaves the backyard fence door open, or they do not properly secure the chained up outside dog.

This morning I dealt with the last one.  Luckily I knew how to approach this situation, and it worked out for me.  Lemme splain.

Almost every run I go on takes me to a park near the house.  To get to said park I run past a house that has no fence and the owners keep their dog chained to a spike in the ground.  The best way I can describe this hound is that it looks like a junkyard dog.  It’s big and mean and goes absolutely berserk every time I run past.  I also think of it as a junkyard dog because the owners keep their pick-up trucks in the same yard.  Yes, I live in Texas.

Every time I run past this yard, I always think up a plan for what to do if this dog ever gets loose.  I always figured it was an eventuality that he would eventually pull the spike out of the ground so he could fulfill his dream of mauling me.  I’ve always thought that I would jump up on top of one of the cars parked on the street.  But here’s what I did do this morning when he came after me.

I’m not an expert, but I’ve lived with dogs my whole life, I know how they think.  I also used to watch the Dog Whisperer religiously.  And luckily, I instinctively did what some of the things he says you should do if you come across an less than friendly pooch (along with some of my own techniques):

1.)  Stop running!  If you run, the dog will chase, and it will catch you as they have the advantage of running on four legs.

2.)  Turn and face the dog.

3.)  Make yourself look big – stand tall and puff out your chest.

4.)  In your lowest and loudest voice (mimicking a bark), yell at the dog.  This morning I yelled, “No!” and “Go!”

5.)  Stand your ground.  You may even take a couple steps toward the dog.

6.)  Have no fear!  Dogs can sense it, so you must portray confidence and dominance.

7.)  When the dog backs down and retreats, do not turn your back, but back away until you feel it’s safe to turn and continue on your run.

I did all of this stuff this morning, and it worked like a charm.  When he came at me barking, I turned toward him, puffed out my chest, and yelled.  The display and noise seemed to shock him out of his pursuit and he stopped in his tracks.  He barked a bit, but when I took a step toward him, he retreated with a defiant “woof”.

Sometimes though, these tricks don’t work and the dog will still come at you.  I was prepared for this this morning.  When the dog started coming at me, before I turned to face it, I looked down and saw a large rock in their neighbors yard.  I picked it up.  If my display of dominance wouldn’t have worked, I would have fought that dog with the rock.

Bailey & Guinness - the Irish Car Dogs.

Bailey & Guinness – the Irish Car Dogs.

Before I go on, know that I am a dog person.  We have two at home that we rescued from a shelter.  I’ve also helped catch dogs who have escaped from their owner’s house, while I was on runs.  But I’ve also been bit before.  It was a nightmare, I had to report the dog to animal control who put it in quarantine.  I had to go to the emergency room to make sure I didn’t get rabies or anything.  So when a dog does come at me on my runs, I don’t care if the owner is standing there or not, I will kick it.  I will throw stuff at it.  Anything to get it to back down.  If you’re worried about kicking a dog in front of their owners – don’t worry, I have yet to have them get mad at me.  Instead they apologize and yell at their dog.  I’m a pretty laid back guy, but in those situations, I will yell at the owners to get their darn mutt on a stinking leash (perhaps with harsher language than that).

For those who feel sorry for the dog, I’m with you.  They shouldn’t leave it chained up alone outside all day.  After I got home, I contacted Animal Control who said they would investigate to see if there are any code violations.  I believe they have to have access to water, shade, etc to avoid a violation.  If anything, a visit from Animal Control may scare the owners straight into properly housing their pet.  Hopefully in the future they will treat the dog better so that it won’t be so angry that it wants to kill joggers.

What about you?  Anyone else have any doggy stories or tips?  What do you do when a dog comes at you snarling and barking?

Categories: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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