Gentlemen, we can rebuild him

Motion Capture

On April 9, I went to the UF Sports Performance Center to do a 3-D analysis of my running. You can see a picture above of me on the treadmill. What we did was have me run at an easy pace and record my running, then I did 8 intervals of 2 minutes at 5:30/mile followed by 2 minutes at 8:00/mile. They took one measurement of me at the 5:30 pace. Then, after I was nice and tired, they took another measurement at an easy pace to see how my form degraded with fatigue. The white dots in the above photo are the balls they glued to me so the cameras could capture my movement. There is a photo of the software screen below (click on it to see a slightly better image):

Stick Figure Me

The point of all this was to see if there was something in my form causing the intermittent knee and piriformis pain I’ve been feeling lately. They turned up something interesting on the first analysis. When I toe-off on the right, I twist my right foot out, almost completely parallel to the ground. This motion activates my piriformis and puts a torque on the knee, and it is almost certainly wasted energy. You can see a bit of it in the following two pictures:

Finishing Gate River Run
Crossing the finish line

I’ve been practicing that motion and focusing on keeping my foot straight. It seems to be helping. I’m looking forward to seeing what else they learn when they look at all the angles my body makes as I run. Hopefully this will suggest some areas I need to strengthen or make more flexible. Additionally, there might be some specific exercises or drills I can do to improve my form.

Recent Race Report

I haven’t blogged about any races recently, mostly because I haven’t had any personal records set recently.  But every performance can’t be my best yet.  So, here’s a quick rundown:

Five Points of Life 5K, 2/23/2008

I did 19:11, 10th place overall, 1st place 30-34.  The full results are online.  Richard Ritari took several pictures: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,7,8].

Gate River Run 15K, Jacksonville, FL, 3/8/2008

This race was the 15K championship.  It was a very exciting race.  There were 12,087 finishers, 818 in men in my age group.  The wind was insane that day, there were gusts of up to 30 mph (I heard).  I came in 282nd overall (out of 12,087), and 37th in my age group (out of 818) with a time of 64:22.  Unfortunately, I ran a little injured that day and I had to stop to walk three times.  Since then, I’ve limited my mileage and I finally think I’m recovering properly.  The full results are online. Interestingly, I was the only runner with the last name Boykin. You can see some pictures of me by clicking here.

Trigator 2008 Sprint Triathlon (250 m swim, 8 mile bike, 2 mile run) 3/30/08

This was my first triathlon.  It was fun.  It was the furthest I’d ever swam without stopping, the third time I was on a road bike, and the first time I used clip-in pedals.  My time was 34:02. Triathlons are really different from a running race because of the transitions. Switching from one sport to another is just strange. Your brain switches gears. You have to put on shoes, grab a bike, take of helmets, put on a race number, all sorts of little things. It’s frenetic.

Equal Access Clinic 5K Run, 4/5/2008

This race was unfortunately a bit messed up.  First of all, while in second place, I saw the first place runner directed the wrong way, or so I thought.  When I got to that point, I went the way I thought was correct, but I was not 100% sure.  In any case, I was taking a different course so already the race was messed up.  Later in the race, due to my GPS, I was pretty sure the course was short, and that must have meant I went the wrong way.  Finally, it turned out that I went the right way and the race official had misdirected the lead runner (Julio Palma), but the course was maybe 0.15 miles short.  Since I thought I had messed up, and didn’t want to appear to have cheated, I first would not cross the line.  After talking for a few seconds, I eventually did go through the finish.  Julio Palma deserved to win the race.  I’m sorry if I was a part of any of the confusion.  According to the FTC time, I finished at 18:13 in second place, but the race time is pretty meaningless.  I speant the last quarter mile worried I was cheating and I stopped running about 40 feet short of the finish to explain the problem.  Lastly, even if I had run all the way, the course was short so the time wouldn’t be meaningful.

Welcome to the Personal Blog

I’ve maintained a combined work and personal blog for a while.  I’ve decided to separate the work from personal stuff.  Mostly because I often think of things I’d like to write, but since my web page is used for students and collaborators to find contact information for me, my work web page might not be the most appropriate place for it.

The fact is, I’m a goofy human being with hopes and fears like anyone.  Sometimes I win, often I lose.  However, a work web page has to come off more like a resume, and resumes are about selling yourself.  This blog is not about selling myself, to the degree that anything someone says about themselves can not be selling.  It is about sharing information that might be interesting to personal friends and family.  There will probably be a lot of stuff about races, random emotionalism about music, stories about my dogs, politics, etc.

Such is the burden of the Internet: you get a bunch of know-it-alls spouting off at the mouth.