September 8, 2010

Run, Cornellians, Run!

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Ah, Cornell. As much as you all claim to spend your time either in libraries or frat houses (sorry upperclassmen, I know you all hang out at bars), I know where you really spend most of your time. It’s the place that binds generations of Cornellians together. Every person who has ever graced our campus has proclaimed “The weather sucks!” A close runner-up that was most likely coined by dear old Ezra himself would have to be “This place has too many goddamn hills!”

With this column, I hope to change that sentiment. Yes, I am often tired marching from the comfort of my Ravenwood apartment to the Arts Quad. But I always turn around on the top of the slope to stare off into the beauty that is Ithaca. The beautiful pristine nature of Ithaca. By the end of my time writing this, I hope that you all will be proud to wear a “Ithaca is Outside” t-shirt.

But onto the main topic of today’s column: Running. Some of you love it, some of you hate it. I ran track in high school, and when I was accepted to Cornell, I knew that my running ability was going to be tested. After countless attempts to run from West Ave. up to Balch (where I lived freshmen year), I began to wonder how the attractive upper classman were able to run without looking like a dying gazelle.

So I asked my friend “Jeff” how he was able to run up the horrendous hills. His first piece of advice was for me to get a better pair of sneakers. And after a quick run (not literal, I promise) to Target, I was ready for phase two of Operation Run-Up-Hills (RUH). When we got down to West Ave., he gave me some more advice. While running, keep a shorter pace and not to ‘pound the pavement.’ If you reach an angle that is too steep, then switch gears into power march mode. Think of it like switching gears in a car.

The final tips were definitely not as obvious. While running, it is important to keep your posture straight. I like to pretend that I’m in Charlies Angels and if I was running towards the camera after a huge explosion, I wouldn’t want them seeing me looking more like Igor. While running at an upright position, make sure to keep your head up. Not only is this more powerful looking, but it actually increases the flow of oxygen to your brain.

So I know what you are thinking, “Helen, that sounds magical, but why should I bother running uphill, outside in the snow, when I could just hit the treadmill?” Well, besides enjoying the picture-esqe beauty of Ithaca, it improves lactate tolerance, develops speed & strength, promotes strength endurance, increases co-ordination and helps with muscle elasticity. Treadmills can weaken knees and make them click. Fresh air vs. clicky knees? For me, it’s an easy choice.

Original Author: Helen Ullman