Friday, March 4, 2011

character building exercises

I always KNEW that I should have been a supermodel.  Or maybe a circus performer.  Turns out I have the stride for either occupation.

My humbling experiences with physical therapy continue....

Note to self: when you are going to do something you've never done before, say, for instance, have your running evaluated at your friendly neighborhood PT clinic, ASK FOR SPECIFICS ABOUT THE ENSUING APPOINTMENT.

I asked my fabulous PT person Katie to do a run evaluation so we can look at what strange things I might be doing that affect my stride, efficiency, etc., and just plain make me hurt myself.  I absolutely adore Katie.  She's funny, enthusiastic, tough (something I need), she's a runner so she understands that bit of craziness, and she's really, really, really great at what she does! (side note: why does autospellcheck insist on changing the shortened version of "evaluation" to veal????  Argh.)

Anywhoo, so I get to the PT clinic this morning and Katie looks at my outfit and says, "Did you bring shorts?" (I was wearing my favorite cellulite-masking black yoga pants).
"Nope, I'm shortless."
"Ok, I'm going to have you change into some shorts here.  I need to see your knees."

Had to put the kibosh on borrowing a random pair of shorts since I don't wear certain undergarments with those particular pants.  Sooooo many reasons why I wasn't willing to wear borrowed shorts, lack of underwear being just one of them.  Mostly, I think it goes back to my being particularly particular about how my shorts fit. (see "camouflage" below)

Ok, so she needs to see my knees - no problem, I can roll the pant legs up.

It gets worse:  Katie noticing my long sleeve top: "I need to see your hips, too.  You'll have to take your shirt off and run in just your sports bra."  Looks at me as if she's wondering if I don't feel the need to wear a bra either.  No worries - I am wearing a sports bra!  Of course, it's the rattiest one I own, but.....

Still worse: Katie noticing me hike up my pants to contain/hide the gut that has housed two children and countless Oreos: "I need to see your hips so we'll have to roll the waistband down." Ack!!! I'm losing all my camouflage!!

The piece de resistance: The treadmill is smack in the MIDDLE of a room full of fit PT people and other poor souls like me.

So there I am in all my ratty sports bra/abbreviated yoga pant glory, running on the treadmill with my awkward stride (while Katie videotapes) and thinking to myself, "No secrets here!"  cuz it was alllll out there for everyone to see.  Ahhhhhh yes, character building.......which continued later as I watched myself run. On a large screen TV.  In slow motion.  With extreme closeups.  Bonus!

Turns out, this is pretty much how I look when I run
(except for the tie).  And the arms stretching out to
maintain balance is just an occasional thing.
So here's the verdict:
1. I hip drop on both sides.  Huh?? Oh, that means my hips go up and down as I run, and they should remain almost motionless. (a sign of core weakness - kettlebell and TRX are going to help that.)
2. My stride is too long (Damn, and I've been working on that!  I have been running with a metronome to help with timing so that I shorten my stride.  Guess the work there isn't quite finished yet.)
3. My knees turn in ("valgus at the knee" they call it) so much so that they bang into each other a lot.  WTF - How could I have NOT noticed that?????
4. I have a very narrow step width.  Meaning, I run as though I am walking on a tightrope, or maybe a catwalk (she typed hopefully).

The good news is that most of this is fixable.  I have some new exercises added to my daily PT repertoire and will work on shortening and widening my stride (the widening portion is NOT easy to do, it just doesn't feel natural!!) and can keep on doing the kettlebell/TRX classes.  I'm going to be such an efficient runner when I get all this stuff figured out!

9 miles tomorrow.  Should be interesting - I haven't run that far in quite a while.


  1. You are HILARIOUS! I clicked on your blog link from DM, like I do with a lot of people, and I got hooked! Very well-written. I love what you're doing, and I'm excited to "watch" you train for and complete your first marathon. You're doing so well!

    Suzy V.

  2. Hey! My first comment from a "stranger"!

    Suzy, thanks so much!! I told you before, I've got a serious case of mileage envy - you are amazing! Plus, I think you are one of the funniest people on DM; I always look forward to reading your posts so the fact that you find my writing amusing is high praise indeed!

    Thanks again for the kind words - I figure if nothing else, this blog can serve as an example of how NOT to do things.

    Looking forward to seeing you continue to rack up the miles....and hoping to ride your coattails to fame in Langley when you have your icon party.



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