Monday, March 28, 2011

walk like a salamander

So, as you may or may not know, I'm trying to get my body to quit doing stuff that makes me hurt myself, makes me a slower, less efficient runner, and/or makes me look dumb when I run.  Ok, I guess I don't really care how I look when I run, as long as I'm not leaking bodily fluids.  But that's a subject for a different post.

More fun to be had in evaluating my stride.....

I signed up for a six week postural restoration class; PR is supposed to help people adjust their body asymmetry which will then help reduce injury incurred by things like running long distances.  It's not just a bunch of traditional exercises; it incorporates breathing techniques along with the physical movement.

Here's a blurb from the PRI website because I would fail if I tried to explain it....

Postural Restoration Institute® (PRI) trained therapists recognize these imbalances and typical patterns associated with system disuse or weakness that develops because of dominant overuse.  This dominant overuse of one side of the body can develop from other system unilateral overuse.  When these normal imbalances are not regulated by reciprocal function during walking, breathing or turning, a strong pattern emerges creating structural weaknesses, instabilities, and musculo-skeletal pain syndromes.  Balancing muscle activity around the sacrum (pelvis), the sternum (thorax) and the sphenoid (middle of the head) through a PRI approach best positions multiple systems of the human body for appropriate integrated asymmetrical function.  All PRI trained therapists incorporate reciprocal function to reduce ‘leading’ with the left pelvis and right arm, and respiratory function to maximize airflow in and out of the right lung.

trust tree=no meanies
Wow, right??  I like the idea - I hope I can grasp the concept.  I'm in the class with two other runners - one male and one female - oh, I am SOOOO glad I'm not the only one being judged this time!!  Our first class was last Thursday and it lasted about 2.5 hours.  We were all measured by Liz (the person leading the class) to see what degree of internal and external rotation our hips, knees and shoulders are capable of.  We were all deficient.  (Yay!! Not just me!!)

Next we had to walk and then run back and forth for Liz.  While one person ran, the two other runners were next to Liz along with TenacityChris (my trainer); all four of us watching and judging.  We (the runners) decided we could discuss each other's short-comings and errors in movement and would not be offended or hurt by comments made.  We were in the Trust Tree, folks.

So first the other female in the class had her turn and we all discussed the way she moved while walking and running - we were of course professional and discussed things in a detached, clinical sort of way.  The only props missing were white lab coats and clipboards.  Liz would point things out and we would all murmur in agreement.... Then it was the guy's turn.  Same thing - Liz would point things out and we would all murmur in agreement....

Then it was my turn.

As I was walking and then running to the group and away from the group for their viewing pleasure, all I could hear were snippets of the murmured conversations regarding my failures in movement:
"...and see how she...."
This is me running butt-less
"Oh, wow!  Yeah, she really does...."
"....needs to find her butt....." Needs to find her butt?  WTF - it's there, bigger than life - can't miss it!!
"....she's probably the worst example of....."

Definitely more fun to be one of the murmurers than being the murmuree.   Glad we were in the Trust Tree - I knew that all comments were said with love and friendship!

As I was heading back to the group, they were all in agreement with Liz that I definitely have a salamander walk.  That must mean I undulate as I'm running on my tightrope.  I'm still not sure what finding my butt entails but I guess once I do find it I'll be a stronger, faster runner.  (Yay again!!)

So I'm doing my prescribed PR exercises and this Thursday we'll see if I've made some headway with my joints' ability to rotate.  I wonder if I'm going to be told, "I want you to breathe through your eyelids, like the Lava Lizards of the Galapagos Islands...I want you to be aware of the chakra connection between your feet and your testicles." (Free e-mail message for the first person to identify the movie quote!)  

What's this blog about again?  Oh right - training for Grandma's Marathon.  

The type of lizard I aspire to be.
Obviously has a butt. And gets
to tussle with young Captain Kirk.
So here's my training schedule for this week: (note TenacityChris's note on my Saturday run - she knows me too well!)
Sunday (yesterday) - Rest day
Monday - Kettlebells & 5 miles easy running
Tuesday - 5 miles Intervals
Wednesday - Rest day
Thursday - 5 miles of easy running & postural restoration class
Friday - Kettlebells

Saturday - 12 miles Long Run & ICE BATH!!!!!!!! (and carbs – healthy ones please!)

Anyone else been (or felt) watched and judged lately?  Share your experience - we're all in the Trust Tree here!


  1. Oh my gosh. I could write for hours. Yes, I have had people literally come up to me during a 10K race and tell me how "rotational" I run. Not the time and place, buddy! But yes, I run funny. My feet barely leave the ground, and my butt wags back and forth, and my arms cross my body too much. But my physiotherapist told me if I started fixing my form, then I'd start getting injuries. Since I can run so well this way, I may as well just hang onto it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? I just wish I didn't look so weird!!!

  2. That evaluation sounds pretty cool. Although, it will be some time before I'm ready for something like that. I just focus on remaining vertical until the finish and call that a success. Good for you for taking this extra step to better yourself! I'm anxious to hear how it helps your running.

    Your quotes are from Bull Durham, right?

  3. Oh! And the whole "find your butt" thing had me in hysterics. I told my kids not to bother me because I'm working and all the laughing totally blew my cover :)

  4. @Suzy - I wouldn't change a thing if I were you! Funny how strangers feel qualified to coach you on your running. It's kind of like being pregnant and having people come up and touch your stomach. Not appreciated!!!
    How is your training for the Ultra going?

    @Kelly - YES! Bull Durham! And I know that I promised you a su-WEET e-mail as a prize so I'll have to figure out how to do that... :) We'll see if I'm able to make any changes using these techniques. I'm just trying to stop hurting myself when I run!

  5. I'm supposed to be running 24 miles tomorrow, but I think I'll just do 20. I have a hunch that I won't run much more than 20 miles for training, and just wing it on race day. That's how I roll. Or run. All twisty and bum-waggy, apparently.

  6. @ Suzy: I have no doubt you'll do great. You're so fast, people will be copying your running style!
    @ Kelly - sorry you got busted by your kids but glad I was able to make you laugh today! :)

  7. Postural Restoration is what I am going to be doing - first appointment is today. I am hoping this helps with my injury. This was recommended to me by my doc. I am assuming this therapy really worked for you?


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