Friday, August 5, 2016

Good Stretching and Bad Running

Recently a friend of mine asked if I'd be a guinea pig of sorts.  She's a physical therapist, and needed some of her runner friends to come in so she could practice getting video and analyzing exactly what's wrong with us (or... something).  She first said this is in a way that indicated I'd be doing her a huge favor.  Based on past race photos, I knew I had a janky stride and something was up with my form, so my response was something like, "Sure I'll help you out!  When do you want me to come in?  This afternoon?  How about right now?  Is yesterday too soon?"

So a couple days ago I went to her clinic and got to see my friend in all her Physical Therapist glory.  This was fun and unusual because normally we're all sweaty and in running clothes when we're together, or, as the case was last weekend when I went to watch her in a triathlon, I was in civilian clothes and she was in costume.  I think she said it's actually called a "kit" but growing up a dancer I'm much more comfortable with the term "costume."  It was the first triathlon I've ever attended, and after watching her and several hundred other sadists compete my thoughts were, "This is so cool!  So amazing!  So inspiring!  I would never ever ever do this to myself!"  I have read multiple times that triathletes suffer far fewer injuries than straight runners, but I have to think my lack of injuries would be a small comfort when I'm drowning in a lake trying to swim over a mile.

Anne had a student with her at the clinic, and they started by pumping my ego, oohing and aahing over my flexibility, diminished as it is by this hamstring injury I've been nursing for the past couple months.  Speaking of which, our middle child may look more like his daddy, but this kid's flexibility is courtesy of yours truly.

He's always been like this, too.  I mean, I know most babies and toddlers enjoy relative flexibility, but Atticus has always had crazy range of motion.

He frequently falls asleep like this,
and it's one of the first things we do when he's in the midst of a night terror- unfold his body from whatever position it's pretzeled itself into and back into a straight line. To a certain extent I can I understand this sleeping position, because every time I do this in yoga, I can feel myself begin to doze off if I stay here too long.
Then again, that might be the sleep deprivation talking.  (Photo by Atticus, who loves to hang out next to me while I do yoga, trying to imitate the poses, but always ends up lying on floor asking to take pictures.)

At the clinic, after testing my flexibility and strength, it was time to hop on the treadmill for a few minutes, followed by some outdoor running.  Then it was time to pop the helium-filled balloon that is my pride and gleefully watch it plummet to earth.  This was done by the time-honored way of watching a video of myself run

from behind

in slow-motion.

Gravity, thou art a cruel mistress.

In the end, I got to see how specifically wonky my stride is, and Anne gave me some great advice on things I can do to begin to correct it.  Why correct it?  Well, because that wonkiness likely led to my apparently-not-so-random hamstring injury.  Plot twist.

I've spent the last three days attempting to implement some of her exercises and tips, and as a result I feel much like this when I'm running:

At least the scenery's been pretty.  Run early enough and there are only trees out there to judge you.

There is a tree I avoid running past two blocks from our house, though, as the owner has attached a scary face to it.  It's one of those that you don't even notice until you're close enough to do one of these:

I keep meaning to take a picture of it, but I'm too scared to because two things are possible here:  1) This is a tree with an actual menacing face that grew out of it and it most likely does not care for scared runner paparazzi, and 2) the owner of the house and tree are people who do things like attach mean faces to their trees to frighten unsuspecting passersby.  One of these is admittedly more likely than the other.  Guess which one I believe to be true.  

1 comment:

  1. That's some crazy amazing flexibility you and your son have.

    The kind of people who would put a scary face on a tree (?!) are the same kind of people who would put baby shoes on a cat. Or are they bathroom cups? Or maybe it's therapeutic footwear for the cat. I can't tell. In any case, I hope you succeed at developing a healthy running stride.

    And once again you have proved that you are the queen of gifs.


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