And by “I run” I mean, a couple times a week I drag my lard-butt to a treadmill where I coerce myself into increasing the speed of the belt until I have no choice but to move my feet quickly for a half an hour and then spend the next nine days whining.
I should make t-shirts about my awesome process.
The year I did my first triathlon, a friend of mine invited me to a running clinic. This was a mistake. This put me and the aforementioned lard-butt in a room full of lean, muscled, sinewy people who had on the performance running gear they’d sold a parent for.
Fish. Water. Out of.
One of the fun activities at this running clinic was a run pattern analysis. A lean, muscled, sinewy physical therapist who’d clearly drunk the endorphin kool-aid applied black strips of tape to the backs of my shoes and then put me on a treadmill with a special video camera behind me.
Running. On a treadmill. With a video camera pointed at my ass.
This is the sort of thing I have night terrors about where I wake in a cold sweat then scurry to the kitchen to comfort myself with stale Chips-Ahoy and cooking sherry.
So I start to run on the treadmill while the scrawny PT assures me that he is videotaping my FEET not my rear.
This man liiieeeeeed. He so lied. I saw the tape. My ass was in it. There was no way it COULDN’T be in it seeing as how it gets its own weather systems. But that’s actually beside the point.
As we watched the tape, he made some interesting observations.
Those arrows represent a smooth, even, forward swing of the lower leg to plant the foot for the next step. This graceful movement is honed through tens of thousands of years of evolutionary biology designed to ensure that we are not some fangy-toothed carnivore’s amuse bouche.
Here is how I run:
Or, as the tactful 98-pound PT put it: “You have some irregularities in the advancement of your right foot.”
Irregularities?? For god’s sake, Dan Brown novels are more straightforward than how that foot moves.
So it’s official then: Had I been alive in caveman times I would NOT have died at 27 from a ruptured appendix, as I would have long since been on a saber-toothed tiger’s hors d’oeuvres platter.
And today, as I played mind games with myself to maintain a better than 5-mile-an-hour pace on the treadmill, I noticed the reflection of my legs on the shiny display panel.
Truthfully, I don’t know how the hell I just don’t keep falling down.