More Things I do Wrong

I run.

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.

Here is a typical runner’s gait:

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:

What the #&$% is my right leg doing?

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.


  1. I’ve just recently taken up jogging so I can remain in shape (and remain in the Special Forces—but let’s keep that on the downlow). I wonder if my right leg does the same thing. I bet my left leg does that.

  2. Your gait may be wrong, but your intention is right, so Martha points there. My intention is to sit on the couch and watch television without being disturbed for as long as possible, and to make my lard butt just as comfy as possible in very stretchy pants. My intention is clearly wrong. Unless you look at it from my lard butt’s perspective. Which I choose to do.

  3. There is nothing I can relate to in this post.

    I’m just too lazy to understand anything that happens after the phrase “my first triathlon.” So I refuse to believe that any revelation taking place at a running clinic makes you any less a fitness goddess.

  4. But you know what? If survival depended on you hopping on your left foot?? You would so survive. Perhaps your ancestors survived by hopping on one foot while simultaneously spazzing out with the left. Predators were confused by the “irregular” movement and determined that eating something that moved so irregularly would likely result in diarrhea…or at least some mean gas.

    Think of it as a unique survival attribute. Be proud.

  5. This post? Is why I love Lori. And just so you know, you’re not the only vertebrate that runs that way…I may or may not have the same run that you do.

  6. I’d have to have any advancements of my right leg in order to have irregularities, so you’re one up on me already!


    I bet, if nothing else, you’d be a delicious amuse buche!

  7. If it makes you feel better, I DO just keep falling down. Even my OB commented on how I could trip over a piece of paper.

    But I’d never let someone video tape my gait to find out why I do that. So you’ve got me there.

  8. Falling down on a treadmill hurts, just sayin.

    I always wonder what I look like as I run (aka slowly jog) around the park. I bet both my legs are like your right leg.

    Also, triathlon? Dang girl!

  9. If it makes you feel any better, I was once told by a dr. in Chile (after a thorough examination of my boobs and ass) that I was half-man. I didn’t go immediately and kill myself, but almost. You sound like a fitness goddess to me. Who cares if your right leg is a little looney tunes. It gets the job done and that’s what’s important. As far as my legs, they’ve been doing a lot of nothing lately. Nothing that is but supporting my jarred cheese eating dr. pepper drinking fat rear. I love you Lori!! How I’ve missed you!!!!!

  10. Do you think this is why you were having back issues? I’m serious!!!

    All this running science kinda makes me annoyed. There’s a gal in my ‘hood who does tris and marathons and I seriously think she spends 15 hours a week getting her ass videotaped.

  11. And thus the reason why I run alone.

    Besides, my family gives me enough grief at how PISSED I look as I’m running. My daughter just said to me the other day, “You’ve never seen a HAPPY runner, now, have you Momma?”

    But, but, but…. I’m always happy in the inside! ; )

  12. As a fellow spazzy runner, I adore this post. I feel less alone now.

    I was just at a clinic the other day where they were teaching the POSE technique and talking about cadence. I know they were so thrilled with my Phoebe-From-Friends running style. Remember that? It’s here:

    The thing is, I CAN’T run any other way than with my weird gait. It works, it gets me from A to B – not quickly or anything, but it gets me there.

  13. I think it’s fitting that both we oldish ladies wrote about how NOT to run today. And while your gait most likely would have landed you on the plate of some prehistoric critter I find it charming. Something that’s uniquely YOU.

    And I pray that you never have to bite that leg off in 127 hours.

  14. I barely walk normally. I haven’t actually attempted to “run” in…a long time.
    Since the saber tooth is extinct, although I’m not sure at my 3 cat house, you should be fine.
    And? Yeah, my ass is recliner friendly. I think that’s nice for wide.

  15. That was hilarious, and I can relate, I had that running test thing done to me, though fortunately, nobody filmed anything. What’s amusing is I can run like the wind in spite of having a wonky foot because I twisted my ankle as a kid. (Okay, so I felt like using a line from Christopher Cross…remember him? He certainly looked like he could not really run with the wind but I digress…)

    Have missed your posts. So glad to have internet again…yay

  16. dear lord. I need to not stay away so long! this post had me DYING! “dan brown novels are more straightforward than how that foot move”.

    Dying. Am I.

    apparently I run weird too. hence the blown out knee last summer and the shims in my right shoe.

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