Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Battering Ram

I had a strange encounter with myself the other day while I was running. Recently, I've been experiencing some hip pain after running and I've been trying to figure out how to alleviate the problem. I determined that I must be running incorrectly and my body has been experiencing undue pressure on certain joints and muscles because of this. Therefore, I decided to make this run about figuring out what I was doing.

I think the best way to share this story and the surprising effect of the experience is to try to tell it as a train of thought, as I was experiencing it.
I'm running, trying to pay attention to the distribution of weight that I am putting on each foot as I land on it.

It seems like my right foot is getting a little more weight on the outside of the foot. That's probably not correct. I don't think running on the toes or the heels would be right, but it also seems heavy-hitting to land directly on the middle of my foot. And of course, my left foot isn't doing the same thing - my left foot is hitting the ground pretty much straight on.

Ok, let's see.

(I start running with my right foot turned in slightly, making it strike on the ground in perfect connection with the middle of the foot)

Hmm, yes that does seem to make my hip feel better...

(About a minute later)

I'm starting to feel my hip again, I wonder why.

Did I fall back into my old running position? I thought I was paying attention and holding onto it correctly.



I'm holding myself up from my hip muscles. That must be why I'm feeling this pain in my hips.

Am I compensating for putting full weight on my right foot?

(Releasing my hip muscle and putting the full weight on my right foot)

I feel like my hip is twitching! I keep trying to release the muscles that are holding, and they keep trying to grip again. Grrrr.....

(Thirty seconds later)

Man, now there's a pain in my right foot.

That's kind of familiar...

Oh - I have a fallen arch in that foot, don't I? I remember that was a pretty big deal when I was a kid, but it went away.

Or so I apparently thought.

Huh. I must have been compensating by holding myself up at the hip so I wasn't putting full pressure on my right foot and causing pain. Must have thought I didn't have that arch problem anymore, but really I masked it with masterful 'throw-a-newspaper-over-the-spill-and-it's-not-there-anymore' skills.

I have shoes with good arch support, but I think I'm going to need something even more supportive in my right foot.

Ah ha, that's an interesting discovery.

(One second later)

Ack! Whoa! Jeez, mud! You almost made me slip. It's been so rainy lately. Falling on my face would have been unpleasant.

(Ten seconds later)

Ow, my hip is hurting again. Jeez, I can't keep putting so much weight on my feet. I need to hold myself up by my core.

(Tighten my hip muscles)

Yeah, that's what I should be doing but, ow...that hurts more. Maybe I'm not squeezing tight enough.

(Tighten and release muscles, tighten them more)


(Start walking)

Wait a minute....
Ok, so here's where we come back to third person narration. Either you're thinking I'm a complete moron, or a goldfish. And yes, I realize my hip muscles are not the same as my core. However, I won't give myself the benefit of the doubt and assume that I'm either (although I do agree that I could focus better, as a general rule). What I recognize here is that beloved enemy of mine - my logical/left-brained mind.

Somehow, I seem to think that I should just stick with what I know. Apparently my logical mind thinks that any information it has is the correct, and best, information, and trying to replace it with something else is inefficient and offensive. Therefore, anything that comes onto my radar suggesting that I have to change that which I've made deeply habitual is not worth listening to - well, maybe it is worth listening to for a short period of time, to experience wonderment and excitement at solving a problem to appeal to my ego, but then Lefty just convinces me to revert back to business as usual.

I'm a little miffed at my logical mind, to be honest. But I also have to accept responsibility for letting it run so wild. I was shocked that a simple jolt, or distraction, was enough for my left brain to manipulate the disturbance almost instantaneously and put things back the way it wanted it.

It's much harder to catch instantaneous switches like that, but now that I'm aware and on the lookout, my hope is that these behaviors will become easier to see. And then, I will be able to run correctly and stop upsetting my hips. And I will stop reverting to habitual emotional behaviors that are equally detrimental.

Running is becoming a great analogy for how I'm living my life. I love when unexpected circumstances are what teach us about those things we've been looking for in a seemingly more obvious place.

As a side note, there aren't many Google-able paintings out there of runners. Just saying. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to comment, discuss, challenge, or expand on anything I have written. In fact, I encourage it.