Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nothin' Quite Like A Swingin' Gait!

When I was a kid, I stayed with my grandma for a weekend while my parents were out of town on vacation or having a baby or some such thing. I wasn't very old - maybe about 8 - but I remember this particular visit vividly. I remember it because my grandmother insisted that my brother and I come into her room and on her bed and - wait for it - watch a PBS documentary about Carnival down in Rio. This being the 80s and educational programming, they didn't exactly censor the thing. Now, my parents being of a puritanical sort at the time, had filtered a lot of the stuff that I was able to see, so the utter shock of sitting with my also puritanical (so I thought) grandmother and watching bouncing vibrant street-party boobies without so much of a hint of embarrassment or move to change the channel cause a big giant flashing neon "does not compute" sign to pop into my head.

I mention this because it is the the nearest comparison I have to my reaction when I saw the video from my latest marathon (Walt Disney World, btw, and it was awesome). Check out this video at the finish, and look for the guy in the custom tank on the left who crosses at about 3:59:57:

I don't know about you, but I can pick out about 10 things wrong with that running form without thinking. Bad posture, bad foot strike, too much lateral movement - dude looks like an out of place power walker more than an endurance runner. And he will be a power walker soon if he keeps up that stride.

That video is at the finish line, though, so maybe it's just fatigue. After all, who has great form at mile 26.2? That's a nice thought - let's check out the same guy, but this time at mile 11. Form shouldn't be an issue that early, right? Look for the guy just after Tinkerbell appears.

Well, I'll say this: at least the form is consistent. Consistently bad.

I'd poke a little bit more fun at that poor sap - maybe speculate this was his first time, maybe ask if he found his entry form in a box of cracker jacks, maybe muse that he got lost on the way home from a Latin dance class - except for one teeny tiny little detail.

That runner is me.

DOES NOT COMPUTE is flashing through my head. I've had some solid advice on form, I've tried to implement that advice, I've doled out some advice of my own, and I certainly know what good form is and looks like. How in the world can I look so bad?!?!?

Needless to say, if I want to continue to do this long term, I've got some fixing to do. I've done a bunch of research and have a specific plan - which I'll post (along with a more technical description of the problems I'm seeing) later. I'll chronicle the progress and experience here.

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