Running from the Ankles Up!

Someone once told me that fitness begins from the ankles up.  Whether or not there is any scientific proof surrounding this, is anybody’s guess.  Although my ankles look pretty much the same, I have noticed a change in my knees.  Yes, my knees.  You’d have to know the story of my knees to know why this is so exciting for me.  (I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version, if you insist.)

I have always had, for lack of a better word, fat knees. I know this to be true, one, because my grandmother pointed it out to me once. I think she called them “cow knees”.  (She was a very sweet woman, I promise you, despite that statement. ) and two, a trainer I once had, made a very convincing argument for why more reps on the leg machine was in my best interest. (In his very thick Jamaican accent: “You got fat ’round yer knees.”) So to look in the mirror at a more shapelier knee, let’s me know a little progress was made. And I might not have been paying attention had it not been for grandma and the Jamaican trainer.  

Other more obvious physical changes are happening too. Now, whether or not they are direct results of running or eating, is where things get a little fuzzy.  My thighs are huge.  In fact, they are a little more huge-er (yes, I said it!) than they were before I started this program.  Getting my jeans up has become a sport unto itself and walking up even a small incline, feels like I’m wearing metal leg irons.  Either, I’ve gained some serious muscle OR someone is spiking the water with creatine!  PLEASE tell me this is normal!  

Also, I have been reading everything I can get my hands on about running. Everything from correct posture and breathing to post and pre-run snacking.  So far, a really good book for women (sorry, fellas) is The Complete Book of Running for Women by Claire Kowalchik.  This book gives some very basic information about running and nutrition, as well as some very specific information about the female runner. I highly recommend it.  But as I was going through the book, and the countless other articles and magazines I’ve picked up over the past few months, they all talk about how relaxing running is and should be.  Can I just say, how in the heck can I relax with so many things to try and remember? This is what’s going on in my head when I’m running:

Back straight! Head up!  Drop your shoulders!  Plant your feet! Don’t forget to breathe.  Back straight! Head up! Unclench those fists!  Plant your feet! Are you breathing?!  Back straight! Head up! Drop your shoulders!  Plant your feet! Breathe! 

Who can relax with all this going on??  I’m sure I must look like Pinocchio’ s little sister  limping around the track every week. Trying to keep up.  Trying not to pass out.  Sure, with time, I WILL relax and I won’t look a wooden rag doll but  a real live girl!  But until that time, I will not use the word “relaxing” to describe my running experience. 

So far I’m up to a steady three times a week, not including Saturdays.  This is in HUGE part to GREAT Pace Coaches! Thank you, Charles for not giving any of us an excuse NOT to run. This man will meet you anywhere if it means you’ll get some running in.  Also big shout out to Arneda and Cass for all your support and more importantly, for keeping Charles in line!

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