On our run earlier, Jen and I got to talking about how people perceive us. I don’t recall how exactly we got on the topic, but we talked about how oftentimes people read us as aloof, or even as b*tches. I’ve never understood the magic formula that people use to determine whether someone else is shy/awkward or intimidating/aloof. Growing up, I was pretty shy/awkward and generally understood by others as such. At some point in college, that changed. Maybe I seemed more angry and less mousey? Or my hair got shorter and sassier? Or my voice got deeper? I’m not sure what it was exactly, but something changed in the way I got read. I’m not saying that I’d like to be thought of as shy/awkward/mousey instead of as intimidating/aloof/etc., but I feel like I’d get more leeway. People would perhaps judge me less, try harder with me in conversation, have pity on me. In truth, I am still really socially awkward and weird; I just learn to fake it better.
This all came to mind because my kids had a birthday party for a kid in their class. I was a little nervous about going to a classmate’s birthday because I’m not close friends with any of the other parents. I would be…out of my comfort zone. I struggle with small talk, so I just don’t do it. Which, in the small bits of time of pick-up and drop-off, that’s about all there is. Which means I talk very little to the other parents. Like ever. It’s painful. And it’s not that I don’t enjoy being social or talking to other people, I just struggle with that initial surface stuff.
The party ended up being okay. I mostly held someone’s baby the whole time, ha, which Mr. UnRunner pointed out was weird since I couldn’t recall the mother’s name right away. Anyhow, it’s painful for me to force myself to engage with others in a setting where I know very few people well. That’s one of the reasons I can’t stand academic conferences. I’m horrible at the whole networking bit.
Sometimes I think about this during the start of group runs. Some of the women in my group are great at introducing themselves to new runners and making folks feel welcome. I am not one of them. Again, awkward. Silence. Once we start running, I try harder to engage if we’re at the same pace. I think it’s because we don’t have to look at each other. It seems to help. Ha. Anyhow, this is to say that if I ever run with you and act weird, it’s cuz I’m awkward. And you should take pity on me and say hi. And take that same piece of advice for the next time you’re with someone that comes off as standoffish. Go out of your way to be nice. They’re probably just socially awkward. PSA for the day done. I’m also open to suggestions for how to overcome my weirdness. Should I just start wearing a button that says, “I’m awkward, be patient”? Or maybe I should just approach every group run like this?
Anyhow, this blog is supposed to be about running and not my social quirks…I came across this video from another blog, and like the super-runnerd I am, I watched it AND read quite a bit more about other aspects about form, AND downloaded an app to tape and analyze my running form (I honestly am trying to figure out if I can train my kids to video me so I won’t have to subject anyone else to my craziness).
The video is ALOT about your hip flexibility, and the weird photoshopping stuff they do with the video is a little creepy–like there’s one scene where the guy’s on his stomach and he stretches his leg straight up behind almost perpendicular. I’m pretty sure that’s not physically possible, and there are some other weird moments in the video where you’ll see this. Still, it was fascinating to think about the different angles we create in our form, and how some adjustments could help us create better power to our stride. It also made me work on some pigeon and hip opening this morning!
Finally, THIS article is super-long, but all about feet strength! It goes on at length about how your feet are your foundation and any imbalances, lack of engagement with the medial arch, and other wonky things can throw your whole form off. Compounded over miles, this can cause fatigue at best, injury at worst. Because I’ve been told I have very flexible feet–not a good thing I guess–with weak ankles and flatter arches, this article perked my interest. There are also quite a number of photo examples to show you how even things like your kick-back (the direction/angle of your foot when you kick/stride your leg back) can cause you to over-compensate on one side, impacting your form.
This is what led me to download an app (Coach My Video–I saw some folks use it a running form clinic last year) with the intent of looking at my form more intently. I want to run as strong as possible, and finding the gaps in my running form, I can better sense how to fit my strength training. Or so I tell myself. In case you haven’t realized, I’m a big planner/dreamer. The follow-through sometimes lacks completion. Like I need to get back to that Mountain Athletics app…and read that Racing Weight book. Sigh.
FINALLY, I have a discount code for folks! There’s a new race in Oak Park that I have a $5 off discount code for the first 25 people to register. It’s called the “Run for Diversity 5k/10k” and it benefits the Oak Park Regional Housing Center, which works on issues of racial integration and housing. It’s August 9, 2015. Use Jung2015.
Anyhow, I’d welcome any thoughts you have about running form. Things you think that work or don’t. Whether it’s all over-analysis. And if you have any tricks for becoming more socially less awkward. Happy weekend long runs everyone, and good luck to anyone racing!