Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Lest you think the LSAT was the sole reason for my lack of posting these past couple of months, let me provide you with a couple of others. First of all, the sun came out. To put it briefly, in Portland, this is a big deal. Second of all, in my absence, Blogger changed. I really don't like the new dashboard and post editor. Third of all, I have taken up new hobbies such as running.

Those of you with any familiarity with my athletic history may be stunned, amused, or a combination of both. You may be expecting to see the Devil himself commuting to work in a sled. He went to REI to stock up on winter outerwear (maybe those jackets with the silly commercials and the really shiny stuff on the inside) at the same time I went to Foot Traffic to be videotaped on a treadmill for my "gait analysis."

For those of you not familiar with my athletic history, I have two words for you: remedial gym. I am not exaggerating for comedic effect. At one point in elementary school, my gym teacher would hold extra sessions with me during recess to try to help me improve at such basic skills as catching a ball. If you would like further details, I refer you to this.

Prior to my gait analysis, I spent a couple of weeks running in Vans. I know just as much as you do how stupid this is. However, before I spent a significant amount of money on shoes that were not pretty, I wanted to make sure I was really going to stick with this new hobby. Also, I wasn't running a marathon. I wasn't running on harsh terrain. I was merely running in a straight line through my neighborhood, and I wasn't running very far. After getting up before 6am several days in a row, but really, after developing some pain in both ankles, I decided it was time for new shoes.

Don't you love how new hobbies give you an opportunity to expand your vocabulary? I now know that I overpronate, which is a fancy way of saying I turn my ankles when I run. In fact, I even walk that way. I walk and run on the sides of my feet.

Now, I run most mornings and some evenings, the latter usually on days when I have not run in the morning. Then I go home and do arm workouts with weights! which are actually large mason jars full of dried kidney beans! (See: running in Vans.)

I don't expect to run marathons any time soon. I don't expect to run fast. (In fact, yesterday when I had to get around a neighbor determined to assault the sidewalk with his leafblower--please note that, while the cool evening felt a bit autumnal, it is still July to the trees--I discovered that I actually run not much faster than I walk.) I don't expect my love of walking to diminish. I just wanted to do something healthy, something that could be done in less time than my daily walk and would therefore give me more time for other things (read: LSAT.) There isn't much else to say on this topic, not yet at least. I do not have too many funny stories.

Someone once warned me that when you first start running, "it sucks." I can tell you that I have found some truth to this statement. Within my first couple of blocks, some days not even two blocks in, I find myself thinking, "Nooooooooooo. I'm going to diiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeee. Aaauuugghhhhh." I push through, and by the seventh block, I am having fun. One day, I was having so much fun that I tried to run up The Big Hill. I made it halfway. It was about 6:30 in the morning, and halfway up the big hill, panting and gasping as though for my very life and existence, I stopped running and walked, wheezily, the rest of the way up and down the hill. I imagined all of the residents of the street lining The Big Hill were sitting in their front rooms, drinking their morning coffee, watching me and laughing. In fact, I imagine that they do this all the time--sit inside watching the many others who have no doubt been defeated by The Big Hill.

When I am driving my car, runners who use the middle of the road and not the sidewalk have been a source of irritation. It seems unsafe. Especially at night, but that's another story. What I am telling you now is that my experiences have shed some light on why Portland runners might shun the sidewalk, at least during Spider Season. One evening, I tried to keep track of how many spider webs I ran through. Four. And then I stopped counting. I think I even swallowed a couple spiders. I still run on the sidewalk, though.

Which brings me to another point, a possible rant. I would like to start a new self-righteous campaign in this city. I would like to make stickers and T-shirts even. Share the Sidewalk. I Share the Sidewalk. I'm not talking about slow runners or regular dog-walkers. Here are some examples of some of the more extreme situations I have had to dodge on the sidewalk:

1. Tai Chi and/or Yoga Once, I saw a walker come to a sudden stop, plant herself in the middle of the sidewalk, and commence a series of complex stretches and poses. Morning tai chi is one thing, but is there really no better place to do this?
2. Playing Fetch With not one but two dogs. On the sidewalk. You can see the potential for peril; where there is a sidewalk there is also a road with CARS. Come on, dude. Grant Park has an off-leash area!
3. Bikes. BIKES! Sharing the Road not working out?

Speaking of which, I once also a man running directly on the yellow line of a somewhat busy road in our neighborhood. I never saw him again. I hope he's okay.

And that's pretty much it--all I have to say about my new hobby.


LS said...

Good job Sarah! I have been sticking to walking, up to 3 miles a day at 6 in the morning, and my major help is a chatty neighbor that does the same. And I did the gait analysis last year too, and bought real shoes and insoles then, so, never went through the VAN phase :)

We don't even have sidewalks here, so here you have to make sure no car hits you. I have a trick, when a car aims to close, I step one step sideways out in the road and stretch my arm out to the center of the road - every car then immediately gives me lots of space! Of course that wouldn't work with spiders or dogs or yoga frenzies.

Keep it up, I will think about you running when I walk tomorrow!

Ellen said...

This inspired me to go back to an online sneaker fit test I did a few months ago...because what is more fun than learning all the weird words that describe your running style? (I am, by the way, a mild overpronator, pigeon-toed, with excessive joint flexibility.) And running on sidewalks is the worst. Besides the spiderwebs, there are always people doing things there (walking slowly or, I guess, yoga) or bikers who don't know bike laws. But, you know...I also didn't run in the middle of the street. I'm glad to hear that you gave up on running in the vans. Now, MORE POSTS!

ProGait Gait Analysis Manchester said...

Go Sarah!! Keep up the good work!