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Monday, March 30, 2020

Vidal Sassoon and the Ruination of My Hips

Sometime in the early Eighties I had a pair of jeans that I really loved. I wore them all the time and since I was still a little kid I even wore holes in the knees the old fashioned way - by doing kid stuff on the floor, ground, in the garden, crashing bikes and roller skates and all that... There was a narrow metal copper-colored label riveted to one of the back pockets. I think it just read: Sassoon. Were they hand-me-downs from my sister? Or was I really so chic?

Sometime toward the end of their useful life - my mom was not a holey jean fan - something shifted in me. Maybe it was the early stages of becoming a man, of noticing that girls walked differently from boys. And maybe it was something about those sexy slim-fitting jeans that prompted me to notice that I was still walking with a pronounced swing in my hips. Like a girl. Well I had to put a stop to that immediately. I remember consciously focusing on not moving my hips while I walked. Social pressures ensured that I kept up my diligent training and before long I was walking straight ahead at all times. No more swing.

But that's not a very natural way to walk. Even for a man. It forces all kinds of straight-legging that shuts free flow down and stiffens up almost every join from head to toe. It turns one into a board. After years and decades that board-body is no longer going to be able to do much of anything but peg-leg up to the bar like a cowboy - something my childhood self would have been delighted to attain.

I wasn't ever a ballerina or anything so it all worked out okay... for a while. But then I started running. And running and running and running and over the years started focusing on form and how to improve stride and pace and efficiency and speed. Across the decades I've come to believe that none of that focus on form was going anywhere until I got to the root of the problem. Cowboys don't run.

I can't and don't blame Vidal for this. If anything, he showed me the way all those years ago and I just chose to ignore him. Actually, now, if anything, I should thank him and those jeans because now I have a point of memory that I can go back to. If I can just imagine myself wearing those jeans again and walking like I used to when I was a kid and being willing to roll around and move freely like a real human animal then maybe I can bring some of that swing and twist and freedom back into my gait - to my hamstrings and glutes and hips and back and neck and mind! Freedom at last to run freely through the world as goddess intended!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

keeping track

As cyclists, as runners, as people, I suppose, we keep track of things. So many miles recorded. Or, distance, anyway, I should say. Some of us keep track of other things, too. Number of rides in a month. Average heart rate trends. Minutes per mile. 

I tend to total up each week, and then each month, and then each year, and then start over. I've never totaled all the years. That would be a lot. I'm not sure it would really be useful information for me. A few decades? A few times around a globe. But not really around the world, around the Earth. Around town... 

I got to the end of last month a totaled it up, as I do, and then went straight on to the next month. I hardly even gave that yearly total a second thought. We kind of have a sense of that as we go along anyway. Each day's schedule becomes fairly predictable as it rolls into the week's which rolls along and along... Some shifting here and there but mostly staying the course. 

I wouldn't say it's pointless, though. Keeping track becomes part of the process. A daily connection, a checking in. Sometimes even a motivator in it's own right.

Of course, these days, there's Apps that will do it all for you. "They'll" even send you a message at the end of the year with all your stats all tallied and graphed. Some stats that you might not even have known were being tracked. Who needs a pencil and a log? What's a log? What's a WebLog... LOL. Wink, wink... Who knows anymore...

I like my App stats, though. And my App friends. And I'll keep them. But I think I'll keep my pencils, too. And the process. The sharpening of the pencil, even. Journaling the day in micro poems of distance or route or people along the way...

Sweeping the path, chopping the wood, carrying the water... moments into moments...