Wednesday, August 06, 2008


The name of my favorite reindeer? No. Prancer’s alright but I’ve always preferred reindeer Carl. Carl didn’t make it on Santa’s sled team though due to some, er, indiscretions in Elfette’s Lounge. Santa holds grudges.*

No, “prancer” refers to my running style. Not by choice, mind you. Mrs. Nitmos casually noted at my first 5k this year that she can always tell when I’m approaching from a distance because of my “unique” running style. I believe it was described as a “high knee kick, bouncy style”. Sounds like a regular show pony to me the way I must be prancing down the street. Or a Rockette. One of the two.

Being secure and open to constructive criticism, I immediately poked fun at her choice of footwear and sulked behind a tree for 45 minutes. She kept saying she could still see me but I turned sideways and made myself skinnier. There’s just no way she could have seen me. Especially since she tried to peer around the tree but I shuffled around the circumference keeping it between her and I at all times. You wouldn't know I'm a 19 year adult veteran.

A month or so since, I’ve had time to cool down and critically examine my running form. Perhaps I am doing a bit more vertical motion than necessary. (Which is weird because I’m legendary for my “horizontal mambo” ba da dum.) I remember, when training for the Bayshore Marathon in 2007 and a BQ attempt, I really focused on cutting out any extraneous motions – energy wasters – that would not be helping me propel down the road. I knew I was really close to the BQ line and, like twisting a wash cloth for that last drop of water, tried to maximize my efficiency through my running form. Every second would count.

Vertical motion? No good. Focus all energy towards horizontal, forward motion. No unnecessary up and down movements, or prancing. I don’t know what the Running Gods say about this but what do they know anyway? It’s not like they won 1,000 Boston Marathons or something. Anyone can win one or two.

At some point, I had a fairly smooth, efficient form going that has fallen by the wayside. Suddenly, I’m bopping all over the road again like a deranged Tigger.

I seem to be saying, ‘This race is too easy for me. After I prance around a bit, I’m going to moonwalk to the finish.’

I’ve been tossing this revelation around in my head for a while and applying a Less Vertical approach to my runs. Maybe I can regain that efficient form. After all, besides the horizontal mambo, I am also known for late marathon calf cramping which is not nearly as impressive (but will allow me the opening to insert a couple lame cow jokes in this post very soon.)

Basically, I’m going to milk this idea for the next few weeks. Someone else (Mrs. Nitmos) gives me an idea and I take it and apply it successfully retaining all the credit for myself. Because that’s how I prance. Could this be the source of my marathon calf cramping? Mrs. Nitmos might have inadvertently discovered my White Whale.

I think the udderly final straw was my race photo from my last 5k. I couldn’t “borrow” it and place it here so you can click this link to see it. That’s me in the middle** – white shirt, blue shorts, number 1088 (‘088’ shown). Notice how neither of my feet are touching the ground. I’m literally hovering in mid air. I know the 800 intervals I’ve been doing have helped but hovering? Didn’t expect that. Everyone else in the photo has a foot on the ground. Shouldn’t I? I believe this is called “Mid Prance”. Maybe this is why I’ve been unable to step on the back of anyone’s shoes.

Anyhow, this will be the focus as I prepare for the upcoming Detroit Marathon. I want to turn this Prancer back to a Dasher so I can get post race Blizten and head home for Cupid.

Happy trails.

* And likes to throw the word “defile” around in his depositions. He’s not all jolly, apparently.
** In case you are wondering, I totally smoked all of those people.


Here’s the finishing photo from the same 5k race. Am I:

-preparing to stop Garmin? – or-
-squashing a spider I found on my wrist?

Here’s my colt (here and here) who won his ½ mile kids’ race. He doesn’t seem to be prancing at all.

Housekeeping Notes:

I have removed the Word Snob Score game temporarily from the sidebar. It has grown tiresome.

5.0 miles
34:16 time
6:51 time

Boo for the reverse limbo. Humidity sucks.


Danielle in Iowa said...

I think I am about to give my friend a complex by sending him an e-mail with a link to this post saying "Hey! You're a Tigger too!"

And you know what? The mid-air picture looks cool and really isn't that half the reason we run?

Marcy said...

I was going to say the same thing as Danielle, I think it looks cool.

Dude, how come the kiddo isn't sucker punching that dude in the red next to him. Did you not teach him anything? :P

Xenia said...

I concur, the mid-air photo is cool. It's like you're Jesus ... but not.

Congrats to your son! Who's the guy in red next to him? Do you know if red-shirt guy is single? If so, can I get his number? ;)

nwgdc said...

Where's the running skirt?
As for the photo, I agree with the above...the only reason I run is to get caught in mid-air...and it finally happened (see photo on right).
My calves were a huge issue for me but changing my stride really helped. I rented "Chi Running" from the library (yes, I have a card) and didn't really read it, but flipped through the pages, looked at the pictures, and got the idea. It really has helped. I now recommend it to patients looking to get more active or who are injured from running. Look into it!

Sarah said...

This picture illustrates your point even better, I think. That's some serious knee lift you've got going there.

I like those mid-air pictures. When I see them I can really say "I am flying!"

Roisin said...

I vote for stopping of the Garmin. Spiders are gross. Those are nifty pictures!

Anonymous said...

"I knew I was really close to the BQ line and, like twisting a wash cloth for that last drop of water, tried to maximize my efficiency through my running form. Every second would count."

Same here. I've decided to become more efficient by doing away with silly time-sucking activities like thanking race volunteers and waving to small, eager children. Screw 'em all.

Kristina said...

Y'all look like you're on one of those carousel swing rides in that photo. Either that or the photographer was drunk and tilting his camera. Congrats to the mini-Nitmos.

Marci said...

Ah, your one of those elk-type runners. Mmmmm.
The fastest runners I know run exactly like that, so I say Prance on.

*aron* said...

wives always know best :)

sooo fun that lil nitmos won his race!!! you must have been so proud :)

chia said...

I like Xenia's take on it.

You're like Jesus Lite. Great waste, less fulfilling.

Nah, really, good luck tinkering with form :-)

thebets said...

Ahhh...I *heart* Mrs. Nitmos...she always knows the prefect thing to say to get you to sulk.

Viper said...

You should study your colt. He seems to be hauling ass, whereas you seem to be trying to bounce yours.

Vanilla said...

I hate when websites don't let you "borrow" pictures but here's how you get around it: Use your 'Print Screen' key to copy everything on the screen. Open Paint or any image program and click paste. Crop away everything but the image you are trying to "borrow." That way you can really stick it to those bastards and their copyrights.

Tall Girl Running said...

My lower right leg swings out to the side a bit with every step when I run, so I have a unique running style myself. But rather than attempting to correct it in an effort to run a faster, more efficient pace, I choose to embrace my role as the resident epileptic at every race I run.

By the way, kudos on the subtle, yet smartass comment you left on my last blog entry. If only it actually motivated me to post more. You see, I've found leaving short, snarky comments on others' blogs much easier than all that tedious writing on my own.

Chad Aaron Sayban said...

At least your running style isn't "Vixen." That would be really bad for you.

By the way, are you going to finish Slash anytime soon? You have been nursing that book like my lame college buddy used to nurse his beer.

aham23 said...

well, tell her you are the very least a very fast show pony. later.

Joe said...

Danielle did in fact send this to me, in an attempt to mock me. My Tiggerness is slightly different, though, in it is more related to explicit bouncing both before and after running, but not quite as much during the race.

However, my response to people who mock my Tiggerness is to just reply, "The wonderful thing about Tiggers is Tiggers are wonderful things!"

Marathon Maritza said...

Did you photoshop Marty McFly's hoverboard out of the picture, you cheater?

Maybe I should take up the Prancing gait if it'll get me to run sub-7s like you.

Amanda said...

hmm I am like the opposite of a bouncer, i barely leave the ground...does that make me a slug?

Ovens2Betsy said...

I was going to blame the prancing on the girly-girl running skirts you like to wear, but it appears you opted for shorts for this race.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Ooooh you're like a hovercraft.

The Mandapants said...

Prancing may take up extra energy, but it also prevents you from shuffling (and thus from tripping/falling on face/other embarrassing events). I always worry these things will happen to me when I get tired lol.

Plus, if you can Tigger your way into jumping high enough, you could just jump the 26.2 miles to the finish line. :)

Kevin said...

I always seem to be caught stopping the Garmin. I guess I could wait till I cross, but somehow I cant do it. My last tri, I tried to raise my arms at the finish, but they didnt get me soon enough

AKA Alice said...

I've been happily, silently, reading your blog am only commenting now 'cuz you sed, "milk," and "udderly" in your post and I have a thing for cows.

Other than that, I think you run much faster than I do, and don't see why you'd want to mess with that...the flying thing looks fun (flying cows...ha!)

Ms. V. said...

I think you look cool.

We had an Udder Run not long ago. You could have done that one.

You look like all the runners who usually pass me.

Lily on the Road said...

Great pic's, continue prancing, but there will soon be a day when the colt will blow your doors off! LOL...

(I'm more of a glider myself) LMAO!

MizFit said...

Id comment but Im STILL LAUGHING at your comment at crankys.

and fearing for your life :)


Melissa said...

Okay. This one is going on my blog roll.

Besides being funny, you are also inspiring. Even though I can't run.

tfh said...

There are worse things than prancing.

Once I invited a guy I was dating to run with me. He was a TOE RUNNER. He literally ran on tiptoes. Someone came up behind us and said to him, "Ah, I'll always recognize you from behind because of the way you run." I blurted out: "That's NOT running."

Yeah. So I say, prance away.

Laura said...

Oooh, I forgot you're doing Detroit too! Maybe I'll look into it more...

SLB said...

The wonderful thing about Tiggers is that Tiggers are wonderful things!
In you first photo are you about the strollered!?!

KimsRunning said...

I think you were running so freakin' fast that it just LOOKS like your feet weren't meetin' the street!!!!

Merry said...

Personally, I loved your comment at Crankys :)

Nice photo. Cool and suave, with a delicate suggestion of 'late-for-the-bus' body language.

Michelle J said...

Mid-prance huh? Very cute!!


Marathon me said...

If it makes you feel better last year's Olympic marathon guys were stopping their watches at the finish line too.

I'm pretty sure those guys times will be accurate and they don't need to stop their watch right at the last second, but it was good to see they are as neurotic as us.

sRod said...

Nice shot mid-step. I always look like I'm walking in my race pictures.