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.
* 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.
I have removed the Word Snob Score game temporarily from the sidebar. It has grown tiresome.
Boo for the reverse limbo. Humidity sucks.