My relationship to running has been a long and winding journey. It was still called jogging (the seventies) and I still lived on the other side of Brooklyn where I grew up, when I first took up this odd hobby.
One of my neighbors, Mark, needed to run three miles in twenty-four minutes (I think I am remembering that correctly), for a college class that started in September He had the whole summer to work on getting down to an eight minute mile. It started with one lap around the block which felt like a lot at the time but was probably little more than a quarter mile. For whatever reason, I took up the challenge with him and found building up to three miles to be easier than I ever thought.
Summer ended and so did the routine. Fast forward a couple of years to some strange time spent not going to school at Brooklyn College. According to an admissions officer who called me one bleary eyed morning I had received high scores on my GED (High School Equivalency Diploma) and would be welcomed at Brooklyn College. Informed that I had no more interest in college than I had in high school, he told me about financial aid and student loans that would essentially pay me to go to school. “Sign me up,” I replied.
It wasn’t long before I realized that they would just as soon pay me not to attend the classes that I signed up for and I milked that cow for a couple of years. I did go to some film classes with Foster Hirsch and Virginia Brooks that I have fond, and actually life changing, memories of, watching classic movies that I hadn’t seen before.
I also connected with Jesse (who of course I just found on Facebook), who was friends with friends and I can’t for the life of me remember why but we got into running at the Brooklyn College track while under some extreme influences. When Jesse broke his leg, which is a story unto itself, my second stint of running came to an end.
I took up running again in the early nineties when I moved to Carroll Gardens and ran at the Red Hook Ball fields with my dogs. Unfortunately my third dance with the running gods led to shin splints and I was done after about eighteen months.
The next running phase raised the stakes considerably. About five years down the line I was given The Pose Method by Dr. Nicholas Romanov and learned for the first time that there was such a thing as a running technique. This was a wakeup call that would later influence the CoreWalking Program. Most people simply start running without thinking that there might be a correct way to do it.
First, The Pose Method blew out my calves (in a good way) and got me running in a pain free easy fashion. Since learning this technique I have also experimented with minimal and barefoot running though I always stop after a number of months for whatever reason.
One cool thing is that every time I return to running it feels like my form has improved by osmosis. The things that I am always working on in my yoga, walking and posture practices translate immediately to running. What I noticed most in this current incarnation is an access to the breath that I never had before. I have always struggled with a slightly elevated rib cage and this is what I have been working on most in my assorted practices.
As soon as I started up running again I have been much softer in the front body and my ribcage feels naturally level with easy access to the breath. This has always been a problem in the past and nothing would make me happier than to think that it is a pattern consigned to the scrap heap.
So here is the main problem. I don’t like running. I like having run. I feel great afterwards but I have never gotten to that deeply meditative place that I am sure would be lovely. Instead I wait for the first half of the run to be done so I can turn back from whence I came. Though, every time I start up again I hope it will be forever.
BTW, I am running in the Merrill Vapor Glove, their most minimal shoe. For whatever reason, Merrill’s fit my feet beautifully. I have a number of different styles.