If you have been running with the same person for a while, or if you have watched the same person run often enough, you begin to notice their stride and gait until you can eventually recognize it from far away. Years and years ago, my husband commented on “that thing I do with my foot.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You swing it out, or you kick it out. I don’t know. It’s just weird. But I can see you from a mile away.”
Of course, I still carefully look at every photo of me running. Am I doing “that thing with my foot?” Yes. And, even though I have known about it for years, I haven’t been able to change it. I have always attributed it to my one leg being longer than the other; my body has had to accommodate for that when I am running. You can see it here when I raced the B&O 5K Championships last September.
A few weeks ago, when at a morning practice with TOC, Coach Greg was able to watch my gait more carefully. “You’re swinging your hips,” he told me at the end of the workout.
“What?!” I was surprised, but it made sense and tied in with the foot kicking/swinging action that has been going on for years. Now that my chiropodist has put in a bit of a lift inside my shoe, I am noticing that my hips are feeling straighter and, hopefully, “that thing [I] do with my foot” is disappearing.
These foot kicking/hip swinging idiosyncrasies of mine, though, seem to have created another unique feature: the Cynthia Arm. A few days after Coach Greg pointed out that I swing my hips when I run, Monica told me that my left elbow sticks out. Again, this was met with a “What?!”
“It sticks out – probably because you’re swinging your hips.” And I swing my hips because one leg is longer than another and….Somehow I felt like singing: the leg bone is connected to the hip bone, and the hip bone is connected to the….
“Don’t worry about it,” Monica said. “It’s your thing. It’s like the Andre-arm. We’ll call it the Cynthia Arm.”
Well, if it works for Andre de Grasse, maybe I should just leave it alone. Perhaps my elbow will get me into the same club as the cool kids; maybe that’s my secret to becoming a champion, to going to the Olympics. I wonder if I need to put an insurance policy on my elbow; after all, it has become my trademark.
Or maybe I should just work at tucking in my elbows more, straightening my hips, pointing my toes forward, and keep on singing “Dem Bones.”