Friday, December 30, 2011

Wait, I can explain

There used to be an Adidas advertising campaign about 10 years ago entitled, "Runners.  Yeah, we're different." It had pictures of runners doing things seemingly bizarre by nonrunner standards, but which make perfect sense to runners.  This one was one of my favorites:

I've certainly done a few things in my day as a runner that might require some explanation to a casual onlooker.  Here are three:

Getting a foam roller
Well, maybe not so much getting the foam roller, more like transporting it home. I obtained my foam roller through my physical therapist's office, which is in downtown Chicago.  They didn't have foam roller boxes, and a log of foam that is three feet long and six inches in diameter does not fit very well into a purse or computer bag.  Therefore, I had to walk home through the busy and very crowded streets of rush-hour downtown Chicago, manually carrying my foam roller.  Needless to say, I was not popular and I got some stares.

What's the problem? Haven't you seen three-foot
pieces of cylindrical hard-celled foam before? 
Remedying potential plantar fasciitis
I had started experiencing a little bit of heel pain on my left foot. I am one who will always seek out home remedies whenever possible (I really dislike any kind of medication and I avoid going to the doctor unless I am in dire straits). Some googling led me to several recommendations to roll a frozen golf ball under your foot a few times per day.

Adam had some golf balls in the office that he'd received from Harris Bank as a promotional gift, which he happily provided towards my cause. Since the instructions said to do golf ball therapy several times a day, I decided to give it a go right there in the office.

The area where I sit in the office, including the kitchen, is usually pretty deserted since many folks frequently work onsite. However, I didn't want coworkers walking in on me while putting golf balls into the office freezer. So I tried to be nonchalant about looking around carefully and making sure the coast was clear, then went purposefully into the kitchen to do my business.  As I headed back to my desk, I tried to make it look like I was busy in the hopes that it would reduce any potential suspicion - I intentionally carried a messy stack of papers and tried to scowl. 

I repeated the entire pattern later that day when I went back to take the golf balls out of the freezer.

Back at my desk, I took off my shoe and hosiery, and tried to roll the frozen golf ball under my foot.  I was pretty clumsy at first - the golf ball kept slipping out, so I had to keep kneeling awkwardly under my desk to retrieve it. 

My cube also happens to be right near one of the exit doors.  Everytime I heard someone coming, I quickly sat up, slid my feet out as far forward as possible underneath my desk to hide the evidence, and tried to look busy (messy stacks of paper really do wonders in scenarios like this). 

Who's rolling a golf ball under their feet?  NOT ME!
I swear that during those five minutes I was trying to golf-ball roll my foot, at least 35 people walked by, including facilities maintenance, recruiting candidates, and an entire new-hire orientation class.  Then, the moment I stopped, nobody walked by my desk for the rest of the day. 

Seriously, how do people just know those exact moments when you're trying to surreptitiously golf-ball roll your feet?

Overcoming Muscle Imbalances
My physical therapist diagnosed me with some muscle imbalances.  I also attended a CARA clinic where Coach Bill Leach recommended some exercises focused on tuning up some of those areas prone to muscle imbalance, which would improve gait, etc.  I'd read about the many benefits of walking or running backwards, so I decided to give it a try.

Living in Chicago, it's tough to find ample-sized places to run or walk backwards without being prone to traffic, people walking their dogs, or potholes the size of Mishawaka.

I decided to use a treadmill instead.  Normally I am not a fan of treadmills primarily because I get bored on them... but desperate times call for desperate measures. 

I briefly considered using a treadmill in the fitness facility at my office building, but many of my coworkers (including the executives) work out there and I didn't want to have to explain.  However, I am also fortunate in that the building I live in has a workout facility which rarely has more than a couple of people there at any given time.  Plus, I don't know many other people in the building anyways.

After several successful and semi-peaceful workouts of walking along backwards on the treadmill (it's much harder to do than it looks) without anyone seeing me (Adam doesn't count), I start getting less self-conscious.  Hey, it's my workout, and who cares what anyone else thinks, right?  I actually venture to walk backwards on the treadmill on a day when other people are there to see me in all of my backwards glory.

A man (who reminds me of that goofy uncle or grandfather we all have that always makes ridiculously corny jokes) walks by me, busts out laughing, points at my feet, and jovially and gleefully yells, "Hey, you know, you're going the wrong way!!!"

Yes, yes, I know, I know.  I mumble something about how I'm doing this on purpose for physical therapy, and he grins and says, "Just giving you a hard time."  But as good-natured as his ribbing was, I haven't gone backwards treadmill walking ever since.

Yeah, maybe not so much anymore.
As a result of some of these experiences, I've become much more open now to some of the unusual things people might do.  (For example, at one of my Toastmasters clubs, one of the members attended a meeting while randomly wearing a Mexican wrestler mask.  He drew a lot of stares from the other members, but I didn't bat an eyelash!)

In the meantime, I am continuing to learn how not to concern myself with what other people think about my workouts... while keeping some of my more, uh, eccentric physical therapy exercises confined to the privacy of my own home.  :)

1 comment:

  1. Happy to lend the golf balls. At least in your physical therapy they have a chance for long-term survival. If I take them on the course, they are going to drown, no doubt about it !