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Posts tagged ‘running’

Innocent Observations – From A Man Who Only Runs When He Is Late

January 15, 2012. Kyoto. Marathon.

Unable to understand what the announcers are saying, having never watched a marathon in my life, I have only my eyes to inform me.

Heads move.  Some heads poised upon soft, supple necks, other heads with chins up, back of skulls pressed down against short, tight necks.  Some heads swinging from side to side, like metronomes, others centered, buoyant.

Shoulders move.  Some shoulders rotate and swing easily, maintaining their horizontality, others move too little or too much, one side more, the other side less, one or the other side dropping down.

Arms move.  With some notable exceptions, not too much deviation among the runners here – occasional hands and forearms that look too low or too high, an over flexed wrist here and there, varying degrees of effort in the arms.

Spines move.  Some spines more rigid than others, especially lumbar spines – when lumbar spines are tighter and compressed, the ribs become over lifted in the front, arching the body back when the runner is attempting to move forward.  It looks good, like mastheads, like those beautiful women carved heroically in front of great ships slicing through the waves, cutting through the wind, forging forward. But my guess is that runners would like to feel that gentle and powerful western wind against their backs.  Some thoracic spines over-rotate, often more to one side than the other, others thoracic spines don’t rotate quite enough.

Whole bodies move up and down.  Perhaps coming up too far off the ground between steps shortens the stride and makes impact upon landing on the front foot heavier.  Sure, a lively spring in the step must be good, but how much spring? Without some loft, without some spring there seems to be a lack of room for the knees to shoot forward and for the lower leg to make its full pendulum swing.

Bouncing like a ball is maybe not the best idea. Perhaps running more like a wheel, which some of the runners seemed to be doing, could be helpful.  Some runners appeared to be gliding along the ground, so strongly supported within their own bodies as to be ever so slightly floating forward. Less impact. More momentum.

Pelvises move.  If the spine is supple and flexible, especially in the lower back, and if the psoases are really doing their jobs, the pelvis will move, creating a gentle rippling up the spine, and a deep, clear flexion in the hip joints. The femurs will incline ever so slightly toward the midline of the body, placing the knees precisely under the hip joints, but the knees will face squarely forward in the exact direction of the feet.

Ankles move.  When the back foot seems to slightly linger and lengthen behind the runner, the ankles opens fully, (relaxed extension), as the knee is beginning to shoot forward, and slightly up, like an arrow.  The back foot then leaves the ground and for a fleeting moment that foot is falling freely, sickle-ing slightly inwards before landing upon the ground exactly how and where it wants to go.

And let’s not forget faces, those beautiful human faces, the expressions of pleasure or pain, fear or peace, effort or ease.  And the more minute details – mouths open more or less, nostrils more or less dilated, jaws tighter or looser.  The eyes, some seeing inward, preoccupied with their thoughts and dreams, with their technique, or with their pain, while other eyes are sparkling and open and seeing the world whirling by through their peripheral vision. More daylight enters the body and being, the face widens, the hint of a smile.

The best, which for me are the most functionally beautiful runners, whether they win or not, seem to exert themselves less, and enjoy themselves more.  They don’t try to run.  They are moved to run, like wild horses along the coastline, like rivers running into the sea.

Working with Three Time Olympian – Minori Hayakari

Working with Minori is like working with a person who is also part greyhound.  She is small and lean and ready to go. She also reminds me of an exquisitely made violin with great tone.  She is precisely and accurately tuned.  She integrated the smallest suggestions I made. They immediately made sense to her.  When working with a great artist or athlete, the smallest changes register as huge and significant.  And for Minori, a change that cuts one second off her time can make all the difference.  We met and worked in Albuquerque, and in a week I will be meeting with Minori in Kyoto, and with her team.  Sugoi!

Coach Manabu Kawagoe was also with us.  He is a famous and much admired coach in Japan, very kind, and he also enjoyed the work we did together.

This video is 11 minutes long.  Don’t miss Minori in the beginning and in the last third of the video.  Beautiful.

Youtubeのビデオは11分あります。ビデオの最初と後半1/3の走りがとてもすばらしいです。是非ご覧ください

知人の紹介で、アメリカ ニューメキシコ州アルバカーキで早狩実紀選手に(アレクサンダーテクニークの)ワークをする機会がありました。初めてのアレクサンダーテクニークにも関わらず、すべての刺激を繊細かつ正確に捉える彼女はさすがオリンピック選手という感じでした!! 内なる動きとともに、しなやかさと力強さを増した彼女の身体はとても美しく映りました。そしてわずかな動きも感じ取る彼女は、身体の中に動きがおこる瞬間瞬間に新たな神経回路を自ら築いていっているようでした。

これからも早狩実紀選手を応援していきたいと思います!! 来年はオリンピックイヤー、皆さんも是非早狩選手を応援してください!!