Ok, ok, I'll explain.
Yesterday I spent one of the most amazingly fun (G-rated) hours I've had in years, here:
For this past Christmas, my dad got me caveman/ninja/parkour/ape lessons from Colin, to be used whenever I could fit them in. The group lessons always seemed to fall at a time when I couldn't make it, so we finally decided to use part of my dad's gift towards a one-on-one lesson just to get things rolling (so to speak) and use the rest up whenever I can. And omgz it was SO worth it.
Surprisingly enough, there was no crawling in this day's warm-up. There were, however, squats and high knees and butt-kickers and skipping and broad jumps, which WOW do I ever suck at and I felt like a total fool doing them. But now I know kind of what to practice to not look quite so foolish.
When Colin and I discussed what we wanted to cover in the lesson, I told him running and falling, as those seem to be my downfalls (hah!) for most of my big exercise failures. We started out with break falls, which I kind of remembered from my jiu-jitsu days, but the way he teaches them are aikido-based, so much less focus on heavy impact and "just get used to it, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger." His method is much softer, rounder, gentler, working with the ground as opposed to fighting against it. Not what I'm used to, but much less pain than I was expecting. So, good.
Then we moved on to rolling. Now, let me say this. When I was doing jiu-jitsu, rolls were pretty much the one major thing I could never get. No matter how much I practiced, it just never clicked. I think most of that is due to an intense visceral fear of being upside-down, which causes me to block out the time between the entry into and exit from the roll - I remember going into it, and I remember coming out of it, but that moment in the middle is a total blank. If I can neither focus on in the moment nor remember after the fact anything about my position, I can't improve on it. So I thought.
Well, apparently all those hours of practice, even as they were filling me with despair and pouty feelings, instilled some kind of muscle memory, because I didn't totally suck at rolling. I still kind of sucked. And I can't roll straight. But I can roll. What's more, I can roll on my left side. Actually better than the right side, probably because my brain won't handle the switch at all so I have to just turn it off and go. It was amazingly exhilarating and I'm still grinning just thinking about it.
After rolling, when I was finally completely covered in dirt, we had a little while left to focus on running. I'd worn my crazy awesome toe shoes for most of the time, but when you're getting barefoot running lessons from an actual caveman ninja, you kind of have to go completely barefoot. I really really should have gotten a picture of this because I want to show you Colin's feet compared to mine. You don't think about posture of the foot very much, but there are very noticeable differences once you look. Even my feet, which are relatively flexible and strong from my dancing days, look practically newly-unbound next to his. And no, Finn, I don't have a foot fetish. At least, not a sexual one. I'll get a picture. Then you'll understand.
We started this bit out with just plain walking. That is, normal old heel-toe walking, across the stage area of the theater. Even when going barefoot, as we both were, you can hear a soft but distinct crunching thud as the heel comes down with every footfall. Then we walked back, this time going toe-heel, or "fox-walking." The difference is more noticeable than you'd think, even at a similar pace. This was repeated several more times, slowly getting into a very quick short stride, almost a shuffle. At this point it's hard not to break into a soft run, which is what we moved to next.
There's so many different points to think about when your body's not used to this type of movement - land on outer-ish forefoot and push off middle-ish forefoot but don't run on your toes and don't really push off, just pick your feet up; keep your body a stacked column but a leaning stacked column, like the Tower of Pisa; move your arms but not like that; keep your ankles relaxed (bwuh?); don't flex your foot all the way (as I do every single time); etc etc zomguh! I think I kind of got it a couple times, when we moved out of the theater and were running up and down the road for more room. Trouble is, I get all Zen'd out and want to just close my eyes and float along whenever I get into that zone. Not quite the best thing to do when running near moving cars.
And then we were done. I stayed a little bit and we chatted about feet and posture and how the dawn of agriculture was really where it all started to go downhill and maybe we shouldn't have come down from the trees at all. That kind of thing. And I left covered in dirt and sweat and bruises and rashes on my arms from throwing myself face down on the sand so damn many times, but positively bouncing with excitement for the next time I get to do it all. I'll keep you all posted on my gradual but inevitable evolution into a sexy bad-ass cavelady/ninja/traceuse!
Also you all really need to check out Colin's site. He has a whole lot to say about nearly everything, and almost all of it makes sense.