Video: What I Look Like Running

This weekend is the Philly marathon which I’ll be actively avoiding (sorry racing friends, I can’t handle spectating right now) but as a wonderful byproduct, my friend Thom, whom I’ve known online for years but never met, came for a short stay before joining his buddies for a long weekend of race festivities.  It was one of those “it’s like we’ve known each other forever” deals where you can jabber all day about the deep stuff.  He really couldn’t have come at a better time.

Aside from the sympathetic ear he leant, he helped me out in a huge way today:  I asked him to videotape me running and that is what he did.

I’ve known we were going to do this for 2 weeks and have dreaded it the whole time – dreaded seeing what I look like but also dreaded doing the running in the first place.  I tried to keep running the last couple weeks so there’d be no break in the routine before taping but my body and mind have given up for now.  I simply can’t handle the raw, crappy feeling anymore.  I tried twice and stopped after a few steps, turning them into walks. I’m done.

For frame of reference, here’s how I used to look:


Here’s how I look now (don’t worry, just looks like a shitty runner):

You’d have to slow it down to analyze what my feet and legs are doing but what’s interesting is that for many months, I’ve thought the weird gait was all about my right leg but the video shows me avoiding my left heel for the most part, toe-landing on the left foot only, of all things.  I’m thinking because the right foot scrapes a bit (footdrop, I guess…feels like the toe “sticks” sometimes) that maybe staying up on the left toe makes clearance for the right leg to follow through, like a compensatory leg-lengthening? Just a guess.

Aside from that, my left arm does a spastic sort of pump staying right in front to match the right leg that doesn’t go back much.  And there’s a complete dearth of leg swing and knee lift (the right knee especially appears to barely bend). The intense “smallness” of how my gait feels translates perfectly to how I actually look on the outside.  Again, all this is more apparent when slowed down so you’re probably going “huh? just looks choppy to me”.

The stride morphs a lot as the run progresses, btw.  We almost did 1/4 mile for the video but there’s no telling what I look like 2 miles into it, I know it feels different as it goes.

Doctor Visit
I went to the doc yesterday morning before Thom arrived.  The appointment started with an oddity: I always have very low blood pressure no matter the scene (doctor’s office, emergency room, hospital stay).  The last time I was measured at 92/60, at this appointment it was 155/100!  Granted, it’s been a particularly bad couple of weeks both physically and emotionally but those numbers are cray-cray.

The appointment was surprisingly ok, the doctor’s taking it very seriously and is upset with me for not coming in sooner.  The downside is she’s not that informed about lyme so the negative test means more waiting for me (it should be noted that she thought I had received both standard tests, though I knew I hadn’t since it’s such a predictable story with lyme. It wasn’t till I inquired about specific results that she realized they’d only done the Elisa test). So more blood was taken for a Western Blot which I’m sure will come out negative as well considering how long it’s been, but also some tests for other stuff, like thyroid function.

She won’t give me antibiotics yet, wants me to see an Infectious Disease doc first, but I can’t get in to see one till after Christmas.  She said they’d try to find someone who could see me in the next couple weeks.

As an interesting note, in looking through this blog, I was reminded that I went back to the emergency room last year in November. Lyme bacteria are known to love cool weather.  It keeps making more sense since things took a bad turn as October temps dropped.  Whatever.  November sucks.

13 thoughts on “Video: What I Look Like Running

  1. reddogrunning

    Hi Flo. Wow on the white coat-fevered BP. Did she say anything about that at all? I am not a fan of november either.
    These videos are great tools to help you I feel. The arm swing is interesting. I am always altering mine to give me a more upright form and I feel I run better when I do but it is also mentally taxing to do so.
    On the feels like leg length discrepancy have you got one? or maybe created one through function? It may be the angle of the video but it appears your upper left leg has a bigger muscle mass. My right thigh makes my left thigh cower in fear and one of my Medical pokers/prodders told me that is sign of compensating for some problem on the other leg or an issue in and around the SI joint. Just a thought.
    Best wishes!

    1. Flo Post author

      Was weird with the BP, white-coat doesn’t really fit it since my BPs been steady in all other medical situations. She did find it weird but didn’t offer any reason.

      I think I could have created a compensatory length discrepancy or maybe it’s the result of one, really hard to tell what comes first, chicken or egg. But the running motion doesn’t feel like muscle inhibition at all, feels incredibly nerve related, like no shock absorbers between feet and brain. Anyway, you made me measure my quads. :) They’re even.

  2. reddogrunning

    Ok just a theory. I am ealous of your symettry. I get you totally on the innervation freakiness. Proprioception somedays is real secret herb stuff as a result.

    1. Flo Post author

      Lol on the secret herb. Ain’t that the truth? In the meantime, I wish upon you like-sized thighs in the nearest future. :) Seriously, hope you’re doing well.

  3. rovatti

    GIM –

    ooof. You should show these 2 clips to your neurologist.

    Also, are your hips OK?

    all the best,
    – rovatti

    1. Flo Post author

      Thanks Rovatti, I will when I get one. I’ll show it to the infectious disease guy too (along with the photos of my lovely rashes from the last 2 weeks and my 6-week long blistered foot from the summer because my GP said those guys love that crap, lol).

      Hips are great, have done clumps of weeks of hip exercises. Nothing hurts, either. It’s extremely uncomfortable to run with but it’s not like there’s a specific pain anywhere. The way it feels is as if I’m a marionette and someone’s pulled the strings too tight. Weird shit. :)

        1. Flo Post author

          Yeah, there wasn’t anything there. They did find some moderate stenosis in my neck and some young doctor guy came in at one point, sure that it was the cause of all my troubles but the neurologists said it wasn’t anything.

          Do you think after 21 months some fresh brain MRIs might show something new? Like, if there wasn’t any MS plaque or whatever it is they looked for the first time, could that be visible now? Or if it didn’t show up then, it’s not gonna be that?

          Thank you for letting me ask you this. :)

          1. rovatti

            Yes, I think fresh MRIs of brain and spine are in order – it’s almost 2 years, and symptoms have progressed.

            – rovatti

            1. Flo Post author

              I figured as much. Can’t wait to experience my gadolinium allergy again. oof

              (if you want to reply again, press the Reply above your last post, I have to limit it to 5 replies or the margins get all wonky)

  4. Ewen

    The videos are interesting Flo. Good to have the former ‘normal’ one for comparison. Does Lyme disease affect the nerves? It looks like you have tight hamstrings (left more than right). I can see that you’re not putting the left heel down. The first video looks quite symmetrical in comparison. And yes, the stride is very short and fast. Can you stretch your hamstrings normally (touch your toes), move your legs slowly through a full range of motion?

    1. Flo Post author

      Lyme is very much a neurological disease, some people start getting neuro symptoms after only a few months with it. And yes, all muscles are working fine, I have complete range of motion, hamstrings are perfectly fine and I can do butt kicks and knee lifts till the cows come home (which I have), it’s absolutely nothing to do with regular muscle stuff. Months of hip exercises, leg work, core exercises, drills, breathing exercises, stretches, nutritional… I can’t exercise my way out of this one, though god knows I tried.

      1. Ewen

        Thanks. Just did a quick look-up on Google. Hope you haven’t got it! If it’s nerve damage, wondering if movement training is a way to improve nerve response (like Feldenkrais)? Sending positive thoughts your way.

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