Walk the line, Damron!
Ever since I took my first ballet class I was proud of the way my feet turned out when I walked. I was told by friends in ballet as well as my teacher that my 'turn out' was really beautiful and great for dancing. Not only did I have great turn out, but my feet looked beautiful when I pointed them. It was a source of great pride to my six year old self. I took ballet sporadically through my school years, never long enough to get really good at it, but enough to have the delusion that I had great potential and that though I hadn't put in nearly the time, I would someday be a dancer. I may have never really applied myself, but I drew quite a bit of satisfaction in knowing I still walked like a ballerina.
The first time it occurred to me that my turn out might not be a straight out positive thing was in field hockey. My coach was constantly yelling at me to "Walk the line, Damron!" which meant I needed to keep my feet straight when I ran. I may have had an inkling, but I really just thought that my coach didn't understand how artistic I was and that I needed to be prepared to break into a grand jeté or plié at any moment. Not always, but pretty much all moments in time I still harbored the desire that people who would look at me would think "I bet that girl danced, she moves like a ballerina" when in reality they were probably thinking "Nice girl, but why does she walk like a duck?".
When I started to take up running more seriously, I found out that my turn out was a problem. Knee and ankle injuries were frustrating and even sidelined me from my first marathon attempt, I had several massage therapists tell me my IT band was really tight. Booo!
Enter barefoot running and the book, Born to Run. All of the sudden I realize that form and moving with grace don't just apply to dancing they apply to running as well. Running barefoot (actually with a very thin glove-like shoe made by Vibram pictured below) helped me correct my form, helped me feel where my feet landed and helped me finally "walk the line". I may never perform in a tutu, but that doesn't mean I haven't abandoned my delusions. Now I just hope people think "That girl walks like a runner".