Thursday, February 21, 2008

Relaxing the Toes

I've been focusing on my running form for a few months now. I've improved my foot strike, my posture is strong and overall I'm finding that it is easier to get into a good groove and pace now that my form is neater. I was celebrating these aspects this morning on the treadmill when it dawned on me that now that I have some good form habits in place it is time for me to face one of my more sticky habits - my tendency to curl my toes!
I used to carry my stress in my jaw. That led to severe TMJ years of orthodonture and relaxation techniques to keep tension out of my jaw. When things get challenging, I do still clench my jaw, but not nearly as often as my teen and early adult years. Also, if I notice that I'm doing it, I'm able to stop. When I stopped placing my stress in my jaw, I simply relocated it to my neck and shoulders. Yoga has helped ease the tension here and I find that the more I run, the less stress settles into my body. And so . . . with every discovery of how I deal with stress I find a solution . . . and the stress relocates - down my body. Now, it seems, stress has made a comfy home in my TOES!  Maybe this will be the end of the line and stress will no longer find comfort in my body - hey, I can dream, can't I?
If I let my mind wander as I run and it gets stuck in a challenging thought, my toes curl under. As this is a rather recent development (a month or two that I've really been aware of it), I have no clue how long my toes are tightly tucked before I notice them. AGH - just thinking about this makes my toes curl - I had to consciously relax them just NOW! I'll have to come up with a gentle mantra when I run - "Re-lax toes . . . gen-tle steps . . . re-lax pig-gies!"
Funny thing is that my daughter does the same thing with her toes - and she's only 12 months old!  Maybe I've been curling my toes longer than I realize and it isn't stress related!
Hmmmm . . . genetics are a whole different challenge . . .

1 comment:

RunnerGirl said...

I fight with clenching my jaw a lot at night as I'm trying to fall asleep. Its so hard to make it stop, but I'm trying. Let's hope it doesn't go to my toes next!