Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The palsied right hand

I referred to this in an earlier post, and I think now is the time to set the record straight.  I run with my right hand in an awkward position that one of my college teammates described, in a totally non-PC way, as "palsied."  I mean no disrespect to any individuals with actual neurological conditions that affect the way they hold their hands.  But in my case, I have no such excuse--I just run with my hand in a dorky position.

The fateful day that this particular running flaw was identified was a lovely, late fall day in the Berkshires.  We were doing a longish run, and as usual I had settled into a pace that put me somewhere well behind the lead pack of runners.  Two of my teammates and close friends were with me.

One of them, Gwen, said, "Have you ever noticed that when you run, your right hand looks kind of palsied?"

I looked down and saw that she had a point.  I corrected it.  I focused on keeping my hand normal.  I tripped over a tree root (we were running on a trail in the woods) and fell.

We were at the midpoint of about a 7-mile run.  Blood was gushing out of a wound on my knee.  I pulled myself together and started jogging back.  Gwen and our other friend, Sue, stayed with me.  Several minutes into it, Sue said, "The blood running down your leg is making me kind of queasy.  Would you mind running behind us?"

I ran behind them, alone with my gushing blood, back to campus.  I hobbled up to my coach, who saw my blood-soaked leg, sock and shoe and exclaimed, "Cool!"  I went to the trainer and got it cleaned out, but the verdict (and I have to say, this was ALWAYS the verdict for my wounds) was that there was not enough skin left to stitch anything too.  I had a gaping wound for a couple weeks, and of course it got infected and oozed green stuff, and I still have a scar this day.  Although it's hard to see, because it overlaps with a hurdling scar.

Is this a story about the dangers of messing with natural running form?  About the timelessness of friendship and how your best friends can cause you to be maimed for life and then get all queasy at the sight of your blood?  I'll leave that to you to figure out.

Here's a more recent picture of Sue.  Note her perfect, unpalsied running form.  B****.

Oh, OK, here's my bizarre hand again, in the same race Sue is running above (our alumni meet):

Apparently the form holds even when I'm waving to my fans.

And on an unrelated note, here is a still shot from my sideline interview Saturday with Charlotte and her friend.  The NESN reporter is named Katie, and I really liked her coat.  She confessed that she had to wear the scarf no matter how hot it got, because she'd contracted a horrible rash from her perfume.  Stories like that make me glad I'm not a television reporter.

Plus, you know, hard to hold a mike with that palsied hand and all.

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