Monday, January 10, 2011

My new car, my old cartilage

No, I don't really have a new car, but I'm driving a rental while my Civic gets fixed.  And it is awesome, because a) it is clean inside, and b) it has satellite radio.  There is an XM station called "First Wave" that is like my dream radio station: some guy with a (possibly fake) British accent playing old David Bowie, the Smiths, the Police, and other music that takes me back to high school.  Which really isn't all that great, come to think of it, since I mostly hated high school.  But I liked the music, so I'm willing to put up with the odd cringe-inducing memory it evokes.

In training news, my knees started to freak out last week, and I am patting myself on the back for not freaking out with them.  I stopped running, iced a lot, and everything is under control again, at least for now.  This probably happened in part because of some aggressive strength training I started.  My left leg is essentially atrophied around the knee--the muscles in my quad are visibly smaller than on the right side, probably dating back to the Osgood-Schlatter thing I had as a kid, well before I even knew who The Smiths were.  I've been working on this for over a year now, under the guidance of my awesome massage therapist/trainer.  This winter I decide to try to quantify my progress, so I measured the circumference of my thighs around the lower quad, just above the knee, and indeed my left leg is 3/4 of an inch smaller than my right.  I'm curious to see if I can change this over the winter (and no, not by atrophying the right one).  But apparently I need to ease into it a bit more, which is fine, because in my past experience I tend to put on muscle pretty easily.  I think I might have been a Soviet weightlifter in a past life.

Speaking of Soviets and high school, one of my fonder memories from freshman year indoor track in high school is from the "weight room," by which I mean this odd little room that contained some stretching mats and a Universal setup.  (With sparkly red upholstery.)  There were two seniors on the team who were sort of--no, not just sort of--my idols, for very different reasons.  One was a ridiculously good runner, so good that she got to run the Millrose Mile at Madison Square Gardens.  She later went on to run for Georgetown.  The other one was not such a great runner, but she worked very hard.  She later went on to win $250,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, back when it first started--I think at the time she was the highest-winning female contestant.  Both of these girls were really smart, and they both took Russian.  When they would spot each other doing bench press, they would sing, to the tune of Aretha Franklin's "Natural Woman," "You make me feel like a Soviet woman. . . . "  Sadly, this particular Cold War gem has not yet made an appearance on First Wave.

I think I will stop here, before I start waxing nostalgic about all of us interrupting our strength drills to try to do jumps like David Lee Roth.  Oops, too late.

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