by Sarah Ronau, media designer at Aston Kinetics
I started running in 5th grade with a long distance community ed club and instantly felt connected to the motion. I loved the way running felt like flying. It was freeing and gave me a new perspective on the world around me. In middle school, I joined track and field, but spent the majority of the time in the athletic trainers office for knee problems. I was told I had "weak knees" and was given a set of exercises that I found to be even more painful than running. The only time I ran was after icing all practice. In high school, I continued running, but it was cut short when I was in a car accident, making a knee indent in the hard plastic glove compartment of a '69 Camaro. I tried to keep running in college but I developed shin issues and had continuing knee problems.
I moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College when I was 20 and spent most of my friendless free time running by the Lincoln Park Zoo. I lived in a studio apartment by myself where I wrote, did homework, drank too much coffee and started a daily yoga routine. Pain continued in my knees but yoga took the edge off. It was a magical 6 months and the only way I could live in a big city by myself without having anxiety attacks. Running has been and continues to be an incredible anxiety reliever. I turned to it throughout college and grad school as it relieved stress and helped relax my mind.
Somewhere in 2012, my friends asked me to run a marathon relay with them. My leg of the relay would be 4.95 miles. I had about 4 months to get in running shape but the training was brutal. Knee pain persisted and hip pain began as I increased my running time. I stopped running after the relay event and continued yoga.
I moved to Tahoe in June of 2013. The universe guided me to a job opening at Aston Kinetics. In the first few months, I learned more about body awareness than I was ever able to consider by myself. Judith Aston helped me figure out better ways of sitting in the office early on.
I received my first Aston Kinetics session in January of 2014. My knees were in terrible condition from skiing. In addition, I worked as a special education teacher in the morning and four years of standing constantly aggravated my previous knee and hip pain.
I was instantly blown away with the results. After less than an hour, I felt taller and could feel relief in my hips. In addition to learning about how to prevent future injury and to help my body stay aligned, my wrists were on the road to recovery after having severe pain for years.
I learned a lot about seeing patterns in my own injury history and the way my body negotiated pain. I had the habit of crossing my legs in a very strange pattern, continuing hip and knee strain. I learned that my knees were, on default, locked and hyperextended when lying down. I realized I would wake up with the worst wrist pain and keyed into a strange sleeping pattern that caused my wrists to be folded underneath my body. I slowly unlocked a lot of patterns in myself that began to open my eyes to the potential of not being in pain anymore.
An Aston Kinetics session is grounded in bodywork and movement coaching, but it's so much more than that. They truly help you uncover your patterns so that you can continue to make changes after the session. It's educational, motivational, physically and mentally profound.
I started running again in March of 2014 with my husband as he trained for the wildland firefighting pack test. He had to run 3 miles with 45 pounds on his back. I could barely run half a mile with so much pain in my knees and hips again. I had made a lot of progress in other areas of my body, but felt like maybe I was born with knees not meant to run.
In December of 2014, my friend asked me if I wanted to run a half marathon in June. I hesitated, but said yes. I wanted a reason to get in better shape to improve my skiing and hiking. I mentioned the race to Judith and Brian and they immediately helped with ideas on how to start.
Since middle school, running has equaled physical pain but mental relief. But for the first time in my life, I now run without pain.
No pain. Nothing. I have dealt with running pain for over 15 years. Pain was a truth, something I was never able to avoid. Pain is gone now. I often ask myself "how?" It's not a miracle drug or holy intervention. It's simply Aston Kinetics.
I've now been training for a little over six months. My "weak knees" are the strongest they've ever been. When I feel slight soreness in my hips or knees, I make small adjustments to my leg direction, sometimes rotating just slightly. We did a small adjustment to the shoe design with Spenco to help with the negative heels that sinks all of us runners into the tendency to put our weight backwards. I've learned to do Aston Arcing® before running to neutralize, making my front and back equal lengths. While running, I think about lifting my sternum forward and up slightly to keep neutral. This also helps avoid upper back pain on longer runs.
Unfortunately, during a softball game while running to 1st base, I pulled my quadricep muscle one week before the half marathon. Although I wasn't able to compete, my healing time was cut in half using Aston concepts and private sessions with Judith and Brian. In two weeks, I was back to running.
Aston Kinetics gave me running back. I have learned so much about body mechanics and being in my own body that has transformed the way I am able to enjoy my favorite activities. I wish others were able to share my miracle turn around. You often times don't have to give up doing what you love, you just need to find a better way to do it.
Are you thinking about training for a race but don't know how to get started? Do you have pain when you run but relented to living with it? Here are some incredible things I've learned with Aston Kinetics.
Aston Running Tips:
3.) Train with Judith Aston directly. Judith is now offering online movement coaching through Skype. Go here for more information.