Fixing my feet

I had my feet checked out by an orthotist last week. I arrived at his office with a pair of my old and current running shoes and a history of how the stabbing pain all began. He questioned me about my running history, scribbling notes on a fresh A4 piece of paper. “When did the plantar fasciitis begin? How long have you run for? How old are your shoes? How often do you stretch?”

You can clearly see that the older model on the left looks very different to the one on the right.

When I showed him the two pairs of running shoes, it was quite obvious I had not noticed how completely different the same shoe was. I have been an Asics fan since I started running. I have bought the Gel Nimbus shoe year after year. But when we studied the older model with the newer one, they looked like two different shoes! WTH?

The image on the left is how normal feet run. My feet, shown in the image on the right, is where you can see how my left foot hardly touches the ground and how all the weight is sitting in my right heel (where all the pain is).

Image on the left is how a normal person’s feet should stand. My feet, on the right, shows how much weight I am distributing on the balls of my feet. And yes, the right heel taking strain.

He made me run up and down a computerized mat to assess my feet. Again, quite revealing. The plantar fasciitis pain runs into my right foot, but it’s mainly caused by the lazy left leg.

The conclusion: There’s nothing wrong with my feet. The problem lies in the weakness of my hamstrings, glutes and calves. My current running shoes are too big for me and my feet slip up and down inside the front of the shoe. Ironically, I’ve always bought a men’s shoe for the wider fit. Don’t ask me why I’ve never considered other brands before? The shoes also cause me to over-pronate. I’m also tying my shoe laces incorrectly.

He wrote out a few instructions for me to take back to my bio, Mari. I need to focus on key strength exercises but quite honestly, I need to be disciplined to do the exercises if I have any hope of recovering.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080s

I must admit, I walked out of his offices relieved that I knew what was wrong. I was gutted to miss the Pick ‘n Pay half marathon this weekend but I did buy new shoes! Say hello to my New Balance babies! How did I choose these running shoes? Blog post to follow this week.

Stripping down

Lately at track, I’ve been rewarding myself. Not with cupcakes (although other Running Junkies have spoilt us with some on the odd occasion) but by doing something that makes me really feel my body! 

I’ve taken my running shoes off and run the last lap or two barefoot! Let me tell you, it’s the most awesome feeling in the world! 

The grass is always cool and once I step out of my shoes, my feet feel a little lost and off balance. When I start to run, the ground feels hard after having been so cushioned in my asics. Suddenly I feel somehow connected to the ground. I can actually physically feel every footstep that I take. It’s as if I awaken my body and electricity shoots through my feet with each and every step. 

I’m not only faster on those laps but I feel freer (if there is such a word?). It’s difficult to explain but if feels like after a stressful day at work, and a hard quality session around the track, that I’m giving something back to my body in that final lap. That I’m in tune with both my body and my mind. 

We don’t often make time to truly connect with ourselves. I will *Google* and find out more because there must be loads of benefits to barefoot running? 

For now, it’s bliss! 

On your marks…

As the New Year kicks onto high gear, there are typically three things which signal the start of the running calendar for me:

  • New shoes

I’m rather spoilt. KK does almost triple the distance on his running shoes and each January buys new ones. Mine can still go a few more kilometres but I always get a new pair. This year, majority of the women’s asics shoes were pink (which is so not me) so I opted for the men’s blue in my size (thanks for your help, Craig @ Dunkeld Sweatshop). I adore them!Takkies

  • Buying of the Tom Cottrell Nedbank Runner’s Guide

Even though we download the app, one of our favourite dog-eared books must be the green running guide. Ironically, it’s the same info every year and after years of running you kinda ‘know’ the races. But we love paging through it and analysing upcoming races to enter.

  • Dischem

The first big race of the year, Dischem offers a 21.1km as well as a 5km run. I had to give my half marathon entry away this year as I was not yet fit enough, but was satisfied to manage the 5km distance. It’s riddled with all types of people and I just love how the kids make the water stops a fun part of the race and splash one another while being consumed with giggling fits. It really makes it a ‘fun run’.

Okay, so (I think) I’m ready. Here’s to a fabulous 12 months of fitness and running!