From Cushioned to Barefoot to Minimalist and Back + the Big O | #runchat #wellness #feet

I feel stupid. Tell me, should I?

I got home and felt the twinge of pain. Oh no, not again. This wasn’t going to happen. I just started to heal my right foot, when my left foot decided to join in the fun. I called the dr. and left a message. They’d call me back in two days, on Monday. I couldn’t wait though, something had to change.

I went to the Saucony outlet and tried on a pair of shoes. I decided to ask the clerk some questions and he steered me farther away from what I came for and to another shoe, one that was full of cushioning. I tried it on, it felt like walking on clouds. I ran around the store, my left foot felt a lot better. My mind said, no, they aren’t minimalist, but my heart said, these will take you across the finish line. I went with my heart and bought the Saucony Triumphs.

Now, I felt stupid.

Monday comes and I beg the dr.’s kind staff to let me get in there late afternoon, right before the doctor closed for the day. They agreed. I showed-up half wanting to just get another brace and leave, but half wanting to ask more questions, get more help and find a full on solution to my foot problems.

I met with the doctor and I could tell he was a bit stressed out by my answers to his questions. I was a typical pain-in-the-rear running client. I didn’t follow orders correctly, and did more than I should’ve. He just gave me a look when I said, “rock climbing”. He asked about the anti-inflammatories, the ones I never had the script filled for. I took the samples he gave me, but stopped there. I mumbled sure, I took some, but not the way he wanted me to (daily for a month). He shook his head. Darn, I’m a disappointment.

I questioned him constantly, asking about minimalist running, could this be the issue, why is it happening now, but not all those other years? Would going back to cushioning cause me knee and hip issues? Would I change my gait in cushioning? Was heel to toe, or mid-foot better? He answered everything as best he could, explaining that anything could be rebuffed. He was a runner once, but no more. He didn’t push or prod, but he hinted that he doesn’t like to deal with sports injuries, because most people don’t listen to him and do what they want. Hmmm…

I am not bio-mechanically perfect. I won’t be a gazelle, not that he didn’t say I could never be a good runner. He went on to read me parts of an article from the Brooks CEO on barefoot running, from his phone. Made sense. My heart ached.

He said I could benefit from the latest technology. I thought, no, this isn’t me. I’m the barefoot runner everyone loves to hate. I defined myself by being barefoot, wearing weird shoes, being the complete opposite of everything mainstream. I was the kid being so independent and rebellious, just like ummm, everyone else. He suggested orthotics. I declined.

I embrace technology as a main part of my career, but personally, I shun it from my life when it comes to my health and fitness. Natural childbirth, minimalist running ring a bell? Strange me.

We talked a little longer. I want so desperately to run my first marathon. My heart panged, go with the latest technology, what have you got to lose? You’re injured, it can’t be the worst thing in the world. I said, “okay, let me try orthotics”. We quickly molded my feet to order them, then he finished up, gave me the brace and went on to his next client. Forty-five minutes of his day he didn’t plan for nor want to deal with my stubbornness. I could tell.

Walking out into the waiting area, I tried on the special sandals. They felt like heaven. I put back on my dopie minimalist barefoot sandals and my feet felt like lead weights. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I try something and actually have it work? I felt like a hypocrite. Me, orthotics?

When I arrived home, Chris said I needed a dictionary. I’m not a hypocrite, because I did what I told people. Running barefoot and minimalist worked for me for several years, but it just doesn’t work anymore. I need to learn a new way, just as I did before. It may be orthotics. It may be cushioned shoes. It may be a different gait. It may be more stretching, or strengthening. I’ll find a solution.

This is what my legs look like now, all taped up.

It took me a few hours to wrap my head around what is happening. I’m very afraid that I’ll have the same hip and knee pain I had years ago, before I went minimalist. What I am trying to believe is that my hip/knee issue could have also been from running in cheaper, poorly designed shoes. Plus, I was a heel runner turned forefoot runner. Now, I don’t know what the heck kind of runner to be…

I never have spent so much on running shoes in my life, than I have this year. I used to run in Asics Gel Nimbus 9 and 10s. Switching to Merrell Pace Gloves (right to left), then Dash Gloves, and then Saucony Virratas. Now, I’m going to try a super beast of a shoe, the Saucony Triumphs (left). And, it appears that many long distance runners use super cushioned shoes by Brooks and Saucony to make it through their marathons.

It’s worth a shot. If I can run, and feel no pain, may I be thankful forever. The saga will continue, but hopefully with more happy news. I have two braces to run in, until I try orthotics. I have new running shoes that feel like running on marshmallows. I am completely scared to run at this point, but I will. I will try, try again. Fall down seven times, stand up eight.

These will be my buddies for the 5k this weekend.

Do I feel stupid? Sure. Did I try something and it worked for awhile? Sure. Does everything work forever? For some people, but not always. At least I didn’t injure myself from one run in barefoot shoes, but it took years of heavily investing in long mileage to breakdown. Yay, go me, hah.

So, am I being silly? Am I stupid? I am not sure how I feel this moment, but talking through it makes me feel like it’s just another bump in the road to round out my journey to 26.2.

A little happier news, I bought a kabocha squash to eat this week. I roasted it like Kristin does and then topped it with peanut butter to have for dinner. It tasted like a mix between a sweet potato and a pumpkin. I loved it!

Although, I’m not sure how Kristin eats an entire one in a sitting, I barely made it through a third before putting the rest away for two lunches!

Thanks for the idea, Kristin! I love trying new foods at the farmer’s market and this is a keeper!

I’ll keep you updated as to how my running goes. I kind of am looking forward to running on marshmallows after the few weeks of dead weight I’ve had. Now, I might just have to invest in a better supportive pair of sandals. Ugh, it’s so not me, but maybe I can make it me?

Share your thoughts. Do you run in orthotics? Do you wear supportive shoes?

Equipment used: iPod Touch 5G