Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Unorthodox = No orthotics

There are so many titles I could have used for this post... "Tender Feet", "What would I do without my Tevas?", "Two steps forward, one step back", "Yes, my feet can feel" or simply "I hate blacktop." But let's start with the fun part.

I have been following my barefoot training routine of run one day, rest one day, run one day, and so on with 1 mile barefoot and 2 miles with shoes. Last Thursday as I put on my shoes they felt like heavy weights - the infamous invisible sandbags were back at their dirty work again. I have also been noticing that it's difficult to land on the mid and front part of my feet with my orthotics in. So I did the logical thing at the time, I took my orthotics out. I can see the doctor cringing now. It wasn't too bad, actually. I didn't even notice they were missing and it was easier to run on the mid section of my foot. After so many years of being told not to run without them - I even put them in my racing flats in college because I thought I'd get hurt running without them for a 4 mile race - I was still nervous so I put them back in for my Saturday run (but then took them back out today). Brainwashed or a good patient? You decide. Either way, I think I'm going to keep rotating them in and out for now.

Last Saturday on my run my husband, Renzo, biked alongside me and timed my pace. I was running about 10 minute miles with my shoes on and then 8:30 minute miles with my shoes off - and they felt like the same pace to me. I was ecstatic, flying high; that is until I stopped running. I knew this particular blacktop I was running on wasn't like the smooth blacktop or soft grass I was used to, but I decided I felt fine and kept going. I kept repeating "it's like a pumice stone, it's like a pumice stone" in my head, thinking I'm alright since I'd been pain-free in my feet up until now. And then I felt the little sore spots on the balls of my feet - below my 2nd and 4th toes. The sore spots are hard to describe. They tingle, get a little inflamed and then disappear within 2-3 days. I can't even walk barefoot in the house the first day I get these because my feet are so sensitive. I'm forced to wear my soft Teva flipflops. I took 2 days off after Saturday's run and tried again today. I had no pain in my feet today until I was halfway through walking home barefoot from the bus stop (in total it's a 1.5 mile walk). I still went running with 1 barefoot mile and 2 with shoes and I am no worse for the wear, but I'm back in my Tevas tonight.

On a good note, I am happy to report that I can now run a full mile barefoot without any achilles pain. In fact, I am itching for more distance and feel ready but promised myself to take it slow and I need to watch my feet. I hope to try out a mile and a half on my next run... this time I think I'll stick to the grass!

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