Archive for the ‘running shoes’ Category

So, actually, I don’t really have a shoe strategy any more..I don’t even have a shoe tactic.  In fact, all I have is a disorganized pile of  unsubstantiated ideas representing completely different directions, that I try arbitrarially at various times depending on how I feel at the time.  So, for a while, I was back to using the old “stability shoes” with the podiatrist-fashioned orthotics, (yes, the foot-coffins!), on the theory that my AT is fragile so I should keep from stretching it in any way  while running.  This resulted rather quickly in the return of my ancient hip ‘bursitis’ and bunion aggravation.  Then I tried going back to the 4mm-drop New Balance WT10, which is what I was wearing when I first got injured.   Almost immediately I had ankle pain while running.  So then, I cast cuteness to the wind and bought a pair of men’s Nike’s.  I don’t know what the heel drop is, but I bought them because they seemed wide enough and were lighter than the Mizunos.  They weren’t very flexible.  My latest are Merrells with vibram soles, which I found on sale and bought a size too large so I could put orthotics in them if I needed a break, on the theory that flexible flat shoes with a wide toe box will help keep my feet from getting any weaker and throwing my whole body even further out of whack, but that occasionally I might need some extra support.  I seem to like them best, because they put me into that barefoot pose that with a midfoot strike that is so much easier on my body as a whole.  I haven’t been wearing them with orthotics but sometimes I do use a rigid plastic heel cup in them.  The jury is still out on what they do to my AT, and, well.. they are turquoise.  I’m not a fan of turquoise.  And I’m pretty sure that’s why they were on sale.


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I am underwhelmed by the effects of the nitroglycerin patch on the Achilles.  Clearly it’s doing something, because it has started giving me a headache, presumably due to the vasodilation.  But I’m not sure it’s helping the tendon any.  I still have 8 more doses, though, so who knows?

Meanwhile I think it is time for a new working theory.  So, I’ve developed one.  My new theory is that my shoes are the problem.  OK, I think I had this theory before, but I’m reviving it.  I have the wrong shoes.   My shoes are either too old, too new, too cushiony, too elevated, too flat, too supportive, not supportive enough, or the wrong color.   Bad shoes are causing not only my AT problem, but my back problems too.  I like this shoe theory a lot, because the solution is obvious..just keep buying more shoes.  Having a problem that can be solved by throwing money at it, is much more empowering than a problem that requires dealing with the inscrutable world of health care providers.  So, I bought new shoes.  They are my first ever Nikes.  Pegasus + 29’s.  They have an elevated heel (abut 12mm midfoot to heel) that in theory will take some load off my Achilles, they’re reasonably lightweight, and cushiony, yet somewhat flexible.   Also they have a plus sign on the swoosh which I’m pretty sure makes them extra good.  I’m a bit worried that they are black, with pink trim, since that is the color of most of my other shoes so if shoe color is the problem, I’m screwed.  But so far so good.  This morning, my back was locking up and it took me 30 minutes to be able to straighten up and walk.  But, I put on my new Nikes  and I ran  5 miles in them this afternoon, with no ill effects.  Pictures to follow.


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Thursday – I run 5 miles  then go to  my last session with Heather.  Nothing exciting to report.

Friday – I forget

Saturday – stationary bike 10 miles

Sunday – The weather is nice, so I decide to go down the Wissy.  I put on some old Saucony trail shoes that were lying around in the deep dark recesses of my closet, and some generic  drugstore heel and arch supports that I find in  my giant grab bag full of semi-discarded shoe things.    I take many precautions in case of ankle failure..drive my car to the trailhead instead of running there, carry my phone and cab fare, stay on Forbidden Drive..no hills, no rocks.

The first thing I notice is these shoes hurt my toe.  But the second thing I notice is I am running  completely pain free as far as the ankle goes,.  I get about 2.5 miles before I feel any ankle pain.  Something has definitely improved.   I quit at 5 miles.    The only things different are the shoes and the proximity of the creek.  Hmm..  Next time out I plan to dip my ankle into the water and see if it has magical powers.

Monday  – Stationary bike 10 miles – no pain

Tuesday – Elliptical and arc trainer- no pain.   1 mile on the indoor track.  In the Saucs.  Damn shoes really hurt my toe.   But the ankle is pretty OK.  Sigh..here we go again  with life’s little trade-offs.  Oh well.  ln the overall scheme of things, a sore toe is way less irritating.


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February 9: Finished reading the chapter on stress in Phil Maffetone’s  Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing,  also summarized here.  The fact that I am stressed out is not a revelation.  I knew that.  But for some reason, the fact that my high stress levels have been affecting my running comes as an epiphany.   The AT injury came at a time when I was stressed beyond my coping capacity; not sleeping, not eating well, and generally exhausted, but also racing.  I resolve to deal with the stress and not race until the other stressors in my life are under control.  Or eliminated.  I ponder the fact that running is my primary stress reliever, yet stress is causing me more running injuries, which makes me unable to run.  This seems viciously circular.

February 10: Went for a 3 mile run that became an 8 mile run.  Really, I swear, it was unintentional.; left my iPhone at work so I had no mapping or GPS.  Took one or two wrong turns.   Saw the ruins of WhiteMarsh Hall, once the largest home in the United States.  Came home and plotted my course in mapmyrun and found it was about 5 miles longer than I’d planned.  Wore the definitely-not-minimalist Mizunos with the purple orthotics of doom.  My gait was more like an energetic shuffle than a run.  After about 5 miles my hips and lower back hurt, but the AT felt pretty good.  Thus the tradeoff.

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Ran the rockiest  trails I could find in the Wissahickon gorge this morning, ( which, I’m pretty sure ,are the rockiest trails on earth), in my New Balance Minimus WT10s.  It rained this morning so the rocks were wet.  I have to say I did not feel as sure of my footing with the Vibram soles as I do with the more rugged snow-tire trail shoes I’m used to running in.  I felt just a little slippage on some wet rocks, and yes, I did feel the sharp rocks through the shoes when I landed on them, but nothing horrible happened; the shoes and my feet survived.  I’m still taking it easy on the miles, though, because I don’t think my knees or Achilles tendons have quite adjusted yet.  People told me my calves would hurt getting used to these shoes, but they don’t at all.  If nothing else, I think these shoes  have cured me of heel striking.  I think.

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I now have New Balance trail Minimus shoes, and have been wearing them for a week or so, on and off, sort of alternating with my Saucony Foot Coffins (SFC’s) which by the way, I actually still like a lot.  The Mizunos are now my weekend walkaround shoes and the vehicle through which I attach my custom orthotics to my feet when I feel the need to wear the orthotics.   I’m not sure if the Minimi  are helping or hurting…I’ve only worn them for a maximum of 5 miles at a time.  They’re very comfortable, and I have no soreness in the calves or feet, but they’ve made me aware that I have such a thing as an Achilles tendon, which I’d never really noticed before.  No soreness, just awareness.  It feels odd running in them.  I wonder what my gait looks like.  I think I’m not crazy about the so-called ‘toe spring’, that is, the way the toes curve up off the ground sort of like modified elf shoes.  Is it supposed to make me spring forward better?  Since my toes don’t bend up toward the sky on their own, it seems that shoes that try to impose that shape on my foot are not being true to the minimalist goal.  Just sayin’.

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Weather.com let me down.  I waited all day for the predicted sunniness and it never came, so I went running in the rain.  Thursday’s shoe experiment was Sauconys with normal insoles but without the magic purple orthotics, 7 miles running on mostly pavement and packed trail.  The next day my hip/ITB pain was back on the left side.  So, maybe I do need those orthotics after all?  This is what we call inconclusive results.  Experimentation continues..

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