Saturday, November 12, 2011

minimalist shoes and pain.

I've been running on and off in the New Balance Minimus shoes this Fall. They look and feel more like rubber slippers than anything I'm used to. After reading Mcdougall's adventure book, Born to Run, I imagined myself, after gradually wearing less and less cushioned shoes, running up and down mountains nearly barefoot. That dream was short-lived. I quickly learned that minimalist shoes don't have rock plates that shield my soles from blunt impacts. And I couldn't hop around every pebble I ran past on narrow mountain trails. The first time I injured my left foot this Fall, I was with my old teammates from high school, on the rocky Ramapo Lake trail near my house in North Jersey. One asked me, "So how are those shoes for ya?" to which I responded, "Oh they're great. I've been running in them for - OW!" A rock slammed against my foot with dizzying force. It was horribly ironic timing. I thought that, with more ground that I covered in the shoes, over time my feet would toughen, my rock-dodging skills would increase, and so on, but I've reinjured that same spot maybe four times over three months. Maybe it was magical thinking that kept me combining rocky trails and soft shoes. Undoubtedly, I find the Minimus shoes very light, flexible, and breathable. They let me really feel the ground, the texture, and the hardness. Wearing big cushioned running shoes after that is like a day on the beach - in a suit and tie.
Anyway, I've retired the Minimus shoes for only road running, which is what I'm restricted to after my last reinjury. It only takes a few days for the tenderness to go away though. After reading passages from a Tom Brown, Jr. guide to herbal medicine, I might try getting a hold of Knitbone, which is renowned for healing bones quickly.

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