Yeah, I’m a runner. That’s me. Someone who runs. Yep.
Six weeks ago if you had asked me if I were a runner, I would have snorted my frappuccino through my nose at you, coughed, laughed, shaken my head no very vigorously, and then fallen on the floor in a heap in exhaustion.
The Text That Changed My Life
Just then, my BRILLIANT daughter innocently texted me and asked if I would like to join her in the C25K (Couch to 5k) program. For you non-runners out there, that’s an app that helps anyone, sedentary or stationary, start out as a non-runner and emerge 9 weeks later, ready to capably run a 5k race.
I had started C25K a few years ago, but I remember being offended by the program because it increased the running portion too fast for my taste. I quit, deleted the app, and pretended not to know it when I saw it in the app store.
But, heck, the chance to do something with one of my kids is a real fine appeal, so I enthusiastically said yes to her, and began the program.
The Annoying Chronic Foot Pain
Ah yes, but who’s got plantar fasciitis then? Who’s had plantar fasciitis for approximately one year? Who has been getting out of bed in the morning and wincing, trying to walk like a cat, trying just to walk at all basically? I think you get the picture.
Thankfully, The Google told me that running with PF is actually possible. I had heard about the need for stretching the fascia in order to remedy the PF. I tried stretching . . . every 8 weeks or so. I would not say I was committed to this method of repair.
After four weeks of C25K, I felt a change happen inside me when I ran. I got it. I understood again why people run. It switched from a chore to a joy. And suddenly, I felt the fear of losing this joy through injury or illness, and I knew I’d better get serious about remedying the PF.
The logical approach was to find the Very Best Shoes on the Planet for Running with PF for which I again consulted The Google.
The Shoes I Had All Along
Oh, lookee here! One of the search results was KURU shoes. Touted as THE shoes for running with PF. And pretty too. I was seriously considering buying them, but thought I would go a bit further afield and look for some independent reviews. Before I found the reviews, I found this little gem on Wikipedia: “Kuru is an incurable degenerative neurological disorder endemic to tribal regions of Papua New Guinea. It is a type of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, caused by a prion found in humans.” Hey, nothing like naming your product after an incurable degenerative neurological disorder.
As I continued to look for reviews, I found, drum roll please, The Sock Doc. And he had a video specifically about running with PF. Here is it should you care to watch it. He was speaking my love language. He was reading my mail. He’s my hero. The tl:dr is that PF is actually caused by stress. That’s oversimplifying it terribly, of course, but makes very very very very much sense to me. The way to address the heel pain is to find sore spots along the shin bone and rub out the pain, which I think means to get the thingy in there to release and relax and lengthen.
Sock Doc is also an advocate of barefoot running. While I like the idea, I can’t imagine doing it. However, I do have a lovely pair of Vibram Five Fingers. Like so.
Running Without Shoes . . . or Almost Without
The idea with barefoot running is that you are much more conscious of how your foot is hitting the ground, and you will have more proprioceptive input while running, which will then give you the information you need to adjust your gait or how your foot is landing. Sock Doc recommended NOT buying kuru shoes because they would only be perpetuating the dysfunction and not actually getting at the root of the problem.
Today’s C25K then was carried out by an enthusiastic runner wearing Vibram Five Finger shoes, and the run went really well. I was able to tell exactly what part of my foot was hitting the ground first while walking and running, and I had an awareness of being cat-like, running and landing softly. Today was the first time I ever ran in these shoes and I was pleasantly surprised that the science that went into creating them works for me.
Feelin’ Groovy. Am Running.
So, yeah, me, the runner, just wanted to let you all know how my running program is going. I’m doing it; just doing it.