New Shoes

New Runners

New Runners

This is my first time to order runners online. Must say, I am very happy with the results.

My feet have given me huge trouble since I ran the marathon last October. Around the thirteen mile section, I had the sensation of them falling apart. I ripped off my socks at that point; it just seemed like my feet were screaming for more room. And hobbled home in pure agony. I just couldn`t pull out.

Oh, I am sure that compounded my feet problems. But that`s marathon for you. It becomes a form of madness that outweighs common sense.

For the next few weeks I could barely walk.

A visit to my podiatrist revealed the problem. As I understand it, my joints are extremely flexible so my ligaments and tendons struggle to keep the range of motion that my joints allow. And so, during the marathon the ligaments (and tendons? I am not sure.) became overstretched. Hence the pain. And hence, the long recovery.

I got orthotics at that time. They`re meant to keep my feet more rigid. But honestly, they made no difference to the pain back then. I just needed months and months to recover.

The good news is, I think, twelve months on, I`ve rounded that corner.

These new runners don`t have the same support as my older ones had. They`re what`s called a neutral fit.

I`d had a gait analysis done in a sports`shop and was told that I overpronate because I have flat feet. Yes gait analyses are  controversial enough: my podiatrist thinks they`re a load of ballyhoo. But she agrees that I do indeed have flat feet and my arch does need supporting.

But when I`d insert the orthotic into my supportive shoe, I felt like I was running on big beach cobbles. It`s only now, with the neutral shoe, that the orthotic finally works.

The new runners are Nike Dual Fusion. They`re light. They`ve a squared off toe box, which I love. I also love the colour. And adore the price. At €55 they`re less than half the price that I paid for my previous pairs of Brooks Adrenaline.

Prompted by a commenter on a previous post, I did investigate Nike and sweatshops. I am not fully reassured. But the other runners  which I saw in my two local sports shops are also made in China and Vietnam i.e Reebok, New Balance, and Adidas.

I`ve been running on these Nikes for the past two weeks. Fifteen-twenty miles per week. And finally, I can say, that my foot pain is gone. Gone! I don`t wake up, put my feet on the ground and start hobbling. I don`t even have that old back twinge anymore that scuppered by last half marathon attempt.

Okay, early days, early days. But I am optimistic. After a summer of trying to build my speed right back to the good old days when I could run nine minute miles, I hitting a little bit faster than that right now. Who knows? Maybe I can get even better.

The best bit is, that I get to keep the gifts that hypermobility bestows.  I can touch my toes without bending my knees. I can get my thumb to touch my inner arm. I can bend my fingers back to ninety degrees.

Yep, it`s debateable if any of these skills are of any use whatsoever.

But hey, its nice to have something to brag about.

For further information:


Bending Over Backwards

Bending Over Backwards

I have always known that I am a bendy, stretchy person. Why, one of least useful skills is the fact, that on a good day-and preferably when no one is watching -I can bend over backwards and type at the same time.

Don`t believe me? Well, see above pic. No, it`s not me. but its what I`d look like if I were performing the crab over my laptop. Except my laptop is black, not white. And I rarely wear pencil skirts.

I can touch my thumb to my forearm and touch the ground without bending my knees. Oh, and bend my little finger up into a right angle.

I never knew this bendy stretchy stuff had a name. Nor that it was, actually, a problem. At least for my running.

Twelve miles into  last October`s marathon, my feet felt like they were coming apart. If you`ve run a marathon, you`ll know how hard it is not to run it. When you`re out there, after having trained for months, you not going to let anything stop you on the day. And so, squished my feet through fourteen miles of agony after that. Yes, it was worth it.

Two weeks post marathon, I was still hobbling. I hobbled all the way to the podiatrist`s clinic. And it was there that I first heard the word: Hypermobility.

She told me that my joints can move around too freely because the ligaments are loose. And the ligaments and tendons are loose because they have too much collagen.

Great for swimming-I`ve been told my feet move really gracefully in the water.

Not so good for running.

Great for super smooth skin. (Oh,you can tell, I hate to brag.)

Not so great for ballet. At least, not from the perspective of injury.

Ah, yes, my last entry where I had dreams of being Dark Swan before Nicole Portman was ever born? Well, all that bendy stretchy stuff really is useful for dance. And gymnastics.

Mind you, the closest I got to it in reality is years and years of doing yoga.

My daughter`s ballet teacher took me aside last week. Her first lesson en pointe went well but, the ballet teacher explained, my daughter is hypermobile. From a ballet perspective, her foot looks beautiful, arches wonderfully when she is up on her toes, but, and she looked at my girl gravely as she said:

“You should never, ever try a double pirouette”

Apparently, her foot en pointe is too unstable to support her if she decides to spin about the place. Hypermobility makes her feet more prone to injury.

My girl doesn`t mind in the slightest. She likes dance but is unlikely to be treading the boards for the Bolshoi any time soon. Double pirouettes aren`t her priority.

But never mind her; this blog is all about me.Right?

I want to keep running. But without wrecking my feet. Armed with all the nightmare prognosis that internet research guarantees. I have, nevertheless, managed to find a few useful tips for my training plan.

Back come the orthotics. Seems my feet need some stability. They`ll do it for my workday.

Off come the shoes. I like to prance about the house in socks anyway. So it`s foot stretching  and strengthening time when I`m sofa bound.

Out comes the yoga mat. Back to more strengthening poses than the stretchy bendy showy offy stuff I like to do.

I`ve always love biking, and can swim reasonably well. So they`re back in as part of my running fitness.

Dammit, but I really really want another go at a marathon. Dublin, specifically. I hope I can do it.

See, there is something really special about getting into the marathon club. For me, it just always will be up there as a Lifetime Achievement thing. Up there in lights, along with the Births of My Three Children.

That is why I felt a sucker punch when son texted me about the sad happenings at the Boston Marathon. The loss of innocent lives anywhere should matter to all of us. But marathon endline is, to me, as sacred a space as any for it is full of the the very best of the human spirit.

It is the point which marks triumph over adversity.

It`s also why I`ll be glued to my TV on Sunday, watching the London Marathon. I am really excited for my fellow bloggers as they head into this. Go, all of you! You will rock. You will test yourself to the last. You will succeed. You will be SO proud of you!

The crowd will be great and I`ll be roaring too.

“Go You!”