Sunday, May 22, 2011

Toes, Feet, Shoes

I've had this blog for about 3 1/2 years, and I wish I'd tagged all of my posts in which I write about feet, or some topic related to my feet with "feet" as I feel like I write about 'em often enough...

If I were to go back and look, I suspect I'd find that at least 3/4 of the posts tagged "injury" are about my feet...plantar fasciitis (pretty surprised I didn't use PF as a tag, but I didn't), a stress fracture, loss of toenails (there is a tag for "toenails"), blisters.

I've also written about what kinds of shoes I worn, what type of socks, orthotics, and some just mention plain-ole, sore feet.

Yep, lots of writing and thinking about feet and foot related topics...

When I run, I think about my feet A LOT! Some of the thoughts are cheers, like "keep going feet!" others are chastisements like "WFT is wrong with you NOW feet?"

I spent some time with the latter thought yesterday morning. We ran from Hospitality Point to Shelter Island and back. It was another beautiful, cool, overcast morning...just teasing us with perfect running weather.

I've seen this happen before...weeks of May-gray training and the hope for a June-gloom race morning, only to see a freak heat-wave hit San Diego the weekend of the race...pfffft.

This route is hillier than previous weeks because to run over the point means (like most of San Diego), you have to run over a hill.
I decided to wear the New Balance REVLite tester shoes again for the last "long run" before the June 5 Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon. I wore 'em last Friday when I ran with Irene and discovered that by about mile 10, the toe box felt tight. By mile 11, it was even tighter, and maybe I shouldn't wear them for a 13 miles. I don't want to be in pain for the last two miles.

But then I ran with DramaGirl on Monday at Lake BP in my Kayanos, and I could just feel the difference.
The NB REVLite is a tester shoe and doesn't have an identifier number on it, but from the best I can tell, it is the newer version of the 890, a neutral shoe which weighs 7.65 ounces
The Asics Gel Kayano, a stability shoe, weighs in at 10.4 ounces
In fact, I could really feel the difference on both counts...the weight difference and the stability thing. The Asics felt heavy and cumbersome. Apparently, that 3 oz difference is real, and 13.1 miles is a long enough way to feel that extra weight (yes, I could say the same thing about my own extra weight...I'm working on it).

The NB shoes are (according to their website and some other reviews I've read) designed to promote a mid-foot strike which seems to be working. The primary place I've noticed this is in my knees, which have been giving me problems this year. After running in the NB shoes, my knees don't seem as achy. When I run in the Asics, they do. Is this due to a mid-foot strike or just the lighter weight?

On the other hand, there are reasons I run in a stability shoe. I over-pronate, or at least that's what the video-shoe-dog-thingy at Road Runner Sports tells me. I've had had bouts with both Plantar Fasciitis for two years and a stress fracture in my right foot last winter. I'm told I need a stability shoe and not just by RRS sales guy. The first physical therapist I went to see for the PF told me that as well.

I've read the barefoot running argument that the shoe industry has a vested interest in convincing runners that we need x shoes and y inserts and all sorts of other supports for our feet and how we really don't need all the extra shoe-age. It sounds reasonable enough to me even though I'm not ready to pitch running shoes all together.

And there's still that narrower toe box...which is of some concern to me, you see I have a hammer toe...two of 'em actually.
See those crooked little toes? Had 'em all my life. So does DramaGirl (sorry 'bout that sweetie). It doesn't hurt or bother me...most of the time. Each one does have a toenail. Yeah...I know, I need a pedicure...whatevs...
On Saturday (oh yeah...back to that), I was wearing the NB REVLites and about two miles into what would be an 11 mile run, I started to feel something rubbing on the bottom of my left middle toe. I thought,

"WTF? Is that a blister? How could I be getting a blister only two miles into an 11 mile run?...SERIOUSLY?"

Eventually, it sorta went away, but when I got home and took off my shoes, there was dried blood everywhere.

Yeah, I know...YUK and TMI?

Turns out that my crooked little toe must have had a sharp toenail edge or a hangnail, or something that took a little chunk out of the back of my little toe. Eventually, the sharp whateveritwas was rubbed smooth, but the damage was done.

Would this have happened in a shoe with a wider toe box? Who knows. All I know is that it's never happened before, and now it has me wondering about shoes, and toes, and feet today.

So...two weeks before the race, the question is...Asics or New Balance?

PS...It was a pretty good last, long run. I think I can make it over the mile 11 wall that I have seemed to hit in the last two 1/2 marathons. I'll write about that later. 

PPS...finished the morning with a lovely breakfast with Irene, Mik, and her hubbs at The High Dive, best breakfast burrito in town. We did an experiment and drank beer instead of mimosas...
Mik, Hubbs, Irene. We discussed how mimosas do make for a pretty slow and sleepy Saturday and wondered if a 10am beer would have the same effect. Quite frankly, for me, it didn't...hmmmmm. Hubs had an Oatmeal beer that was really good. I had a Pale Ale...also nice.
PPPS...Two weeks to the RnR 1/2? OMG...


  1. I would think the most popular tag for your posts would be "mimosa."

  2. I'm sure you'll be ready no matter which shoes you wear- I don't think 3 oz matters that much, and feet swell- toe box matters more- and stability.... May you run wall free!

  3. I can certainly say that I'm also feeling the "feet" issues lately! If I can run a 1/2 with 2 broken feet-you'll do just fine!
    Lots of questions are going to have to get answered before I ever start to run again...mostly the big one: why does this keep happening?
    I also would agree with RockStarTri's comment about "mimosa"...that was the first thing I thought of!!
    Good luck with the 1/2!

  4. Ugh - that sounds nasty and painful! Re the shoes - can you tape your toes together (I'm serious) and wear the lighter ones? Because they seem nicer to me..

    I've never even tagged. Sheesh. Another way to feel inadequate. My most popular tag would probably be "self-pity: :)

    Can you not test the light shoes a size up? I wear enormous Asics - a good 2 sizes bigger than my stilettoes...

  5. Read the second paragraph in this article...