Well, my Zero Drop Mizuno Wave Cusoris shoes are taking a pounding this week. Late last week I was getting excited for "barefoot season" and walked to the LRT station in my Vibram 5-fingers. I really do like those shoes. In the past on Saturday mornings, the Kids and I have gone out to the green area behind our home, and run in our bare feet. There is really no feeling like it to me. A couple of years ago, I decided to take it to the next level, and started running in my bare feet on the pavement. I really did love it, but I could not go for very long before my feet got a little sore. I read that in time, they toughen up, and to not give up, but I always have some race I'm working towards, and so have never been able to slowly build up my foot pads enough to do anything more than 3 km or so on the sidewalk.
When Virginie and I started training for the Canadian Death Race last year, we decided to use a "zero drop" shoe. A zero drop shoe basically has no rise in the heel. Your foot sits evenly parallel to the ground both at your toes, and at your heel. Zero drop shoes mimic the positioning of your foot during barefoot running, which I like. I personally feel that by doing so, I keep my feet and ankles strong, and avoid potential injury. It's not that easy. I've had lots of chances to injure myself over the years. Avoiding injury has been a learning experience, and there really is no "magic bullet" to it. For me, regular stretching has been important, but still not enough. When I feel that familiar "pull" at the end of a muscle (usually in the hips, knees and ankles), I head straight to Leigh Garvie at Coronation Physiotherapy. She uses IMS needling to loosen up the muscles and it really works wonders for me. Stretching keeps the next visit a little further away.
Another really important thing has been learning the difference between "good" and "bad" pain. I've been using the "3 strikes" rule myself. Basically, when you feel some sort of pain, tighten up your form. Make sure your landing light. I prefer a midfoot/forefoot strike myself. It took a while to get use to, but barefoot running really helped to develop this. In a nutshell: You work toward striking the ground 180 times per minute, or 3 times per second. Your foot should connect with the ground slightly behind you. Your literally falling into your next stride, and then catching yourself. Running this way maximizes my energy through "elastic recoil" or your foot's natural rebound mechanism using the arch and Achilles tendon. Tendon's, unlike muscles don't wear out. As a result, landing with my foot behind me forces those tendons to stretch and propel me forward into my next stride. I can conserve valuable muscles for later.
This week I decided no running early Saturday morning. So, I'm trying to get all my kilometers in during the week. This means running to and from work everyday. There are no hills, so that's what I'll have to switch to next week, but it's great for endurance training. It's 12km each way, and I'm going for a 100km week. 4 days * 2 times per day * 12 km is 96 km. Then, I'll do 4 km in my barefeet Saturday morning (10:00, not 4:00 am) haha!!!
One last thing to say. A couple of weeks ago we visited a family who had 2 boys with Duchennes. They were a wonderful family. Kind, and generous, and very blessed (they had a super nice home). Virginie has touched on most of that experience, and so I'm not going to try and add too much, but there was one moment that evening that really stood out to me. I saw the older brother dancing with his younger brother. The game would have the cute couple hug and dance together sometimes holding hands. They were both smiling and laughing. The older brother struck me as such a kind and caring person. I was so impressed with him. I think having a brother like that must change you. It makes you more compassionate, and less selfish. He's definitely they type of young man I hope shows up at our door one day to take one of my daughters out. (Sorry, I hope I'm not embarrassing anyone!). To that family, I just want you all to know I'll do my absolute best to raise money so that your wonderful Son's can have as many of life's experiences and treasures as possible. Thank-you so much for the wonderful evening.