Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dedicated to my favorite older sister whose name is not Sabrina, who was also cursed with crappy feet

So here's my story. I am actually not attempting to sway anyone to any particular opinion. I am just here to tell my story.
I am cursed with the feet of my father.
For a long time I have suffered with Plantar Fasciitis, which meant that my feet (arches) ached pretty much all the time, particularly in the morning. When I woke up in the morning, or after sitting for a long time, I would just hobble in terrible pain until after I had been up and moving for a while the pain would lessen.
I visited the podiatrist who recommended stretching, icing, orthotics, Aleve, shoes with good arch support, the whole 9 yards. I followed the suggestions and found some measure of relief, but not to the degree I had hoped. Sometimes it was better than other times, but I just figured that this was the Curse of My Father and something I would just have to endure.
Enter my (sad) attempts at running. From the beginning, the inital part of the run was just a killer on my arches. It would subside some as I ran, but then afterwards my feet would be as sore as my legs. Again, I figured this was just part of being a Walker and I would have to learn to ignore it.
So I went to a running class at Runner's Corner earlier this year. I took along my trusty Saucony shoes which I have loved because they offer as much arch support as any shoe I have found. The trainers at Runners Corner showed me how I've been running all wrong and what I needed to be doing instead. They also discussed shoes.
Their explanation of shoes was something I found to be quite interesting. Basically, their postion was that the thick heel of the traditional running shoe forces a runner to strike the pavement heel first, resulting in injury to the runner. Additionally, all of the high-tech arch supports in the modern shoe were actually making arches weaker, not stronger. This is based on the theory that the more you support a thing, making it do less to support itsself, the weaker the thing becomes. They suggested that the way to go was minimal. No giant,cushioned heel. No arch support. Basically the shoe should provide protection from the ground, and that's about it.
I wasn't quite ready to go the minimalist route, but I was intrigued by their logic enough to meet them half way - a 4 mm drop from heel to toe, with just a little arch support.

Or as I affectionately call them, my Mint Brownie Shoes.
I have had them for a while now, and I have found that while I don't love them for jogging, I like them at least as well as my cushion-y Sauconys, but I absolutely LOVE them for hiking. They are actually categorized as a trail shoe and they are perfect for that.
So after finding that I don't love them for jogging (my feet noticeably roll inwards when I jog in them), I decided to look in to the whole Zero Drop concept presented at the Running Class.
I did some research on the internet (because, of course, everything on the internet is true) and read the book they recommended, "Born to Run." It was a really good book, except for some unnecessarily colorful language, and I learned a lot about the evolution of the modern running shoe and the current trend back to minimalist shoes and even barefoot running.
So I decided tht $100 was worth the gamble based on what I had read and we went back again to Runners Corner and I tried both the five-fingered shoes (Jack calls them gorilla shoes) and the Altra brand zero-drops.
While both were surprisingly comfortable, the Altras didn't look so freaky as the five-fingered shoes and were way easier to put on. So I bought the Altras, and read the literature that came with them regarding transitioning to a zero drop shoe.
Once I recovered from the inital blisters that are my torment with any new shoes I get, I followed the transition rules (mostly) until now the Altras are my only jogging shoe.
I am not telling this story to brag about my prolific jogging abilities (1 mile - Whoohoo!!!), but rather to explain what has happened with my feet.
I try to be barefoot (or in socks only) whenever I can. When I come home from work, I immediately take my shoes off and keep them off unless I'm going outside.
When I can wear casual shoes, I wear my Altras.
RESULT: I have had no pain . . . NO PAIN . . . in my arches since I made the transition. No pain in the mornings, no pain when I'm jogging, no pain ever.

These are my Altras, they are called Delilah, and I love them.
Again, no attempt to preach. Just a testimonial of my experience. :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Yep, Still Bitter

The preserving season is upon us. I had enough raspberries and blackberries this year to make up a batch of jam. Isn't it so pretty? Lane picked another 2 cups or so of raspberries this morning, not enough to make more jam, but enough for snacking on. And for it being the odd year for the apple tree, it sure has a lot of apples on it. I had Jack go out and thin them, so hopefully they won't be as small as last year. The peaches are coming along, but sadly our little peach tree in the front yard that had finally started to produce more than a few peaches died. We don't know why. It just up and died. We have lovely pepper plants - the ones I so carefully grew from seed - but they aren't producing any peppers. But they are nice and big and full and leafy. Sadly, I cannot preserve leafy. I tried growing tomatillos this year, and I'm not altogether sure what to do with them. I don't think there will end up being very many of them (1 plant) so I will probably just grind them up with the tomatoes for tomato sauce. The construction on the canal has uncovered some heretofore unknown grape vines. If the birds leave them alone, maybe I can do something with them. They are green, not Concord, so I'm not quite sure what to do with them. The juicer I bought a few years ago makes such easy work of the Concord grapes! I did juice last year, so I think I'll do some jelly this year.

I love that fall is coming.

Christmas projects are in the works . . . boxes of pectin are laying around on the counter tops . . . every trip to the grocery store has me buying canning lids . . .I look at the sweaters in my closet with a warm "I've missed you, old friend" sort of feeling . . . the rumblings of the beginnings of college football . . . It's all the sorts of things that make this old gal's heart swell with happiness. The next closest feeling is that nesting groove we ladies get into just before a new baby.

Of course, normally this time of year I also start my 30 day packing for my September cruise. Maybe I can talk Lane into wearing one of his Hawaiian shirts (which he hates with the white hot passion of a thousand suns) just to take the edge off my pain. The other option is for me to wander around in my swimming suit, which no one wants to see. Ever. So if you want to avoid such a terrifying sight, please come to my house and make my bed and dinner, and leave a little mint on my pillow and a towel animal on my bed. It's really not so much to ask.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bitter? Who. . . Me?

I don't really have anything to say.

I just noticed that its been a pretty long time since my last post so I thought I should check in. Due to the Olympics I have accomplished almost nothing in the last 2 weeks, other than watch lots of swimming, lots of gymnastics, lots of racing, lots of diving, rowing, kayaking, cycling, power walking (who knew THAT was an Olympic event??), volleyball, and even some hammer throw, shot put, high jump, and sadly, equestrian and synchronized swimming. I love the Olympics. Ironically, it turns me into Queen of the Couch Potatoes. But now it's over and I have to mourn and move on. It's like when Friends ended and I didn't know what to do with myself.

And now it's time to go back to school. I have totally enjoyed this summer and for once I'm not anxious for school to start. Maybe it's because it's Taylor's last year. Maybe it's because it cost me a fortune to get Jack and Taylor enrolled and I'm slightly bitter. Maybe it's because I'm not cruising this year and I'm extremely bitter . . . nay, bitterly bitter. We'll just have to go on an extra good cruise when Lane's done with school. In January 2014. Sigh . . .