the shoes saving my legs

I was chilling out after a quick run around Greenlake this afternoon and thinking about how much I love these new shoes.  For the past fifteen months I’ve been battling plantar fasciitis only to have knee pain crop up this past February.   It was so bad {I even skipped two races} that I finally gave in and went to see the sports doctor to make sure the cartilage wasn’t being worn away and there weren’t any bone spurs.   He told me there was ‘normal’ deterioration for someone ‘my age.’  All he left out was the ‘ma’am.’  I was also told, once again, that my speed training was too intense, that I should work more on my foot strike and to keep working on core strength.  We talked a lot about barefoot running and shoes since it was time for a new pair anyway.  Before the plantar fasciitis I’d been running for a year and a half in a brand that felt good on my feet.  Turned out they were murder for my ankles and heels.  When I traced back all my leg pain it became clear the shoes were part of the problem.  The backs had too much stability even though they were a non-stability shoe.  Before these particular shoes I never had achilles pain nor had my calf muscles cramped – ever. So after trying out several options I went back to Nike and was all set to just get another pair of the same style this time.  Headed down to NikeTown. Once there, out of curiosity I tried a pair of their Free Run 2  shoes – Nike’s barely there running shoes engineered to mimic barefoot running while providing protection and minimal cushion.  They were surprisingly comfortable and since I was so interested to try them out in the real world a pair left the store with me.
That day I tried them out, anticipating to only run a mile to get a feel for the shoe.  Let me tell you…after two minutes I had an epiphany…my foot strike was completely different!  I was no longer coming down on my heel but instead was striking the ground with my mid foot to toe area – the difference was immediately noticeable both in feel and sound; my running was much quieter.  Oh my gosh!  I wasn’t even trying. The shoe is constructed to allow the foot to move naturally without constriction.  The nearly nonexistent arch support is further back in the shoe. The sole is not as bulky as others and has deep grooves for maximum flexibility. Because of the sole, I’m sure it will be necessary to replace them more frequently but I’m so enamored I don’t care.  That initial one mile turned into three because my feet felt so good. and I was filled with hope that the feeling would last.  So I’ve been running in these shoes for a little over two weeks now. Results? No heel, ankle, achilles, calf pain and NO MORE KNEE PAIN.  Not ‘less knee pain’ – completely gone! If you think I’m just high on the shoe and it’s all psychosomatic, nothing else about my training routine has changed {yes, still doing my speed work – don’t tell the youngin’…aka the knee doc}.   It is pretty unbelievable.  I will never be a barefoot runner but now I have a new appreciation for all the hype.  These Free Runs are great.  I started running in high school and was a Nike gal then; nearly 25 years later I’m a Nike gal again.  Thanks, Phil Knight.  Now can you just have your engineers whip up a shoe that will make me faster?
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