07 October, 2012


In some of my posts from last month, I looked at the idea of "naked running", running without distractions and with a minimum of equipment. After a recent longer run (Queenscliff to South Geelong) I found I had aggravated an ongoing issue with one of my feet. This was a problem I couldn't really afford to have as it not only affected my running, but my netball as well. Something needed to be done.
One of the things which was suggested might reduce the discomfort and strengthen my feet was running in Vibram Fivefingers - which I have also mentioned before. The idea of minimalist running shoes fits nicely with the whole "naked running" concept which I find rather appealing, so  accordingly, I purchased myself a pair of Vibrams and headed out last Saturday for my first run.
Vibram Fivefinger Bekilas
Knowing I had to give my feet time to get used to this new way of running, I chose my Saturday morning group run with Geelong Runners at the Waterfront where I knew I could take it easy if I needed to. The run was a success although it was quite a different experience from my usual runs.
The most notable difference of course is the way I ran. My stride felt significantly shorter and I was probably landing with less of a heel strike, although I was definitely not landing on my toes. As a result, my balance felt completely different and took a bit of getting used to. I had expected of course, that all of this would result in sore calves for a while as my muscles adjusted, however I was pleased to discover the following day, that I was discomfort free.
Not wanting to push things too far, I returned to my usual running shoes for our longer World Rivers Day Run the following day. No problem there either.
Geelong Runners at Barwon Valley on World Rivers Day
After a couple of days doing other things, I ran again - about 5km all up, but done in short sections of 1-2km around the river. The next day my calves finally caught up with me - or should I say one of them did. It was sore, so not wanting to push it too much I restricted myself to a couple of kilometres round the track at Landy Field, hoping the soft surface and the short distance would help stretch things out a bit without doing any further damage.
Likewise on Friday afternoon I did two slow, 3km runs along the river. Still sore, but no apparent problems. On Saturday I headed off for my run with the group. Still stiff, I was happy to take it slowly. We headed out to the turn around point and began to make our way back. I noticed a small amount of pain in the top of my right foot. In an attempt to ease the discomfort I wiggled my toes a few times. As I did so, I felt a pop. That wasn't good. It wasn't painful, but running was no longer an option.
Realising that something wasn't right, everyone stopped and together we walked - well they walked and I hobbled - back to our starting point. From there it was just a matter of heading to the x-ray department (via a much needed coffee at my favourite haunt in East Geelong: Gobble Food and Coffee).
Several hours and an x-ray later the end result...
The injured limb
...is that I have fractured the second metatarsal bone in my foot and once the orthotics centre is open on Monday I will be the lucky owner of a boot which will seriously reduce the muscle tone in my right leg for the next six weeks.
So, my challenge now is firstly to stay fit without doing any form of exercise which substantially involves my legs and secondly to consider ways of accessing the Barwon which don't involved running, riding or - for the moment - walking any great distance.
I suspect perhaps that my next post may involve disabled access to the river - not an issue I've considered prior to the present...

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