Seeking Perfect

Writing a blog is at the same time both exciting and fearful. Returning readers are used to your ramblings, your sense of humor (such as it is), your hot buttons, and your propensity to ramble and shoot off topic from time to time. Readers of other blogs, however, are not accustomed to you, so you have to both get your personal message out but at the same time tread carefully on established ideas and beliefs. I will attempt to do so without ruffling too many feathers.

Each part of the triathlon has been an issue for me at one point or the other. While I have managed to get some other control, most notably the bike and swim portions, others still cause trouble, i.e. The Run. As the title of my blog insinuates, I am a big guy, once tipping the scales over 300 pounds (303 to be exact). I have since lost over 50 of those, but running still has been an issue, mostly due to my girth and the pounding my knees and feet take over a long course, but also due to the relatively new (but probably has been here a while) psoriatic arthritis and degeneration in hands, knees, ankles and lower back. Running is painful the majority of the time for me. I have never had a long course race, marathon, half marathon, or 70.3, that did not end with me having sore feet and sore hips.

I have done extensive shoe research, spending entirely too much to end up wearing them for 100 miles and ditching because they never “feel right”. Along with the shoes, I do a lot of reading. This is a normal thing for me when I get interested in something. An interest causes a direct correlation to my Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook library increases. I will buy a book just for a specific article or chapter. This, along with talking to fellow runners and triathletes, offers numerous ideas on how to combat this issue.

“Get a gait analysis at a Running Store”

Done more than once …. not sure I buy into its usefulness 100% because it usually leads to the comment of ….

“Get insoles”

Again, tried, but actually hurt more when I used them. And don’t even talk to me about compression socks, especially in the beginning. I have tried them again recently with none of the issue I had before, so may be revisiting this one again. Insoles I just have an issue with, because they mask the problem instead of fixing the problem. When you break your arm you don’t wear a cast for the rest of your life, so why do I need to wear insoles the rest of my life? Wouldn’t it be better to just fix the problem? Am I missing something??

“Try shoes with more cushioning”

This actually seemed to help for a while. At the recommendation of a coach and a local running store manager I picked up a pair of Hoka OneOne’s a couple fo years ago when they first came out. They are big, but weigh about 9.5 ounces. I had no pain when I wore them but eventually even with them the pain returned. I am thinking, and another coach I use actually agrees, that it si just another way of masking the actual issue. I have been going back and forth recently with other shoes and finding the time I have spent in the Hoka brand seems to have helped me even with other shoes. I also have a feeling that the Chi Running method is playing a role in this. I am still not fast, but I have completed a few shorter races with no foot pain, and that is a minor miracle in of itself. Once the miles increase, though, the pain inevitably returns. Usually around mile 7-8.

“Lose weight”

Really? Never thought of that. Thanks.

Usually it is well-meaning, but the problem with talking to MOST coaches (you know, those that cling to the “carb loading” ideal even though study after study show it does not work, or worse yet … push chocolate milk as a recovery drink?) and fellow runners is that they have never been heavy. They do not understand the pain and issues associated, so their advice and plans, while well-intentioned, do not work as well for those of us running heavy. Running heavy causes many issues, from torn Achilles, to shin splints, to rolled ankles, to torn meniscus and strained ligaments. It’s a never-ending search for the “perfect run”, the one that you can finish with no pain (yes, I know that all races have some pain associated, but not this kind of pain). The irritating part is that, aerobically, I feel in good condition. I am never out of breath and usually feel I could keep running, but the pain in the balls of my feel is so bad I can barely hobble to the car.

But I will keep searching for the answers. My lower back is now an issue on the bike, about 30 miles into any ride regardless of terrain, so one more thing to work on this year, but until then I run on. I swim on. I bike on. I deal with the pain as it comes. I train through what I can and rest when I feel I can’t (let’s be honest though, I train even when I shouldn’t). I am being chased by the spectre of the 300 pound man who stared back at me in May 2010. He is relentless and insistent. My own Mr. Hyde. My Rick.

And he will NOT win …

2 thoughts on “Seeking Perfect

  • April 9, 2015 at 7:27 pm
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    I give you an innumerable amount of credit for doing all that you do – running is NOT an easy feat, especially when you are not completely satisfied with your size and with arthritis, but I commend you…. However, if you ever feel like you cannot do it, just walk! Walking is very under-rated but equally as amazing as running!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Once Upon A Time… I Had A Large Intestine: Part 3My Profile

  • April 9, 2015 at 7:46 pm
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    I had a running analysis once and the shoes they recommended (which I bought) were the worst ones I’ve ever run in! That’s saying a lot because in high school and college I ran in some very cheap shoes that were in no way good for me.
    Kim recently posted…14 Fun Facts for Hunter’s 14th BirthdayMy Profile

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