The first round of the New York Tournament Challenge ended at midnight on Saturday – or Sunday, depending on what day you attribute the minute after 11:59PM on Saturday to. Considering my day doesn’t officially end until I start getting my three hours of sleep I’m going with Saturday. If you don’t like that we can have words playa. Bring it!
Anyway, I had a sneaking suspicion that Team .2 was trying to hoodwink the group by sandbagging in the final week, and then dropping silly sick miles right before the buzzer. It would turn out later that night that they were in fact sucking as much as it had previously seemed, rather than just formulating a cunning plot to lull the Claudites (Team Claude’s loyal minions) into a false sense of security.
But with this potential ruse in mind I set out Saturday night prepared to throw down mean mileage the likes of which I hadn’t touched since my freshman year of college.
I decided to play a game of just the tip and take my run down the West Side Highway, around the southern tip of the island, up to 46th and back across to 8th. I figured it would be close to 13 miles, and enough to make me feel like I contributed something to the cause. I didn’t feel great, I wasn’t properly hydrated, the top of my right foot was so sore that I considered calling it a night after mile four, but 13.1 miles later I clocked in with a semi shockingly quick 1:24 without really pushing too hard. I felt good, my legs had a lot left and I was happy – until three hours later when I couldn’t put any pressure on my left foot.
****Caution: Scientific quackery to follow****
I was pretty surprised with the time but more surprised that I had injured my left foot despite feeling fine during and after the run. But over the last few days I’ve realized that the runner’s body is a finely tuned machine, the likes of which should not be tampered with by making unnecessary footwear changes.
Ya see, after running in a pair of size 11 Vomeros for the better part of the last year, I came across an extra pair of size 10.5s and decided that they would be a better fit for me. Now I realize that the half size was enough of a change to totally throw my feet out of the game leading to a freak injury.
Now I’m no podiatrist, exercise physiologist, biomechanical specialist, or sports orthopedist – I’m a runner. So this scientifical evaluation of what happened may be completely baseless gibberish. I’ve been known to produce my fair share over the years and this is no exception.
What I do know is that the size 11 Vomero had a little more room in the forefoot than I liked, and I know that I’d been sizing down to 10.5 in a lot of shoes lately because Nike has been widening the forefoot of most models to accommodate the average runner’s complaints that Nike’s were traditionally narrow. I’d been running in size 11s Vomeros for the last year partially because that’s what my size has been listed as so that’s what I always get when shoe orders get placed, but also because my left foot is a half size larger than my right so I’m pretty flexible with either a 10.5 or 11. What I didn’t realize is after putting my last 300 miles, (which has been a real turning point in my running) down in a pair of size 11s, my foot had grown accustom to the placement of the sipping and flex groves in the size of that shoe.
We’re talking maybe an eight of an inch difference in the main metatarsal flex point in the forefoot of the 10.5s and 11s, but that tiny bit was enough to move the flex point of the shoe away from where my foot naturally flexed. The result was that shortly after I started running in the 10.5s I injured the top of my right foot.
At the time I assumed it was due to lacing too tight, and I used a skip lacing technique – skipping the 3rd eyelet to try to relieve the pressure on that part of the foot. In retrospect it had little to do with the lacing and more to do with the fact that the slight difference in the flex groove position was impeding the shoe from flexing naturally with my foot on toe-off. My foot naturally continued to flex the way my foot naturally flexed, but without the shoe working with it the shoe was creating a pressure point on my foot with every step.
I found myself scrunching my foot forward during my runs to try to find a more comfortable point – again, in retrospect I was actually trying to move my foot towards where it would be positioned in the size 11s to align myself with the flex groove.
I finished the run, albeit in a bit of pain but nothing catastrophic. But that’s when the real trouble began. Shortly after my run I noticed severe pain in the lateral side of my left foot. Mind you my left foot was fine before the run, fine during the run, and fine after the run. But a couple hours later and I couldn’t put pressure on it. Three days later and it’s possibly worse.
I have no time to seek a real medical evaluation so I’ll be taking a few days off to see if things heal up on their own, but lesson learned. Much respect due to the foot and the size 11. I no longer will stray. Ouchy.