I don’t get injured often but when I do, I drink Dos Equis. Then I turn on the computer and let my fingertips, a healthy buzz, and Google analyze the problem. Who needs doctors anymore? The internet has made the entire world functionally literate on all topics. It’s true. I once gave myself a tattoo by watching a short YouTube video and then using a paperclip, thirteen broken apart Bic pens and a lighter. And then, a few days later, I learned how to treat the resulting Tetanus at home with a Penicillin injection left over from the 1970’s. And ultimately, Google taught me the early signs of gangrene and that the lockjaw was a warning that the Tetanus was getting worse (and not caused by me sleeping funny on my jaw). Ultimately, I did go to the doctor but look how far I got without one!
The internet, the solution to – and cause of – all of life’s problems!* It answers everything (including how to coach yourself as a runner - but that’s a topic for another day.)
My left heel gets tight and sore after every run. It’s been that way for a month. It doesn’t stop me from running my normal distances and paces. I don’t “listen to my body” and take a break as I refuse to concede to trite clichés. (I also firmly look a gift horse in the mouth.) I knew right off what it was. It happens every winter. It happens every winter because I don’t want to pay for new running shoes that are just going to get trashed in the wet, icy unstable conditions. Every winter, I extend the life of my old running shoes by, oh, a good 100-200 extra miles past the point when they should have been retired to lawn cutting shoes.
Come late January and February, the soles are bare and there is almost no padding left in my trusty Asics. You might say that, due to my financial passivity, I become a reluctant minimalist runner. I mean, thin little strips of rubber attached to the bottom of the foot are basically what a minimalist runner wears, right? My hair’s too short, I tend to shower every day, and I rarely play the conga drums so there’s almost no chance I’m an actual minimalist. And whether by choice or by chance, since I’m running at a regular pace and not a slow, measured, controlled jog, I become minimalist…injured.
Google tells me that it’s probably plantar fasciitis. Google also tells me that it is most likely caused by running in worn out shoes. Well, duh, tell me something I don’t know, Google. Google also tells me that there is not much to do about it but rest and stop being a cheapskate and buy new shoes. Google does not support minimalism.** Google also doesn’t give two shits about my budget. What does Google know anyway?
Like last winter, I eventually introduced some new, spongy, decidedly un-minimalist shoes onto my running soles at the point where the threat of wet, icy sidewalks minimalized. And already my heel pain is lessening. By the time the spring flowers bloom, my annual heel pain will have disappeared underneath a torrent of padded miles.
The multiple lessons learned here are:
1) Running on worn out shoes causes heel pain.
2) Running on padded shoes eases heel pain.
3) Don’t “listen to your body”; don’t stop running. Ever.
4) Google is never wrong when it comes to self diagnosis.
5) Google is never correct when it says something you don’t like.
6) Minimalist runners usually play the conga drums.
Stay properly shodded, my friends.***
*Shamefully (and derivatively) stolen from The Simpson’s
**Unless you directly Google “minimalism”.
***The first one of you following the FIRST training method is welcome to title your next blog post “Stay FIRSTy, My Friends” compliments of Feet Meet Street!