Monday, February 18, 2008

New Shoes, New Way of Thinking

I wanted to buy another pair of Asics DS Racers when I went home last month but they were discontinued and the replacement model wasn't in stock. OK, I thought, this doesn't need to be so complicated, shoes aren't that important. What? The athletic shoe business is a multi-billion dollar business and there's so much published on the need for the right amount of cushioning, support, motion control and so on. But many of the best runners in the world grew up barefooted. What's important is the technique, not what you put on your feet.

In fact it is becoming apparent that what caused my knee problems in the first place was bad technique. The shoes just masked the problem, for a while. I was rather disappointed that the orthopedic surgeon that checked out my sore knees scared me out of running by telling me that I would be looking at surgery if I continued. I was also disappointed at the podiatrist that looked at my feet and prescribed orthotics to keep my pronation problem under control. Neither of these doctors asked to see how I was walking or running, I don't think it mattered to them--just treat the symptom instead of finding the cause.

So this week I'm running around in these flashy New Balance racing flats. There's no support, cushioning or motion control, just a thin layer between my foot and the pavement. I'd take the next step and go unshodded if I wasn't such a tenderfoot.

Oh, and I'm not using the orthotics. With good running technique there's hardly any weight on the heels or the arches, that's what the orthotics are supporting--so what's the point?

My new way of thinking is not to take everything doctors say as the way it has to be. Every day I've been thinking about my super high cholesterol level and those pills the doctor prescribed. Treat the symptom once again. Drugs, another multi-billion dollar business. I don't care for the quick fix, I'm finding the cause and doing something about it. Funny thing is I'm enjoying cooking and feel much better. I'm looking forward to removing the stress of my current job, returning home and getting my priorities straight--my wife and our health should be way at the top of the list.