The Impossible Road

Any running store worth its pepper will tell you that the Asics Kayano and the Saucony Kinvara have nothing in common. In fact they are pretty much at polar opposites of the footwear spectrum.
Saucony Kinvara
The Kayano (now in model 17) is the top of the range stability shoe with lots of cushioning. I started my road running in a pair of these. (That was after a short stint in trail shoes on the road) I was told by the guys at my local running store and physio no 1 at the time that I pronate on my left foot and hence this was the shoe for me. Fast forward to today where I am buying a pair of ultra light, ultra flexible, neutral Kinvaras on line. But let me tell the whole story. (If you want to skip the boring details scroll down the last paragraph)
The Kayanos did me well. I was given exercises to strengthen my core by physio no 1 as I had started to develop ITB in my right knee. I could not really do the exercises well at all. In fact I could not do them at all. I kept telling my physio that I felt my leg was not aligned. The treatment did not really change. I gave up and sought help elsewhere.
At some point I went to visit the an alternative practitioner who had an affinity for telephone books . She did her tricks and it helped – to a point.
I continued to run dealing with various levels of discomfort.
I was recommended to see a healer who had brought the wounded back from the wheelchair. Some swear by him. I have never been in as much pain as after one of his treatments. I was not allowed to run for 3 days after being treated, no sleeping on your stomach….
Posture and symmetry is what I learnt from him.
All this helped – to a point.
I remember stopping mid run and wanting to take my road shoes off and throw them in the bin and just give up! The pain was just too much. The point is not that I don’t like pain. The point is that dealing with it every step of the way and not seeing improvement lets me question things!
I heard about myofascial release and made an appointment with physio no 2. I listened to him talk about these mythical fascia. I bought a foam roller. The best R300 I have ever spent! We had competitions at home to see who could grimace the most in pain. Those of you who have tried will know.
We tested bunkies and bum stretches and he worked his stuff.
Within a couple of months I went from pain to running the 100km Skyrun. A year later I felt better than before but still at about 70% of what I believed was my potential. I still felt out of alignment at times.



Modified Asics Kayano 16
(shows loads of cushioning and the holes I drilled into it)



At about the same time I visited my friend the orthotist who uses the rsscan. This fantastic machine tells him exactly what is wrong with your gait. Turns out my left foot pronates (just as the running shop guys said). My right though first supanates, then immediately comes back into pronation in the toe area. I modified my Kayanos by drilling holes into the medial post. I used wedges and now orthotics. In my mind these were getting more and more.
I have bought a pair of five fingers which I blogged about here. I wore them for a day before visiting The Orthotist. He was amazed. My left foot was as before but my right pronated and supanated worse than ever! How could this be? My only explanation is that my feet are not strong enough to deal with no support. After a day in the Vibrams they had tired.
Enter physio no 2. He treated my symptoms but not the cause.
Last week I finally got an appointment with the queen of alternative treatment. Yes she is eccentric and yes she is different.
I have been told to buy a pair of neutral, flexible shoes and never use my orthotics again. Orthotics you see block your body pretty much like a motion control shoe.”Why control the natural motion of your foot?” asked the Queen.
She worked on all the wrong places (my left ITB, left calf etc when my right hurt).
It sounds like she has a plan and I am intrigued enough to stick with it for the next three months and see. If I can get this right then A+. If not then I can always go back to my orthotics and tested methods. I certainly don’t want to because I believe that I am entitled to run pain free.
So what is the point of this drawn out tale?
* Don’t settle for second best when you feel that the “experts” aren’t fixing the issue.
* you can learn something from everybody. (I learnt about posture, foam rollers, that trying to do an exercise without correct alignment is no use)
* I am not an ueber human runner. I just will not give up in trying to improve. Like all athletes I have niggles which need treatment.
This story is not finished. I doubt that it will ever be! What I am sure of though is that I will continue to improve. Otherwise what is the point?

2 thoughts on “The Impossible Road

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