Having joined my wife with her doctor’s appointment last Wednesday, she dropped me off and told me to run home. Well, it didn’t exactly work like that, but you get the picture. I stepped out of the car and waved as she drove on down the road, knowing that I would be behind her but not right behind her.
It was a perfect day for a run, and I had every intention of setting a new personal distance beyond the 10 miles I did the week prior. I decided to wear my New Balance Fresh Foams even though I had been shifting more and more to my Nike Free Runs. Having Morton Neuroma in both feet, running has been a challenge of late, and while the Foam’s certainly provided a lot more cushion, I knew they didn’t possess the same room in the toe box.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t until around mile 7 that my feet started to complain. I made a brief stop, taking off my shoes, loosening my socks, and rubbing my toes. Lacing back up, even looser this time, I was back on the road until mile 8. At that time, my right foot was in a great deal of pain. Stopping again, I changed my metatarsal pads for both feet, repositioning them slightly back, changed socks, and was soon on the road again. This time, it was enough.
Enough to move past the 10-mile marker, my mind ran through how far I wanted to take this; the distance beginning to take its toll. As my watch struck the 10.1-mile point, I stopped the clock and started walking. As the ache filled my calves, I looked at my Garmin and saw that I had three new trophies. Not only did I have a new long-distance trophy, but I also set new personal records in both my 5K and my 10K times.
I just ran my longest run yet on this relaunch of my fitness life.
Slow as heck, but 10 miles nonetheless.
Twice I was slightly hampered by my Morton’s neuroma in my right foot. Twice I pulled off my shoe, pulled back my sock, and massaged the area with my hand in the unfamiliar area of the city. Soon I was back on my feet, running, at least running as fast as a penguin runner can run. Soon the familiar returned. With that came a decision. Go right or go home. I had decided that I wanted to try and make 10 miles this day. Going left would surely give me that opportunity. But the neuroma’s reminder caused me to hesitate. To go left would take me further from home in case I was forced to limp back.
I decided to go right.
To my surprise, I was able to get the 10 miles I wanted, even though I had to run around the neighborhood to get the remaining distance. The problem was that the final two and a half miles were all uphill.
But I made it, passing the 10-mile point on my Garmin before the toll of my accomplishment finally settled on me.
Getting home, I stumbled inside, my calves speaking up loudly at that point. I waved at my wife, telling her that I hit the 10 miles point before hobbling off to my office and my welcoming chair. There I sat, massaging one calve before the next while my right foot shoved around my foot roller, working away the tenderness.
And as I leaned back and connected my Garmin to my computer to pull the data, I smiled.
O my! I would be dead on the side of the road if I had to run in her shoes.
Well, the great mystery of my socks that I wrote about previously has finally been solved.
There is no problem with my socks.
None of them.
In fact, it only felt as if my socks were bunching up in the crack of my toes. That became clear as the problem persisted, leading to sharp burning pains in my toes and eventually the feeling as I walked that there was a marble in my shoe, at the forefront of my foot.
Socks would have been a much easier problem to deal with than Morton’s Neuroma. But that doesn’t mean that Morton’s Neuroma is a show-stopper. Now that I know what I am dealing with, at least I have options. And the most immediate and effective option is the use of metatarsal pads to absorb each impact of my steps, distributing the energy to the foot in a manner that avoids the neuroma to a great extent.
The use of these pads has been dramatic.
I was out on a run, looking to do between 6 and 8 miles. It was a perfect November day and I was enjoying every step, until…
It was by now a familiar pain, shooting, sharp, burning…in a familiar location, except this time it was the other foot.
I stopped at 5 miles, called my wife, and told her the news and that I was going to walk back the rest of the way. And with every step, I could feel that now familiar sensation like a marble or smooth stone was under the forefront of my foot, just like the other.
Both of my feet have Morton’s Neuroma.
The neuromas are a new thing for me. But now that I have had the opportunity to think about it, it is starting to make sense. When I ran before, years back, I lost most of my excess weight prior to running. When I started out, I really didn’t think that a 320-pound man could run, or at least not run without great difficulty, perhaps insurmountable difficulty, and I was certain that the pounding on my knees wouldn’t be able to take it.
This time around, I changed my approach. And while I did not start off at 320 pounds this time (290 is bad enough), I started running as soon as the weather cooled into the seventies. So for the month of September, when I began my fitness journey, my focus was on my food intake and rowing.
My first run came on October 6 and I was by then 280 pounds. Today, I am 259 pounds and I just hit 106miles this morning. I did it wearing metatarsal pads on BOTH feet. I also donned my New Balance Fresh Foam 680s to run in since they had a thicker cushion than any of my NIKE Free Runs. But I hope to return to the NIKE shoes as they have less drop, are wider in the toe box, and have been my go-to shoes in the past.
Eventually, I am hoping to transition to a barefoot-like shoe. I am convinced, at least as far as I can be without actually running in barefoot shoes, that it will be better for me in the long run. We will see.
But as for my run today, with two Morton’s Neuromas and the metatarsal pads I had no discomfort at all.
But I got off track a little. I was writing about what was starting to make sense to me. As I thought through it, I looked for the similarities and the differences between now, running at 65, and when I was running years ago. As I did, several things jumped out. First, I already mentioned, that I made the decision to start running immediately which meant running heavy. The second thing I realized was that relative to my past running, today I cannot escape running hills. They are everywhere in this part of town.
To give you an idea, on today’s 4-mile run, my Garmin recorded that I ascended 233 feet. Not astronomical I grant you, but uphill. In fact, since I started running on October 6, my total ascension is 1.19 miles up. The hills are adding up.
While people everywhere run hills and most hills are significantly more challenging than what I have surrounding me, they are nonetheless, hills. Throw in my older age, running heavy on hills, and a picture begins to form. While I know that in the long run, continued exposure to running up and down the slopes is good for me, I know that in my new beginning, running heavy and up-hill I find my posture severely compromised as I lean forward, tired, as if to will myself to the top. All the while putting severe stress on my toes and the front of my feet.
Hence the neuromas.
But it is all good. Each and every day I find improvement. While I will never be a threat to any serious runner, I am a runner,