I have a confession: I bought a new pair of shoes today.
As my friends would ask, "Didn't you just bought a pair? The ones for your flat-feet?"
Yes, I did. But I didn't like how those pair look, and they were cushioned, and I love the way minimalist shoes feel. So I did some research online and decided on a pair of Brooks PureCadence for women.
Call it stubbornness, call it whatever. Yes, I was motivated to start running after reading Born to Run, so yes, I am a fan of minimalist running. (But isn't the simplicity of running part of its appeal?)
Maybe I just enjoy shopping (actually, I don't). But I do know how I feel about minimalist shoes. It feels comfortable. My feet enjoy that closer contact with the ground. The pair of Brooks Pure Cadence shoes have that minimalist feel but it also caters for the flat-footed, like myself. I know what the guy at the Running Lab told me that I need. But I also know we need to listen to how we feel.
Fact: I am flat-footed. A yoga teacher made me walk around for a bit one day in class, and he pointed out to me that I shuffle my feet when I walk. This means I don't get to exercise the muscles at the bottom of my feet, which is why I am flat-footed. I get the reason why I need motion control shoes - because of the risk of over-pronation due to my flat-foot. But - I also know keeping my feet all locked in by cushioning isn't going to help me work those sole muscles. The final decision is between me and my feet. I would like something with a low-drop.
I ran with my new shoes this evening, and it felt good. I have been trying to apply the ChiRunning technique to my own running form lately, but I am going to confess again (tonight is full of confessions) that I don't get a lot of it. So again, I am paying attention to how I feel when I run. Do my legs hurt when my feet land a certain way? What happens when I change my gait? This is one of those times when my yoga practice kicks in, and I just started paying attention to how my body ought to feel, about the alignment of my hips, my back, even how open my heart feels when I run. It's almost like doing yoga, just running. And it works, and it felt great - because running should feel natural. I will be sticking with these pair of shoes, and alternating them with my other shoes every week.
I leave with this quote from Born to Run:
“Vigil couldn't quite put his finger on it, but his gut kept telling him that there was some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love running. The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you got, being patient and forgiving and undemanding.” ― Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen