16 April 2012

Scotland the Brave

As I lurch from one injury to another, and indeed from one year to the next, the importance of investing in maintenance becomes plainer and plainer. Although I'm not hobbling like I was a few days ago, my knee is still painful: Sharon loosened up my quads and a couple of connected tendons last Friday, and it felt better for a while. However, I still cannot do the classic standing quadricep stretch which she prescribed without great discomfort - which makes me fear that I am causing further damage in my knee, and whenever I get it loosened up it does keep stiffening up again. It was time, I thought, to find out whether I was doing something wrong that I could readily put right, so I made an appointment to go to see Colin Martin at Solutions 4 Feet in Bicester (link in sidebar). After all, he had solved all my running problems last time I consulted him - back in 2007 - or at least those problems which a pedorthist might be expected to sort out. He didn't sort out a set of PBs for me, for example. I guess I have to do that myself.
The first good thing was that, although I had only met him on that previous occasion, it was rather like meeting up with an old friend. It's great when any service provider makes you feel that much at home. Actually, the first good thing about today was that it was beautifully sunny as I drove, roof down, the 30 or so miles north past Oxford to get there - sunny, but still chilly.
I took my last pair of running shoes so Colin could see how the soles had worn, and I also took my huaraches which I thought he might blame for most of my problems. He looked at them in amazement, and offered the suggestion that they might be better for soft surfaces but conventional running shoes might be better for tarmac - which struck me as sensible advice. He thought that huaraches would suit those whose biomechanics were 100 per cent, but he pointed out that no-one is perfect, even Scots ... Then he got me to run on his dreadmill, and I demonstrated my disdain for such devices by failing to get to grips with the four buttons for start, faster, slower and stop. Eventually I realised that the button marked "stop" might be the one I needed, and I dismounted to watch the video he'd made. And guess what? He couldn't tell me anything that was wrong with my running action. Pelvis straight, hips level, perhaps a slight turning of the foot at the top of the movement on my left. I must say I thought I looked good too. But I'd come to have my problem pointed out to me so I could fix it! If I'm doing everything as perfectly as a Sassenach can, how can I get rid of this pain in the knee? Oh, rest, ice, etc. I see.
The one mistake I might have made was to run in my new shoes without the orthotics that Colin sold me five years ago. I showed him that I did now have them in my new shoes. He thought that they might have made just that little bit of difference - that might be the explanation I was looking for. Did I need a new pair, I wondered to myself? No need to articulate the thought - he was impressed at the state of the five-year-old inserts and reckoned there was another year's wear in them. So when my knee stops hurting, I'm ready to go again!

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