The fourth reason I was able to complete the 20/20/20<5@45 feat was due to custom orthotics and proper footwear. I first met Vasile Faklis, one of the Consultants and sponsors (Faklis Orthotics) of the www.OneMileRunner.com, back in 2003 as I traveled up to Tarpon Springs to defend my 5K title from 2002. At that time I had plantar fasciitis in my right foot that I thought might be better, but after racing the first half of the race, my foot was screaming in pain. It was a point-to-point race, so since I was already 2 miles into the 3.1 race, I thought I might as well complete the race since the finish line was closer than going back to the start.
After the race, I met Vasile at the small expo. To get to the source of the pain is the key on injury prevention. The lack of a cushioned custom orthotic coupled with a new race shoe that was lower in the heel created my foot problems at that time. I cured my plantar fasciitis with a new shoe, new custom orthotics, the night splint, and rest. Since that time my custom orthotics have evolved over the years. At the moment, I am working with Vasile to adjust my custom orthotics. Since I have been back on the tennis court the past few months, my plantar fasciitis in my right foot has reappeared. I saw Dr. Tjamaloukas for an appointment and x-rays and he let me know that I have a very difficult foot structure. This is why custom orthotics are so important to me. How we hit the ground is personal and unique to each of us. If you can afford a custom cushioned orthotic, I cannot recommend it enough. I am fortunate to have Faklis Orthotics take great care of my foot needs and I excited to try my new orthotics on 1/3/09. My hope is that once again – Vasile will take away my foot pain with his new creation.
My shoe sponsor for 2008 was Brooks. The knowledgeable Florida rep, Gene Ulishney, was very helpful to me in finding the right shoe for my foot. We let the custom orthotics do the corrections – so I could then train and race in a neutral shoe. I did my heavy distance in the Brooks Glycerin, my trail/beach running in the Cascadia, and my mile road racing in the Brooks T5. The only problem that I had with Brooks was with one of my favorite racing shoes – the T5. With my new orthotics, I needed a 12.5 size shoe. The T5 stopped at size 12 and then had a size 13. No 12.5 in this shoe size. The Glycerin and the Cascadia fit very well in the 12.5 size, but the size 13 in the T5 felt like “clown shoes” as they were just too long. So Vasile put the size 12 T5 on a shoe stretcher and then sent the shoes to me on the road. Proper fitting shoes are key to training and racing. I am undecided on what shoe company I will be associated with in 2009, but I will be certain that the combination of the Faklis Orthotics, SmoothToe Energizing Socks (new sock sponsor for 2009), and the shoe fit together wonderfully for maximum protection, fit, and performance.
As my Dad told me when I was a kid – never compromise on footwear! As runners this is the main piece of equipment for our sport. I am very excited to welcome the SmoothToe compression sock to the team of sponsors in 2009. This energizing sock will help my blood flow, recovery, and performance. It is the “Rolls Royce” of socks and I will let you know how you can try a pair in an upcoming blog entry.
So please take care of your feet this upcoming year. This is the foundation of your running. If your foot strike is good, then that will keep your ankles, knees, hips, and back in alignment. Give yourself a foot massage to begin the year and get ready to accelerate in 2009!
This 20/20/20<5@45 event really pushed me. Mentally and physically I felt challenged during my 5 months of continued racing. I realized that my life’s interests lie only in attributes that I cannot touch like courage, strength, kindness, etc. I am in the process of working on my third book called Inner Success (update: renamed Creating Amazement). I will be sharing the 20 attributes I learned in my travels.
The third reason that allowed me to complete the 20/20/20 quest is having a limitless mental outlook. I am not going to allow my mind to limit me. When I run the mile well, there is pain – physical pain in my legs and lungs and mental pain wondering how much will I take before slowing down. When I am racing the mile, I am never comfortable. I am on that edge of speed that hurts. However, in that uncomfortable place is the internal learning that I desire to experience. It is tinkering on that “fence” of high performance and pain that I learn about myself. These are experiences that I cannot purchase. It is why I race.
There are people that tell me not to race so much. They tell me that people at my age should not stress out their hearts by running under 5 minutes in the mile. But I do have a desire to push the boundaries of my own life – physically, mentally, and spiritually. This is where self discovery exists, but I guess I SEE things differently.
In my seminars and presentations, I often discuss the power of perception. Perception is how we see events, others, and ourselves. This generates all our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Perception does not describe reality, but it does add meaning to an observation. I use an example of a deer standing on the edge of the forest in my book, Play Better, Live Better. I discuss how I have a farmer, a hunter, and a young girl standing next to me looking out at that deer. The farmer claims that he is scared of the deer venturing in to his garden and eating his vegetable garden. The hunter wants the deer as a reward for his wall after he shoots it. And the young girl says that the deer is very cute and looks like Bambi. The same deer creates three different perceptions. And those perceptions shape how the farmer, hunter, and girl think, feel, and act.
Did you ever wonder why one basketball player sees a last second shot as terrifying or threatening and another as exciting or challenging? It all lies in their perceptions. When I hear people talk about changing the way they think (“I am going to have positive thoughts”), feel (“I am going to have a positive attitude!”), or act (“I am going to have good behavior”), I often wonder how long will it last. They have not uncovered the source of their challenges, but have put their energies in temporary fixes. Getting to the source of the problem is the key and perception is the basis of lasting change.
The great part about perception is that it is your choice. How you see life is your choice. Really. Do your perceptions limit your life or free you to reach your potential? Do your perceptions bring you closer to your aspirations or further away? It is time to take control of one of the few things in life that you do have control over – your perceptions. Then you will see so clearly…