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!