Think to yourself when the last time you jumped in the car and headed down to the shops barefoot! Anyone who does is either crazy (due to Wellington weather), or you feel sorry for them as they look like they can't afford shoes. Well, today I spent the most time in my Five Fingers since the purchase and wore them all day whilst doing the shopping.
The first thing you have to worry about is, am I going to look like a freak when people look down at my shoes? The answer is probably yes, but how many people actually look at your shoes that you are wearing and even if they do, how many are going to come up to you and announce "Nice freaky shoes mate", not many, if any. For the first time today I actually felt like I was walking barefoot but chad the protection of a piece of rubber under my feet. I still feel like I am slow marching most of the time, especially with my left foot. That is my bad leg though. Stems from a touch football injury sustained in Melbourne. It was one of those injuries that you are half proud but never have I been in such pain. Basically I was defending on our try line and a cut-out pass went right in front of me and I managed to get my hand in the way and pull it into my body. Cue a full length of the field sprint with the defenders gaining as I was coming to the try line and to get the ball down quickly I lent down with my right hand at full speed with my left leg in front of me. My cleat that I was wearing stops in a hole that was in the field and my left leg snaps backwards whilst my body goes forward. End result, depressed fracture of the Tibia Plateau. Which basically means the Tibia and Femur smashed together and in the process cracked the plateau or knee joint. Was taken to hospital and lay there in agony for hours. Finally was seen by a doctor who told me to come back in the morning and see a specialist. As it was a public hospital it was first in first served so get here early I was told. I arrive the next morning after not much sleep and walk into a room that would be the size of a large conference room filled with people. I see numerous people on crutches and decide that I am going to be here all day so call mum and ask what I should do based on the fact I have private health insurance. I am told to head to the nearest private hospital emergency room which happens to be the Epworth Hospital.
I get back in the car of my flatmate and head down there. Get seen by a doctor in a couple of hours and referred to a specialist that afternoon. I have no appointment so will have to wait in his rooms to see if he has a break in his patients. He does and sends me for numerous scans and does numerous assessments over the next couple of weeks. Finally I am operated on by them punching up the bone that has depressed and then putting a bone graft in my leg to fill the whole and holding the whole thing together with a staple. The worst thing about the whole experience apart from the original fracture was the pethidine.
After the operation I had two things in my hand. One was a self administration button for my pethidine and on the other was the call button for the nurse. At the slightest hint of pain I would push the button around 3-5 times. I was doing that quite a bit for a couple of days and I am not sure what the limits on how much you could self administer were but I seemed to be going through the drug like nothing else to the point that the nurses were concerned by how much I had used. I can only say that what happened after this was an addiction. Basically whilst I was asleep in bed still in the hospital, I would twitch which basically meant me almost flicking my legs including the leg that had just been operated on! That made me wake up screaming in agony and of course pushing both buttons in my hand simultaneously, one pushing more pethidine into me and the other calling the nurse for further pain relief. This happened around 5-6 times a night for three nights. Eventually I was discharged and sent home and my concern was when this happened at home, there was no nurse to offer more pain relief and certainly no pethidine drip. The best I was going to get was some Panadol Forte.
So head back to the specialist and he is really happy with how everything has gone. I ask him when I can run again and he looks at me funny. "You will never run long distances again" he says. "You may be able to run around 5km on grass but that will be it". I say, "I want to do an Ironman in the future". "If you start doing long distance running, you will need a knee replacement in ten years".
That was about 8 years ago now and I have had a couple of niggling issues with my knee but I take Glucosamine daily as well as Salmon Oil tablets and that seems to have assisted me through the years. That is why barefoot running is going to be such a big thing for me. I don't want to re-injure the knee injury or suddenly make it worse by not having the security of a big piece of Asics foam underneath my feet for protection. However if I am running like I have for the last 34 years of my life then I will injure myself as the heel toe movement will destroy my feet.
Barefoot running means that you are landing on the middle of your foot and slowly lowering your heel rather than landing on your heel and bringing down your foot. It is a complete change in the way that you land hence why you need to ease into it. Time to go and do my Vibram exercises...maybe there is a short run on the cards in the near future!