This was sent to me by a new Ultra Marathon friend of mine named Marc.
I couldn't resist sharing his story as I am beginning to hear such storys again and again as I have taken the leap of faith in putting my own story out there to show others that God is a Living God and is active, listening and responding to our prayers.
I posted a comment recently on Lisa Smith-Batchens blog about Plantar Fasciitis. You posted a comment below mine and I was completely blown away by your response.
I have been on this path recently where I have been wanting to improve and heal my body. My previous doctor advised me to quit running. So I changed doctors.
I am a long distance runner/adventure racer and I am 49 years old. I am planning to do the Sahara Race in Oct./09.
So, with that, I sought out a trainer who I felt could help me. He encouraged me to go barefoot in the gym and then eventually on the road. He advised me that the path to better biomechanics and spinal health was barefoot training.
It's been 6 weeks and what a difference!
I did some research and discovered Vibram FiveFingers technology. I pointed it out to my trainer and we both now have a pair.
It is funny how the Lord puts you on the proper path when you ask him. He guided me to Lisa, who inspires me daily, to a doctor who respects me and my opinions/questions, a trainer who educates me, and now you. I plan to read all your articles and gain more knowledge.
Thank you! Marc
Erskien Lenier Replying to Marc
I love it when God shows up so boldly!
My story unfolded in a very similar fashion! I ran back in my teen years (the 1970's) and got side tracked into bicycle road racing.
I had a huge engine (heart, lungs and capillary beds) to go really far and pretty fast but took a while to learn tactics and and specialization in training.
I found myself over trained and lost motivation about 2 yrs into it and returned to running for a mental break.
Being young and dumb I invested all of 2 months and went out and ran my first marathon (St. Louis) in 2:32:30 thinking maybe I'd qualify for Boston and head in a new direction from cycling.
3 weeks later I did the Heart of America marathon in Columbia, MO and began to see signs that something was wrong with my right knee.
Long story short the knee self distructed and the MD's (after Arthroscopic examination) told me it was so bad I'd need a new knee in a matter of years.
I tried speed skating... That eventually proved to aggravate the knee too. I returned to cycling because it was the aerobic activity I that allowed me to express my need for high intencity endurance sports that I thrived on.
Fast forward a couple of decades later and after breaking just about every exotic material used in modern road racing bikes and becoming disillusioned that a better bike would complete me....
I finally asked God to guide me in the healing of my knee so I could return to running and no longer need machines to move across the land. I longed for simplicity, unedited simplicity.
In less than 30 days he guided me to Tucker Sharp in Newport Beach, CA He is a practioner of a form of deep tissue muscle and its surrounding facia or sheath release called Heller Work http://www.balanceme.com/
He helped undo a lot of the cork screw like twisting of my spine and identified extreme tenstion differences in my hip muscles and ligaments.
Tucker took me miles from the debilitating contortion I came to realize my body have lived under. I went from 10-20 miles per week to 50-60 miles per week just while working with him.
He eventually saw that the more refined details of what was still needing to be done with my posture would be better addresses by another modality called the Egoscue Method and turned me onto Charlie Reid who is Pete Egoscue trained body worker @ www.egoscue.com
Charlie helped me see other areas of how twisted up my body was still and the need for more subtle yet precise work to unlock it.
He provided me with simple sequential stretches and strengthening exercises to unlock the dysfunctional adaptations my body had distorted itself into to deal with bad form I had adopted from my teen years of running in shoes, the various injuries I'd sustained and the odd cants, leans, twist and shifts I'd subtly made to run and ride around sore spots and injuries.
After all this body work I began to notice that as my milage per week moved up beyond 50 and even touching 65 miles per week I was developing shin splints, loosing toe nails, getting blister in different spots and some times in as early as 4 miles into a run and going from shoe model to shoe model looking for a shoe that would fix all this. I track out finances in Microsoft Money and it helped me realize I was spending over $120 a month on running shoes! And the other thing that really bothered me is all of them were wearing out at that the outer corner of the heal long before the rest of the shoe showed any sign of wear at all! The tops and the front of the shoe looked brand new 30 days out and the heals were worn through!
As I studied all the information on every shoe companies site and read all the reviews on running forums my head began to spin with conflicting "facts" about each show, what they were supposed to do or offer and then I came upon a forum at www.runnersworld.com that was all about the injuries runners sustain and one on shoes and I realized the carnage centered around the feet! The feet and knees were getting hammered and no one was stopping to ask why? And is there something we are missing here?
I googled "Running Injuries" to try to find out what others had found as solutions to what I was haunted by.
That's when I came upon Barefoot Running. Someone has a posting that spoke of turning to Barefoot Running and all their feet and leg problems went away! That person was Barefoot Rick at www.BarefootRunner.org He described having had most of the same symptoms I am a bazillion other runners posted on runnerworlds forum. And he was running marathons barefoot now and his legs and feet were fine!
God had revealed to me that shoes were somehow a part of the problem and were not as important as marketing and the market hyped them to be.
On his site I found contact info for a local Barefooter...
Barefoot Ken Bob Saxton of Huntington Beach, CA he said something in our email exchange that forever changed the way I viewed the valued feet: "Barefoot Running forces correct biomechanics".
Having been a world class cyclist for decades and having worked as a Master Frame Builder in the off season had taught me how importan things like alignment of the bike frames and fittings were to the wear, tear, effeciency and longevity of the attached components.
I'd just never held the human bodys biomechanics up to the same understanding! Nor did I understand beyond it's biochemistry how the human body was so naturally designed to be self balancing in regard to the tension and movement of its structural components.
I was so facinated that here I was crossing the 50 yr mark in life and God had allowed me travel this far from my teen years just to wear down my ego enough that I would simply turn to him and ask for guidance! I spent decades attempting to fix my ailments with my own will and as your about to learn he fixed decades of ignorance in moments! The key is I had to become humble enough to acknowledge the source of my own life force and of coarse the source of all wisdom. He is known as Jesus <>< The Fisher of Men.... He caught... And he taught me....
One night he woke me from a sound sleep woke me up at 1:30 AM.
I had the feeling I was supposed to go for a run.
I put on my Camel Bak as I had no idea how far I would feel like going, scribbled a note that I had my phone with me and kissed my sleeping wife on the cheek then headed out the door.
Two steps out and I heard as surely as someone was standing next to me; "Take off your shoes."
I stopped and looked around.... I heard it again...
I could not tell what direction it came from... It sounded like it was coming from everywhere and from within. I complied. I put my shoes in my Camel Bak and set out.
3 miles later and way out in Norco, CA on gravally dark roads (with tender feet mind you) I was giddy with laughter and so happy it was beyond explanation!
I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was teaching me! That he loved me and I told him there on that spot that if he would be my coach for all things running and beyond running I would dedicate my every effort to bringing glory to his message and his agenda which is that we are forgiven! There is grace. God sent his only begotten son of a virgin birth to be crucified and perish only to rise again as a means to pay the price of all of mankinds sins. We are free! Free to live as Godly a life as we can listen and follow.
Well that was 15 months ago.... 3400 miles later here I am! My right knee is perfect! No crunchies, no inflammation, no ticking or clicking and I feel so truly blessed that God has given me back what was stolen 100 times over.
No my feet are not calloused over and no I don't worry about glass or any other thing in my many paths of adventure across the concrete and asphalt land I live in. Gods taught me like life... To land softly. Be alert yet relaxed, move with momentun and allow gravity to not just hold you to this Earth but to actually move you across it. (That's another lesson you will learn if you decide to unmute your ability to feel the Earth beneath your feet.)
My mission is to share the good news with everyone who will listen.
Two BareFoot Soles at a Time!