running blog

Clive Whaley

Fat Feet?

It's official - my feet have got fatter! Well more specifically, the front of my feet. Look, I could have said my balls are expanding but that would have just been for comic effect and I don't intend to do that. This is too serious. It's actually quite a traumatic thing to discover in only the first week of my marathon programme and how I discovered it is so mundane. All I did was order a new pair of road running shoes.

I did what I have always done for about the last 20 years - ordered a pair of the running brand Saucony in UK size seven and a half. But when I tried them on it was a real struggle to get into them and they were really tight! They were especially tight around the toes, they felt really cramped.

I opened the laces out till they were really loose and paced about the floor in my living room but my toes couldn't breathe. (I know toes don't breathe but if toes did breathe, they would definitely have stopped breathing in these shoes and started to turn blue and … well, I don't want to talk about it.) This was simply shocking. What on earth has happened. This is the SAME brand of shoe at the SAME size I have been wearing since way back in the previous century and yet my toes were dying.

I hate having to re-package stuff and send it back for exchange but there was no alternative. The Luminous green "Kinvara Sevens" went back with a request for an exchange to UK size 8. I'm even beginning to wonder if the next size up will be big enough. If this is a trend, by the time I run in London in late April, the Cockney phrase "plates of meat" will not just be rhyming slang but an accurate description of my trotters.

It did get me thinking what could have caused this unnatural and very specific growth in my anatomy. The logical thing was to examine what had changed recently that may explain this phenomenon. And I have two highly plausible theories - one running related - and one diet related. In the running category, is the fact that, like all trendy runners these days I try to run much more on the front of my feet. The old days of 'heel striking' are frowned upon in fashionable running circles and although a hell of a lot of people still do it, to admit to it, is a bit like silencing everyone at a party to announce that you club baby seals.

So my first theory is that my persistent attempts to run on my balls (stop it … stop it …) - to run with my weight more on the front of my feet - has resulted in specific front foot expansion - they've squidged out like something out of a Wallace and Gromit animation. If this is true, I just hope the replacement shoes will hold it all in.

My second theory is that a recent short lived, but drastic change to my diet may have caused weird and specific toxic effects in my extremities. You see, I am in a minority of one in my family in being a meat eater and for a few, mostly relaxing days over the festive period, I joined the rest of the tribe in a Vegan inspired Christmas dinner. I have to say it was delicious and, as a runner, I am never knowingly underfed, so I really went for it. Although I am no stranger to large quantities of food, especially on the 25th of December, I did consume several ingredients that I don't often sample and some that I have NEVER tried before.

It's perhaps not that surprising that, after three generous plates of walnuts, chestnut puree, onions, parsnips, cabbage, broccoli (and a dozen other secret vegan potions) washed down with several glasses of alcoholic fizz - that, well … As delicately as I can put it, over the next 24 hours, I personally generated sufficient reverse thrust methane gas to propel me from rural Dorset to the London Marathon finishing line (4 months later) without any training WHATSOEVER.

However, that's not the point. The point is, could it be that this radical change in diet has all gone to my feet? The gaseous element has long since gone, but the rest of it had to go somewhere. We may never know but the new shoes have been 'returned to sender' and I hope the replacements arrive soon … and that they fit!

Oh, and I did my first Gym session today as part of my training plan. That went OK. It's my feet that are bugging me.