A day of learning in NYC

Wow–what a cool day I had on Saturday! One of the great things about living in the Mid-Atlantic is that you can hop on a train and be in New York a few short hours later. Saturday morning I was on that train at 7 a.m. to meet up with  Lee Saxby for a one-on coaching session. It was all part of the weekend-long New York City Barefoot Run 2011.

Lee started by having me run with my shoes on while he taped me. He then had me kick them off and run again. What we found? My form is actually fairly

NYCBF11 003 e1316906876165 150x150 A day of learning in NYC

My coach for the day, Lee Saxby

decent both ways. No heel striking, no overextending leading leg. This is the part Lee calls the “software” of running.

Then, well, then I learned that my “hardware,” in this case my feet, leaves much to be desired. My second toe is longer than my first–a pretty common condition called Morton’s toe. Why is that a problem? Well, we have a large big toe and metatarsal for a reason–to help take on a good deal of the load when our feet hit the ground. When your second toe is longer than the first, this probably doesn’t happen. The result–overload on the other, smaller bones of the foot, which in my case led to stress reactions (not to mention my doing too much/too soon).

That was the bad news. The good news, according to Lee, is that with hard work, I can retrain my feet to better utilize that big toe. But–it has to be retrained with walking first. He gave me some drills and exercises to work on, including that ubiquitous squat I want to perfect. He said to expect it to take a minimum of six to eight weeks to make the corrections. So it looks like I have my work cut out for me.

My friend, Dr. Mark Cucuzzella was on hand also as one of the speakers for the weekend. He sat in on my session with Lee and did some videotaping, which we’ll be running later this week on the Natural Running Center site. Be sure to check it out.

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Barefoot Ted in the flesh

On the lighter side of the weekend–it was a who’s who of the barefoot running world out there today. Barefoot Ted, Barefoot Ken Bob, Jason Robillard–they were all there. It was fun to put the faces to the feet. My only bummer was not having time to meet Barefoot Josh and Lisa of Early Morning Run, both of whom were further uptown racing the Fifth Avenue Mile. But I can’t complain–I had a great time and learned new, unexpected things.

How was your weekend?

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  1. Very cool! Hopefully you’ll be able to make those corrections and run long into old age injury free!
    Jamoosh recently posted..Random BitsMy Profile

  2. Very cool. Sounds like you got some great tips. Good luck on perfecting that squat! Agai, another reminder for me that I have GOT to figure out how to get yoga back into my busy schedule.

    My weekend has been decent. Last night’s barf-fest from my 2 year-old was a bit of a bumme. Iin about 15 minutes, however, Sunday will hopefully redeem itself. I’m about to go running OUTSIDE for the first time in 7 weeks. Woo hoo!!
    Allison Johnson recently posted..Running with the ugly stepsisterMy Profile

  3. Glad to hear you are getting some input on what issues to address. That squat is something that old ladies in many countries just do. I mean I saw a bunch of grandmas in Vietnam squatting like that (instead of sitting) for hours while cleaning fish. It seems to me that (yet again) our conveniences like chairs and such cost us flexibility. Oh, here I go again about the natural way to do things. I better move back to my cave. :-)
    Enjoy the rest of your stay in NYC. Yes, I am envious you can visit the City by just hopping on the train.
    Ewa recently posted..Lets talk food, for a changeMy Profile

  4. Interesting about Morton’s toe. My second toe is longer as well and it never occurred to me that this could cause running issues. I always thought it simply meant I was better at picking up dimes and small toys off the floor with my feet than my fellow short toed friends.
    julie recently posted..Murder Before BreakfastMy Profile

  5. Awesome! I hope those tips will help get you running again soon!
    Richelle recently posted..Race Report: Twins Territory TC 4KMy Profile

  6. That’s really cool! So you’re another one with the Morton’s toe?! I was not aware that it affected the other foot bones. No wonder I’ve had trouble with my feet in the past. Thanks for the informative post.
    Adrienne recently posted..Check Your Ego at the DoorMy Profile

  7. Interesting about the morton’s toe… I have one also, and wondered how it effected running.

  8. I was having mortons toe issues and they have greatly improved from doing squats and
    Focusing on landing just behind my first meta. It does get better!
    Angie Bee recently posted..There is no old in runningMy Profile

  9. My second toe is longer and has never caused me any problems with my feet-headed into my 40th straight year of runnning…

  10. huh, the whole toe thing makes sense. Hope the squats get easier! That reminds me, I need to stretch : )
    Molly recently posted..Let’s do five for fridayMy Profile

  11. WOW. You know, the toe thing totally makes sense, and I just never thought about it. But what is so cool is that you can train your body to adapt to it.

    Sounds like such a fun way to spend the weekend.
    Mandy recently posted..Sunday SamplerMy Profile

  12. Yay I have feet like MZ!!! My 2nd toe is waaaay longer & I KNOW- it has caused me some foot problems…here’s the funny thing ….until I read your awesome post I never knew it was to blame. Makes sense.
    You. Rock.

  13. I literally never would have thought of that as something that would affect how you run! That’s awesome that you can retrain your feet, though. Good luck!
    kari w/ running ricig recently posted..crazy, but I’ll take itMy Profile

  14. It sounds like you had a great time and learned a lot. It’s always great to get with experts and have them analyze things you weren’t aware of. But it looks like you should change your name to Barefoot Zippy, just to fit in!
    Jim recently posted..Cerner Kansas City 15K Race ReportMy Profile

  15. Wow, sounds so cool! My second toe is longer than my big toe, so I definitely have to look into all this. Maybe it’s why I’ve had so many stress fractures too! I had no idea.

    I’m really disappointed I didn’t get to see you while you were here. Hopefully there will be another time! So glad to hear you had a great time!
    lisa @ early morning run recently posted..Finding Time, Running in the Rain and Team OiselleMy Profile

  16. How cool! I hope you’re well on the road to being on the road again!
    Tracy recently posted..The unicorns were peeing rainbows!!My Profile

  17. Ahhh, I’m so jealous you got to meet all the barefoot greats!! Sounds like you had a great time, although, it would be hard not to in NYC :)

  18. I had a soccer game to coach, boo! Did you do the run on Governors island on Sunday? It’s pretty cool there.

  19. So great for you! New York is my favorite city by far, glad you are having such a good time and learning so much too! I have had a really good weekend myself.
    Jen recently posted..I’m Back!My Profile

  20. That’s so encouraging. There is light at the end of the tunnel – and you won’t need a partial amputation of your second toe to achieve your dreams.
    Char recently posted..Posing, Farting and FlashingMy Profile

  21. What a great opportunity! Hopefully the drills and exercises will help!
    Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted..Irritable ITB, Step-back wk and Vacation runs – WWYD?My Profile

  22. Wow, that sounds awesome to have such one on one attention. I have Morton’s toe too. Not only is my second toe longer than my big toe, but my third toe is too. I’ve had issues with the nerves in my feet and toes, but luckily no stress reactions….yet.
    Michael recently posted..3 PRs in One Race – Cerner 15K Race ReportMy Profile

  23. 6-8 weeks? That is a lot of hard work ….
    Sounds like such a neat day with so many interesting people.
    Glad you had such an informative, fun weekend. :) We had our biggest fundraiser of the year so I just worked non-stop BUT we raised $1 million so it was worth it.

  24. What a weekend! I’d love to be able to just pop over to New York for the day. :)

    Your site looks awesome! A lot of hard work!

    Thanks for all your comments and support. It means a lot!

  25. I am currently have foot issues… after reading this I am wondering if the bigger second toe is my issue. What an awesome opportunity for you to meet with him. I hope the exercises help you.
    Christie recently posted..Recap. and Bib #My Profile

  26. Hmmm. I have Morton’s toe on one foot but not on the other. I’m tempted to add it to the list of potential causal factors to what’s going on with the right side of my body. Keep us posted on how the retraining of the feet goes!
    Raquelita recently posted..Race Report: Women Run the Cities 10 MileMy Profile

  27. That is awesome, I hope they help you out running again
    BDD recently posted..FailureMy Profile

  28. Sounds like an awesome opportunity! Hopefully implementing some new changes will have you running strong and injury free!
    marlene recently posted..Zoo Run 10K Race ReportMy Profile

  29. @cheryl: I’ve got Morton’s Toe and have had Morton’s Neuromas. They are actually two different conditions (structural vs neural) and happened to be named for two different doctors named Norton.

    I’d be curious about what exercises you were asked to do to rebalance your weight onto your first metatarsal. Perhaps you could do a follow-on post after you’ve had some time to try them out.

  30. wow, so fascinating! i also have morton’s toe…no wonder my feet are a mess!
    katie recently posted..Waterman’s Half: course previewMy Profile

  31. A very nice day with interesting people!
    Black Knight recently posted..60 years of rugbyMy Profile

  32. Can I just say how lucky you are?!! I’m really excited that you are learning how to work past your Morton’s toe thing. I’d love to hear all about how you plan to do that! And I bet it’s good to know that your form is good in as well as out of shoes!

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