"Do you actually run in those things?" asked Tim.
"Sure do. Love it," I replied.
"In your neighborhood? Where other people can see you? Those are the goofiest looking things I've ever seen. I can't believe you actually go out in public in those. What do other people think? What do they say?"
"Well, I don't know what they think and no one has said anything to me but really, I don't care. It's my body. I like the way it feels. Of course, they might be freaked out by this 6'9" guy bounding down the street," I explained.
"You'll never get me to do that. No way. Too goofy."
Now, I'm not going to say that I'm one of those people who will wear anything and let the public be damned. Just ask Christine when she tried to get me to wear a set of antlers at my sister-in-law's Christmas party on Saturday night. They looked great on her. Too goofy for me.
One of the problems people with joint disease face (and by that I mean, osteoarthritis of the joints) is that when they try to run the impact, the force created when their foot hits the ground, can be much greater than what the joint can withstand. The result is stiffness, soreness, swelling, and aching. So, a lot of people with a history of joint pain in the knee just quit doing things that cause their knee to hurt - like running.
I have joint disease, osteoarthritis, of the spine (cervical, thoracic, lumbar), both knees, and my left ankle which can wake my wife up from the loud snap that it makes sometimes when I walk down the hall. So, I understand the issue completely. Yet, I really enjoy jogging with my kiddos (Spencer and Cirque - Abby doesn't like to run). I listen to Chris Botti, romp through the park with Spencer and Cirque and work on all sorts of stuff in my head. I can jog, as I mentioned in an earlier post, but I also know I'm on the edge of doing too much. I want the activity to be a strength building one not an injurious one.
So, how do I do it?
These are the shoes that my friend Tim thinks are so goofy (here's a link to a video). When you run in these things, the impact force is reduced by about 50%. But, it's a trick to get them on and walk around. It feels like you're walking in ski boots but with a sort of rocker bottom. And, they weigh about 4 lbs. each (or at least mine do). They also add about 6 inches to your height. I have to duck to get out the front door. I bought a pair on eBay for $30 (they retail for around $300).
When I go for a jog, my heart rate and respiratory rate climb very fast probably because I have 4 lb. weights on my feet but it feels super soft with a great spring effect. I can run faster for a longer period of time and have no stiffness or soreness or next day aching. But, there is one side effect that I discovered after running for 4 or 5 sessions. My body gets used to the buoyancy or the rebound of the shoes. So, my muscles learn that the rebound is normal. My muscles think I weigh less than I do and adjust accordingly. When I go for a jog without the shoes, my legs feel like lead pipes and when my feet hit the ground it's as if I have no spring in my legs at all. It feels like I'm made of twigs.
So, what do I do? Do I Kangoo or not? Well, I discovered a work around. I can Kangoo a day or two then when I try to jog minus the Kangoos, I jog for about 5 seconds, walk for a minute; jog for 10 or 15 seconds, walk for a minute; jog for about 30 seconds, walk for a minute until finally I can jog for a minute and feel fairly normal. The next time I jog sans Kangoos, I feel fine.
Jogging in Kangoos, despite being 6'9" and looking goofy, feels good, is a great workout, and is joint friendly. Now, if I could figure out how to feel that great in a pair of antlers, I might wear them too.
Make today count.