Photo: tommy the pariah, Flickr Creative CommonsI've had a problem at the end of most of my runs with the ball and middle toes of each foot going to sleep. This is a bit disconcerting as I actually need to feel that part of my body during the run to help keep from stepping wrong and screwing things up down there. I did a search for this problem online yesterday when I was supposed to be working and found a suggestion to switch to the Lydiard lacing method. Apparently Arthur Lydiard was some great runner and running coach and the lacing thing is only one part of his method. Anyway, the lacing pattern is supposed to more evenly distribute the pressure along the length of the shoe and take some of the stress off of the foot at the top of the shoe. Long story short, it didn't really work. Most of the numbness just jumped from my right foot to my left foot. The good news is that this numbness has been coming on later and later each time I run, so I think it's something that I'll be able to just train away. It popped up at around a mile during my first run, and lately it's taken 2 to 2.5 miles for my toes to start losing all feeling. A couple of the other suggestions are things I can't do anything about right now. If I bought shoes that were too small in the toe box, I'm not spending another $80 until these shoes die. Besides, my toes feel like they have plenty of room in there. Another person mentioned they had this problem until the shoes were well broken in, about 15 miles for them. I've run about 20 miles at this point. I'd think the shoes would be broken in by now. The numbness stops almost immediately, so I'm not worried about it right now, but if I can't get at least 5 miles without numbness before mid-June, I'm going to start looking for more drastic measures.
One of the weirder discoveries I found in my web search yesterday was an entire website (with a book!) about shoe laces. I'd found this site simply looking for a better diagram of the Lydiard lacing than the one I found first. Honestly, if you're into shoe laces, this site is freaking amazing. The trouble is that I'm not really into shoe laces. I followed their instructions and diagram to relace my running shoes. The only problem was that I spent probably 30 minutes after that just noodling around the site. It's really a pretty impressive source of information. Let's just say that the section on 33 different ways to lace your shoes (with diagrams, photos, detailed written instructions, and pros and cons for the pattern) is only one small part of this site.
I mentioned this to my buddy Hank and he said he wasn't surprised. Runners are a strange, obsessive breed, he said. Then I told him this wasn't a running site. This was simply about shoe laces in general and seemed to be more fashion oriented than anything else. He was stunned. I think he may have pooped his pants a little.
Of course I shouldn't be surprised. I'm not the only one out there with the ability to be passionate about niche interests. Some people are just more able to focus their passion into fewer niches.