Thursday, November 18, 2010

Superfeet VS Plantar Fasciitis VS EVO Barefoot Shoes

A few months ago (maybe it was 6), I developed Plantar Fasciitis. I went through the usual motions of trying to heal it; less running more biking, swimming, and trying every machine at the gym that i never tried before. I would throw a run in every few days but the Plantar Fasciitis never healed and just became worse. I researched PF online and off and found quite a bit of valuable information out there which included the suggestion by multiple people, online and off, to "get a pair of SUPERFEET!" So, tired of hearing about how I needed a pair of Superfeet, I went and spent the $35(ish) and got me a pair. Superfeet are pretty good if you want to just manage the pain/irritation and be able to run. Superfeet are NOT good at healing your Plantar Fasciitis but they do not claim to be. They claim to alleviate PF.

I followed "the rules" about wearing Superfeet and was able to run again but my Plantar Fasciitis would still yell out to me every once in a while to let me know that it was still there. My foot also just felt weak. I started doing exercises to strengthen the PLANTAR FASCIA and the muscles surrounding it and massages to rehab the tissue (grabbing socks with my toes, toe-raises, using golf balls and tennis balls to massage my foot, etc). Notice in the pic to the right how the Achilles Tendon and Plantar Fascia are closely related. I went back and revisited the Superfeet website and started to think about what Superfeet were doing and what the exercises were doing... Superfeet provide the support that your busted up Plantar Fascia is not providing. This is good if you plan on having a busted up Plantar Fascia forever but, I do not. I want my Plantar Fascia to feel good and be able to support all 190-ish lbs of me.

After religiously exercising and strengthening my Plantar Fascia and surrounding muscles I decided it was time to give my VIVO BAREFOOT EVO's a try again. Since a major benefit of barefoot running and walking is strengthening your feet and legs, it seemed like a natural progression to curing my PF. I had a pair of the Evo's that I used for training before Plantar Fasciitis showed up to the party but after everyone told me "NEVER GO BAREFOOT" if you have Plantar Fasciitis I decided to give them a rest for a while. I started out (again) conservatively with the Evo's by simply wearing them to work and around town. Within 1 day I noticed a major difference in the Plantar Fasciitis, I could barely feel it! I have tossed my Superfeet aside and haven't used them since. I am back on a training schedule in which I run at least 2x/week in my Evo Barefoot shoes (I am training for the AMERICAN RIVER 50 MILER in April 2011). I also have a separate pair of Evo's that I use almost every day for work and hanging out on the weekends. Watch out though, the Evo's are expensive, $160, OUCH!!! But if you want a great barefoot running/walking/working/hanging out shoe I highly recommend these. Most importantly, I've found that (like training for anything ) you cannot slack on the foot exercises. If I scrap doing the "footwork" for a week+ the PF starts to flair up a little but if I am consistent it is smooth sailing. If you have PF I highly recommend trying this barefoot+exercise+massage route. Remember, YOU DO NOT NEED BAREFOOT SHOES TO RUN (or walk) BAREFOOT! Just make sure you look where you're going. If you would like more details on the exercises please send me an email:

Along with the above exercises, I use this ball to massage my foot a couple times a day. It's small and easy to bring with you anywhere. I leave one under my desk at home and have one in my office. They are cheap and you can get 'em here... Support the blog and use one of these links

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

DANA CASANAVE: 52 Marathons in 52 Weeks for South African Orphans!

Some runner's are on a personal quest, some runner's are searching for something they may or may not find, some runner's could never stop moving and eventually became runner's, and some runner's run to make the world a better place. Dana Casanave began running for her health and in doing so she found a passion for running. Being a strong runner and an even stronger mother, she decided to help other children in need through running. Dana is running 52 marathons in 52 weeks to raise $26,000 to help orphans in South Africa. She is close to meeting her fundraising goal but needs our help. I have never met Dana personally but through her actions I know she is an exceptional person. She is a mother who is there for her children... in addition to(!) being a mother to orphans she does not know and live thousands of miles away from her and her family (not to mention she is a marathoner!) We should rally behind Dana and help her reach her goal! Let's go running community, STEP UP! (ALL $ DONATED GOES TO THE CHILDREN) Undefeated Running gets about 1100 hits/month, if everyone donated $10 she would be VERY close to her goal. DONATE HEREI asked her to share her story with me and here is the letter she sent... 

"My name is Dana Casanave and I am a 29 year old wife, mother of 3 young children and a personal trainer in Leesburg, Virginia. In January of 2010 I began on a journey to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks. This past weekend I completed marathon #41 of the year. I don't come from an athletic background. I do not have a typical runners build, but I've stayed course with my plans to run these marathons and plan to finish on January 15th (which also happens to be my 30th birthday).

I struggled with being severely overweight and out of shape for most of my life. After a lot of work, determination, time, and losing almost 70 pounds, I gained a new love for running. Running has changed my life in so many positive ways I wanted to use it as a means to do something positive for others.

I am running these marathons to raise funds and awareness for the Virginia-based charity 25:40, an organization dedicated to help South African orphans. Many of these children have lost one or both parents to AIDS and sadly many are HIV+ themselves. 25:40 supports and fosters the creation of orphanages, health clinics, day care centers, schools and other entities that are critical to the care and health development of children impacted by AIDS. I look at my own 3 children and think to myself, I would hope and pray that someone would do something if my children were left in the circumstances that these children face. I believe we have all been blessed in some way and need to use that to bless others. I can't save everyone, but I can make a difference in the life of a child, one at a time.

I call my journey 52 Beginnings, and each race is run for different child from the Ngqeleni District in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. There are over 1,500 children in this region orphaned or vulnerable to becoming orphans and all the funds raised goes to this group of kids. I'm trying to raise $26,000 to support 25:40's multi-year program designed to meet the basic and most essential needs of each of these children. All the money raised goes straight to the children, I am personally paying all my costs.  While I’m beginning these marathon races 52 times, I also hope to make a new beginning for each of these children.

Running a marathon every 6-8 days or less has been challenging, physically, mentally and emotionally, but fundraising has been downright frustrating. I only have 11 marathons left for my goal, but I am still $15,000 from my goal. I feel like if I have gone through everything I have this year, and complete all the marathons, but don't raise the funds I set out to raise for these children, my work has been useless, and so I am going to continue to work to meet both goals. These children are born into such a hopeless situation, and my job is not finished until I can help change that.
You can view my blog about this journey at

Run Strong!
Dana Casanave"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Meb Keflezighi's "RUN TO OVERCOME" Book Review

Meb Keflezighi is the American Dream. In 2009, after becoming the first American to win the NYC Marathon in 27 years, Meb helped USA Running and himself break through the wall to be known (again), as regular's on the world's running podiums. It's interesting to note how a Silver at the Olympics in 2004 didn't carry the same weight as the NYC Marathon. Although Meb was born and partially raised in Eritrea his story is a reflection of the USA and what it truly means to be American.
"RUN TO OVERCOME" provides and in-depth look at what it takes to be the best. Meb uninhibitedly reveals the dynamics of his relationship's with his family, friends, mentors, trainers and Coach Bob Larsen. He also shares stories about his relationships and encounters with other elite runners. For example, he offers a great anecdote about what happened after his DNF at London. Surprisingly, Meb found himself on a train back to the hotel with Haile Gebrselassie!

The book itself is well written with an exceptional recount of winning the 2009 NYC Marathon. Meb takes us mile by mile, from the soles of his shoes to inside his mind to the finish line. Meb shows us how he carried the weight of two world's on his shoulders (even with a fractured pelvis) and still reached the finish line first (in NYC and life). "Run to Overcome" is a quality story about overcoming adversity, focusing on what is important in life and setting and reaching goals. For more information about the book, Meb and a chance to win a signed copy of "Run to Overcome" go to

You can also purchase your copy (when it is released) here: