Muscle memory


I bought a pair of minimalist – for lack of a better descriptor –  shoes the other day because I have been, increasingly, having problems with my feet. A couple of months ago, I started to worry that I had somehow broken a bone in my foot because I had such sharp shooting pains. After X Rays, the doctor assured me that it was only Arthritis.

Because of the pain, I started walking less and that only made it worse. Finally, I went to Michele’s Chiropractor who is somewhat of a holistic healer. He gave me a heavy-duty massage – with what he called a jack-hammer, it was very strong – and told me to soak my feet in hot water, get massages, and walk barefoot around the house more (since I never walk barefoot, anything would be more). Also, he told me that my shoes were too stiff and I should Get a pair of minimalist shoes.

All of this has been counter intuitive, at least for me, but I am walking around the house with only socks, soaking my feet in hot water, and I have even gotten a foot massage. I also got a pair of New Balance Minimus Trail Shoes. I have been wearing Keen Trail Shoes and they are fairly heavy-duty, in theory to protect my feet.

I knew switching shoe styles would be somewhat of a shock because the Keens are designed to cushion my heel when I land heel first and the New Balance have no heel padding.   What I didn’t expect was the feeling of familiarity I got when I first put them on. Pulling the shoes on – and putting the shoes on is closer to putting on socks than it is to slipping into some comfortable old shoe – I was flooded with memories of pulling on my track shoes. I think that the last time I wore track shoes was May of 1958. That is over 56 years ago and they still – instantly – felt familiar. Now just picking the shoes up brings back those familiar feelings.

It is not specific feelings, I am not brought back to that feeling of standing on a hard track on a warm day, I am not transported in time. I pick up the first shoe and it is lighter than I expected and I am aware that my hands, my muscles – not my mind – are being careful not to grab the front with the sharp cleats. I loosen the laces and open the shoes as much as possible, then I pull them over my feet. I have to run my thumb around the back to get my heel in and, as I run my thumb around, bringing the soft shoe back up over the back of my heel, it all feels so every day. Everyday now, not every day then.

It is not like my mind remembers, it is like my muscles remember. I like that.

One thought on “Muscle memory

  1. You did the same thing when we went skiing together the first time. Your mouth told me you forgot how, but even before we hit the slopes your body showed me you remembered just fine. As we got out of the car you picked up your skis and tossed them over your shoulder like you had been doing it every day, even though it had been years.

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