There’s a hint of a smile around my lips this week – when I am not grinning from ear to ear, that is. I have good cause, as my body is definitely recovering now, after 14 months of being pretty sick, with no clear prognosis about when it might all simply go away. Anyway, the upshot is I am falling over less and less, and experiencing fewer of the kind of muscle cramps that had been bringing me to the floor (again) this last year. Yeah, I hear you say, sure, that’s nice for you, if maybe a bit tedious for us, but why is this in a post about kettlebells? Bear with me, if you can, please. There is a point to this.
I spend a large part of every day barefoot, as this when I at my most stable. Not having much sensation in my good foot (a small strip across the sole) and none in the other, it has been tricky to manage a safe-ish gait, and uneven surfaces can floor me (literally!). We forget all too easily how our soles are receptors of a million messages to our brain, warning us of precarious ground, helping us judge stairs and steps (building regulations in the UK mean we can trust stairs to provide us a consistent progression from one stair to the next, and our feet pick up this pattern almost instantly) and making minor adjustments to respond to adverse camber. Even standing still relies on our sight, but also what we can make of the information the feet “read” from the ground. Try balancing on one leg with your eyes closed and you will feel your planted foot frantically trying to get extra messages from the ground. Well, that’s what both mine do even when both are planted firmly, and eyes wide open, to compensate for lack of feeling. I filmed my feet this week (no, not a fetish, I wanted to see what they do during a Jerk set). The footage shows me just how far I have come: the wobbling and searching is slackening off now, and I can complete a 6 or 10 minute Jerk set without necessarily falling over!
This means, however, that it’s time to order the shiny weightlifting shoes. This is going to be a shock to the feet. The most they ever wear is VivoBarefoot, which despite their thin flat sole and soft construction have a pronounced impact on my precarious sensory perception : I wear them unfastened and even then I struggle to get any feedback from the ground when wearing them. Weightlifting shoes have a heel made of solid wood, and your foot gets strapped into the shoe – all very alien to my feet – so there’s going to be a period of adjustment, I guess, and this might mean coming down in the weights for a while. But I want to be on the platform under the same rules as everyone else, no allowances made. I admit I have been a bit slow to bite the bullet, but when Coach Valery Fedorenko says it’s time to get the shoes, you know it’s time to get them.
This next week I am going to start the process by wearing surfing shoes for Jerks.These are about as thin as Vibrams, but without the toe dividers which don’t work for clawed feet so well. Then, the order for weightlifting shoes goes in, and I will start to LOOK like a girevik when I am on the platform – at least, until the reps start!