Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Great Shoe Debacle

Last summer when I first started running, I wore a random pair of New Balance shoes that I had sitting around the house. They were awful. My feet got really hot (and, consequently, stinky) and the shoes rubbed at a spot on my right ankle which left me with blood dripping down my foot after each run. So, on the advice of, well, everyone, I decided to go to a local specialty store and be fitted for running shoes.

Now, my town has a couple of different running stores. I picked the one I was most familiar with and went for it. The guy who helped me looked at my feet, looked at my shoes, and talked to me about my running habits (where, when, how far, etc). He brought me out several pairs of shoes and eventually, I ended up with the Mizuno Waveriders - a neutral shoe. They were great. From the start they were comfortable and supportive. I was in love.

Fast forward to the beginning of February. I noticed that my knees were aching after runs, even relatively short runs. While trying to figure out what the problem was, I realized my shoes were probably shot. I had been using them consistently for 8 months or so and it was time to replace them.

In a moment of disloyalty to my original choice of running store, I dragged my husband out to the newer, shinier running store with the "video gait analysis" - designed to find your perfect shoe. My first clue that this was not going to end well should have been the fact that the employee assisting me looked to be about 12 years old.

The child looked at my arches and then had me run barefoot on a treadmill while he recorded my exploits. After reviewing the video in slow motion, he told me I was a moderate to severe overpronator. Accordingly, my "special helper" brought me several pairs of shoes to try on, all of which felt like bricks strapped to my feet, especially after wearing the Mizunos for the last several months. Eventually, I decided to go with the Asics Kayano because it felt the least brick-like of the shoes I tried on.

They.were.Terrible. Yes, capital T terrible.

The first time I went out on a run in them, I ended up with a huge blister on my left foot and a lot of tightness in the right ankle. The tightness in my ankle stuck around for the next run, joined my pain in my left knee. By the third run, I realized the shoes were forcing me to run on the outside edge of my right foot, which in turn was forcing my left knee to bear all the weight on my runs. The ball of my right foot was barely even touching the ground.

Luckily, the store has a pretty liberal return policy so I was able to get a full refund when I took the shoes back. My next step is to go back to Store #1 and buy a new pair of Mizuno Waveriders.

I am sorry my love. I was wooed away by the fancy-schmancy "video gait analysis." I've learned my lesson, and I won't stray again.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Still trucking along

I haven't had a chance to update recently, but here's what's been going on:

This past week, I did a 1.5 mile run on Monday and a 4.5 mile run on Thursday. I didn't intend for Monday's run to be so short, but I just wasn't feeling it, so I quit. Probably not the best decision I could have made, but eh...whatever.

Saturday the husband and I did our long run for the week - 7 miles. It took us about an hour and 15 minutes, not including the 2 or so minute break we took to get some water and suck down a gel. Actually, the husband had a gel. I thought I would give the strawberry Shot Bloks another go. They still tasted good, and I didn't get stomach cramps this time. BUT I actually felt slower after I ate them...like I had just eaten a heavy snack. I just don't think these are for me - I guess I'm sticking with the gels for now.


In non-running news, the light box arrived on Thursday. And, of course, the day it arrived was the start of a heat wave here - the temperature has been in the 60s ever since with plenty of sun. I've still been trying to use it regularly because I know that by the end of this week it will be cold and nasty again.

The biggest change I've noticed in myself since getting the light box is that it is easier to wake up in the morning. I'm not dragging myself out of bed after hitting the snooze button 7 times - trying not to cry because I am so tired and don't want to go to school. Now, the alarm goes off, I hit the snooze but then end up getting up before it has a chance to go off again. If that's the only benefit I ever see from the box, it will have been worth the $120.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Look! There, in the sky....

It's a bird. It's a plane. It's.....THE SUN!

That's right, the sun decided to pay us a little visit this weekend, and it was amazing. Saturday it got up to 60 degrees here, so the husband and I decided to move our long run up a day to take advantage of the great weather. We managed to get in 6 miles in an hour and 8 minutes. The only stop for walking was when took a quick break around mile 3 to slug down a couple of Clif Shot Energy Gels. I had the Strawberry flavor (which also has 25mg of caffeine) and the husband had Razz. While the taste of the strawberry gel was nowhere near as good as the blocks, it wasn't bad. Just different. I washed the gel down with a couple of swigs of water and headed back out on to the trail. (When I asked the husband what he thought of the Razz flavor, his response was, "It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.")

After my experience with the shot blocks, I was waiting for the stomach cramps to begin. Luckily, they never came. And, the best part was that I could really tell a difference in my energy level during the last leg of my run. I honestly felt like I could have kept running for another mile or two without much problem.

In my excitement to get out on the trail and soak up the sun, there was one thing I overlooked. The mud. Once it started to warm up on Saturday morning, all of the ice and snow covering the trail started to melt, turning the trail into a swamp. After about a mile, my shoe laces were so wet and dirty that they refused to stay tied. It didn't matter if I tied them tighter or looser, double or single knotted, they were coming untied every quarter mile or so. Eventually I just gave up and ran the last 2 miles with my shoes untied.

Here's what my shoes looked like when we got home:

And for reference, the shoes are supposed to be white, not brown. The mud also came through the tops of the shoes, leaving my socks looking like this:

Somehow the husband's shoes came through unscathed. Hmmm....


I also popped in to a weight watchers meeting on Saturday morning. I was down 1.8 pounds since my last meeting (two weeks ago) to 140.2 lbs., which means I have now officially lost all the weight I put on over the holidays. Woo hoo!