June 23, 2011

Shoes (and another thing)

I've gone through several brands and types of shoes since I started running. First, I bought a pair of Asics with arch support. I've been told I have high arches, which in my head translated into a need for support. These fit my wide foot, but the reality is I do not need arch support. Early in my running career I experienced heel pain, but did not associate it with the shoe. I wore through one pair and purchased another. By then, I'd upped my mileage to runs of 4+ miles. Whenever I ran over 4 miles though, my 2nd toe on either foot would start to hurt. I decided I needed larger shoes, and bought the same Asic shoe a half size bigger. I only wore that pair a few times because I found them heavy and clunky. Also, I started having hip and knee issues.

I decided the hip and knee issues were shoe related. Since I walk around barefoot most the time, I decided barefoot running was perfect for me. The only problem was the acorns and glass all over my neighborhood sidewalks. I bought a pair of Vibram Five Finger KSOs and started with short runs to get my feet and calves used to the lack of heel drop. It didn't take long to realize the Vibrams pinch my little toe on anything longer than a mile. They will make a great climbing shoe, but for me not such a good running shoe.

With the help of my local running store, I decided to purchase a pair of Saucony Kinvaras. These were too narrow, but the salesperson told me they were supposed to be tight across the ball of the foot. I guess I wanted to believe him. I wore the Kinvaras for several months before that tightness became a problem.

Apparently I was in need of a general sneaker, because with new running shoes, I retired my Asics to a run-around-town shoe. They were the shoes I wore with my jeans, when it was too cold for flip flops. It didn't occur to me until just recently that, if I refused to run in the Asics, did it make sense to walk around in them? I couldn't go for long walks because my knees would start to hurt. I'm not always quick on the uptake, and it was only a few weeks ago to make this connection. The Asics went into the trash.

I planned to work my way down to barefoot running, so somewhere along the way I purchased a pair of Merrell Trail Gloves. These sat in my shoe bin because I didn't have time between races to condition my feet and calves enough to run any real distance in them. I planned to wear the Kinvaras until after the Towpath race last weekend, then transition to the Merrells. When the Kinvaras made my feet bleed after the Cleveland Half Marathon, I needed a shoe I could run in right away. I had a race to prepare for in less than a month! Instead of breaking in the Merrells, I switched to a pair of Nike Free.

I'm wearing the Nike Free now, and feel in my calves and heels they are a lower heel drop than the Kinvaras. I'm not ready to transition to a no-heel-drop shoe, even with 2 months to train before my next race. In preparation for that transition though, I've started wearing the Merrells as my every day, run-around-town shoe.

A note about the Merrells. If you think a zero-heel-drop shoe with a Vibram sole is not enough protection, let me fill you in on today's events.

 I'm a poor blogger and forgot to take a before picture.
This used to be a paneled bar.
The picture doesn't include the 6 bags of garbage,
random bicycle rim, old computer, 8-track tape stand,
and 5 gallon wine bottle
that went up those stairs already.

Today I dismantled the bar in my parent's basement, and removed paneling from the side of the stairs. This project involved a crowbar, a flat bar, a hammer, and a small sledge hammer. There were lots of nails. Nails of all sizes. Nails of a size I've never seen before. The guy who built this bar was determined it would last the life of the house.

I stepped on a few of those nails. I stepped on some boards that had nails sticking out of them. In the Merrells. The nails did not go through the shoe. That says something about the tenacity of the Vibram sole on the Merrell Trail Glove. I'll be able to run on glass and acorns in this shoe, without a worry in my head for the safety of my feet.
I took this picture for Rose.
The one with my mouth open was just plain ugly.
She does the open mouth poses so much better...
This was a heck of a workout, on top of 6 miles (3 run, 1 walk, 2 run) on my new favorite path today. It was not hot today. That stripe across my middle is all honest sweat.

In other news, you might remember I told you about fellow blogger Michele over at Baby Weight My Fat Ass, and her adorable daughter Avery. Michele is still collecting  donations for Team Avery, to help fund Autism research. Suggesting you go HERE to help her out is one of the few things I can do to help. Please consider helping. It's definitely a worthy cause, and Michele is just a few hundred dollars from her goal.


Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

I approve of that sweat! Fantastic!

I only rock the open mouth shots because it gives me a more defined jaw line. hahaahha

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

My house has paneling all over but it's not the real wood kind so that stuff is durable!
Thanks for the shout out!!