I’ve become obsessed with looking at other runners’ shoes. I’m still a running newbie and figuring out the the best tools. Next I’ll turn to what the best tools are for carrying my phone with me to listen to music, but for now, shoes it is. On my run yesterday, I saw a group of girls wearing what looked like all the same shoes, but once they got close, they were all different, just the same color. I see lots of Nike and Saucony out there. I hear Asics are the choice of many, as well as Brooks.
I started out running in my minimal tennis shoes, New Balance Minimus.They look like this:
They are so old — at least 5 years. I ran in them in my old neighborhood but I predominantly used in them in dance class. They are barely a step up from jazz shoes or those foot glove shoes. There was barely anything between my foot and the ground. Minimus, indeed. I loved it for the most part. I could feel the ground really well, convinced myself that this is what I liked and how I preferred to move in the studio and on the pavement.
Because my New Balance shoes were really old and running was becoming a passion, I knew I’d tear through them, if I hadn’t already. I knew shoes had a certain mileage on them, but I didn’t know what it was. A man I know from church always writes his mileage and the date on his shoes so he knows when it’s time.
Nike came through for me with a minimal shoe. I can’t find its picture, but a lot like this:
Not so different from what I had before. These were nicer and newer and I blew right through them with my running. I am not sure how many miles I ran in them, but I wore them to run the half marathon trail run, aware they were “wimpy” (according to my colleague). They were wimpy! I didn’t realize until about 7 miles in, but my shoes didn’t allow much control going downhill. I spent so much time banging up my hips by stopping myself from going too quickly downhill. I ran in these shoes over a month longer and decided it was time to go into a real running store and get a fitting.
Luckily, there was such a store near where we were staying in North Carolina. The owner of the store helped me. I’d heard from several serious runners to try Brooks. “They are like stepping into a cloud.” So he gave me a pair to try on and I hit the treadmill in his store.
By the way, this was the first time I’d run on the treadmill since the fall, and it was weird! And I was so fast on it! All the focus on my form has really paid off, and running all the time in general has paid off. As I told the guy, I always hated running, but now I’m kind of good at it. I told him my goal of running a marathon.
So I tried the Brooks and found them to be comfortable but a bit tight across my foot.
Here’s where I tell you about my special feet. So. Special.
I inherited my dad’s feet. This means I have a high instep. My arch is so high I can stick my hand under it when my foot is on the ground. I used to joke that I had Barbie feet. It’s always been easy for me to point my toes in dance class because my foot naturally looks like it’s pointing most of the way. This foot situation isn’t without its issues though. Folks with this top of foot have wider feet at the front and are prone to club toes. After some alarming cramps and convincing myself I had some awful condition, I learned all was sort of normal and had personalized inserts made for my feet last spring. I wear them with shoes that don’t give me enough support, mostly with completely flat shoes. I also started buying shoes with more support through the middle, and I used my feet as an excuse to stop wearing shoes I hated.
Back to the running shoes. The wide part of my foot didn’t fit well into the Brooks, and the store owner said they are all about the same width. So he had me try on some other shoes.
I found my match in these:
They are even brighter in person. Like neon yellow bright. The first run I had in them was nothing short of amazing! I could tear down those hills without having to put on the brakes with my hips. I had a lot more support on the outside of my foot and a good cushion between my foot and the ground. Running in new shoes is an amazing feeling.
I asked the store owner how many miles these shoes will last. He advised about 300 miles. On my phone, in the Runkeeper app, I can track how far I’ve run in these shoes. Already I’ve run 30 miles. 1/1oth of the way through the life of these shoes, and I have had them 3 weeks. I am getting pretty critical of them though, so I plan to try out even more brands next time I go shopping for shoes.
Speaking of Runkeeper, I selected a program on it to get ready to run a marathon in 12 weeks’ time. It’s made me concerned that I have no business running a marathon so soon. I’m trying not to let it get me down, but it does have me thinking about what’s realistic. Every runner I talk to says I can do it but I have yet to crack 12 miles in one run. I know that’s less than a half marathon, but I’ve learned that training for a marathon requires much longer “long runs” than I’ve currently been doing. Keeping that in mind, I’m trying to run nearly every day, as long as weather and schedule allow it so I can build up to longer runs on my long run days.
Running has really helped with my mood and sleeping, but even though I didn’t go hog wild, I am seeing the effects of not sticking to my normal diet. I am not sure if it’s the meds or my body wanting calories due to all the running, but I’ve been eating too much. I know I am smaller and healthier than I was a year ago, but at times I feel gross and fat. Back to the usual foods for me.
It amazes me what my body can do now that I am a runner. I can run an hour plus without stopping. I can run at least 5 miles without stopping on a regular basis. I can’t believe this about myself. I really can’t. I feel so strong and powerful right now. I’m encouraging others to run, if their bodies will allow it. I’ve become one of those people who thinks about running when I am not running.
When I run, I feel like I am flying, much like a dancer experiences the effortless floating feeling when all that the body has learned to do takes over and the mind is released from control.
Thanks for reading,