shoe dependency…

My shoe situation has still not quite been resolved, though not for a lack of trying. Since shoe #3 (which seemed like it would work), there have been #4, #5, #6 and #7. Different brands, different levels of support, different widths. Each of them has not quite fit the bill; actually all of them made me feel like my feet were on a slope. Like my feet were starting off square on the orthotic and as I ran, sliding off of center towards the outsides of the shoes. Every time. So I have concluded that it must be a problem with the orthotic. What’s that argument – argument ad populum? 50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong! 600 million people can’t be wrong about Facebook! I know it’s a fallacious argument, but not in this case. In this case I believe there must be an exception – half a dozen shoes can’t be wrong! It’s not the shoe(s). It simply can’t be.

So what, then? Well, to make a long story short, first, I’ve scheduled an appointment with a podiatrist who specializes in running. Unfortunately, the appointment is not until the end of the month. And even then, it’ll be a consult initially. Someone I can tell my running story to – an expert on running who also runs himself (this is important). Someone who has an education in feet (this is also important).

Second, I went back to the doc who prescribed and ordered my orthotic and he is going to order a new one for me with some slight adjustments and we’ll keep our fingers crossed that this next one is better. Ugh.

The story of how I ended up in a custom orthotic in the first place? Well, it’s a short one: I was tired of dealing with IT band pain and had tried everything from Superfeet to foam rolling to strength and flexibility exercises. To no avail. Someone suggested fixing the base (feet) and it made sense to me. But with this recent orthotic debacle, I’m wondering if maybe, just maybe, all of those years of IT band issues were caused by running in a neutral shoe with Superfeet inserts when I really should have been in a supportive shoe with Superfeet. Not necessarily a custom orthotic. Now wouldn’t that be silly. Such a small adjustment. Huh.

So my third step was based on this last hunch, the last little “maybe”. I went back to our local running store where this same poor girl has been working with me very patiently to find a shoe that works. I told her to just start from scratch and asked her to take a look at my feet, how I walk, etc., and fit me in a shoe as if I were a brand new customer coming in off the street. Because maybe I don’t need a custom orthotic after all. Off came the shoes, the socks. She measured, observed me walking barefoot, running. And the verdict? She didn’t seem to think I had particularly flat feet. Or that I necessarily needed a wide width shoe. She said I have flexible arches which flatten a bit when I run, causing me to pronate, so she would recommend a shoe with support. Ok. Bring it.

Pair number 8, maybe #9(?) accompanied me home on Monday night after work. Sauconys this time. Supportive ones. Shiny, red, super cushy ones. I was supposed to test them out yesterday, but I procrastinated – because what if it’s bad news? Yesterday I just wasn’t sure I could handle another shoe fail. But I need an answer, so at some point today, I’ll take them out for a spin and see how it goes. I’m hopeful. Or maybe I’m doomed.

I’m very anxious for some kind of resolution… hopefully a permanent one. It’s been real hard to be excited about running when there’s so much going wrong. Nine times out of ten, running is actually fun for me.But with so many issues lately, it’s been a chore. I can feel it. It’s taken the wind out of my sails. I’ve dreaded it. And let’s face it, I need to be running because, you see, I have this little 70.3 looming… in 8 weeks if we’re being specific. And I need to be able to run 13.1 miles by then (and ideally, countless 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10 mile training runs to prepare). And if I’m being honest with myself, I can’t really afford to skip too many more of them without paying for it.

Keep your fingers crossed and I’ll keep you posted…

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on being cinderella…

Alright, so time to talk about running shoes. I never felt like I had to a problem finding running shoes. Before this time. How did we find ourselves here, feet?

The story goes like this:

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a girl who was learning to love to run. She ran and ran and ran. Just 5ks. Until one day, a 10k. And a half marathon. And another. And then, she thought she’d tackle a marathon. So she registered. Nashville was on the books.

But it was not to be. Not at this time. For she had some serious and persistent IT band issues that kept her from running loooooong. What a pain. Literally and figuratively. Seriously.

She could muscle through 13.1 miles. The first nine were good. The last four were always pain. (I grimace just thinking of it.) Marathons would have to wait.

Eventually, a physical therapist prescribed Superfeet inserts. Some strengthening exercises. Foam rolling (“therapy”… you may recall my feelings on this. And if not, you can find out here). Ah, relief was ahead, right? Wrong.

Years of supportive shoes and Superfeet seemed to do just enough to keep running tolerable. To keep 13.1 within reach (and within her pain tolerance).

And then one day, someone recommended custom orthotics. Well, what the heck. It made sense. Fix the base and the rest would fall into line. Funny enough, it worked. Three glorious years of pain-free running passed, a few more half marathons (faster and faster half marathons!), a 70.3 and a marathon (!) and things were seeming pretty good for our heroine.

Sigh. What a lovely story.

But wait. All good things must come to an end. Three years of near-constant training. Miles upon miles took their toll. Custom orthotics break down, need replacing. And easy fix, right? Ah. Wrong again.

Fast forward to two months ago. The 1st replacements were much too small and much too narrow for running shoes and had to be reordered. And the 2nd set (nearly a full month later) – went into a new pair of the same running shoes I’ve been running in – weren’t a good fit in the new shoes. I felt like I was running on the outsides of my feet. Like I was double-correcting by being in a custom orthotic AND supportive shoes. Possible… yes. But that was also the dynamic duo that got me through 13.1, 26.2 and 70.3. Huh.

So back went the shoes. Out came another pair. A neutral pair with a smaller drop from the heel to the toe. Good, except my fat feet, sitting on top of the inserts, were rubbing along one of the outlays along the outside of the shoe along the outside of my foot. As a side note, my sweet sweet hubby insists I do not have fat feet, just that I have “a part of my foot right under my pinkie toe that seems to be slightly wider than the average”. So sweet. Fat feet. But I digress.

So back went #2. Out came #3 (less support than #1, more than #2) for a run. But potentially too narrow. And? Well. The jury’s still out.  They’ll be running with me again.

I think deep down, the answer is: they don’t work. But at this point, I just. Want. Shoes. Shoes that work. And I’m totally totally totally willing #3 to work. You know, so my feet can have their happily ever after. I don’t want to be the fat-footed running Cinderella. When, oh when did finding shoes get to be so complicated?

on still not quite being prepared (again…)

The plan for Week 7 included three bike rides:

– 1 hill workout (1:15 total time including a warm up, cool down, and 11×1 min climbs with 2 minutes of active recovery), proposed for Tuesday

– 1 “foundation” ride (1:30), proposed for Thursday

– 1 long ride (2:30), proposed for Saturday

Admittedly, seven weeks in, I’ve been trying to see some friends this week and juggle some after work activities this week. So I decided to squish my hill workout in with my foundation ride and did a 1:35 hill workout one night after work. A twofer, if you will. Legitimate? Yeah, this week, totally counts.

While on my ride, 5 hill climbs in and getting a drink of water at the top, I reached underneath my seat for some strange and unknown reason and I realized something.  Holy geez. My seat pack – you know, the one with all of the supplies? – was not there.  Huh.  We had gone out and purchased pumps and installed them on our bikes so we’d be totally ready for next time. But after that, my husband had taken my seat pack off to give me a spare tube and it never made it back onto my bike. Which meant that all of those tools, and the spare tube, were ever-so-conveniently back at the house. Seriously. After all of my posturing about promising not only to be prepared for my own future flat-tastrophies, but also so that I could help save others if the need arose. You know, so I could pay it forward from last weekend. So much for good intentions. Chalk that up to a big, fat FAIL.

Might as well have been riding here!
Photo by fireflythegreat

Fortunately, I flatted not, nor did I run into any other dudes or damsels in distress. Whew. I didn’t miss my first opportunity to pay it forward…There is still time for redemption.

And, needless to say, the first thing I did when I got home was to locate my bike bag and reattach it to my seat. And now, ladies and gentlemen, I proclaim myself ready  prepared for anything.

 

 

p/s – to whom it may concern, that is not be misconstrued as “bring it”… I’m perfectly happy never touching my fixin’ tools…

so long, stinky ts…

Workout clothing has made huge strides in the past 10-15 years or so. Remember the old cotton ts we used to work out in when we were in high school? Running stairs during volleyball practice in those hot, “Heavy Cotton” Fruit of the Loom Ts? I mean seriously – they said HEAVY COTTON, like that was a good thing! My 1st 5k was in a cotton t and my reward for finishing said 5k? A cotton t commemorating the day.

These days, technical ts rule my closet and drawers. I’m more likely to do a race that promises technical ts to the successful finishers. Shallow, sure. But it’s the new standard. My old cotton Ts have been relegated to the bottom of the drawer and dozens more race Ts are stashed in a box, awaiting their future as a Race T quilt.

photo found here

I live in technical ts in the spring, summer and fall (and who am I kidding, winter too), sweating in them hours a day, every day. Especially when it’s race season. And while each technical t maker will undoubtably tout the “quick-drying, moisture wicking” qualities of the t-shirt, with some even claiming to have “antimicrobial” qualities that “CONTROL THE GROWTH OF ODOR CAUSING MICROBES”, after some time, these Ts too will stink. Even if you follow the proper care instructions, it’s just a matter of time. This season, though it is still early, I’ve noticed a few of my favorite workout ts are in definite need of retirement. How do I know this? Well. It’s like as soon as I start sweating in them, all of the smell of all of the sweat I’ve EVER sweat in them comes rushing out in a nasty rush of highly offensive wafts that aggressively attack my nostrils (and presumably the nostrils of those around me, if anyone should be so unfortunate as to be within a quarter mile of me at the time…). How embarrassing. You know its time to dump those old ts when, 5 minutes into your workout, people start sniffing the air, wondering where that horrible scent has arisen from and why, oh why, they must be present to bear witness to it on this of all unfortunate days.

Dear old ts, you’ve been good companions, nothing but loyal and efficient servants in times of overheating and high perspiration, faithfully wicking moisture away from my body in my times of need. But I’m afraid its time for us to part ways.

Running store websites are calling my name, their pages full of colorful new ts and the promise of a (temporarily) clean slate. It’s that time. Time to start anew. A-shopping I will go. Trust me, my nose (and your nose) will thank me later.

photo by Fleet Feet