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?

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rules of the road…

Our community is very biker and runner friendly. Tons of triathletes… maybe its a ‘birds of a feather’ thing directly inspired by Ironman that has rolled through town every year since 2003, maybe not. Either way, we’re fortunate to have some really great trails that get pretty significant use by all of those folks training (including yours truly), especially when the sun finally decides to shine.

Spend as much time as I do running and biking on these roads and trails and you’ll see a lot. Obviously, there are a lot of people out and about – many of whom have headphones in. Runners are weaving back and forth, trying to avoid the walkers who inevitably come with zigzagging dogs who are sometimes on those leashes that seemingly have no end (or zigzagging dogs who have no leash as all), and trying to avoid what often comes with dogs who have irresponsible owners (roadside poo). Long boarders and skate boarders are trying to avoid the runners and the walkers and the dogs. And bikers, trying to keep their pace and their cadence up and get through the traffic and into the clear just as fast as possible, are zooming through the traffic with their fingers crossed, “no whammies, no whammies, no whammies!”  Eeek- Scary.

I’ve seen a few things over the past few weeks already that I thought I’d share here while they’re fresh in my mind (and I’ll add to this list as I think of things):

– Obviously, respect all users.

– If you have earbuds or headphones, keep one ear free so you can hear what’s going on around you.

– Give everyone their space. Overestimate how much space they need and how much space you need.

– If you want to, pass. But slow down, make sure you’re clear of oncoming traffic and pass safely – don’t be a ninja and especially don’t be a ninja on a bike. Let people know you’re coming – I prefer a simple “passing please” as I approach folks I need to pass. (I find this is easier than “On your left” because for some funny reason this phrase seems to confuse people. People freak out and forget which way to move and end up moving directly into your path. I imagine if I could see their face as they hear “On your left”, they’d resemble a deer in the head lights, eyes as wide as saucers. What is this nonsense?) If you’re somewhere super congested, avoid the congested areas or buy a bell.

– If you have a dog (and for the record I do – we have 2 actually), keep him or her on a leash close to your side and know what his or her reaction to runners and strangers biking will be before you go out. And please, please pick up after your dog. Nobody likes those warm squishy stinky surprises left on the side of the road, not even other dog owners. Don’t ruin it for the rest of us dog owners and trail users.  Please and thank you!

Anyhoo… off my soapbox for now…

PS- watch out for mountain goats.

photo by MollySVH