The Anatomy of A Shoe
Apparently, the bottoms of your running shoes can tell a story. That is what I learned today. I have been looking forward to today for over a couple months. It’s the day I get fitted (properly, I hope) for new running shoes. I wish I had gone to The Running Company and talked to Charles (the Shoe Guru) a few months back when my feet were bothering me. Back then it was just too close to my first marathon to make a shoe switch. (Yes, Sonja, I should have listened to you… and Shanna… and Maili, my running group buddies.) But here I am today, a um… wiser woman. Well, happier at least-I just bought some new running shoes.
I gave Charles, the Guru, the long winded version of how I switched running shoes last summer from my Brooks Adrenaline’s to the Brooks Trance, based on the running analysis that Sports Authority Elite performed. SAE said I over pronated, especially on my right side. Today, I brought in the old Adrenalines and the recent pair of Trance shoes. The Guru studied them while he (listened). I also had the Super Feet insoles in the Trance’s that a few months ago Fleet Feet in San Francisco recommended I wear for added support. I told the Guru that I could feel my feet landing on the outer edge when I ran today.
Let’s back up for a sec. I ran for the first time since the marathon two days ago!! WOO HOO!! Finally! Just two easy miles. Boy oh boy, where my lower legs, from the calf down sore the next day!! I couldn’t believe it. What happened to all my built up mileage from just a month ago? Had my muscles deteriorated that quickly? I rested yesterday (but rode the bike) and then ran 4 miles today, plus 45 minutes on the bike because now that I’ve been on the bike so much, I’m actually starting to like it, as well as I’m not feeling all numb down there anymore. I am so happy to be running again, I can’t even tell you. I had forgotten just how good running makes me feel. The best part is, aside from the muscle soreness, I don’t feel any pain from the calf strain injury, so hopefully that is better.
The Guru was great! He flipped my shoes over and studied the bottom soles. This is what he saw. The Trance shoe soles, which are just two months old, were worn only on the outer edges. He told me that because I already had a stabilizing shoe, that the added Super Feet were making me over compensate for the pronation and that is why my feet are hurting me. Check out the outer edge of the soles of these shoes. That is the only section of the shoe that is worn down! He then showed me my old Adrenalines and we could see that the wear and tear was right where it should be, in the forefoot of the shoe. He told me that I would need to go back to a shoe similar to the Adrenalines. He also told me that he doesn’t carry Brooks shoes anymore because he doesn’t like the way they have changed their shoes.
The next step was finding the right shoe. First he had me run on the treadmill in my Trance shoes. “No wonder SAE made you get the Trance instead of just replacing your Adrenalines,” he said. “They probably took one look at your right foot/leg and saw how much you were over pronating and the young teenager helping you wanted to make sure you were in a stablilizing shoe!” In the slow motion breakdown, we could see that my right leg from the calf down to the ankle moved back and forth between each foot strike! And the angle that my leg was on was far from being upright. This could be why my poor calf decided to give up just prior to the marathon last month. Next I ran in my old Adrenalines. He said it was better, but remember, he doesn’t sell Brooks. So, he had me try a new shoe, the Gel Asics (which were what I wore prior to the Brooks Adrenaline when I first started running.) He saw more improvement, but I was still was feeling some pain in my arches. The next shoe was the Saucony Kinvara 2. This shoe is lightweight and I thought kinda cool looking. I really liked them. I told the Guru they felt good and he said to come and look at my video. “You are the Miss America of running in those shoes,” he declared. With a few clicks of the mouse, he showed me how nice and straight my foot strike was. He then had me try one more shoe. Another Saucony, the Pro Grid Glide 5. These too worked nicely for me. The Guru recommended that what would really be best for me would be to have two shoes to rotate. One for long runs, easy mileage, or days when I’m tired (the Pro Grids) and the other for faster runs, intervals, speedwork, shorter mileage, easy trails (like Phoenix Lake.) So of course I got them both.
One of the other types of shoes we discussed were the minimalist shoes-Newtons to be exact, which my active release therapist recommended. A different type of minimalist shoe is what I imagined I would be walking out the door with today. Sadly, the Guru told me I was not ready for such a shoe, although he thought the Newtons would be a great shoe for me later this year. He told me that I needed to get my calf fully healed and that by mid-late summer I should be back in proper running form and ready to make that sort of switch. The Guru had me try on his pair of Newtons and they were pretty cool how they are built with the plugs in the forefoot of the shoe. I’m looking forward to his store hopefully carrying them later this summer… Did you hear that Newton? We want your shoes at The Running Company in Northern California!!!
He also told me to NOT do any more half marathons until after summer. “But but but… I wanted to do one at the beginning of June,” I cried! He said, “I’m not telling you what you should do, but you are a SMART gal and you want to run your next marathon in December strong and injury free, right?” Meekly I answered yes. “Do a 10K instead,” he said. “There is a local one on Memorial Day. That would be perfect for you.” This really bummed me out. I really wanted to have a few half marathons under my belt this year.
((((Major league sigh))))
So it’s back to sqaure one I guess. I am on a new running path so to speak. I need my feet to feel happy and love the shoes that they are going to spend all this new time with. I told the Guru today that I “hated” the Brooks Trance. But that is because they weren’t being good to me in the end. I think they are good shoes, just not for me anymore. Hmmm… this sounds sort of like a boyfriend. Anyhow… change is good. The Guru told me to come back in a month so he could see how I’m doing with my running. I really had a great experience with Charles, the Guru, (thank you, thank you) at his store. He really seems to know what he is talking about, and wasn’t just trying to sell me mulitple shoes. Afterall, I am a SMART gal, if not stubborn (yeah, I’m still thinking of the early June half marathon.)
I am so excited to run in my new shoes. I will have to wait until Sunday though, which will make it all the better with the built up anticipation. Hmm… again, sounding like a boyfriend. LOL… ok, I think I’m losing it tonight. Stay tuned for future updates with the Guru.