Saturday, March 3rd: Shoe fitting!
My tax refund hit on Friday so I changed plans and used my one long run opportunity of the week to go shoe shopping. I had been running on the same shoes since early last summer. They still looked okay but the cushioning was blasted. Those shoes were Mizuno Wave Riders which I bought off the clearance rack at Fleet Feet back when all I knew about running shoes was that they should fit well. They did, so I was happy.
This time I went to a wonderful local business I discovered called Rush Running. All of their employees are helpful and extremely knowledgeable about running, but it happened to be Heather who helped me. We talked for some time about my 14-month journey from non-runner to runner; how I run, where, how far, what pain and injuries I've had; we even talked about my running goals. We talked about my current shoes. I explained that I really loved them but that I had gotten lucky with a completely uninformed purchasing decision.
After my interview, she took off to the back room and returned with a neutral shoe from Brooks, one that would not mask my natural foot motion. She put me on a treadmill and filmed my legs and feet from behind with a high-speed camera. As we watched the video together, she was surprised to see that I had a midfoot strike. I explained that I had taught myself that deliberately and that that was what got me from running six miles with pain to running sixteen miles without pain. "Keep doing it!" she said. Then we studied the video some more looking in particular for inward rotation of the ankle, called pronation. We froze the video as each foot was supporting my full weight and neither ankle showed excessive motion. She declared me a neutral runner! I suspected so, as I knew I had somewhat high arches always preferred shoes with no arch support, but it was fun to actually see it for certain. The video also showed that I land with my feet pointing slightly outward. I knew I did that but I didn't know how much. She said there was no injury risk from that but that it was inefficient. She taught me several exercises to help me train my feet and knees to point more forward but also warned me not to consciously try to point them forward while running.
The next step was to try on shoes. I really liked the Brooks shoes I used on the treadmill but thought they would be better for running on pavement, which is not what I'm most interested in. They were plush and luxurious, but the wider sole seemed like it would be a bit clunky for trail running. I tried some new Mizuno Wave Riders, just like I had but two model years newer, and I loved them for the same reason I loved my old shoes. They were light, flexible, snug fitting, and compact, but not luxurious in any way, even a bit austere. I tried shoes from a few other brands that just didn't fit my feet at all. Finally, I tried a mild support shoe from Mizuno that she said would be just fine for a neutral runner like myself. They had a feel that was somewhere between the Brooks shoes and the Wave Riders and were very comfortable to stand in, but after running around the parking lot in them for several minutes I started feeling the very slight arch support and didn't like them. I took the Wave Riders for a spin and returned with a big grin on my face!
Cushioning is dynamic, I guess; you can't judge it by mashing on a shoe with your thumb. I did not realize just how worn out my old shoes were until I ran on some fresh ones! They still had the sensitivity and road feel that I liked, but with just a touch of softness. Wow! Anyway, I thanked Heather for her phenomenal service and eagerly paid full retail for my new shoes. I told her the whole process was well worth doing even though I ended up with the same model shoes I already had. Getting lucky is great, but making smart, informed decisions is even more satisfying. I really can't say enough about the service I received at Rush Running. Just spectacular!
Sunday, March 12th: Took Donald to Boingo Bounce.
Total for Feb 27 - Mar 4: zero miles.