In Search of Shoes...

With no race to run, or ballgames to go to, what do I do? The next best thing - shop! ... or is it...

So Friday...

While the rest of my body feels back to normal from the marathon, my feet still hurt. My coach said it can take a body up to a month to recover. I honestly had no idea! Thinking it takes a few weeks to get an appointment to see a podiatrist, I decided to schedule one, then, if my feet felt better by the time the appointment rolled around, I'd just cancel it.

But lucky me, I was able to schedule an appointment for Friday afternoon. With a Sports Podiatrist no less! So I met with the doc and explained to him that the sides of my feet, between the ankle and back of foot were bothering me on both feet.

Triax
Triax

I brought my running shoes with me, and after examining both my feet and the shoes, he gave me this diagnosis:

I have normal, but flexible arches. And while I do need a stability shoe, the shoe I've been running with, the Nike Zoom Triax, is too stable. When I run, my arch can't flex according to its natural motion, which causes my foot to pronate/supinate, hence the pain in both peroneals. So, while I do need a stability shoe, I do not need one with motion control. If I continue to run in them, I will eventually feel discomfort in my knees.

*Sigh*. So back to square one. I went through the whole shoe search a few of months ago and really liked the lightweight and flexibility of the Nike Triax.

Ironically, that day was also the grand opening of the first ever Nike Running Store at Stanford Shopping Mall - literally 2 minutes from my doctor's office. I met up with a friend and checked out what they had to offer.

I have never been a huge fan of Nike gear, but I have to admit, I got excited by some of the stuff I saw. Though we didn't make any purchases, I made mental notes of some of the things that I liked.

Next we headed to Sports Basement to use coupons we both had from recent races. I don't know if its a location thing, but the Sports Basement in the South Bay had nothing. I was specifically looking for a pair of Olukai's, but they didn't carry the brand. So I checked out the running shoes, but decided not to make that purchase there. In the end, all I ended up getting was Ultima Replenisher, a drink that I wanted to try.

ultima_replenisher
ultima_replenisher

So Saturday...

The plan for Saturday was to run 4 miles. This would be my first run in 2 weeks, the first one after the full. I was chomping at the bit for this. I thought about just running through my neighborhood, but that sounded boring. So I headed out to Sawyers Camp. After running Sawyers Camp just about every weekend for years, I had gotten pretty tired of it. But it'd been a few months since I've been there and found myself missing it.

Since it was such a short distance, I didn't need to run with my hydration belt. Instead, I wore my iFitness belt to carry my phone, keys and 1 gel packet.

I started running a few minutes before 9 am. I probably should have started a little sooner, but it wasn't that hot and the trail is mostly shaded so I felt good the entire time. Except for the kids.

Somewhere between Miles 1 and 2, these 2 little kids on bikes found me. One crashed into me, but I figured she just lost her balance and I didn't say anything. But then they decided it would be fun to ride along side of me and try to race me. I still didn't say anything -- until one of the rugrats crashed into me again. I finally told them, "Look, you kids better stay out of my way because the next person to get hurt isn't likely to be me." I love kids, but sometimes they need to be schooled, especially if their parents aren't around to watch them.

The minute I was done running, I pulled out my gel packet to refuel (as advised by my nutritionist). I always eat Chocolate GU, but found that I had grabbed a raspberry Hammer gel, one of the leftover ones from the race. I hadn't actually eaten that flavor before but had no choice but to give it a try. Surprise, surprise, I actually liked it - a lot!

When I got back to the car I drank some Ultima Replenisher (also raspberry). At first I thought it tasted like medicine, but then I remembered I had taken a Lunesta the night before, which leaves a metallic after taste, so it wasn't the drink. The drink itself turned out to be pretty good so I think I'll be using these for while...at least until something new and better comes along.

My splits:

2010-05-08_Splits
2010-05-08_Splits

Later that afternoon, I went to Road Runner Sports to look for shoes. I explained my situation and diagnosis, and had no less than 3 sales guys totally perplexed. They said that Nike Triax was one of the lightest shoes they had. They even put me through the fit test again to confirm that I was a stability shoe user. But when I explained where I hurt, they said that made sense too. After a meeting of the minds (I am not kidding, 3 guys debating what shoe to put me in), they had me try 2 options:

1. An Asics Gel shoe: I loved the feel, but the shoe was narrow. While it fit me in store, I was worried that when my feet swells during a run it would be too tight and give me blisters (and this was already half a size larger than my normal shoe size).

2. Nike Pegasus: This is actually a neutral shoe, but they put in a soft insert (I refused the Superfeet insoles) to add more stability. This felt like the best option, so I went with this shoe.

Nike-Pegasus-26
Nike-Pegasus-26

Tip: Running shoes are expensive, so I researched the Road Runner Sports web site and found that I could sign up for mobile texts of in-store deals. As soon as I did this, I got a text message back giving me 15% off my next purchase. So combined with my VIP discount, I got 25% off of this purchase.

I also asked to try on cross-trainers. I have been using old running shoes to the gym, but since I buy my running shoes one half size larger than my actual size, my feet were flying out of my shoes when doing lunges, etc. Unfortunately, they didn't carry cross-trainers. When I asked for recommendations, they said Nike. So back to the Nike Running Store I went.

I made Mike, this poor sales guy at Nike, go through a number of pairs of shoes. He was great - so patient with my indecisiveness. Through a process of elimination, I settled on the Nike Zoom Fly Sister One training shoe. But I still wasn't fully convinced it was the right shoe for me. It was so lightweight that I questioned the support. And the Flywire technology also made the shoe feel really stiff. I felt like it would hurt when I did lunges. I hesitated, but finally decided to make the purchase when the manager promised that I could get a full refund (not exchange) if I wore the shoe and didn't like it. This was an exception to their store policy. I must say, the customer service by Nike was excellent.

So Sunday...

I woke up to sore legs. I guess after 2 weeks off from running it was to be expected. And as predicted by the doc, I did feel some discomfort in my left knee. Luckily, I had planned a swim workout.

I got to the pool early and was able to enjoy most of my 40-minute workout in solitude. I love it when that happens. I swam free-style (because that's all that I know how to swim) and used the pull buoy the entire time so my legs were well-rested. After I was done, I spent some time in the whirlpool. This really, really helps to soothe the aching muscles. While I sat in the whirlpool, I watched the other swimmers who had arrived. I love watching really strong swimmers swim so I can pick up on their form and technique. The fluidity of their movements, especially on turns, really fascinates me.

After my workout, I was supposed to meet a friend in the City. I decided that I would make a detour to Nike Town since I was going to be up there anyway. I brought the cross-trainers along so that I could exchange them if I found something better...which I sure did.

Nike Town had the complete line of cross-trainers so I was able to try on several different ones. The sales guy who helped me was very knowledgeable on the different attributes of each shoe. He even told me when something was just "marketing fluff" as opposed to actual technology. He too was a runner so we an in-depth conversation about my running shoe purchase. In the end, I exchanged the Nike Zoom Fly Sister One for the Nike Shox Fly Zipster training shoe. The Shox Fly felt supportive, yet flexible, and overall, just comfortable.

Shox_Fly
Shox_Fly

Through the whole experience, I realized what great stuff Nike has. I honestly never paid much attention to their product line before because I thought it was so over-priced. But really, their running clothes are pretty affordable, and there are so many great options to choose from. In my gazillion visits to their Web site over the weekend, I also read up on the company's history and learned that their roots are in running! Not Jordan, Tiger, or Kobe. Nike was started by runners, for runners. I realize this is probably old news to most folks, but all new to me.

I really, really, REALLY hope both these shoes work out for me. I'm ready to be a Nike girl...and I don't think I can take any more shoe shopping.