Monday, August 6, 2007

What a Difference a Shoe Makes

Not long after I returned from my weekend in Park Slope (with an afternoon wedding stop in Montclair), I was itching to head to Vertical Runner for my next pair of shoes. I woke up this morning, took in some Namaste Yoga, and then headed to Hudson to find out what’s next.

Vertical RunnerVertical Runner, at 134 Main Street in Hudson (around First & Main), is a small store that was at first a bit intimidating [to a goof like me] with its wall of running socks, super-runner gear and much-better-than-Dick’s selection of running shoes.

What shocked me most: Vince, one of the store’s owners, actually took quite a bit of time to help me find the shoes for me. He looked at my feet and my arch, talked about how far I run and where, and recommended a few different shoes for my to try. At another place, which shall remain nameless (Dick's), I was told to "just try on whatever pairs I liked to see if they fit." It's no wonder I've suffered so much as a runner.

Since my favorite shoes so far have been my Asics Gel-Foundation 7 (we always love our first pair), I tried on Asics GT-2120—a good-looking structured cushioning shoe that felt great except for what seemed to be a lump under my left ball of foot.

Asics GT-2120The GT-2120, to me, felt like it had a platform sole compared to the other shoes I tried. On one hand, I thought the support and concrete-shield might somehow benefit my aging joint and these shoes might be a good decision; on the other hand, they just didn’t sing to my feet. I even tried on three different sizes, but there simply wasn’t harmony between my foot and that shoe.

And I don’t think my pretty little metaphors for my shoe's ill fit would be as cute after 10+ miles of pain.

I tried another pair of similar Asics and what I believe were a pair of Nike Air Pegasus 2007 that just didn’t jive with my feet at all, but not before I laid my feet in a pair of Mizuno Wave Inspire 3.

The Mizuno weren’t the best looking of the four shoes by far, but they felt like they were my shoes. The shoes feel lower to the ground than any of my other shoes; they weigh next to nothing but feel trustworthy and stable; and the lower top is a welcomed change from the “training wheels” higher ankle on my last pair of Nike (granted, it really helped me run without rolling my ankle)

My new shoes: Mizumo Wave Inspire 3The shoes are a touch aesthetically challenged in clean white with orange accents, but they have GP written all over the inside. Besides, what do I care about the visual appeal of my shoes?

But if we really want to talk about being fashionably challenged, please refer to the Speedo triathlon suit I’ll be wearing at next week’s race. I bought the suit many month ago and have taken it swimming once, but thought it was time to take it for a run before the Greater Cleveland Triathlon.

I took the day off to recover from the weekend (and the realization that I have to go back to work!), and thought that 2 p.m. on Monday in my neighborhood should be desolate enough testing grounds. Nevertheless, I put the suit on with a pair of my new running shorts—I’m shameless in many respects, just not when it comes to, umm, super aerodynamic apparel.

The suit has a high neck, zip up the back and bike-short legs with a sticky-like material around the bottom. It had long been my impression that I would not only have zero support, maximum sweat and even more chaffing in this suit, but it turned out to be a good investment. So far.

My tri suitThe high neck didn’t feel constrictive at all—even if it will take some getting used to—and the suit legs stayed in place better than my super-awesome running shorts.

What’s more is that I ran past various groups of landscaping dudes, construction dudes and garbage-pick-up dues, and not one batted an eye my way (generally I’ve noticed that anything with some semblance of woman-running catches the eye and cat-calls of more guys than necessary).

Finally: the solution for distraction-free running.

I only ran a little over 1.5 miles because it was ungodly hot outside, and I’m not that used to the suit just yet. Plus, I would like to take the suit out on my bike tonight and get in some running after that.

Can I talk about the shoes, though? They felt fantastic. I had run them around the store and down the street, but I didn't quite pick up the spring and support I felt during my run. The greater ankle flexibility has opened up my stride a bit and made my knee extension far less laborious. And to think that I had never heard of Mizuno before this morning!

I’ve never been much of a crammer, but I feel like I’ll be cramming in brick workouts this week. While I’m a little disappointed in myself for dropping off on the brick workouts I had started earlier this summer, all I can do is power through and prepare better for the next. And I’ll have to schedule some resting time this week as well.

But by the end of Sunday, I should (if all goes well) be able to call myself an actual triathlete. I just need to finish! (Check out "Don't Let Life Become a DNF" from the August editor's letter in Ohio Sports and Fitness Magazine.)


The Salty One said...

Somebody's turning into Miss Seriousrunnerpants, what with the fancy running shorts and now her conversion to mizuno-loving! Heh!!

Hope you had fun in PS and that your tri goes great this weekend!!

Nevenka said...


I am so proud of you. I know that you can do anything you set your mind on doing. You have proven that for the past 2_ years. But, don't forget to rest this week. Remember when Phillip had to open the door for you? You don't want to be in that shape. So rest up. You will be great. Send details to mama. She loves you very much. Kisses!!!!

JenC said...

No cramming necessary. It is better to come into a race a little undertrained than overtrained. You will be fine. It was a good idea to try out your race wear first though.

Okay, look for me and I'll do the same on Sunday. I'm not racing, but will be manning the run aid station in the park. Good luck and have fun!

Papa Louie said...

We are looking forward to hear you saying, "I am a triathlete". Have fun with your first triathlon. You'll love the experience.

B Bop said...

Vince and the VR folks are awesome!!! The right pair of shoes is invaluable.

Good luck on Sunday. See you out there!!

Neil said...

More pearls of wisdom:

"You can do it - I don't know why you'd want to - but you can."

"Steps to running a marathon

1. You start running

There is no step 2"

kelsalynn said...

I just bought the Asics Gel-Foundation last night and ran 2.5 miles when I got home! First choice- Asics, 2nd choice- Mizuno's, no doubt! I admit, though, I was slightly intimidated by the running store I went to last night so I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one!

Good luck in your triathlon. You're going to do awesome!

jkrunning said...

I love my Mizunu's. Congrat's on the new shoes and the run in the new suit!!

E-Speed said...

I love my mizunos! Glad you found a pair of shoes that sing for you!