Saturday, March 19, 2011

Run With Some New Shoes On

Old & Worn
I have been running in a pair of Saucony Echelon 2s since I first got them in July.  They have been with me through three 5ks, a mini triathlon, a 10k, my first half marathon, and more than halfway through my current half training.  After a short run I had last week I noticed that the shoe didn't feel the same; the cushioning was definitely less.  I think that this explains why my legs have felt sore the past few days as well.  I had a 12 mile run coming up Saturday and knew I needed some new shoes, so after work I headed over to the local running store, Track Shack, for a fitting.  I brought my old shoes and told the guy I liked them, but was thinking about trying something not as bulky.  I am open to different brands, but really do like Saucony.  He brought out a few different shoes, Brooks, Asics, and Saucony.  After trying a few, none really felt right so he went back and brought out a different pair of Asics.  They were certainly comfortable with the gel cushioning.  I tried on the Saucony Echelons and the Asic Gel Fortitude on both feet to try and decide.  I was hoping there would be another Saucony shoe that would work for me, but he said they didn't have any.  

I have a hard time making decisions and decided to walk around the store to think about which pair I wanted.  I was a bit unsure about the Asics because they were white, grey, and red, not the prettiest shoes, and they weren't Saucony.  The shoes I had before were fine, but I was worried that they had too much going on for me and were too bulky, so I wanted to try something different.  I left the store with the Asics but was still unsure about my decision.  I didn't know I was such a brand loyalist!  I decided to go to DSW to check out their Saucony selection.  I was there for about an hour trying on different shoes, running up and down the aisles, but left empty handed.  I was still kind of unhappy and had resigned to the new Asics when I passed Sports Authority and decided to check out their selection.  They had some different Saucony shoes and the Guide 3s caught my attention.   They were comfortable, had good support, and were $80 in comparison to the Asics which were $100.  I went to the car and got the Asics I had just bought to compare with one shoe on each foot.  More walking and running and thinking ensued, like another hours worth.  I called my mom to try and talk it through, but I really had to make the decision myself since I was the one that had to wear the shoes.  I decided to buy the Sauconys and figure out what I was going to do later.  
I had pros and cons for both shoes and just wanted to make the right choice.  
I was fitted for the Asics and was worried that the because the Sauconys were not shown to me at the store, that they might not be right for me.  I am also super sensitive to the idea of injuring myself - I don't want to get hurt in a shoe that is not right for me!  My mom said I was making the decision more complicated than it needed to be and was getting too emotional about it, it should be a logical decision.  I hurt myself in the past when I was inactive and 80+ pounds heavier.  (I have had some ankle issues- broken ankle several years ago which was really painful, uncomfortable, and a bit of a traumatic experience for me, along with several ankle twists.) 
I went to bed hoping that sleeping on it would help me make a choice.  

I woke up still unsure, but gave myself until the end of the day to figure it out.  That evening I tried on both pairs again and ran around a bit.  I tried the Sauconys on first and they were just OK.  They felt a little stiff.  I did the same with the Asics and after a little jog back a forth decided they were the ones I was going to keep.  The shoes just felt better and the cushioning is very nice.  They are a bit more expensive, but they are the shoes I was actually fitted for and you need good shoes to run.  If I have any problems with them I can just go back and talk to the people at Track Shack.  I feel a little strange about switching brands and am not down on Saucony or anything, but I think the Asics will be good for me this time.  I can get over the color thing too.  In fact they already look pretty good on my feet!   

I know I probably made a bigger deal about my decision than I needed to, but everything ended up working out and I am so glad to have new shoes!

I had my longest training run, before the IronGirl half, this morning - 12 miles.  After getting all of my fuel and gear ready I set out.  This was a pretty big run for me.  When I trained for my first half the longest run I had done before the race was 10.5 miles.  After running the race and making a new training plan for the IronGirl I decided getting a longer long run in before the race would be best for me.  Those last three miles were a bit tough and I am hoping that the extra training miles will help prepare me for the race.  
I decided to fuel every three miles and ate about three chews each time.  I ran on a nice path not too far from the house.  The first seven miles felt very good.  The last five were a bit tough as I began to feel the distance in my legs.  I stopped for a short stretch break during mile seven and then continued forward.   

I always bring a bottle of G2 with some water mixed in and it is usually is the perfect amount for my runs.  Today however, it was quite warm and sunny and I was thirsty.  I tried to ration the amount I had because I knew I would need some for the latter half of my run, but I was so darn thirsty.  On the second half of the run all I could think about was a nice, cold glass of water.  My G2 mix had gotten kind of warm and there was not much left.  I didn't bring any money with me so I couldn't stop at a convenience store to get something either.  Then I remembered that there was small water fountain at the end of the trail near my neighborhood.  The thought of finally reaching it really helped keep me going.  I was so happy when I finally saw it. I filled my bottle up, took some big sips, and started the two miles back home.  They were kind of rough and I had to walk a bit more than usual, but I finished.  
The Asics were pretty good.  The cushioning was definitely welcomed, but the toe box for my right foot felt a bit tight, so my pinky toe was red when I took the shoes off.  I am hoping that loosening the laces a little will help.  But all in all they held their own for a 12 miler. 

Check out that knee strap tan line!  

I made sure to cool down, stretch, and foam roll when I got home, but the first thing I did was drink some cold water from the fridge.  I also enjoyed a glass of chocolate milk, which is always good post run.  I decided my legs need a cool bath, so I ran the cold water and put in some ice cubes.  The cold water felt good on my sore legs for sure.  

Now that that run is complete tapering will begin.  The IronGirl Half Marathon is only three short weeks away!

How are you at making decisions?  Are you brand loyal when it comes to running shoes?  What shoes do you run in?  How long are your longest runs before a big race?