Sunday, September 11, 2011

These shoes are made for running

So the 19 miler is behind me. I was pretty damn sore for the next day, but to be honest the soreness resolved rather quickly. All in all, I'm surprised how rarely I am sore from running, and after these crazy long weekend runs I'm usually feeling almost normal in a day. I think it says something for training and slowly stepping up your game. The race participants got an email this week reminding us that the marathon is a mere month away, and it urged runners to remember that in the final weeks of preparation, rest is just as - if not more - important than training.

So while my body as a whole seems to be handling this pretty well, my tootsies are taking a friggin' beating. To be honest, I'm sort of surprised by this. I never really anticipated the damage all these miles would do to my feet! You have all been scarred by my pic from 2 weeks ago, so I'll spare you any more shots of the wounded paws. This week, my "long run" was 9 miles, and even after that I have blisters on at least 5 of my toes when I take my shoes off. They're not even blisters, really... but my toes are clearly hitting the front of my shoe when I run and the skin at the end is taking quite a hit. They are NOT a pretty sight right now... and with 2 toenails MIA, I'm not even sure if I can get a pedicure after race day!

This pedal trauma got me to thinking. I was really, really hoping (and in fact planning) on only buying one pair of running shoes. I had done some reading on this issue, and many, many runners recommend training in one pair and then getting a new pair a few weeks before the race. The thought is that 1 pair of running shoes is good for somewhere between 350-450 miles, and most training programs get you in that range. You're supposed to get a new pair of shoes a month or so before the race, do a few runs in them to break them in (~50 miles), and then you have optimal shoes for race day. I like this idea... but my wallet doesn't. My first pair of shoes were pricey! But I noticed at the end of my run last weekend that my feet actually hurt at the end, and I felt like the padding in my shoes wasn't what it once was. And I just had that damn podiatrist's voice in my head, questioning if my shoes fit me correctly.

So after much debate (and many emails with my ever-patient father), I decided I needed to bit the bullet. So, I put my little piggies in my running shoes and went to Fleet Feet in Old Town - or, as I like to call it, the Running Mecca. I'm not kidding. This place was OVERWHELMING. I literally had to take a number to get fit for shoes. The people there agreed that New Balance had put me in the right stability shoe, and gave me a few new options in that range to try. I ended up settling on a pair of Brooks, which is a hugely popular running brand. I also bough myself a pair of cushy wicking socks, which will hopefully help with the moisture in my shoes as I run and will maybe aid in cutting down the blisters I'm getting.

I ran in the new shoes twice this week, and so far, so good. Much more cushiony... I think I just beat up my old shoes. They've already got like 350 miles on them, all on pavement, and let's be honest... I'm not the smallest girl. Those things took a beating.

So for now I'm alternating shoes and will be sure to get at least 50 miles on my new ones before race day. I am planning on running my 22 miler in them this coming weekend. So far, they've got 11 miles on them, and they've felt good. The nice thing about this is that if I go for my long run this weekend and the shoes don't work out for whatever reason, I can return them. If that's the case, I think I'll just get a new pair of the shoes I had otherwise been training in. But only time will tell.

And yes, you read correctly - the 22 miler is upon us. I can't believe this is my peak week. The marathon is so close at this point, and it's just surreal. I live in constant fear that I am somehow going to get hurt in the next month, and that all my training will be lost and my goal never accomplished. But I know this is hogwash, and everything will be just fine.

Now that Labor Day has come and gone, I guess summer is "officially over." Hard to believe. I spent so much time outside and enjoyed my summer immensely. I ate and drank my way through the city, and my crazy running helped me to do so without much damage on the scale. But now that the race is literally looming over me, I think it's time for a pre-race detox. After an event for work this week, I think I'm gonna kick the EtOH to the curb and really focus on eating well, training, and getting plenty of rest.

But the end of summer isn't all sad... at least not for runners. The weather has been so great for running - I'm hoping that race day will be slightly cool just like it has been. Mid-to-high 60's would be ideal. If you have an pull with mother nature, call in a favor for me.

So here we are, friends. The final month. Keep your fingers crossed and send happy thoughts for my long run this weekend. I'm sure I'll have plenty to say when all is said and done.

27:8:16:55. EEK!!!

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