One of the great things about working at a running shop is that sometimes, I get free stuff. As an "athlete", it's awesome, because I go through gear, especially shoes, pretty quickly.
Last year, I got a pair of Saucony Triumphs because of a selling competition, which were awesome. I loved those shoes, even though I'm a Mizuno girl normally. I just really liked them. Saucony is known for changing their shoes, and this year's triumphs are quite different, and not really my cup of tea, so unfortunately, the relationship between me and the triumphs is over. At the staff christmas party this year, I got a free pair of Asics Nimbus, which I was was stoked about since they're pretty pricey shoes, and I love them every time I wear them around the store. (Another great thing about working at a running shop, I can wear different shoes around while I'm on shift to test them out, see how they fit, check for different aspects of them etc. which helps me when customers come in for specific complaints or requests). I was saving those shiny new asics in the back of my closet for when my triumphs bit the dust. A couple of weeks ago, I decided that it was time to bust em' out, and even though I know better, I took them out on a 16 km run. I know you really aren't supposed to wear new shoes on a long run, but since they were free, it wasn't like I was going to return them, so why not take the plunge and just go. They felt really good, except the ball of my right foot felt a little tender near the end. I haven't felt that since I ran my first half in Vermont. I remember near the end of the race feeling like the balls of my feet were raw. I kind of put that feeling in the back of my mind, and persevered through a few more runs. Last week in Maui I went on an 18km run (which was more of a 16km run in the end, oops) and again, I got that tenderness, this time in BOTH feet. I brought it a little more forward in my mind, taking note of distance, terrain, and socks. (I wore different socks on purpose, thinking perhaps it was that, not the shoes). I also have been running on my forefoot, so I thought maybe just high mileage combined with forefoot running was just making my feet tender.
This Sunday, I went on a real 18km run, and the balls of both feet were BURNING after about 8 km. Man o man I wanted to saw off my feet and just clomp the last kms out. (a little drastic, I know). I felt as though I had been running on cheese graters, and they felt just raw raw raw. I knew it had to be the shoes, and while I was wallowing in pain around the bow river, I remembered that I was wearing asics shoes when I ran the vermont half and felt the rawness. Not the same model mind you, because I couldn't afford the nimbus then, but still, the same brand. I decided to pop into the shop on my way home (which is conveniently a block from my house) and ask my manager what he thought. He immediately said "they're too wide and your feet are moving around too much". Funny, I felt tonnes of movement every time I ran in them, I just didn't really think much of it. He said compared to my Mizuno wave riders, these were WAY wider. Lucky for me, I can make due with the other three pairs I have kicking around until the mother's days sale in May, when I can buy a new pair of riders. Or maybe something else! Who knows. (Funny side note, my feet were so swollen after the run, I tried to put on my Mizuno wave riders and they didn't even fit! Yikes!)
Something else I noted after my long run on Sunday is that because of running mid to fore foot, my body is much less stiff. This time last year, I had a hard time walking up and down stairs, and felt stiff and sore all the time. This year after changing my running style, I'm fine! I have stiff calves from time to time, and sure I feel fatigued on Sundays, but comparatively, it's like night and day! This also could have something to do with my skipping runs left right and centre, but lets just say it is from running style, ok??
Last night I went to the swim conditioning class at Killarney pool for the first time in probably 8 months. I have been swimming, but not as much as I probably should be, so I was a little worried about the class. Normally, I'm the slow one in this class for sure. When the class started, right away I moved one lane faster because I could just tell I was faster than the people in the slow lane. After one lane, I was told by the instructor to move to the faster one again! I stayed in that lane for the whole class, but I was the fastest in it! Just to be clear, I really don't care if I'm faster than people, but this was a great reinforcement to me that my swimming is improving, and that my work is paying off. It feels good to have people say "oh you go ahead" when we're at the end of the pool. Anyway, I was really happy with the way I was swimming and it felt awesome to see improvement.