Monday, July 19, 2010

A run for my money

I'm now officially registered for the Rochester Half Marathon in September. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I'm so excited but also really nervous. (And wondering when I became the sort of person who would willingly pay $50 to run 13.1 miles.)

I went to the 9 mile group run on Saturday, which is the farthest I've run. Ever. It felt great! I keep waiting for the miles to catch up to me or to suddenly hit "the wall" and feel like crap, but so far, so good. (Incidentally, I have been running for almost 15 years now and I've had good runs and bad runs, but I've never hit this mysterious wall. Wherever it is, I hope I never find it.)

A nice lady in the group, who is an experienced marathoner, said she thought I'd ace the half marathon and could see me doing the full marathon next year. I totally hope she's right. I just want to keep up this momentum and finish the half feeling motivated to attempt the full next year.

I tried a gel for the first time during Saturday's run. About 45 minutes in, I took half of a PowerBar Chocolate Gel, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it had the consistency and taste of chocolate pudding. Yum! I'd heard that some people have stomach issues with the gels, so I figured I'd start with half of one and see how that went. It took a little bit of finagling as I tried to open/eat the gel while simultaneously running and holding on to my water bottle (I can see where the water belt would come in handy here because then you'd have both hands free, but I just can't bring myself to wear anything resembling a fanny pack. Plus, one guy told me he has 3 different belts and has yet to find one that's comfortable). Luckily the gel was tasty and my stomach felt fine, even in the summer heat, so I think I'll get more of that brand for next time.

Last week I bought new running shoes too. Fleet Feet gave us a coupon for $20 off shoes when we signed up for the program so I figured I'd go there and see what they had to say. I had a feeling that all their shoes would be ridiculously expensive (but to be fair, I usually spend less than $50 on running shoes and my current pair cost only $25 (they were on sale and I had a coupon), so my threshold for ridiculously expensive is pretty low). I have to admit that it's pretty neat how they have you run on the treadmill in the store and then you can see your stride on the video camera. The sales associate was concerned about my left foot's tendency to overpronate (rotate too far inward on each footfall) and seemed surprised that I've never had any injuries (leave it to me to have unruly feet). He suggested a shoe with more support and inserts that would help stabilize my feet and keep them from rolling too far inward. I left the store having lost $132 and gained a new sense of paranoia about impending injuries. Sigh.

But I figure if I'm asking my feet to do all this running, I should at least give them the proper shoes in which to do it. So I'll try out the fancy new shoes and see if I can feel a difference. I've decided that these are going to be my race shoes, so I won't start wearing them until a few weeks before the actual race. But I did test them out during my 3 mile recovery run on Sunday. They felt a little weird at first, but they were nice and light and will hopefully keep my feet in line. Seriously though, for $132 these shoes better make me feel like I'm just sitting on a cloud eating snacks and watching other people run.

Lyric of the moment: "Running down a dream that never would come to me. Working on a mystery, going wherever it leads. Running down a dream...I felt so good, like anything was possible..."


  1. I wasn't thrilled with my first (and last) experience buying running shoes at Fleet Feet. I too did the treadmill gait analysis, but I don't think it was a great help because my stride gets more relaxed after warming up for a few minutes. So I don't think the video of running for 30 seconds cold was good representation of my gait. My sales guy told me that I overpronate, which surprised me because I have high arches and I always thought I was pretty neutral. Regardless, he sold me on a pair of sneakers with support for overpronators and also a $25 set of insoles that he seemed to think were absolutely necessary for my survival.

    But in the end, I hated the insoles. They were too hard, oddly shaped, and I could not get used to them. The sneakers I bought also never felt quite right (even though I liked them OK when I tried them out at Fleet Feet). The lacing system didn't provide a comfortably snug fit. I had shin splints for weeks after switching to these sneakers. And to make matters worse, after about a month one sneaker developed a terrible squeak with every step. I found this was a common problem with this particular shoe (Adidas Supernova).

    The point of my sob story is that I was not happy with the $130 I spent, and I have since had better success researching and buying sneakers and insoles on my own. I hope you have better luck than I did!

  2. You know, I was thinking the same thing - that running for 30 seconds on a treadmill isn't necessarily representative of the way you actually run over a longer period outside. And it's interesting how they seem to give everyone the same spiel about overpronation and then promote the inserts. But then again, I don't know anything about that stuff so I'll take their word for it this time and see how it works out. Hopefully the new shoes and inserts will be comfortable on longer runs and I didn't just waste $130