If you missed the first part of my running story, you can find it here.
The first order of business was therefore to get fitted for proper running shoes. Even though I thought I knew my body well and could identify which shoes I needed without help, I realized that I probably didn’t know as much as I thought I knew, since I was now dealing with a full-blown running injury. I had recently purchased some sports bras online through Road Runner Sports based on the suggestion from Skinny Runner. I remembered that in one of her posts she talked about having them make custom inserts for her running shoes and that she swore by them.
By the way, I have a total runner’s crush on Skinny Runner.
A new Road Runner Sports opened up in Wilmette not too long ago, which is a suburb just outside of Chicago and super easy to get to. So I went before work one day to have myself fitted and get me some of those inserts.
I must have gone at just the right time because there were three staff members dying to help me when I walked in, and they were pretty swamped by the time I left. They have clients go through a multi-step computerized process which identifies what kind of arch you have, where you put most of your weight on your foot, how many miles you intend to run each week and on what kind of surface, and what your walking gait looks like to determine if there is any pronation (foot turns in) or supination (foot turns out, also know as underpronation). Then they heat up this insert, place it on a pillow-y block, and make you rock back and forth on it so that it molds exactly to your foot (feet, actually — they do both). This whole process takes about 15 minutes (they told me it would take about 12, but it was a bit longer than that). Finally, they take the information gathered and determine which kind of shoe you should be looking at and have you try a few on with the inserts, which by now have cooled and cradle your foot perfectly.
I learned several interesting things about my feet:
1. I have really high arches, and my right arch is higher than my left. In fact, my right foot does not make contact with the ground just before my heel.
2. I balance most of my weight onto my heels (hello, heel pain!). They could also identify my heel “hot spot” — it was REALLY red right where it hurt the most.
3. I have a perfectly strait gait — absolutely no pronation or supination. I found this really odd, since everything I’ve read says that the majority of runners do one or the other, most typically pronate to some degree.
It turns out that I needed a neutral running shoe, which is what my Wave Rider 15s were — hooray! She also had me try on a pair of Asics and a pair of Nikes, along with the Wave Rider 15s for comparison. The Nike pair was WAY too stiff. The Asics were better, but I felt like the back of my heel was slipping too much, and even with a revised method of lacing my shoe it still slipped. the Wave Riders were on sale, so I decided to buy a second pair, along with the inserts and an additional heel cushion piece.
That’s where these babies come in:
Meet Finn & Jake (yes, I name my running shoes. My other Wave Riders are Dorothy & Toto. Of course).
I’ve been using the inserts for the past couple of weeks and even though it’s been so bloody hot, I’ve managed to get a few miles in. I’ve taken walk breaks and even though I feel like a bit of a loser since I’m only doing a couple of miles at a time, but I’m trying to cut myself some slack. I still have a lot of pain when I’m not running, but nowhere near as bad as it was, so I do think the inserts are helping a ton. My feet feel FANTASTIC when I’m wearing my running shoes. It’s when I’m wearing my other shoes — or no shoes — that they hurt. And while I can wear my inserts with any regular shoes, I really can’t wear them with sandals or flip flops and I’m absolutely not in enough pain to wear “sensible” shoes in 100+ degree weather.
I see the podiatrist next Thursday and am confident that between starting my training from scratch, getting fitted, and seeing the doctor, I’ll be running the Disney Princess Half Marathon before I know it. Well, I’ll at least be running 5Ks pain free.