After I first started running late last year, I went to Academy Sports to buy some running shoes. Frankly, my idea of a good running shoe came down to selecting the pair that would look best on me. Until recently, I had no idea that all the different kinds of sports attire are more about function than form. Live and learn.
The number and variety of running shoe choices overwhelmed me. If a purchase requires me to select from more than three options, I’m doomed. That’s why we don’t have wallpaper anywhere in our house.
But I had to make a choice. My knees and shins demanded it. In the end I opted for the pair with the thickest soles–Nikes in UGA-friendly red and black. They cost something like $89–an outrageous amount for me to pay for a pair of shoes. I went ahead and got them because my new mantra is “I’m worth it.”
That was more than six months ago. At 6’2″ and more than 200 pounds, running for an hour or two at a time three and four times a week has taken its toll. The heels on my Nikes are practically gone. The time had come to replace them.
Having discovered that I enjoy running, this time around I decided to go to a store that specializes in running shoes. I brought my Nikes with me. A knowledgeable sales person looked them over, paying particular attention to the wear pattern on the soles.
Then she asked me to step onto a scale-like device for a scan of my feet. After she explained the results of the scan, she had me put on a pair of running shoes and asked me to run on a treadmill for about five minutes. She played the video of my running feet, freezing it periodically to highlight the angle my heel hit the surface and other quirks of my stride. I was impressed.
She brought out three different kinds of shoes and told me to try them on. I was drawn to a red and black pair (Go Dawgs!), but they felt funny on my feet. The other two felt equally good. Mostly because all my running togs are red and/or black, I picked the black and yellow pair (Brooks Ghost 4) over the blue and white pair. She pushed and prodded and decided I needed a larger size–13s!
My fancy new running shoes cost $100. That’s less than I was willing to pay. And from what everyone says about Brooks, I won’t be disappointed. In the end, I left the running store feeling good about my purchase.
That was Thursday. Friday morning I got up early enough to run for an hour before work. I’d have run longer, but because the new shoes changed my stride, my calves started aching. I ran again today for an hour and fifteen minutes–less than I’d planned, because my calves were aching again.
When I first started running, my knees and shins gave me fits. It’s been weeks since my shins have hurt, which I assume means my muscles have adjusted to the new movement. My knees, however, still ache–especially when I go for longer runs.
In my fancy new running shoes, my shins and knees don’t bother me a bit. I suspect the calves will stop aching once I’ve adjusted to the new shoes. Then I’ll be ready to run some big loops through the neighborhoods around…
My Glass House