Friday, May 20, 2005

Note to self: shut up already

So remember how I went to the gym for strength training on Tuesday? I know it made a big impact in your lives, as it did mine.

What I failed to mention when I told you that story, is the encounter I had with one of the trainers as I arrived at the gym after my highly satisfying, (relatively) fast 5-mile-run.

After checking in at the front desk, I walked over to the water fountain, red-faced and breathing hard. The fountain is in the operation direction from the weight machines, so my back was turned as I heard someone calling my name.

I immediately assumed, as you do, that I had something horrible stuck to my butt or perhaps was the unwitting recipient of a “Kick me” sign, that this very friendly trainer, currently racing across the room, was nice enough to relieve me of.

Alas, the truth was far worse.

“You need new shoes,” she said.

“But these shoes are new,” I said. “They’ve got less than 150 miles on them.”

“Hmmm,” she replied.

“And aren’t you supposed to get 400-600 miles on a pair of shoes?”

“Yes…” she conceded.

“And these shoes are expensive and I love them”

“Hmmmm,” she repeated.

“But,” she was finally able to interject, “look at how worn they are on the outside edge of the heel.” (I obligingly turned up the bottom of my foot so we could look.) “By the time that happens, the inside edge that supports your foot is usually well fucked.”

“But these only have 150 miles on them!”

“Right. That’s odd. They shouldn’t be this worn.”

So we discussed how all my shoes do that, and how maybe it’s just a lack of flexibility in my calves leading to my dragging my feet as I run (I’ll grant you that there’s a lot of figurative foot-dragging, but I never noticed any actual dragging), but left unresolved was the question of whether these shoes are no longer viable as long-distance running shoes.

Flash forward to Wednesday and Thursday’s runs, and the reappearance of Jen (Now with More Angst!).

It seems like an unlikely coincidence, of the sort that would lead reasonable observers to scoff that I am just imagining things.

But my knee really hurt yesterday, enough that I stopped running after about a mile and a half and walked home, something I have never done in the course of this training. (Although, to be fair, another day I might have pushed through it, but I’m running the 20-miler on Saturday, and I was extremely nervous about conserving my energy—and pain threshold—for that.)

Of course, there are plenty of other things that could have contributed to my knee pain, including the fact that I (finally) managed to get in a full week’s worth of runs, so maybe my legs weren’t up to it. But I’ve been careful about stretching well, and I cut Wednesday’s run short because of (less severe) knee pain, and Monday’s workout was on the elliptical, and Saturday’s long run included a lot of walking, because Lady Fab felt under the weather. So all in all, I don’t think I attempted an unreasonable jump in mileage.

There is something to be said for the psychological factor. I’m paying more attention to twinges and aches this week, because I’m nervous about the long run. And our weekly coaches update scared the bejeezus out of me, with all it’s talk of “this is a dry run for the real thing” and “wear exactly what you plan to wear the day of the marathon” and “you must wear these shoes on marathon day unless you want to suffer a cruel and painful death.”

Until we got that email, I was mentally preparing myself for a long (the longest) training run. Longer, but on par with all the other ones I’ve already done. But this “pretend it’s marathon day” is much scarier.

Anyway, my point is that I don’t know what shoes to wear (or, really, if shoes are the issue). I know that in theory, you never want to wear a brand new pair of shoes on a long run, but back when I first got these shoes, they were perfect. And I bought a second pair of these shoes, on the theory that I should alternate pairs on successive days. But I never used them, mostly because it seemed like I was never running two days in a row, because of all the runs I skipped.

So should I wear brand new shoes on my 20-mile run? Or should I wear the older (but hardly geriatric) shoes that I’ve been training in?


I whine too much. Don’t feel like you have to humor me, just because I keep posting these self-pitying rants.

This knee thing has really shaken me up, far more than any of the other stupid things I whine about in this space. But underneath the panicking, I have little doubt that I can finish this marathon. It’s just a question of how long it will take, and how much I want to die during and afterwards.

These past few weeks, especially after my races, my confidence had soared and I was getting my heart set on a good (for me) time. But there’s still a month to go, and anyway, as long as I finish, that’s all that matters.

In other, related, news: less than a month to marathon day! The countdown begins!


Oh, and thank you all for your wonderful food suggestions. I’ve been bringing protein-y snacks the past couple days (including some mozzarella and one very tasty cottage-cheese with red-pepper slices snack), and I’ve been feeling much more full and energized. Although I’ve been deviating a little from my usual lunch fare, and I think I might be accidentally eating a bunch more calories there. But I have high hopes for this once I’m not trying to carb-load at the same time.


Anonymous ksledge said...

I think you should wear the new shoes. They need to be tested before the marathon anyway. And they're the same kind, so what could go wrong? They told you to wear what you'd wear on marathon day, so you shouldn't save the new shoes any longer. (Maybe you can go back to the old shoes a little bit for shorter runs this month, but that's debatable. For the long run, I say new shoes.)

6:56 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Wish I had some good advice regarding the shoes...all I know is that I specifically asked the woman at Fleet Feet if I needed to break in my shoes and she insisted that shoes should never need "breaking in." But, a 20-miler isn't typical, either :-) Hope whatever you decided worked out for you...glad that you have more energy, too!

12:59 PM  
Blogger David said...

If the new shoes fit like a glove, run long in them now and on race day. I did that in my new Asics Gel Kayano 11s and set two new PRs.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

I'm guessing it's not the shoes that are causing the aches and pains and I think you should stick with the old faithfuls but start using the new ones on short runs before the big race. You just never know when you might need to switch for real and you want them ready to go if that happens.

11:59 PM  
Anonymous Douglass said...

I sucks when your shoes crap out at 150. I've had a couple do it to me. In fact my shoes I've been doing my long runs in went bad on my last 21 mile run (they only had 140 before the run). It happens.

Run in your new shoes. You'll feel better about them and if Jen feels better about them you'll be a happy happy marathoner.


4:45 PM  

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