Is training for this race cursed?

The first thing that came to my mind Monday morning when I could barely run was here we go again. Yes, it Georgia Marathon training once again, and I have training issues. Again…

  • 2008 my 1st marathon. I tripped 15 miles into our 16 mile run and busted my chin, knee, and wrist. Later I would twist my knee. I ran my first marathon having only run 15 miles. Finished in 5:46. All I can say is ouch
  • 2009 because of injuries (again with the twisted knee) I switched from the full to the 1/2 marathon
  • 2010 This time I was smart and registered for the 1/2 marathon. Getting sick wasn’t so helpful. I didn’t really feel ready…

So here we are in 2011. This Saturday was supposed to be an 18 mile run. Yesterday my run was more than a hobble because of a tight muscle that said “no!” I’ve gone from freaking out to being oddly calm. See I have two 20 mile runs built into my training program. So, maybe I take the rest of the week off, and get rid of one of the 20s. Is it the end of the world? No, but it might have felt that way for a little bit yesterday.

On a more exciting note I signed up to run Alaska’s Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon in June with Team in Training. I super excited about the people I get to hang out with for 5 months of training. I’m sure I’ll be super exited about the race too, but now all I can think about is how awesome the group is. I keep thinking about how part of the course runs on a gravel tank trail, and single file trail. I want to get these:

Aren’t they pretty?! They are the Newton Terra Momentus Trail Shoe. Do I need new shoes? No, I have 3 perfectly good pairs that I rotate between every week (Newton Motions, Brooks Ravenna, and Vibriam Five Finger Bikilas). Do I really need a pair of trail shoes for Alaska? Probably not, but I want them! I can’t believe how much I want to go try them, and buy a pair. It’s crazy. I don’t need another pair of shoes, but I want these. Of course, I have to get paid before I can even think about getting a new pair of shoes, and then there’s the whole “I can’t run right now” thing. Funny how much I want to shop when I can’t run… I might have also eaten an entire chocolate bar yesterday due to the not being able to run, and other Monday craziness. Hello Tuesday, can we get along? 🙂

The great shoe dilema

Mizunos or Newtons? Newtons or Mizunos? This is a question that has been running through my brain almost around the clock since my last 20 mile run. My head has said run in the Mizunos for Chicago. You ran all of your long runs in them. So what if they are approaching old age. You’ll be fine! My ankles, and knees have said run in the Newtons, and by the way, get some new orthotics! So, I decided to listen to the ankles. They after all, will bear the brunt of 26.2 miles in 13 days. I got new orthotics a size smaller so that they would fit better in my Newtons (which run a little small), and decided to finally get the metatarsal support too. Holy awesomeness Batman! I tried them in my Newtons Friday afternoon and walked around a bit, and then ran my part of the Ekiden relay in them Sunday. No knee, or ankle soreness! Hmmm, can I run a marathon in shoes that have only gone 10 miles as their longest run? I’ve been running twice a week in them for a couple of months. They are definitely broken in, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to wear them, which makes me kind of excited. This is the first time that I’m thinking about running a race in shoes that I haven’t done my long runs in. That makes me a little nervous, but I feel like I run better in the Newtons than the Mizunos. I really do think the Newtons are going to win, but something tells me the conversation in my head isn’t over. That’s the fun part of the taper right? So ready to be done tapering!

Now if I could feel like I’m not coming done with something… Oh taper, you drive me batty!

Newton Running Shoes: 1st impressions

A few weeks back I was in Savannah for a performance. I went for my usually Saturday run and explored parts of the city. The further I ran the more I started to notice that I was having trouble landing mid foot. It was frustrating. The more I thought about it, and the more I talked to other runners on dailymile and twitter the more I realized that my shoes were getting in the way. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my Mizunos, but something just wasn’t right. So, that weekend in Savannah I decided that I would finally try out a pair of Newton Running shoes. It never hurts to try.

Fortunately there are a couple of stores in Atlanta that carry Newton Running Shoes (this sadly does not include my favorite Big Peach), so I was able to actually go to a store, get fitted, and actually try the shoes out before buying them. I couldn’t believe how light they were! Seriously, I felt like I was bouncing around the parking lot as I was testing them out. I could tell that they were much different than my Mizunos, and I knew that it meant paying much more attention to how I land when I run. After much debate about what size I needed I walked out with a pair of 10 1/2s. Normally I wear 10s, and the couple of times that I’ve worn 10 1/2s didn’t go well (1st time I tripped over my own feet and busted my chin. 2nd time I had knee problems from the shoe’s being too big). They assured me that Newtons run small and that it wouldn’t be a problem. So, two days later I took them out for a test run and knew instantly that the 10 1/2s were a big problem. I felt like I was running on a slip-n-slide. While I was having an easy time of landing on mid-foot my feet were slipping all over the place inside the shoes no matter how tight I tied them. The store said that I could return them if I didn’t like them, so I headed over the next day to see if I could exchange them for a pair of size 10s. They took them right back and handed me a pair of 10s no questions asked! Score!

It’s taken some adjusting, but I’ve been running in the Newtons for a couple of weeks now. For those who aren’t familiar with Newton running shoes they have a lowered heel, and have more cushioning on the fore-foot (they call them “lugs”) to promote a fore-foot strike. While I was looking at the shoes someone argued that they force your foot to land a certain way. Trust me, they don’t “force” my foot to do anything. My foot can do whatever it wants, and does! I can certainly tell that I’m getting stronger each time I wear them. The more I wear them the more my pronation problems go away, but I have to slowly work them into longer runs. I think I wore them too much last week, and my knee started bothering me a little. go back and forth between the Newtons and my Mizunos is causing a little bit of a problem. Now I notice just how heavy my Mizunos are and how raised the heel is. It’s driving me nuts, but I know I’m not ready to do all of my runs in the Newtons.

 I have a lot of respect for the Newtons. Are they the shoe for me? To be honest, I’m still not sure. I find them very interesting, and I can definitely tell that the switch to a shoe that lets me land on my fore-foot is helping! I like than they are low on my ankle, and that foot doesn’t feel encased in the shoe. They breathe really well (I can see my feet through the mesh :)), and the toe box is wider than my Mizunos so there is plenty of room for my toes to spread a bit when I land. I have to be very focused when I run though. Do not assume that you will always land where you want when you run. If there is one thing I’ve learned from my violin playing that carries into running it’s that you have to stay focused on what you want to accomplish in order for it to happen. Just tuning out is where things can go astray. I’m looking forward to running in them again this weekend (I took a little break this week). So far the first impression is favorable, although to truefully answer what I think about the Newtons is going to take more time, and more runs, which I’m looking forward to!