I’m a girl. In a nutshell that means (stereotype alert!) I like bad reality TV, Gerard Bulter and can be a little crazy-pants sometimes. It also means I like shoe shopping – as evidenced by the 5 ½ inch pink patent slingbacks I bought for an upcoming wedding. Oh boy, are those great shoes... But when I walked into Fleet Feet this afternoon, I knew I was in over my head.
Just a few hours after getting back into the states I was eager to get going on the marathon prep. I went for two things, a new water bottle and a new pair of shoes. The water bottle was easy, the shoes, not so much.
First thing first, they had me run so they could watch my gait. For the rest of the time in there the man would not stop talking about how I run. He tells me he hasn’t seen as pronounced of a forefront striker as me in a long time. Well shit, am I running wrong? I don’t know what else to do. I went from a heel-striker, which led to shin splints after a mile and a half that would leave me laid up for days if not weeks to basically tiptoeing through the run. Since changing how I run I’ve been shin splint free and happily logging the miles. The man tells me, its probably fine, if that’s how I am most comfortable, but that he’ll be surprised if I can keep that up for long distances. Great. I haven’t broken it to him that I’m training for a marathon.
Next we talk about what I’m looking for in a shoe. As little as possible is my answer. I may not be a minimalist in all aspects of my life, but its what I want in my shoe.
He pulls a few out in my size for me to try on. Two from Saucony – the Kinvara and Cortana. After slipping both on the Kinvara won out. It felt good. It fits well. I jog around the store a little and am quite pleased with them.
Next up, the Brooks Green Silence. While it may look like a skateboarding shoe from the early 90s, this shoe has more than a few things going for it. Scott Jurek, vegan ultramarathoner extraordinaire had a hand in the design. And it’s about as eco-friendly as you’re going to get in a running shoe. Less energy to manufacture than the average shoe, 75% recycled materials, breaks down in a landfill in a fraction of the time. It feels just as good as the Kinvara and makes me feel just a bit better about the environmental impact.
I finally told him that I was training for a marathon and asked if this would be a good shoe for the task. An emphatic no from the salesman. I must say I was a little surprised, and a little crushed. He told me it just wasn’t enough shoe. That if I was going to be doing that many miles a week I really needed “more shoe.” But I’m trying to avoid “more shoe.” More shoe = more injury in my mind. He brings me back over to the wall and started pulling out shoes that look like they could be classified as lethal weapons and starts talking about heel stability and my over-pronation, etc etc. He starts to lose me.
I look back over at the Green Silence. Not enough shoe? But wait a minute. Didn’t Scott Jurek run over 165 miles in 24 hours in these shoes? Now I’m not pretending for a second here that I’m on par with that man. But if its enough shoe to run 165 miles in one day, and its comfortable on my feet, shouldn’t it be enough for my measly little first marathon.
Isn't shoe shopping supposed to be more fun than this? Overwhelmed I left without new shoes, but I’ll have to figure it out sometime soon. I've been running in Keens for 3 months. Not exactly an ideal. My long runs are getting longer and I need to try to avoid injury in the next couple months.
Maybe I’ll just go barefoot.