Wednesday, July 10, 2013

First Bonk - The Blame Game

This morning's training run can only be described in one word (well... one word that won't make you think that I'm a foul-mouthed pirate... which I am by the way, but for the sake of appearances I will refrain):


Yes, friends, it was so bad that I can't even use a real  word to describe it.

Everything about it was just painful. My legs felt like bricks. It's been a long time since my legs felt this heavy. In addition, all of the joints in my legs were aching: my ankles, my knees, and my hips. It is extremely unusual for my joints to hurt, especially my knees. And I was just exhausted. All that I wanted to do from the second my alarm went off at 5:30 am was go back to bed and I just wasn't able to shake that feeling.

It was supposed to be a tempo run. Instead, it was a completely schizophrenic run.

Oh, and it was also a mile too long. That's what happens when you don't plan adequately and decide to try some new trails on the fly.

I honestly don't know why I was achy and tired this morning. So, I'll do what all runners do and find something to blame. First, I'm going to blame the weather.

I've certainly run in worse conditions (thank goodness it was cloudy), but the humidity was just really getting to me today.

And I'm also going to blame what I believe is the culprit behind my leg pains:

I'm lookin' at YOU, PureCadence 2!
As any runner will tell you, the relationship between a runner and his or her shoes is a deep, abiding love affair. Your shoes are your most important piece of equipment - the wrong pair can wreak havoc and the right pair make you feel like every step is heaven. Getting to that right pair is often a long, annoying, and arduous process and most people cling dearly to their favorite brand and model for as long as possible - much like Rose clung to Jack's frozen but still handsome corpse in the cold North Atlantic.

Image Source
Yes, I did just reference Titanic.
(Come on, you know it's true!)

It took me a while, but last year I discovered my Jack Dawson in the form of the Brooks PureCadence. After I wore out my first pair, Husband bought me my second pair for our anniversary... and literally the day after they arrived, I broke my foot. They sat in my closet until January, when they were baptized on the vita course and became known as "My pinks."

You get the point. I loved these shoes. Correction: LOVE those shoes. My pinks helped me PR all those springtime races and then some. They went to Italy with me, carried me through Pompeii and Positano, then to my favorite gelateria in all of Rome. When I got back, I continued to wear them even though I knew they were on their last legs.



And I didn't realize they were changing them until it was too late to buy 10 pairs at the sale price.

Around the time of the Monument Avenue 10k, I knew I would need to get another pair, but after reading the abysmal reviews of the PureCadence 2 on the Brooks website, I was reluctant. At the 10k Expo, I stopped by the Brooks booth just to try them on and ended up letting the guy talk me into buying a pair. I bought his story that the only thing that had changed about the shoe was the upper.

Over 100 miles later, I don't believe him. These shoes are not my Jack Dawson. They are my Cal Hockley.

I held onto my pinks until Marathon training started. On one of my first outings in the the PureCadence 2 was  the first day of MTT. You know... the day when I body surfed the sidewalk during mile 2. I should have known then that these shoes were bad news.

As the training cycle has progressed, I've almost fallen on my face a few more times (abnormal behavior for me, I swear); my foot has started to feel wonky; my up until now completely fine socks started to slip back into the heel of the shoe (annoying!); and then my knees started to hurt.

I can't attribute any of this to an increase in mileage; in fact, up to this point, my weekly mileage is still below what I was doing back in March and through April. The only thing that has changed is the shoe.

Even before this morning's horrible run, I was seeking out an alternative. Yesterday, I chatted online with a Brooks specialist to get some recommendations for a shoe that was slightly more cushioned than the PureCadence. He recommended the Ghost or the Launch. I was intrigued by the Launch, but it is apparently sold out just about everywhere (I guess because it is THAT good). I filed away the information, thinking I'd wait a little while longer to start the whole trying-to-find-a-new-perfect-shoe-dance.

But after this morning's run, I'd had enough. This afternoon after work, I headed directly to my local running store, Road Runner (not to be confused with Road Runner Sports) in Carytown and asked to try on the Ghost 6 and the Mizuno Wave Rider 16. I've heard lots of people rave about the Wave Rider and figured I have nothing to lose.

Omigod... shoes
I thought that the Ghosts would feel like bricks after running in PureCadence for more than a year, but they were surprisingly light and definitely afforded more cushion than the PureCadence 2. I wanted to love the Mizunos because I feel like all the cool kids wear them, but they felt too narrow in the ankle or something.

So, about five minutes after walking in, I walked out having blown a wad of cash on a shiny new pair of Brooks Ghost 6s.

I'm giving my legs a much needed rest day day tomorrow and won't run again until Saturday's 11 mile MTT run... sooooo I won't be trying them out officially until next Monday. 

Here's to hoping that these Ghosts do the trick, though I must say that they are not nearly as good looking as my pinks. 


  1. These look like the 6s that I just got from Lucky Feet. I was planning on using these for my longer runs. Hopefully, they will be lucky for both of us.

    1. Hmm... they look like the 6s because they ARE. Maybe I should pay more attention. It appears that we are now shoe twins!

    2. I wore mine for 5 tonight. Felt fine, so I'm going for it on Saturday. I've never done Riverside Drive like this. Hope I don't pass out.

      Foot feeling better?

    3. I'm pretty terrified of Riverside Drive.

      Foot is fine, but had a CRAZY AWFUL RANDOM foot cramp last night around 11 pm. You know, the kind that cause you to wake up howling and writhing with pain and scare the bejesus out of your husband. It was centered in my arch, which still hurts this morning.

      I WANT to take the Ghosts out, but am too afraid to so I'm going with those damn PC2 for one more long.

  2. I' m a Newton lover... but they take an adjustment. I had your pinkies and loved them, except I bought them too small. Hope these work out for you!
    emma @ a mom runs this town . com

  3. Because I have big feet (sz 15), I’ve had to buy my shoes online almost exclusively for years. That was fine before I started running. I know I like Vans Old Skools, so that’s all I wear. But with running shoes, I started with the old habit of buying based on availability instead performance and have only recently started the hunt for my “pinks.” So far, it’s kind of frustrating. Good luck with the new kicks.

    At least the local running store actually carries more than one shoe in my size.