So, I had slacked a little in my running over the holidays. I was just a little burned out after training for the half marathon that I ran on Thanksgiving. And then Christmas came along, and family, and stress eating, and mom’s buckeyes, and, well, it turned into a free-for-all of sloth and gluttony. After the New Year, I meant to get back on a regular schedule of exercise and decent eating, and I did, about halfway through January. (Okay, two thirds.)
I realized the other day after doing a run on the treadmill that it wasn’t just getting back into the exercise that was making me hurt; it was my old shoes. I think you are supposed to replace running shoes something like every 500 miles, or 4-6 months. Um. . . .uh-oh. I had been using the same shoes for over a year. What finally clued me in was the rather large PIECE OF PLASTIC GOUGING THROUGH THE CLOTH IN THE HEEL OF MY SHOE AND INTO MY ACTUAL HEEL. I am pretty quick on the uptake, don’t you know? That combined with my propensity for frugality, resulted in me almost never buying new shoes.
Time for a new pair of shoes, i realized. I was raised that you bought new shoes when the things fell apart. Not when they looked perfectly fine and some running magazine or expert picked some crazy arbitrary mileage upon which my shoe should be replaced. Luckily, the need for new footwear coincided with my birthday checks, so I did something i had never done before. I got fitted for a pair of shoes at a running store.
I’ll be honest, i was nervous about this. It seems so intimidating, walking into a store where everyone that works there has a combined BMI of 15. Sure enough, the woman who met me smilingly at the door of Big Peach Running Company was a few inches taller than me, and about 40 pounds lighter. I wanted to hate her, but she was too nice. She shook my hand, called me by name, and started to explain the fit process to me. She asked me about my running experience, what things i was training for, etc.
I took off my shoes and stood on this little padded platform. Above me, on a screen, i could see the outline of my feet in that weird heat-sensing color thing that they have in war movies. It showed that i have high arches, that I bear most of my weight on my heel, slightly to the outside, and some on the outside of the ball of my foot. It also showed that my feet were ten and a halves.
I’m sorry. Did you say “Ten and a half?” I looked at her as if there must be some mistake.
“Yep,” she said, “ten and half.”
“Wow. I thought i wore a nine and half.”
“That happens a lot,” she said. “We’ll get you all set up.”
So, yeah, i’ve been wearing a nine and a half (occasionally a nine!) and I should be wearing a ten and a half! What a dumbass! No wonder my feet hurt sometimes!
So, after that, she put me in what she called a “Neutral shoe,” meaning that it didn’t have support for pronating, or overpronating. She had me climb up on a treadmill with a little camera attached to a bigass computer screen. This was the part i had been dreading. People who have seen me run can probably attest to the fact that I look like i am flailing around like i am drowing in the air around me. My legs do this weird thing where they kick out to the side. Let’s put it this way: I was pretty sure that i would start running, and there would be people laughing throughout the store, and the poor lady who helped me would make me run over and over and finally throw her hands up in the air in frustration and say, “I cannot fit this woman! Her gait defies physics! I do not know how she can make it across the room on these legs, much less thirteen miles!”
That did not happen. Instead, she had me stop and then showed me video of a normal (Neutral) gait. Then she showed me the other two extremes. Then mine. Turns out i am perfectly neutral. No idea how this happened, but that’s what she said. She also said my foot strike was normal.Ã‚Â You could have knocked me over with a feather.
She went into the back and brought out six or seven different shoes. I tried each on, then ran on the treadmill for a minute or so in each. It was interesting to feel the difference in each shoe; I had never before tried on a shoe and then run in it. She did that thing where they measure with the thumb. Some of them just didn’t fit right. Some fit better than others. But one shoe, about the third i tried on, fit like the glass slipper on Cinderella. I couldn’t believe how different it felt. It felt like it supported my feet in all the right places, wrapped around the contours like it was made for me. I tried on the same shoe in both a ten and a ten and a half. Just to make sure. Sure enough, the ten was too small for my right (larger) foot. Ten and a half it is!
The whole point of this post was to say how much i enjoyed the experience of being fitted for a shoe, and how NOT intimidating it was. Or, to put it another way, I was not the only fat chick in the store buying running shoes. I highly recommend the Big Peach Running Co. to other people thinking about getting fitted for a running shoe. They were great! They even put your foot test into the computers and keep up with the shoe you bought, and all the data they captured on your foot shape and your running, so that next time you come in, much of the work is already done for you.
Sold! I am excited to get my run in today. It’s been awhile since I’ve been excited to run. Oh, and here is my cute new shoe. Except that mine has yellow stripes instead of blue. My reason for choosing yellow? It seemed like it would be faster. I mean, how can a Supernova not be fast? Sounds fast! And now I need Liz Phair on my running list. That’s obvious.