June 10, 2010

Well now I have to

A while back, YJDKIY posted about learning to love the treadmill. Amazingly, I have and some mornings, gasp, I think I even prefer it to the elliptical. I think I might have also mentioned that I have always had an extreme aversion to running, mainly because it just wasn't comfortable, and I don't like exercising in heat and humidity (hello North Carolina?).

So now, having recently taken note of several much older, much less fit people running, I've decided that surely I can do that. And, to top it off (don't think I've mentioned this though), I hate setting goals/deadlines, but lo and behold I've gone and done THAT too. YJDKIY is going to keep you from knowing that just yet, but as it gets closer perhaps I'll fill you in. Thirdurmore, I have this whackado plan that if I can learn to use running as an efficient means of cardio, I can quit paying $40/month for the YMCA since I only use it for cardio and do weights at home, and then, the following will pay for itself in ahem, a few, months.

------------End backstory, begin actual point of this post. -----------

I went to Fleet Feet in Winston-Salem to find out exactly what kind of shoes will make this experience more tolerable. After talking with superfriendly salesguy Rich for a few minutes about my crazy ideas on running, it was time to take some measurements.

1. Rich looked at my feet...apparently they're decent, no bunions or callouses (TMI?) nothing weird to note (except man you have to be outgoing and nonhinky to have that job). I do seem to have high arches.

2. Next, he placed a sizing tool thingy on an inclined plane (45 degrees) and measured the size, but also made a mark (look close you can see them) where the 1st metatarsal hit the guide. Then, we did the same thing but standing. The difference between these marks shows how much your foot "flattens out" when weighted or in use/motion. The distance between my marks was much less than normal, usual. I need a 6.5 and could possibly consider a wide, but not a necessity.

3. Finally, Rich watched me walk. It's kind of odd to concentrate on not concentrating on walking! I've noticed lately, and he saw immediately that my heel hits the ground solidly, straight on, but tends to roll slightly outward when weight is applied and never passes the mid point when it comes back. This means I have a neutral gait, where a lot of people tend to roll inward and overpronate.

4. It was time to try on some shoes and make some decisions! After a little conversation about socks (despite the fact that I hate them too and would much rather wear none).  We talked about inserts, and it really was clear how crappy the factory ones are. I tried two kinds, and one felt great while the other was weird and didn't fit my foot at all.

Rich brought me three pairs of shoes. I was a little afraid of this part, since I know you are not supposed to pick shoes based on color, but I really really am opposed to white kicks...hate them (YJDKIY is full of opinions on this topic apparently).

A normal New Balance pair (WR 759CS...yay they were grey and hot pink!), a wide New Balance pair (eh, gray and light blue), and a pair of Adidas that I didn't even see. NB#1 fit great - I could really tell the difference in the way my foot was supported and stayed in place, and it felt like I had springs under the ball and heel of my foot! NB#2 was awful, my foot slid around and it felt like could walk on water with those boats. Clearly don't need a wide! So based on that, he decided the Adidas would be too wide and long for my foot, but he did bring out a pair of Saucony's after I mentioned liking my current ones ok. They were way too tight across the top and too narrow toward my toes. I tried one on the left and the NB#1s on the right and the choice was clear!

That was it! He cut my inserts to fit the shoe perfectly matching the crappy factory ones, put them in, sold me on some moisture wicking super thin socks and rang me up.

I won't tell you how much, but let's just say all that came to more than 3 months of YMCA membership (the inserts were a little $ shocking, they mean business! But, when I got home and put on my old shoes that I THOUGHT were cushy and supportive, I could honestly tell a significant difference, and Rich told me they'd last at least 12-18 months, longer than the shoes!). As we've learned though, if there is one thing that motivates me, it's spending money!

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