"Momma always says there's an awful lot you could tell about a person by their shoes. Where they're going. Where they've been. I've worn lots of shoes. I bet if I think about it real hard I could remember my first pair of shoes." ~ Forrest Gump
Right before I got hot and heavy in marathon training, I took the advice of a few very intelligent people and got fitted for shoes. Apparently, going to the local retail store and picking out the prettiest pair was not the best way to go about things.

I ran on a treadmill and had someone analyze the way I stood, walked and sashayed (OK, not really but I totally felt like I was on a runway). The very kind man at the running store had me try on a few versions of a similar shoe. After walking in each pair, a few times down the "runway," I decided on Brooks Adrenaline's. The shoe felt like it was made for my feet. They were a little more supportive than I was used to, but the running man assured me that after running 10+ miles my gait would change and the support would be needed. 

Fast forward to post marathon. As everyone knows, because I won't stop talking about it, I broke my foot running a marathon. *Gasp* My assumption is that I went into it with a stress fracture, because I had been experiencing some pain while in my peak weeks. Since I had six weeks to dwell and pine about not being able to run, I started to second guess my shoes. Brooks are not a very cushioned shoe and they have to be changed pretty much around the 300 mile mark. I notice as soon as I reach 250 to 300 my knees start to ache, my back hurts and well, my feet get broken and shattered into a thousand pieces. OK, that last part was just a bit of dramatics.

When I was released to run, I marched right back to the running store with a plan! I told the girl my sob story; she didn't care, at all. Then we got to work on finding me a padded shoe, with support, that would feel as good as the Adrenaline's. I don't know about you but when I put on a brand new pair of shoes, especially after wearing a pair for a couple of months that are worn down, smell like a men's locker room, and don't even look remotely close to the color that you bought them in, they feel like HEAVEN. It's so hard to pick apart a new shoe. Thankfully, I'm high maintenance in the shoe department because I must protect my precious feet bones!

The wonderful sales lady and I worked through a ton of shoes and I even ran outside in them. Oh, may I add that I was wearing a tank top that showed far too much cleavage for a woman my age, and some skinny jean capris? Excellent running attire to jaunt in front of the store in! I left the store with a pair of Brooks (yay!) Ravenna's. Well after a few runs and massive blisters, that ate the back of my heels, I had to return them. They were GREAT shoes, otherwise. I was so upset that they didn't fit the back of my foot the right way. Since I had the kids with me that day I decided to forgo the challenge of trying to find a new perfect pair and went a few days later.

I got a new sales person this time, a man. He looked less than thrilled with me when I came in with my "plan." I explained to him that I need my shoe to have cushion, but support, and not break my bones, and oh, if it could stop my period on the days I have to run for a long long time, that would be an extra bonus! He abruptly said, "Please, let me do my job." I knew he and I weren't going to be running the trails together anytime soon. So after a couple of HOURS, no lie, he fitted me in neutral Asics and added a supportive insert. His method was to work from the inside out. I liked his way of thinking, until I hit the road the next day. Everything from my toenails to my shins were screaming at me to take the shoes off immediately. Sob. For my next run I decided to wear my trusty Adrenaline's, even though they needed to be replaced, badly.

Are ya'll bored yet? I swear this is going to get remotely interesting! OK, maybe not, but thanks for sticking it out. I go BACK to the running store, and I get ANOTHER sales person. I can't say I wasn't relieved that "Mr. Personality" wasn't available to cram my feet into another pair of death shoes. I briefly explain the drama that I had been having with shoes to the very kind and patient running shoe expert (can you tell I liked him?). He pretty much told me that I was over thinking the entire shoe dilemma, and that if the Adrenaline's caused me no issues, and he did not believe that the shoe broke my foot, I should have never abandoned them in the first place. Um, insert very embarrassed red face here. 

He marched back to the magical shoe room, brought out a shiny new pair of Adrenaline's, grabbed an insert that is designed specifically for people with metatarsal injuries (THAT'S ME!), shoved them in the shoes and said "Here!" I slipped them on and I was in shoe Heaven once again. He told me, "Your shoes are only 1 tool to running. If you find what works for you, stick with it."

As I was driving home that afternoon, super excited to try out my new shoes and insert, I thought about all of the trouble I went through to find the right shoe, when all along I had been wearing it. The main thing is, the shoe didn't break my foot. While it's smart that I want to prevent another injury like that, and take care of the bone that is still healing, I don't need to over complicate things. However, it is smart to get fitted, find out if you're a supinator (made up word), over pronator (also made up), or even a spawn of the Terminator. Though, I suppose if you were part Terminator, you wouldn't need shoes at all. I am pleased to say that after three longish runs in the new shoe with insert, I have had zero problems! Cheer!!

Now, what have we learned here? 1. Feet are crucial to running. 2. Shoes help to protect your feet, but they are not going to run for you. Wait, did we learn that? Anyway, it's true. I love my Brooks. The End.
  
Stephanie
8/16/2011

Glad you went back to your trusty shoes. I am dedicated to my Mizuno Wave Alchemys myself and made the same mistake as you once, trying to abandon them. It turns out, I'm a one shoe gal too :)

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Amy
8/18/2011

You know I love this post after the period I went through last year that I fondly call "Running Shoe Hell". Glad you found something that works - finally!

And, FWIW, I still say feet, and knees, are stupid :)

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8/30/2013

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