However, after Soma where it was hot as hell our AZ weather finally turned and it is now the most beautiful running season of the year. You could pretty much run at any time of day right now. Top the perfect weather with all the local run races right now and I just couldn't help myself from dragging out my race season for a few more weeks!
Tucson is a small race that has a slight downhill (about 750 ft over 13 miles). Most of the drop is in the first 10k and then it flattens out with a couple of false flats. The kicker is mile 12-13 is up. You really have to dig deep and have some energy left so you don't end up walking next to everyone else, but then the last little shot to the finish is a slight down, and much welcomed. This race is one of my favorites because it was the first time after years of injury that I nailed my race. It was my first sub 2hr half marathon and it gave me my run confidence back.
After Tucson I've done 2 other half marathons without really training and they were both 1:45 so I'm really excited to see what I can do at this race with a few weeks of working with my coach on running!
First things first, with all this running I needed to find a shoe solution. With all my years of injury and PT I have seen numerous doctors, surgeons, podiatrists, etc. I've gone through 3 different sets of custom inserts/orthotics. I think I've tried almost every brand of running shoe, gone through running assessment after running assessment. And, while I don't actually remember how I came up with the combination I've been in for the past 3+ years…. It has worked with out too much damage thus far. My toes, blisters and calluses are in good shape. My IT bands and hips flare up, but after a few visits with my ART guy they always come around.
But lately I've been having a lot more wear on my shoes, particularly on the right side. After just over 100 miles I start to wear down the entire sole under the big toe of the right shoe. At 200 miles my hip starts to hurt and my IT bands get all fired up. I struggle with back to back running days. I am also really hoping to get a lighter shoe for my shorter tris, run races & track workouts - but, I was scared of screwing myself up so I headed to our local Road Runner Sports with 2 pairs of my old shoes & my orthotics in hand. After a quick introduction to a sales person they set me up with another guy to put me through their "shoe dog" assessment.
Over the years I've been video taped, and I've done the old try these shoes on and watch me run type thing, but I have to say I really liked the guy who helped me and worked with me, as well as the process. First they have you stand on something that takes measures your arch and your weight dispersment. It is all uploaded into a computer system that spits out all sorts of good stuff. Then you run barefoot on the treadmill as they video-tape you & then all that good stuff is added to the software to provide a really good analysis of what is going on when you run; how you land, how you push off & most importantly what is happening with your arch as all of this is going on.
Long story short; I have a high arch and as I land and go to push off my ankles and arch cave and "pronate." The orthotic would help with this but the neutral cushion shoe that I've been running in was just not enough, especially on my right side to keep from collapsing and causing me to roll in (hence the wear on the right side). I was very happy when my shoe expert guy did NOT say he wanted to put me in a stability shoe, but more of a neutral with slight stability. I've done the stability plus orthotic before and it was not good.
After several shoes tried on, and even after finding a pair I thought I wanted, I had them analyze me running with the shoe plus orthotic again. While the shoe will be great for track workouts and shorter races… For my longer distance running I still needed a slightly more supportive shoe to correct my pronation…
I left the store with 2 new pair (well, actually only 1 because wouldn't ya know it they both came in freaking PINK and I could not do the second pair that looked like bubble gum so I have to wait for a new color to come in this week)…. and I'm REALLY excited to see if it helps my IT bands stay a little stronger and just the general overall feeling! I've been running in my current setup for so long I wonder how much it has held me back?
Stay tuned! This is a fun fun run week :-)