I have about 20 pairs of shoes. That’s not many, considering how much I love shoes, but alas my budget won’t allow me to indulge my obsession too much. I love high heeled shoes especially. A good pair of heels makes me feel powerful, sexy, professional, competent.
I’ve slowly come to terms with the fact that I may never be able to wear my pumps around the office all day/every day, ever again. I haven’t worn heels since I discovered my chronic foot injury in February (they think it’s a mild form of arthritis brought on by biomechanical imbalance + years of wearing heels + putting on the miles in training). I’m so focused on crossing the finish line at the Royal Victoria Marathon on Oct 11 that nothing will stand in my way. Not even pretty shoes.
Running shoes are a whole ‘nother matter. Comfort is key. After a long painful bout with plantar fasciitis years ago, before my first half marathon, I always wear orthotics. Recently, I had new orthotics made to better help with the newfound arthritic toe joint. At the time the orthotics guy said “You need a more stable shoe, more rigid in the forefoot to help stabilize – even with the orthotic.”
But I was moving, and cash-strapped, so I put off buying new running shoes, while still trying to run 40 km per week or more.
Then the shinsplints came, and I was off for a couple of weeks, getting physio and massage (ever had your shins massaged? It’s NOT FUN. It’s PAINFUL). Then, the knee pain began. Enough, I said to myself. Get new runners. Now.
So I left myself a good week to try out some new shoes. Instead of a hill run, I stayed at Frontrunners one evening determined to find shoes. Amazingly, the first pair I tried (Asics Gel Fortitude) felt – well – great! Just to be certain, I headed over to the Y to do a 30-minute treadmill run. As long as I didn’t wear them outside, I could return them and try another pair.
*Aside – if you’re ever tempted to cheap out get new athletic shoes from a generic big box department or sporting goods store, let this blog post be a lesson to you. Get thee to a specialty store and let the staff take care of you. It’s about your health and well-being and it’s worth every penny.
Amazingly – my knee pain disappeared. My shins felt great. Just to be certain, I kept them for a couple days, and did another treadmill run. Same deal – no pain, just the joy of running.
Can simply getting the right pair of shoes make that much difference? Yes, it can. After our 2-hour, 20-minute long run (including hills and pick-ups) on Saturday, I felt like I could go the whole 42.2 k distance pain-free.
Epilogue: last week I forgot to bring what I call my “granny shoes” to work (they’re somewhat stylish Clarks “un.structured” line low-profile wedge heel) and instead had to put on a pair of 2″ heels from the collection I keep in my office.
Tah-dah! No foot pain! I’ll be sashaying downtown in my 4″ London Flys before you know it!