It is now one week until my half marathon! I’m so excited to run the Scottsdale-Tempe Women’s Half and pretty proud of myself for relatively following a training plan for the past 17 weeks. Through that time I’ve tried three different pairs of shoes, ran in three different states, dealt with a heel injury and increased my speed considerably. I’ve also fallen back in love with the sport and am fully planning on continuing to run the rest of my life.
Lets talk about a few of these things. First off, shoes. When I started, I had zero idea how important having the correct shoes is for your health. My first pair of shoes, Asics Gel Lyte 33, were the completely wrong shoes for my type of foot. They are meant for neutral and speedy runners, neither of which I am. I just thought they looked cute and light and they were cheap on Final Score.
After a few weeks on those I decided to go into an actual running store, Road Runner Sports, and have them take me through their shoe dog. I found out several things. For one, I have high flexibility on my left foot and mid flexibility on my right, which means I need more of a stability shoe. Secondly, my arches are insanely high. When I did the heat test, you couldn’t even see the sides of my feet, just the front part of my foot and my heel. After trying on several pairs of stability shoes, the best fit for me were either Brooks Adrenaline and or Saucony Omni. Both felt great but I opted with the Adrenalines, and wore those for nearly three months. Near the end of the 90-day trial period, my toes were getting very cramped and I’ve developed the dreaded black toenail. I decided to take the Adrenalines back (I purchased the VIP package which gave me the option to test the shoes for 90 days) and am now in the Omnis. They seem to be working out pretty well and have more room for your toes. I read Brooks is planning on increasing their toe space so I might switch back over but so far I’m happy with the Saucony’s.
So why is having the right type of shoe important? Well I did develop an injury due to being in the wrong shoe. My heel began hurting right before I visited Road Runner Sports and by the time I switched to the Adrenalines, it was too late. I had to take a break in the middle of my training and rest my foot. It hurt to even walk. I did a few light runs but did not want to re-injure myself. By the time my heel was healed (ha), I found it hard to get back into my training. I had gotten used to sleeping in and was off my training schedule that had previously kept me on track.
I think what honestly got me back into was my friend Amanda who I had convinced to do this run with me back in June. We are both on the app Runkeeper and while Amanda prefers bootcamp and crossfit to running, she is pretty damn fast. Seeing her training runs and how fast she was going inspired me to get my butt in gear and lace my sneakers up. I don’t know if it’s me trying to be competitive with her or if it’s the cooler weather or being in better shape or all, but my speed on both longer and shorter runs has increased considerably. Before training I had was aiming for an 11 minute mile for this half but now, I think I’ll honestly be a bit disappointed in myself if I go over 10 minute miles. My big problem lately has been starting too fast and I need to keep myself in check for that first mile.
Did I train as well as I could have? No, and I need to rectify that and do another one. Right now I’m eyeing the Lost Dutchman Half on February 16. It’s the perfect time between the two races to train (I’m not sure I’ll ever do a fall half again in Arizona, training in summer blows) and I’ve heard it’s a beautiful race. My plan will be to do Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 training plan and hopefully this time I won’t get injured midway through it.
I’m looking forward to next Sunday. I’m looking forward to the crowd and the rush of adrenaline when the gun goes off. I can’t wait to see the people with signs cheering us on and the volunteers at the water station. I’m looking forward to every mile, no matter how painful it is. And I’m looking forward to crossing that finish line, no matter what my time is.