That run showed me one very important thing: it was time for new sneakers. Here's the thing - I love my sneakers. They're well-worn Asics which I bought especially to wear for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Which, admittedly, I walked back in October of 2007. I think I bought the sneakers in April of '07. So I've had them for about two years and have certainly logged some miles in them, training for the Avon Walk, actually doing the walk, and many walks/runs since then. These are the sneakers I learned to run in after all, so they hold a special place in my heart. But I'd already replaced the inserts a couple of times, and they were undoubtedly the cause of my blisters. Plus, my sure sign that sneakers are ready to go is that the laces won't stay tied when you're wearing them. And the last two weeks, I've been double-knotting my right lace just to keep it tied. I knew it was time.
I figured I'd give them one last run on Saturday morning (also testing my ability to run two back to back days, which I'll be doing in about a week and a half for my two 5ks). But when I woke up on Saturday, with a to-do list a mile long and couldn't walk properly because of my blister, I knew it was time to officially skip a run. I've been feeling guilty about it ever since (despite a number of twitterers who said they also skip workouts from time to time) and only today's run helped me to get mentally back in the game.
One of Saturday's errands was getting a new pair of sneakers. I'd done a bit of research online, and learned that I have under-pronated feet - basically, I have high arches. The Asics website told me that "A runner with under-pronating feet is more likely to experience shock transmission through the lower legs, and should choose shoes from the Cushioning Category or those shoes that meet the needs of Under Pronating to Neutral runners." With that information in hand, I headed out to my local Dick's Sporting Goods - as an aside, I've never been there before, and it is awesome! From the outside, I thought it would be all camo and guns, but they had very knowledgable staff and a huge running section! I will definitely go back there again. I found a sales associate to talk to, and told her about my arch issues. She knew right away which shoes I should look at, and recommended I try Nike instead of Asics (though she also brought a pair of Asics out for me to try too). I knew from Coach J that the sneakers should be immediately comfortable, none of this "oh, I'll just break these in." So I tried on three pairs of sneakers, compared them, walked around a bit, closed my eyes and tried to really "feel" whether they were the right ones or not. Finally I settled on my Nike Air Max Moto+ 6 sneakers, "which features an Air Max unit in the heel for exceptional cushioning on impact, as well as a Zoom Air forefoot for comfort and lockdown. The CUSHLON midsole delivers a plush ride, and the BRS 1000 outsole ensures long-lasting durability." Of the shoes I tried on, these were the ones that felt like they held onto my foot the best. I also picked up some arch supporting socks and my new favorite tee shirt, which announces "Athletes Run." Heck yes they do! Even better, I got to chat to another woman picking up some new sneakers. She's running/walking in a half marathon in a few weeks time, so I mentioned that I was doing a couple of 5ks and she actually saw me as a runner! It was the first time I've been able to introduce myself to someone as a runner - very cool.
So, I had every intention of testing out the new sneakers on Monday morning, but woke up to a nasty rainstorm pounding the coast. Although I'm not opposed to running in the rain, the lashing wind and sideways raindrops were not enticing me. Add to that the fact I was feeling a bit under the weather (no pun intended), I figured I would go with a Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday schedule this week. But with three days off last week, followed by a bad run, and then three more days off, I was definitely a bit apprehensive when I set off about noon. It was supposed to rain again today, but the sun came out mid-morning, like a sign to me that I was supposed to get my butt out there and run.
My plan today was to run at least 35 minutes, keeping in mind the distance I would need to run in order to make at least 3.1 miles. Also, I didn't want to take any walking breaks. The run started out tough as usual, and today I could really feel it in my calf muscles. But my feet felt great, so I just continued to push myself to keep going. I passed the 3.1 turnaround marker and decided to keep going a bit further. I was definitely getting a cramp in my side, but that falls into the category of "I can ignore this and keep running," so that's what I did. Fortunately, the weather was beautiful today, albeit a bit humid, so I was really enjoying being outside and getting a bit of sun. I started to get really tired towards the end of the 35 minutes, but I could tell that I'd need to run past the countdown to make it at least 3.1 miles. I gave myself a mental finish line and just doggedly pursued it. When I was about a block away, I dug deep and pushed myself to run as fast as I could to get there. It wiped me out enough that I forgot to check my time, but I think I was at about 38 minutes overall. When I mapped my run later, I realized that I'd run about 3.4 miles - not bad! I'm still a little over an 11-minute mile pace, but I keep telling myself that when I started, all I wanted to do was be able to finish a 5k, so however long it takes me to do that will be okay.
I definitely pushed myself hard today, but with my two 5ks a week from Saturday, I need to make sure that I'm settled into running 3.1 miles. I'm sure adrenaline will push me on those days too, but I'm trying to think of them as just another run (with a tee shirt at the end). That's good motivation to get me out there again on Thursday and Saturday, and then I think I'm going to try for a Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday schedule next week, since I'll also be running Saturday and Sunday at the end. Thinking about it makes me tired. And hungry...