After months of having my leg out of commission, I am back to being able to run.
That’s a stretch of the term “able to”. What I mean by it is that the only things holding me back from running are my general laziness and ease to exhaustion through physical activity. But, in my mind’s eye I am still a runner. I still have dreams where I lace up and run for miles on end without pain, without getting winded, without becoming tired in the least, without spilling a drop of the bourbon I’m carrying and without any clothes. Not all dreams are nightmares.
I even signed up for training through a friend of mine which is going to help develop consistency. And I even broke down and got myself some new runners.
I have trained myself to run in zero rise (sometimes called zero drop – basically the heel and toe are at the same level), minimum (meaning light-weight) shoes (the stuff you put on your feet to protect you from broken glass and dog poo – or really poo of any animal). Unfortunately, there was a big backlash against zero rise shoes because people didn’t properly ween their running stride off of their high heel runners. So zero rise shoes are not as easy to find as they once were. In fact a lot of the shoes that were touting themselves as zero rise were actual a 2-4mm rise. Which is like having a glass of wine and claiming to have had nothing to drink – “Well, normally I’d have three glasses of wine, so one is basically the same as zero.” It took some digging, but eventually I bought new shoes.
The first set of shoes was Merrell Vapor Glove 2. They were recommended by a friend and also had some good reviews. I went online and found them at Amazon. They had none left in my women’s size so I got the men’s 7 – I know it’s the same because Andrew and I wear the same size shoe. I got them a few days later and put them on. I like there to be some extra room in my running shoes to make up for swelling during running, but in this case when I say Andrew and I wear the same size shoe it’s because both of us could fit our feet in at the same time. These size 7s were generous to say the least. They were marked a size 7 because someone ran out of the stamps that say “Size 12” and didn’t feel like stopping the manufacturing line to go get more tabs and anyway, whose going to notice?
I returned them (by which I mean Andrew returned them, because postal things are hard) and went back on the hunt. This time I found a pair of Altra and it was Cyber Monday so they were pretty well-priced. Again I had to go with a men’s 7 because the women’s shoes were either sold out or not as fancy colored (I like dressing like a rainbow farted on me when I workout. It’s so when I collapse from all the effort I can be easily found.). When I pulled them out of the box I loved them right away – it’s possible this is because they are the color of rainbow wishes and unicorn dreams. Because they came right before I was headed to crossfit, I put them on and headed out.
Altras have a big toe box (that’s what she said) and my feet felt a little swimmy in them. Except for my left foot, which is slightly longer than my right foot (obviously to provide fodder for good cocktail party conversations), it felt slightly scrunched. Not enough to notice, really.
Now, some of you may remember that my second toe is longer than my thumb toe (if not, read this), this is why I call my second toe my “big toe” and my thumb toe my “thumb toe”.
Anyway, the scrunched feeling I had was just a minor irritation on my big toe, but nothing that looking at fabulously rainbow-of-fruit-flavor-colored shoes couldn’t cure. In fact I was so convinced, I even put them on for a 5k this past Sunday, because they would totally stretch, and after I ran a mile or so who would even notice?
And so did my toe.
They didn’t stretch.
Aside from the toe pain from having a shoe that doesn’t fit – or maybe in light of seeing more black (nail) than rainbow suddenly – I have also noticed that I don’t really like how big the toe box on the Altras is. They are also not really a minimal shoe (even though they are zero rise) in that they have a cushion on them. They also feel heavy when running in them – though in fairness, that may have been the pounds of rainwater I was running through or the fact that I hadn’t run in months.
Either way, I am pretty sure that nail will be coming off in a week or so and that Andrew will get the shoes returned in time to get my refund (it’s like dating the postal service).
Luckily when I ordered the Altra I also ordered another pair of zero rise running shoes. They were $25.00 on Cyber Monday (which was at least one day before I realized I was spending too much money and put myself on a budget).
The brand is called Tesla. They are minimal in all sense of the word (no unicorns or rainbows were harmed or consulted in the making of these shoes). I wore them this evening on my 2 mile training run. My feet didn’t ache. They fit well without being too snug. Everything went fine.
Except for the part where I am not in shape and running sucks.
I’ll keep looking for a shoe to overcome that.