Sunday, October 4, 2009

Karhu, Zoot and Karhu - a cautionary tale.

So, it would seem as though I may have lost half a pound.  In all fairness I will say that I have been feeling a bit tired of late and have slacked off with the running.  I think a big part of the reason is that I have been having sharp pains under my feet when I run.

During the summer I went to a sports expo and found my dream pair of running shoes.  Yes, they were my Karhus - the M2 version.  Once I put them on, they felt like they had been made especially for me.  The narrow fitting allows me to run sockless (which I love) and embued by the idea that Paavo Nurmi himself wore them, I purchased them for 20 USD.
The M2 range is categorized as a neutral running shoe, offering little support or cushioning.  When I was fitted with my Brooks, I got a pair of stability shoes, since that is what my feet needs.  I have very high arches really need the support in the instep - apart from my terrible running form, but that is for another post.  I decided to use my Karhus as racing flats.  However, I was thrilled with them, and decided to try and get used to them before actually racing in them.  Soon, I was using them on every run and it seemed to me that I was actually running faster!

I also bought a pair of Zoot tri shoes for T2 mainly because I hate running with socks.  I bought a pair of Women's Ultra TT running shoes on the spur of the moment, whilst actually shopping for a pair of bike shorts.  Quite honestly, I had done very little research on them, apart from reading product reviews, but these were on sale, and I felt them calling my name.  The sales people were quite busy that Saturday morning, and since the shoes felt quite good, I bought them.  Initially they were not easy to get into, but soon I got the hang of it and it took me mere seconds to get into them.  I was warned to run no more than 6 miles in them, but was told that they would be excellent as racing flats.  I soon discovered that these too were neutral shoes!  Still I ran in them quite a bit and they are truly lightweight training shoes.  That does not detract from the fact that if you need stability shoes, that is what you should get - not neutral shoes.
So my summer was spent running with either the Karhus or the Zoots - and now the chickens are coming home to roost.  I went for a run three weeks ago, and had such sharp agonizing pains under my feet that I had to stop.  I knew that this was a direct result from running in the wrong shoes.  This was a wake up call, as I have always been very careful about shoes and feet.  I had allowed myself to be carried away, thinking that surely, it could not be all that bad running in neutral shoes....well now I had my answer.

I have not been out for a decent run these past 4 weeks.  I went for a shortish slow run 2 weeks ago and then ran a 5K for the Multiple Myeloma Research Fund last week.  I ran slowly and was in agony.  Yesterday I ran a 5K for the Somerville Homeless Coalition, and my feet felt a lot better, even though the arches and heels still feel a bit funny.  A new addition to my wish list is a pair of Karhu Strong Fulcrum Ride shoes.  These are stability shoes which Karhu debuted in the 2009 running season.  This shoe is described as "proactively bringing the foot to neutral".  But right now I am plodding along in my Brooks.  I have learnt a valuable lesson - do not buy things to "try out" just because they are on sale.  That might work with Dior and Versace, but running shoes are a different matter.  Right now I feel thankful that I managed to avoid injuring my feet which would entail all kinds of complications.  Injuries and accidents happen to runners all the time - but wearing the wrong shoes when I know better, is just...stupid.  So I am not going to buy any new shoes any time soon, however, I am dreaming of a pair of Karhus (yes, the stability kind) for next year.

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