Endorsement of the Week: Comfort Plus Heels

Sure, I’ve endorsed Bud Light Platinum and KitKat Minis, but you don’t care. Tell us the real secrets, you say, of how to be awesome.

Well, if you’re a woman or a particularly adventurous man or somewhere in between, one of the keys to being awesome is having a great pair of high heels. This sounds stupid. But, it is not stupid. Heels can screw up your feet, cause injuries, wear out your legs and basically mess up everything about your body. (This is why I work exclusively in flip-flops.) Yet, most women can’t avoid having to wear heels eventually.

And, all those dress shoes that say they’re supposed to be comfortable are typically terrible-looking. That’s basically why makeover shows exist, so that someone in a mumu and orthopedic sandals can talk about how they just care about being comfortable. Please. No. You want cute shoes — but good shoes. But, it’s impossible to know beforehand which heels are going to stand up to the test of time and which feel ok in the store but won’t last an hour at a party.

I have solved your problem: Comfort Plus Heels by Predictions.

So good.
So good.

I wore these all night at our last wedding of the season on Saturday and even when all the other women had to take their shoes off and even when I was not 100% stable on my feet anymore, still my shoes were comfortable and solid. And, they looked cute.

When we got home Sunday I ran 17.5 miles. It was not easy. It was terrible and slow. But, my feet didn’t hurt. My feet felt fine. THANK YOU COMFORT PLUS HEELS.

** This should be obvious, but no, they haven’t given me anything. Neither has Bud Light or KitKats. But, we can always hope. These are just my new endorsements of things that are awesome. **

Are Shoe Inserts Going to Fix All My Problems?

Wednesday, I went to the doctor in an effort to solve some of my problems. The previous suggestion by the other doctor when I got the cortisone shot that “Oh, I have a bone spur in my foot and might have to get surgery” just didn’t sit real well with me. It didn’t make sense, it had little reasoning behind it, and, um, surgery??

This podiatrist, who’s actually a running doctor, had some more logic and reasoning, but my eyes tend to start to glaze over sometimes and what I retained was: ‘The way you land and the shape of your foot puts undue pressure on your big toe joint. That’s why you’re having a lot of problems.’

This is what is supposed to solve many of my problems:

Magic foam.
Magic foam.

I’m not 100% sold, because I generally believe that if you just stick an insert in your shoe then 1. you’re not solving the underlying problem in your body mechanics and 2. you’ll cause other problems.

But, the doctor watched me run and videotaped me running and said my body mechanics are ok, for the most part. I may just need this temporarily to take the strain off my toe, let it heal, and allow it to stop causing bone spurs with all the pressure of the rubbing joints together. Or something.

And, anyway, might as well try some pieces of foam before getting surgery.

The thing is, my toe has been causing me a lot of angst because I’m not sure if I should make plans or not, but it hasn’t actually been my biggest problem. Here is a list of problems I have been having when I try to workout or run:

– My toe/tendons in my feet are sore later
– My arches keep cramping up into knots so bad that it woke me up the other night
– This also makes it hurt when I’m running and makes the soles of my feet burn
– Mild IT band issues
– My left hamstring (and now both my hamstrings) feel like they’re ripping out of my ass after 30′ of running
– My left calf then decided to get in on that party, when I tried to run on Tuesday, and about 50′ in felt like it was ripping/locking up/knotting
– I appear to be very, very out of shape

Some of these are supposed to get better as my foot stops trying to compensate for the toe injury. Some of them are supposed to get better with time and strengthening and massage. But, some of them are mysterious.

I have been very, very out of shape before, like serious sat on the couch for three months out of shape. I really shouldn’t be that out of shape right now — I mean, come on, I’ve been doing stuff. This leads me to believe it must be partially in my head and a lack of motivation. It’s also been like 90 degrees at my house and when I walked outside to run yesterday I was actually blown back by the sudden wave of heat. This is not motivating. But, mostly, when my legs just hurt so much and revolt against the easiest of workouts, it’s hard to get excited about what sounds like a death march.

Last week, I did a handful of short/easy runs and some Crossfit and one longer bike ride. This week I tried to step it up and went for a longer run and my calf felt like it was tearing. So, I’m back to the drawing board. Either rest and do nothing for multiple days/week OR race a 5K this Sunday and see if racing myself into shape is a good solution?


What Should I Wear for Boston?

I’m about to shower and head to the airport and get into Boston at midnight tonight. When I booked the ticket, I thought ‘oh, getting in at 12:50 a.m. won’t be bad, that’s like 9:50 on the West Coast.’ But, then I realized by the time I get to the hotel, it’ll be like 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning and then I have to be ready to be on East Coast time by Monday morning. Clearly, I thought this through.

My foot is actually better since the cortisone shot. It’s not hurting anymore. But, when I ran 4.2 miles yesterday, with a fast mile in the middle, everything else started hurting. My left hamstring feels like it’s ripping out of my ass. My right IT band is pulling on my knee. The whole rest of the day yesterday it felt like I’d run a really hard race at that pace, not one mile at that pace. Another 22 miles on top of that is going to be interesting.

The really important question, though, is what to wear for the BOSTON MARATHON on Monday? I need opinions.

Originally, I planned to wear my new Nike shorts that I bought last month. But, the first time I wore them was the track workout where I hurt my foot. So, they have bad juju. If I wear those shorts, then I’ll also wear the new Northface race tanktop I bought on my shopping spree last week (which is bright yellow – not white like it looks in this picture).

My planned, new race outfit.
My planned, new race outfit.

However, I have bad feelings about these shorts, because obviously they caused my foot injury. So, the other day, I bought some new Oiselle shorts when I was checking out a new running store. Everyone keeps raving about Oiselle, but the first time I picked up cute long-sleeve shirt, it was $76! I just set it back down and backed away slowly. But, these shorts were regular priced ($44). Only problem is they’re bright orange, so I’m not going to wear a bright yellow tanktop with bright orange shorts. I’m not ridiculous. If I wear the new Oiselle shorts, then I’ll wear one of these older white tanktops I’ve worn billions of times — which is why they’re not really that white anymore.

The shorts are actually completely orange, they just look all splotchy, because they're wet. I think.
The shorts are actually completely orange, they just look all splotchy, because they’re wet. I think.

Thoughts? Suggestions? I’m taking both outfits and will just decide there.

I will also, obviously, be wearing gloves, but I haven’t decided between the super fancy running gloves, which if I get too hot I’ll have to shove into my sports bra, and a regular cheap pair of cotton ones that I can just dump at some point in the race.

Fancy running gloves.
Fancy running gloves.

And, just in case you thought I had something figured out, I also haven’t decided which shoes to race in. I was originally going to race in my Nike Lunaracers, because they’re awesome, but they’re also the shoes I was wearing during the track workout where my foot started hurting. So, again, bad juju — also they may have actually contributed to my foot hurting. I’ve been wearing my Mizuno Precisions for all my Alter-G running, because they’re the loosest of my shoes and didn’t rub my toe joint. So, I know they work, but they’re kind of heavy and not race shoes. I could also wear my Saucony Virratas, which I know I like, but I haven’t been running in them, so I think they could hurt my legs.

Agh. Thoughts?

Stuffing all these into one carry-on was interesting.
Stuffing all these into one carry-on was interesting.

Clearly I am super ready for this shit.

The Shoes I Run In

My high school kids make fun of me for having a lot of running shoes. One of them was even laughing one time, ‘like what do you do just wear different shoes for different things?’ Yeah, pretty much.

I actually don’t have as many shoes as plenty of people and I don’t have lots of fancy scientific opinions, but here is more or less what I run in. I just got the Saucony Virrata, which feels to me very much like the Saucony Kinvara 3 (the last model – I haven’t tried the new model of the Kinvara) except instead of a 4 mm heel-to-toe drop, it’s a zero drop shoe. Very trendy.

The Saucony Virrata.
The Saucony Virrata.

I’m not 100% sure how I feel about the zero drop-ness yet. It definitely makes your lower leg work harder and can make my calves feel a little sore, so I think I need to be careful transitioning to them as my main shoe. But, I ran in the Kinvaras before, so a 4mm difference isn’t huge. (I mean I know it’s HUGE like in the scheme of running shoes, but still.) I’ve felt some aching in my calves when I’m pounding hard on the road or on cement, but that’s been happening a lot to me lately in all my shoes, so it might be me not the Virratas.

I was telling Steve that I don’t love the Saucony shoes. (I had intended to get the new Kinvaras not the Virratas, but they aren’t out yet.) They don’t fit me great and they aren’t amazing. But, they’re fine. I keep coming back to them because I know they’re ok and won’t fuck me up and will get the job done. He said I could be talking about a relationship.

The last shoes I really loved were the Adidas Adizero a few years ago, but they changed them all up. Sigh.

I also just got new marathon and half-marathon race shoes, which I’ve been using for some track and tempo work too: the Nike Lunaracer+ 3.

The Nike Lunaracer+ 3.
The Nike Lunaracer+ 3.

These I do sort of love. They’re so light and fun and make me feel like a gazelle. I did Kaiser in them and they worked great. My two concerns are that I think I’m twisting my feet weirdly (I only think this because the tongue on each shoe is constantly getting pulled all the way to the side by whatever I’m doing) and the soles of my feet sort of started to burn around mile 9 or 10 during Kaiser. But, I’m not sure if that’s just because they were new or what.

The reason I have two new pairs of shoes, when I usually have one new pair and one older pair and rotate, is because I had bought these weird new shoes: The On Cloudracer.

The Cloud Racer.
The On Cloud Racer.

But, I’m now mildly paranoid they caused my brief ankle/foot problems. They have these little “clouds” on the bottom that are really just pods not clouds, which I had no problem with. On the whole, they were supposed to be similar to the lightweight, low-profile, relatively neutral shoes I usually wear. They were ok, felt fast definitely, but also felt big and always seemed like they were sort of stressing the arch of my foot and like there was a bump in the middle of my sole. After I’d run in these, other shoes would hurt my arch.

I’m not sure they caused any of my problems. But, I’m not sure they didn’t either. My arch cramped up, then I started walking and running weird, and then I stressed out the inside of my ankle. Which means, right now, I am shunning them.

Has anyone else tried the Ons?

The Mizuno Wave Precision.
The Mizuno Wave Precision.

Of course, I also have other shoes I rotate into the line-up, like my Mizuno Wave Precision 12, which I only bought because Justin and Steve and Brian made me go with them to REI and I thought these shoes seemed fun and comfortable. I was rotating them with my Ons. Now, that I feel like my foot is better, I’ll probably go back to rotating them with my Virratas, so some days one and some days the other. I used to only wear Mizunos.

I know some people have one shoe and they stick with it, but I’ve found that I have fewer injury problems and fewer problems in general when I have multiple shoes and rotate. It just gives my foot something different to deal with. Of course, the problem right now is that I’m doing more mileage than I used to, so I seem to be going through shoes faster and am accumulating them at a stupid rate in piles by our front door.

Oh Nike Free. What girl doesn't have you.
Oh Nike Free. What girl doesn’t have you.

And, of course, I have a pair of Nike Frees. I think that’s like a requirement of being a female athlete, right.

I just use the Frees, of which I have an older version because I’m not nuts about the newest model, for gym work and short easy runs. I’ve done a couple short races in them and ran in them all the time when I got my first pair in 2010. But, they definitely put a lot of stress on your calves and can be a little wobbly at times. So, that was not my most brilliant idea.

Now, I just wear them so people can say, oh my god, those are so cute.

Which, is pretty the only reason I have this last pair of shoes (well, that and somebody had a 50% discount code, so why not): my K-Swiss K-Ona American flag shoes. These are hella old, from a few rotations ago, really not good for much anymore, but sometimes I can’t resist wearing them.