Fiery Feet

The culprits.

Today, I planned to run 16 miles.

My feet had other plans.

I purchased new running shoes on Thursday.  I’d been a fan of Asics for several years.  They’re the brand I usually buy.  They have a good amount of support and cushioning, as long as I also get inserts for the shoes.  I bought them from the same store each time.  Sometimes I even had the same salesperson.

This time, due to more rigorous training, I thought I’d go to A Running Shoe Store.  I felt like my need to get shoe advice from people who actually ran was greater than brand loyalty.  I tried on some Asics.  For the first time, they felt too cumbersome, too snug. Dare I say too safe? I longed to branch out and explore new possibilities. I tried on Saucony, a brand I hadn’t utilized since my 20s.  Nah.  The safety orange Adidas offended more than one sense.  Then I tried the Brooks Ghost Runner shoe.   They felt good.  I jogged around the store, on carpet and cement, to test them out. I was in love.

Did I mention they were on sale?  Yeah.  The shoes plus my requisite inserts made the total less than $70.  Score!  My amazing frugalista cousin would be so proud. Did I mention she’s a nationally known blogger?  Yeah.

I could hardly wait for today. I tried them for the first time today on my long run.  The first few miles were like air.  They clicked by on the treadmill.  Then I got to mile 6.  Hmm…my toes were starting to rub together.  This is not a new problem.  I usually bandage one of them to cut down on friction.  I forgot to do it today. 

Long about mile 7, the bottoms of my feet started to feel raw.  Keep in mind I was wearing the socks I normally wear.  The only new part of this routine were the shoes.  I powered through mile 8.  Then the pain started to escalate.  My feet felt like they were on fire, and not in a good way.  My plan was to do 12 miles on the treadmill and do the last 4 outside.  I started to realize I was not going to be able to do that.

The treadmills at my athletic club face east, which means you get to see beautiful sunrises. It also means you get the sun in your eyes pretty early in the morning, too.  The sun was right in my face as I finished mile 10.  I headed outside, wondering if a change of running surface would help.

Nope.  My feet practically wept inside my shoes.  Recalling a messy exploding blister during my last half marathon, I knew I needed to pack it in. Sighing, I got in my car and drove home. Perhaps I could change into my old shoes and new socks and salvage the last 6 miles in my neighborhood.

Nope again.  My feet appreciated the dry socks and more supportive shoes but were unwilling to cooperate with more pounding.  I hobbled home on hamburger feet. I headed inside to stretch and clean up and refuel.

Am I disappointed?  Yes.  I can use the Brooks for shorter training runs.   They’re lightweight yet sturdy enough for that. The shoes themselves are fine for runners with tougher feet. No slam on Brooks here.  I’ll need to piece together some of my old running shoes with new inserts for longer runs until I can afford to get new Asics again. 

Am I giving up?  No way.  I know this is in me.  It’s a temporary setback.  I learned that it’s okay to stay with what works for you.  In fact, you need to find what works and consider yourself blessed if you have found it.  The newest model isn’t always the best. It’s still okay to look around and visit new options.  It’s also good to come back to what you know.

I think there’s a spiritual application here as well.  I know a lot of people checking out other churches, other religions.  But where have you found peace?  Where have you found truth?  Come home to what you know. Safe and dependable – possibly viewed as boring by others – will get you through the marathon called life. You can finish well, despite any setbacks. God is faithful.