Did you ever think you were morally and/or ethically superior to others because you were less materialistic? ... No, no, me either. I was just asking.
So, I don't buy a lot of expensive things. Partly because I lose and ruin so many things I own (which I'm trying to improve). But, I was tempted by the Devil. Actually, it was an email flyer sent to the members of our tri club saying Ecco Biom running shoes, once 1699 kr., were now on sale for 999 kr ($171). Why on earth would a running shoe cost so much, I wondered. Well, I did quite a bit of research into the subject and then found this very well-written review, which convinced me I had to at least go try them on. And then it started pouring when I biked by the store where they were on sale (Sport Master), so I needed a place to hide for a few minutes (good excuse, huh?).
Since most of you are probably already aware of this shoe, I will boil down the idea of it for the perhaps few who aren't: around 250 Danish runners' feet (Ecco is Danish brand) were analyzed by fancy computers to develop a shoe that supported and protected feet without in any way altering natural running mechanics. So all of the benefits of barefoot running, but with a shoe. And more support and comfort than a Vibram.
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, I am entirely convinced that my chronic left hip injury is, if not caused, at least exacerbated by all of my previously non-properly fitting shoes (I have very narrow feet. I once explained to my grandma that I had double A width feet and she replied quite huffily, well, I had TRIPLE A when I was your age. Guess it's hereditary. The competitive spirit, too.). Anyway, when I run barefoot, I never have hip pain, I just have sole pain.
Bear with me. I would not be writing this, if these shoes were not BY FAR the best shoes I had ever run in. And you can see in this picture that they do not really resemble normal running shoes. I would take a picture of my actual shoes, but SR has the camera right now.
This picture of the heels shows best how they are different than conventional running shoes:
And here's the actual model I have (which is minus yak skin), since it was the one on sale in Sport Master.
I tried 'em out yesterday in a class which directly translates into English as "Pulse: stomach, butt, thighs". It is what it says. And the shoes were a bit slippery there, but I just wanted to break em in a bit. But then I went for a 5 mile warm up with The Lorax this morning, which was very smooth. You really don't notice they are there.
And then I went on my first 6 x 1 mile interval session in months. I had been kind of dreading it, knowing I would never just be able to hop into running my old fast times from when I was in great shape last spring. But I just had to get that first session out of the way and improve from there. But I completely shocked myself. Here were my times, with 2 min. breaks in between (note exceptions in parentheses).
6:29 (2:30 break to pee)
6:42 (I was suddenly and violently reminded why I don't eat oatmeal before intervals ... into bushes to have diarrhea in someones yard! -- sorry! ... full 2 min break once that was over)
6:46 (yes! It's over but, ... into the woods one more time due to oatmeal)
This was both my fastest and most consistent interval session EVER. And absolutely nothing hurt. I felt like I was flying. Can you blame me for wondering if my new shoes helped? They at least felt wonderful.
Just to clear things up, I have not lost weight since last spring, and may weigh slightly more (which I believe is muscle in my upper body). Could it be that pregnancy doping effect after the miscarriage?
One other strategy I have begun to employ is something I have invented called "Invar" (oh, my, I am such a geek. Sometimes I really embarrass myself). This stands for (am I really going to write this?) "Intensity and Variation". The idea is that every day, I have a very intense work out which leaves one muscle group sore, but it can't be the same muscle group two days in a row.
Here is a sample from this week:
Day 1: 4 mile run warm up, 8 mile tempo run
Day 2: 19 mile bike tempo (70:40 - beat my old record!), easy swim (I admit I did this to burn calories - bad girl!)
Day 3: 40 pool laps, alternating intervals and recovery stroke. Class: Pulse: stomach, butt, thighs)
Day 4: 5 mile run warm up, 6 x 1 mile intervals
The biggest way this helps me is I have eliminated junk running. I told my Invar plan to SR and he said he thought it would hurt my running, though he sounded mildly intrigued. Who would not be intrigued by Invar?
OMG, I have got to get to work here.
Running song of the day: Come with Me by C.E.O. (I listened to this during my entire interval set today. I can't be the only on who is comforted by repeating a song during intervals, am I?)
Photo from the 2014 Ice Age Trail 50 Miler by Ali Engin. Permission to use header photo must be obtained through Ali Elgin.
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman