Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Shoes, they make a difference!

So recently I decided that I wanted to look at trying a new shoe because for the past couple years I've been running in the different Salomon trail and hybrid shoes but have been disappointed with the hybrid models such as the Crossmax. To me, they just felt too hard. The XR Mission were a little better but my favorite of
the Salomon shoes are the SpeedCross. They are an amazing shoe and I love them however, they are not the best shoe to run on pavement and since a lot of my training runs are variations of mostly trail and a little bit of road, I don't always like to wear them. Although, I definitely try and limit the time I spend on the road, sometimes it is unavoidable for short periods.

First, let me just say that I have a neutral foot-strike and with a shoe designed to promote the naturalist strike, I'm a mid foot striker. I like shoes that allow me to run this way, meaning the heel-to-toe ratio is normally just in that "minimal" threshold. I don't like a 0mm drop but somewhere around 7-9mm is good for me. So, when looking for a shoe, I consulted my husband. He usually does a lot of research and unlike me, can remember the facts and recite them back. He suggested I try a shoe that he had recently bought, the Pearl Izumi Project EMOTION.

So about two months ago, without too much thought, I bought them online. They have different models for the different types of foot support needed. I knew that I needed one of the the N models but I didn't like any of the colors so I chose a pair bases on a color scheme I liked. I didn't think it would make any difference if I chose the M model which is meant to provide mid-foot stability or the N model for Neutral support. Big mistake! It was almost immediately that I started to get "Runner's knee" symptoms which is something I don't normally have. I would occasionally get a a sharp pain in my right knee when running downhill and it sucked. It lasted for about a month and a half, I was icing, taking vitamin I (Ibuprofen) and generally taking it easy on my runs but if I lengthened my stride or ran downhill, I would feel the sharp pain under my kneecap. I didn't think it was the shoe right away. I really liked the way they felt, they made me feel like I had a bounce in my step and so I didn't want to believe it was the shoe which was giving me problems.

Then my last race started approaching and I just knew that I was going to have some knee pain during my race. I was willing to accept it. Since I had put over 250 miles, ran a muddy 85km race and ran lots of trails runs where my foot submerged into puddles in the M2's, I thought it would be best to get a new
pair for the race. So, I placed another order but this time for the N2s. I hoped they would get here in time before the race and luckily they did. They arrived on the Wednesday before my race. I knew I didn't have time to break them in but I felt I would be fine wearing them during the race, so I did. And not one time did I get that runner's knee pain running downhill that I had experienced the weeks and month prior. It was crazy. I thought maybe it was a fluke and the excitement of the race dulled my senses but I've ran in these shoes every run since the 100km race and not one time have I had that pain.

I'm not 100% certain the shoe caused the knee pain but I think that they did. I really like the N2's, they feel great and I feel like I run faster with them. I think they are a fabulous summer shoe except for the fact that they are not waterproof. I wish Pearl Izumi used some sort of water resistance technology because then I would have no complaints. I will say, that even though my feet get wet easily while wearing them, they also dry rather quickly. And, when they do get wet, they don't feel like they weigh a ton, they actually don't feel any heavier, they just feel wet. I will definitely wear them for my next race which is the SwissAlpine 78km in Davos, Switzerland but I'm not sure if I will put them to the test during the Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS) 119km. For TDS, I may just revert back to my old trusty pair of SpeedCross 3 with Climashield technology.

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