Friday, August 21, 2015

It is hard to believe that I am now down to just 64 days until the running of the 40th Marine Corps Marathon.  The days of training seem to be flying by and as my body wears down and fatigue has become a factor I have reached a crossroad.  Today I reduced my mileage for the sake of some rest, given that I have now reached 91 consecutive days of running.  I wondered as I finished the last 1/4 mile if I have allowed my desire to continue my streak to overtake the prize of my tenth marathon.  Certainly it is a tough question, but given that my body is tired, it hasn’t failed me yet and in a lot of ways I feel I have benefited more than I have been hurt.  So I press onward with the duel goal of continuing my streak, while preparing myself for the marathon.

It also got me thinking about the tools of the trade of running.  There are many of them, but my focus turned to the most important one of them all.  The shoes.  Many people who talk to me about running often ask me about my knees and my ankles and how they hold up to the stress of running; especially now that I’m doing it every day.  My answer, although complicated, is also painfully (no pun intended) simple.  It’s the shoes.  And more specifically the insoles. 

When I first began to run regularly back in 2002 I really didn’t know what I was doing.  What few people know that I had attempted to run a marathon (you’ll have to buy the book to find out where).  What happened to me back then was a developing of tendinitis in my knee that cost me the chance to do that particular marathon.  I wondered then if my body wasn’t made to run, but after educating myself a little more on the topic I realized that it’s all about the base.  What I usually tell people is the following analogy that I find to be true.  If you’re building a house, the most important part is the foundation.  If the foundation is flawed, the house will not stand properly or for very long without problems.  So I found that my foundation was messed up.  I needed better shoes.  When I finally found shoes that seemed to work for me and allow me to run longer distances I developed horrible tendinitis in my Achilles tendon.  Through more education I realized that the shoes weren’t enough.  So I played around with different variations of insoles until I found the perfect combination of shoes and insoles that work for me, my body type, my heel and arch type and my stride type. 

Through the years I have transitioned from running in my early days on Saucony’s and New Balance to my first marathon shoe, which was a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 6’s (pictured below in the foreground of photo 1).  Eventually my shoe brand of choice became, and continues to be Asics.  And even though I have been running on Asics pretty much since 2007 I did go away from them for the Boston Marathon in 2011 when I bought and trained in the race sponsor’s shoe which were Adidas shoes.  What I also realized back when I was having issues is that in order to save my Achilles from too much stress and pounding I needed to raise my heel slightly.  So in addition to using Superfeet (Orange), I supplement those insoles with a 3/4 Dr. Scholl’s Tri-Comfort insoles.  The trade off is that my heel cushion doesn’t last as long so instead of getting 400-500 miles out of a pair of shoes, I am replacing them about every 300-325 miles.  

With a 16-miler planned for Sunday, it will be the longest run I’ve done since April 18, 2011 when I toed the line in Hopkington, MA.  Fortunately for me, I’ll have the most important tool of the trade to help me through.

Run on…

Brooks (foreground) used in my first marathon. Asics (back, left) used to qualify in Chicago. Asics (back, right) used in 2011 Boston Marathon

Brooks (foreground) used in my first marathon. Asics (back, left) used to qualify in Chicago. Asics (back, right) used in 2011 Boston Marathon

The Future. One of these will be used at MCM in October.

The Future. One of these will be used at MCM in October.