Glass slipper

Alright y’all, I have an important running-related question.

(Bear with me – this might be a rather dull and self-indulgent post.)

Shoe versus shoe. On the left: my trusty old Brooks Ghost.  I’ve had several pairs of these now.  On the right: my recently-purchased Brooks Ravenna.

Here are some factoids:

  • The Ghost is a light, neutral shoe with a bit of cushioning.
  • The Ravenna is a “guidance” shoe; it has just a bit more support than a neutral shoe, but isn’t as burly as a traditional stability shoe.  The Ravenna is also pretty lightweight.  It is made for mild over-pronators.
  • I am one of those mild over-pronators.  Mild enough that I’ve always been “fitted” as a neutral runner at running stores.  Upon watching many minutes of video of myself running – this is what people who work at running stores do when it’s slow – it’s clear that I’m not, in fact, a totally neutral runner.  I over-pronate a tad.
  • However, I’ve been running in neutral shoes for years and years and have never had a serious running injury.
  • I’m a solid midfoot striker.
  • Although I’ve had several pairs of Ghosts and been very happy with them, I recently decided to try out the Ravenna to see if I’d benefit from a bit of support.

In the wake of the Achilles Incident of 2010, however, I’m wavering.  I’ve been running in the Ravennas (alternating with the old Ghosts) for a couple of weeks now and am pondering whether the new shoes may have something to do with my calf/ankle stiffness turning into legit pain.

So I’m thinking about switching shoes.  But I’m not sure which direction to go.

On one hand: Every internet resource on Achilles pain seems to say that switching to a shoe with more support is the thing to do.  Which would mean stepping from the Ravenna to a legit stability shoe – something like the Adrenaline.

On the other hand: I’ve been running for years in neutral shoes.  I ran in the uber-neutral Ghosts for many miles with no issues.  If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

What would you do?  Go for a true stability shoe in favor of the traditional diagnosis – which is certainly what I would recommend to myself, were I the “customer”?  Or switch back to the neutral shoe, which is technically less appropriate, but has worked well in the past?

Help a gimpy girl decide.  Leave me a comment and weigh in on this most important decision. 🙂

Today’s EAT: Before I get to my bangin’ dinner tonight, the hubs would kill me if I didn’t pimp the bizarre – but oddly delicious – concoction he came up with last night.

Rando nachos.  Because this really was truly a random bunch of stuff.  Blue corn tortilla chips topped with bacon, chicken sausage and onions.  Melted string (mozzarella) cheese.  Greek yogurt and chopped nectarine on top.

Is that not the most random combination of ingredients you’ve ever seen?!  It was really good though.  Props to the hubs for including Greek yogurt (I’m rubbing off on him!) and also, generally, for taking charge and cooking dinner on a night when I flopped through the door after a long day of work and proclaimed it a delivery night.

Anyway.  On to this evening’s feast:

Marinated flank steak (soy sauce, red wine, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes) with fried rice and salad.  Um.  I try to make my place 50% salad for meals like this, but clearly the delicious meat and rice encroached a bit!

Today’s DRINK: Organic Chardonnay!

But really, we all know I picked this Bonterra Chard off the shelf because of the cute bottle.  And the price tag – $9.  It’s tasty!

Today’s RUN:  My triumphant return to running.  It was slow and short.  And the Achilles felt very stiff.  Not painful.  But both of my heels/calves definitely complained a bit when I started out toward the East River Track at a shuffle tonight.

No – I didn’t do the team track workout tonight!  But I did pop my head in to say hello to everyone and sneak in a couple of laps on the soft surface. 🙂 Aside from being on injury recovery, the air in NYC tonight was akin to a dirty aquarium.  Props to everyone who made it through tonight’s speedwork!

Then back to the apartment.  Maybe 4 miles, total.  No clue about the pace.  It was deliberately very slow.

The plan for the next few days?  Easy and cautious.  I’m glad I was running without pain, but I didn’t like how stiff things felt down there.  A few easy miles planned for tomorrow and Thursday, and lots of yoga.  Saturday is race-a-roni time: a 4-miler in Central Park.  Hope things loosen up by then!

Today’s QUESTION: I’m gonna be narcissistic tonight. Weigh in on my footwear dilemma.  What would you do if you were in my shoes? Literally – ha!

Also – if you would, further fuel my narcissism and enter my giveaway for delicious Sweet Muse brownies if ya haven’t yet.  (And it’s worth your while, because you’ll love KartMe.  It really is a pretty awesome site – and it saved my ass at the grocery store yesterday, when I couldn’t for the life of me remember a couple of  ingredients in this curry I want to make this week, and was able to pull it up quickly on my phone!)


23 responses to “Glass slipper

  1. I say go for the stability shoe, no sense in possibly further injuring yourself.

  2. Forgot to mention… I linked to Shower Laundry from my blog. :o)

  3. 1. Hate to bring this up sweet young daughter, but the athletic body does change as we age…I know this from much first hand experience. 🙂

    When I was a kid, (through high school anyway) we ran around all day long doing all kinds of crazy sports…in our good ol Converse All Stars… and can’t remember ever having any kind of injuries.

    2. You don’t really know that your shoe style has anything to do with your injury…in following your posts it sounds like it could have something to do with how much you are working out and the extreme temperatures to boot.

    Conclusion: Maybe doesn’t make a whole lot of difference in the subtleties of different shoe styles. If it was me…I would stand by my tried and true shoe, just in case…at least until you get past your current injury. That might be the better time to experiment with the unknown.

    I’m sure you will make a good choice, whatever it is…

    Do I enter your contest if I already have a KartMe account?

    • Was that before or after you walked to school uphill both ways carrying your saxophone? 🙂

      Yes, you can definitely enter! Just create a new kart around the “Summer treats” theme and then add a comment with the link to it on the Brownie post!

  4. Dude, if your dad wins the contest, I will laugh.

    It’s hard to diagnose over the interwebs, but I started wearing neutral shoes with Spenco insoles a couple of years ago after wearing stability shoes for years. Bodies aren’t one size fits all…if something has worked for you, and the other thing hasn’t, then I vote for the neutral shoe. Glad to hear you got back running! It was a yucky night for track anyways.

    • We have the Spencos and Superfeet and all of those at work…I’ve thought about trying them! Neutral shoe + insole is definitely another way to get a little extra support. Good suggestion, thanks!

      And yes, it was FOUL out there last night. And not much better today. I feel like I need a shower just from walking around.

  5. I’d go with the stability shoe since bodies can change. You can always switch back if it doesn’t help!

  6. I have to agree with previous posts – things can change! I was in neutrals for a while and started wearing stability shoes a little more than a year ago. Maybe cautiously transition to stability shoes?

    Hope the injury continues to heal! You seem to be doing all the right things coming back slowly 🙂

  7. Man, this is deja vu.

    I just switched to a stability shoe (Adidas) after years of running in the same neutral Adidas style I’ve always slogged around in. (I had stocked up on pairs but then they were d/c’ed, and I thought that maybe I needed the stability anyway). After about 6 weeks of running/elliptical, I just can’t shake the pings and aches I feel in my feet and calves. I thought it was just “new shoe-itis” but last night it was just a little beyond what would be acceptable. I had planned tonight to throw on the oldies and take a quick few laps around the neighborhood. I feel like I’ve upset the running gods by switching shoes. I’ll let you know what the results of my experiment conclude.

  8. Dude, I have very little guidance I can give in the shoe arena. I only learn by doing everything wrong the first time around. But I did have a friend who switched to a stability shoe and ended up getting injured because it was rolling her too far along that outside edge and causing really bad IT band problems. But that’s only one person.

    And those nachos look killer.

  9. So sorry you’re still having pain and stiffness. No fun at all – boo. In MHO, I would go back to your neutral Ghost. For me, I’m feeling the best I ever have running now that I’m in a fairly light, neutral shoe. My running really isn’t perfectly neutral, but I was having so many problems in super-cushioned heavy shoes that they finally fitted me for someting a bit lighter. It seems like my ankles and feet just get weaker and worse the more I wrap them up in thick shoes. Again, just my .02. Good luck!

  10. Support is a tricky thing because as I’ve learned – its far more than just foot strike that goes into figuring out what you wear.

    As an example, I overpronate a great deal. I’ve been wearing the Adrenalines for awhile, but I’m pretty sure that the extra support has worsened what was only the beginning of a bunion beforehand. I’m thinking of going down to less support because while I’ve NEVER had an issue with neutral shoes (for awhile I trained almost exclusively in racers, partially due to my racewalk background), I’ve run into aggravation with support…despite the fact that REALLY overpronate. (The fact that I roll my feet like a racewalker may be the culprit, but I dunno.)


    • It is definitely a tricky thing! I think part of the reason I’m wavering on adding more support is because most support shoes have the bulk of the stability in the heel – and since I land on my midfoot, I don’t really think it will help me much.

      How interesting that your racewalking has influenced your running stride over time – I guess that makes sense though!

  11. I would go back to the Ghosts because they seemed to be working, but I am by no means an expert.

    I subscribe to the theory that it is best to buy the same shoes over and over again until I can’t even find them on closeout on the internet anymore. That’s just how I roll.

    • Yeah – one thing I didn’t mention is that the Ghost is in a new version now, boo! I’ve worn them around at work quite a bit and I don’t think they’re too different, but sometimes I really wish shoe companies wouldn’t be so darn quick to change things! Hrmph!

  12. Yes, 5 miles each way, in the snow, with NO shoes! 🙂

    Okay I will enter your contest…the brownies do look good, even though they probably are not sweetened with agave.

  13. P.S. Please read my email…and send your address, if you want a B’day gift. 🙂

  14. I had a similar Achilles issue when I hit my mileage limit on the Brooks Launch. I found that it was more of an issue of too many miles on the shoes rather than neutral vs. pronation, etc. I switched brands but not because of a problem w/ Brooks. Just experimenting w/ kicks.

    My view on shoes is simple … unless you get that “ahhhhh” feeling when you put them on the first time, don’t buy them. For me, it’s only happened 3 times.

    Go neutral. Keep it simple.

  15. Wish I could weigh in on the shoes…I need to learn more myself.

    Just wanted to say your husbands nacho creation is awesome. I think fruit is the key!

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