Now that the physical evidence from the “flu attack” is almost all gone and the psychological damage is too after the “treadmill incident that nobody saw”, it’s time to move beyond sickness recovery phase and start making plans for Boston.
It is obvious that as runners, we need relatively little "gear" to perform well in our sport. Some would even argue that the simpler (or less-equpped) the runner, the better the racer. However, even the simplest runner knows that he won’t get very far very fast if he’s not wearing the right shoes. Now, I realize that I haven’t talked about my shoes much. That’s because I haven’t had much shoe drama in a very long time. I’ve been using a combination of Asics 2130/2140 for longer runs since last summer and a pair of Saucony ProGrid Triumphs for tempo runs and longer races. (I also have a pair of Pearl Izumi racing flats that use for short races and track work). This symphony of shoes has worked well for me in training but all simultaneously passed the 300 mile mark late last month. This made me somewhat hesitant to use any of them for the actual marathon. What to do? Which to use? Old or new? These had been questions that I’ve been tossing around in my mind before I got sick
In my defense, I had been preparing for such a scenario. Because I found a nice pair of New Balance 1223s (which carried me to my first BQ in 2007) on sale a couple months back, I grabbed it figuring to either run Boston in them or just train with them through the summer. However, once I took them for a test long run and then a tempo run, I found out that the toe box was tight and the heel support did not fit me the right way. My Achilles and knees definitely complained each time. But since I thought I was imagining things since both runs occurred as part of a tough 50+ mile week, I took them out for a spin again a couple of days ago, and the same thing happened again! This was a big bummer because I had such success with them the first time around when I ran over 500+ miles before I literally forced myself to retire them for good. Panic struck when I finally accepted that the NB 1223 Boston Marathon Shoe plan had to be restructured. So after getting off work an hour early Friday afternoon, I laid my old/new 1223s on the side of the curb, thanked them for their past services and headed over to the new JackRabbit store on 85th and 3rd to conduct new interviews for the position.
To make the long story short, I found there a knowledgeable staff who ran me through a full comprehensive gait analysis and watched me try out about ten pairs of shoes on video before helping me pick out the right candidate for the position. So after 45 minutes of intense examination and scrutiny, both the sales person and I came to the conclusion that these new kicks will not only carry me far and fast in Boston, but complements my running rebel personality as well.
For those who haven’t met, these are the new Brooks Defyance 2 running shoes, which came into the market in December of 2008. Since I’m not that familiar with Brooks as I’ve never worn them before, I’ll spare you my cursory introduction and direct you to a video detailing some of its features (if you're interested). What I like most of the shoe is that it is lighter and less stable than any of the other marathon shoes I’ve ever used (Apparently, I was told during my gait analysis that I really do have a very efficient gait and don’t overpronate as much as I think which means that extra stability is not warranted. This was somewhat surprising to hear since I’ve always categorized myself as an overpronator.) Also, it has a bit wider toe box while maintaining a well-cushioned and snug midfoot and ankle fit. I think I’m going to enjoy running in Defyance!
Because yesterday was just all nasty and rainy, I didn’t get to test it out, but today is a perfectly beautiful and sunny day so I’m dying to try them out on my last weekend 10-12 miler. I can hardly wait.