Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Happy(er) feet

Well, I've declared war on the squishy little things that are dragging me down on my runs. In case you haven't been following, I'm talking about the blisters.

I've ordered the book, Fixing Your Feet. It's due to arrive mid-September. Thanks to Michelle and Sarah for suggesting it.

I asked the chiropractor, the trainer and just about anyone else who would listen.

I ran today on the treadmill. Feet bandaged and duct taped. It definitely was not the most inspired run of my life. The duct taped worked a bit better this time, but the blisters that were already there continued to bleed. I had to ask the fellas at the gym for relplacement band aids. I spared them having to look at my feet, but the sight of the bloody sock resulted in the first aid kit being pulled out pretty quick.

This afternoon I also went to Gord's Running Store, at the urging of Karen, a place that had also been recommended by Dawn as well as a few other people. I went yesterday but Gord wasn't working, so I went back today. I wanted to see "the" guy everyone raves about.

This guy knows his stuff. He seems quiet, laid back and very, very knowledgable. And I quickly realized that he's a runner first and a salesman second. I took the offending runners, my socks and my orthotics. I showed him where the blisters are. He asked me a few questions and had me put my shoes on and lace up. He felt my foot and made a few "Hhhmmm" type noises.

He said, "Well, they seem a bit small. Your toe is right at the end, but otherwise, mechanically they look sound."

I was a bit baffled that he thought they were small. They're a half size bigger than my street shoes. But I wasn't about to argue.

He had me take them off. He said something to the effect of, "Here, let's see if this helps." And he re-laced the shoe for me, avoiding the eyelets around the blister. He also used a tool to stretch them out at the point of blister contact, then handed the shoe back to me.

"Try that," he said.

It felt much better. I might have felt stupid if I wasn't so gobsmacked.

I said, "I thought I'd have to buy new shoes!"

He kind of shrugged and said, "I can show you some other shoes that would probably fit your foot a bit better, but those will probably work just fine for now."

I was in this guy's store, getting his undivided attention, and he seemed more interested in helping me with my blister problem than selling me shoes. Naturally, that made me want to buy something right then and there. I asked him to bring out some possibilities.

He dove into the back room and emerged several minutes later with about 6 different boxes. I kept trying on shoes. We narrowed it down to a couple of promising ones. Then I thought he was kidding when he said, "Go outside and run for a bit. See how they feel."

Go outside and run? He saw the look on my face and said, "Don't worry. Everyone around here is used to it."

Out I went. They felt different. Better. Much better. He explained that they had no stitching or extra material around the area that gives me a blister. (OK, I confess, I have the beginnings of a bunion, but let's not talk about it, OK? I just feel I'm too young for that sort of thing and I'm in denial about it.)

He also said that the models he was showing me were straighter than my Sauconys, so they'll likely accomodate the orthotics better, noting that the Sauconys have a slight curve to them.

I left with a pair of Pearl Izumi Synchofloats, laced "a la Gord". I was thinking that, possibly for the first time, I felt like I was "at one" with my shoes. That probably sounds corny. And maybe I was just a bit high from all the relief, but I felt like I wasn't wearing them, rather that they were just an extension of me. By that time, I didn't care that they were half a size bigger than what I was used to wearing.

Unlike this morning when I went to the gym, I actually wanted to go and run! Now I can't wait for Thursday to try them out on the treadmill. We'll see when I get out and run in them if I still think like that.

For now, I feel relieved. I can re-lace all my shoes. (Yes, I have a few pairs) and they should work better. And I am hopeful that these new shoes will work better for the longer runs.
I still need to find a way to deal with the existing blisters so they stop bleeding and heal, but I have a feeling that will be easier now.

PS: Also left with a water bottle. Will report on that after trying it.


craig said...

Wish I could find someone like that to buy shoes from. When you get help like that you don't mind patronizing the place instead of the online stores. You better hang on to this guy. He sounds like a keeper. The shoes are cool too.

Backofpack said...

I've never see those shoes. I'll be interested in hearing what you think. And yes, Gord sounds like a keeper!

robtherunner said...

Gord definitely sounds like the guy to go to. What a concept to put customer satisfaction first. And you weren't even a customer yet.

Take care of those feet.

Journey to a Centum said...

Some well placed kinesio tape after reading the foot book will get you all healed up.

Nice job Gordo! Hope his efforts help you. Sounds like you have discovered a valuable resource.

As for my bringing a gun to CC100 I think I'll just give one to my crew in case they need to put me down to end my suffering. I'm not sure but since Michelle is my crew chief she may have a difficult time collecting on my life insurance if she's the one that takes me out. I think I'll just plan on running a strong race the whole distance. Heck the gun could provide extra incentive to keep moving.

ipodmomma said...

yeah!!! sounds like you hit the running shoes salesman jackpot!!!

Sarah said...

The right shoes can make all the difference! And what a nice shoe guy. He certainly knows how to win a customer. Glad you found him!

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

Gord is awesome. He's a great resource whether it's for shoes or tips on improving your running.

Good luck tomorrow. I look forward to seeing you even if it is just your backside as you run way ahead of me...lol.

John Vezina said...

Sorry about your blisters, but I am glad you found some help. What a relief to find an answer (your new shoes)! Hope they work!