03/21/11

Recovery Run With Dr Scholls

After my 10 miler yesterday in the Saucony Kinvara’s, my arches were bothering me quite a bit.  Even walking around on the hardwood floors barefoot felt sort of painful. I had some grocery shopping to do in the afternoon, so after I showered I headed to Wal Mart.  While walking the aisles with my sore feet, I started thinking about inserts for my shoes.  I’ve never ran with anything in my shoe before but I know many of my friends have had custom orthodics created at the podiatrist’s office to the tune of about $400 and a few Daily Mile friends had suggested the less expensive inserts that you can buy at places like Walgreen’s and Wal Mart as another option.

I was near the pharmacy and noticed the Dr Scholl’s Footmapping Machine. I’d seen it before but it was out of order when I tried to use it. Since it appeared to be in working order, I removed my shoes and stepped on to see what it would say about my feet. The whole process was pretty interesting. First I had to place my heels at the back of the giant outline of feet on the platform.  Then it asked me if I weighed less than 135 lbs. I said “yes” afraid it wouldn’t be able to measure me, but the test went on, so it was good. The monitor in front of me showed various colors – yellow, red, green and blue I think showing pressure points on my feet. It was kind of cool. It did some kind of measurement. Then, I was told to hold onto the bars in front of me for balance and raise one foot.  Then I had to lean forward until a yellow dot reached a center point of a cross hair (this part reminded me of a Wii Fit plus test.) Then it had me do the same on the opposite foot.  The entire test took less than 3 minutes.  It told me I had normal arches and needed the Dr Scholl’s Custom Orthodics in style CF110.  I thought, “Hm.. that’s interesting. I wonder how much they are?” The ortodics are located right on the machine in little shelves along the two sides. I apparently have the most normal foot type and my version was right at the top (which  means least support, I think.) They were $49. I fainted. Once I was revived, I thought about it. I have purchased five pairs of running shoes this past month. I’ve returned three of them and the other two still need exchanging. I’m really tired of the frustration with the whole shoe problem. I just want to run and I need shoes to do it (despite my little venture into barefoot running that one day I know that for me – shoes just seem the right thing to wear most of the time on a run.) I have seven pairs of the Asics Cumulus 10 – my perfect running shoe.  The newer version of my shoe is totally different in fit and just doesn’t meet my needs anymore.  Why are the 7 pairs of shoes no longer usable? If you came into my closet and saw them lined up, you’d probably think they all look pretty good still. No flopping soles or giant holes anywhere. So, why did I keep buying new shoes? Well, all of the running books say to replace your shoes every 400 miles or so. And, I could always tell when I hit that point since the cushion and arch support would start to fade. My feet just didn’t feel as supported or cushioned anymore by that point – so they became shoes I only wore on short, shakeout runs or walks.  I also wear them on trails since the surface is more forgiving on the joints and I don’t seem to have any problems with that.  But.. for the road running I do, the marathons, etc, I need cushion and support, so I continue to replace my shoes.

A thought occurred to me while I was standing there at the machine —- “What if I spent this ridiculous amount of money on these orthodics and put them into a pair of my worn down Cumulus 10s? What if my old shoes became my “new” shoes? Hmm…  Suddenly the idea of $49 seemed a possible bargain! I spend about $100 on a new pair of running shoes every few months. If these would last me 3 months, they’d be half the price I’m used to forking over for shoes that last the same amount of time on my usual training mileage! The deal cincher came when I turned the product over in my hands and saw a “Money Back Guarantee” on the back. Well….. I can save the receipt and packaging and if I’m not happy, I get my money back. That settled it. I bought them.

As soon as I got home, I tore open the package and put them into my Sketcher Mules I’d been wearing.  They are a 3/4 orthodic in a material that reminds me of memory foam.  They were comfortable right out of the box! Really comfortable! My oldest daughter tried on my shoes and walked around saying, “It feels like walking on clouds, Mom!” It did.  Then, I put them into Emily’s Saucony Kinvara’s to see how they would feel. I left her regular insoles in them while I tried this. That made the shoe fit a bit tighter, but I could still lace them up.  I walked around in them and thought, “Hm… my arches feel supported now and that was the only real problem.” I grabbed a pair of my Cumulus 10s and this time tried them without the regular insoles and then with.  It was like a science experiment and I wanted to play with all the angles to see what kind of results I’d get.

This morning I was ready to do my recovery run with them. I decided to try my Asics Cumuls 10’s in size 8.5 (5 of my pairs are this size, the last two are size 9 since it was getting harder to find my model and size and I was desperate.) 🙂 I pulled out the regular inserts and put in the Dr Scholl’s orthodics. I wore my usual thin, socks.  I grabbed my Garmin and cell phone and headed out the door for the true test.

The first half a block I was really focused on my shoes. My heels felt a little taller than usual and my arches definitely felt supported.  I worried it might be too much support, but I wasn’t sure.  They were cushy! They were fairly comfortable. But, it was still too early to make a determination. I tried to relax into the run and just see what happened.

I ran the short loop around my neighborhood – 2.36 miles. I kept the pace comfortable and easy (10:38).  It was humid and sticky out but the temperature of 48 felt pretty good. The winds were much milder today than yesterday (9 mph instead of 29 mph!!) That was a relief and allowed me to just get into a slow groove and see how the feet felt.  The truth is I pretty much forgot about the inserts after the first half mile (which is what I was hoping for.)  My arches didn’t ache once on the run, which is pretty impressive since they were still pretty sore from yesterday’s run when I started.

My conclusion after this short test? The jury is still out. They did pass the test today on the short, easy run, but how will they feel on a longer — say – 15-20 mile road run? How will they feel on a trial? I’ll keep testing and share my findings with you here. 🙂

Stats: 2.36 miles. 10:38 ave pace. 25:04 total time. Temp: 48 degrees. 71% humidity. 9 mph winds. Wearing Asics Cumulus 10s and Dr Scholl’s Custom Orthodics.