A new quest

Heading into Saturday’s marathon, I really haven’t known what to expect. It’s been a disappointing year of injuries and subpar training due to them, but there have been a few glimmers of hope and optimism.

One of those came a few weeks ago with a 7-mile tempo run. And 10 days before that, I was satisfied with my half marathon in Fargo, even though a tight hamstring prevented me from running faster than marathon pace.

And, out of nowhere, a confidence-boosting run came this morning.

Back in Fargo to take care of some personal business, hang out with a buddy on primary election night (congrats to Chad, who advanced to the general election) and visit the chiropractor before the race, I lined up an early morning run with my friend Mandy.

We used to run together frequently, and I always enjoy our chats. Being around positive, optimistic people is infectious – and good for the soul. So when I have the chance, I always like to run with her.

With my runs shorter due to marathon week, we planned to run 4 miles together as part of her longer workout. And despite a late night, little sleep and some greasy appetizers, it was a comfortable run near marathon pace that helped energize me.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been mulling over shoe choices again. And it probably isn’t too ironic that my 3 best runs in the last month have all come while wearing my Brooks Green Silence, a minimalist shoe that I use for racing and speed workouts (which, due to injuries, hasn’t been very frequent).

The Green Silence came out a few years ago, and instantly I fell in love with them. It seems my running form and efficiency are much better when I wear them.

So now I’m on a new quest: to find a pair of high-mileage trainers that give me the same feeling. The shoes are great, and I wouldn’t race in anything else, but I don’t know if the shoes – and quite frankly, I have doubts that my body – would hold up to every day running.

The long spiraling effect of injuries since early February started with an ankle sprain, but this past winter I also experimented with a new pair of shoes at the indoor track. I had problems from the start, but those foot and arch issues seemed to subside. As the injuries mounted, I began to question whether the shoes compounded the problems.And I reached the point where I really felt like I forgot how to run – that I simply couldn’t rediscover my natural running gait.

After a few trips to the chiropractor, I felt nearly fixed of my difficulties, and I again experimented with a new pair of shoes. Those were an instant nightmare. Now both pairs are sitting on a shelf, likely headed for a donation to someone who can use them.

Ironically, even my trusty old high-mileage shoe – a model that I have used for the past 4 years for long weekend runs and easy day training workouts – don’t seem to be working for me.

But this morning, back in a pair of Green Silence which have been retired from racing, my legs felt peppy and electric. Everything felt smooth and easy. So now I just need to find a pair of shoes I can pile on the mileage for a new marathon training cycle – set to begin sometime shortly after Grandma’s.

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