Blisters, Blisters, Blisters

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Blister – noun: a small bubble on the skin filled with serum and caused by friction, burning, or other damages

I have been having some issues with blisters on the outside of my big toes, especially on my right foot.  I have had some issues in the past, but the current issue is directly correlated with one pair of shoes, my Saucony Triumph 10’s.  I at first thought that the issue was because I was trying to break in the shoes, but I now have over 100 miles in the shoes, so they should be sufficiently broken in.  When I wear my Brooks Glycerin 11’s, I have no issues.  The problem arises after roughly four miles of running, and progressively gets worse from there. The issue has gotten so bad at this point that I do not have a blister on my right big toe, but rather a callus.

Callus – noun: a thickened and hardened part of the skin or soft tissue, especially in an area that has been subjected to friction

My first inclination for the cause of the friction was the type of socks that I was wearing.  I have some cotton socks that I wear on occasion, but that is very rare, and honestly, I probably wear them more often with my Brooks.  I have completely eliminated that over the past few weeks, and the problem has not subsided.

I have also tried covering up my hotspot with a band-aid, which helped delay the issue, not solve it.  I have also started to apply Run Guard to my foot, the inside of the sock, outside of the sock, and interior of my shoe to help eliminate the issue.  This has provided some relief, but not much.

Side view

Side view

I talked to some of the experts over at Kindrunner and they relayed to me that they have received some similar complaints from other customers.  They seem to believe that there is a piece of fabric in the toe box that causes the extra friction.  After inspecting the shoes further, that seems highly plausible.  I was also recommended to try a sock from Feetures, which I will be purchasing sometime this week.

Also, I wear a size 10.5 in my normal shoes, but in running shoes I wear an 11.5.  If I continue wearing shoes in the Triumph line, I will probably bump my size up to 12 or go with a wide variety since they are tighter on my foot than the Brooks.  This also might be contributing to my issues.  I am a supinator, and the selection of shoes available for me is slim.  Add in the fact that I am a heavier runner than most, finding a reliable and durable shoe is quite a chore.  Hopefully I can work out the issues with the Saucony Triumph.  Or maybe this issue will be rectified in the next shoe update.

How do you deal with blisters?  Have any certain shoes caused more blisters than others?

Another Pair of New Shoes

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I mentioned that I got a new pair of running shoes a week or so ago, but I never shared much info about the shoes besides what they were, Brooks Glycerin 11.  This was the second pair of new shoes that I have bought in about a month span, but I would not consider the purchase of the frivolous variety.  Susan would probably disagree.  But my rationale was simple, I need to have a minimum of two viable running shoe options at any given time.  I rotate my shoes from day to day to help the rubber soles recover from the beating they take.  This helps me squeeze every mile possible out of my shoes.  I am already at a disadvantage since I am a heavier runner (my own doing, I know) and I supinate severely.  If I get 250 miles out of a pair of shoes, I think that I have gotten my money’s worth.  And thanks to my new shoe knowledge as well as my Nike+ watch, I can keep a fairly accurate odometer on each pair of my shoes.

I do not have many miles on these shoes yet, nine to be exact, but they are comfortable.  I wanted a different pair of shoes to rotate with my Saucony Triumph 10’s so I could subtlety work different muscles in my legs and vary my run, slightly.  The Brooks Glycerin 11 has a 12 millimeter heel-to-toe drop versus the 8 milometer drop on the Saucony Triumph 10.  I am not going to get into the shoes hurt your feet or you should run in a barefoot shoe or minimalist is the only way to go debate on here.  I am just sharing my thought process.  Maybe after my marathon in January I will explore some of these other areas, but for now, I am going to not be too radical.  But I will say that the 8 milometer drop on the Saucony’s was one of the reasons I went with the Saucony in July over the Brooks.  I also had also tried out a pair of the Triumph 10’s in a  running event here in Memphis in April, and most of the reports seem to indicate that the Saucony is a little more durable than the Brooks.  We shall see.  They are slightly more expensive than the Saucony’s were, but the $20 difference did not factor into my thought process in the least.

Top view Brooks Glycerin 11

Top view Brooks Glycerin 11

Rear view Brooks Glycerin 11

Rear view Brooks Glycerin 11

Bottom view Brooks Glycerin 11

Bottom view Brooks Glycerin 11

Side view Brooks Glycerin 11

Side view Brooks Glycerin 11

 

If my opinions change on the Brooks Glycerin 11 after logging some miles, I will post them here.  But for now, I must say that the shoe is light and comfortable.  They seem to fit true to my size a little bit better than my Saucony Triumph’s do.  Again, that will be tested once I log some significant miles in them.  But for now, I am satisfied with the purchase.

Kindrunner: The Experience

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As I have stated on a couple of occasions prior, specifically here and here, I am an ambassador for Kindrunner.  And since I have previously blogged about what Kindrunner actually is, I will spare you most of the details by giving you the Cliff Notes version to launch this post.  Kindrunner is an online market place to buy running shoes as well as other running essentials.  Whenever you buy shoes from them, you are given the option to send back your old and worn out shoes that are then donated to one of two charities.  In exchange for your old shoes, you get $10 in store credit called Kindness Cash.  It is that simple.  And since I was in the need for a new pair, or two, of running shoes, I thought I would visit Kindrunner as a neophyte and try the process from start to finish.

Be A KindRunner

Be A KindRunner

Kindrunner has a feature called the Custom Fit Process.  Now anyone that has bought a pair of shoes in a specialty shop has certainly experienced the salesman have you go through some rigorous combination of running and walking through the store and on a treadmill, asked numerous questions, and had your try on several pairs of shoes to find the correct pair for yourself.  This is a fantastic process to go through, and is vital for new runners.  The issue is that several of these stores have limited inventory and finding time to go through this process can be tricky at times.  Well, Kindrunner has found a way to bring this process into your living room, or office, or even your car!  Just search for the Custom Fit Process tab on their site and begin to enter the required information.  You are asked about your current shoes, training pace, weekly mileage, pros and cons of you current shoes, your weight, and so on to get a nice base of information.  You also include a picture of the bottom of each (left and right) of your current running shoe along with any pictures of our shoe that you might feel is helpful in assessing your running shoe needs.  I kind of threw them an unintentional curveball because I listed my two current pairs of shoes, but uploaded photos from a retired pair. The reason for this was that my retired pair of Nike Vomeros had such a distinct wear pattern that I felt I would get a more accurate shoe assessment from them.  You also select a day and time in which one of their experts can contact you and discuss the information that you have submitted.

This was on my porch this evening!

This was on my porch this evening!

My phone call was with Kindrunner Patrick and lasted just under fifteen minutes.  We discussed my two current shoes, Nike Lunarglide 4 and Saucony Progrid Cohesion 6.  We also discussed what led to my injury back in March and the wear pattern on my old Nike Vomeros.  Patrick also pointed out that my Lunarglides were not ideal for supinators.  Of course, this was news to me because those were the shoes that I was steered towards a few months ago due to my supination by someone who I will no longer listen to.  Patrick advised me to be wary of the Lunarglides since it will add pressure to my peroneal tendons and could lead to some IT band issues in the future.  These shoes have been since retired.  Patrick also pointed out that my wear pattern was much greater on my right shoe than my left shoe, which honestly is something that I should have noticed, but never did.  I guess that is why I have had blistering problems only on the big toe of my right foot.  This is probably why my right foot was the victim of peroneal tendonitis.  We also discussed how it would be wise to continue rotating through two or three pairs of shoes why training for multiple reasons.  One is that it allows the rubber in the shoes to recover from the pounding of my runs and another is by having two different shoes, I will work different muscle groups with each shoe.  This rotation will also help prolong the life of each pair of shoes.  Patrick also confirmed that I should keep buying my running shoes a size larger than my everyday shoes due to the amount your foot swells during runs, especially in the heat of the summer.  I was happy to hear that I was doing some things right!

We discussed several pairs of potential shoes, including Saucony Triumph, Brooks Ghost and Glycerin, and Mizuno Wave Rider.  I had previously tried the Triumph at a Saucony event at the local Fleet Feet and the projected mileage on it was the greatest of the shoes that we discussed.  For these reasons, I chose the Triumph for my next pair of running shoes.  I will probably chose one of the others in the near future to replace my Cohesions since they are fading fast.  I know this was kind of a boring choice, but with my mileage rapidly increasing, so I needed the safe bet.

Soles 4 Souls

Soles 4 Souls

I ordered the shoes on Monday afternoon and they were delivered on Wednesday, free of charge.  It is hard to argue with that kind of turnaround!  As soon as my order was shipped, I was sent two shipping notifications.  One was for my shoes that were being delivered.  And the second was for the return label of my retired shoes to Soles 4 Souls.

This is always a great sight!

This is always a great sight!

When I opened my package today, I was greeted with an unexpected surprise.  I thought the promotion had ended, but I had received some free socks for life!  Yep, the first 500 customers of Kindrunner qualify for a free pair of running sock each time that they order shoes from the site!  It is just another incentive for me to keep being a Kindrunner!  So of course, when I take my new shoes on their maiden voyage tomorrow, I will use the new socks as well.

Free socks for life!

Free socks for life!

Top of the shoes

Top of the shoes

Side view

Side view

Back of shoe

Back of shoe

The bottom of the shoes

The bottom of the shoes

These may not be as bright as my Lunarglides, but they still are sharp and will catch the eye.  My first run cannot come quick enough in these!  I will also be adding Lock Laces to them soon as well.

Early Lock Laces Review

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After having a couple of shoe lace issues during my last race, Zoom Through the Zoo, I decided that I needed to hurry up and try out Lock Laces.  Lock Laces is a race sponsor and has a generous race promo for free shipping with 20% of the sale being donated to St. Jude.  They also donated ten pairs of Lock Laces to be raffled off to race participants.  I had been delaying purchasing some laces of my own since I am going on vacation soon and didn’t want to spend the extra money (they are only $8, but I can be a tad frugal at times), but with my shoes coming untied twice during the event, I could wait no longer.

Sponsor #10

Sponsor #10

I ordered three pairs of Lock Laces for my current group of shoes, but I have only added them to one pair of my running shoes.  We shall consider this a controlled group experiment.  I added the laces to my newest running shoes, the Saucony Grid Cohesion 6’s that I was wearing when I ran my latest race.  I chose black for these shoes since that is the color of laces already on the Saucony’s and I only ordered one pair of lime green ones (for my Nike+ Lunarglides).

Packaging for Lock Laces

Packaging for Lock Laces

I do believe that this is the old packaging for Lock Laces, but I didn’t grab a pair from my race stash with the updated packaging.  The new packaging says “Win. Never tie.” across the front, which is a great slogan for their company.

Installation for these is quite simple.  The website gives three steps for installation, but I decided to simplify it even further here.  The following are the steps needed for installation:

  1. Remove your previous laces (obviously)
  2. Lace the Lock Laces cord through eyes of your shoe like normal laces
  3. Put your shoes on your feet
  4. Squeeze the lock and thread the cords through it
  5. Pull the cords tight
  6. Cut off the excess cord at 2-3 inches above your shoe
  7. Insert the cord tips into the clip and close

Installation was quite simple and as long as you know how to lace shoes, you can add Lock Laces to your shoes.

Lock Laces vs standard laces

Lock Laces vs standard laces

Honestly, the aesthetics of Lock Laces take a minute to get used to, simply because they look different to the laces that we are accustomed to.  The clip seemingly floating above your shoe is odd the first time you look down, but after that, it is barely noticeable.  But do they work?  So far, my answer is yes.  My first run with them last Saturday was a four miler and I did not have a single issue with my shoes sliding off of my foot or becoming loose.  I have run in them two other times this week for a total of seven miles, with zero incident.   Also, it is very easy to put your shoes on and off with Lock Laces.  Just loosen the lock and slide the shoe on and off your foot then tighten.  It is that simple.  I know it is still early in the process of using Lock Laces, but my shoes have stayed tight, have been comfortable, and fit my shoes perfectly.  And for a person like me who ties their shoes too tight often, they probably provide a positive health benefit to my feet as well.  I will do a follow-up post in a few months, I’m sure, but as of today, I think that these laces are a must for runners.  Also, with the lack of laces flopping around everywhere and the ease of putting on the shoe, Lock Laces would be perfect for triathletes since the shoe goes on easily and you have no excess of laces to get caught while cycling.

Motivation Monday

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I know that I have posted a lot today, but I wanted to share a couple more things.  I was browsing the internet for something to post for Motivation Monday and my landing on the webpage for Saucony.  It was on the Saucony site that I find the image that I will be using today as well as a cool little product that Saucony has for pre-order with 100% of the sale being donated to The One Fund Boston.  I also found this amazing blog post about running a marathon.  If it were on WP, I would just reblog it.  Now, let’s look at the motivation.  This image is rather self explanatory and goes off of the #findyourstrong movement that Saucony has going on right now.

#findyourstrong

#findyourstrong

The second item I found was a cheap way to carry some Boston inspiration with you as well as donate a little money to The One Boston Fund.  Saucony is selling a #BostonStrong Lace Medallion to wear on your running shoes.  This is a great way to remember those in Boston on any run that you may go on, and at a very nominal fee of $5.00.  And 100% of the sale will be donated to The One Boston Fund.  The items are on a pre-sale status and you will get them as soon as they are available, which is being advertised as four weeks.  Also, if you have converted to Lock Laces, you can still wear this medallion, but it might be a little loose.  And if you are interested in trying Lock Laces, go to their website, buy a pair, use the promo code KYLEJUDE to get free shipping and 20% of that sale will go directly to St. Jude (shameless plug).

#BostonStrong Lace Medallions

#BostonStrong Lace Medallions

Here is a quick gym update for the day.  A couple of months ago when I was joining my new gym, I remarked that the new gym was just a sh0rt run from my house once I was healthy.  Well, I have been running for a few weeks now, but I have only ran to the gym once.  And today, I decided to run there again.  Round trip, my run was 4.17 miles today, and did the miles at a 9:53 pace.  In the middle of the four plus running miles, I did a twenty minute dumbbell lifting set focusing primarily on my upper body.  I did all of my stretching once I got home and felt great.  Maybe I will make this my Monday routine.  We shall see.  But if I do, I need to make sure that I bring a sweat rag because the last few times that I have gone to the gym, they have had no towels available.

The Great Shoe Search 2013

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Yesterday was the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, DC and one of Susan’s bridesmaids (actually, one of only three people that knew Susan and I separately prior to our relationship) ran it as her first half marathon.  She has been training for several months, and once the big day came, she was very excited and wanted to soak in the entire experience (as well she should have).  Well, Nike never half asses an event (a lot like Disney in this respect) and they never let an opportunity to make a dollar elapse either (again, like Disney).  So, of course, a women’s specific Nike event means that there will be a limited edition shoe, and in this case, that means a Tiffany blue pair of Nike Free 5.0+.  These shoes are the thing to get at these events (apparently) and our friend was lucky enough to buy a pair.  Of course once Susan saw these, she really wanted a pair as well.  But after coming to the realization that the only two ways to score a pair of these shoes was run in a Nike Women’s Half Marathon event or pay an exorbitant amount via eBay (like the runDisney New Balances), Susan moved on to wanting to buy a new pair of shoes period.

Tiffany blue Nike w/ We Run DC 4.28.13 on the tongue

Tiffany blue Nike w/ We Run DC 4.28.13 on the tongue

Our first stop was to the Sports Authority by the house.  The rationale was that Susan’s best friend had been there the week prior and saw a pair of shoes that Susan really liked.  Of course, when we got there, the shoe in question was not in stock in Susan’s size.  So we looked at some other options and Susan finally decided on a pair of Nike Free 5.0.  She had no plans in running in them, but she liked the way that they looked and thought they were comfortable.  Or at least initially they were comfortable.  Within the first 30 minutes of wearing the shoes, the sides of her feet were going numb.  Not good, so I returned the shoes and took Susan to the local Fleet Feet to have a foot assessment done.  The first thing Susan saw at the store was a sign that read “Do not buy running shoes by how they look.”  Great, Susan has already got a reason to be resistant to what the employees are going to advise her of today.  And after the initial assessment, they bring Susan three horribly ugly pairs of shoes that even if they were free, she would not wear.  And the lady even told Susan that the look was not the most important part.  That was not the greatest of sales strategies for someone not looking for a pair of shoes to run a marathon in.  But, at least we now know to be looking for a neutral shoe and the proper size as well.

Our next stop was Dick’s Sporting Goods, and they had a better section than the Sports Authority and their shoes were clearing marked with a color-coded system to separated neutral, stability, and minimalist shoes.  It was quite helpful.  The only problem was that they did not have any neutral shoes in Susan’s size.  OR that is at least what we were told.  The sales associate was a high school aged kid wearing basketball shorts and a t-shirt that kept disappearing.  We are now 0 – 3.  We decide to go to the Dick’s Sporting Goods at Wolfchase in an attempt to exhaust all options, and it was a great thing that we did.  They had a different selection of shoes that the previous store, as well as a sales associate that was determined to find Susan a pair of shoes.  Susan had multiple pairs of shoes to decide upon here and settled on a pair of Saucony ProGrid Ride 5’s.  She wore them last night without an issue, and is trying them out at work today.  Hopefully she made the right choice.

Susan's New Shoes

Susan’s New Shoes

During all of this shoe shopping, I also decided to purchase a new pair of shoes.  My current pair of shoes are too small, especially for running (completely my fault for not researching) so when I came across a pair of Saucony Grid Cohesion 5’s very cheap, I decided that go ahead and buy them.  Even if I don’t like them as well as the Saucony Triumph 10’s I wore the other night, for the price I bought them, I will get my money’s worth out of them for sure.  Of course, I nearly made a similar sizing mistake to my last shoe purchase.  I ended up going to two stores and made one return to finally land the correct pair of shoes.  And after getting injured, I am dedicated to doing whatever is necessary to avoid the avoidable injuries.

My New Shoes

My New Shoes

We also both bought some new socks, because you can always use more socks, especially when you are a runner.  I also bough a sensor pocket for my Nike iPod sensor so I can use it with my new shoes when needed.  With all of the purchases, coupons, returns, and such, I ended up qualifying for a couple of promotions (that I really shouldn’t have with the returns) that saved us about $20 on the purchases!

After skipping it last week, I will for sure have a Motivational Monday post sometime today.