I have been completely lazy about blogging, decluttering, and home improvement projects lately. I have been letting the summer days slip lazily away, sleeping late on weekends, doing what I want when I feel like it, and enjoying the endless supply of sunshine. I always feel like I have to stock up on sunshine and warmth in the summer, or I won’t make it through the dark and gray of winter.
Usually I have no trouble getting plenty of Vitamin D on my summer runs. But since I have been laid up with plantar fasciitis this year, I was starting to feel like the summer would slip away without me having that completely, happily worn out feeling that comes at the end of a run. But then, I read “Eat and Run” by Scott Jurek again. That, coupled with his recent record-breaking run of the Appalachian Trail, finally made me decide to give trail running a try.
Steve and I went out for a test run, and we both enjoyed our little jaunt so much that we decided to do it up right and get some trail running shoes. I originally purchases a pair of bee-yoo-tiful Brooks Cascadia 10s. They were extremely comfortable, until I was two miles away from the car on the Ridgetop Trail at Beaman Park when my ankle began to seriously hurt. By the time I made it back to the trailhead, I could barely walk. I finally determined that the shoes didn’t have enough arch support to keep my foot from rolling inward. I sadly returned my pretty, pretty shoes to REI and began to look for a replacement.
However, luck was with me, as I encountered a salesperson who has some of the same foot issues that I do. He had me try several different shoes, and finally recommended that I give the Hoka Challenger ATRs a try. I was reluctant at first. The Hokas have what appears to be an obscene amount of cushion on them, and I like to consider myself kind of hard core, not afraid of a little pain (even though I am really more on the wussy end of the spectrum). “All that cushion is for wimps, not for a real runner like me”, I said to myself. But once I had rejected every other shoe in the store, I was left with little choice.
I tried them on and trotted around the store. The more I trotted, the more I liked them. I started weaving between racks of clothing and enjoying the soft but stable landing and the grippiness of the treads. My foot wasn’t hurting at all, and the wide midfoot gave me plenty of stability. So they came home with me. (By the way, REI is sooo great about allowing you to return gear if you have tried it and it didn’t work for you.)
I have worn my new Hokas several times now on the trails at Warner Parks, and can only say that I luuuuuurve them! They have plenty of cushion, but are not squishy or sloppy, perfect for my injured foot (duh!). They are also quite springy. They have great, grippy traction, which gives a klutz like me confidence, and they protect my (apparently delicate) feet from the sharp rocks. There have been a couple of times that I have hit a rock or root wrong, and in any other shoes, I would have rolled an ankle. The Hokas have a nice wide midfoot as well, which gives them even more stability. I paired them with a pair of Superfeet insoles, and they are working great for me.
We have been having so much fun that we even managed to convince Dharma to come out on the trail with us. Of course, she is a natural at it, leaping over rocks and roots and scurrying down the trail like she was born to it. After two runs, she has announced that she would like her own trail running shoes too.
I have been sticking with my weights and rehab at the physical therapy gym. And I have been trying to get a few miles in on the roads, but my foot really suffers afterwards. So until it finally heals, I will be heading into the woods for my runs.