New Shoes: Before or After the Half?

In less than a month, I will turn 32. Two days later, I will run my first half marathon (I contemplated writing “I will attempt to…” but ain’t nobody got time for negative thoughts). I have always asked for the latest model of my beloved Mizuno Wave Riders for Christmas, but I have logged a lot of miles this year and planned to reward myself after the half with a new pair, even if that meant buying the same model I have now. So I’m super excited to learn that the Wave Rider 20s will be released on my birthday! I gave myself the day off from work, and “The Girl on the Train” movie is released that day, so it sounds like I will have a lot to do on what is otherwise a pretty boring milestone. I will not wear them for the half , though. That’d be nuts.

According to, “A U4icX foam cartridge puts a softer foam below the Wave, in the heel of the shoe, for a softer landing. The strobel last of the shoe will utilize a softer foam for a more comfortable underfoot feel. All of these changes should result in the shoe having more give under foot, while still allowing for a quick response.” That makes me happy, because I’m heavy-footed and have been struggling a lot with numb feet and left knee pain – both after a few miles. I do really hope they have some toned-down color schemes to pick from. I’ve had silvery blue & orange, pink & yellow, and now royal blue & magenta, and I’m just ready for something a little less loud.

Speaking of running, I logged my longest run to date on Saturday while visiting Juls in Marietta, Georgia. I knew a track would be better for my knee so I planned to run to the nearest high school. But Juls was not kidding when she said there aren’t many sidewalks around her. I ran on a busy, somewhat hilly, somewhat windy road with no shoulder, and had to dive into the grass every time a truck came toward me. I found the school and the lovely rubber-ish track and ran 2 miles (8 laps) before I A. got bored and B. realized high school football practice was starting soon. My knee started hurting on cue right around 4.75 miles, but fortunately I had no numb feet. I tried new compression ankle socks but they really provided no compression even though I bought the smallest size. Instead, I loosened my shoes a bit.

Running past Commonwealth Ave in Marietta, GA – not the Commonwealth Ave I live on in Boston.

I ran back to Juls’ subdivision and took every little side street to take advantage of the sidewalks. My GPS said 7.25 miles but I realized it had stopped recording for a stretch early on, so I knew it was more like 8-9 miles. I guessed 9 but in looking at maps and adding up in my head, I think it was more like just over 8 miles. Either way, I felt good the whole time. When I got the final half-mile, I ran past her house to see Juls, Julia, Juls’ aunt, and both babies on the front porch. They cheered me on and I waved like a goof with both hands as if I was crossing the finish line of a race – so motivating! My knee hurt on and off for the second half of my run, but it did not become debilitating until I tried to walk up and down the stairs afterward. I iced it and took the coldest bath the Georgia tap water would allow me, but ended up popping some of her prescription-strength Tylenol to get through the day.

With the race 26 days away, I am feeling a lot more confident having Saturday’s training run in my rearview mirror. I’ve been mostly following Matt Forsman’s Half Marathon Training Plan, so I have an actual 9-mile run coming up this Saturday (even though I did 8 last weekend, I don’t have time to the 4-9-10-5 sequence for Saturdays, so I’m going to run this as Week 9 and do 9-10-5-rest Saturdays instead). My only real concern is my knee pain, which I think is actually a very low hamstring issue. The pain is the back of my knee – not my kneecap – and especially on that skinny tendon/ligament thing on the outside. My knee hurts 360 degrees after a run, but usually not during. I think the muscle just swells up and make my whole knee hurt. I need to try heat before runs or at least at night before bed. The good news is it does not hurt on runs shorter than 5 miles, so I’m OK on weekdays.


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