Monday, February 11, 2013


Pretty, but painful.

Yesterday afternoon I headed out for a leisurely run in my spiffy new Mizunos. It was 36 degrees and sunny for a change. I was hoping to do at least six miles in this cemetery where I like to run. No traffic, very few people, and I can listen to music without getting run over. When I got to the cemetery, I discovered that it had not been plowed. What? So there went my running plans. I then decided I would just run around the streets. It was Sunday and there wasn’t much traffic. I’d just have to be aware of cars backing out of driveways and run against the flow. Not as much fun as the cemetery, but better than cutting the run short.

Three point two miles into the detoured run, I felt a tightening in my left calf muscle. I slowed down, but the tightening got worse. Then it was too painful to take another step. I hobbled onto the sidewalk and tried to stretch out the muscle. That helped a little so I tried to run again. No way. The pain was too much. At this point, I was about a mile and a half from home. I started walking, slowly, hoping that might loosen up the muscle. Nope. Every step was painful. My calf muscle was a total knot. A mile from home, I considered calling my husband to come get me. I always have my cell phone with me. I walked a little farther to this park with benches and sat down. Why was my leg doing this to me? I hadn’t run very hard in the race on Saturday and I was running at a very relaxed pace today. I should be able to do six or seven miles with no problem. What was different?

I looked down at my shoes. The Mizunos! This was the fourth time I’d worn them outside. And every time I’ve worn them, something has hurt either during or after the run. Not so bad that I couldn’t keep running, but enough for me to have sore muscles the next day.

I bought the Mizunos after finding out I overpronate (ankle rolls inward) when I run. It sounded bad, so I bought some motion control shoes, the Mizunos, to correct my pronation. After hobbling the rest of the way home yesterday, I did some research on the internet to see what went wrong on my run. It is indeed the shoes. My pretty new shoes. They are pulling my heel down which is stretching my calf in a bad way.

I’ve been running for just under a year and my first shoes were neutral shoes, like most average running shoes are. All my running muscles are used to these shoes. Switching to the motion control shoes was not a good idea. I wasn’t having any real problems running, an occasional sore knee or hip, but for the most part, I was pain-free. I guess I thought fancier, more expensive shoes would make me run better and faster. I know better than this. I’ve always bought what feels comfortable, not what’s flashy and heavily advertised.

And overpronating is not necessarily a bad thing. Most runners overpronate to some extent. Everyone runs differently depending on leg length, ankle strength, arch height, foot size, etc. Shoemakers are out to sell shoes and they are going to do everything they can to get you to buy some expensive ones.

The evil Mizunos still look brand new and I have up to 90 days to return them. I’m going to wash the soles and ship the things back. Then I’m going to my local Sears after work to find a nice comfortable pair of Avias or maybe New Balances. They aren’t flashy, and they don’t have a cool name like Mizuno, but I can run in them without having to hobble home. I’ve also had good luck with Saucony, but the soles wear fast for the price.

Lesson learned and my overpronating calf muscle will be back to normal in a day or two.

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