It was time to retire my old shoes…like a million years ago

Back on January 14th, I’d finally (after 11 months) had enough of my nagging injuries and finally decided to agree that I am not “all-knowing” and I needed to admit defeat in the shoe department. Remember this post? Life changed that day and I have spent the last 5 months running happy thanks to my 30-minute gait analysis with Wendi, the “Shoe Whisperer.”

I ran my little heart out in my Asics Gel Cumulus 13s. They became my best friend out on the road (along with my trusty Garmin “Gertrude.”) Life was good. Half marathon training was stellar. Injuries were virtually non-existent and no longer constant soul-killing issues.

Fast forward to the end of April. I was getting ready for the Get in Gear 10K and lo and behold, my stupid right calf muscle started being a jerk. It wasn’t a constant thing, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. I will say, though, despite that whole race day being one giant HOT MESS with the weather and hypothermia, my legs were having none of that post-race too. For several days my legs were just throbbing hardcore, but again, it went away.

I plugged along and kept my eyes on the Fargo prize and had another unfortunate run-in May 5th, the day I ran my 12-miler and last long run before my half. I had this stupid spot on my dumb inner calf that was driving me crazy. I’d massage it a bunch, it would loosen up, and the world would be a better place. There was no way I was messin with trying to get new shoes before my half marathon.

Fargo came on May 19th and it rocked my face off. Surprisingly, I had ZERO issues coming out of that race (the irony in that is ridiculous) so my mind wasn’t thinking much other than “Oh hey! After all that pain and anguish, you’re finally a half marathoner!”

I took like 2 weeks off from training; or at least my coach basically forced me to and the few runs I did do didn’t send any red flags up.

Fast forward to 2 weeks ago and my speed work session out on the road with the crazy screaming dude in his car. My legs were toast the day after that run. Oh wow. The pain. The agony.

So I got in to see my doc, she beat on my leg for like an hour, and I bumped up my next gait analysis appointment with the Shoe Whisperer to her earliest opening of June 16th. Full-on shin splints, people. And ya’ll know how much I “looooove” those. My stupid IT band was bugging me. I had pain on the outside of my right knee. It was stupid. I was mad.

So what did I do? I kept living in denial that even shorter distance runs won’t hurt and I kept running on it. I know there’s several of you slapping your foreheads right now going “Courtenay! You know better than that! What is wrong with you?!?!?!”

I may have learned a lot in this past year and a half, but sometimes I revert back to my idiotic tendencies and the NEED to RUN OVERPOWERS my REALITY. Don’t even say you’ve never done that.


So I got to Michigan, right? And I’m all like “Hey…I just need to get through this next week running in my old shoes and then I’ll see Wendi, she will heal me, and the world will be a better place.” Um. No.

Friday’s intended 6-miler around Lake Michigan quickly turned into 4.3 with a giant round of big tears as the pain was intense. Stick a fork in me. I was done and so were my poor Asics.

I had approximately 318 miles running in my shoes, including 4 races, and another 40+ miles of walking and some cross-training (when I forgot to bring my other shoes I usually use for that). Just like that, my old friends were retired.

So being the lunatic that I am who can’t wait patiently another minute to drop $170 on new shoes at my gait analysis in 5 days, I ran right out to Sports Authority on Monday night after getting home from Michigan and dropped $65 on the same brand/model of my Asics. GOD FORBID I would have had to go another day not running.  I drug my poor mom and hubby to Sports Authority just to get these bad boys. It’s sad to think they’re already obsolete after 6 months.

It was like running on a cloud again. Tuesday I took them out for their first spin and managed 5 miles at an average 9:22 pace. My leg still kinda hurt, but not nearly what it did last week. No tears. I didn’t have any thoughts of life being completely doomed and over. There weren’t any over-dramatic fleeting thoughts that I’ll never run again. I took this as a positive.

On Wednesday THIS HAPPENED with miles 3,4, and 5 averaging 8:40-8:45 pace! HOLLA!

Strongest run in over 8 months, people. BOOM!

I was feeling all fly like a G6 in my new Asics. Thank you Sports Authority clearance aisle!

So I was this giant happy camper going into my 2nd gait analysis appointment with Wendi. Just so ya’ll know…5 months later and she’s still amazing. Side note: apparently she’s not the least bit alarmed by crazy runner people (*ahem*me*ahem*) who hug her a million times for changing their lives.

Wendi checked everything out again, including my inserts, and checked the wear on my old shoes. She took one look at them and said they were done. I was scared to ask her just “how done” they were, but given that she didn’t even look at the tread on them before making that judgement call, I’m gonna guess she probably thought I had pushed it just a wee bit too far.

Everything checked out beautifully. She watched me run, checked out my pelvis. My body is still totally aligned and my running form was apparently “perfect.” No major adjustments needed. I walked out of there with new Superfeet inserts (apparently those only last the same distance a pair of shoes do), and the BRAND SPANKIN NEW MODEL of my Asics; the Cumulus 14s!!! I had been eyeing these babies since I saw them at the Fargo Marathon expo last month. You should have seen me practically drool over them at the “Run Fargo” store display. I’m kinda sure I scared my husband over my immediate reaction to a pair of shoes. I was more than thrilled when she put them on my feet and told them they’re MINE! ALL MINE! In the words of Gallum “MY PRECIOUS!”


So here’s the plan. I’m wearing the Cumulus 13s from Sports Authority for the first 200 miles I get in training. Then at 200 miles, I’ll throw the 14s into the mix alternating pairs every other run. This should help me avoid this dumb shin splint/IT band fiasco in the future and it’s kinda nice not to have to rely on one pair for life anymore. These new 14s will take me through my next half marathon in October.

So that’s my story.

If you think that’s good, you all should have seen the miracle Wendi worked on my husband who has a huge leg length discrepancy, limited range of motion, half a limb, and a metal plate in his quad due to a traumatic accident when he was 3 years old. She got his whole body aligned too and running happy. I have never seen anything like it. I got to watch the whole thing from a totally different standpoint. He’s gonna love his bright new yellow Brooks Ghost 5s!

I’ll say this again…if you’re in the Twin Cities area and you need new shoes, I highly suggest you go see Wendi at Gear West Ski & Run in Long Lake. The experience is life-changing.

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2 Responses to It was time to retire my old shoes…like a million years ago

  1. craftycritter says:

    I’m going to be there in August; you really have me tempted.

    • Courtenay says:

      Definitely would be worth the trip out there I think. She will blow your mind. If you’re gonna do it, though, I’d get on her schedule NOW. She’s booked out like 6 weeks in advance. We got Chris on the schedule for a re-check in September already.

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