shoes

When we last left off, Maya and I were wandering around the Rockridge area, eating sandwiches and taking pictures of Great Harvest bread. Eventually, the sandwiches were consumed and the bread had been fully documented to our standards, so we decided to wander around. After all, we were paying over $7/each round trip in BART fares…might as well check out the sights!

We peered into windows and looked across the street. Maya noticed an antique shop she might want to peek into and then we saw it. A store that we of course could not walk past:

That’s right, a running shop!

The inside of the shop was full of running clothes, supplies and of course, shoes. It was also decorated with a border of racing bibs. That’s a lot of races represented there!

Maya was excited because they had Vibrams. While the barefoot running shoe isn’t a rarity in San Francisco these days, in Japan, they are much harder to come by. As she is interested in eventually investing in a pair, Maya knew she wanted to take this opportunity to try some on.

Since I wasn’t ready to jump into barefoot running, I decided to just be a spectator. I also attempted to document the experience, however it was difficult…she kept moving and my point and shoot Canon is really not all that forgiving when it comes to someone trying to wiggle into some Vibrams.

In the end, Maya decided that she was going to wait to buy a pair, but was glad she had the opportunity to try some on. This way, she will at least know what size to order online when she decides to make the purchase.

After a quick pit stop at Trader Joe’s, we boarded BART and headed back to the city. Once we arrived, we hung out at my apartment (which Maya had never seen before) for a couple of hours, sampling fudge and Great Harvest purchases. We also watched some “Flight of the Conchords” episodes. Darn those New Zealanders are funny!

Then we went to dinner.

That’s right…we ate MORE food!

One of Maya’s favorite restaurants is a place called 2223, located on Market Street. I went there for the first time with her and Eric (her BF) and their friend Renee (….and I think someone else, though I don’t remember who…) back in 2008 when Maya was home for her sister’s wedding. I really enjoyed it, so a few months later I took another friend there for their “$12 Tuesdays” menu.

I had suggested that since it was Tuesday, we hit up 2223 for the $12 Tuesday deal. Practically the same group showed up this go around: Maya, Eric, Renee, her boyfriend and myself. When we arrived and took in the $12 menu, it seemed that the entire thing was comprised of Thanksgiving leftovers….almost all turkey dishes!

This was fine with me. After all, I had missed out on Thanksgiving turkey this year, given my unorthodox holiday plans.

I wound up with one of their signature cocktails and the Turkey Enchilada Plate. You’ll have to excuse the poor photos…even with me adjusting the ISO level, my camera could simply not compete with 2223’s low lighting.

This meal was delicious!

We also shared two desserts amongst the five of us. A berry cobbler and a Pumpkin Cake, both were served with Mitchell’s ice cream. A-maz-ing!

After dinner we all said our goodbyes, as we knew it was unlikely we would see each other again before Maya and Eric returned to Japan. Renee offered me a ride home, but I declined, knowing that I definitely needed to walk home…I was stuffed!

What are your favorite things to do when friends are in town?

Last night on my way home from work I stopped off at Safeway and the most amazing thing happened:

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I know, right? Exciting!

Then I shopped around for awhile longer and another amazing thing happened:

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I had read The Wannabe Athlete’s post about a Chobani miracle, but I had no idea such miracles were happening in my own neck of the woods. I scooped up both of these things, along with some animal crackers (what? I was hungry!), and made my way home for some much needed sleep.

Today has been difficult, as I’ve just been feeling very drained. I first woke up at 6:30am, as that’s when I’ve woken up for the last 4 days in a row. That is a very bad time to wake up when you are the closing manager at work. Can you say, long day? So I went back to sleep until 8:30am. I was STILL tired, so I went back to bed until 10:30am. I guess my body is just plain worn out. I still felt very groggy, but there was PUMPKIN in the house, so I had to get up before it was too late to partake in it before work.

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I made a big pot of steel cut oats with my usual ingredients:

(1 cup oats, 2 cups water, 2 cups milk, 1 banana and 1 serving of Chia Fresh Daily Fiber, which is something I found at Whole Foods before I found out where I could get whole Chia seeds. Tastes awful in smoothies, but totally works in oatmeal)

Then after I put 1 serving of oats in my bowl, I mixed in 2 heaping spoonfuls (about 1/3 cup) of pumpkin and topped it off with some Fage (Saving the Chobani for later), 1 tablespoon of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter and a few butterscotch chips.

I also had coffee:

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RENT is my favorite musical of all time. Truth.

After breakfast and a shower, I was forced to leave my apartment and head into the miserable heat wave that California is experiencing. I know it isn’t as bad as Los Angeles (113 degrees? What?!), but to a native San Franciscan, 85 degrees doesn’t feel too awesome either. Tomorrow is my day off and it looks like I will be heading to the beach, but it has come to my attention that I have no beach wear. I have one pair of capris that got stained with motor oil from my friend’s car and one pair of the saddest Payless (read: cheap) flip flops you have ever seen. This was not going to work.

First, I needed shoes appropriate for light hiking and potential water exposure:

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I really liked this pair of Tevas. They’re comfortable as all get out with great traction and support, but they’re also a little girly and fun. Yay pink! I think I will have a much more enjoyable time climbing on rocks in these than I had in my previous pair of footwear.

Then I had to look for shorts. It was a nightmare. Pure hell. First of all, everything is now geared towards fall, so they’re selling wool pea coats and sweaters….when it’s 85 degrees outside! There were, of course, shorts on sale, but everyone was picking through them like there was no tomorrow, due to the heat wave. Swarms of people. Pushing and shoving, all trying to find something to wear. It seems that since our summer had been so unseasonably cool (even for San Francisco), no one had bothered to pick up shorts this summer and were now all in a panic. Just like me.

The selection being horrible, I found one pair of GAP jean shorts (I was at Old Navy…so that was weird. They didn’t even have a price tag attached) that was my size, a pair of size 6 (which I am not) jean shorts that looked like they ran kind of big and a pair of white Bermuda shorts that were actually size 10s, which is what I am wearing right now. I tried everything on. The 6s were like sausage casings on me, so they seemed like a bad choice. The GAP shorts fit, but cut my legs at a weird place and I didn’t like them. That left the white Bermudas.

I have never owned a pair of white pants, shorts or even a skirt in my life. I am exceptionally clumsy and tend to spill things on myself constantly, so white kind of scares me. I ended up buying them though. Less than $15 and by golly they weren’t pants.

Wish me luck at wearing them tomorrow!

What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods?

After my bib post yesterday, I figured I should get out there and run. So I did. And then I came home. After 1.67 miles.

Yes, little short of that 3 mile distance I had been hoping to achieve.

I’ve had a problem with my left knee for a long time. It usually presents itself after an intense workout or a long walk. It isn’t caused by running, but I certainly think running has aggravated the problem. I’ve actually tried to get my doctors to look at my knee when I’ve been in for my annual, but they’ve never seemed particularly interested or concerned. I guess when it isn’t your knee, it doesn’t matter .

Lately, my knee has been hurting a lot, especially during and after running. I don’t run a LOT…just two or three times a week, so it’s not like I’m out there, tearing myself up. I’ve been fairly concerned and have even been thinking of going the knee brace route, but I was still holding off, hoping it would just go away. On top of the discomfort in my left knee, I’ve felt some pain in my hips, ankle and right knee. I know, I’m not even thirty and I’m falling apart!

All of these aches have really made me worried. While the discomfort I felt while running yesterday could have been pushed through, I just didn’t feel comfortable doing so. I have my 5K on Sunday, and if I was going to push through anything, it was going to be that. I didn’t want to do anything that would make running that race painful. This is why I decided to call it quits on my run and come back home. I felt kind of bummed out about cutting it short and on my walk home I tried to think of what I wanted to do about this problem. My thoughts then drifted in the direction of shoes.

Shoes have been heavy on my mind lately and I’ve been browsing online, but I realized that i didn’t really know anything about shoes or my feet. I could wind up buying something online that looks snazzy, but does nothing for me otherwise. I came to the decision that I needed to get properly fitted for a pair of running shoes. So after a shower and some googling, I had pulled up several options for where I could do such a thing. The obvious answer would be Nike Town, Sports Basement or Lombardi Sports. Thing is, Nike would only have their own brand of shoes, and i wanted options. Sports Basement and Lombardi would have options, but the staff might not have enough time or interest to really look at my feet and consider my situation. I needed a store that specializes in running shoes. After finding an option, I set out for:

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The shop I picked out was located near 9th and Irving. I couldn’t remember the last time I had been to the Inner Sunset…or the Outer Sunset, for that matter. One problem with living in San Francisco is that while there are so many great things here, if you live in the city, you probably don’t partake in most of them. Aside from skipping out on touristy things (unless you’re me and work in the industry), native San Franciscans have a tendency of sticking in their neighborhood. The city is small…only 46.7 square miles, but there are tons of neighborhoods, each with their own flavor, food, atmosphere and weather. There are even sub-neighborhoods, like my own, the Lower Haight. I believe legally, we’re part of Hayes Valley, but everyone calls it the Lower Haight. Anyway, every neighborhood has a supermarket, liquor store, pet shop, bar, restaurants, mom and pop coffee shop, Starbucks (or 2, or 3, or 4…) and there’s not really a need to go elsewhere unless you’re meeting up with others or you need a specialty item. Like running shoes.

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The reason I was drawn to On The Run is the Yelp reviews about their gait analysis equipment and the amount of effort and time their staff spend on helping a customer decide what shoe would work best for them. This was exactly what I needed. I didn’t take any photos inside, as I was feeling a little too shy to do so. What happened was that I went over to the women’s running shoe section and stared blankly, helplessly, waiting for something to happen, namely a salesperson to ask me if I required assistance. But sadly, all of the sales people were busy, so picked up some shoes and stared at them, then put them back on their shelves. After looking pretty petheti-sad for a couple of minutes a really nice guy came over and asked if I needed assistance. I told him I did. I needed guidance in choosing a pair of running shoes, as I had just recently taken up the sport. He had me take my shoes off, roll up the legs of my jeans and walk for him. Then he had me walk some more. Then he took me over to a crazy machine and had me walk four times (for consistency) over a pad. Then all of a sudden, like, magic, my feet were up on the screen. It kind of looked like this:

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(Source)

After analyzing my walk and my gait analysis system results, we came to the conclusion that I am a flat footed severe overpronator (for a down and dirty explanation of this, you can look at Zappo’s Running Shoe Fit Guide, or just google it. It’s all out there.) He asked if I get tingling sensations in the bottom of my feet, which I don’t. I mentioned the pain in my knees, hips and the like. He said it was possible that my overpronation was causing some of this pain. He also said the Adidas I was wearing were not substantial enough to provide proper support while running.

So he had me try on a pair of Brooks’ Ariel. I instantly felt the difference in support and my feet felt so much better. As I was walking around in the store with them, the associate I was dealing with passed me over to another guy. My new salesman said he wanted to show me another pair of shoes, but wanted to make sure he had a good grasp of my needs before he grabbed them. This meant more sock footed walking. I felt like a runway model, strutting around this store. Just kidding. After watching me, he went off and grabbed a pair of Asics. I am not sure of the exact model. He said that they would also provide support, not as much as the Brooks, but that either shoe would fit my needs. I tried them on, and I really liked how light they were, but my ankle felt really unsupported and I certainly didn’t feel as comfortable. I tried walking with one of each pair on, to try to figure out their differences. After a while, the associate told me I could actually go run around the block if I wanted, and he would watch my purse. How awesome is that? So I first ran in the Asics, then came back and switched to the Brooks. I came back and told him I had made a decision and said that the run really helped. He pointed out that it is easier to tell what is right for you when you take the shoes on a run…pavement is much different from a show room floor. How true.

I ended up deciding on the Brooks. While I know (now…I hadn’t really thought about this before talking to some friends after my shopping trip) there are many disadvantages to over support, I really feel that these were the right shoes for me at this time. I felt SO much better running around in these than I did in the Asics or my crusty Adidas. Everything felt lined up and my knees and hips felt so much better. At some point, perhaps after more training, exercises to improve knee strength, and a little weight loss (I have a really small frame, so being 5lbs over the top of the BMI for my height really isn’t good for me. Having the extra poundage slamming down onto my busted knee also isn’t good. I’m not really trying very hard to lose the weight, but I recognize it as a good idea) I might reassess and possibly go with a lighter, slightly less supported shoe.

I went on a short (just shy of 2 mile) run today. My joints were still feeling out of whack from yesterday. After the failed run I had decided a 3.75 mile walk to work would help. It didn’t. My mind felt at peace, but my body felt not so much. To make me feel even more icky this morning, I ate my weight in Fig Newtons last night after I got home and I could still feel them, sitting like a lump in my stomach. Gross. Despite all of this, I really wanted to try out my shoes. My body felt much better and I had much less discomfort post run. This may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Now for shoe porn!

First, the old sneakers sitting on top of the Brooks box for height:

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I totally don’t remember there being a hologram on my shoe. Oh well, I guess your 3D cushion doesn’t cut it, Mr. hologram…

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Then the new kicks:

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I liked the messages on the outside of the box:

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Time for the main event:

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Happy Feet (beat up leg. Oops):

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Have you ever had a gait analysis done? What kind of shoes do you wear?