Saturday, May 19, 2012

Harper's Ferry Half-Marathon: Post-Race/Enjoying the Weekend

Day one can be found here.
The race as a spectator can be found here.

We enjoyed the post-race festivities for a while as DJ Research stretched/recovered and Nugget ate rocks.

Rocks are high in protein, he told me.
Um, no, I told him.
This is the first time we have ever stuck around for post-race festivities.  Usually the celebration area is too crowded, and we'd rather stretch and reflect on the race without getting run over.  But with this race being on the smaller side, we could have our little corner and still enjoy the festivities.

After we had our fill, we headed into town to find some grub.  Li'l Nugget, who had been such a trooper all morning, fell asleep just as we were pulling into the restaurant parking lot.  So out we pulled and back on the road we went, driving around until Nugget woke up (because a day without naptime is not a fun day for anyone).  We decided to check out nearby Sheperdstown, which is also home to Two Rivers Treads, the exclusively minimalist running shoe store.

Admittedly, a chance to visit to Two Rivers Treads was a big impetus to sign up for this race.  The DJ was really on the fence about it, but I kept whispering in his ear, "C'mon!  It looks beautiful!  Its a trail race!  We can visit Two Rivers Treads!"  I'm not sure if it was the latter that sold him, but it was high on the list for me!

But before we got to this mecca, we stopped at a little cafe for lunch.  We asked for garden seating, and I was a little surprised when the hostess led us to a table for two, when we were clearly a party of and a half.  We quickly realized, though, that a high chair would not work on the rocky garden floor, so Nugget just sat in our laps, and at the end of the meal he commenced his weekend activity guess it...rock-throwing.

The meal was good but not remarkable.  What was remarkable was DJ Research's beer, an amber ale from a local brewery called Mountain State Brewery.  We tried to buy a six-pack from a local wine/beer store, but discovered that the beer is only sold in kegs.  Not that we couldn't drink a whole keg, but the image of driving home with a 1.5-year-old strapped in the backseat and a beer keg strapped to the roof of the car seemed like we were asking for our own reality show.

After lunch we finally made it to Two Rivers Treads. I was hoping to not only find a pair of minimalist shoes, but also learn more about how a shoe should fit.  At my local running store a few weeks ago, I was told that shoes should fit like a glove.  And thats what I've heard all my life.  But at Two Rivers Treads I was told differently.

My shoe size is normally 9.5, so I tried on a pair of the Innov-8 230s in that size.  Too small.  My toes were practically touching the front of the shoe.  So I tried on a size 10.  I thought they fit well; my toes weren't scrunched against the top or sides of the shoe.  But the sales rep said they were still too small--particularly too narrow--and encouraged me to try a 10.5.  He said that when you walk/run, your foot expands as you make contact with the ground, so you want a shoe that will give your foot this freedom.  Also, as I run in minimalist shoes, my foot will flatten, causing my toes to splay out naturally, AND my foot will thicken because my muscles will be getting stronger.  I want a running shoe that will accommodate these changes.  

Thickened feet. (via NRC)
 Here's a great article on proper shoe fit.

So I tried the Innov-8 230s in a 10.5.  The felt wide in the toe-box, but not uncomfortably so.  I ran a bit on the store's treadmill and my feet felt great.  The added width did not effect my gait at all.  I also tried on a Merrell shoe (can't remember which, but it didn't fit and they didn't have the next size up) and the Saucony Kinvara 2 & 3.  I love the look of the Sauconys, but the sales rep admitted that they are only minimalist shoes in the sense that they have a 4mm drop (the differential between the heel and the toe is only 4 mm).  Otherwise they have a lot of cushioning, so you can't really feel the ground.  They are a good transition shoe, and I might purchase them for long runs and use my Innov-8s for short runs as I get stronger as a runner (the Innov-8 230s have a 6mm drop, but very little cushioning, so you can really feel the ground.  In fact, I find heel striking in them while walking gets uncomfortable after a while).

Saucony Kinvaras (source)
You need shades to wear these!

I bought the Innov-8s as my Mother's Day gift for myself. I haven't run in them yet, though, so I'll let you know how that goes.

We spent the rest of the day exploring Harper's Ferry. It's a cute town. I look forward to returning.

All in all a great weekend!


No comments:

Post a Comment