When I went out of town, I threw my Saucony Virratas in my bag and didn't think twice. I wanted to take a newer pair of shoes because I thought I might do a lot of running. The only Kinvaras I have are really old and the cushioning is deflated to the point where it sounds like I'm running in Converse. The Saucony Virratas are lighter and thinner and thus, they pack well.
Fast forward to after my epic run (ok, really about 7-8 miles in) when I noticed some major calf soreness and tightness. It wasn't pain, but I think it could have escalated to pain. The next morning both calves were really stiff and I was reminiscent of the exact same symptoms in January when I was running mega-mileage. ...
I had switched between a few different shoes. And I now really regret that decision.
My go-to's are the Saucony Kinvaras. I absolutely love these shoes, as many of us do. There's a reason they are incredibly popular. I love the light cushioning, the neutral design, the array of colors (ok, not really, I wish they had plain grey), and the perfect amount of flexibility.
Back in January, I thought it would be a good idea to transition to zero-drop shoes in order to pick up a little bit of speed. In retrospect, my body simply wasn't strong enough to support this. I had no idea at the time the huge difference between 4mm and 0mm. It's just so much bigger than you think it is.
The other mistake I made was trying out a pair of Sketchers Go Ride 3 (I think that's what they're called). They were men's and they were on clearance, plus I had a coupon so I think they were basically free. Free running shoes.
You get what you pay for.
I made the decision to switch between the Saucony Kinvaras and the Virratas to work different muscles. I also only had about 50 miles left between two pairs of Kinvaras I still had. I was still running trails in my Montrails probably once a week. When I would run in the Kinvaras, I felt great. When I ran in the Montrails I felt great. When I would run in the Virratas I would feel great for a mile and then I would get wicked calf tightness and soreness that wouldn't wear off for a few days. When I would run in the Sketchers Go Ride 3 (which I did actually do a 20-miler in those bitches) I would feel GREAT for 8 miles, and then the feeling that they were destroying my feet would ignite underneath my toenails.
Let's rewind to when I was training for my 50k. I was putting in a ton of miles. I wore ONLY Kinvaras and Montrails. I easily ran a 123-mile October even having taken off 7 consecutive days to get married. Pain? I never felt a thing. In fact, after my ultra, I felt absolutely amazing. I recovered in a few days, and I was back to running big mileage in a couple of weeks. Because: LA.
Back to January: I destroyed my ankle. I ran on it in pain for six weeks and thought it was ok. This was stupid. But really, I TRIED resting it. It didn't get better. I tried running on it, and it didn't get worse, well, until it did.
And full-circle to this week: "What is causing that calf pain when I run in these Virratas?" I pondered aloud in my car because I talk to myself in my car. Cue Google: I quickly search "zero drop calf pain." The hole in the story is why I hadn't done that 10 months ago. I assure you, I'm leaving out nothing. I scan the results and click the article with "Dreaded" as the first word in the title because that's a dope word.
Don't click down there yet. You are interested in how the plot unfolds, right?
So I'm reading and looking at this cut-away image of my calf. I decide to look for myself instead of skipping to the part where the blogger diagnoses me. I realize it's the deeper cut-away pic on the right that displays the muscle smack in the middle of my calf - the posterior tibialis. Buzz word. Why so familiar? Because this happens to be the tendon I destroyed. Thanks to this guy for solving all my problems forever.
"After look at the above image I am confident that the strain that I developed is in the Tibialis Posterior." Wow, me too, dude! (Glad I kept reading for that little extra validation.)
I am so ridding myself of minimalist shoes forever. I picked up a sweet pair of throwback Kinvara 1's on Ebay plus a rather ugly pair of Kinvara 5's that I'm pretty stoked about. I am not seriously under the impression that I will now run injury-free forever. But I feel a little better knowing a) I'm not alone and b) I have a couple more things I can do to try to get this under control.
Tomorrow I am volunteering at the Ray Miller 50/50 and I'm hoping to get some running in while I'm out that way. Look for the recap next week! (here)