Oh, yes...my last post was about chaperoning my son's class trip to Meijer Gardens. Weather ended up being quite lovely, though breezy and cool. But sunny and not rainy, so that was all good. Not too many butterflies, unfortunately. I have noticed that in earlier years that the last week or two of the exhibit is slim pickings as the butterflies begin to die-off and they are no longer releasing more newly-hatched ones from the little butterfly "nursery" in the atrium.
The kids also learned about the water cycle and the importance of conserving water. I learned some new things, too, like what a small percentage of the planet's fresh water is actually available for drinking and human use. I really overestimated what we have at our disposal. It's a precious small amount of the whole.
I also completed 34 miles this week...kind of a light week between 2 50 mile weeks. My body definitely needs these easier weeks now that my long runs are so, well, LONG. 1 more 20 miler in a week and then it's taper time.
Yesterday I ran 13 and got sunburned...d'oh! I KNEW I should have put on sunscreen, but it was overcast when I went out. 10 minutes or so down the road the sky cleared. Stupid, unpredictable Great Lakes weather. It was just generally kind of a craptacular run. Turns out those flashy white and orange shoes are not a good fit for me...at least not for longer runs. Same thing I have learned with my last 3 pair of NB stability shoes on their new PL-1 last, which is narrower and doesn't feel natural on my foot. Again I started to develop a hot spot on the ball of my left big toe and my arches were cramping...right ankle was feeling sore on the outside and inside edges, too. I woke this AM and my feet were still hurting...that usually doesn't even happen the day after a 20 miler.
It's hard to believe this shoe is in any way related to my last 2 favorite shoes--it's the next generation update, but it feels like an entirely different shoe (it's stiffer, heavier, narrower...huh?). At this point I am planning to stock up on 2-3 pair of the previous version, pick up pair of trail shoes using the previous last for my trail runs and races for the remainder of the year, and then will likely be done with NB unless they eventually revert back to shoes that fit wide feet well, again. I think they have lost a LOT of long-time fans over this massive redesign. They are already planning the release of the next update in Oct. (can we say FUBAR when there's only 6 months between updates?), but the sole unit will still be the same, so even if the upper fits better, it will still be a stiff shoe and not suited to my foot/gait.
Every time I think I have found the perfect shoe it gets changed. Minor changes can be lived with, but not this. I am dreading having to start this process all over, especially since NB made the only lightweight, mild stability shoe in wides. Usually this sort of shoe runs narrow, anyhow. But anything more structured have my outer arches screaming. Cripes, why am I still participating in a sport that doesn't seem to cater to people with atypical feet? Oh, yeah...'cause I'm nuts, apparently.
Today we've had intermittent lightning storms, wind, and random heavy rains, so I headed to the little fitness center in town to run 4 miles on the treadmill. I had planned on 5, but 4 is all I can tolerate on the motorized hamster wheel. I wore my new pair of persimmon-colored NB 903s...previous version of the troublesome shoes and update of my very favorite shoe (902). I still don't like them nearly as well as my 902s, but those are pretty much non-existent in my size. The 903s felt good...if my feet could have breathed sighs of relief, I believe they would have. So soft, flexible, lightweight...ahhh.... These should be perfectly broken-in with one 20 miler and several shorter runs by marathon day.
Now I debate...do I order 2 more pair and not have enough to get me through the end of the year, thus requiring an almost certainly frustrating trip to the nearest big running store an hour away, or do I buy 3 pair and be able to get through a couple extra months? I'm leaning towards 3. $77/pair is a lot to cough up at once, but not having to go through this godforsaken shoe search again (made all the more stressful by the "loss" of what was the #1 shoe manufacturer for people with oddball feets like me) until after the first of next year...priceless.
This morning I bailed on a half marathon a couple of hours away. My best friend ended up doing it (grossly under trained and after having been sick with the pukes yesterday...yeah, she's nuts). I decided about a week ago that I really didn't have much interest in doing the race. It means $ in registration fees and I'm at that point in training where the long runs are taking enough out of me that doing a HM race in the weekend between those long runs sounds like recipe for trouble--especially as nooby as I still am. I am planning to do a HM 4 weeks before the Grand Rapids Marathon, but by then I will have that much more fitness and mileage under my belt. And it's a really cool race. From the sound of things, the HM I missed this morning was not all that thrilling.