Hey, I Put Some New Shoes On…

…and suddenly everything’s right. At least according to Paolo Nutini.

One of those things I’ve been meaning to get around to doing for ages is get some new running shoes. My most current ones, Saucony Guide 8s in a snazzy blue color (see photo below), still have miles in them, but they don’t really fit anymore and have been known to give me a bit of grief every now and then during runs.

(One of the fun pregnancy side effects I experienced was growing feet. Thanks – I’m assuming – to the relaxin that flooded my body a while ago, spreading the bones in my feet, I’m left with feet that are a half-size to full-size bigger, depending on which foot you’re looking at. Which is another cool thing – one foot grew more than the other. Yay!)

Since I started experiencing knee pain last week, and with a half marathon and the lead-up training looming on the horizon, I thought it was high time I bit the bullet. So Drew and I grabbed the Bairn and headed to our nearest Marathon Sports this afternoon so I could get re-fit and have my gait reanalyzed for some new kicks.

The Bairn enjoyed the big doggy in the window display

It was during the fitting that I learned my formerly size 8.5 feet are now size 9 (left) and slightly bigger than size 9 (right). That makes things fun. Also, it seems that whereas my forefoot has spread out a bit, my ankle area is the same as before, so bigger shoes feel looser at the back now. That’s also fun, and makes it very easy to find shoes that work.

Luckily I got a super awesome salesman who knew what he was talking about, and he grabbed a bunch of different shoes for me to try. I gave my Saucony Guides a go again, only to find the new ISO model feels like it’s squishing my feet from the top. The new model of my Adidas shoes felt way too loose at the heel, as did the Brooks  I tried.

There were only two shoes that matched my flat feet/over-pronation/gait that also felt snug enough at the heel – Mizunos (maybe Wave Inspires? I don’t remember) and Nike Zoom Structures. I ran around the store in one of each for a while, and it ended up being the Nikes all the way.

I’m so pumped to take these for a proper run, but I’m a little nervous as well. I’ve been wearing Saucony Guides for almost the entire time I’ve been running, except for the time I branched out to Adidas and ended up with a messed-up knee. It was probably a coincidence, but there’s something of a superstitious comfort in knowing you’ve got a shoe that works for you, and the Guides were my ol’ faithfuls.

My fingers (and beleaguered toes!) are crossed that these Nikes do the trick!

What shoes are your ol’ faithfuls?

Have you ever had to switch shoe brands after being with one for a long time? How did it go?


Gotta Have Heart

Hello there and happy Tuesday!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed recent posts that look like this:


Why have I randomly jumped on the heart rate training bandwagon? Well, I’m excited to share that I’ve recently become a Heart Zones ambassador!

Heart Zones Ambassador Badge 2017Heart Zones was founded in 1993 by Hall of Fame triathlete/ultra-marathoner/founder of Fleet Feet Sports Sally Edwards to motivate and empower people to improve their fitness through education, technology, and training. Their goal is to “Get America Fit through data driven fitness that utilizes wearable technology and sound methodology.” You can learn more about their mission here.

I’ve been curious about heart rate training since my first 5k for Beginners class way back when, when one of our classes was devoted to figuring out our base heart rates and how to train with heart rate monitors. It was fascinating to me, but I felt like I wasn’t *quite* serious enough with my running to invest in a monitor.

When Heart Zones reached out to me, it re-piqued my interest in heart rate training, especially these days when I’m trying to get back to fitness smartly. I’m looking forward to using my Blink 3.0 sensor more, and having new running data I can play with and learn from!


Have you run/trained with a heart rate monitor? What did you think of it?

Review: LEGEND Compression Performance Socks

Well, hello again! I will spare you from my now traditional opening paragraph of blogger shame – it would say basically the same as my last post, so if you feel the urge, you can read that one – in the interest of just getting on with it. Shall we?

Disclaimer: I received a free pair of LEGEND compression socks as part of being a LEGEND Ambassador. This review was not solicited, and opinions are my own.

I’ve been dabbling with compression socks/sleeves for a while, ever since my first major attack of the shin splints a few summers ago. I didn’t have a lot of luck with the sleeves – they didn’t really seem to help much – but the socks seemed to do the trick. Thanks to a few grab bag clearance sales at ProCompression, I was able to get a few pairs for much cheaper than the usual going rate ($50 per pair), and rocked them at various races:


Marvel at my MS Paint skillz!

While I enjoyed the funky designs (especially the shamrock ones!) and the fact that wearing them helped my shins feel like they weren’t about to eject themselves painfully from my calves, I found that I couldn’t wear the socks for very long, as the elastic band at the top would start squeezing me uncomfortably. Then, the one time I tried to wear them for recovery, I had to pull them off in a slight panic (no easy feat, as compression socks are no joke to get on and off!) after an hour or so, as my legs started feeling a bit tingly like the circulation was getting cut off.

I didn’t bother to experiment with other compression brands, given the steep price tag of all the products, and just assumed that if I wanted to rock compression socks, I’d have to make sure I didn’t wear them for too long.

When LEGEND contacted me about becoming an ambassador this past summer, I was intrigued. For one, it meant a free pair of socks, which meant I could give compression socks a go again without breaking the bank (hooray!). For another, their slogan of “Right not Tight” made me think that perhaps I could get the benefits of compression without the loss-of-circulation feeling and squeezy sensation under my knee. I opted to try out a pair of their Performance Socks, and eagerly awaited mail day.


Mail day! I love this color.

When the socks arrived, I tried them on right away and wandered around my house in them for a while. They were slower than your average socks to pull on – just like other compression socks I’ve tried – but once they were on, they were so comfortable. I didn’t feel squeezy at all. But, to be fair, this was just a trial run in my house… the real test would come later!

Okay, quick break from my personal tale to share the deets of these socks from the LEGEND site:

LEGEND® Compression Performance socks are designed for all sporting activities to enhance power and endurance while supporting the shin, ankle, achilles, calf and arch of the foot. The product design and manufacturing process of our sports compression socks make them among the best performing socks on the planet. These sports compression socks were developed through extensive research in the compression industry. These socks are unique because they implement design aspects that our LEGEND® team pulled from its years of experience with medical grade compression products. By applying those medical learnings to our Compression Performance Socks, we were able to create a graduated compression product that we believe is the best on the market. Featuring 15-20 mmHg of graduated compression it provides everything you need to perform at your best.


  • 15-20 mmHg Graduated Compression for improved athletic performance
  • Compression Performance socks for all sports
  • Greater power output
  • Enhanced Endurance
  • Faster Muscle Warm Up Pre-exercise
  • Increase oxygen levels and blood circulation
  • Faster recovery time
  • Seamless toe and terry sole construction
  • Promotes circulation for muscle performance
  • Reduction of lactic acid
  • Improve muscle support and injury prevention
  • UV protection
  • Moisture wicking
  • Achilles and arch support
  • Open ventilation and breathable design for comfort

(There’s a whole bunch more information on the website that I won’t copy here, but if you’re curious, check it out!)

Test #1:

So, with promises of these socks providing “greater power output,” “increased endurance,” “decreased shin splints and calf cramps,” and “improved recovery time,” I put them to their first real test at the Beach 2 Beacon 10K. I hadn’t run a lot before that race, and I didn’t really warm up at all due to my desire to be social rather than a responsible runner, and these things are usually a recipe for shin splints, sore calves, and DOMS in my legs for a few days after the fact.


How were they? Well, I’ll refrain from calling them miracle socks for fear of hyperbole, but, reader, they were awesome. I put them on around 5am, stood around in them for quite a while before the race, ran in them for an hour and 20 minutes, sat around in them for at least an hour, then walked another 2 miles in them before taking them off. All told, I’d had them on for probably 7 hours. And there was absolutely no squeezy or loss-of-circulation feelings. My legs felt totally fine. I had no blisters (full disclosure: I did Body Glide my toes before the race). My legs weren’t even that sweaty, considering the socks are long.

But maybe the best part? Remember how I said I hadn’t warmed up at all before the race? When I neglect to warm up, I usually spend the first mile of a race battling shin splints before they calm down. I had zero shin splints at B2B. My calves felt fine. And I had absolutely no residual soreness in my legs at all afterward… not that afternoon, not the next day, etc. It was weird (for me), and I liked it.

Test #2:


In case B2B had been a fluke, I figured I should test the socks in another race before reviewing them. Fast forward a month to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park 10K. Once again, I donned the socks early, wearing them for a while before running for an hour and a quarter, then stood around/rode the Tube in them. And again, no discomfort or squeeziness. And, once again, despite my not having run in the month between races as well as doing a paltry warm-up, my legs felt fresh after the race and didn’t get sore at all. (I had been a little worried about DOMS given that I had two flights home the day after the race, but my legs felt totally fine!)

Test #3:

(This was a bonus test, since I got lazy with blogging and didn’t get around to writing a review until now.)

So, I’m pregnant. One of the common side effects of pregnancy is swollen legs/feet/ankles as all the extra blood in your body has a tendency to pool at the bottom if you’re not moving around too much. At an appointment a few months back, my midwife suggested compression socks for the days when I knew I would be mostly stationary. At the time, I was being pretty good about taking lunchtime walks – plus all the nearest ladies’ rooms are small epic quests away from my cubicle – so I didn’t really have a need to try them out.

That is, until the day of the Massachusetts Speaks Out Against Hate rally in Boston. Figuring that I’d be standing around for a while without a place to sit, I thought I’d give my socks a non-running go. And you know what? They didn’t let me down. I wore them all day, standing mostly still in them for an hour or two midday, and once again they were nothing but comfortable. And my preggo feet and ankles were happily not swollen when I took them off that night – huzzah!


Can you see my socks under my massive belly?

The Verdict:

I love these socks. I love that they’re compression socks without the squeezy feeling. I love that they don’t make my legs all sweaty and gross, even when worn under long trousers. I love that they’re comfortable to run in, and that they seem to magically rescue my legs from post-run soreness.

But wait, you may be asking… what about the promises of increased endurance and power output? Good question, reader. In all honesty, I can’t really answer that. To give a fair review of those aspects, I feel like I’d have to try them out when I’m at least a little bit fit. Since I ran in them in races I didn’t train for, when my fitness was diminishing thanks to the growing presence of my new running buddy, it wasn’t easy to compare my power or endurance to previous non-sock experiences. Once the wee bairn arrives and I get out there running again, I’m going to take them on more test runs to see what effect they have (or might not have) because I’m curious too. Watch this space!

Want to give LEGEND Compression Performance Socks (or maybe one of their other products, like sleeves or recovery socks?) a go? If it’s your first time buying LEGEND gear, follow this link to get $15 off!

Not your first purchase but want more gear? Use the code AmbFriend2016 to get 15% off any LEGEND purchase!

Review: Armpocket Aero i-10


Aero i-10 image from Armpocket website

(Disclaimer: I wasn’t asked to review this product or given one to review; I bought it for my own use and decided to review it here. All opinions are my own and may differ from those of other users of this product.)

Once upon a time, I was running my favorite route by the pond. I was holding my phone in my hand as I ran, partly so it would be at the ready for photo opportunities, and partly because, well, I had no other way to carry it.

My phone, which I had never dropped while running, suddenly squirted out of my hand and crashed to the asphalt. I suppose it was inevitable, but I was seriously bummed. My phone, which I’d had for more than 2 years and had kept miraculously uncracked, now had a chip in its screen. I was sad.

I decided then and there that I needed a better way to carry my phone with me while running. But what? I had tried an armband holder a few years back, only to have its Velcro fail after a mere couple of uses – at the start of the B.A.A. 5k, leaving me to hold the thing for 3 miles. My Nathan water bottle has a phone pocket, but, well… I don’t love that bottle, to say the least. It regularly leaked into the phone pocket, as well as all over me. Plus, having something in my hand, even if it has a nifty little hand strap, tends to make me feel a little off-balance.

When I got home, I hopped on Running Warehouse and scoped out their products. I’ve been a bit wary of hip belt thingies, not knowing how much they’d bounce or how comfortable they’d be. And all the armband products were for phones newer and bigger than mine. Cue some googling and that’s when I found Armpocket.

Right off the bat, I loved Armpocket’s website, specifically the “fit my phone” feature. You choose the make of your phone, then whether you have a case and, if so, how big it is, and then Armpocket shows you which of their products will fit your phone. No guesswork needed! So easy!

My phone and its case yielded two results- the Racer, which is sleek and only holds your phone to allow for a lighter, more aerodynamic experience while racing, and the Aero i-10. Since I liked the idea of having a place to stow cards, keys, money, and fuel as well as my phone, I selected the Aero i-10.

My shiny new Aero i-10 in the flesh!

Description from the website:

Sleek, durable, convenient. The Armpocket Aero i-10 protects your mobile device whether you’re running errands or just plain running. The armband’s slim design allows you freedom of movement, and its extra interior compartment stores keys, ID, and more.

Featuring a double-zipper pocket, this sleek sports armband fits all devices and cases up to 5” (12.7cm), including the new iPhone SE, iPhone 5 and iPhone 4.

Another reason I’ve been hesitating to buy another armband after my Velcro disaster with my last one, is that they tend to cost more than I want to spend. (My first one was cheap… maybe that’s why it fell apart so fast!) The Aero i-10 costs $29.95, which isn’t bad but not the $15-20 I was hoping for. However, shipping in the US is free, and Armpocket was offering a deal at the time where first-time buyers got 10% off their purchase. Sweet!

On top of the decent cost, Armpocket products have a 2-year warranty, are water- and mud/dirt-proof, are machine-washable, and have apparently passed a military-grade drop test. Sounded good to me!

So, after that long preamble, how has my experience with my new Armpocket been? TL;dr I’m a fan!

Purchase: It was quick and easy to buy the item on their secure site. After that, Armpocket was great with communication, sending emails when the product shipped and was delivered. Sometimes I get no feedback like this and don’t know how long to wait for my purchase, but Armpocket was all over it.

Mail day!

Mail day: I loved the smiley face sticker on the package, and appreciated the personalized note inside. This company seems to really care about their product and making sure that buyers love the product too!

First test: I took it out for a quick 2-miler around the neighborhood. My phone fit perfectly with its case still on, as promised, and there were little pockets for my keys and cards/money, as well as plenty of room for fuel.

The inside: two pockets at the back and an elastic strap at the front to hold your phone against the clear plastic front, which makes it so much easier to use your phone while it’s inside the case!

It took me a bit to get used to having the thing on my arm, first to get the strap to fit right so that it wasn’t either too loose or cutting off circulation. Once I found the magic spot, it was great. A little weird having a bit of weight on my arm, but I soon got used to it and it was so much better to have my hands free! I took it on another quick run with the same results.

Big test: I wore this puppy during my half marathon last month. I had carried my water bottle (sans water) in my first half, and it worked okay other than the aforementioned off-balance feeling. I was looking forward to not having to carry anything in this hot race, and was also looking forward to trying it out as a music carrier, since this was going to be my first race rocking a motivational playlist.


Ready to rock

For the most part, it was fantastic. Again, once I found the right strap position it felt fine on my arm, and wasn’t hot and sweaty… or at least, no more than I’d expect. It was a really hot race, and my arm was a bit damp when I took it off, but during the run it wasn’t uncomfortably warm/sweaty and didn’t chafe.

The back of the Armpocket, which is surprisingly non-sweaty. (Ignore the little sunscreen stains!)

It passed the waterproof test, too, when a neighbor of one of the water stops sprayed me and some other runners with his sprinkler. My Armpocket took a direct hit, but my phone and everything inside stayed lovely and dry.

The only two problems I had were:

  1. Only one pouch of Honey Stinger chews fit inside. I was hoping to take 2, but 2 wouldn’t fit with my phone in there too. Maybe if I’d taken the chews out and combined them in a ziploc bag they would have fit, or if I’d used different fuel, but what I had chosen didn’t work. I ended up running out of chews 8 or 9 miles in, but was saved by gels at an aid stop.
  2. My headphone cord was a pain to fit in the Armpocket’s cord slot. I struggled for a while to get it to fit and align with my headphone jack, and ended up surrendering it to Drew (who studied engineering and is better at these sorts of problems). He found that if you shove the cord through the slot before sliding the phone all the way down, you can the align the cord using the clear window. This whole problem might have stemmed from the fact that my headphones have a square plug thing, and maybe this wouldn’t be an issue with normal, round ones.

Headphone slots

Little velcro thingie that holds headphone cords and zipper danglies in place – love it!

Other than those two hiccups, I’ve loved my Armpocket, and am so glad I relented and got one. I love the happy bright color, I love the zipper/cord holder so I’m not driven mad by flapping cords or hanging zipper pulls, and I love that I can finally tote my stuff around on runs without having to hold everything. Huzzah!

What’s your preferred method of carrying your stuff while you run?

Friday Five(ish)

It’s been quiet on the blog front for me this week… sorry for the silence! There are a few future posts I’ve been working on, and I guess I haven’t had much to say in the interim. That’s changing today with my take on the Friday Five theme… or maybe I’m just shamelessly copying Rae’s Friday Free-for-All (hope you don’t mind, Rae!)… regardless, here are five random things that are on my mind and making me happy today:

1) New kicks!!

Saucony Guide 7 <3 <3

Saucony Guide 7… so shiny!

At the Craft Brew Race a few weeks back I noticed a tiny hole forming in the top of my current running shoes; the neon yellow of my socks was showing through every time I moved my toes. Not good! And the hole has only gotten bigger with each run. I ran my first Guide 6s until they started hurting, and my current ones haven’t hurt me yet so clearly they still have some miles left. I’m going to keep wearing them, but wanted some backup in case my toes blow all the way through.

I’ve been wanting the Guide 7s ever since they came out, especially after I took them for a test run a few months ago, but didn’t feel like I could justify buying them while they were still full-price and my current shoes were still fine. I did splurge on a pair of Adidas Supernova Sequence 6s as a treat after I got a promotion at work, because they were on clearance and I keep reading that it’s apparently good to rotate a few pairs of running shoes at a time… and because they were purple and neon yellow. However, as soon as I got them I injured my ankle and it hurt to even try them on, so I tucked them away until I healed and promptly forgot that I had them. Fast forward to last week, when I remembered them and tried them on again, and turns out they don’t fit after all. Go figure.

Luckily, City Sports lets you return unworn shoes for merchandise credit, even if it’s been almost 4 months since you bought them, so I was able to trade them for a shiny new pair of Guides (and a tube of Nuun). If I “forget” that I already spent money on the Adidas kicks, it feels like I got $120 shoes and Nuun for less than $50. Score! I can’t wait to rock these new kicks!

2) Running scavenger hunt

Amy at Let’s Go Running decided to do a running scavenger hunt this week and I totally jumped on the bandwagon because it sounded awesome. The 5 things we were supposed to find sounded easy enough – a shovel, a green lawn, an out-of-season decoration, a pond, and a bench – but it’s turning out to be trickier than I expected. So far I’ve only crossed two things off my list, a pond and a bench:


The scavenger hunt has made me want to go out for a run every night this week to try to find the other items, but alas… life is getting in the way. I’m hoping I can capture the other items this weekend!

3) Catching up with an old friend

A good friend of mine from college (M-Dawg) has been living on the west coast for a few years and I haven’t seen him in ages. Luckily for those of us on the east coast, he and his wife are moving back this way, and luckily for me, he’s currently living with friends in my city until he finds a permanent place. Wahoo! We have plans for dinner and catching up tonight and I can’t wait to see him and introduce him to the townie bar down the street from my house. It’s been way too long!

Me and M-Dawg at a college Halloween party

Me and M-Dawg at a college Halloween party

4) Gina!!

Gina, my lovely friend and the wife of my running buddy Colin, is coming back into town for a few weeks and is arriving this weekend! I haven’t seen her since New Year’s and I miss her laugh, her fun, pretty much everything about her! So many re-connections with friends this weekend… I love it.


5) Family

Squeezed between catching up with M-Dawg and Gina this weekend, I’ll be heading out to Central Mass to visit my mum, step-dad, and grandma. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen them and it’ll do me so much good to spend some time with them! It’s going to be a weekend of friends, family, and happiness, and I’m pumped. It makes me very glad it’s Friday! 🙂

What’s your weekend looking like?

Have you ever done a scavenger hunt, running or otherwise?

Random, Happy Things Friday

Today has been gray, rainy, and gloomy, so I thought a list of happy things might cheer me up a bit! So without further ado, here are some of the things that have been making me smile lately:

  • The Shammies had a cookout last night, and it was my first time hanging out with the club since April 1, when I injured my ankle. I hadn’t realized just how much I missed them until I was back among them last night! We gathered at a local Irish-American club for some burgers, dogs, and beers (or, in my case, a plastic cup of rum with a tiny splash of Coke) and it was so nice to chat with my run-club buddies again. I met some new people too, including a guy who commutes on my bus with me every morning and we always give each other that “I think I know you…?!” glance. Now we know why we look vaguely familiar to each other! (And this morning we exchanged hearty hellos instead of awkward glances!) There were some guys from a local running store there too, and I ordered some cool running shorts that will match my run-club singlet. Yay kit! I’m curious to check out their store one of these days too.
I signed up to bring macaroni salad to the cookout... turned out several other people did too!

I signed up to bring macaroni salad to the cookout… turned out several other people did too! (I was hoping to take lots of pictures of Shammie-good-times but the lighting in the club was terrible and I didn’t want to be the weird girl taking pictures of everyone. Ah well.)

  • Related to the cookout, the Irish-American club smelled just the way my grandparents’ cellar did when I was a kid… stale cigarettes and old-man cologne/aftershave. While I didn’t enjoy leaving smelling like smoke, the memory did make me feel cozy.
  • My running buddy Colin is back from his overseas travels! Huzzah!! I’ve definitely loved running with Drew while Colin’s been away and exploring new trails with him, and I’m looking forward to keeping him as my trail-and-track running buddy, but I’m excited to run with Colin along the new routes through the city he mapped out while I was injured, and to have my road race running buddy back!
  • The World Cup!! I’ve been missing watching soccer on weekend mornings ever since the Premier League season ended, and I’m excited to binge-watch for a month. I’ve started decorating my cube at work:
Come on England!

Come on England!

…and I’ve decorated my nails like I did for the last 2 World Cups:

I had forgotten how hard it is to paint the nails on my right hand... I'm not left-handed at all!

I had forgotten how hard it is to paint the nails on my right hand… I’m not left-handed at all!

My boss is the only other person at work who cares about the World Cup at all, and we’ve talked about sneaking away for a lunch “meeting” to watch a match. I hope that happens!

I was lucky enough to be in England right before both of the last two World Cups, and I miss all the excitement and flags and fun-flavored crisps and silly swag covered in St. George’s cross that came with it. I live in a hockey-centric city that’s still bummed out that the Bruins didn’t make the finals, and in a country that – while getting much more excited about soccer than it used to – doesn’t really go all-out for the World Cup. I’m okay with having to make my own excitement around the event, but it would be nice to have all the fun stuff that goes along with it everywhere else in the world. Someday?

  • Candlepin bowling for morale day at work!
I'm the one at the back being goofy.

I’m the one at the back being goofy.

Hard not to smile when you get to leave work at 11.30, travel in a pack to a local bowling alley, eat delicious pizza, drink cider, bowl like a fool, and then go home at 2. My kind of day!

Happy weekend everyone!

What’s been making you happy this week?

OMG Shoes

Quick background: the following video sums up how I am when it comes to running shoes (and before my plunge into running, it’s how I was with soccer cleats too):

[Warning: this video contains lots of four-letter words]

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s my confession: For the past two weeks I’ve been obsessed with the new Brooks Transcend shoes. Clearly Brooks’s ad campaign [“It’s like running on clouds!”] worked on me, because I instantly had stars in my eyes and wanted to try them for myself. While at Sports Authority last weekend, I spotted a giant display for them and tried a pair on. They were glorious. They truly felt like clouds… or little hugs that were enveloping my feet. Though I would have happily bought them right then, I decided to be good and wait a bit, since I don’t really need new running shoes at the moment.

(Another quick disclaimer: I have flat feet and thus over-pronate like crazy, so shoe people unfailingly steer me toward the motion control section, which is usually filled with boring, white sneakers. I’ve confessed before to being a gear head, and to liking flashier bits of kit, so I’d usually try on my clunky motion control shoes while making sad puppy-dog eyes at the dazzling colors and fun neon over in the neutral section. These Transcend shoes boast guide rails that provide support BUT they’re also bright and snazzy, so I think that’s why I adore them so much.)

Fast-forward to this past Thursday, when I attended a sports bra “Fit Night” at one of my local running stores. [After reading Alexandra Heminsley talk about the damage that can be done by wearing the incorrect size sports bra and feeling paranoid, I jumped at the chance to attend this event when I saw it advertised!] After getting measured and trying on a few different bras inside a super-awkward and very stuffy changing tent in the middle of the store, I victoriously clutched my shiny new bra and made a bee-line for the shoes. I needed another go with the Transcends, and the saleswoman happily obliged.

She took me outside to watch me run around in them, and as I giddily jogged back and forth, imagining that the shoes were little fluffy cloud hugs, I couldn’t help but notice her frown. Apparently the shoe’s guide rails weren’t enough to hold back my rampant over-pronation, and saleslady said she didn’t like how my ankles and knees were wobbling all over the place. She brought me back inside to have me try on the newest model of the shoes I currently wear – the Saucony Guide – and my sad puppy-dog eyes returned as I watched her carry my fluffy cloud hugs away.

I wasn’t sad for long though… trying on the Guide 7 was an almost magical experience. Whereas the Transcends felt like cloud hugs, the Guides felt like they weren’t even there… they seemed to just invisibly transform my feet into running machines. It was awesome. Saleslady had me try on a few others, a different Brooks shoe and a Mizuno, but the Guides seemed to be it. “Looks like you’re just a Saucony kind of girl!” she said as I gazed adoringly at the Guides on my feet, and that launched me into another trip down memory lane:

My Running Shoe History

My running story on this blog isn’t entirely true. I tried running a few times before experimenting with Couch to 5K; during college, my friend Laura and I would drive down to the track in our hometown when we were on break to “go running” (read: walk a few laps while chatting, then run one lap, burn ourselves out, and drive off somewhere to get ice cream), and then in early 2010 I tried to fit in a few laps around the track at work between the shifts of my two part-time jobs, but that only lasted for about a week. During my college running excursions I’d wear my old Adidas shoes from my days on the high school tennis team, but by 2010 I decided I needed dedicated running shoes. And I picked my shoes based purely on looks:


Saucony Kilkenny

At the time, I owned a pair of Saucony Jazz casuals and loved them, so I figured Saucony running shoes would be just the ticket. I found the Kilkennys on Zappos and loved how light they were, and how freaking cool they looked (red! silver! I looked like a track star!). I rocked them until my first time working with a trainer at my gym, who watched me do some cardio in the Kilkennys with wide eyes and told me he wouldn’t let me come back until I bought shoes with some support for my flailing ankles.

Grudgingly I visited my local City Sports and let the shoe salesman lead me to the motion control section. He gave me a choice of 2 – a white and pink pair of Nikes or a white and blue pair of Brooks. I had never heard of Brooks at that point and really wanted the Nikes (a cool brand!), but they broke my cardinal rule of shoes – they were pink. I hate pink. So I went with the Brooks:

Brooks GTS X

Brooks GTS X

These were the shoes I wore during my multiple attempts at Couch to 5K, and these were the shoes I wore throughout my 5K for Beginners class. They were also what I wore to run my first-ever race last March:


They’re the shoes that ushered me into this new running stage of my life, and for that I will always have a special place in my heart for the Brooks GTS. However, the more I ran in them, the less comfortable they were (as is the norm, I suppose.) I won a gift certificate to Marathon Sports, a dedicated running store, and decided to let one of their experts watch me run and suggest the right shoe for my weird feet. Once again I was pulled back in the world of Saucony:

Saucony Guide 6

Saucony Guide 6

Apart from the Ras, I’ve run every other race with either my white/blue or gray/pink Guides, and they’ve rarely done me wrong. (Pair #1 began to give me trouble as their mileage got up there, but that’s to be expected.) Clearly I am just a Saucony kind of girl!

Saucony Guide 6

Saucony Guide 6 (pair #2)

I bought my second pair on clearance when the Guide 7 was just about to be released, and had to break my cardinal rule of no pink because this was the only color left in my size. (I wanted the black and purple ones!) Anyway, I’ve come to love my bright pink laces, and I’m looking forward to the day I finally give in and buy my new pair of Guide 7s. I can’t wait for them to transform my feet into running machines again!


So that was quite the long-winded post. Props to anyone who read that whole thing!

What are your favorite running shoes?