Just got back from my first run of significant distance in my new cross country shoes. Headed to the Arroyo to find the naturally soft sand and leaf litter. The Arroyo is about two miles from my home so I was a little concerned about the sidewalk and blacktop approach. I considered riding to the Arroyo and then running but that seemed like a bit of a hassle and I knew I’d eventually want to run the whole route directly from home so I just went for it.
The run felt amazing. I little painful at times - especially the last mile of sidewalk at the end of the run – but good overall with some interesting breakthroughs in stride and posture.
I don’t fully understand the mechanics of how this lower heel stride works but it seems to lean my body more forward. This is opposite from what I would assume. There seems to be some sort of counter balancing going on. But that’s good news for me because I’ve always had a weird lean back sort of running style – like Michael Johnson, but without the speed.
I also feel like I can really push off with each step to launch myself forward more effectively. I was trying to take it easy to just get used to things so I didn’t want to sprint anything out but I felt like I suddenly had a lot of potential speed that I’ve been missing for a long time.
At about seven miles, on a long straightaway of asphalt road that often lulls me into a wall of drudgery, I let it open up a bit and it turns out there’s still a little speed left in my legs. It felt really good – like nothing was holding me back. Also at this point I noticed that I was running with my chest a little bit more expanded than normal so that my lungs were really blown wide open providing what seemed like endless air supply. I’m excited to see where this could lead to next.
Of course, there is some potential downside, too. Clearly, there’s a lot more impact, and I don’t know how my body will react to that. Already, I know that my calves got nailed to the wall today and will probably be very sore tomorrow.
It’s amazing to me that a pair of shoes could make so many changes to my running experience right out of the box.