Sunday, 2 March 2014

The first race of 2014

A week to go!

Next week I will run my first race of the year, the Cambridge Half marathon! This is the third year that Cambridge has put on this event, and it is the third year I’ll be running it. I was also hoping that it would be the third year that I would be getting a new PB in it… but low training volume and a recent spate of unexpected injuries has made me doubtful that this will be possible. BUT, things are now on the up and up, so I’m starting to feel positive about getting a semi-decent time. 3 weeks ago, I did not think even this was possible. Since then, I have successfully deduced the underlying problem that has been causing all my small injuries of late. And of course, as it almost always is, it’s been the shoes.

Normally, I immediately suspect that my shoes are behind whatever discomfort I’m feeling when running, but this time it came as a bit of a surprise. Because my shoes are still relatively new, so it’s not like they should need to be replaced. And they’re the same brand and model (Asics GT-2000) that I always wear. Or are they..?

It turns out: no. They most certainly are not. I have been hoodwinked! I should’ve figured it out much earlier than I did. I actually partially suspected something was not quite right about them when I first tried them out. I found them online for a steal of a price, and they were so beautiful! Green and pink and snazzy. Too snazzy perhaps. If I’d bought some that were more regularly coloured, I probably would have been more perturbed by the fact that they didn’t seem to fit as well as my old pair. The sides felt shallower. The tops felt tighter. The material felt less substantial, and a bit more like cardboard… But I thought maybe it was just because I was breaking them in. After all, they were the exact same size and model as my previous pair, so how could anything possibly be wrong with them?

So snazzy. What could possibly be wrong?

Oh, foolish Past Michelle. It took me a couple of months and a bunch of small, recurring injuries to finally question this amazing and cheap pair of shoes I had landed. And once I began to suspect them, determining that they were either a dodgy batch, or a plain rip off took only seconds. A couple of cheeky measurements with a tape measure showed that my new shoes were shallower, narrower and marginally shorter than all my previous GT-2000s. Not the same shoe. Not at all! That’ll teach me to bargain shop.
Old shoe vs. new shoe. The same right..? Wrong.

One of these shoes is not like the other...
I’ve now switched back to my old shoes (which I probably shouldn’t still be running in) and everything is SO MUCH BETTER. Even though they’re old, I can feel the support and cushioning in a way that I couldn’t from my fake Asics. And good running form is so much easier to maintain. So frustrating to know that a few months bad running can be caused by something so simple to fix.

But there’s no sense wallowing. The issue is addressed, and now I’m back on track, if not on top form. I’m still suffering some minor hip tenderness as fall out from the dodgy shoes, but it gets better and better even as I’m running on it, so it won’t stop me from making the start line next week. Today I’ll run a cheeky 12 km or so as my last substantial run, then a couple of short, easy runs this week to keep things ticking over. And I won’t spend too much time worrying about what time I’ll run next week. I’ll just enjoy the race :)

Also, I’m running the Cambridge Half marathon on behalf of Cancer Research UK. If you’ve got a bit of change spare, and you feel like donating to a good cause, just click on this link. Myself and CRUK will be eternally grateful :)


  1. Someone sells fake Asics?! Can you warn us of the source? x

  2. After much research, it turned out that they weren't fakes, just a sneaky redesign that Asics tried to slip under the radar. They were so different from my previous GT 2000 though, I was really surprised! Normally they at least change a digit when they revamp. Grumble.