My Running Shoe Evolution (review)

Pre warning to all Sneaker Heads… All these shoes are in use, so they aren’t in perfect condition ;).

From Left to Right: Nike Free Flyknit 4.0, Nike Free Hyperfeel, Nike Zoom Terra Kiger, Nike Zoom Wildhorse x2, Nike Flyknit One & Nike Free 5.0

From Left to Right: Nike Free Flyknit 4.0, Nike Free Hyperfeel, Nike Zoom Terra Kiger, Nike Zoom Wildhorse x2, Nike Flyknit One & Nike Free 5.0

I have been running now for little over a year but all these shoes have been my companions through that time. I wanted to do a post of these friends of mine and how I found the ones that work with my feet best. So this is a kind of review too.

NIKE FREE 5.0

The super  bright orange pinkish shoes! Before I started running these were more of a everyday shoes, but I have to say that I was really happy to have them when I started. They were my best friends for more than half a year of my running journey. I ran my first ever 10K in these!

I really like that they gave me a bit of support but basically let my feet and legs do the work. Back when these started to feel like they have given everything, I started looking for the next to wear. At the time I really didn’t like the feel of Frees, the upper felt somehow loose comparing to these. But I have to admit that I also thought that I need more support, that’s pretty much how you are instructed and I believed it, so I started lusting over the new Flyknit Ones.

NIKE FLYKNIT ONE

So, my parents sponsored these new sneakers for me. I was waiting them like the new moon. I ran my first long runs in them, those runs that you remember forever, also my first half marathon(part of my personal project, not a “official” race but more than important to me).

I always felt that they are little loose, and maybe too soft for me, but I think I just wanted them to be perfect so I used them and didn’t think more about it. Now, they are just way too soft and my feet just get all hurty and feel super tired after only walking in them. But I also feel that they were good transition and without them I wouldn’t learn what would be good for me.

NIKE ZOOM WILDHORSE x2

These are one of my all time favorite shoes! They are trail running shoes but I liked to run pretty much whatever with them. I even did my longest run yet in them (28,8km), which was mixture of everything. I loved them so much that I used them all the time, every where.

End of last year I spend a month and a half in Finland and got to test them on snow, ice, and terrain that we don’t have here in Hannover. I can happily recommend them, on pretty much any terrain. The upper is sturdy and keeps its form really well, even when wet. The sole is grippy on pretty much all surfaces except on ice, tried and fell on my ass awesomely! 🙂I really like that they have pretty loose toebox but they still feel snuggly. They feel nicely supported from the arch area but not too controlling. In the beginning they can feel like you are standing more on your heel, because the heel drop is only 4mm, which means that your heel doesn’t have that much under it, so it’s closer to a natural position of your feet. Some say that their calves got some pain after the first runs, I didn’t really have any of that. I have these in two sizes, they run quite small, so my, now old, size was little small on long runs. After realizing, thanks to these, I started using half a size bigger in all my shoes. I really like these and would recommend them to anyone who likes to have a shoe to run more rugged terrain and go to more minimal direction.

NIKE ZOOM KIGER

These are the more minimal shoe from Nike for trail running. In the beginning I didn’t like these at all, just no. They took quite long for me to actually start really liking them. Now I really like to run in them and use them when walking too.

The upper is looser than on the Wildhorse and I think that bothered me in the beginning, also they don’t have this traditional heelcup which made me feel that my heel moves too much, but now I really like that the shoe doesn’t control the natural moves of my feet while running. They have pretty identical sole to Wildhorse, except that it’s not “so” supported, so the biggest difference is in the upper. They are more minimal than the Wildhorse so, if you want to have that then this might be your shoe.These two models are more what my feet work well in and at the same time, end of last year, I started studying more and more about how our feet and legs work. I also got injured from too much running too soon and when I was injured I wanted to educate myself, to be able to understand what’s going on in me when I’m running. And be able to train without getting injured again.

All that I learned opened my eyes a lot about how we are instructed to wear while running or in general on our feet. Because of my previous injuries, I have been able to get my whole body little lopsided so I needed and still need to get myself “straight” and felt that if my natural way of moving is controlled I’m doing more harm than good to the process of getting better. And since I started getting deeper in to my learning process, I realized that I should give my feet a rest and let them figure out their natural way to do things.

The main problems were really bad shin splints and plantar fasciitis on my right foot. Usually you treat them with rest and more support, I tried, that made it worse. I also learned that only resting is not the best option. It makes sense now, but I didn’t know that if I only rest, all the work my muscles have done, starts slowly going back to zero and then when I do start doing something again, they aren’t as strong and able to take what I’m asking from them. So the injury actually never really gets better and you just get frustrated and feel like what the heck am I suppose to do, I am doing all that I have been taught. So, what I needed and wanted was a new mindset, new ways of operating my body and less of that supportsupportsupport thing.

Our bodies have all the support we need, we just have to let them do the work they are made for. To my huge luck, I got the most amazing friend and I got the chance to try out these next two models, which ended up making my injuries disappear and get me back on my running feet :). Obviously, I didn’t get better only by the shoes, there was other work too ;). And run that Half Marathon in Berlin, that I had waited for so long! Now these two share the number one spot on my feet and in my heart.

NIKE FREE HYPERFEEL

Not your average everyday running shoe or that’s what I thought before. Before I tested this one, I heard so many different things, some said that they can’t run in these, some used them only to run recovery runs and some used them all the time. In the beginning I didn’t run in them, the Half was so close that I didn’t want to take any risks.

For me, the first thing I noticed only when walking, is that your feet and legs really start to work. There’s nothing that keeps them working like they should. That can make your calves feel tender, it did. So, my first tip is to start really slow with these, maybe just by walking and then gradually starting to run short distances. This, if your feet are used to supported shoes. It’s pretty much the number one rule when changing from supported to minimal shoes, slow and easy start.I think that’s the reason why some don’t like these at all, they start too fast and get injured because their legs aren’t used to using those muscles before. There’s not the support naturally and your body needs the supportive muscles to be able to keep the injuries away. One thing that really bother me these days is that after I realized how much all of our shoes these days restrict the natural way of moving, it makes you think what you wear.

In the beginning I also thought that these look ridiculous, but once I started wearing them and realized how great they are, I started liking how they look too :). The upper is a flyknit and it feels like a sock. I don’t use socks with these if I really don’t have to. And the great thing is that because they don’t have traditional sole, so I can just take the “sole” out after my run and wash it and that’s it.

Sole and the light support.

Insole and the light support.

I’ve heard and read a lot about how your gait changes after you start running in minimal shoes, not sure how much mine has changed yet, but I feel that my legs are stronger and I’m less on my heels. I tried running barefeet on grass and noticed that I don’t even put my heel down, so there has to be some truth to it.The actual of these shoes is like a waffle, it has these small nobs and they grip well on slippery terrain and also make it easy to run on any kind of roads. I really like to run in these, because I feel that my legs feel better and stronger. I love that I really feel the terrain under my feet. They give me just enough cover while letting me feet do the work.Only bad thing… and this is with almost all girl size sneakers, way too long laces, so I got shorter ones!! 🙂

NIKE FREE FLYKNIT 4.0

And then to the others on the number one spot :). Just a month before my Half when I was able to run again, I got these at the same time as the Hyperfeels. I wanted to try if I could run the race in these and from the first run, I knew all is going to be good :). My feet had found a new friend.Like I said before, I have these and Hyperfeels on the number one spot, I run in both. They work in a similar way but it’s good to have variety, so your feet won’t get too “comfortable” and will still work.

The upper on these is also a Flyknit, it’s made from one piece so there’s nothing extra which I really like. It’s the same as in Hyperfeels. I have had some problems with my old shoes with seams really bothering and even making cuts. With these there’s no problem about that. These feel like a sock too, they let your feet really move and there’s enough space for your toes, no squishy feeling. The tongue is attached to the shoe in a way that it doesn’t travel anywhere and doesn’t bother, as it sometimes can do. Like in Hyperfeels and Kigers, these have the Flywire which really helps the shoe feel like it’s made for your feet.

That yellow doesn’t come with the shoes… It’s some plant that we have here and doesn’t come off in the wash :).

The sole is little different from the old Frees, I feel that it gives more “room” for your feet to move even more natural. Nothing extra which makes them really light and you don’t even think that you have anything on your feet. That’s how I feel, and hope that others find them like that too.

For me, I like to run in these if I know that I will run mostly on asphalt and then with Hyperfeels if I know that there’s little all on my run. I have also used both of them while doing strength training and they work really well. Any kind of balance workout, you really feel the difference with these and old training shoes. With these you can’t cheat because there’s nothing holding you and supporting which I like.All in all I would recommend both of these minimal shoes to anyone who is looking to go to that direction or is already wearing minimal shoes. I have found that they are the ones that keeps me healthy and helps me getting myself stronger.

And, as you can see here, all of my shoes are Nike. I am a Nike head but I wear them because they work so well with my feet, if they would be terrible I wouldn’t wear them.

I’m not a pro in reviewing shoes, but these are my thoughts on how these shoes have been there for me and how they work with my feet. If there’s any questions, I am more than happy to help and answer anything I can.

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Speed Mania

There is a mania sweeping this running community that I know. It’s called Speed!

People are going insane trying to get new and faster PB’s all the time. After races the first thing is to ask that what time someone got. Pushing yourself to the max is the new cool thing and if you don’t get the goal time you were aiming, everything is wrong?!

To be honest I think this is ridiculous. Because it takes away from the original reason why many of us start running in the first place. Also it looks like some people forget the happiness and just aim to get faster.

The truth is that we can’t all be super fast, and that is totally okay. We slower ones make the faster ones look good ;).

I don’t know what started this mania, but I think we need to take it back a notch, it’s not necessary. The thing is that if we keep going this way, there will be more injured people, people who feel like they aren’t good enough because they can’t run this and this time. And it also takes the happiness away from the sport that we all love!

And I hope you don’t get me wrong either, I have huge respect for people who wants to push them selves and have goals and want to get faster. But I think most of us just want to run without huge pressure all the time.

There are so many who start to run because of some personal struggle, like me and my depression. That also means that many of us aren’t strong enough to be in front of this speed pressure. Because it makes us feel like we aren’t good enough and our own work feels like we aren’t doing enough, so we start racking up kilometers like crazy and adding this and that. Or in the worst possible scenario, stop running because it doesn’t feel nice at all anymore.

The point is, we all have our own reasons why we run. We should also respect each other and the fact that we aren’t same in our goals. We will all reach the finish line in our own pace and that is so okay! And if I’m slower or faster than someone, it still doesn’t mean that I’m worse or better than them.

For me we all work super hard and we finish those races with same love, or we should! So let’s not put the time first and then ask how are you. Let’s ask first, how are you feeling and how awesome it is that we are here together enjoying this race!

So. Peace & Love.

I’m Back!!

 

I ran today!! I decided that I have to try it eventually. I was terrified and scared. I was so worried that my leg would hurt and my dreams of the Half Marathon are gone.

I was checking the starting time of the Half this morning and on the website is a “clock” of how long till the race day, and it said 6 weeks and that woke me up. I realized that I have to try if I want to run even some part of it :).

I was super nervous when I put my running stuff on and my dog was getting excited too. I thought that it’s the best option to go out with my dog, and if my leg starts hurting I can just keep walking with him.

When the trail started I took a deep breath and take those careful first steps, all felt good. I was so happy!! I took it super easy, with the words “Listen To Your Body” like a mantra in my head and for 4 km I kept going, with some walking in between.

I feel now, that I’m back, like I got my Self back. I felt that I got my motivation back, which is amazing!

Now I have to remember to take it slowly and listen to my body, but I’m BACK and that’s the most important thing to me!!

Depressed – Yes, I am

Hello, my name is Mirka and I’ve been depressed on and off for most of my life.  And by on and off I mean, that depression is a thing that never really goes away and you’re “healed”. Different things can cause it to come back, haunt your days that without it would be pretty nice. There are good periods and then there are really difficult and sad periods. If you find something that helps you live with it and see more positive in you and your life, those difficult periods don’t come too often, but to be able to maintain those good periods needs some serious work and that is HARD.

I am quite embarrassed to admit that I am depressed. I feel at times that it makes me worse than others, that it’s super hard for me to be happy and most of all, let myself be happy. Somehow I have this feeling that it is easier to think that I was depressed and now it’s gone, but also I think that it would be a lot easier to try to be okay with the fact that it’s part of me.

I know that it’s part of me but it’s not a nice thing to admit, especially if you know how bad it can make you. When I was younger, around 17-20, I was extremely depressed and the only thing I did was sleep. Sleeping gave me this freedom of that haunting and daunting feeling of sadness inside of me. Once I grew up and started having different things in my life, I couldn’t sleep that feeling away and that just made it worse, I felt that there was no way to get some easiness.

The reason for me to start writing my blog was to find a way to be more okay with my depression, not the main reason but part of it. Few years ago my therapist said that I should start writing my feelings down, I never did it because I had made my mind about me being unable to write and that I just don’t like it, so I never did. At the moment I wish that I had, but I don’t think I was ready.

I’ve always been a person who likes to be alone a lot, doing my thing, I don’t like that people bother me but I can also feel extremely lonely and yearn to be around people. But I’m also scared of being around people, because I’m not 100% sure of myself and I have times when it’s super hard for me to like myself. And I don’t have any kind of pokerface, so you would see if there is something.

I would love to have more friends, or more like let more people be my friends, but it’s super hard for me. Not sure why, but it just is. But it’s also really hard for me to say that I need a friend.

Last weekend I finally admit again that I am depressed. This past month has been really hard, on keeping myself positive and try to go forward. After I had to stop running because of my injury, I felt that I wasn’t good at all and I was beating myself up for getting injured. For me running has been my savior, it made me believe in myself and want to keep trying and not just give up. I started really liking myself and even be able to say to myself “I love you”! If you are or have been depressed, those are HUGE things.

For me, when I’m depressed, it feels that I’m doing something all the time, but the reality is that I’m not able to do sometimes even the everyday things. Sometimes going out more than just for the walks with the dog, is a terrifying idea, I can’t do it. It feels that you want to break free from this cloud that is just following you, but you just can’t. I see and hear the good things around me but I feel that I don’t have skills or tools to do anything about making things better.

It’s really frustrating to people around you and scary too, I believe. They try to help you with what they can but nothing seems to work. Sometimes the fact that they are trying can make the situation even worse.

I have always been jealous of people who keep trying and have this fire to do things and have projects after another. Or to have a skill like drawing, to be able to produce things and maybe sell them. I feel that I don’t have this skill set to do something like that.

My really close friend said to me something that really meant a lot. She said that I have to remember that I have conquered the monster which is depression already and that’s what I have to remember. That there will be those bad times but I have done it before and got myself up from that darkness and I can do it again. I do remember that but for some reason that is super hard to remember.

The thing with depression is that it comes little out of nowhere and then it’s on again. Sometimes it creeps on you really slowly and sometimes it needs just a tiny push and boom.

This month the biggest thing for me to start falling back down, was the fact that I “lost” running. I’m not yet strong enough to realize that it’s only for sometime and soon I can run again, or that I can do other sports while I get better. My mind was so much around running that when it was “taken” from me, it crushed me. Now I have 6 weeks till my first race, Berlin Half Marathon, is here and I have lost all interest in trying to get back there. I’m afraid of running or trying to run again because I’m afraid that maybe my injury is still there. I have lost the motivation to keep my body in shape so that when I can run again, I don’t start from the bottom. Yesterday I had this moment when I finally admitted that yes, I am depressed again and that it’s not only because of running, there are other personal things behind it, just bunch of things that made me feel like nothing. But I also realized that I do have a reason to keep trying and that’s why today I will go out and do some shopping that needs to be done, go out with the dog, and do some exercising that I think will make me feel better.

I promise to myself that I try. And I hope that end of today I can say that I did, which will make me feel better :). I have hope, even though the lows are at times really low, there are also those highs in my life I know that.

Shoes – good or bad?

Shoes… For some they are addiction, for others useless.

I started studying shoes and their history, by pure accident. I’ve been reading running related books the past 6 months, and usually there is something about shoes. But once I got injured I really wanted  to know more, and with good luck I happened to buy a book that is more than amazing and really goes from only preventing injuries and knowing how to this or that, to more about where shoes came from and why you use this or that shoe, the history, a lot of very good info. Also while being sick the past weeks, I have been watching many documentaries about shoes and their history (gotta love Netflix).

All this new information has made me think, really, what I put on my feet and why. For me this all started from an injury but now it’s a lot more. I feel that I just want to get rid of all those shoes that are pure evil to my feet and by wearing them, I’m also hurting my body without realizing it.

I was thinking about what kind of shoes I have been wearing in my past, childhood, teenage years and so on. The main thing that I, to my sadness, realized that I used usually too small shoes, like really small. It was more about how they looked than the fact that they just didn’t fit. And maybe it’s part of being a girl, but I liked to look down and see small feet… I know that some other girls do that too. I also remember this thing that I had when I was younger and mostly used skate shoes, that they always got bigger with use, so I bought a little too small pair and then after some, painful, time they would get “perfect”.  There was also times when through my work I got sample shoes, and I took them, but they were sooo small. But they were free! So I did use them, pain and all.

I remember hating if shoes felt loose, for me it had to be snug, snugger the better… But that is just plain stupid! And now I’m paying the prize for those awesome decisions. My other heel looks like some dinosaurthing and I’ve only lost one toenail during my last years running in too small shoes. Those are the “small” problems, the bigger ones are inside my body.

I first injured my knees back when I was running track, around 13 years old. That and the lack of interest in recovery training made my whole back go all wonky, and that in the end made my hips hurt and had to get some orthopedics. But my use of too small shoes did not end there, why would it?

At the moment, after few other injuries, my left side is way weaker than my right. When I last time injured my knee few years ago in my bike messenger days, my orthopedist said that because I’ve been walking all wrong for so many years, the problem with my knee is going to go up to my hips and lower back at some point, and did it! Hell yeah, all out and pulling all the stunts while at it!

Running has been the first thing that actually has really helped with my lower back problems and with that hips too. But I’m still really lopsided.

But the questions that I have been asking myself is that why would you do something like that to yourself? I would say that 100% vanity. There is no other reason that comes to my mind when I think about it. And that is sad!

After learning more and more about what is good and what is bad for your feet and through them to your whole body, I’ve really wanted to change that. I love how my toes are free to move, sideways, in my shoes that are the right size. I love that the shoes don’t feel uncomfortable but actually nice.  With time I would love to start using less and less supported shoes, and I don’t mean only running shoes, but all. By supported here I mean overly thick soles, not so much running shoes related support. I also kind of want to ditch any high heels, the idea of doing that to my feet make me grin.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really want to start wearing some weird looking “health” shoes either, but I will start actually think what I put on my feet. I might even sometimes put high heels on, but also think about their size first.

Most of all I want to get my body at least little bit more in balance, not be this lopsided anymore. It’s not even that hard, I just have to do the training…

I also know now that what I should think and not think when choosing shoes. I am extremely grateful to my Mom, who always said that you should walk as much as you can without shoes and socks. With that in the back of my head, I have always hated using shoes inside and as soon as I can, I will take them and my socks off :).

Below is the book that has opened my eyes, and is also really good read, not only for runners. I recommend!

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