“Running” and Running and Talking about Running

Pool Running Rage
Every so often, I encounter a bunch of hand-wringing about what fitness and “healthy living” blogs are misleading the impressionable among us — like, are we raising a generation of blog-readers who think they should subsist on teacups of oatmeal and a spoonful of chia and fat-free air smoothies? I typically roll my eyes at such worries, but this week, I must admit that — in true Sassy Magazine style — It Happened to Me. See, from reading the stable of running and fitness blogs I’ve picked up over the years, I was under the impression that pool running was a thing people did, even a thing that swimming pools might accommodate. In fact, I thought I had such a swimming pool just two neighborhoods over from me, as the pool-running wisdom washed over me and I began to understand the meaning of the giant trash can full of floaty belts that I remembered seeing on the pool deck when I took swim lessons there a couple of years ago. I even went once, back in March, and though I did have to do some fancy negotiation with the lifeguard who didn’t want me taking up lane space (I pointed out that I could get out of people’s way when they came to the wall in the deep end, since I wasn’t really going anywhere), and though the trash can of floaty belts was now hidden in a storage room out of general sight, I still assumed I’d have another semi-running-related cross-training option open to me when marathon time came around.

But apparently, the pool-running revolution has not actually hit San Francisco. Fast-forward to yesterday, when I learn that the pool-running belts are no longer available for public use, outside of the twice-weekly pool running class. The first lifeguard told me I could buy my own belt and use it — which seems silly, knowing that there are 50 of them just sitting there, but fine — but the second lifeguard said the issue was with the activity, not the equipment, and that no matter who owned the belt, I’d have to be on a list of those approved to use “floatation devices.”

Hmm. OK. So, some options. I could go to the pool running class, but I don’t know what happens in it, and as far as I can tell, the only way to find out is to buy a $99 10-class pass (they don’t seem to come in singles) and then a day pass to the pool. I could run in the shallow pool I already belong to, but I’ve tried that, and it feels incredibly awkward and not particularly beneficial (or particularly like running) compared to the one deep-water pool run I did; it also obviously requires my feet striking the bottom of the pool, which is low-impact but still not zero impact. I could try getting a pool belt and seeing if it lifts me up enough out of the shallow water that my feet don’t touch the bottom, but I’m not sure if the physics of water would actually allow that. I could try to petition to get on the approved-floatation-devices list. I could search for another pool with a friendlier attitude toward running and a deep end (the YMCA seemed like the most likely suspect, but they seem to keep water running in the shallower “activity pool,” judging from the website).

Or. Or. I could ditch this whole pool-running idea and, I dunno, do something else sort of like running to take the place of the short Thursday run on my plan instead? Ergh. Pool-running seemed like the most legit way to do it, but would the elliptical or the arc trainer for an equivalent amount of time/”miles” really be so bad?

For now, I’ve sent a sweet-as-pie e-mail explaining why I want to be able to run in the deep end, and if that’s a no, I’ll probably ask if I can observe or pay for just one session of the pool-running class before I commit. But unless I get approved, it seems like this whole pool-running thing is going to become a hassle (and a significantly more expensive one than I planned for, at that), and so I’m asking those who have experience pool-running and/or doing other, more elliptical-based cross training as a running analogue: Is pool running that much better?

The Shoe Detente
Over the past couple of weeks, I ran (OK, walk/ran) at least once in each pair of shoes in my lineup of options: the Brooks Trance and Adrenaline and the Saucony Hurricane. I hated all of them. The Trances and Adrenalines made my feet feel stuffed-in and somehow blistered both my outside toes and my arches; the Hurricanes blistered the sides of my big toes and clearly weren’t fitting the orthotics well. At my follow-up with my podiatrist, she rejected the Hurricanes, lessened the arch support of the orthotics, and sent me back to try the Trances and Adrenalines again. I think I’ll be back in her office next week because even after the adjustments, I’m still getting crazy blisters, but I was at least happy to learn that was something that could be adjusted (and also that my fears and feelings of overcorrection were not insane).

If I’m still unhappy as I get into longer runs, I’ll be trying the Mizuno Inspires, now separately recommended by the Fleet Feet guys and similarly shoe-nomadic Layla and at least greeted with a “meh, I guess I have no problem with that shoe” by my podiatrist.

And then I’ll wash my hands of the whole ridiculous shoe search. I think I’ll be rotating two shoes no matter what, but it will just be nice not to have seven shoe boxes (not kidding) in the hallway.

To Weekly Recap or Not to Weekly Recap?
On the one hand: Does anyone really want to read about 16 weeks of someone else’s marathon training, week by week? On the other hand: Yes! I do! I love reading other people’s weekly recaps! On the first hand again: Why would I subject myself to judgment on how much (or, uh, how little) I’m doing by making my abysmal weekly mileage public? On the second hand: Cause it’s the internet, and if I really cared about that, I wouldn’t blog. On the first hand: Booooo-ring. On the second hand: Not possibly more boring than this paragraph has been.

Bottom line, I actually would like to remember how I trained for my first marathon, and while normal people would probably do that in private in Excel or something, putting that kind of nonsense on the internet is kind of what I do, so I probably will. Stay tuned.

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7 thoughts on ““Running” and Running and Talking about Running

  1. Ellen says:

    I like weekly running recaps. Consider it a service to those of us also running our first marathons this fall but slightly behind you

  2. Kelly says:

    That’s so odd about the pool running! I started doing it when I was injured earlier this year, but got so bored I just swam instead. So much more enjoyable. I do think pool running mimics real running like nothing else can though, with no impact.

    Does your doctor think you still need a stability shoe along with your orthotics? Sometimes that’s overkill, but she definitely knows best! And, I like weekly recaps!

    • kimretta says:

      To be completely honest, I’d forgotten my waterproof mp3 thingie the day of my failed pool-run, and I was kind of dreading the idea of getting through a half hour without it! It is definitely not the most stimulating exercise I’ve ever done.

      So far I’m still in a stability shoe, a point about which I continue to have DEEP FEELINGS. She’s having to make a lot of adjustments to the orthotics to keep me from being overcorrected, and I feel like it would be easier to change shoes than to change the orthotics, but what do I know?

  3. Cris says:

    OK – that’s ridiculous about the pool-running. You need to move to DC, where I have to pick and choose which of 5+ pools to do my pool-running in.

    FWIW, I’d do the arc-trainer in your situation.

    As for the weekly training log, I LOVE that stuff. FWIW.

    • kimretta says:

      Seriously, the whole time I was talking to the lifeguard, my brain was going, “But the DC kids do this ALL THE TIME!” It sounds like I’m getting approved, but the arc-trainer is my backup in case it ends up being a hassle or I get sick of fighting for my right to kick around in the deep end.

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