Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Year Anniversary on the ElliptiGO: new shoes Altra Paradigm

When I got my ElliptiGO last year, I decided to use it for a year to see if it would help my hip and my running stride. I kept away from running except for monthly short trial runs and snowshoe racing. I only ran a bit over 100 miles in that year. Riding the ElliptiGO was another story. In one year and five days, I accumulated 5000 miles! I thoroughly enjoy riding it whenever I can and a good fast 30 miler is my GOTO ride. I can say the ease and speed of riding is more fun than running (at least the running I can now do) and that the ideas of going distances and routes beyond what I can run keeps it interesting. However, I still miss running, particularly running fast and racing.

Well, on the one year anniversary of riding the ElliptiGO, it was time to see if I could run pain free. I got a new pair of shoes: the Altra Paradigm (I had always wondered what mixing an Altra shoe with a Hoka One One shoe would be like and this is that model). I went out for a 2 mile run with the new Altras and despite feeling sluggish, I liked the feel of the shoe. I ran midfoot and the rocker sole propelled me forward over my stiff toes. It was humbling to only do a 9:10 pace per mile, but I felt better than during other tests and highly encouraged. The next day, I ran 2 miles again, but at a faster pace, worked out for an hour and a half at the gym then ran another two miles. That was probably more than I could handle as my hip got sorer after the run. Each run was faster so that was encouraging. Because of the now familiar limp returning and soreness all night, I took a day off and ran the same two mile loop again. This time I got just under 8 minute pace and I was starting to enjoy short moments where I could feel my stride returning. After the run, I started stiffening up again and couldn't sleep at night due to the bones of my pelvis feeling like they were being pulled apart. My muscles and hip joint just still aren't ready for running, so I closed down that experiment and got back to being a full time ElliptiGO rider again.

I am not sure if it is even the hip joint that is the problem or just that my muscles aren't firing and holding my weight correctly when running. I will keep trying. I am going to Kenya for two weeks and when I return I will figure out what to try before I run the August Falmouth Road Race.

Notes about my  8 miles of running in the ALtra Paradigm:

They are very lightweight and comfortable.

They are a zero drop shoe, so they feel a little weird at first when standing or walking around with the rocker.

The wider forefoot gives my feet the room to spread out (see below) and also more stability for my running stride. There are two things that I have found helpful in the past year for overall body health (getting rid of musculoskeletal pains). I found that I need a full length shoe lift in my right shoe. Clearly Adjustable started making one that is easy to use as figure out the correct height. This works so much better than just a heel lift and has helped erase chronic lower back and sometimes upper back pains. Also whenever my left leg starts feeling wonky and and I get pains in my toes, behind the knee, and up the left hip, I have been using Correct Toes. The pains will disappear within a day of use. I have used them even in a 100 mile bike ride last year, I wanted to use these in a running shoe more often and the Altra is just the shoe for that. I also get more forefoot balance when I use them and they seem to help me use my 1st MPT joint which often just gives way and leads to my left foot rolling in.

Hoka running shoes were too tight for my forefoot and I ended up getting pairs that were almost one size larger than I needed, which ruined the rocker effect, but made them great shoes for my ElliptiGO riding because the toes can get sore from pushing into the front of the shoes. The Hoka One Ones are like tanks and with the extra room I had up front I had no toe problems.

The colors of my Altra Paradigms somewhat remind me of the old 1970s Nike Elite racing shoe seen here:

1978 Paul White Road Race in North Falmouth. Most of the
racers are sporting Nike Elites. I am in the blue and yellow racing

I will be stopping not only my running attempts, but also my ElliptiGO riding as I will be traveling to Kenya tomorrow for another stint of teaching and working in the Mathare Valley slum in Nairobi. If you are interested, you can follow my trip here.


Jim Cremer said...

Loving seeing all the pics on your Kenya page, Jim!

Jim Hansen said...

Thanks, Jim.