This week I took it light as I spent the Father's day weekend at a scout camp with my son. Taking Friday off, I hit Mt Wilson for a 20 miler in the morning before heading out for the camp. Altogether, 62 miles this week; I plan to ramp it up to 90-100 miles for the next three weeks prior to starting a taper for the AC100.
Last weekend I had tried a pair of Brooks Pure Grit 3s, more heavily protected trail shoes than my usual Merrell kicks, as I had been sporting a sore left foot- quite tender at the ball of the foot and the base of the big toe. On my 20 miler on Mt. Wilson last Sunday in the Pure Grits, the left foot felt fine andso I was very excited about these shoes. I ran in them every other day last week and on Thursday, after my run, I noticed that the base of my second toe on the RIGHT foot was extremely tender when bearing weight with the toes in the dorsiflexed position (toes pulled up, as occurs when running uphill). This seemed a fluke, a one-off problem, so I ran in the new shoes again on Friday. By the top of Mt. Wilson my foot was bothering me; afterwords the right foot felt worse! No fluke!
The Pure Grits have removable insoles made of a soft foam that felt great initially but after 50 miles had become permanently crushed down on the balls of both feet. In the right shoe in particular this left a depression with a bit of a hump right at the base of the second and third toes. I think this is the reason for the irritation. I spent the weekend at my son's camp walking around and standing all day - I quickly found that my feet felt better in a retired pair of completely trashed Merrell Ascend Gloves. The feet felt progressively better through the weekend.
Tonight I replaced the stock insoles in the Pure Grits with a pair of foam insole replacements- with foam that doesn't crush. I thought I would try this to see if getting rid of the crushed insoles would solve my problem. On a six mile test run, the feet felt fine. This coming week I will alternate between the Merrells and the Pure Grits to see which feels better on the feet, and decide how to proceed based on what happens. Its a bit puzzling as I have been free of any foot troubles for the last two and a half years running in minimalist shoes. This year is proving to be different. I believe this is all an unintended consequence of using heel inserts to help me through some nagging achilles problems this season. Change begets change. The focus now is to sort this out quickly with the AC100 coming up on August 1.