Some pictures from recent social events:

With Alyssa before the Lululemon Shake-Off Run two Saturdays ago. I’d caught her in the bathroom and introduced myself. Alyssa ran the San Francisco Marathon in 3:44:14 and beat her old PR by 11 minutes! She’s a mighty inspiration … and not as average as she claims. I’m 100 percent certain she’s got a BQ coming up real soon.

Re: the skirt. I'm behind with my laundry, and all I had was this sky blue Puma skirt and a hot pink New Balance skirt. I froze my butt off.

Right after I finished yesterday’s 4-mile run with Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders, RRCA state rep Simone grabbed me and fellow LMJS board members Erin and Marie for a photo. The post-run potluck was a blast. I loved meeting  a few of the newer members, as well as longtime members I hadn’t had the chance to speak to until that day.

I was also promoted on the board — not only am I the club’s newsletter editor, but I now run the communications committee! I had no idea of this bump in leadership, and I only found out once I saw my name on the ballot. Nevertheless, I am honored with my new role and look forward to improving the club’s website and newsletter.


Last Friday I gave you a glimpse of my new shoes:

I bought the Brooks Ravenna 2. Ran in them for the first time during a 5-miler around Lake Merced last Thursday.

I wish I could tell you I’m absolutely in love with them, but honestly I don’t know if they are better suited for me than my Mizuno Alchemys, which I wore for years.

Why did I switch my kicks?

For the past few months I’d wondered whether I really needed motion-control shoes. I’m a petite woman, and I’d read that motion-control shoes are better suited for larger (not fat, just bigger) individuals. Plus I’ve been suffering with knee pain for six weeks. Maybe because my shoes were too corrective.

Even though I was tempted to buy last season’s Alchemys online for cheap, I decided go to Road Runner Sports and take the Shoe Dog test.

The test included:

  1. measuring my feet. One foot is half a size larger than the other, which I’ve heard is common.
  2. stepping on a heat-sensitive pad, which shows how much weight is placed on one foot compared to the other.
  3. being videotaped while running barefoot on a treadmill. I’d never done this before, and it was uncomfortable. I flopped around like a fish out of water.
  4. wearing several pairs of prospective shoes while running on the treadmill. This part was a lot of fun. Even though all the shoes I tried fell under the Stability category, they all felt so different. Some felt soft, some felt hard, some were roomier in the toe box, some were loose in the heel. Some were OK-looking, most were not attractive.

I’d say the entire process took about an hour. I was torn between the Ravennas and a pair of Asiacs, but the Asiacs were too soft, and I decided I wanted some firmness like the Alchemys. Also, not gonna lie, the Asiacs I tried on were sort of ugly.

I also bought a pair of pink Superfeet insoles. The salesperson heated and molded a pair of Footbalance custom insoles under my feet, but they were almost twice as expensive as the Superfeet. And when I tested them on the treadmill, I didn’t feel like they were more comfortable. Although I only ran on the treadmill for a few minutes — who knows, they might prove more effective over longer runs. If I had the money I’d definitely invest in a pair.

Here are the results of the in-store examination. Click on the image for a larger, clearer view.

  1. I have high, flexible arches. The insoles I’d previously worn, the green Superfeet, were made for those with medium-to-low arches. I need to wear either the pink Superfeet or custom insoles.
  2. 52 percent of my weight is placed on my left foot, 48 percent is on my right foot.
  3. I need stability shoes, not motion-control shoes (which is the category my Alchemys fall under).

According to the Shoe Dog test, I was wearing the wrong shoes. I was sort of disappointed, because I’d been tested for shoes and insoles at LaFoot in Berkeley and I’d thought their shoe tests were thorough. Only LaFoot didn’t measure my feet or videotape me barefooted on a treadmill. The employees simply made sure I was wearing the right size shoe and watched me run and walk around the store.

To be fair, I did feel good in my Alchemys and green Superfeet for a year and a half. My only complaint was that they felt too heavy.

As I noted earlier, I am not entirely sold on the Ravennas. They feel lighter, but I still feel knee discomfort on longer runs. This could stem from last week’s half-marathon. And my current discomfort isn’t as severe as before. I can still walk, and the soreness subsides after a few hours.

Road Runner Sports’ V.I.P. policy states that I can return the shoes within 90 days, so if I still don’t feel confident in these shoes and insoles by the end of the week I’m going to return them and try another pair.

Whatever happens, I’m just glad I’m no longer stuck with clunky looking motion-control shoes.

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2 Responses to “Ravennas”

  1. Thanks for the shout-out! Interesting about the motion-control shoes. I was once placed in motion-control shoes (something by Mizuno, I don’t remember which ones) for the “bigger” woman reason — I am not tiny, and it was thought that this could be good for my joints. Right away I started having knee pain though, and I switched into a neutral shoe (Brooks Glycerin). I was then happy as a clam! I have since moved onto Saucony’s and Newton’s, but I always stick with neutral styles. It’s just a matter of figuring out what works for you, which sounds like what you are doing right now. :)

    • 2 Sesa

      Thanks, Alyssa!

      It’s weird, but I don’t know if my legs are really taking to my new shoes. My last couple of runs have felt so heavy, though that might be because of the San Francisco half. I’m 50/50 on whether I’m going to return the Ravennas. I miss the structure the Alchemys gave me.

      This is rather silly, but I am jealous that you get to run in neutral shoes, just because the designs are so cool for them right now. I keep looking at pictures of the Mizuno Precision 12, which have cherry blossoms printed on the heels. SO PRETTY. And you run in Newtons … neon. I love everything neon. I need to stop looking at running shoe websites.

      P.S. I’m surprised the clerk put you in MC shoes for size reasons — you are only like 2-3 inches taller than me, and so compact! I do think MC shoes worked for me for a few years, I’m not exactly sure why I have had problems with them this year.

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