Back when I attended Dr. Snyder’s seminar, one of the people on the panel of patients at the end was a man named Richard Kalasky. He snuck in at the end to introduce himself, and he talked about losing 140 pounds after his own Lap-Band surgery and running marathons and competing in Ironman events. At the time, while impressed with his story, I didn’t really connect with him on a personal level. The idea that I’d be training for a half marathon nine months later was a thought that hadn’t even entered my brain.
A few weeks ago, I found myself looking for guidance. There’s not a lot of special nutrition required for the energy expenditure of a 5k or even a 10k, for some people. But as I began to increase my miles each week, I knew I’d have to focus more on what I was eating. I searched Google for “athlete nutrition after bariatric surgery” and the like, hoping someone else out there was struggling with the same things as me – how to fuel for training when my surgeon says “More protein!” and conventional runner’s wisdom says “More carbohydrates!”, when race fuel options seem loaded with caffeine and extra sugar and I’m not supposed to have any, and when I can only eat a few ounces at a time versus pasta-filled plates that runners often eat before races. And all my searching kept leading me to Richard. After his surgery and successful weight loss, Richard and his partner Carlos formed a training company called O2EA: Overweight to Endurance Athlete. Sounded like exactly what I needed.
As part of the O2EA team, Richard will handle my athletic training and Carlos will handle my nutrition. I’m keeping a food journal for the next week so Carlos knows what I’m eating and can make the appropriate adjustments and create a plan for my training. And, using a website called Training Peaks (bonus – they’re local!), Richard will develop a training schedule for me and guide my running form and strength training. My first training run is Wednesday night, and I can’t wait.
But my first order of business was a trip to Run Colorado, Richard’s shop of choice for all his clients, for a gait analysis to make sure I was in the right pair of shoes. I’ve been wearing Asics for the last six months, but I’ve been feeling like a change (and noticing aches and pains in my hip flexors and back that I’m not used to), so the gait analysis couldn’t have come at a better time. The Asics are also designed for motion control, to be worn by severe overpronators (and people like me with horribly flat feet), so they’re a lot heavier than the average running shoe.
First I was given a neutral shoe and directed to run at a 6.0 mi/hr jog while an iPad recorded my gait. And sure enough – I’m a pronator. And a fairly severe one at that. The analyst showed me how my foot rotates inward and my lower leg and knee compensate and are forced outward when they should stack on top of each other in roughly a straight line. I won’t be wearing minimalist shoes any time soon.
And here’s what my gait looks like in the shoes I ultimately bought. Look how nice and straight my ankle and leg are! Anticipate how happy my knees are going to be! Pay no attention to my chunky thighs, because I’m working on that!
Here’s the new kicks I ended up with – a shiny pair of Mizuno Wave Alchemy 12s, in a gigantic-sounding size 10 ( toes need room, people, and these seem to run smaller than my Asics). They’re noticeably lighter than my old shoes (almost a full ounce was shaved off of each foot), and, I mean… don’t they just look fast? I’m ready to run some PRs! While I was at the shop, I also picked up some clearanced Nike gear and a new Moving Comfort bra (the latest version of the Maia, which is so new they had to grab it out of the back stockroom for me), as well as some more Balega running socks (my absolute FAVES). And the best part – thanks to my membership in O2EA, I get 15% off all my purchases at Run Colorado. It’s a little further away than the running store we typically frequent, but between the discount and their amazing service – I’m a new loyal customer.