SAM_0328To start I am runner trapped in a big guy’s body. I am 6’2” and well over 250lbs, and this year that will change! Why do I mention this? Simply because I want you to realize I switched to Altras and I am not planning on switching back. If you are a big guy or gal, I bet one of the first running shoes you ever wore was a stability shoe, likes the Brooks Beast or variation of the kind. Trust me there are alternatives out there if you learn good form and technique.

So let’s take a look at my past year. My year really started a little over a year ago in February when I was recovering from foot surgery. Over time I developed capsulitis, and plantar fasciitis, and eventually they developed into a really bad hammer toe and a bunion on my left foot, which I had to fix with surgery. Prior to the surgery the only way I was able to run with the hammer toe and stay pain free was by wearing custom orthotics. So I had to have the surgery and looking back I think over the years having the wrong shoes on my feet may have been what really caused my issues. I was not able to run for nearly 5 months after the surgery and I wanted to run. With 2 screws now permanently in my foot, I missed running but was nervous about running again. I had all kinds of questions:

  • Would I be able to run?
  • Would my foot hold up?
  • Had I gotten too big to run?
  • What Shoes should I wear?
  • Could I get back to running Marathons?

I needed help so as my recovery started I reached out to a good friend, excellent running roach and awesome trainer Jimmy Hart to get me started. The best part is I got reset everything and I could pick a new pair of shoes. Much to my surprise and dismay Jimmy Printtalked me into wearing my first pair of Altra’s, Provisions. I practically laughed out loud when I saw these shoes. They looked too thin, no support, no wide sizes (I have always worn 4e running shoes) and this zero drop thing maybe it was just a gimmick. Then I put them on and the first impression was how comfortable this show was. I did not need the wide size and the foot shape really makes a difference. Then I went for a short run just a little under 1 mile, everything was great, including the shoes. The shoes really made a difference but I was woefully out of shape.

So Jimmy and I started slowly building my running back up again and we decided to set one goal. Run the 20th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon almost a year away. The best part is that I got to run in several races during my training and all of them in my Altras.

Here is a quick recap of my running year

  • Patriot Half in Rockwall, TX on Memorial Day: I was nervous this was my first race back and was not sure if I could make it as I stepped to the race start. 2:33 minutes later I crossed the finish line all intact but very happy! I realized I was back now the training had to begin. A great race and I will return for the gently rolling hills this year! http://thepatriothalf.com/
  • Wounded Warrior 10K: these runs are simply amazing and I will run again this year. The cause behind this run should be enough to get you off the couch and support the project. As a run goes this was a nice training run with Jimmy and I was able to run in 1:05. A special thanks to Deb for coming to get me as I accidentally locked my keys in the car. http://www.dallasathletesracing.com/races/wounded-warrior/
  • Hottest Half in August in Dallas: Yes a run in August in Dallas and it did live up to its name. This run was bit slower than I would have liked 2:47. Crowded trails attributed mostly to this. The best part is that I got to see one of good friends Dan Barnes complete his first half marathon. The best part he was in first pair of Altra Provisions as well! Great job Dan! http://hottesthalf.com/#!/home
  • Azle Lake half marathon, in Azle, TX: This is one of those spur of the moments run where Jimmy and I signed up 1 week away from the run. By this time I was in full marathon training mode and tired of our regular trails so we decided for the 31st annual run. All I have to say is if you are looking for a hill training day, look no further than this run. Holy Hill batman, this was a tough run and seemed like head winds the entire run. Azle has turned into a battle cry when Jimmy and I run on hills. I was even more surprised at my time2:23, my PR for the year and I was ecstatic. Even better I won 2nd place in my age group, granted there were only two. Still I got some extra bling! http://www.runazle.org/
  • New Year’s Double, ½ marathon on New Year’s Eve, and a 5K on New Year’s day: Signing up for these runs was just to finish off the training and get ready for Disney is just 10 days. This was an interesting run with a cool medal plate if you ran both. The half was a very cold and rainy day. The run was fairly straight forward and I was glad I ran. Best part was another PR, ran it in 2:18 and I was feeling great. Although the next day promised to be as cold, and when the gun went off for the 5k off I went. I got done running, collected my bling and hopped in my car. I was cold and was ready to get home did not even look at my time. I checked my results later that day, imagine my surprise when I saw 26:20 for time and imagine my smile, when I found out I won the Clydesdale division! Truly a great way to start the New Year. I will be going back to defend my title next year! http://www.newyearsdouble.com/
  • SAM_0306Disney World 20th Anniversary Marathon: So here I was 1 year later getting ready to run 26.2. My training went well and I was excited running with all my friends. I really only had two goals for this run finish and ride Expedition Everest around mile 13. I am excited that I did both and got one of the coolest medals I have ever seen! My time was a lot slower than I would have liked at 6:34. I was on the course for a while, but finished! The main reason I was slow that day was due to the heat and humidity, race start was 60 degrees Fahrenheit and ended around 85, so a hot day to say the least. Around mile 17 I knew I was dehydrated and walked 6 miles until I recovered enough to finish the last 3 miles running. Thanks to my good friend Lori for hanging with me. I was a little frustrated I had to walk that much. However, my legs were still solid and more importantly, my feet felt great in my Provisions! I will be posting a more detailed review of my run next week on my blog at: http://aka.ms/matthester If you have never run Disney, I highly recommend it. In fact I will be in Disneyland this year, for the Dumbo Double dare! I am looking forward to it! http://www.rundisney.com/disneyworld-marathon/

The year was a great year and a year of recovery that just amazed me. I did all my runs in Altras and have fallen in love with the best shoe on the plant. In the end I have learned two things. First off having a great pair of shoes on your feet makes a difference and learning proper form also makes a difference. For me Altra’s do both! A special thank you to Jimmy Hart for giving me the gift of running back in my life and for getting my first pair of Altras!

God Bless and drop me a line if you want to learn more about my story or go for a run! So what’s next for me? A Year of Losing Weight all in my Altra’s! Looking forward to writing that post!