It's good to have Jaki in my life. Her brother is a fanatic marathon runner and Jaki knows a few things about that, because of her brother. She adviced me to go to the Asics store, on Oxford Street (next to Primark), as they have the Foot ID System in that store.
It works with a 3-D foot-scanning device equipped with 4 lasers and 8 cameras,which enables highly accurate foot measurements down to the millimetre, within seconds.
The system derives those foot measurements that are relevant for finding the right fit - and selects the right type of shoe for each runner.
The software is able to instantly visualise any deviations from average values or the 'model foot', and quickly identifies measurements that could be critical.
Because only if a shoe perfectly matches the foot, gait and other physical requirements will it take a runner really forward and make them - really happy!
And THAT is all I desired!
I hate going to Oxford Street.
I might not be your 'typical female' because I cannot stand shopping and being around shopping crowds.
Oxford Street, especially on a Saturday evening, is hellish, to say the least.
I also hate - diamonds. Diamonds are not my 'best friends'. People are.
The good news is that the Asics shop is almost on a corner, of Oxford Street, so you don't really need to fight the crazy shopping crowds to get there.
And it was also almost empty.... Thank goodness!
Even before I walked in, I saw the three booths through their tall , glass windows. They have this equipment on each of their landings.
The first thing I did, after walking in, was to ask an employee FOR THE BEST MARATHON RUNNING ADVISOR. I was instantly pointed to - XAVIER!
He is Spanish, looks Spanish, is tall and very, very professional in what he is doing.
But that, I found about, a bit later.
I instantly had good communication with him and every single question I asked, was answered.
I've never done this process before, so he had to guide me through it step, by step.
I had to take my socks off and stick each of my feet into a box like device, that made digital copies of my feet. Before I put each of my feet into that machine, Xavier had to apply first, tiny dot like stickers to certain spots on my feet. On each of their sides.
After having the digital pictures of my feet pronounced onto a big TV screen, Xavier then put me on a treadmill. This time I had to have my socks on and also special trainers, that were part of the measuring eqiupment.
He asked me what number of trainers I wear.
I vary between 39/40. I power walked the 2015 marathon in Nikes, size 40.
Zero blisters but I did get a black nail on my left foot toe.
Turns out, Xavier enlightened me, that I was power walking the marathon in shoes one size too small. Hence the black toe nail!
"Your feet expand by one size, trust me!".
OK, I have just learned one more important thing.
So on I hopped onto the treadmill and Xavier started it. He asked me 'what is my running speed ' and without even listening to my answer he set me up on 7.
I was a bit surprised, as at the beginning of this year, when I was starting my marathon training, I would warm up on the treadmill at the spped of 5,7.
BUT.... I quickly surprised myself how comfortable it felt running at the speed of 7!
After a few moments of my running, Xavier stopped the machine and asked me to hop off. He showed me a film of my running. How I position my feet.
It was another eye opener! My left foot was wonky.
So he kind of had this look on his face: "I know which shoes you need!" and went down to the shop floor and returned witha few boxes.
The first trainers he took out, were black Asics with some colouring on the sides. And they 'did not speak to me' at all!
I put them on and they did not feel right.
But the second pair of trainers that he took out - were heavenly in every single detail.
I fell in love with them even before I put them on my feet!
But, they were a size 41....
I asked Xavier: "Why do they have to be one size bigger? Will they not make my feet look too big?".
His answer came with a smirk: "You want a black toe nail again, help yourself to a smaller number!".
You guessed, I grabbed the size 41!
When I put them on, they 'spoke to me!'.....if you know what I mean.
If you don't, I don't care because I know what I mean and that is what counts.
I looked at Xavier smiling, and he said: "These are the ones! They are durable and light. They will last you until the marathon and you will train and run in them, in 5 months!".
THAT sounded so reassuring!
I had another go on the treadmill, at the speed of 7, and it felt puuurfect.
When I got off the machine, Xavier showed me the film of 'before' and 'after' - running in the new shoes. And everything was like as if God had designed it.
I FOUND MY RUNNING SHOES !
Xavier was pleased with himself, and I was also pleased with him, but we still had to go to the shop floor and look at all the different colours of this type of trainers, so that I wouldn't feel deprived of something. I followed him down the stairs.
When we stopped in front of the wall displaying all the other colours of these same type of Asics trainers, I smiled and said: "Xavier, you have chosen the best ones!".
And he smiled back.
As you might have noticed, there was a lot of smiling going on between me and him.
A smooth running process!
When you deal with real professionals, everything seems to be falling into place. Just like that.
When I was paying Xavier, I asked him if he had ever run the marathon?
He is tall, fit, athletic....
He said: "No! I am too lazy. I play football."
OK ----- I am lazy, too. But I need to run ONE London Marathon, before I die!
I paid and walked out....
A proud owner of my new marathon training and running Asics!
The photos will follow.
From the Asics shop, we went for a tea to a nearby spot. I needed to sit down and
get away from the crazy shopping crowds.
I ordered my tea and noticed that our waiter was this really buff, young man.
I like talking to people, so I started asking him questions about sport.
It turned out that he is a competitive body builder, in the process of getting
prepared for a contest. He also noticed my Asics shopping bag.
He told me about the discipline that he needs to endure in everything: eating,
exercising, being very careful about his body.
I was in full agreement, whilst eating my macaroon ..... but only ONE!
Seriously, I am paying attention to what I eat and how I eat.
And it is already rubbing off, on my husband.
I am attaching the official fund raising website of The Virgin Marathon 2016!
Please give generously or if you cannot - share it with those who can support me.