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Posts Tagged ‘shoes’

My new shoes came yesterday! ¬†Can’t wait for the first HOME GAME!

I’m glad I ordered them when I did–I think they are sold out already!

PSUshoes

They can’t possibly lose if I wear these!

Of course, that’s what I thought when I bought the PSU thong! ūüėČ

At least these are comfortable!

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Scrolling down Facebook, I came across an add for compression socks for runners.

SeussRunners

I see this, and immediately, my mind isn’t thinking running socks, it’s thinking Dr. Seuss.

WhoVille

Every Who down in Whoville liked Running¬†a lot, but the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville – did not. The Grinch hated Running¬†– the whole Running¬†season. Now, please don’t ask why; no one quite knows the reason. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were laced¬†tight. Or it could be his¬†shorts¬†chafed¬†and didn’t fit him quite right. But I think that the most likely reason of all… may have been that his Asics were¬†two sizes too small. But, whatever the reason, his shorts¬†or his shoes, he stood there on Race Day¬†hating the Whos.¬†

I certainly don’t hate running, but why on God’s earth ¬†would I wear something that looks like it was designed by Dr. Seuss or trendy in Munchkin Land?

I fully understand visibility, particularly if you run in the dark. ¬†But seriously? ¬†These things are visible from space! ¬†They hurt your eyes! ¬†I’m an eye doctor. ¬†I should know. ¬†And drivers might be laughing so hard they still run you over like the Wicked Witch of the East.

You have no running power here.  Be gone!  Before someone runs a car over you too!

I tried the whole clown shoe thing–you know what I’m talking about–those shoes that try to use every color in a Crayola set of 64 and were probably designed by the owner’s 3-year-old daughter in preschool. ¬†The experiment failed primarily because they weren’t comfortable. ¬†But the gaudy color thing is just not me. ¬†It is actually getting harder and harder to find shoes that only have one or two colors, and don’t glow in the dark as if they were manufactured in Chernobyl.

In running, function and comfort should trump everything.  But do we have to sacrifice good taste?

Do we want our sport to end up like this?

AlCzervik

Nice thing about these clothes? I can play 18 holes and then jog 13 miles without changing!

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A New Love

I have fallen in love.

It was not exactly love at first sight, but there was an element of visual attraction.  I must say, though,  that the sleek lines and simple make-up were a welcomed sight.   I was not exactly looking for a new relationship, but you know how old relationships go.  There were rocky times.  Things perhaps were not as comfortable as they once were.  Whatever the reason, there I was, trying something new.

And while I admit it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, there was an electrifying exhilaration when I first made physical contact.  Seriously.  This felt GREAT!  Amazing, really.  Like, where have you been all my life? kind of infatuation.  All previous relationships paled by comparison.

But I did not want to rush into anything.  We’ve all been there before.  The novelty can wear off quickly.  What once felt wonderful could sometimes turn into pain.  Maybe there would be a little friction.  Sometimes that could lead to blistering hatred.  Sometimes, it would become a love-hate relationship.  Sometimes, no matter how good it was at the beginning, it just didn’t last.

As such, one is hesitant to tell the world about this new love for fear that it won’t last.  That some unseen defect will later chafe and bring agony.  But I have spent several months now in this new relationship and I am ready to declare my emotions to the world.

I have found my sole mate.  I am in love with New Balance’s 1080v3 running shoes

The first time I tried them on in the store, I knew they were different.  I have had very few pairs of shoes over the years that impressed me when I first put them on.  The desire to leave the store at that very minute and go running was nearly overwhelming.

They are lightweight, comfortable and cushioned where I need the cushioning.  I was concerned initially that this would be a shoe that would not last, but after a couple of hundred miles of running, I still love them and prefer them over any other shoe I currently own.  I usually try to get 4-500 miles out of a pair of shoes, but even if I only get another hundred, they have been well worth the money spent.

I opted for the white and blue.  It was so nice to have a shoe that was not colored by a LSD trip or designed by a kindergartener.  The style was appealing, not garish.  I have already planned ahead and bought a second pair, knowing that shoe companies are fickle and feel compelled to change their models more often than Hollywood celebrities change spouses.

Of course, I have to deal with two pairs of Asics and a pair of Mizuno‚Äôs that are just a bit jealous right now.¬† Normally, I obsessive-compulsively religiously rotate these shoes in turn.¬† But now I tend to go to the NB more often, even if it isn‚Äôt their turn.¬† You probably don‚Äôt realize how big of a deal that is.¬† When I listen to my ipod‚ÄĒI never skip a song.¬† NEVER.¬† You never reshuffle until EVERY song has played.¬† When I add new songs on itunes, I don‚Äôt resynch the ipod until the end of a shuffle.¬† There is an order to everything and that must be respected.

Except for the shoes I love.

shoes

Never too late for the Daily Prompt . . . Tell us about your favorite pair of shoes, and where they’ve taken you.

So far they’ve seen me through two races, three hundred miles, central Pennsylvania and Walt Disney World, Florida.¬† Who knows where we’ll run to next!

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Just Hanging Out

There is a trail that I frequently run.¬† It leads from a cul-de-sac in our development to the parking lot behind our local high school and winds it’s way through a wooded area for about a third of a mile.

The only indication of civilization on this trail, aside from an occasional footprint in muddy weather, is a power line overhead.

And these:

hangingshoes

I have seen shoes hanging from power lines before.¬† Someone once said they marked houses or places where you could buy drugs.¬† The more expensive the shoes, the more expensive the drugs.¬† It’s probably the stuff of urban legends, but it made as much sense as anything else.

Except there aren’t any bears or deer selling drugs on this trail.¬† I actually hope there are no bears, but there have been reports of that in the past.¬† It’s probably a suburban legend.¬† I have never seen Sasquatch along this trail, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t there.

So when the second pair of shoes appeared on the power line, I began to wonder more earnestly about what was going on here.

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

One article suggests the following reason:

Another folk belief holds that teenage boys who’ve just “scored” for the first time ‚ÄĒ i.e., lost their virginity ‚ÄĒ are wont to heave an old pair of sneakers over a power line to celebrate the moment and proclaim their conquest to the world (who says teenage boys aren’t romantic?).

Holy Cow!¬† What have I been missing here?¬† That rustling in the bushes wasn’t a wild animal?¬† It was a wild animal!?¬† I mean, well, you know what I mean.¬† Nudge. Nudge.¬† Wink.¬† Wink.¬† Wait a second!¬† Is that my son’s missing shoes?

I found another article which attempts to clarify the mystery of the hanging shoes.

I heard tennis shoes hanging over a power line meant you could buy crack there.

See!  I told you so.  Those deer are selling illegal drugs!

It’s a time-honored tradition to throw your sneakers over the power lines on the last day of school.

Sounds okay, but these shoes didn’t appear on the last day of school.¬† The school is nearby . . . Maybe they were late . . .

When I was a lad of 13 in Nashua, New Hampshire, we used to steal pairs of shoes that had been carelessly left on the sidewalk by kids who had popped open a fireplug. At this point we would play “over the wire keep away” until (a) the kid’s mother, brother, father, or a passing police officer put a stop to the game, or (b) shoes went up but didn’t come down.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any fireplugs nearby to pop open.¬† And I’ve never seen kids doing that in the town I live in.¬† I don’t know if that makes us behind the times or ahead of the curve.

When I was in the military and guys were getting ready to get out and go back to a “regular” life they would take their combat boots and paint them up all funky before tying the laces together and throwing them over a wire.

I suppose anything is possible.¬† But there’s no base nearby and these don’t look funky, although they could be combat boots.¬† Still, a strange location for a statement like that.¬† Was Grizzly Adams in the military?

Used to be a gang sign¬†‚ÄĒ sneakers hanging over telephone or electrical wires were to designate gang turf.

This is sort of related to the drug thing, I suppose.¬† But this doesn’t look like gang turf.¬† What kind of gang hangs out here?¬† The Apple Dumpling Gang?¬† Although it would explain the deer wearing black hoodies and their tails hanging¬†down around their knees.

I’ll admit to being a former shoe thrower. After getting a new pair of sneakers, it was a common ritual in my neighborhood to tie the shoelaces of your old pair together and throw them up on the telephone wires. What else are you going to do with your old pair of sneakers?

I guess this was before recycling, donating clothing to Good Will, and hand-me-downs.¬† But why don’t women get rid of their old bras this way?¬† Because they throw like girls?¬† Did I just type that out loud?

I read in the newspaper that shoes would be thrown over the power lines to serve as a reminder/warning of a murder that occurred nearby. This seems proven to me: as I was traveling past a home in which a drug-related murder had occurred about three months prior … a pair of shoes were hanging from the power lines in front of the home.

Now I’m freaked out.¬† Where are the bodies?

So there you have it. It’s either a harmless prank, a rite of passage, or a sign of the end of civilization. You figure it out.

The first pair was probably a harmless prank or game.  The second . . .

“Hey Jimmy!¬† Betcha I can get your shoes down by throwing my shoes up at them!”

“Bet you can’t!”

Jimmy won the bet.

 

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Brooks is trying to kill me.

I came across this running “challenge” . . . the Brooks Run Happy Summer Challenge.¬† The shoe company is giving away two pairs of running shoes per day for a month.¬† Winners are randomly selected from those participting in the challenge.¬† No purchase necessary.¬† Odds of winning are practically zero, but better than one’s chance of hitting the powerball jackpot.

At the end of the challenge a grand prize winner will be drawn . . .

At the end of the challenge, we’ll draw one grand prize winner for an expense paid trip for two to the Las Vegas Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon on November 17, 2013.

Free running shoes?  Is this Florida State University?  Sign me up!

In the first few days, I was in the Top Ten of the Leaderboard, 5th out of 29,000+ contestants!  There are now over 30,000.

BrooksChallenge2

But what I didn’t realize is that this ranking system is based solely on how many days you have run and “rated” your run.¬† You have to log in your miles, time and click on a rating icon ranging from a smiley face to things like a frowny face, an oxygen mask and a coffin.¬† I’m just kidding about that last part.¬† It’s actually a tombstone.

Normally, I run 5-6 days per week.  Most running and fitness experts recommend that you take days off to allow your muscles to rest and rebuild.

But that means a day you can’t win the shoes you aren’t likely going to win anyway, and you have to watch as your name plummets down the list because you now have one fewer workout than the rest of the field.¬† The first (and so far the last) day I didn’t run, I saw my ranking fall from 5th to 30th.¬† I’ve slipped from 6th to 10th just while writing this because I only have 13 happy runs instead of 14!

In short, the shoe company is throwing sage running advice to the wind and rewarding runners for pushing themselves too hard.

You don’t need no stinking day off!

Take a day off?  NO SHOES FOR YOU!

I usually don’t run on Tuesdays.¬† After I watched my name plummet last week, I considered adding in a “small run” of like a hundredth of a mile.¬† I could always run it with the next run but not include it, but I’d have my workout total to keep me on the rank list.¬† But then my conscience got the better of me and I¬†accepted my ranking such as it is.¬† After all, if we runners don’t have our honor, what would we be?¬† Cyclists or ball players on performance enhancing drugs?

So this Tuesday, I dutifully got up and donned my NON-BROOKS running shoes and ran.¬† I was only going to do one mile–slowly.¬† It would almost be like taking a day off, and yet I’d still have my negligible chance to win some shoes.¬† I ended up doing 3 slow miles, but my conscience is clear, even if my muscles ache.

Why do we runners do this to ourselves?

Its gotta be the shoes!

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Clown Feet

My youngest son wears the biggest shoes in the family.¬† At a size 13, and at only 14 years of age, his feet eclipse my “baby feet” which fit just fine in a size 8.5.

For the record, I am still about a quarter-inch taller, but that may change as I type this.

My baby shoes are on the left.

He calls my feet “baby feet!”¬† For crying out loud, he’s wearing suitcases on his feet.¬† he has clown feet.

For those that follow my blog, you may know that I am a runner.  As such, I am always on the lookout for new shoes, and one of my joys in life is a brand new pair of running shoes.

So as my pair of Asics 1160’s approached 500 miles of wear, I started looking around.¬† I’m always looking, but now I was seriously looking.¬† There’s a difference.

I have always had good results with Asics, and I’m not sure I ever had a “bad” pair, although I have had some I liked more than others.¬† Alas, the shoe industry feels compelled to continually change its line, whether it be for legitimate, perceived¬†structural improvements, or advertising gimmicks to sell more shoes.

Enter the Asics Gel Noosa Tri 7.¬† This shoe caught my eye because it was advertised for Tri-athletes.¬†And bright ugly.¬† ¬†I don’t run triathlons.¬†It’s really bright yellow ugly.¬† ¬†I’m not a bi-athlete.¬† I’m barely a¬† mono-athlete.¬† I run.¬† But not usually in shoes this bright and gaudy.¬† Not extremely fast, but I can manage 7-10 miles without dying.¬† Dying in a pair of¬†neon glow-in-the-dark clown shoes.¬†¬†¬†Running doesn’t make me feel like an athlete, though.¬† I can dribble (in the bathroom mostly) but not on a court.¬† I watch football–I wouldn’t dare play it.

I can average 190-200 in bowling, so I’ve got that going for me.

I’m a pretty good golfer if your criteria isn’t shooting a low score but ¬†includes drinking beer and driving a golf cart where you shouldn’t.¬† Yes, Carl Spackler, I am one of those.¬† If you don’t want me driving over your signs that say “No Golf Carts Allowed,” then don’t put them on the green where drunks like me will¬†drive over them.¬† Capiche?

I was impressed with the on-line reviews of the shoe, and I was thinking outside of the shoe box.¬† Seriously, this is a severe deviation of the norm for me.¬†I fear it may be a poor man’s mid-life crisis.¬† ¬†And while I don’t swim or bike, I figure that a shoe good enough for a triathlon would be good enough for my 7 mile runs.

One of these things is not like the others . . .

As you can see, my main criteria for a shoe was that it comes in blue or white–preferably both.

These are freaking clown shoes!

Send in the Clowns . . .

Seriously!¬† Were these designed by a kindergartener?¬† Did the designer’s kid accidentally color with crayons over the proposed designs?

“I’m sorry boss.¬† My kid colored on my sketches.”

Not looking up from his busy desk, the Asics executive says, “That’s okay, Bob.¬† I’m sure they’re just fine.¬† Go with it.¬† We’re behind schedule.”

Bob is now unemployed, and his daughter can’t afford the Crayola 64 set.¬† Meanwhile, Asics is stocked with a billion of these sight threatening shoes.¬† They glow in the dark.¬† I’d post a picture of the glowage but it won’t turn out on my iPad, and after spending $99 on these shoes at Dicks, I can’t afford a camera.

They do make a party blue/midnight blue version which would have fit my wardrobe perfectly, but alas, they are only available in Europe.

I’d almost travel to Europe for these shoes!

WTF?!¬† Are Americans the only ones stupid enough to buy these colorful shoes?¬† Can’t we party blue in the USA?¬† I contacted a couple of on-line sites, but they told me they didn’t deliver to the USA.¬† Screw them!¬† Who needs them?!¬† I look just great in my clown shoes!

A village is missing its idiot

Of course, you are probably wondering how I like the shoes.¬† Maybe you don’t.¬† Whatever.¬† I am a little disappointed in them.¬† I thought there would be more cushioning, but they are OK.¬†They are light (weight) and bright.¬† ¬†I would have liked to try them on first, but none of our stores locally had them in stock.¬† Apparently, they are too ugly to display–they might scare away the children.¬† I could return them, I suppose, but I want to give them a chance.¬† I feel sorry for them.¬† It’s not their fault they look radioactive.¬†¬†Or that they¬†glow in the dark–did I mention that!

I only hope no one sees me in them.

Or I may have to squirt them with my fake flower.

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There are few things a runner looks forward to more than a new pair of running shoes.  Well, at least I do.  So by the transitive property of some branch of geometathermodynamomathematical science, it applies to all runners.

But new shoes can also have its dark side.¬† It’s like getting a present at Christmas.¬† Is it a new Ipod/Ipad/Icar or is it underwear, and I’m not talking the edible kind but the “practical” kind?¬† Sure–they’re both presents, but which one do you want to open?

New shoes can be great, but at the same time, they can wreak havoc on your running body with pain in places you didn’t even know you could have pain in.¬† I ended that sentence with a preposition.¬† I am a blogger, not your freaking English teacher.¬† And I digress.

I am a runner by virtue of the fact that I run 28-35 miles per week.  Yes.  I just go out the door and start moving quickly for no apparent reason at all.  My house is not on fire.  I am not on fire, though technically I should stop, drop and roll if that were the case anyway.  I am not chasing a beer truck.  I am not being chased by a bear.  I leave my house, run around for an hour or so, and end up exactly back where I started.  For some people it is insanity.  For others, it is exercise.  For myself, it is an obsession, or at least it is according to my loving wife.

Since I began running, I have lost over 20 pounds, lowered my cholesterol, improved my asthma and won the lottery.  I did not save 15% on my car insurance though, and I made that up about winning the lottery.  I am in better shape now than I was in high school.  Seriously, I would have dropped dead running a mile in high school.

But back to the shoes.  I love trying out new shoes (that is a blatant hint to shoe companies that want to send me free products to try on.  I wear a mens 8.5 US in case you are wondering, and I prefer blue and white.)

A year and a half ago, I tried out the Vibram Five Fingers.¬† I actually researched this funny looking shoe in great depth on the Internet (so the information had to be legitimate!)¬† Seriously, I read rave review after rave review by runners who are more obsessed and¬†faster than me.¬† No one said anything bad about these shoes.¬† (They all lied!) But I didn’t know that at the time so I ordered them online, put them on my feet, and went for a run.¬† I couldn’t walk–without pain and looking funny–for about three days afterward.¬† And I only managed a quarter mile in them!¬† To date, I have only put about 26 miles on them (not more than one or two at a time) and have no real desire to ever run in them again.

But they did help me in a perverse sort of way.¬† I discovered several things about my running form almost immediately.¬† For one thing, the road is HARD.¬† Seriously.¬† It is really hard.¬† Barefoot running is a big fad right now, and those who do it probably hate me for calling it a fad.¬† I’m sorry dudes, but there is no way I am running on anything but a sandy beach¬† without something on my feet.¬† And even the Vibrams couldn’t protect my pampered tootsies from rocks and gravel.¬† For the record, I am not a barefoot person.¬† Except for the shower, pool or beach, I am always wearing shoes, flip-flops or slippers.¬† I don’t even walk around with just socks on.¬† Maybe my wife is correct about that obsession thing.

What I really discovered was that I am a heel striker.¬† I landed on my heel first rolling forward onto the bottom of my foot and then pushing off with the toes.¬† Apparently this is not a good form.¬† If you get a chance to read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall I highly recommend it.¬† For those who are not runners and perhaps don’t know what is up with this barefoot movement, I will sum it up briefly.¬† Basically, we were born to run, but not with high priced running shoes that cause us to run differently.¬† If you run down a street barefoot, or in Vibram shoes, you will quickly discover that heel striking is not good.¬† Barefoot runners run more on the front of their feet or the balls of their feet.¬† This places less stress on the bones, muscles and ligaments of the leg, knee and thighs.¬† Better running form means less injuries.

I have been running regularly (at least 3x per week) since 2001.¬† Initially I suffered various aches and pains including but not limited to achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and shin splints so bad I think I might have had stress fractures since it felt like someone was driving a nail into my shins when I was in bed at night.¬† I had knee problems and spent time in rehab–physical that is, not because I did drugs for my pain.¬† But after I switched my running form from heel striking to forefoot, I have had NONE of these problems.¬† NONE.¬† I amaze even myself.

And as a by-product of that change, not only do I run pain free, but I can now outlast my shoes.¬† In the old days, I could start to feel more knee and hip pain after about 400 miles on most shoes.¬† Some sooner.¬† I almost always changed shoes at 500 just to try and prevent serious damage.¬† I have always been fond of the Asics line, 1100 and 2100 series and I now also have a pair of gel nimbuses.¬† I currently have two pairs over 700 miles and recently threw out a pair with over 1000 miles.¬† I actually wore out the shoe–it had holes and was coming apart.¬† It may not sound like a big deal, but all those shoes I stopped running in at 500 miles still looked good and presentable.¬† (I now use them for mowing the lawn, working outdoors and around the house, and a stack in the basment that I will eventually donate to some charity.)¬† But the cushioning in the heels had broken down to the point I couldn’t heel strike in them anymore.

So when I saw the advertisement for these Adidas Climacool Ride shoes, I just had to give them a try.¬† They are supposed to be light (they are) and breathable.¬† (I listened closely but couldn’t even hear a whisper of breath.¬† I held a mirror up to them and there was no fogging, but whatever.)¬† The ads say you will sweat less in them–20% reduction in in-shoe moisture and 12% drop in foot temperature.¬† I ran yesterday, but the temperature in central Pennsylvania was only about 48 degrees, so I cannot attest to that aspect of them.¬† I look forward to wearing them in Phoenix this summer.

Compared to the Vibram’s, I love this shoe.¬† It has a light, minimalist feel, but I do not actually feel the stones or road.¬† Unfortunately, they cost as much or more than the more heavily cushioned traditional shoes which is odd.¬† There is less shoe, but the price is the same.¬† I guess someone has to pay for David Beckham’s endorsements.¬†

I am not giving up my asics, but I am actually looking forward to putting more miles on these shoes.  I did 7 miles yesterday and had my best time all winter.  More importantly, I am able to walk today without the pain in my calves that I got with the Vibrams.

Adidas, ya done good.

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