If you don’t write a blog post, is it really happening?

So this first post of the new year is dedicated to my sister, Stacia.  Which makes sense cause when I spoke with her on the phone tonight she said, “Well, you’re not blogging.  I didn’t even know if this race was happening cause you haven’t written anything about it.  How am I sure that we’re running?”  Ah – the layer of guilt that insulates a good sisterly-bond.

She then kept talking in a self-labeled attempt to “give you more material to write about.”  Ah – the support sisters show each other.

Tomorrow, she and Rob fly in for our 2nd annual Disney running weekend.  We three are doing the half again like last year.  But we’ll be joined by my husband, Steve, who is doing the Goofy – running the 1/2 on Saturday and the full on Sunday.  (Yeah, don’t ask, I don’t know why either.  Other than you get three medals and three t-shirts. And yes, it makes my stomach cramp a little and I worry but he just poo-poos it so I keep it to myself.)

Steve’s plan to survive Goofy is to run the 1/2 with me.  Or as he put it when he hatched his plan: “I’ll walk with you.”  Nice.  And Stacia and Rob are just over the flu.  So we’ll all be sticking together to do things nice and easy. Or as Steve has dubbed us: “Team Turtle”.  (All I can say is, he’s lucky he’s cute.)

But even this ectotherm has goals.  As Steve wandered the Orlando outlet stores last year in his post-marathon deluded state, he promised to buy me a Coach purse if I ran again this year and beat my time by 13.1 minutes.  (Get it?)  So I have to pace at 11:51 per mile to win the deal.  Stacia intends for me to win – as evidenced by our conversation tonight:

“So, last year, we started out great – it was your foot injury that slowed us down. So I’m going to start you at an 11:45 pace and we’re going to keep it up. And I have a whole bunch of motivational speeches prepared…”

“You’re writing all these down to remember them?”

“Heck no. I’ll remember them – I’m a genius.”

She is actually very smart. As for genius….hm…

“And how do you feel about Minnie ears? Cause I’m thinking we’re going to run with Minnie ears.”

I love my sister.  She cracks me up – ears and all. She rags on my attire and my worries. And yet she can out worry me any day of the week (yes, you can – so don’t go posting a comment that you don’t!). And she can outrun me any day of the week. But she is the most kindhearted, loving person out there. And if she ever gives up her day job – she can totally be a motivational speaker – or fitness trainer.

So Stacia – here’s the first of a few blog posts about Disney this year.  Cause if I don’t blog about it – it won’t happen.  Let the magic begin!

 

 

Gotta run

This morning I was trying to dry my hair, tame my daughter’s out of control curly locks, fix my son’s bedhead hair, finish washing my face and put on make up, find my shoes and my keys, and get everyone and their Bibles out the door for church.  All in under 6 minutes.  And in the process of mentally cataloging all that needed to be done, I looked down at my poor toenails and their chipped polish.  Sigh.  Well, yet another thing that wasn’t going to get done this morning.

The hectic nature of my morning is not unusual for any mom.  And frankly for any given Sunday morning here at the homestead. But unfortunately I’ve been feeling like this ALL day long every day since August.  Since the kids went back to school and I started teaching three college classes instead of my usual 2.  Every hour has been filled with the stack of stuff I have to do right now AND the stack of stuff I’m trying to keep track of in my head AND all the emails I’ve answered in my head but not on the computer AND which kid has a project due at school AND what we might want to eat for dinner AND if we even want dinner AND whether dinner is actually the right term as opposed to ‘supper’ AND the never ending question of when will I have time to clean out the microwave and mop the kitchen.  It’s been go go go all the time.

Yeah right – having it all. If by all you mean “nervous breakdown”, then yes I am having it all. With a side of chocolate.

Part of all this crazy autumn has meant that my poor blog, which means a lot to me, has gotten the toenail polish treatment. That is Scarlett’s notion that “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”  (Side note: I have never seen more than 20 mins of Gone with the Wind despite having had two roommates who were passionate about it.  All I’ve glean from their knowledge of the movie is two quotes. That one and my other favorite one: “Quitting time!”  My apologies to Scarlett, Cristy and Betsy.)

Thus I’ve punted on the blog (despite starting a 1001 posts in my head while driving to work or grading papers) and in related news my running has been challenging. Not that I haven’t run. I have. Sometimes at 5 am. Sometimes at 10 am. But mostly not as far or as often as I should have. And so I didn’t know what to blog about. Cause you and my other reader don’t come here to read about my complaints, do you?

But I have stumbled forward….praying for the holiday break and for a chance to catch my breath.

And I’ve run. Or hobbled – depends on your definition. And before I knew it – we were driving up to Savannah last week for the Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon. And I was wishing for a giant pause button so I could catch my breath and have another 6 weeks of training.

Despite it all, I finished the race. Yea!  Not very quickly. Boo. A time of 3:02 is not what I had in mind.  But then again I was worried about collapsing before mile 5 – so that’s an improvement.  And in reality I was chugging along on pace to finish in 2:35.  Which was awesome.

Until I hit the wall.  (Upon hearing that, our daughter asked me why anyone would put a wall in the middle of the race.)  Mile 8.  My legs just up and gave up at mile 8. And from there on out it was mostly walking with snippets of running to keep up the pace. Until mile 10 when my iPhone died and I had no clue how fast (slow) I was going. So then I trudged to the end. (Side note – I think Santa’s getting me a Garmin for Christmas.  Or a Nike+ watch.  Either way – there was a silver lining to that!)

But I finished. And I was not the last one across the finish. And had I been running the whole marathon instead – that would have been an AWESOME time.  LOL.

We had a great weekend – especially getting to spent time with my folks.  They were kind and got up at 4:30 to take the shuttle with us and they hung out with the kids while we ran (and I even got to see them at about mile 6.3 – yea!).  So while it was not the running triumph I had hoped for back in the summer. It was fun and that’s what counts.

Soon enough it will be time for the Disney run again. About two months and I’ll be up for another 13.1.

Meanwhile, I’ve been reminded of my first year in grad school. I enjoyed the work load and the new people to meet and focusing on my career. But I missed reading for reading’s sake. I am a huge bookworm. And I found myself trying to settle my heart by telling myself that “come summer break”, I’ll read all I want.  Pretty soon, I realized that you can’t cut out that which is a core part of you. So I read. In between classes and research, I made the time.

Granted – back then I didn’t have two kids and a husband. But I hold onto that important lesson. And I am trying very hard to get back to what is at the core of me nowadays – running. So what if the microwave has layers of crumbs and my toenail polish is chipped? They can wait till tomorrow. I gotta run.  (after I grade three stacks of tests….  🙂

Favorite company EVER

It pays to be nice.

Remember my post about our beach trip? It morphed into a post about our family’s extensive collection of Merrell shoes.  Quick recap – we are family of four with currently 10 pairs of Merrells among us.  My husband has transitioned to doing all his runs in his Road Gloves and wears his Tough Gloves to work. I’ve been adding a mile or so here and there in my Bare Access pair, run errands in my Pace Gloves and wear my sandals to church. Our kids love their new Merrells (claim they are speedier now).

When we had come to the realization that our collection was quite extensive, we snapped a picture for ourselves.

yup - 10 pairs of Merrells!

And then I had a quick thought to just sent it to Merrell themselves. To be a geek and show what fans we were.  Steve had a customer service email address from when they helped him with a flaw in one pair of his.  (Complete replacement – awesome customer service.)  I sent off the picture with just a short email saying how our family loves their products and that we might need some shoe addicts rehab or something.  I figured it would make people laugh at best. Be ignored more likely.

Well imagine my surprise when a few days later I got an email asking for my mailing address as they liked my picture and had something to mail me.  Wow.  I sent off the address and a link to my blog post about the shoes.  Independently, Steve and I both figured they might send us t-shirts or a bumper sticker or some nice Merrell trinket.  Our daughter figured they were mailing us all free shoes – which we explained was not going to happen.

Except she was pretty close to right.

Today in the mail we got the following letter and gift card.  WOW!  I was stunned. Not only are Merrell’s products comfy and well made. But they are clearly a company that cares about its customers and appreciates them.

Let me be clear – I didn’t ask for anything when I send off my email. I simply wanted to tell the company how much we like their products. I did joke about a loyalty program but that was it. They did not have to acknowledge my email never mind follow up with such a generous gift. But they did. And that is just old fashion “going above and beyond” business sense in my mind. And Merrell has gone up even more in my eyes.

The good retail companies understand that customers are the heart of what they do. And they care about what people think of their products AND the company as a whole.  Those are the ones who work hard to show that they stand behind their products and they work hard to make the customers happy. Simply put – Merrell has made me happy.

So what do I like about their shoes?

I love the lightweight feeling of the “barefoot” running shoes. In fact, after a few days of them, I went for a longer run in my usual running shoes and I felt like my feet were in blocks of cement.  Of course it could be that it was 85 degrees and 95% humidity too and it was just a lousy time to be out running in Florida weather.  But my feet are comfy in them, they feel more natural.  I like running errands in my Pace Gloves as they make me more aware of my feet and how I walk.

Will I transition to being an all “barefoot” runner?  I don’t know.  I’m not great yet at the mid foot strike so I’m not sure how well I’ll do on long distances. That and I’m a *ahem* slightly heavier curvaceous woman – so having some support might always be best for longer distances. When I get to be a thin, gazelle like runner that graces the covers of Runner’s World, I’ll let you know.  🙂  But I like that I think more about my posture even just walking around in them. But know that Merrell has a great deal of information on their site about barefoot running and an app to make it easier!  I’ve downloaded the app and watched the videos on it – very helpful!

However, you don’t need to just buy barefoot styles at Merrell. They have TONS of other shoes – hiking boots to water shoes and everything in-between.  Definitely check them out.  And you can tell them I sent you!

As for our gift card – it’s probably going to go to buy two more pairs of kid shoes. No matter how many bricks you put on their heads – darn kids just keep growing and growing – along with their feet. And they really love the fact that their Merrells earned them a lot of attention in school. Friends and even other teachers commented on them.  (Our daughter even went up to one teacher who was wearing Pace Gloves like mine and started a whole conversation about how great Merrells are. I think she’s angling for being a spokesperson for them!)

And me – once I start making more progress towards my goal – I’ll be adding more pairs to my Merrell wish list.

Now – go shop!  Or better yet – go RUN!  And if you have other companies that you want to rave about with regard to their customer attention and service – let me know your stories.

Toes in the beach

We were fortunate to get to go to the beach for a few days last week.

great place for a run!

Got to run on the beach.  The view was amazing….so amazing that I forgot to check what my hotel looked like. Yup – I got lost on the beach. I was really confused why the hotel was setting up tiki huts on the beach when I was sure that they had had blue umbrellas the day before.  Now, you might think – Gee, didn’t you just look at how far out you ran and then double that for the way back and find your hotel right where you left it?   And that was my plan – but apparently I can’t do math and run at the same time.  Steve laughed at me (a lot) when I called him on my iPhone from the beach.  And then he laughed again when I got up to the room.

I actually braved another run the next day after memorizing EXACTLY what our hotel looked like.  But this one was just one mile – I wanted to try “barefoot” running.  That is – not running without shoes….but with my Merrell pace gloves on.  I’ve been wearing my Merrells since Christmas – just for walking though as barefoot running takes some building up. I’m not sure I want to ultimately run in barefoot shoes exclusively. But I’ve found that the shoes have helped strengthen my feet a bit.  Not totally getting rid of the stupid plantar pain – but I find it does help.  And running in them turned out to be fun….and yes I found the hotel again.  Whew.

The barefoot run was partially inspired by the fact that I had ordered a new pair of Merrells – their new Bare Access Arc. I had tried them on at the Gasparilla expo and found them to be SO comfortable.  They look more like traditional running shoes but are so lightweight.  I was so tempted by them that I figured at some point I would order them and try to run in them a little.

A few days after we got back, the Merrells showed up – all 5 pairs!  Yes we are clearly an insane family.  Steve has taken to running in his Merrells. And he had gotten a pair of the leather ones for work. And he ordered more pairs of the leather ones as they are likely to be discontinued. And of course the kids have worn out their sneakers…..and I wanted a pair of comfy sandals too.  Since Thanksgiving time, we have acquired 10 pairs of Merrells for a family of four.

yup - 10 pairs of Merrells!

50% of them belong to Steve.  When he looked at this picture his comment was, “I have to stop now.”  (When I met him – I think he had 4 pairs of shoes total.  LOL)  I wonder if Merrell has a customer loyalty program.

For the record – the kids LOVE their Merrells. We all went for a quick run after we got our new shoes.  Both kids argued that they were now MUCH faster than they had been before. And I found mine to be very comfy to run in. I think I’ll like trying to incorporate short ‘barefoot’ runs in with my workouts….

And in other news….we shall not talk about the “project weight loss” right now….but I’m still sticking to it and hoping that more progress is around the corner….just gotta run after it!

Oh holey shirt….

“Are you going painting or running?”

Jill is a friend who basically cuts things right down to the essence.  And she was pretty direct about my choice of attire the other morning when walking the kids to school…

“You realize that shirt has holes in it and paint on it.”

I feebly tried to retort, “Well it’s comfy…from my college days. They don’t make t-shirts like they used to. And I like to run in it.”

“You mean so everyone can see your purple sports bra?” She gave me a look.

“Hey – that’s the best bra in the world.”  (It’s true – read this post.)

“Okay….go running in your holey shirt….”

Well stubborn me did.  Go running in that holey shirt that is.

And then I came home and thought about it a lot.  The sad state of my attire that is. I am the first to admit not being the most fashionable person out there…..while running or otherwise. My sister, Stacia, would be quick to agree and would point out this has been a lifelong problem. She used to make fun of what I wore back in high school.  But then the next day she’d ask to borrow my clothes.

I finally asked her once, “How can you make fun of what I wear and then turn around and borrow it for yourself?”

Her cool response:  “You don’t know HOW to wear the clothes you have.”

So that right there did not clear up the mystery of fashion for me.

And this dismay over my attire has continued to the next generation. My curly-headed daughter takes right after her Aunt Stacia. Several weeks ago we were going out to a concert as a family. I showed my 6 year old daughter the cute little dress I planned to wear. She cocked her head to the side and said, “Well…what are your other options?”

Clearly I have a problem.

Of course as a fan of reality tv, there really is only one solution for this – somehow get myself onto “What Not to Wear”.  In fact, Jill told me the next day (when I showed up at school pick up in a dress just to throw her off) that she was just angling for a way to get me on the show. But she and I suspect that if you’re TOO eager to get on the show, they’d rather not cast you. They’d prefer the clueless-about-their-impaired-fashion-choices kind of people. And you need to be a bit wacky. I don’t suppose my holey running shirts are enough to make me a compelling fashion-must-fix story.  Maybe I just have to find a good friend who will take me shopping and clue me into the the mysteries that I seem to keep missing. Any volunteers?

I just realized anyone reading this might think “But you’re supposed to blog about running? Where’s the running?”  Okay – so the running part of this is:  I suck at dressing myself when I run and when I don’t run.  Therefore I’m easy to spot as I run through the neighborhood.  And I need to run to a new sense of fashion but I seem to be way off course….  Happy?  🙂

Peaking and Tapering

Ah….Disney 1/2 in 10 days!!! OH MY!

When I started this blog, Disney was on my mind – my training leading up to it. But it was one of those things that seemed so far off that I couldn’t possibly conceive of actually doing it. Now it’s a scant 10 days away and I’m alternately psyched about it and scared out of my mind.

So this is my tapering period…..I peaked with an 11 mile run last Monday…..the training plan I was following (loosely) had me getting up to 14 miles before the race. However, the nagging issues of my plantar fascititis had me scale back on a few weeks. Nonetheless, my 11 felt great that day…finished it in 2 hours, 20 mins. Which meant that I was on pace for the finish I had predicted of 2 hours, 50 minutes. So it seemed do-able.

My whole long run I kept picturing running with my sister (and praying she’s not going to push me to a 10 min mile – yikes!) and crossing the finish line. But then I’d get weepy and start yelling at myself, “There’s no crying in running.” But I finished well and was excited about it.

Now I’ve been in tapering mode. Managed a some good short runs – including a 4 mile run on the morning of Christmas Eve when it was 86 degrees out. Who manages a small case of sunburn on Christmas Eve? This week I’ve done two runs already. The first on Monday was with my husband….we managed to get me to do 12 min miles for a 5K. And then today I did another 5K on my own and pushed to an 11:45 pace for the first mile. I think the freezing cold has something to do with it……We’re in Illinois and no chance of a sunburn here! In fact today I had to avoid some last remnants of snow here and there on the roads. (The snow on Tuesday was cool but thankfully brief and quite melt-y.) But maybe, just maybe, my body’s ready for this Disney dance. I plan to do another 5 or 6 on Friday and then two short runs next week. I pray they all go as well as these last handful.

In other news – my foot pain is subsiding – or at least it’s manageable. I’ve been wearing a splint for a few hours at night (as long as I can stand it). And doing the ice bottles, rolling on golf balls, taping, etc. I even got a home visit by my friend’s dad who is a retired podiatrist. He basically pointed out some features of my feet and ankles that contribute to this…but that are just the way I was born. He wasn’t concerned and suggested some good work arounds to help cope and get my foot to a better place.

But the thing that really seems to be helping my foot is my Christmas present. My husband bought me a pair of Merrell’s pace glove. LOVE THEM! They have the Vibram soles but not the individual toes….so a mitten rather than a glove for your feet (which is actually as I think it should be….the five fingers look odd on some feet). I’m not about to start minimalist running with 10 days before a big race. But I am wearing them as everyday shoes.

Given the pain – I’ve been wearing my running shoes non-stop for weeks (yes even with church clothes!). But this is a nice light-weight solution to that…and man are they comfy. My feet really like them a lot. I’m thinking I need to add to my collection of them with some of the Mary Jane style ones to look a bit more “dressy”.

Steve has been wearing his trail gloves daily for awhile now. And he even got some of the leather dressy ones for work. He has incredibly narrow feet so they work really well for him. And he believes that the wear (no running in them) has strengthened his feet. (I believe he’ll do more “barefoot” runs after the Disney marathon.) Perhaps he’s right. All I know is that for the past 4 days of owning them – I love them. We’ll see about running – but for now, my feet are happy and my pain is much less. YES!

And with that – I look eagerly forward to updating you on my last few runs and then DISNEY!!!!!! Donald medal here I come!

What’s in YOUR bathtub?

“No one ever drowned in their own sweat.”  I think I got that right….it was a quote going around on Twitter yesterday – a motivational quote.  So I should be motivated to sweat more cause I won’t die?  I’ll just feel like dying!

But see the problem with sweat (and more and more of it) is not the drowning – it’s the stink!  This weekend, I walked into our bathroom and was overwhelmed by an incredible stench.  Ah – the smell of effort, sweat, and a week’s worth of running clothes.

Thankfully blogs do not include smell-o-vision

The bathtub has become our holding pen for our running clothes. Yet we need to be a bit quicker about shoveling these odoriferous items into the washing machine.

Yes I know – some of you are thinking, “What? How can you use the tub like that?”  Well – I am one of the very few women in the world who hates baths. Seriously – if you watch any of those home purchasing shows on HGTV – the women are always commenting along the lines of needing a bathtub in their bathrooms. Me? Blech. I have no desire to sit in a soup of my own flaked off dead skin cells. Gimme a shower any time. And that frees up the tub for all the stinky running clothes!

“Go barefoot”

That was my husband’s comment in response to my story of a friend also having trouble with plantar fasciitis.

Ummm… I’m starting to wonder about the wisdom of checking out “Born to Run” from the library. My husband has started to run over to the “dark side”.  LOL.

Actually I tease. Yes, he’s putting his toes (unshod) into the waters of barefoot running. But is doing it according to a careful plan. Which seems the right way to go about it.

A few months back he had tried on a Merrell Trail Glove and found it rather comfortable. He later tried on the Vibram Five Fingers and they just simply looked funny on him and didn’t fit well.  He is tall and skinny with feet to match: long and very narrow. The Vibrams just didn’t seem ideal for his feet.

Just last week he finally ordered himself a pair of the Merrells. (I knew he’d been musing about the idea for awhile.) This past Saturday he tried them out. As per a training book he found, he ran 1/4 mile barefoot first. (His comment – “Not bad but things stick to the bottom of your foot and then they don’t come loose right away.”) Then he did 1/2 mile with the Merrells on. His time for that  – 3:30….that is – a 7 min mile (which is the fastest he’s ever done in recent history). Then he came back and put on his usual New Balance shoes and with the comment, “I’m back to being a shod runner,” he headed out for 7 miles.

I’m excited for his new shoes…I think the idea of zero-drop shoes is cool.  But as I’ve mentioned before the idea of truly running barefoot makes me cringe. But the minimalist shoes seem intriguing – although I’m not likely to try to mess with my stride or my training right now before my first 1/2. Steve’s been running much longer – and is a stronger runner than I. He’s also very thoughtful about how he approaches new tasks and challenges – that is – being very knowledgable from the outset. So I know he’ll tackle this change wisely. Not sure that he’ll be doing the Disney Marathon in the Merrells but I suspect some trail race is in their future.

On a funny side note, our son and daughter are very exposed to running – they have gotten bored in running stores, they have to endure Saturday morning cartoons while Mommy and Daddy take turns running, and they have started a small collection of their own race medals. But we didn’t realize that they are actually paying attention to the details of running. When Steve showed his new shoes to the kids, our son immediately said, “Hey, those are just like the ones with the toes.” Apparently minimalist footwear is easily identifiable in this household!

As for my friends and their aches and pains – I’m not sure that barefoot (or minimalist) is for everyone. So I’ll offer my tips and tricks and save my husband’s advice for the more adventurous runners.

 

Ahhh…the newness of it all

Soft and cushiony like a cloud!  I love love love my new Asics!  Not a great run this am – in that I wish I had gone farther and faster. However, when you hit snooze too many times your window for running can close fast – and get hot. But I did get almost 2.5 miles in and I really liked the new shoes.

The funny thing was that my feet were rather grumpy about getting going. Seriously – they balked at the idea of putting on running shoes. I think they’re having bad blister flashbacks. I could just feel the dread in my toes. But it only took about 1/4 mile before all seemed right with the world.

Tomorrow morning school starts for our two munchkins. 1st grade and 2nd grade. I can hardly believe that. So we’re praying that we don’t hit the snooze button too many times in the morning. I’m looking forward to getting into a groove – back to a morning routine and earlier bedtimes. And different running times. Getting the kids out the door is going to have to take priority some mornings.

I always loved the start of school – as a kid and even as a college and grad student. I think it’s the new supplies – the notebooks ripe for possibilities (notes as well as doodles)…the pencils that haven’t been used yet….the newness of everything. New can be energizing and refreshing.

But you have to hang onto that….as sometime during the semester what was new becomes “same old boring routine” and you sort of stumble through the weeks praying that Christmas break comes a few weeks sooner than usual.  As a college instructor – I always know that window in the semester when the students all catch colds, they all look weary and I can’t stand to look at the stack of papers in my bag. Maybe this semester I can hang on to the newness of it all for just a little longer…..or I’ll just push the papers aside and go for a run….cause for now that still seems nice and new to me…

Happy feet!

I haven’t run since Monday…when I got to run with my sister. No – she didn’t wear me out that badly. I fell the victim of the blister that ate my foot.  The worn out running shoes were replaced with the slightly worn out cross trainers.  End result – hours after the run there was the most disgusting blister on the heel of my foot. Wanna see?  Here you go:

My blister has blisters

I know – gross, right?

So there was much doctoring to the foot and a lot of bandages for a few days. Running took a back seat to fun at the beach and pool with the family. And my foot thanked me for the chance to heal properly…

Today we finally made it out to the mall where Fit2Run is. Yea!  New running shoes.

Now I’m not much up on the latest and greatest shoes….I did a little searching on Runner’s World online and such. But truth be told – I’m not that knowledgeable to know what all the differences are between the minutiae that goes into running shoes. I just want to put my feet in them and go by “feel” so to speak. All the reviews just kinda confused me. My plan was to get some good guidance and then just let my feet be the judge.

I brought my worn out pair in hopes that would help them figure out what is wrong with my stride. Actually the guy told me that the wear pattern was rather typical and nothing really out of the ordinary. I guess that’s good…but it did tell him about my foot and my stride.

Next, I had to take off my sandals and stand barefoot to see how my feet fall. Note to myself for next time – do take the time to remove all the old nail polish before getting new shoes. The smudge of purple on my big toe that I was too lazy to remove led to an embarrassing exchange.

“So beyond the blisters, any other problems?”

“Nope – just an on and off case of plantar fasciitis.”

“What about your toenails?  Isn’t that one about to fall off?”

*blush* “Umm…no…I’m just overdue for a pedicure….”

“Oh…looks like you were going to lose that toenail….”

Oops….

Anyway – I had previously worn a pair of Sauconys which I liked but wasn’t wedded to. I just wanted the best pair for me. I tried on a pair of Brooks, Saucony, and Asics. While we were away, I tried on a couple of pairs at a local sporting good store and found the Asics were really comfy. So no real surprise that I really liked the comfort level in this higher-end pair of them. The Brooks were just okay and the Sauconys felt good – but I really liked the “cloud” like feel of the Asics. So – here are my new Asics – the Gel Kayno 17.

Ready to run

My husband’s uncle had told both of us that we should only wear Asics – hopefully Uncle Bob is proud of my choice then. And my sister had told me to buy two pairs – but the funds weren’t there for that to happen just now – although the salesman tried very hard to get me to buy both the Sauconys and the Asics.

Given the soft, comfy nature of this new pair….I couldn’t help but start thinking about how some runners would see me as doing it “all wrong”….

While we visited family, I had a lot of time to catch up on my reading. In the string of books I finished were two books on running – one by Pam Reed, the ultra runner, and Born to Run – a fascinating look at a hidden running culture (the Tarahumara Indians who live in Mexico’s Copper Canyons). I don’t honestly remember Pam Reed‘s take on shoes (if she had one)….and I’m still not sure about the sanity of the ultra runners….but it was an interesting read.

Christopher McDougall’s book fascinated me and at the same time confused me. Part of the book is the heart of the debate about barefoot (and minimalist) running. Humans are made to run….and McDougall points out studies and scientists who make points against the modern running shoe. Apparently the modern running shoe is the bane of our current running existence. Now I don’t doubt the scientists he talks about – but he’s not a science writer per se – he clearly chose people with one point of view. So I’d be interested to hear what others on the other side of the debate say. But it’s clear that many of the barefoot/minimalist advocates would spit at my choice of a cozy, comfy, gonna-make-me-injured-cause-I-should-be-barefoot type of shoe.

Frankly – I like to walk around barefoot. And running in the grass barefoot with the kids is fun. But a) I’m a klutz – I’d certainly injure myself on a rock or stick long before my feet got toughened up, b) I did actually step on a piece of metal as a kid running barefoot….that trip to the ER flashes through my head whenever barefoot running is mentioned, and c) I run in the suburbs….do you know what sorts of things live on the sidewalks and streets in the suburbs? I’m not actually willing to take sides in the barefoot debate….after all, I’m intrigued by the Tarahumara.  But I’m not likely to lace up my huaraches soon. I’m sticking to my new Asics…

Hopefully will get a run in tomorrow to put them to the test….