I am about to admit something that to many of you -- especially the guys out there --may ring very true... I am a creature of habit. Almost to a fault. I like to run at the same time every morning. I like to get my gear ready to go the night before. I like to eat and drink the same thing before working out. It's a ritual of getting my mind ready. Mind you, I am not obsessed with such tasks, but I do take a certain amount of pride in being prepared for just about any situation. The one constant through this journey of losing weight, getting fit, finishing races and marathons -- my shoes. Not that I have worn the same pair for the hundreds of miles I've logged, but I have run in the same brand, same model, same size. I have four pair of them, yes you read that right 4 pair.... all marked on the sole 1, 2, 3 and 4. Problem is, the company made a change and the newer model doesn't cut it on my foot (well actually it does "cut" it on my foot, precisely the problem.)
Another tri blogger, TriSaraTops
, calls her favorite kicks her "strong shoes". If you've ever had a pair that you were slow to get rid of, even though you knew you needed to, you have likely had your own pair of "strong shoes." You seem to run faster, longer and more comfortable in those special shoes. They're the ones you turn to on race day or any other particularly important run. That pair of shoes for me was my Brooks Radius 04's -- #3 -- in the long line of the same shoes. I bought my first pair in 2004 (hence the name) and found it increasingly more difficult to find subsequent pairs after they were discontinued. After pair number 2 needed to be replaced I called store after store, searched online until I was able to find pair #3 tucked deep in someone's warehouse. I don't know what it was about the #3 pair, but they fit like a glove. I knew I needed new ones after I had passed the 350 mile mark in my #3's, but I couldn't stand to cast them away. So I got pair number 4... of a newer model, and you guessed it they weren't the same. I tried everything to get the #4s to work (Radius 06's) to no avail. So I kept running in my trusty #3's and they kept me on track. So much so that I've estimated I've run some 650 miles in them. I knew the end was coming, but like a good friend, I didn't want to tell those old kicks that they were about to be retired.
I went to look at shoes several times, tried on more than 25 pair, but couldn't find a proper replacement.
I was about to settle on a different model of Brooks when I came across some shoes made by The North Face. I know what you're thinking "The North Face" as a good
running shoe. I thought the same thing. I tried them on out of curiosity and what I found was a match. These things, from the time I put them on, game me that feeling that my #3's gave me. Finally, ahhhhh, a proper replacement -- North Face Arnuva 50's
. As a bonus, they have a very cool lacing system that eliminates the need for Yanks or laces. Check them out in person if you ever see them.
Remember the days of childhood when first day of school came around and your mom would make sure you had a new outfit on to catch the bus for that inaugural day to class (yes that is me at the bus stop on my first day of second grade... nice pants!) Or that first day back from Christmas break and everyone would be wearing their new duds. You always looked forward to wearing your new clothes. Such was my morning this morning. What I am about to say will probably be met with a gasp, but I was going to wear my new shoes on my 11 miler this morning. I know what you are thinking. Before you get too far, I had a plan (of course, see above.) I was doing my 11 miler on the trail so I was able to do the 4 mile loop and then the 7 mile loop and was going to be running right past the car. So I left my #3's in the car and took off. I hope my #3's didn't get too much of a complex, but from the first few foot strikes of my new kicks I was developing a new love affair. Ran right past the car and didn't even think about changing into my old shoes. I'm hoping these new shoes become my "stronger shoes"... we'll have to see about that.
I was able to enjoy 56 degree weather, sunny skies, and absolutely beautiful surroundings. Everyone on the trail was seemingly feeding off of the pristine conditions. Struck up a few conversations along the way, but mostly was content to put in the miles, put in the time, and most importantly, start building a new relationship with the shoes that, I hope, will take me through a few hundred miles on my journey to success.
Town Lake Trail
9.45 avg pace