I don’t consider myself a rookie when it comes to running. I have been running since 2007. I ran in my very first, paid, chipped, 5k in December of 2007 with my best friend that had been running for many years prior to that. She gave me some pointers like “don’t wear your bib on the back of your shirt” and “only rookies wear the race shirt during the race”. I took that advice very seriously and have learned many other tricks of the trade over the years. One being that, you should never wear anything new for the first time on race day. I have pretty much always abided by that rule. Always wearing the well-worn and broken in items to all my races. No body wants surprises in the form of blisters or chafing on race day! But there comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to bend the rules a little with the small glimmer of hope that by doing so you could stumble upon something amazing. Something that you wished you would have done months, even years, ago.
Today I bought new shoes.
I have run in pretty much the same type of shoe (minimalist Vibram Five Fingers) for the past 5 years. I swore by them. I put many, many miles on them, ran many races in them. Ran in the heat, the rain, on the “dreadmill” and even through the mud in them. But I didn’t remain injury free with them. I can’t say that it had anything to do with the shoes themselves but shoes really are the only piece of equipment a runner has, so I felt like it was time for a change. I have been looking for an alternative for sometime now. I have bought and returned a couple of pairs here and there. None of them feeling quite right. Nothing to write home to mom about (or the chiropractor) but that all changed today.
In steps the Adidas Ultra Boost 2’s. Rays of sunlight burst out of the box when I open it. Angelic music plays softly in the background as I lace them up. And then it happens. As soon as I take my first steps on these blissful, puffy, creamy, little personal clouds on my feet, I am in heaven! I have never felt anything like them in my life! I wasn’t even planning on trying them on in the first place. I had a list of Brooks brand shoes in my hand that I was planning on interrogating when I set foot out of the house today.I persuaded my running buddy to skip yoga today and come with me to try on shoes. We were heading off to REI and then from the parking lot we stumbled upon the Texas Running Company (I would link their page here, but it won’t open). I said to her, “why don’t we go in there first, just for the heck of it?” and she agreed. The inside looked like any other private running store I had been in. A wall of running shorts and tops. Men’s on one side, women’s on the other and on the back wall were the shoes. I really didn’t have any intention of buying anything from them but as I walked over to the wall of shoes, there they were. My destiny was staring me right in the face. They had to be one of the coolest looking shoes on the wall and they passes my flexibility test as I curled back the toe box onto the rest of the shoe. (A shoe must be super flexible before I will even consider tying it on. I do not wish to strap stiff-ass pieces of plywood to my feet.) They also had all three pairs of Brooks that I wanted to try on and plus they had Cindy. Cindy was a super nice and knowledgeable sales person who helped us. I explained to her that I had come looking to try on several pairs of Brooks and then had seen the Adidas shoes. My friend then pointed out that Cindy also had the Adidas shoes on as well. It was a sign.
Cindy asked me what size I would need (an 8 in running shoes) and then went into the back. When she came back and informed me that all she had was a 8.5 I was a little disappointed and thought “well there’s a sign that it wasn’t meant to be”. But since we were there and Cindy went and got them for me, I tried them on and I was sold the very next moment. They fit like a glove….. for my foot. The toe box was made of a durable mesh and all my piggies had plenty of room to stretch and wiggle. They have a memory foam type lining going around the sock-like opening of the shoe and removable insoles as well. I had come across these shoes online during my search, so I was well aware of the hefty price tag they held ($180) but still asked how much they were. Cindy said they were more expensive than the Brooks I was looking at. I low-balled and said “what like $160?” and she responded, “no even more”! I was literally expecting her to say $200 since it was a local running store but she replied with the already assumed retail price of $180.
I proceeded to run in circle around the store with these magically little angels on my feet (although I felt they should have had some gold plating or something like intercoolers for the price they were). I kept telling my running buddy how wonderful they felt and within a few minutes all three of us, had the same purple, cotton candy, shoes on our feet (I wished I would have taken a picture of all of our feet but I always think about that stuff later). We both ran around trying them out while sharing small talk with Cindy.
We told her about the Lifetime Running group we were in and about the races we were signed up for. Then we proceeded to tell her about how we both have gone to The Tri Doc for our chiropractic needs. Cindy got all excited and said “wow, Dr. Tuggle is one of the cool guys out there in the field, oh and if you are patients of his, we offer a 10% medical discount for that” (another sign). I threw my hands up in the air and said “SOLD!” because anytime I feel like I am getting a discount over someone else I know it must be a good deal.
Another little thing that Cindy surprised me with was that the Texas Running Company offers a 30 day “try out” warranty on their shoes. (The whole reason I was going to go to REI was because of their 1 year “buy it and try it” guarantee. It is so hard to commit to buying something when you don’t even really know if you will like it past the front doors of the store.) Cindy explained that as long as you 1) keep the original box and 2) “act like an adult”, meaning don’t go around stomping in the mud, they will take back even worn shoes within 30 days. Maybe it was the full moon but all the stars had just aligned for me at that moment. So after being in the store for about an hour I was walking out with my new shoes under my arm. (Just a FYI, I did try on all three pairs of Brooks but nothing compared to the pair of Adidas shoes.)
Now let’s get back to my intentionally, planned out, rookie move.
I absolutely CANNOT wait to run in my new shoes. My group is not meeting tomorrow because we have a race on Sunday morning. So Sunday morning shall be the day that I bless the running track of the Car 2 Go Marathon Relay with my new kicks. I envision them propelling me forward and into a state of running bliss. I am willing to take the chance and “break in” new shoes during a race. It’s really not going to be that bad anyways. I mean it is a relay and each runner only does a 4.3 mile track. So even if I wasn’t doing a race, my first run in these shoes would still be between 3-4 miles anyways. So what the hell! There’s no time like the present!
I truly hope that these shoes will live up to the higher power in which I have bestowed upon them. I know they will not make me a “better” runner, but I do hope that they will help to alleviate some of the little aches and pains I have been experiencing in the last couple months. I can’t wait for the race and to get back to everyone about how everything went from head to toe!