Today's big city contribution to #running: not-cheap shoes (and inserts), not-expensive shorts, and cheap sunglasses. Trying this thing where I don't compulsively buy everything because these are the only 3 things that have been on my want list for a few weeks. Still mulling over a GPS watch, but there was no other gear I could consider even vaguely essential.
Every trip to the big city (ok, not a big city, but still a city) is an excursion for supplies. Much like my ancestors on the homestead making a trek to town for their winter supplies, I make my trek to the city for my non-necessities.
Being in a small town isn’t that bad when you’ve got a Wal-Mart. There are not true necessities. I won’t starve. I won’t freeze. But I won’t get the little things I’d like, including running gear (though I foraged for other things as well).
Target for instance. Wal-Mart and Target might compete, but they are clearly not the same. Wal-Mart is where you go when you’ve stopped expected good things to happen or you’ve got no place else to go. Target is where you go when you don’t want to go to Wal-Mart. As such, it has slightly nicer things.
And that yielded the first find of the day: sunglasses. I’ve got a nice pair that I run in, but they’ve got a hairline crack that’s getting bigger. I thought about getting another nice pair, but I want to give these a try (plus the thought of breaking a 20-dollar pair doesn’t make me cringe as much as the 100-dollar pair). Just a pair of cheapos that have full UVA/UVB protection. That’s all I have now, so we’ll see if this works. If not, we know what will be on the list for the next big-city trip.
After that, I went wandering through an Academy hoping for the best. Any time I go into one of these stores, I have zero clue what I’ll walk out with. I mean, I went to the city specifically for a running store to get fitted for new shoes (more on that in a second), but I still went to the shoe aisle to look at running shoes. But, I did have my mind on a new pair of shorts to run in. I don’t do well with true running shorts because they almost always come with the liner, and that just doesn’t do the trick. It’s a guy thing. If you know, you know. If you don’t, I’ll let you ask the magic Google machine why short liners aren’t always kosher. I ended up with a pair of Adidas shorts. I’ve never found anything I like as much as the Puma shorts I found a couple of years ago (and I’ve never found another pair of Pumas, though I suppose Amazon must carry them). I have two sets of true runnings shorts (which I only wear if I’m desperate) and three pairs of general bro shorts (whatever you pictured in your head when you read that is probably pretty close. If not, baggy shorts that hover just over the knee cap). At some point, I know I’m going to lose the elasticity in my Pumas (they’re at least 2.5 years old, and I wear them 95% when I run if it’s not cold), so I wanted to get a good replacement pair in before they wore out completely.
And this philosophy gets us to the star of the show: new running shoes. I’ve told this story before, but it always deserves retelling. In the fall, I knew my beloved Glycerins (size 10) were on their last legs and needed to be retired. I had bought a pair of Adidas (11) earlier in the year as my rotation pair and hadn’t had any issues with them. The problem was I like to have a spare pair. I walked out with Brooks Ghosts (11.5 narrow). Wore them once, fine. Wore the Adidas the next run, and then had an injury. I didn’t know which one was the culprit, but I had to wear the Glycerins to finish out the Super Awesome Year of the 5K.
My 10K steps per day goal in January allowed me to rotate in all my running shoes to see how they felt walking. Glycerins the best and Adidas the worst. I eventually started running again, rotating the Ghosts in to see if they still worked. They did, though I’m not 100% happy with them. In this process, I figured out the Glycerins were causing problems (again, they’re 6 months past when I tried to retire them), so I planned my excursion so I could go back to the running store.
Now this is the 3rd time I’ve been to this place and 4th that I’ve gone to a running store. I haven’t been fit the same twice in a row (and only twice them same), so I always get fitted again (and they always act confused as to why I get fitted every time). I’m starting to realize the clerks put their expectations on the customers more than anything else.
That said, today seemed ok (though the real test is tomorrow when I put the newbies to the pavement for 3 miles). I got sized again. They had me back down to 11 without being narrow (though they said I was very close to narrow). This time was a little funnier though because even though they said I wasn’t narrow, they made sure to bring out shoes that were naturally narrow. In this process I actually got told my foot had low volume or something like that (basically my foot isn’t as skinny as much as it is just vertically thin, so it doesn’t take up much space in the shoe). It’s like my foot is one of those people who has a slim profile but a straight shot looks regular. My feet are weird.
They brought out three pairs: Asics Nimbus, a Mizuno pair (don’t know specific make), and an Adidas pair (don’t know specific make but similar to the ones I have). She said with my skinny foot that Saucony’s would swallow them (which is weird because I never asked about them, though that’s the brand I mentally had in my head going in). The Asics felt great, and this is actually the first time I’ve tried a pair of those on since high school track. Cushy. The Mizunos felt ok to walk in, but on a few jogging steps (yeah, I said jogging. What are you gonna do about it?), their firmness (which is evidently what people like about them) did not mesh with my current foot issue. So as much as I was intrigued, I had to pass. Then I put on the Adidas. They were ok but not as comfy as the Asics, and I’m hoping the comfy label will work since that seems to be the only good determinant for preventing injury in shoe choice. I also am terrified of Adidas for the same reason I’m terrified of Nikes. An injury is enough to make me fear the whole brand. When my foot stops hurting, I’ll try to work my Adidas back into the mix, but until then, they’re on hiatus and decorating the real estate under my desk at work.
They also had me leave with over-priced inserts. Hopefully they work out. Of course, if this pair also doesn’t work out 100%, I’m pretty sure I’m done with this running store if not all running stores in general. I know Glycerins work, so I may just have to be loyal to them since they’re the only thing that seems to be 100% kosher (when they’re not nearing retirement age).
And side note, I keep getting the neutral diagnosis when I got to the stores when I walk and run. But here’s the kicker, if you look at my regular shoes, I wear out the outer part of the heel. In other words, I walk differently with shoes on (though I do actually run neutrally judging from the wear on my shoes). Again, my feet are weird.
So yeah, you may read this and go “well that’s nice” followed by a post tomorrow if things go wrong and say “I’d like to retract my previous statement.”
It’ll be a story either way. Stay frosty, friends.