New Shoes

I got new running shoes and I tried them out today. This wouldn’t normally be blog-worthy news. I mean, if you’re a runner, you know that you have to replace your running shoes regularly – about every 300-500 miles. But this time I changed my running shoe. And yes, now I’m going to wax poetic about my shoes. Well, sort of.

Back when I was a kid, there were sneakers. There were two types of sneakers. There were Keds. Most of the girls I knew had Keds. There was one style. Some boys had them, too. And then there were Converse. If you played basketball, or if you wanted to look like you played basketball, you got Converse. There were Converse high-tops, and low-tops. A lot of the boys I knew had Converse high-tops.

But then, oh, then, there was this whole revolution in sneakers. They weren’t just sneakers anymore. Nike came out with this special shoe for running, and there were all sorts of specialty shoes and you got the shoe that was right for the thing that you were doing. Or you could, anyway.

These days, running shoes come in all sorts of varieties. If you know me personally, you know that I’m not exactly built like a typical runner. I’m short, busty, and, well, let’s just say I’m short for my weight, and my anatomy is such that running is actually a bit of a chore for me. I’ve had physical therapists look at me and ask, “so, um, why do you run, exactly?” But there are shoes that make running less painful for me. I say less painful, because after say, about 10 or 12 miles, it’s going to be painful no matter what – I mean, my feet are just going to hurt – but the right shoes make it so that my hips and knees aren’t screaming in agony. I didn’t run for most of my life in part because my hips and knees were, in fact, screaming in agony.

One day I went to a running store where someone watched me run and that person was able to tell me that I hyper-pronate (I turn my ankles in – no surprise, I was pigeon-toed as a child) when I run, and that I would need motion-control shoes. Ta-da! Motion control shoes made a huge difference! I ran in Saucony’s for a while, but then switched to the Brooks Ariel – the most motion-control shoe on the market. That shoe served me well for a long time. I finished five marathons and two half-marathons in that shoe. But it’s heavy. I mean, it’s HEAVY. That was the price for the motion control.

The last time I took Twenty-one-year-old for new running shoes, the guy at the store mentioned that I might like this new shoe from Brooks, the Transcend.  It’s much lighter, but it provides a lot of motion control because of new technology in the shoe that I don’t remember what it is. Cool. The next time I was in there, I bought a pair.

Holy Cow!  They are SO much lighter than my old shoes!  Now, I loved my Ariels. I’ve had two surgeries on my left foot, and one so far on my right. I don’t have wonderful foot anatomy. Running is difficult for me. And I am slow. By which I mean S-L-O-W SLOW. I finished dead last in the 2003 DisneyWorld marathon (but I did finish). I finished after dark in the 2005 New York City marathon. I have no kick. Or, I had no kick. These new shoes make me feel like I have almost nothing on my feet! I can have a kick now! (No – if you run in Vibrams these aren’t the same thing, but compared to the bricks that I was running in before, they feel like nothing). And then I started thinking.

Now, I’m a fair bit older than I was when I ran my first marathon in 2001. I don’t think I’m going to best my personal record at this point, because I’m 52 now. But it’s not out of the question. Taking that weight off my feet has changed how I’m able to run. I’m not running in someone else’s shoes – I’m running in my own, but my own shoes have changed.

We never know really, what someone else is carrying. We don’t know how heavy someone else’s shoes are unless we’re wearing them ourselves. I run differently now, faster, because I changed my shoes.

It’s easy to judge others by looking. We think we know the whole story. But the people we’re judging might have bricks on their feet. Or maybe we do. But we can always change our shoes.

That’s all I’ve got. That’s my mite.



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