It is running shoe shopping time. I ran 9 miles with Robyn today in my Addidas Boosts. It is my second pair for Boosts. I love them, but they are not for everyone. I am not a shoe fit expert, but I live in a great city with 4 great running shoe stores (Swags, Fleet Feet, Ken Comb’s, and Blue Mile). I shop them all. I cannot imagine what it is like for people who have to rely on untrained employees, internet reviews, and guesswork to find a good pair of shoes. I ran at Robyn’s pace to give my ankle a rest. I pulled my Achilles Heel last Sunday and have tried to run through it this week—I must confess, I am a bad patient. I would have asked my student athlete to rest more and crosstrain instead of trying to run through the stiffness and aches. To me, sometimes, this sport is about discomfort and how much I can handle as a runner. I’m sure it was frustrating to Robyn, but she’s a good running partner and fun to talk to while running. She tolerated me. My Achilles felt good after the first mile or so.
After running a few errands, Amy and I went to buy shoes. My Addidas feel great. The Boost uses a different type of foam that absorbs force and returns it to the surface you are running on. I’ve run through the rubber soles of 2 pairs, since they were released by Addidas. This particular pair that I am replacing has gotten me through Papa Johns 10 miler, Blue Ridge Marathon, and The Indy Marathon, as well as all the training runs. They have been on roads, XC courses, and a couple of trails. Popular wisdom and experts advise that you should rotate between two or three pairs of shoes. My brother usually has three pairs. I agree with this, but I don’t follow it with my Boosts. They are so nice and comfortable for me I feel awkward without them.
It takes a long time for me to decide on a pair of shoes. I used to look up specs on shoes I wanted to buy, and then read reviews and previews. This was helpful to a point, but it never made up for trying the shoes on and running in them. Finding a good running partner is like that, you have to spend time on the road with them. I’ve mentioned the camaraderie of runners. I am pretty sure everyone running realizes this is a sport that is punishing. The more you run, the more you want to run. You wear yourself down and torment your legs, back, heart and lungs. A few years ago, the XC team had shirts that said, “My sport is your sports’ punishment.” Why would we do that to ourselves? Everyone has their own reasons for running, and most of us respect our differences.
Elite runners (and Louisville has many of runners of note) are impressive in their accomplishments. I am always impressed how many of the local Elites will cheer the folks coming in much later in the race. I remember Wesley Korir cheering everyone not just his running group at the Pure Tap 5K. He was there from the first to the last. I try to encourage and cheer other runners as I run. I am a talker on most runs, so it makes sense for me to cheer people, thank workers, and thank spectators. I understand the accomplishments of the Elites, but I am more impressed by the people near the end. Today, Robyn and I crossed paths with a pace group following the interval training like Jeff Galloway’s system. We fell into pace with them and chatted. I handed out a few cards, and we talked about running, diabetes, and family. I will look for them next week when we are running Rodes City Run 10 K. They are changing their lives. They are fighting not every mile, but every step. They ignore the voice inside that says they can’t. You could feel the fire of their determination running beside them. They are competitors. I will cheer them the loudest.
Camaraderie is built on the determination to finish. It is planted in the realization that anyone deciding to put themselves through mile after mile of running is a little crazy. It is knowing that the race isn’t for the fastest or the quickest. Camaraderie of running is about the stubbornness, determination, and happiness of completing a goal. It’s the guy who gets up off the couch or the mom who works a run in to her schedule of shuttling kids around. After working eight hours on your feet you still pull on your running shoes and knock down your workout. You ignore the excuses that pop into your head. You are the reason we are friends on the road.