Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's the Shoes

A 300 pound guy walks into a running store...

Sounds like a joke right? Well, that's exactly what I did a couple of months ago when I bought my first pair of running shoes. Actually, strike that. It's the second pair. The first pair, I actually made the mistake many have made before me: I went to an outlet store, found the shoes labeled "running" and bought the pair I liked most.

Wow. That was 60 bucks well spent.

I should have done a little reading first. Turns out that running shoes are kind of a big deal. They are the most important piece of gear for a runner. Logical since your feet are the only thing in contact with the floor. But man is the whole thing complicated to the uninitiated. Gait, pronation, arch type, etc... The pros recommend going to a running store and getting expert help so that's what I did.

So I walk in the store and immediately feel self-conscious. An incredibly fit girl in incredibly fit looking clothes greets me and gives me a look-over like "This guy has never seen the inside of a running store." (a correct assessment by the way). I tell her I'm looking for a pair of running shoes. She literally goes: "Yeah, so walking shoes..." I correct her. "No, running shoes. Hard to believe right?" She said nothing. I tell her I know nothing about running shoes or what kind of I might need so she asks me to take off my shoes and socks and get on a treadmill. She tells me she is going to film my feet while on the treadmill.

I tell you, that was embarrassing. I start walking and all I can hear is my heels banging every time I they hit the ground. It's like I weighted a ton. The running lady mercifully does not make me run and stops the machine. This is her diagnosis:

"You have flat feet. Your bear the grunt of the load from your step on the inside of the foot which means you over-pronate. Plus, your heavy (no, really?) so you need a lot of support and cushioning. You need Motion Control shoes."

Never heard of Motion Control shoes. She then brings out three different pairs of Motion Control shoes on my size (14). While they have very different looks they do have one thing in common: They all have the thickest bottoms I have seen on a shoe. I try them all. Immediately, I feel the difference. wearing them, it's like every shoe I have ever worn was missing a piece of the bottom. I settle for a pair of New Balance shoes, the 1123's. 

I'm so glad I did this early on. Compared to the shoes I bought at the outlet, it is no contest. It turns out that your feet don't have to hurt  when you run. Complaints? Just a minor one. Running Girl told me I over-pronate but after using the shoes for several months (and almost 100 miles) the soles are distinctly wearing out on the outside of the foot, not the inside. It hasn't been an issue but its good to keep in mind the next time I buy running shoes.

So now, I have two goals: To run the WDW marathon and to sometime in the future, find Running Girl and have her see me running in a race. Any race. he he he

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