Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Another Running Season = Another New Pair of Running Shoes

Just like last year around this time, I found that my shins were kind of hurting for the first several kilometres when I went out for a run, which is a sure fire sign that I needed new running shoes! Fortunately, when I popped by the Running Room on the weekend, they were having a sale, so I did what I always do, which is try on every pair of neutral running shoes they have in my size and then end up buying a pair of Asics Nimbus. I actually told the sales guy that this was what was going to happen and he said, “That won’t happen this time! I have a pair you are going to love!” and he handed me a pair of shoes that I tried on and decidedly did not love. I have high arches and the shoes he gave me (I can’t even remember what kind they were) had completely flat soles – no arch support at all. I told him that I didn’t like them and why, and he proceeded to completely ignore more for the rest of my time there1! He handed that pair of shoes to another women, who put them on, went out to run around the block in them, came back and said “These shoes have no arch support!” Despite the sales guy abandoning me, I had a pile of shoes that he had grabbed while he was grabbing the pair that he was sure I’d love, so I tried them all on, ran up and down the street in a couple of them, and bought, as usual, the Asics Nimbus. (I wanted to buy two pairs and alternate them, which is what I did with my previous pair of pairs, but they only had one of this shoe in my size, so I couldn’t. I really should go check out other Running Room locations to see if they have sales on too!)

Unfortunately, running shoe makers having come to their senses in terms of not making every pair of shoes in garish neon colours was short-lived, so unlike the shoes I bought the last time, which were reasonable looking white-with-blue-trim and white-with-green-trim (I had two pairs I was alternating between), this time I had to buy these garish orange things:

New ugly running shoes

I guess on the plus side, at least they aren’t hot pink with neon green!

For the record, I tracked my mileage on the two pairs of running shoes that I was using and I ran 342.8 km in my Asics and 300.5 km in my Sauconey. According to my extensive research (i.e., Google search), you should be able to run about 300 miles – which is 482 km – before you need a new pair of running shoes, so just like my previous pair, these guys did not last as long as they should have.

I’ve taken this pair out twice so far and so far, they feel pretty good. Here’s hoping they last me 300 miles instead of 300 km!

  1. This was actually quite surprising. Usually the staff at the Running Room are great. []

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Requisite New Running Shoe Blog Posting

Near the end of my training for the BMO half, I noticed that I was getting a bit of shin splints, which, for me, is generally a sign that I need a new pair of running shoes. I thought it was kind of odd, since I didn’t think I’d had them all that long. A quick search of yew old blog showed that I’d gotten them on Oct 4, 2014, which means I’d only done the Rock’n’Roll 10 km race in October, plus the training for BMO. A search of ye old RunKeeper tells me that is only a mere 449.2 km that I’d run in them. My previous pair, which I got in September 2013, lasted me through half the training for the Fall Classic (plus the race itself), and the training for (and the races) the Hollywood Half Marathon AND Scotiabank 2014! That’s a whopping total of 901.4 km!

Anyway, by the time I realized that I needed some new shoes, it was too close to race day to break in a new pair, so I decided to just suck it up and wait until after the race. I’ve done a few runs since my race and each time, I’ve been feeling the shin splints and thinking “Oh right, I was supposed to go buy some new shoes!”

So on Saturday I headed over to the Running Room1 and, much to my delight, discovered they were having a sidewalk sale! I had brought my old shoes, as the salespeople there often like to take a look at how the shoes have worn out in order to help you find a new pair. I talked to a few salespeople, all of whom thought I was crazy when I said that I can usually get two half marathons worth of training out of single pair of runners. “I get new running shoes every 3-4 months,” said one. Good thing she has an employee discount!

Now, my usual MO when I go running shoe shopping is to bring in my old shoes, have the salesperson watch my walk and run, whereupon they say that I need a neutral shoe2. I feel it’s only fair to try on all the shoes just in case there is another one that is better, but the vast majority of the time, the Nimbus seems like it was made just for my feet!

The problem I faced on Saturday, however, was that they had the exact model of the Asics Nimbus that I had just worn out on sale (since it’s last season’s model and they are unloading them to make room for the new model). Despite *hating* the horrible pink colour, I actually quite liked them when I first got them and for most of the time I ran in them, but they wore out twice as quick as my shoes usually do. Thus, I was a hesitant to buy them again, though as one salesperson pointed out, since they are on sale ($130), if they wear out faster, it might even out because I paid less for them. The salesperson also found that they had the exact same model of Asics Nimbus, but in a non-hideous colour! (Where was that when I was buying them the first time??). So, as usual, I tried on every pair of neutral shoe that they had, and the Nimbus came out on top. However, there was also a pair of Saucony that I like almost as much, and it was only $70. So I hemmed and hawed and pretty much drove the staff nuts with my hemming and hawing, but in the end I decided to get both pairs. I figured that since they were on sale, I was getting two pairs for not much more than I usually pay for one pair. I am planning to use the Saucony pair for my short runs and my Asics pair for my long runs, figuring the Asics will last a bit longer since I won’t be putting all my miles on them and I won’t mind the Saucony ones being not quite as comfy as the Asics, since I won’t be wearing them out for long runs. I’m also considering that I might leave the Saucony pair at work as my lunch time running shoe and use the Asics for runs at home. It’s like having home and away jerseys, but they are shoes.

Anyhoo, this has been a much longer posting then I thought it would and probably no one is still reading. But every Requisite New Running Shoe Blog Posting must also have a photo of said running shoes and I am pleased to report that the era of the hideously garish running shoe has come to a close. Also, to reward anyone who is still reading, there is also a cat in the photo.

New running shoes

This was the best photo of the shoes that I could get, as every other photo attempt either had Watson sticking his face in the camera or was blurred because Watson was trying to eat the camera. Also also, for the record, I did not, in fact, get one shoe from each pair. There are partners for each of these shoes – they were just a little camera shy.

  1. As per usual, I have no affiliation with this store. I just like their service! []
  2. As opposed to shoes for those who pronate or supinate), then I make them bring me every neutral shoe in the store, which I dutifully try on, running around in each pair, and then I buy the Asics Nimbus ((I started with the Asics Cumulus, but then progressed to the Nimbus. In my running career, I remember one time where there was a shoe that I liked better than either the Cumulus and the Nimbus – it was a Saucony shoe and it felt amazing on my feet. But when that pair was done, I did my usual routine of trying on all the shoes and it was back to the Nimbus. There was another time where the Nimbus felt the best when I tried it on in the store, but then when I actually used it for running distances, there was a spot that constantly rubbed on the bottom inside of my foot and I hated those shoes, but continued to wear them until they wore out, because I am nothing if not cheap. []

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My Hideous New Running Shoes

Photos of my running shoes tend to be some of my most favourited photos on my Flickr account1. So my all the running shoe aficionados, here are some photos of my newest pair of running shoes.

New running shoes. So ugly.

New running shoes. So ugly.

Assuming the aficionados like fugly running shoes. As was the case when I bought my last pair2, the current theme for running shoe design is “garish”. I mean, I don’t like pink at the best of times, but paired with that green? The horror! The horror! However, it was the most comfortable of all the many shoes that I tried on, each of which were hideous in their own special way.

An aside: While I was buying my shoes, another woman was also in the store looking for some runners. She told the salesperson that she was just visiting from China, where she is currently working and she needed to buy shoes here because she wears a size women’s 9.5, which is impossible to find in China. She also said she was training for the Great Wall of China half marathon, which sounds like it would be so freaking awesome. And even after looking at this insane elevation map, I still kind of want to do that race someday!

  1. Other common favs include my friends and me in wetsuits in Tofino and these photos of all the places where I got needles for immunizations, blood tests, and a TB skin test. []
  2. By looking for that blog posting about when it was that I bought my previous pair of running shoes, I discovered that I’d had that pair for just over a year! A quick check of my Runkeeper log shows me that I’ve run about 900 km in these shows. 900 km! []

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Classic

Fall Classic, to be specific.

Yup, Alicia and I have registered for yet another half marathon. This time, it’s the Fall Classic race out at UBC in November. The route is, in my opinion, not ideal as it involves a double loop, which means that you start, you run a loop back to where you started and then you have to go back out and do the loop again! I don’t like the double loop because when my brain sees the place I started it goes “Hooray! We must be finished! Wait, we have to do that ALL OVER AGAIN? Nooooooooo!!”

Fall Classic half marathon route

Plus, as you can see from the elevation chart above, it’s a wee bit hilly, and we know how much I love hilly half marathons. But unlike the Edge-to-Edge, (a) I’m going into this with my eyes open that there will be hills, (b) I know these particular hills, as I’ve done my fair share of running out at UBC, and (c) I’m actually doing some hill training this time!

Also on the plus side, it’s a local race, whereas the other fall races that we were looking at were all ones that involved traveling somewhere. Not like any crazy cool destinations, but just far enough that we’d have to take a ferry or drive a long time and get a hotel and whatnot.

In related news, I made a graph of all my half marathon finish times because all data should always be graphed, always and forever, and things aren’t really looking too good:

half marathon finish times by date

As you can clearly see, my finish times have gotten steadily worse since my personal best in October 2010. Note that the abysmal finish of October 2007 was the result of a foot injury – I had to limp the last ~6 km of that race. But if things keep progressing the way they are going, I’m going to be taking that long to run a half marathon without an injury! In an attempt to stem this tide, I think I’ll need to be a little more serious about my training – and my stretching and foam rolling, this time around.

In also related news, I needed a new pair of running shoes as my old pair had given up the ghost, but when I went out to buy some, I discovered this:

Apparently all the running shoe companies got together and decided that the theme for this year's shoes should be

Seriously, every pair of running shoes that you can buy right now is some combination of garish colours. What happened to the good old days when I could just get a pair of white and red or white and blue shoes? But no, now I have to buy “titanium/mint green/hot pink”:

Day 57

The salesperson who sold me the shoes seemed to be quite offended that I thought every pair she brought out was hideous and garish. She actually said to me, in a most offended voice, “They aren’t *garish*! They are just bright colours!”1 I don’t know why she was getting so offended – it’s not like she designed them herself! At any rate, every pair was hideously ugly, so I had to make my purchase decision solely on comfort2. And the “titanium/mint green/hot pink” pair did feel pretty good on my feet. However, the hideously ugly laces on this hideously ugly shoes were actually way too short. So short, in fact, that in order to tie them up, they ended up pinching my feet, or else there wasn’t enough lace to make a bow. After doing a few runs like this – and whining about it – I finally went out and bought some new, longer and non-hideous laces:

Day 78

And now not only are my shoes entirely comfortable, but the white laces take the edge off the hideousness. Plus, on the one run that I’ve done since having these new laces3, I was substantially faster than my other runs of late. Clearly, the hideous laces were holding me back. Plus, at the end of that run, this kickass rainbow came out:

So my new laces are not only performance-enhancing, but they also make rainbows happen!

  1. Guess no one ever told her that the customer is always right! []
  2. Which I suppose is really what I should do anyway. But usually I at least have some options that are both comfortable and decent looking! []
  3. Not counting tonight’s hill run, because those are, by definition, slow. []

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My New Running Shoes!

My recent executive decision to run the Scotiabank half marathon (in late June) instead of the BMO half marathon (in early May) has given me the chance for a do-over of my half marathon training, which wasn’t going well because of my aversion to winter weather. Well, I’ve decided to embrace this chance for a reset and have re-started my half marathon training in earnest1!

After my last few (relatively short) runs ended with achy feet, I came to the conclusion that it was time for a new pair of running shoes2! Since the fabulous SarahDave gave me a gift card to the Running Room to put towards a new pair of running shoes for Christmas, it was off to the Running Room I went!

Now, all the shoes that I’ve worn since I started running have been Asics, so I went into the store with the full intention of buying yet another pair of Asics Cumulus/Nimbus/[enter the name of cloud type here]. As per usual with the Running Room, the salesguy3 had me take off my shoes and walk around the store and then said, “Your gait is totally neutral. No pronation or supination! And, yup, the wear on your old shoes is totally even – neutral for sure!”4. But! They didn’t have the Asics Cumulus or Nimbus in my size! The horror, the horror!!  So he brought out some other shoes5: New Balance. Adidas. Saucony.

The Adidas ones were hideously ugly – bright freaking yellow – and extremely not comfortable. They had zero cushioning, though the salespeople told me this was to make them lightweight – a full 2 oz lighter than a normal pair. Seeing as I’ve never had trouble with my shoes feeling too heavy and I don’t envision enjoying running on what feels like rock, this pair was out of the running6 immediately.  The New Balance pair were OK, but they were nothing compared to the Saucony. The Saucony pair, in fact, reminded me of when I first met my first pair of Asics – so cushiony, hugging my feet like they were made for them! And that, my friends, is the story of how I decided to cheat on my running shoe brand and jumped into the figurative arms of a pair of Saucony Progrid Ride 3:

IMGP2384

  1. I’ve also registered for the race! []
  2. I did have my old shoes through the lion share of my Royal Victoria half marathon last year, plus that race, plus all my running since then. And need I remind you that I blew away my personal best at that race? Clearly, all that speed and distance must take a toll on one’s shoes []
  3. This was, for the record, the same salesguy who laughed at me when I showed up at the Running Room dressed in my running gear. He didn’t appear to recognize me in my street clothes. []
  4. Is it odd that I take pride in have this “neutral” gait? I mean, it isn’t actually something that I’ve done anything to make happen, yet I feel superior because of it []
  5. I suppose I could have gone to another Running Room store, but I was already at this one and figured I may as will give these ones a try before insisting on Asics []
  6. Bad running pun, FTW!! []

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My One And Only Shoe Purchase for 2010

Way back in January, I made a deal with myself that I’m not allowed to buy any shoes in 2010, except for running shoes, which I was allowed to purchase when my then-current pair were worn out.  I just bought waaay to many shoes in ’09 and so felt I really should be wearing all those rather than buying new ones.  Running half marathons – and all the associated training runs that go along with them – puts a lot of wear and tear on the ole’ runners, and it really is a safety issue to have a proper footwear when running1.  Hence, I would like to introduce you to my new pair of runners:

Day 19

If they look familiar, it’s probably because they are identical to my last pair.  I really liked this pair and so I was pretty excited when I went shopping last weekend and saw that the Running Room had them on sale.  However, they were on sale because they are last year’s model, so selection was a bit limited and they didn’t have my size at the store I was at. Fortunately, they had my size at the North Van store, so they had them shipped over and now I am the proud owner of a new pair of Asics Cumulus 11s!

  1. as I learned in the Victoria half marathon debacle of ’07 []

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Run, Bethie, Run

I went for my first post-concussion run today.  It was good – I decided to go for a moderately paced 6 km run along the waterfront in Coal Harbour – which was freaking packed with people, what with it being all sunny and warm out and there being an open house at the newly expanded Vancouver Convention Centre.  So a good deal of my run was spent avoiding collisions with slow walkers and people with baby carriages. At one point I nearly ran into what looked to be either Daniel or Henrick Sedin, or possibly their long lost triplet.

Also, it was my first run in my new running shoes!  I realized after my 16 km training run two weeks ago that it was high time for some new running shoes. I’d had the ones I’ve been using for more than a year – including two 10 km races and 12 weeks of training for a half marathon – and after that 16 km run, my feet weren’t too happy.  So it was off to the Running Room!  The last time I bought running shoes, I went with Asics Nimbus 9.  I was pretty happy with them, so decided to go with the Asics Nimbus 10:

IMG_4622 by you.

Notice that they are white and red. So they go with my beautiful blog theme.  For the record, that is totally a coincidence.