Archive February 2017

Big Shoe Dance

If you weigh more than than a duck then it’s very likely that shoes are going to be really important for you in reducing the suck factor of running.

What’s this?  My knees don’t hurt?  My hips don’t hurt?  Witchcraft!”

When I decided to get off the couch I bought a pair of ‘running shoes’ based on Amazon reviews.   They were cheap, 1200+ people had rated an average of over 4 stars, they must be fine right?

Not so much.   That first month was a lot of knee and hip pains, lower back pains and general suck.   Not being the size of a duck I assumed it was due to a combination of lack of exercise, weight and in general feeling like I was learning to run all over again.

So a real runner, a co-worker/friend, told me I should go to the FLSS so I did.  A very friendly and knowledgeable girl (I’m 50, she was maybe 22 which makes her a girl from my perspective) watched me walk, measured my feet and then recommended a few options.   I tried them on and in the end walked out with a pair of Brooks Ghost 8’s.

Very next time I ran, “What’s this?  My knees don’t hurt?  My hips don’t hurt?  Witchcraft!”

In full disclosure those Brooks while they felt good in the store and they worked for the distances I was doing at that time (not very) turned out to be not as great for much more than 3 to 4 miles as I found out over time.   But they’re good 5K shoes.

The moral of this story is you need to find out how you walk, do you pronate, do you supinate, do you need control shoes?  Are you a heel striker or a toe striker?  Do you like a lot of drop or minimal drop?   These are real, valid, technical questions that deal with your actual running form, gait and general physiology.   And it takes luck or some real guidance to find the pair of shoes that works with you because folks shoes are not made equal.

When you’re starting out the first thing you should do is visit one or more local shoe stores that are at least operated if not owned by runners.   You might get lucky with a national chain and find sales people who are actual runners but a local store is much more likely to be staffed by #RUNNERS who have gone through many models of shoes, have helped other people select even more shoes and have run with a lot of people who’ve talked about their experiences with even more shoes.    And typically, because they’re real runners, they’re super enthusiastic to talk to you about running and shoes.

Be aware that if you’re on the far end of the bell curve like me (size 13 4E typically) that they may not have very many (or any) shoes in your size in stock.  But they can certainly recommend some options.   And statistically it’s unlikely you’ll have the same issues I do in shoe selection.

Additionally, at the time of this writing, Running Warehouse offers a free video analysis of your running form.  Just send them a short film of you running on a treadmill and they’ll come back with some recommendations.  FWIW the folks at RW have been super awesome to work with in my short stint of running.    Just recently I asked them a fairly involved question one evening.  I’d done my due diligence but I wanted to reach out to people who had the ability to be hands on with the type of item I was asking about, probably had personal experience with it.

I got back a response in a few hours that basically said “Give us time to research this”.   In a couple of days they came back with a long technical email outlining various options, features, pros and cons of items that fit my fairly demanding question.   For someone to do that kind of research for a customer?   You don’t see it much in most industries in this day and age.


if you want a little less suck in your career of being #NOTARUNNER then shoes are important.  If you’re on the end of the bell curve in weight?  Then they’re even more important.

About Me

In spite of efforts of others,wife, family, friends, co-workers to categorize and label me, I proudly proclaim myself as #NOTARUNNER…

WTF am I doing out here?”

I started in July 2016, doing a C2K, then a C2K Level 2, then started a 10K Level I starting that program around Week 4.  A couple of weeks into that 10K I was peer pressured by #RUNNERS into signing up for a Half Marathon which hits in 5/2017.

I started that training regimen which brings us to today.

To date (2/11/2017) I have completed 5 5K’s races #JEWELRYCOLLECTOR and have a longest run of a hair less than 8miles.

When I started, my mixed run walk, mostly walk, mile pace was 18 minutes.

My current pace is 12 minutes a mile for greater than 5K’s and 11 minutes a mile for 5K’s.

My fastest mile is 9:37.

I’ve been around for 5 decades and while active with sports, paintball, and yes running in my teens and 20’s, in the last 20 years it’s been mostly a sedentary white collar married with kids lifestyle.   The running in my 20’s was all fueled by being single.   And let’s face it, more girls find being fit attractive than the girls who don’t.  So running was very much just a human version of the male peacock’s plumage and a way to be not single, at least occasionally.

In the last 5 months I’ve lost 60+lbs (which helps explain my starting pace eh?).  And yes I know July to January is 7 months but the first couple of months I didn’t really lose much at all in terms of what showed on the scale.   That weight loss was done by tracking calories and at each stall point the base calories were reduced by 10%.  Calories burned in running were added to the base calorie allotment.

In the time frame that I’ve been running I’ve come to realize that running isn’t enjoyable for me.  Shocking I know for all you #RUNNER’s.

I know you may know otherwise, the whole joy in life is putting on your shoes and hitting the street or trail  and for you that’s true.

For me, the results of running can be something to be enjoyed, but the act of running itself?  Not so much.

I share this information as it shows that everyone has to start somewhere so don’t stress it.   Don’t worry if you don’t get that unicorn, the ‘runners high’, I’ve never caught a whiff of it, don’t worry if after 6 months of running you still hit a wall at the first half mile or so where you ask yourself, “WTF am I doing out here?”

Because neighbors I’ll be metaphysically right there at your side going WTF.

You hear this spouted ad naseum but truly the important thing is to just get out there and do.  Yes it’s going to suck.  It may stay full of suck for you.  It may get better.  You may get that runner’s high, you may find you enjoy the effort and pain of pushing your body to it’s current limit.  Or you may be like me and proudly proclaim your #NOTARUNNER status.

But every day barring 1 day (surgery and a 38 hour straight work ‘day’ combined) for the last 6+months I’ve been out on my stupidly expensive shoes doing whatever my training schedule  has told my stupidly expensive watch to tell me to do.  And if I can do it, in spite of my walls and my moments of “OMFG this sucks ass” then I’m sorry to say, you can too.

We’ll see where tomorrow takes us…