Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Out with the old...

We'd had some good times together. We used stroll through the park and run in the rain. We toured Nashville and went walkin' in Memphis. We even climbed up and down the Eiffel Tower together. We were happy then, but I knew it couldn't last. I tried to ignore the signs, but after a year and a half, the fibers were wearing thin. Literally. Like, the fabric tore and left a gaping hole in the inner heel of my running shoes...

When I started running (for the first time) during the summer of 2010, I wore some old sneakers that I'd had for years. Since I didn't have a particularly active lifestyle (unless you count swing dancing, which I don't, because it's completely irrelevant to running-shoe-related anecdotes), I didn't think it would be a problem. How much could my shoes have worn down if I never used to run? Turns out a lot. My first clue that my shoes weren't quite up to snuff was that my feet hurt whenever I'd run. My second clue was that one of the soles fell off.

After running on sole-less shoes for far too long, I finally went to Academy and picked out the prettiest pair of sneakers I could find. A couple days later, I went back to Academy to return those horrible yet beautiful shoes and exchange them for ones that actually fit and didn't hurt me. I landed on New Balance something-or-others. They were the best sneakers I'd ever owned. They helped me run faster and jump higher. Most importantly, they were pink.

Fast forward 18 months.

Not long after Maddy and I restarted our running program a couple months ago, I noticed that my legs were tiring out pretty easily. I assumed that it was just because I'm bad at running, and hadn't built up any endurance yet. Then, I noticed that I had worn a hole into the inside heel of my right shoe. Experiencing slight discomfort and worried about blisters, I decided to do some light Googling, through which I learned that you're apparently supposed to replace your running shoes every six months or so. While I maintain that my mostly sedentary lifestyle makes it perfectly acceptable for me to wait a few more months before replacing shoes, I'll admit that waiting thrice the recommended amount of time is probably pushing it too far.

So, on Sunday, I went shopping at Sports Authority and went through the following steps to procure new tennis shoes:

Step 1: Find the women's running shoes section (you'd think this would be obvious, making it unnecessary to note, but leave it to me to accidentally spend 10 minutes in the men's department without realizing it).
Step 2: Hone in on the selections that fall within your price range (because otherwise you'll fall in love with the $250 shoes that promise to make you fast enough to chase down a gazelle).
Step 3: Pick out the 2 or 3 pairs that are prettiest and/or most fun (because what better way is there to narrow down a lot of extremely similar choices?).
Step 4: Try on each selection from step 3 to determine which has the best comfort and support.
Step 5: Purchase shoes of choice.
After following the very sound advice above, I settled on NIKE Women's Dual Fusion ST 2 Running Shoes!

I've taken them running once, and can already feel a significant difference. They are bouncier than my old shoes and fit like a glove (but for your feet). Also, because my new shoes were helping my feet and legs stay aligned properly, I could feel my ankle muscles (that I didn't even know existed) getting quite a workout. Most importantly, they are pink (I actually thought about getting the bright purple or teal varieties, but these look much better with my favorite running socks).

I think these new shoes were a big part of what enabled me to run my first consecutive mile with Maddy yesterday (and a 10:23 mile at that)!

Is it strange that I just bought size 7 shoes, when I can swear that I used to wear size 9? Do you like to romanticize memories of your dealings with inanimate objects? Do you like that I just slipped in the part about Maddy and me running a 10:23 mile like it's no big deal, even though I don't think I've ever run a full mile in my life and am super excited about it?

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