Sunday, April 4, 2010

Anticipation v. Dread. Also My Mizunos. And Brooks' New Green Shoe

I'm writing this on a Sunday morning instead of my usual early Monday writing habit. It's Easter, and I'm waiting for my regular running buddy, Chris, to come over so that we can knock out an 11-12ish mile run in the Clinton Lake area. As I sat at my desk this morning, leafing through the newspaper (doesn't that sound better than what I was actually doing - clicking on newslinks on the local paper's website), a thought occurred to me. The thought covered the difference to runners between anticipation and dread.

As a kid (teenager), I used to run with a neighbor, Hal (see a much earlier post). Each week, Hal would plan out what distances and courses we would run. Hal was a great friend and neighbor, but he was a runner who felt every step of a run, and he liked to psych the neighbor kid (me) out before particularly long or difficult runs and races. So, if I knew Hal had scheduled a long run toward the end of a week, I'd actually build up a sense of dread. Even a middle-distance run could turn into an odyssey in my mind. So when I actually did the run, I was too concerned with the distances to really enjoy the experience. Running always seemed like a challenge to be overcome. I particularly remember a 15k where all the runners took buses to the starting line. The buses went the length of the course. The day was hot as... and humidity was near a thousand percent. Hal, who had done the run before, made sure that we sat in the back of the bus so that we could look backwards over the crazy (and I really do mean crazy) hills that we would have to traverse. So, by the time we reached the starting point, I was out of my mind with worry about being able to finish the run. And, as it turned out, I did finish, but with a time so poor, and by expending so much effort, that I didn't run again for several weeks. My sense of distance and running dread was merely reinforced by the experience.

Today, I have a lot of friends (both runners and non-runners) who fall into the above category. Running fills them with a sense of dread. They view a distance as an obstacle to be overcome, rather than as an experience to be embraced.

The anticipatory runner looks at runs as enjoyable pieces of his/her life. Since starting to run again several years ago, I mainly run alone. There is no one around on any given day to psych me out. Running provides me with the best quality time of the day to organize my thoughts, or to clear my mind and have no thoughts at all. I find now that I look forward to running. And the longer the run the better. I get to spend more time doing something I enjoy. And now, when a friend is coming over to run with me, I feel even better, because it breaks up my routine, and allows me to share the experience with someone who feels just about like I do when it comes to running.
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Let's talk about gear now. Infrequently I get asked about what shoes I wear when I run. Prior to the minor Nike Free incident (see an earlier posting), I didn't think much about the shoes I wore. I went for style and comfort - although running shoes often lack the former in that pairing. I also balked (and still do a bit) at price. I now use an older pair of Asics Gels as my trainers, and I also train and run races in a pair of Mizuno Waves. I really like the Waves, but because I do a combo of paved and gravel surface running, the soles are having a little issue with wear. Still, the comfort and fit of the Mizunos are both so good, I'll probably continue to use the model as a regular rotation for the foreseeable future.

A shoe I am hoping to get my hands (er...feet) on/in, is the Brooks Green Silence, which you can see here http://www.brooksrunning.com/product/1000161D/ (you'll have to cut and paste, because for some reason the link setting isn't working today). As you know, I love sustainability, organics, green issues...and (maybe you didn't know) vegan shoes. In running especially, my friend Marisa (Chris' spouse), has taught me to always look for vegan shoes. I am still trying to ascertain whether or not Green Silence are vegan (it is hard to tell from the Brooks website). I will let you know as soon as I do. But they come from a company that specializes in running and finds joy in the sport (Brooks' motto/credo is the trademarked, Run Happy). So I'm thinking that they'll have some pretty good shoes for all types of folks. I don't run into Brooks shoes too often in the Kansas City area because they don't seem to be carried at my favorite running store, Garry Gribble's. But they can be ordered online, and also found at various other running, sports, and shoe stores.

Next week I'll go over my eating and hydration techniques(or lack thereof) for longer runs.

Ciao for now.

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