big shoes to fill

I really want to write about my run last night, but I need to post this first because it’s kind of the backstory. You can read all the boring details about my run next time (or not).

My workplace decided to enter a team into the Bridge to Brisbane fun run this year. For those unfamiliar with the race (i.e. you’re not from Brisbane or never lived in Brisbane over a winter), B2B gives you the option of doing a 5km and 10km course, which you can either run or walk. I’d been tossing up between the 5km and 10km options because I haven’t run 10km in a very, very long time, but I know I can do a pretty decent 5km run. The choice was then between protecting my pride, or taking on a challenge and pushing myself.

I’d like to say it was an easy choice, but I took at least a week and a lot of encouragement to commit to the 10km run. Well, there is actually a jogging option as well as running or walking, so I went with jogging. (What you choose isn’t overly important, it just allows the event organisers to get an idea of what time you might finish in, and hence allocate an appropriate starting time bracket.)

After making this decision, which, might I add, I’m now completely committed to, my next concern was the state of my running shoes. I’ve had the same ones for about three years, and they’ve served me well through many runs, jogs and hikes. The exterior is still very much intact – apart from a small hole that’s fairly recently appeared in the upper mesh above the toes – a fact that I’m stunned by nearly every time I put them on – but the soles are starting to wear thin.

Well, the heels still seem to be in reasonable condition, but the front parts of the sole don’t really have any grip or tread to speak of. The shoes themselves are still comfortable, and the smoothed-out soles haven’t caused me to slip or anything like that, but it’s probably not ideal for efficient running. And so it happened that last Friday I went into a shoe shop to buy new running shoes, and had possibly the most positive shoe-shopping experience I’ve ever had (keep in mind, though, that I don’t go shopping often, much less shoe shopping, so there aren’t many in recent memory – or any memory – to compare it against).

In the spirit of commending good people for good work, I’ll happily say that this was the Athlete’s Foot store in Winter Garden in the City. The person who served me (unfortunately I cannot remember her name, although I did glance at her name badge; she actually might’ve been the manager) was very knowledgeable and very pleasant.

I should probably mention here that I’ve never bought fancy running shoes before. My old pair (the pair that’s lasted three years, and will probably last a few more because I do intend to continue using them for just about anything except long distance running) are just a cheap pair of Fila I bought because the ones before that (some generic brand from Target or somewhere) were coming apart.

This was the first time I got professionally fitted for shoes, including getting my gait/stride measured by that machine thing they have in the store. Keeping in line with my tendency to find similarities between various non-work/pharmacy things and my actual work, I found the experience to be not unlike a health/medical consultation. I kind of wanted to just buy shoes and get out of there, but once I started talking to the shoe person, and she asked me some questions, I realised I had a lot of questions to ask too.

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten advice about running shoes before. To me, it was all pretty much the same, except some have fancy features like gel cushioning, or are more lightweight, or have a bigger price tag. The pair of Fila was already a step up, but they don’t really have any special features, and I wasn’t after anything really special when I bought them. For something I didn’t put a lot of thought into, they’re probably the best investment I’ve ever made shoe-wise.

But that could all change now that I have this new pair of proper running shoes (I think my Fila pair were just general sport shoes, for cross training and such, and not specifically for running). I took them for a quick test run the day after I got them (plus the run from last night which I’ll post about later in the week), and I was already quite pleased. I’m hoping this pair will last me another three years (at least), but they’ve got a lot to live up to.

[Afterthought: I didn’t think of this when I first wrote this post, and not even when I first revised it, but now that I’m reading this just before publishing, I feel weirdly sentimental about my pair of Fila shoes (hence the title of the post, and also the last bit of the above paragraph – both of which I added just now). I imagine this is kind of what it’s like to get a new car after having your first one for so long.]


8 thoughts on “big shoes to fill

  1. Yikes! Three years with no treads left! Did your new shoes feel like pillows on your feet? I have a feeling you are going to find your new shoes so much easier on your feet and body.
    As a general rule of thumb, we change our running shoes every 500 km which means that when I was long distance running, I had new shoes at least twice a year.
    Happy running!

  2. Pingback: 61 minutes | pistachio conspiracy #63

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