This week, in honor of Will Run For Wednesdays, I’m running for things that don’t usually make their way into my repertoire: new sneakers that aren’t decidedly heinous in color and an unwarranted need for speed!
(Don’t worry, my fellow ugly sneaker wearing sloths. Neither will probably last very long.)
So, my new running sneakers finally came in the mail and, I have to say, they’re probably the most attractive pair I’ve ever owned.
Also, I don’t deal with change well.
My usual routine when replacing my sneakers is to search around for the cheapest pair I can find, also known as last season’s style. Because I go through running sneakers so quickly (I can typically feel the difference after about 4 months, or a maximum of 400 miles), I really couldn’t care less what they look like, as long as they’re my trusted Asics Nimbus 12s.
Apparently, however, that incarnation of my beloved sneaker is officially out of style, which makes me somewhat of a running antique. For proof, here’s how a recent interaction went with a sales rep at Union Square’s Paragon Sports.
Me: I need a pair of Asics Nimbus 12s.
Shoe Expert: You know they’re up to the 14s, right?
So yea, that happened. At any rate, I told this super unhelpful salesman that I’d consider his proposition, and left the store without purchasing anything of worth. By the time I got home and scoured the web though, I realized that the shoe man happened to be right. I couldn’t find a single pair of Nimbus 12s in my size (not for a wide foot), which meant I’d have to concede and purchase the 13s, or last season’s, as opposed to last last season’s, instead.
On Tuesday morning, I took my new purple babies — arguably the prettiest pair I’ve ever laced up — out for a spin. I felt like Cinderella.
For some reason or another, Tuesday morning’s run felt a lot like a race; I can literally break it down into how my body was handling the distance and speed at every twist and turn. The only thing I can attribute this to is the fact that I’ve been changing up my routine lately. Whereas, for several months before the summer I was running between 30 and 40 miles a week, I’ve recently taken it down a notch and begun to incorporate other forms of exercise along with — gasp — just a wee bit of speed work. Overall, I think it’s positively affecting my performance.
Anyway, here’s the breakdown.
My warm-up felt a lot stronger that usual, and I could immediately feel the difference that wearing new shoes can make. Each step felt more cushioned. My shins felt protected. Plus, every time I looked down, I vainly swooned a little at how perfectly purple my feet looked.
I started to get a little tired here, not because I had been running for any significant amount of time but because I always get a little winded at mile 2. I don’t usually hit my stride until at least mile 3.5, so I never expect the second mile to be anything to highlight. At this point, I simply try to lose myself in the moment and the music, and maintain a steady, strong stride until I hit the Inventor’s Gate at 72nd Street.
This is usually where I hit the bottom loop of Central Park, which was especially gorgeous today thanks to the lack of sun burning my skin. Conscious of how my feet were feeling in my new sneakers, and determined not to get a blister or shin splint (it can take a few runs to get used to the new feel, after all), I stopped here to stretch out my piriformis muscles and glutes, my hips and ankles. It’s not that I wanted to stop necessarily, but I knew that it was the smart thing to do.
This is somewhere around the bottom of Central Park and where I’m forced to re-enter the real world. I’ve just finished the last somewhat significant hill of my morning and can generally look forward to cruising downhill to flatter land. In other words, my body was very, very happy, and I began to pick up my pace. To be honest, this isn’t anything monumental. The quicker pace just feels natural due to the downward slope.
When running along Manhattan’s streets, you tend to be at the mercy of the cars, the commuters, and especially the traffic lights. This morning was not the best in terms of beating the lights, but rather than sulk about it, I decided that, because I was feeling pretty great and because I didn’t hate Saturday’s speed work, I’d take the opportunity to be productive in that final mile home.
With each green light, I sprinted through the streets. A few blocks later, I’d be trapped by a red and a horde of suits. And as soon as red turned green again, well, you get the point. In the end, I managed to turn the traffic lights into somewhat of a fun game, and before I could get mad, I was walking into my apartment door sweaty and satisfied.
While slightly unexpected, I guess that’s the point of Will Run For Wednesdays — to set some new goal or intention for the week, or to break out awesome new running sneakers — and to see how far you can push your body and mind. Now, go out and do it.
- What will you run for this week?
- Do you ever use the traffic lights or other environmental factors to your advantage while running?
- Do your sneakers usually come in the worst colors ever too?