Yesterday, I bade tried to bid a fond farewell to my Brooks Ravenna 2s, which had dutifully helped propel my fat ass through at least one thousand training miles, a shitty-tee-shirt-drawerful of 5Ks, and two half marathons.
I asked my wife if these shoes were suitable for a charitable donation; one man’s junk, right? Her look suggested that I’d instead proposed emptying my son’s fetid diaper pail into the Rescue Mission of Trenton’s donation box. “Throw them out” was the take-home message. I will probably pretend to do this, only to sneak them upstairs to my office closet. Men have strange attractions to useless things. So do women; I mean, my wife has stayed with me for nearly five years.
So I set off for the only kind of shoe shopping that truly excites me. If accompanying my wife to a shoe store is a tax audit, then buying a new pair of running shoes is a sensual massage with a happy ending. I can’t tell you the name of the store, but it’s a Company devoted to Running, in a town that contains an Ivy League University. I recommend it highly; mostly because they really, really know their shit, but also because I’m always the biggest fatty in store, and they never, ever judge me. To my face, anyway. For example, the kid who helped me out didn’t even laugh once when I told him I’m running a marathon in November. What a nice boy. When I told him I was replacing a year-old pair of shoes that had about a thousand miles on them, his face betrayed a look of horrified shock. “Whoa, DUDE!!! Are you TRYING to wind up in a wheelchair?!?” Or something to that effect. While I have been exposed to a lot of (frequently conflicting) advice on the point at which your kicks are toast, I figured I’d get yet another free opinion from the shoe kid in front of me.
“Oh, two hundred, two hundred fifty miles at the very most…I mean…yeah, it’s expensive, but it’s your FEET we’re talking about.”
Two. Hundred. Miles. You are fucking kidding me, right? I can’t imagine even Phil Knight having the balls to say that.
Because this kid was genuinely nice, I did not reply “YeahhhhhhhNO. What do recommend for a 42-year old working stiff whose mommy and daddy don’t pay for all his running gear?” I simply nodded, with a polite “Hmmm…yes…I seeeee…thank you for that advice.”
This trip was to be pretty easy, because my last pair of shoes was absolutely perfect, and you’re supposed to dance with the one who brought ya, or something like that. Barring a significant design change for the current year, this would be a slam dunk, and it was. Super Nice Shoe Kid returned with my size 13 personal-watercraft-with-laces, and I slipped into them. Ahhhhhh… No way was I going for a spin on the treadmill in the store; I already embarrass myself more than enough on a daily basis, so I just strolled a few loops around the sales floor, so happy with what my feet were feeling. Then I took them off, and gave them a good, long look.
I mean, WOW. The last pair of Ravennas was super-cool in its own right, but they were worn for nothing but running, save for one time a couple months ago when I went directly from trail to lawnmower, too tired/lazy to change into boots. This pair? Well, I’m going to have serious trouble relegating these to my running activities. I have a wedding anniversary coming up, and it will be very difficult for me not to lace up these bad-ass kicks when I take my wife out on the town. They are just that awesome to look at. Blue laces, people! ‘Nuff said.
As an added bonus, my perfect running shoe set me back only $100 (I will tell you what you can do with your $250 model with the GPS transponder and USB jack in the heel). On the flip side, my layout for ancillary gear set me back the same amount. “That’s how they GET ya!” my mother would probably say.
I need four miles this afternoon, and it’s been raining all day, which means that about half of the course will be muddy. What does it say about me that the weather makes me want to leave the new shoes in the box, and take out the old pair out one more time, for old times’ sake?