Running gear –
After a while you can take it or leave it. The matching top and shorts, the finisher’s tee, the socks that have a little L & R embroidered onto them, the compression gear (running speak for very tight clothes) they are all just tinsel on the tree.
Just this morning as I was staring at the ass of a woman in lycra capri pants that shouldn’t have been wearing them (a combination of not doing anything in them except climb into a Volvo SUV and being a few doughnuts beyond the callipygian ideal) I realised that if it was socially acceptable I’d run in a pair of dirty y-fronts, suit sock and an ‘I-Love-Salou’ black and gold embroidered tee-shirt.
In other words – the gear doesn’t count for shit.
Not the shoes though. Never the shoes.
In fact if you ever what to escape from a bunch of runners who have mistaken your friendliness for a deep desire to be bored to death about nutrition (food), sore legs (injury – normally chronic), mental focus (mental instability), lactic threshold (surprisingly not about how much milk you can drink) just ask them what sort of shoes they’re using at the moment and what sort thy hope to buy next.
You can now safely get up and head back to the bar for a drink. Like a dog chasing it’s tail or licking it’s balls they’ll happily talk to the wall (or each other) about what sort of medial post or toe box or tread pattern or heel drop or number of miles they currently have in their shoe-du-jour.
Although I haven’t thought about it much I expect that runners’ shoes and the teenage fickleness of the shoe industry must be some sort of tenuous metaphor for the insecurities of most runners.
At the back of your mind, somewhere, there is always a little voice whispering that if you were any good, were a decent human being, were better with your kids, nicer to your wife, cut the grass a bit more, waved at the neighbours, picked your nose less in the car you’d be able to run ultra marathons barefoot across boulder fields with perfect running form and a beautiful, almost Kenyan, mid-to-forefoot strike of the ground. The only things you’d have to worry about in this utopia of running mechanics is your massive bollocks bouncing around a bit too much and the MILFs eyeing you up.
But, no. Generally, you’re running in some sort of device thought up by the shoe industry to keep you in a state of permanent semi-injury and state of self-doubt about your abilities.
And so we come to my last pair of New Balance 1064s. These shoes have been replaced (in 2011) by the 1080s which have since been replaced by the 1080s(V2) and will, I expect be replaced by the 1080(V3) next year.
What can I say about the 1064s? well, they are the shoe that has kept me at my ‘least injured’ over the last 2 – 3 years. They were brought to the market in mid-to-late 2009 as a replacement to the 1063, which were total rubbish – you couldn’t get 300 miles out of a pair. I think I have gone through 7 pairs of the 1064 and have easily clocked up over 5,000 miles in them. Possibly closer to 6,000 miles.
I think I have run 4 road marathons and 4 off-road ultra marathons in them. People who know me know that I am but a slip of a thing who lives on fresh air and lettuce but for those just visiting this site because you google running shoes in your lunch break because of your work internet policy I am not some sort of ‘well-built’ American 4:30 marathon runner (I’m not a Kenyan sub-3:00 either). I am generally very average – 41 years old, 6 feet tall – 183cm for you metric people- and weigh somewhere between 12 & 13 stone (170lb – 184lb, 75-82kg). Size 11 in street shoes. Marathons in these shoes are between 3:35 – 3:17. Ultras are harder to classify but they were all off-road and over mountains and bogs.
These shoes have a nice wide toe-box (D width fitting) which means that you don’t have any arch blister problems and the toe nails stay put during ultra marathons. They are good to go right out of the box and don’t need any special treatment. I swap out the standard insole liner for one that has a rigid heel cup and a pre-formed arch. This is because I find I need to go a size up on the shoe (UK12) for forefoot width and as a result the ankle of the shoe gets a bit sloppy. The pre-formed arch is just because I have the feet of a duck.
I have covered these shoes in previous posts and this post is just to give you a bit of a farewell to them (I can’t find them on-line any more).
I’d say this about them: They’re good shoes. If you have New Balance feet (everyone has a certain type of foot – people with only 3 toes have Adidas feet) they are excellent. I found that they had no hot spots and worked well on training runs up to 32 miles on hard surfaces (5 hours plus) and lasted on off-road ultra marathons up to around 10 hours (I noticed that the mid-foot cushioning was gone by that stage – you could feel every stone – but to be honest you’re pretty tired at that stage anyway)
They are normal enough to be used as street shoes during the summer (I recycle the old shoes as ‘walking around’ shoes) and the uppers seem to hold together. The only negative is that the outer sole (the bit that hits the ground) falls apart after repeated abuse on off-road races but this is like complaining that that your exhaust has been ripped off because you took your family car rally driving. Not a fair complaint.
Sorry for not cleaning the shoes up for you and for not photo-shopping them to make them look better (camera phone) but I suppose what I’m trying to get across to you is that when it comes to running shoes:
- Looks only count at the start.
- Comfort is very important.
- Don’t be jealous or envious of the other guy’s shoes.
- Be happy with what you’ve got. Plenty are worse off than you.
- Wear them out.
Obviously this applies to wives and cars as well.