New Shoes and a Race for the Place 5K

Since I’d put over 300 miles on my pair of New Balance shoes it was time for a new pair. I drove over to Playmakers and went into the store and was greeted by two salesmen. I held up my well-worn New Balance Minimus shoes and said, “I want something with more cushioning than these.”

They both chuckled. One said just about everything has more cushioning than those.

I talked with one of the salesmen for a bit about my running, any issues/injuries I had. I told him about the tendinitis I had in the Fall and how my heel was starting to feel tight at times. He told me he wasn’t going to call it the dreaded “plantar fasciitis,” but he gave me a few ideas for dealing with the tightness. He examined my Minimus shoes and asked me how I liked them. I told him I was agnostic about minimalism. He looked at my feet, had me balance on each foot, measured my feet, and then brought out several different pairs of shoes.

After trying on a few pairs, including some Asics, I chose the Saucony Kinvara 3s. They felt the best. I’ve done several runs in them and they feel great. My feet feel more comfortable.

I think the Minimus were good for me to help me to start and stick with Good Form Running. But I felt more discomfort in my feet as my runs got longer. I’m not someone who ran cross country or track in high school. So I’ve learned how to run as an adult. I find this to be a big difference when it comes to seeking advice on running. Most runners take it up as an adult as a way to improve their health (like me) or to cross a Marathon off their Bucket List. But if you did it in high school, then you already know about form, choosing shoes, the types of workouts you need to do, and how to deal with injuries, etc.

About two weeks ago (the weekend before the Lansing Marathon), I wore my Kinvaras when I ran the Race for the Place 5K. The race raises money for a very important local organization: MSU Safe Place, “a program that addresses relationship violence and stalking.”

This was only my second race. It was cold, around 35 degrees Fahrenheit. While I was standing with the other runners, waiting to start the race, snow was falling. A couple of us looked up and wondered aloud what the hell we were thinking. One guy remarked that I was wearing shorts. I told him it was Spring dammit.

Then we took off.

I had a great run, setting a PR. Woo-hoo! 21:51.

More importantly, my eight-year-old son ran his first race ever: the Kids Mile. He had a blast. I was so happy for him. In the weeks before he went on a short runs, one with me and one with my wife. He really got into the idea of training for the race.

My sister was in-town with her family for that weekend. They cheered on both Henry and me. She’s been running much longer than me. Shortly after I bought the Kinvara 3s, I saw that they were on sale pretty much everywhere. I asked her what I should do. She said to buy an extra pair, that she often buys an extra pair of her favorite running shoes. The day after the race that’s what I did.

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From left to right: old pair of Minimus, new pair of Kinvara 3s from Playmakers, extra pair of Kinvara 3s from Zappos.

When I showed my wife the pair I bought from Zappos she asked, “Can you change the laces?”

“Yeah. But I’m not going to. I like them.”

“O-kay. They’re your shoes….”

One thing about running is that it’s a bit like golf in the fashion department; your shoes are a license to be ridiculous. Besides, when you’re running through the neighborhood, day or especially night, there is no value in not being seen.

Working the Lansing Marathon

Having never volunteered at a running event before, I thought, since I’m a runner, I really ought to work a race. Today, Sunday, I worked the Lansing Marathon

Originally, I had signed up to volunteer at least a month and a half ago. But I was never contacted. So I talked to a my friend Julie, who is the Volunteer Coordinator, and she said she couldn’t find me on any of her lists.

I went back to the website on Wednesday and signed up again. (Maybe the computer ate my first signup.) I chose Course Marshal because that’s where the most need was for volunteers. Then I attended a training session on Saturday where I received my instructions.

A lot of work goes into race, especially a marathon. I was glad to do my little part. Even if it was 25 degrees Fahrenheit when I took up my post a little before 8:30am this morning. I was across the street from the entrance to Potter Park Zoo, and near two volunteers, one of whom was working a radio. He’d volunteered at a fluid station last year at the marathon.

Some frantic last-minute adjustments had to be made to the course. The original course was going to use a lot of the Lansing River Trail. But during the last two weeks, we’ve endured several heavy downpours of rain. So much so, that many portions of the river trail are now part of the river.

These are the photos I took near my post.

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The river is usually much lower.

Side note: My son’s Spring soccer season was supposed to start two weeks ago. But all of their practices and games have been cancelled due to either rain or soggy-sponge fields.

During the race, I spent most of my time clapping and cheering on the runners, whether they were running the Half-Marathon, Full Marathon, or the Relay. I also received many “thanks” from the runners for volunteering. As usual, the faster the runner, the less clothing they wore. One muscular guy, we’re talking P90X-defined muscles, ran shirtless. It was well after noon before the temperature rose over 40 degrees. Though the sun was out all day, which was a big relief after these gray, rain-soaked weeks.

What was heartening to see were so many runners wearing something Boston-related. Runners really are a community.

When the last runner came my way around 2:30pm, I clapped for her. Then I handed off my vest to the man in the red truck who was slowly tailing her. I walked over to my car, called my wife and told her I was tired and on my way home.