Cake
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    • I remember almost every pair of racing shoes I've ever gotten. Such an important decision since this can contribute to you having your best PR ever or the worst blister of your life. The best pair I ever had was in spring of 2002 while I was smack in the middle of college. I'm not sentimental about too many materialistic things, but I still have these shoes. I probably will always have them. They are tucked away in their silver nike sling bag and taking up valuable space in the garage. But I don't care. These shoes helped bring me to State that year in the Steeplechase. They were obnoxiously florescent and felt like a feather. They were stained with my blood, probably contributed to a lost toenail or two and made me feel like I could kick it in that last stretch faster than anyone. They were also the last pair of collegiate race shoes I ever wore. After that year, I took time off to find my love of running again and when I found it, by then, I was long graduated and working in the real world. But whenever I see those shoes, they make me feel something. Even 15 years later. That's why they're my favorite and that's why they still are tucked away in the nether regions of my garage. For that moment here and there when I stumble across them and remember when I had the coolest last name for a runner. Quick.

    • That was seriously the most inspirational story about running shoes I've ever read. It made me think back on all the shoes I've loved but, sadly, tossed.

      How did you get into Steeplechase? I've known just about every other kind of runner but never a Steeplechaser and always wondered who gets into it and why. I mean, it sounds a lot more interesting than just running loops around a track for two miles.

      I love the obnoxiously florescent shoes. Why be boring? My problem is when I find wonderfully obnoxiously florescent shoes like these Hokas, the men's versions are usually toned down. Pheh. Here's the women's style:

    • My racing years can still be counted on a single hand, but through this time I've ran quite a few pairs. Nike was my favorite brand when I was just getting started. I found them to be good for road running, but wanted to get into a zero-drop craze. Since then I actually fully embraced zero-drop benefits and all of my running shoes are now those.

      Once I got into trail running, the Inov-8 had a nice selection of shoes that were super minimal. But over the last 2 years I switched over to Altra. Really loving the Lonepeak 3.0 model for trail running and even on a treadmill. They have a nice cushion, lots of traction for trail running and yet are still zero-drop. For races I mostly use Superior 3.0 which have slightly less cushioning and give me a better feel for the terrain.

    • Zero-drop shoes are great for improving running form. This is a term that essentially describes your foot being parallel to the ground just as if you were running barefoot but some cushion. Most shoes have a slight decline so your heel is higher than your toes (usually measured in millimeters like 6-9mm). Here is the official language from Altra's website:

      Zero-Drop places your heel and forefoot the same distance from the ground to encourage natural, low-impact running form throughout your run.

      I've been running with zero-drop shoes for a few years and definitely saw my running form improve.
      P.S @bstrong the bottom of the show looks pretty cool too.

    • Every summer I would spend one week in Eugene at the University of Oregon for track camp. I got to run on the very track that Pre ran on, I ran loops in the cemetery that the track team would run and I got to sit in the stands of Hayward Field. Basically the highlight of my summer was spent running in Oregon. The last year I attended, they introduced steeplechase to us. Steeple was just opening up to women to compete and we were going to learn first hand on that infamous track. At the end of the week, there was a meet for us to compete in several events and this is where most of us got to compete in it for the first time in our careers. I loved it and to be honest, I felt bad*ss. It's an intense event and when you are used to running endless lap after lap, this was a fun way to break up the monotony. I'm not sure if my love for it was due to the actual event itself or the experience of where I learned about it. Have you ever been to University of Oregon? If not and you ever get a chance to go, you should visit it. There's something magical about that place for any runner to experience. Maybe this is the wide eyed younger version of me, but to this day, if I watch a movie about Pre, it makes me either tear up or want to lace up.

    • Have you ever been to University of Oregon?

      Liz, Jeff and I did a marathon there! Liz called it the greatest day of her life except for her wedding day. We finished on that hallowed track. Chills.

    • Erin, it’s funny, I was in the garage and realized that like you I had a pair that I love stashed for decades. In my case, however, they’re boots that I wore when scaling some big peaks in the winter. We used to care for them with special boot wax, and you looked totally hip and badass at the same time if you strode into a cafe wearing them.

      I can’t let them go because the memory of scaling Mt. Olympus on New Year’s Day in them to start the year with a bang is something I will always cherish.

    • I love that! It's interesting that we put sentimental value on something as simple as a pair of shoes but it is probably due to the journey that they helped carry us on. They'll continue their reign in the garage for who knows how long. I know mine will stay there for quite some time. :)

    • I’m wondering if I should try to jump in here or start a new thread. I’m still trying to figure out how cake works. So my step daughter gave me a book over twenty years ago and I’ve finally started reading it. It’s “running with the Kenyans” and talks about the barefoot running style ei zero drop shoes and such. I’ve run before but never stuck to it, after reading an article that stated not exercising as as bad as smoking I need to get back out there.

      I bought a pair of altra superior 3.0’s and testing them on the treadmill was an epiphany. It’s felt so natural and much less of an impact. I’m going out today and going to google maps to make sure I don’t go to hard. Last time I ran I was doing 13 minute miles so fast or quick aren’t words I’ll be using to describe myself anytime soon.

      I’m looking for opinions and others experience. I can see from the shoes being discussed that others are doing this so please chime in and help a rookie. I don’t have a fit bit or anything fancy, I have a Bluetooth heart monitor that I’m gonna dig out and see if it will work with my iPhone. When I bought it i used it with android so it may not work. All I currently have is endomondo so any suggestions are welcome. Keep in mind I’m a member of the working poor and not a wealthy west coaster ;)

    • just ran my fastest mile in under 12 minutes, I can feel my calves and left Achilles which is why I only did a mile. Later in the run had to focus more on foot strike but this all felt good. Maybe I’ll do another mile later today...

    • The key to running injury-free, which is the premise of the book, is to have a great running form and in improvement of "running economy". The barefoot running movement highlighted the importance of proper running form and technique.

      Since the barrier to entry into running is so low and it feels natural, people start running too fast, too much and with poor form. This is what is causing so many running related injuries and force people to give up prematurely.

      Shoes play a significant part in preventing those injuring and provide a better running experience. I would recommend zero-drop running shoes (heel and toes are leveled on the ground) because they feel natural. You can choose whatever cushion size you prefer as long as you focus on the mid-foot running strike. There are plenty of fast runners who heel-strike or toe-strike, but this topic is too big for this post. The science is pointing towards mid-foot strike as the most forgiving on your feet.

      Are you training for fun, health or thinking of competing?

    • health mostly, I have a pair of zero drop altra superior 3.0’s. Went for a mile run and the calves take more I can feel it. I thought I was taking it easy and ran a sub 12 minute mile, when my usual is 13 minutes. I’m going to keep it up, slowly building strength. Thanks for the reply and yes towards the end I had to keep a focus on mid foot strike, but I think it’s something I can get used to.

      I might compete at some point, I’d like to get a marathon under my belt in 2019. I think I need to see how I compare to others at some point.

    • Sounds like you are doing it right with focus on slow progression and good form. Altra has become my favorite running shoe brand taking over Inov-8 from years past. I while ago I've started a conversation about different shoe models that I liked and how I used them:

      I definitely think that having a goal, or an event in mind to train for is the way to go. I personally use it to get motivated knowing that it is coming whether or not I'm trainig for it.

      I would highly recommend doing a half-marathon race or training run just to see how the body feels running slow and long.

    • I have a great 13.1 mile loop by my home, I plan to do that as a test, but really want to do a marathon. Trying to keep goals reasonable, so I don't overun myself.

    You've been invited!