Friday, February 22, 2008


I've not been running this week. My ankles felt a bit weak on Sunday and on Monday evening, in the middle of a fencing lesson, my right instep was pretty angry at me. In a bid to prevent anything from breaking/slipping/getting worse, I decided to stop running until I bought a new pair of shoes. I bought my old ones over a year and a half ago. They were on sale and fit.

Tonight I went to the Portland Running Company to be properly fitted for a pair of running shoes. The lovely saleswoman gave me a pair of neutral shoes to wear (something by Nike) and had me run up and down a strip they have in front of the shop. Happily I appear to have a rather neutral foot. No crazy high arches, no pronating or supinating. I tried out four different neutral shoes and wound up with the Asics Gel Stratus in blue. I also splurged and got a proper technical shirt. It's green and has a clever pocket for keys and an ID.

It sounds a bit shallow, but all the books I've read so far on running have talked about purchasing the right equipment not only to prevent injury, but also to better feel the part. The argument is that you'll feel more like the other runners passing you by if you look the part. Having fenced for a team where our equipment was banged up and old (in some cases, produced by long dead equipment companies and better relegated to a rag pile since the knickers would, you know, split in the middle of a lunge), I can say that wearing the right sort of equipment makes you a bit more confident. When you're on the strip in barely passing lame and ill-fitting cotton duck whites and staring at someone in full Uhlman kit, you can feel a bit like a chump.

So much of athletics is mental, is attitude... and I've always sort of had a problem with maintaining or creating a positive attitude. It's New York or the genetics or the water.... regardless, I'm quicker to judge and judge harshly than I am to step back and find a scrap of calming perspective. I'm working on it and I know that I've improved. I know I think of myself as a fencer now and as an athlete. I wonder when I'll start to think of myself as a runner.

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