Saturday, October 6, 2012

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

"The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they are okay, then it's you."
-  Rita Mae Brown

Two of the non-running questions I'm asked most when I'm running with others (usually on Sundays with our Mercedes Training groups) are 1) "Why did you deactivate your Facebook account", which I'll address in a near future RWA, and 2) "how do you come up with a new subject to write about each week?". It's true that I've been writing this weekly blog since May of 2010, but finding a subject each week is really not that difficult. The problem is that I usually come up with an idea for the "the best blog post ever" during a run, and of course by the time I finish the run, that idea is buried beneath other lost ideas of how to cure cancer, how to promote world peace, why the Braves can't win a post-season baseball game EVER, and wondering why this run I'm on feels like the end of a marathon.

But, with a personal running history of greater than a third of a century (MY GOD!!), when I do have a mild case of writer's block (senility?), I can always reach back into the deep recesses of my mind and come up with some goodies of Days Gone By. 

For instance, two weeks ago, I was getting my stuff out to prepare for a trail run the next day. My go-to trail shoes these days are an old pair of Hoka Bondi-B's. I noticed that the outside heel was worn down (after all, they have about 900 miles on them, basically because they have a ton of midsole!!). So, I reached for my old reliable tube of Shoe-Goo, which is like liquid rubber, and deposited a new quarter of an inch of protection to the heel. Shoe-Goo used to be staple of any long distance runner in the 70's and 80's. Oh, I can hear the argument now about how the midsole flattens out after so many miles (certainly NOT 900), so it's not really the outsole you have to worry about. But you see, back then, the midsole was more hardy, and you could get more miles out of a shoe if you could keep that pesky outsole from wearing down. Ta-da...enter Shoe-Goo! Put it on like thick toothpaste, spread it around with a tongue depressor, let it set overnight,
 and your set to go. They still sell Shoe-Goo, but as the good side of technology has brought us lighter shoes, it is usually because the midsole is "blown" instead of solid, so it becomes a pancake sooner and 300-400 miles is usually the limit for your shoes. For those of you who run in these minimalist shoes that snicker at any midsole at all, I guess you could Shoe-Goo your shoes for years and never have to buy a new pair of shoes until you're just tired of the color. 

For those of you young whipper-snappers that find the use of Shoe-Goo pretty funny, how 'bout this for Level 2 of Running in the 80's...after you had Goo'ed you shoes 5-6 times, it was time to take the big plunge. For $13.95, you could send your shoes off to New York City and get them RE-SOLED!! Yep, those shoes would LOOK like new. No new midsole, just the rubber that meets the road! Now, you have to remember that running shoes cost something like 35 bucks back then, so 14 bucks was a bargain to get basically (in our warped minds) a new pair of shoes. Your uppers of the shoes looked like they had gone through years of the mud puddles of hell, but man, the bottoms were pristine. Honestly, back in the 80's, I was doing well over 3000 miles/year, but shoes lasted a good 6-9 months. Might be one reason why I'm nursing aching ankles these days, but Runner's World hadn't progressed enough back then to tell me DON'T DO THAT! 

See how easy it is to come up with a subject to write about? Didn't say it was a riveting subject, but it's just a glimpse into running in yesteryear. I've got a ton of these stories, but I'll share them with my buddies at the Old Runner's Home...where everybody knows your name...where "remember" is the most used word...where I can Shoe-Goo my shoes every night!

I'll see you all on the roads - AL

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world" 

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