I have been patiently waiting for the trails in Annadel to dry out enough so that I can try running on them instead of the street. I know the soft dirt trail will be much better for this old body than the hard street is. Yet just when conditions just begin to get dry, it rains. I really do not want to make a muddy mess of my running shoes so I continue to wait. Yesterday I came up with the idea of getting a pair of running shoes devoted entirely to trail running. I looked online, read reviews and found what I thought would suit me, a pair of New Balance MT572. Reading what people wrote about New Balance shoes though, there was an issue with sizing. Most stated they ran smaller than your size, “so buy a half or full size larger”. Should I follow this advice or what? I then got the bright idea of going out and try on New Balance at local stores to find the correct size and then order online at the reduced price. It was then I discovered that I could get these shoes for nearly the same low price at…J.C. Penny of all places!
This morning, all prepared to go and be there when the doors open at 10 am, I checked once again and found that Kohls carried them also and they opened at 8. At Kohls I discovered it is like a self-serve store in the shoe department. In fact no one was around anywhere on the second floor. Beside the obnoxious music blaring out of the ceiling speakers directly overhead, this was a pleasant shopping experience. I searched the shelves and finally found a box of New Balance MT572’s. In fact it was the only box. Size? One half larger than my normal size. I tried them on with my orthotics and the fit was perfect. Sometimes there are those days that all is right in the world. At the register downstairs I was given $10 off for a on sale price. Wow! The lady then said if I fill out an application for a Kohls card she could knock off another 20% = $12. Double wow! So this was a major score - far cheaper than any online price. It wasn’t till I got home and cut off the tag that was harpooned to the shoe did I read it. “Committed to American Workers”. Could it be? I checked inside the shoe. Sure enough there it was “Made in U.S.A.”. A rare commodity these days indeed and I felt even better with my purchase. To celebrate my good fortune, I went out for a 3 mile run, in the rain, with my regular running shoes, on the streets. The trails and the new shoes will have to wait a bit longer.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
First of the wildflowers.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
For my 30th birthday I gave myself the present of getting into shape. I was the heaviest in my life and most any effort would put me into oxygen debt. The jogging craze was just beginning and I got onboard. Each evening after work I would go over to the high school track and stumble around. Over time I improved being able to not only actually run, but do so for some distance. After about 6 months I entered a foot race and was hooked from then on. For the next ten years I raced most every weekend. I got faster and faster, set personal records for myself and usually placed in my age group. But those ten years took their toll on my knees. My last race was a half marathon (my favorite distance) in San Francisco just before my 40th birthday. I quit running hoping to heal up but was never able to run again and knew I never would again.
When I retired I began walking a couple miles at a time a few days a week, but never got out of it what I did running 6 to 10 miles a day. After we moved, our new neighborhood proved to be much more enjoyable to walk in. I began walking with more enthusiasm and dedication. Soon followed hikes in Annadel at longer distances. I was slowly getting more into shape and my knees held up by using supports. The thought began to germinate in my little mind “Maybe I could at least jog some.” For my 61st birthday present to myself, I had my orthotics reconditioned, bought some new running shoes and penciled out a training plan for myself with the most important part being to not over-do it. Taking it slow and easy, even more so than when I first began 31 years ago, has been the hardest part for me to do.
Now here I am three months into this and at a point I would never had dreamed was possible for me again. I can jog for 3 miles with relative ease and the knees are doing well. My pace is a couple minutes a mile slower than my normal training pace was long ago but I can live with that. In fact I am better off this way and will not attempt to increase it any. I’d only be asking for trouble. Once believing of running a race was out of the question, I am slowly re-thinking that and making it a dream to strive for. I don’t need to run in the front anymore. It will be just as much fun if not more so, to run with the crowd. I look forward to it and believe I can do it…some day.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
When you are homebound due to constant day to day rain there isn’t much else to do but read, watch TV and be on the computer. Reading is the greatest but I get logy after awhile and fall asleep. That seems such a waste to sleep during the day. Plus it messes up my entire sleep-wake pattern. It goes without saying, watching TV is simply a waste for the most part. All’s left is the computer and after time you wind up buying things through eBay, Amazon.com and the like. This is what happened to me. It was raining and I was missing out on walks and hikes. “Now if I had some decent rain gear” I thought, “I would be out in it”. So I researched, read reviews and ordered a set from a golf supply warehouse through Amazon. But now what about my feet? They get wet wearing regular running shoes, and as for hiking in the mud and slop of Annadel, my desert shoes were getting messed up. Gore-Tex seemed to be the answer. I researched, read reviews and ordered a pair of Merrell Gore-Tex hiking boots. My around-the-house-Birkenstocks were close to 30 years old and I’d get comments all the time from the wife about their state of disrepair. “Perhaps I should replace them.” I looked about online, did the research, read more reviews and selected a clog type pair of Keens. Days passed and the rain continued. I dreamed of long hikes in the park this spring. “If go on longer hikes I ought to pack a sandwich.” I don’t care to wear backpacks and I carry enough already in my shoulder bag, so much so, that a sandwich would get smashed. I thought a fanny pack might work to carry some of the bulky gear like my camera. I found one I liked on eBay even if it was only available in camo. My efforts in trying to come up with some way to pack along a tripod wasn’t working out. “Maybe there might be something on eBay.” After some searching I found a nice soft case with shoulder strap that should be ideal. Why am writing about all of this? Because it all arrived last week and every single item was made in China! The quality all looks good (by Chinese standards) as I didn’t buy cheap, but the fact remains, you are hard pressed these days to purchase anything not made in China.