by John Schrup
Day Two, er, Four. Something.
Subtle Chuck, Amish James and I leave in less than one week for our trip to Boulder to meet with the folks at Newton. So we can start the countdown now. I’m pretty excited about the whole thing, because I don’t get to travel much, I like to learn about the different brands we sell, and I haven’t been to Boulder since, like, ninety something. It was a smaller town then, not so chichi. I’ve known a few people who moved there, and then changed their names to, I don’t know, Hanuman Rain or some shit. So I’m pretty pumped about the trip.
The three of us, we’ve been making plans, drawing up an outline for the documentary. My immediate thought was that we should do something like Spinal Tap, but we don’t have access to a cricket bat, so that’s right out. Amish James was thinking along the lines of Blair Witch Project but I’m still seeing someone about the PTSD that shit gave me, so I might have to put the kibosh on that one. Also, it looks like we might have an issue with Subtle Chuck making the trip. Despite what you’ve been told, the dude does have emotions other than just loud, and he’s been in probably clinical funk since last week when he found out Jerry Garcia had died. Seventeen years ago. So we’re going day by day right now. I’ve got him listening to the New Year’s Eve 1972 show at the Winterland on a loop, combined with a new thing that my DOM suggested whereby you hook some acupuncture needles up to a HEMI and then directly into his urethra. I’ll let you know how that works. We’re hoping to get him well by the time we board.
So I’ve been wearing the Distance around, like they told me to do. Already the actuator lugs, those things under the met heads, seem to be, um, not so noticeable anymore? It used to feel like a had a D cell under each foot, but now it is more like an AAA or something. Still there, but I no longer want to walk on my heels to avoid that feeling. So I AM getting used to them. I think. Admittedly, I still have a prejudice against them, but that’s just me being petty, immature and ego-driven. Nothing new.
My feeling is that if they do grow on me to the point that I’d make the choice to buy them if I didn’t have two young children who need to eat AND be Batman, which is expensive on its own, without the, you know, nutrition variable in there. The fit is really, really good. Snug without being constricting. And they’re light enough to feel immediately runnable. The only thing I’m waiting on is the first run to see if those lugs go away. (Back in the day, when I first heard about Newton, I’d heard stories of people shaving off the lugs to get past that whole battery under the foot sensation, which would be kinda, you know, antithetical to the whole thing, I’d think. Aaaaand, that would increase the offset by several mm, which is, again, going against the whole natural thing.) Newton says these bad girls—the Distance—have an offset (with lugs) of 1mm. (Other models are at 2mm, another at zero offset.) Now, I’m no mathematician, but that’s pretty close to zero, which seems to be close to what it would be if you were weren’t wearing shoes. So, you know, barefoot. Which tends to be pretty natural, historically. Only there is a couple dozen mm of foam under your foot, so there’s that.
I run in a lot of different shoes, with different offsets. Some people don’t believe offset is a big deal, and in some respects I think they’re right. Offset alone does not make for a good running shoe. Neither do weight, nor responsiveness, or any of the other variables or components of a shoe, when considered as single things. All together, you’ve got to have a sum that is equal to what is right for you, and for what you’re doing on that day.
I’ve seen a couple studies somewhere that confirm what I’ve observed in my own experiments, that when you’re in a shoe with an offset of 6mm or less that your mechanics are noticeably different, or something like that. What I notice is that when I’m running—at different paces even—in a shoe with an offset of 6mm or less, I feel smoother: The transition is smoother, I feel like I’m landing more midfoot, I feel like my feet are off the ground quicker. Just an observation. If I’m wearing a pair with an 8 or 9 (like the 1400 or Adios 2, respectively) they’re like butter when I’m moving a bit quicker than easy, but if I’m going really easy or jogging, I feel a bit—I don’t know how to describe it—less than smooth. Just an observation. So that means that when I’m in the Kinvara, or the Hagio (or the **sniff, sniff** Rocket), or the A5s, I’m good to go at any effort. THAT’S what I’m talking about when I talk about a shoe disappearing. That’s what I’m ****ing talking about.
So I’m really hoping that these here Newton Distance (that’s Distancia, if you’re an asshole) grow on me, but not like lichens, and I can pull these things on during any given run and feel the love. I’ll keep you posted on how things progress, and whether Subtle Chuck begins to come around. Light some incense or something for the dude, because we need him around help us make friends up there, since Amish James and I both tend to be kinda wallflowerish when we’re around people we don’t know, or who are named Chakra Moonbow or some shit.