by John Schrup
Amish James, Subtle Chuck and I are now just a few days from blastoff to Newtonvilleboro. I cleaned out the Yaris this morning, got all the empty coffee cups out of the backseat. Gonna leave at least one pr of non-Newton shoes in the hatchback in case it, you know, doesn’t work out. But we’re gonna need the room, since Amish James says he’s bringing two or three bags, because you never know what the weather will be like, or some shit like that. Which is a little strange coming from a guy named Amish. Chuck insists on bringing his bootleg tape collection, even though the Yaris doesn’t have a tape player anymore. But since he’s still all PTSD over Jerry’s death, we’ll give him that.
I packed lots of healthy things to eat along the way. Bringing your own food saves money and we won’t feel all bloated and gassy from the DQ’s and other obligatory road food stops, and in a small cockpit like the Yaris, with these temperatures, that pretty much guarantees . Got a couple pounds of macadamia nuts (the candy of the nut world), fat sack of apples, two jars of peanut butter, 23 coconut waters (drank one), one pound of chia seeds, half pound of bison jerky, 2.5 gallons of water (spring), two pints each of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries. Berry season is pretty much over, so they’re not looking too good already. Might have to break out the Ronco Food Dehydrator for the trip. Twizzlers.
Yesterday I met with one of the Bitchwolves over lunch to talk about training, West Nile virus, liver function and, you know, stuff. We sat outside at a picnic table and luxuriated over our burgers and fries. I explained the trip to Boulder and the wear testing of the shoes and shit. I tried to explain my reluctance to buy into the whole lugged sole and all. Her level of interest pretty much stopped at a free pair for her, and then she changed the subject to something that I can’t remember.
When I returned to the shop, absurdly hopped up on caffeine, which should be a surprise to no one, we on the north side talked some about the shoes.
“It looks like you’re wearing cycling cleats,” said Ruth. “Can you get some for Bala?” Bala is the dog.
“They look too loose,” said Carolyn. “You got the extra fabric there.” I explained that the Newton people said it isn’t necessary, or even desirable, to lace your shoes up snug to the foot.
“You didn’t bathe again today, did you?” said Allison. Allison ran the marathon in the Olympic Trials so she is allowed to ask those kinds of questions.
“What are you going to say about them?”
“Do you like them?”
“Now, why are you doing this?”
My explanations were met mostly with blank stares, which soon turned to watering eyes, and my bathing habits for the week had been exposed.
All of their questions were good ones, and it reminds me that the whole process of choosing the right shoe for you is not so black and white. It’s a bunch of shades of gray. I don’t know how many, but a bunch. This is another almost blasphemous thing to say, but in the end, I think that of all the variables that go into running, running healthy, running faster or longer or whatever, your running shoes should be the least of your concerns. What I mean to say is that once you buy your running shoes, they should disappear to the point that you don’t have to think about them again until it is time to unlace them after your run. Yeah, the fitting process requires some thought, and you won’t likely do well to throw darts when choosing, but ultimately, you gotta go with the one that will be the least obtrusive to your running or training. Maybe you make a choice and then a couple months later decide that there might be something better. There might be. But in the global picture, you’re better off choosing a shoe based not on which one will do more for you, but which one will allow you to do more.
This will likely be my last transmission until we arrive in Boulder. There are still a ton of preparations and I’m a little behind schedule. The shaman who usually blesses the Yaris before lengthy road trips hasn’t come back from Vegas, where he’s been for the last week at the annual American Shaman Convention and Potluck, and I’m getting a little concerned. We might just have to cancel if he doesn’t show. Maybe I can find one quick on Craigslist.