So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Running Shoes Are Like Toilet Paper

I think I've mentioned in the past that almost nothing is a "sacred cow" topic; by that I mean an individual (or group of) runners' Miranda rights...

For those who have never watched a police drama on television, the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution protects an individual against making a horse's behind of themself, or worse, as long as their mouth stays closed.  Once their mouth opens, it's pretty much "game on" for this coach.  Anything you say can and (probably) will be used against you.  Or as an illustration in a blog post.  This weekend, Teri and Charley provided two separate pieces of inspiration.  Teri by a topic of conversation, Charley by his (first or second in a year) absence.  Charley missed the Sunday morning "sort-of-long run" because of several nasty blisters on the bottom of his feet and toes.

Charley wears good, comfortable shoes when we run together on Sunday mornings.  He changes them out every 400-to-500 miles.  He tries to stay with the same brand, model and type which works best for his build, mileage demands and foot type -- all of the things I've preached, cajoled and ranted about over the past seven years.  When we do hash runs on Saturday afternoons, however, Charley wears old, beat-up shoes -- he saves his good ones for training. 

Two dozen Hash House Harriers suspected last Saturday's trail was going to be swampy or sandy in nature.  We were all fooled; eighty percent of the trail was either on a gravel fire road or a paved bike path.  Definitely not the terrain for the shoes Charley wore.

We were all dealing with damage of one sort or another:  Teri and Pete ran another 5K in infernal conditions; Suzanne and I were almost out of the woods from our minor overuse issues after the Ottawa Half-Marathon (madness begets madness in the Bowen household).  Otherwise it was a nice morning to engage in an easy trot/hike, followed by breakfast.

I don't recall how or where toilet paper came into the discussion, but Suzanne said something about my preference for high-quality paper.  It might seem silly to most people, but after years of public school "single sheet at a time" dispensers, filmy porta-john tissue, and sandpaper-like wiping material in several European countries (It's simple to tell an American-owned vehicle in Europe; just look for the toilet tissue holder on the back dash.) I feel justified in making certain I place good quality (comfortable!) stuff next to the tenderest parts on my body.

I can never stress enough in many areas, especially when we talk about comfort or support, you get what you pay for.  I don't have any expertise in the area of jogging brassieres, so I cannot speak directly to them.  However, the "trial of miles" tends to drop a lot of barriers between the sexes -- only the most personal of secrets remain.  My wife has her preferences in support, which don't necessarily align with those of the female athletes I train.  That's probably why there are different styles of support garment, much like different types of running shoe.

The running outlet/race expo/e-store fifty-percent-off deal at first glance might seem like a great concept, but the (temporary) pain message which travels the meridian between the hip pocket and the brain -- when spent on the right product -- will not last as long as buyers' regret, chafing, blisters and (perhaps) musculoskeletal injury.   You really do get what you pay for.  When it comes to your tender parts price should be no object.

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