Monthly Archives: October 2013

If The Shoe Fits: Buying Running Shoes

Today I was cleaning my apartment and I realised how everything just fits in around my shoe collection. More stilettos, wedges, and flip flops than anyone ever actually needs. But when it comes to shoes, how can we really put a number on what need really means?

Then there are the running shoes.

Yesterday I had to make a few embarrassed apologies to strangers at the gym after taking off a pair of shoes and having their odor take down everyone within a ten foot radius. Explaining your best runs and fastest times in the shoes doesn’t count as an apology. Apparently. So what is with this inability to let go of my shoes once they have been run into the ground (literally and figuratively)?

Some days I swear all my power comes from my shoes. Walking into a room wearing sky high stilettos is empowering and I hold myself back from pushing people out of my way to do my best runway walk. Just like certain garments, all of my running shoes have memories. Maybe I ran a personal best in them or maybe they were the pair I was wearing when I made up my mind on some big life decisions. They could be the shoes from the last run from my last house, or the first run 8 weeks after surgery. I’m not sure everyone has this type of relationship with their footwear but I would like to offer some tips if this is at all appealing. Be warned that break ups are hard.

I have too many clients that come to me with terrible footwear. Old models, lacking enough support, or even casual shoes are presented to me with the reassurance that “the guy in the store said these are the best”. I don’t know who “the guy” is, but he better hope we don’t meet. So let me help out with buying proper running shoes.

When a running magazine or a running buddy says that some new shoe is THE BEST, don’t run out to stock up on them. If one shoe was the best for everyone, they would probably have to stop manufacturing all the other thousands of styles. A writer behind a desk somewhere else in the world can’t see your feet and the article they wrote is not dedicated to you. Someone who is educated on shoes, can see your feet and listen to your goals and previous injuries is probably a better option to determine your ideal shoe. If I had a nickel for everyone who had been incorrectly convinced about their own feet I would be blogging from my retirement home in a tropical location. In a pool of nickels.

Go to a running specialty store. This is not a department store or a sports store; you can’t run other errands here. Have someone look at your feet and your gait and if they don’t- take your tootsies elsewhere.

Listen to the advice you are given. Maybe the shoes that are recommended to you aren’t the brightest or they aren’t on sale but trust me when I say that your feet are colour blind and don’t appreciate a deal like you do. I always used to say that the ugliest shoes seem to work the best and my customer satisfaction was extremely high. It isn’t science but it is pretty darn close.

Here is a quick guideline: after your next shower, walk your wet feet across a floor that shows your footprints. Hold yourself back from the model strut, just your regular walk is great. Taking a look at your trail will give you some great information; besides the fact you need to clean your floor now.

If there is no contact between the heel and ball of your foot then specify you need a neutral shoe. This means you have a high rigid arch and your foot lacks pronation (your body’s built in shock absorption) so your feet need more cushioning.

If your footprint is cavemen-esque in appearance, and there is a lot of contact under the arch of your foot then you are the opposite end of the spectrum. This means you have a lot of pronation but biomechanically, we can improve efficiency by supporting the arch. Why waste energy on internal rotation of your leg when we want to move forwards and not inwards?! Ask for a shoe with a high level of medial support.

For those of you who fit in between, congratulations on being 90% of the population. You can ask for mild to moderate support and someone else will take it from there!

These tips are all very general because your feet are all different and I can’t see any of them. So don’t think anyone else who can’t see your feet can advise you any better. Take your old shoes with you so they can see the wear patterns and tell them what you liked and didn’t like. I do not take any responsibility for any future problems regarding refusal to part with your shoes.

My next topic will be how to most efficiently organize a closet around shelves and shelves of running shoes…

tracks-wet-cement-cartoon

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The Horse and the Sugar Cube

Yet another gem of wisdom my dad said to me during a phone call yesterday, “Some days you’re the horse and some days you’re the sugar cube”.

We get what we want from life when we least expect it. Sometimes we work hard with our heads down and blinders on and seemingly out of nowhere- life hands us a sugar cube.

I filed a claim through a government fund for people hit by uninsured drivers and I have been doing my best to pretend I understand what is happening as the process rolls on. One of the regulars at the gym, who happens to be a lawyer, suggested I actually get advice from a colleague of his.  Since my education teaches me how to remedy my physical injuries and not remedy my bank account after time off, it makes a lot of sense. I had spoken to someone after the accident who advised me to go through the fund and sent me on my gimpy way. I dislike legal terms and paperwork so I wasn’t too rushed. After delaying for months, I made an appointment to meet this new lawyer I had heard so much about.

One year after the accident and one year before the deadline to take legal action. Off I go.

When this woman walks into a room, she commands attention with a confidence and presence that arrives like a smoke machine before she enters. When she starts talking, you know she is smart. Not in a condescending or arrogant way; you just appreciate you aren’t against her in a game show or a spelling bee. She had an alarmingly realistic horse statue in her office that made it even easier to be distracted from the legal terms and fast paced questions. Maybe my lack of ability to keep up worked in my favour; I’m not too proud to get the pity vote once in a while. We spoke for over an hour about my case and all of my options and it wasn’t until she brought up payment that I nervously glanced at my watch and tried to guess how close my credit card was to its limit.

She politely asked me if she was wrong to assume I was tight for funds, but she had me all figured out so my response was some sort of slurred mumble combined with a shrug. Then she dropped the nuclear bomb that is her hourly rate. My irregular heart beat straightened itself out for a moment there and I know I am not subtle so she probably had paramedics on standby. However, in some twist of fate angels began singing and I think a spot light came on as she said she would take my case with only a cut at the end.

The fact that I was “adorable” was what won her over… I was going for professional but close enough, right.

I really dragged my feet on this, and almost ignored someone trying to show me what was in my best interest. This “sugar cube” was dangling in front of me for so long, I am lucky it was still there when I wanted it.

As I told my lawyer on my way out: I’m sure glad she is on my side.

The guy that hit me and drove away is one sweet sugar cube and my horse just started running.

lone_l

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One Year Later…

I just need to write a quick post. Blogging is almost like having a diary and mine wouldn’t be complete without this.

Today is exactly one year since the accident. It was a hit and run while I was biking to work.

I have daily reminders with back pain, shoulder pain, letters from insurance companies, and the scars.

More importantly, I have daily reminders with family, friends, clients, gym members, and even acquaintances asking me how I am. Texts, emails, and phone calls come in often, reminding me just how much I have to be grateful for.

In times of trouble, we learn so much about ourselves and those around us that we could never discover otherwise. This taught me the balance between staying strong and admitting when I need help. This reminded me that I am surrounded by a strong and supportive network of family and friends. Friends that instantly turn to chauffeurs, cooks, and hairdressers. And a father and brother who turn into detectives, sitting at intersections, and actually finding the man who hit me. Yes this is a true story.

There is still much to resolve and things are always moving forward, but if I glance back I can’t help but see how lucky I am.

Thanks for reading and here’s to the progress still to come.

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