Running

Old Shoes Going Out On A High

This morning I have mostly been attempting to take artful photographs of my running shoes old and new. Alongside setting another course PB in Parkrun, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

As you can see, my old shoes have seen better days but they don’t have a hole where the big toe often pokes out, and they’ve still (mostly) got the black grip at the base intact, albeit without the ability to grip anymore, which really came to my notice this morning on the damp tarmac at Birkenhead Park.

They are extremely comfortable, at least up to five or six miles, and I can’t quite bring myself to consign them to the ‘garden work’ pile just yet. They have called it a day on the longer runs now as they can’t quite keep the bounce going but given that they’ve racked up over 950 miles according to my app, it’s not surprising.

Most running shoe advice I’ve read suggests that they should be retired at around 300-500 miles but I don’t normally pay attention to that because I feel obliged to wring every last drop out of them as the carbon emissions involved in their creation is pretty high. Historically I’ve tended to buy a new pair of shoes each year at about the time when I’m starting to feel one or two little niggles in my lower legs. It’s possible that I’ve taken them over the edge and risked giving myself injuries but having never been all that speedy, or troubled myself with high mileage that often, I have gotten away with it.

Up until a couple of years ago I’ve only ever had two pairs of trainers at any one time, and mostly just one on the go. Now, alongside these old Brooks, I now have a pair of True Motion which have taken over as my main work horses. I bought these, as the running shop were having an evening promotion, where you could try them out. They are very comfy and cushiony but a tad clumpy. I also got myself a pair of On Cloud shoes at another promotional evening which are still in the box. Plus, more recently, two pairs of Brooks Ghost in the January sales which are also still in the box. I’m not including my Saucony trail shoes in that pile but they’re taking up space in our small house too.

I’m not quite becoming Imelda Marcos yet but I think I need to call a halt to my purchases. I also need to retire my old Brooks. At least from races, or races where the ground isn’t completely dry. This morning, as I was leaning into the tight bends on the far side of the lake, there was a bit of slippage on the wet paths. It wasn’t raining during Parkrun but the cold morning had allowed everywhere to remain a bit damp.

I blame the pacers. I hadn’t set out to pull out a fast time, and I arrived at Pensby Corner late, without time to do a warm up. But as I was reaching our group, I spied the blue-vested volunteers who occasionally come and help pace the runners. On the back of their vests are the number of minutes they plan to complete the course in. There was a good crowd of us from our club and a great number of people generally, nearly 600. Despite feeling the chill, at the last minute, I stuffed my jacket in the hedge and set off to see if I could keep blue vest 28 in sight. I saw and passed him early on and I thought this was very odd as I wasn’t puffing or panting. But then, as I chatted to John along the way, he shot passed us again, obviously realising his own slow start.

I didn’t worry and carried on enjoying our conversation – we’ll both be doing Manchester Marathon this year and John was explaining how he needed to squeeze most of his training into the weekends because of work. It sounded tough. My breathing felt great and I moved gradually ahead and spotted Mr 28 about twenty metres in the distance. I seemed to be reeling him in, which was interesting as my lungs still felt comfortable. Eventually, in the second lap, I caught and passed him but expected at any moment that he’d come flying past again realising his mistake. He didn’t, and I managed a sprint to the finishers funnel before I pulled out my phone. My official result was 27:30, a superb course PB.

I know these shoes weren’t quite the best ones for the job today but at least they’ll be finishing on a high note. They have definitely been my favourite to date and I only hope the newer versions give me the same kind of love.

7 thoughts on “Old Shoes Going Out On A High”

  1. Great run. The most annoying thing about running shoes is the way you can almost guarantee that the ones you like best won’t be made any more and that the very clever technical ‘improvements’ to the newest version, that make them more expensive, are unlikely to have made them better.

  2. Rita – your new pairs are exactly the same version as your recently retired ones. Well done on the PB.

  3. you know where I work right? If see a pair of shoes at the start of my shift, they’re mine at some point…I’m still holding back on carbon fibre (my wife would kill me if I spent $300 on a pair of shoes, but I need them!) love Brooks (I’ve been using the Glycerins lately)..what do you think of the Ons?

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