I spent the past 3 day in Boston on a short vacation with my family, and surprisingly, the one thing that I didn’t do at all was run. This trip was about having fun with my wife and kids, and exploring a city that has been a part of my life since I was a little kid cheering on the Red Sox at Fenway. Although I may not have hit the running paths along the Charles on this trip, there certainly were some running related moments worth mentioning. Here goes:
1. Runners are awesome people – there’s no other way to say it. Over the past year and a half since I started this blog and got involved in the running communities on dailymile and Twitter, I have had the good fortune to meet some truly amazing people from all over the world. The common bond that we all share is that we love to run. I don’t know that this is unique to runners, but something tells me that there are few other sports that have such a tightly knit community of practitioners who go out of their way to support and help one another.
What does this have to do with my Boston trip? Well, a fellow runner who found me via this blog and who I subsequently became friends with on dailymile and Twitter offered to meet my family and I and show us around her part of the city on basically a day’s notice. Alett (better known as @petfxr on Twitter) and I had never met in person, but I felt like I knew her already via our on-line interactions, and we had a nice afternoon walking around the Quincy Market area and alongside the harbor by the aquarium. Other runners I know have related similar stories of runnerly (is that a word?) hospitality, and this is a great example of how the internet has served to strengthen real world relationships rather than weaken them. If you read this blog and don’t interact with other runners on either dailymile or Twitter, I highly recommend that you do – both are fantastic resources in so many ways.
2. I paid my first ever visit to the famed Bill Rodgers Running Center and was both impressed and disappointed at the same time. I was impressed by the collection of shoes they had on the wall, many of which are included in my Guide to Minimalist Running Shoes (I finally got to check out the Mizuno Wave Universe and Asics Piranha in person – both are ridiculously light!). After visiting the store, I was curious so I searched Google for any comments Bill Rodgers has made about choosing shoes, and came across the following from the NY Times:
“Everything to me is the fit, the feel of the shoe. Do you feel biomechanically like you’re moving barefoot? That’s what you want. There is a trend now for simpler shoes. For 30 years I’ve thought they’ve had too many gimmicks on the running shoes. Various companies copying each other and trying to outdo each other and adding roll bars and computers on the shoes. It was unnecessary and made things more complicated than it should be.“
Needless to say, I think he’s right on the money.
My disappointment at the store was due to all of the official Boston Marathon gear that they carried. I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to buy one of those blue and yellow Adidas shirts or jackets, but I resisted the urge. You won’t see me sporting any Boston Marathon gear until I officially qualify, which probably means that I should be outside running instead of writing this post. Will it happen this Fall? I have no idea, but I’m a bit worried about my mileage being insufficient with all of the baby-related adjustments that I’ve had to make. I’m also playing around a lot with shoes and stride of late, but I’m having too much fun with that to stop now. I will get to Boston eventually, of that I’m certain, the question right now is when?
3. Just an observation, but I saw a lot of those ridiculous toning shoes around the city – they’re not very common yet where I live in New Hampshire. My thoughts on those shoes could fill a whole separate post, but I’m not sure I want to go there. Suffice it to say, people would be a heckuva lot better off just going for a run (or even a nice long walk), but everyone wants an easy solution. Any excuse people can find to avoid sweat and hard work is going to win out in the long run with a lot of our population. It’s sad, but those shoes are selling like hotcakes right now – something like 5 of the top 10 selling shoes in the US right now are toning shoes, whereas the Nike Free (I assume the Run+?) is the only running shoe in the Top 10. My only hope is that they are at least encouraging people to get out and walk a bit more.
That’s all for now, hopefully my next trip to to the Bill Rodgers Running Center will coincide with my running of the big 26.2!