Sunday, February 7, 2010

Red Shoe Panic

Before I write my Uwharrie race report I have to give a "Red Shoe" update. (Warning: running shoes can be hazardous to your health)

[Previously on running down...]
For those who have not been obsessively following the drama of my footwear, here is a review.
Back in October, I got a pair red Brooks "Launch" running shoes, mistakingly thinking they would make me faster.

In November
, I discovered that if I took out the sock liner cushion, they felt great to run in. Since then I have put over 500 miles on them without a blister, black toenail, or any other foot pain. I did all of my training for the Uwharrie 40 Mile race in them. (Note: this is not an endorsement for these shoes. They just happen to fit my feet well.)

The Red Shoes had one major flaw however. No traction. At Run At The Rock I slid all over the place in the mud while people with cleated trails shoes ran by me. It took three steps to move forward one.

And as my Ultra big day approached, rain and melting snow flooded the Uwharrie forest, threating to cancel the race. If the race did go ahead, I feared it would be 40 miles of mud, and if it was as bad as "Run at the Rock", it would take me days to cover 40 miles.

So on the Wednesday before Uwharrie, I took a practice run around the muddy trails in nearby Lake Crabtree. A half mile into it I noticed a sharp irritation on the side of my foot. I took off my shoe and found a dime sized hole in the side of the shoe! Closer inspection revealed that both of the Red Shoes were about to fall apart, literally hanging together by a thread. There was no way they would last through 40 miles of Uwharrie. Piece of crap shoes only lasted a measly 590 miles.

Panic set in. I still had dozens of other abandoned shoes on the shelf, but I rejected them for various reasons. I had to get another pair Red Shoes. I called all the shoe stores in Raleigh and Cary to find another pair. Only one place had them, but not in my size. I thought about ordering online, but they would never arrive in time.

So I expanded my search. I called Bull City Running Co. in Durham, and they had a pair! I left work early and drove over to get them. Coincidently, the owners of Bull City are also the race directors of the Uwharrie Mountain run. As Kim sold me my new pair of Red Shoes, she told me the race would not be canceled and would go ahead as planned. Jason and Kim were very friendly and helpful. (Note: this is an endorsement for Bull City Running Co. This is my new favorite running store.)

Stressing about the mud, I tried on several different trail shoes at the store. But running an ultra in unknown shoes would be madness. So I took home the new pair of Red Shoes, took them out of the box, and went out to the table saw to give them some traction.

Shannon was amused and took some pictures. I cut some extra grooves into the shoes, thinking they would add some traction, and keep me from sliding sideways.
I have no idea if it would actually help, but I did stop worrying about the mud.
Instead, I started worrying that my brand new shoes would fall apart because I cut groves into them on the table saw.

Next up: Uwharrie Race Report.

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