There's a certain type of person that wears racing flats: those minimal shoes that look about as comfortable as cardboard, but cut down on weight and increase feel for the road. Faster runners swear by them.
The type that wears racing flats typically also:
a) wears minimal spandex both on top and bottom--and it doesn't look bad. (Geeky maybe, but bad? People would cover their children's eyes if I did it!)
b) has calves that are approximately as large as my forearms.
c) does an intricate, 30-minute warm-up during which their limbs spaghetti everywhere and a cool-down "couple miles" after every race. (They're the ones you see running the opposite direction as you're running towards the finish line. I'll be honest: they may be very nice people, but I hate them a little bit when I pass them.)
In other words, I will never need--or wear--something as light as a racing flat.
Then something comes along and challenges everything I assume. To wit: the brand new New Balance 890. This shoe is a lightweight shoe for those of us who will never wear a racing flat. The 890 is a shoe for the bigger-boned Athenas, myself included; the mid- to back-packers, who equate comfort with a heavy, plush shoe; the runners who want to try a trend--but don't want to injure themselves (or look foolish) while doing so. Why, you ask? Clocking in at a mere 7.65 ounces, this neutral shoe, which has a revolutionary, durable midsole, doesn't skimp on cushion or support. In them, your feet still feel as strong and comfortable as they do in more substantial shoes, but--trust me on this one--they'll definitely notice how much lighter and zippier each stride feels.
We've got a pair of the 890s to give away--but not until you answer a question. These shoes can make you feel fast, but you still have to do the work. What do you do when you want to pick up the pace? Do you put a specific thought in your head? Pretend like your kids are chasing you? Focus on your arm swing? Hold your breath and hang on? (not recommended, btw.)
Let us know, and you may have a helpful kick from a brand new pair of kicks.
So many amazing mile markers; fortunately, I don't have to pick them--random.org does it for me. So we've got 10 lucky readers who won a copy of Kristin Armstrong's new book Mile Markers. Congrats, winners: E-mail us with your address at runmother at gmail dot com and we'll get your copies out.
Kristen F: I started running at 38. My mother did not get why I started running and continued to do so. She never said anything bad ; she was just not impressed. She kept thinking I would “get over it” it I think. Then I forced her to come with me for my first (and only thus far) marathon so she could see me finish. She did, but because it was at Disney World her favorite place. When I saw her just after I finished she burst into tears. She said “I am unbelievably proud of you. When I saw you coming toward the finish line and realized you had just run 26 miles I started to cry”. This moment has deeply affected me, my relationship with my Mom and my relationship with running. It is truly my Mile Marker.
Ann: My milestone is age. I will be 50 next year. That year I want to run the Flying Pig marathon here in Cincinnati. I did my first 5K last summer and I am now training to do 10K and 1/2 marathons this year. Next year, look out! This 50 year old will be doing the full thing!
Julie Lynch: My divorce was final last year, after 2 long years in court. AND I turned 40. So I decided to mark it by running my first full marathon. I’d run 5k, 10k, and half before. Crossing that finish line was one of the top defining moments of my life. Now I know I have wings…and I can soar.
KimPossible: I have a 2.5 mile loop in my neighborhood that I run most days. One day I was coming down the lane back to my house and I was really kicking it like I do at the end of each run and I saw my 4 year old son standing in the driveway holding out a bottle of water for me. So of course I ran even faster! And when I reached him he said, ” mommy, you are awesome, drink the water and go do it again”. And you know what, I did! And now I routinely do that loop 2 times to get in 5 miles and I don’t think I would have pushed myself if he hadn’t suggested it that day. I run for ME but I gotta tell you he was and is my inspiration. Robbie is my MILE MARKER.
Stacy: Last June I started couch to 5k. I could barely run 2 minutes, but I had signed up for a late august 5k and was committed to making sure I finished. I didn’t love running, but I kept doing it because I had a goal. The day I ran that 5k, I was so proud of my accomplishment that I signed up for another taking place 1 month later, knowing that the registration would prompt me to keep up with running 3x per week. In that month, something clicked. I have no idea what. Running went from being something that I had to do to being something that I couldn’t do without. Since then I have done a 10k and have signed up for my first half marathon in May, which will mean I went from couch to 1/2 in 10.5 months. My life is incredibly different since that day last June when I downloaded an iPhone app and ran for a minute; I wouldn’t give back a single mile.
Alison Price: My milestone is coming around the corner and seeing my house…..whether it be from a quick run or a LOOOOOONG run. I pick up the pace, and sprint home feeling the waves of “I can do anything” wash over me.
Jen: The last marathon I ran (and first as a mother) it was Mile 25 when I realized I would qualify for Boston. I was so emotional thinking about my daughter who was 8 months at the time and how important she was to me and it made this marathon somuch better then any in the past.
milesmusclesmom (aka JenniferLeah): I gotta go with 1 mile!
I recall the very first time I ran one mile without stopping and it really was such a big deal to me-a huge accomplishment. If I had not been able to run that ONE MILE, I would not have been able to do 3.1, 6.2, 13.1. 20+ any of the other distances that followed. When I started running, I was 100+lbs overweight and I could not run more than 20 seconds at a time. Hitting that one mile was the beginning for me The beginning of a mad love affair with running
Lee Ann: My mile markers stand for every individual that I have seen change their lives through running. I have only been running for a year but have completed 4 1/2 marathons. Over the course of the last year, friends and collegues have taken an interest in my new found energy, focus and zest for life that can only come from miles on the pavement. Seeing this, I have focused on putting that energy towards supporting those individuals on their own journey to change their lives. We as a collective group have seen folks lose weight, find strength and confidence, quit bad habits and emerge as true inspirations. Whenever a run seems hard or even impossible – I think of the accomplishments of those around me and they give me the inner strength and resolve to go the distance!
Meredith Johnson: Every time I walk back in through the door and my kids are like sunshine again.