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Today's Lesson

I finally picked up my Newton running shoes that were a prize for placing 2nd overall for the See Jane Run half marathon in June.

Sparkling brand new

Notice the weird nubbins in the front.  Not an official term.

One more view

I've heard a lot about the Newtons in the past year.  I know of at least 3 running friends who love them, and I've inquired as to why.  I've read articles.  But I was never much interested, because I am not a heel-striker (or so I have been told) and therefore figured I didn't need an unusual shoe to fix my stride.

I also wanted to restrain from paying $150 for shoes that look ridiculously (or....hideously) bright and have a seemingly illogical design.  Similar to the barefoot running/minimalist shoe trend, I don't want to relearn how to run or go through some adjustment period where I run only 3 miles max in those shoes at once (and what, return home after 3 miles, switch shoes, and keep going? Girl, Interrupted.  I always wanted to have a reason to say that).

This is so cliche.  Can you see it coming?  Blog writer begins post with skepticism about a certain product; blog writer then explains how they tried the product out anyway; blog writer then announces that they now LOVE the product!

Cliche, be gone.  I'm not exactly there yet.  Not in LOVE, that is.  Here's what I've noticed so far.

They are really hideous.  I don't know when it became the trend for runners to be so bright and loud and LOOK AT MY NEON.  I like wearing a bright top to race in so that persons (the Gentleman) can spot me from afar.  But shoes....I'd rather not be pegged as a running geek because of my neon shoes.  I wish all running shoes were made in a black or grey.  I just want simple.  These Newtons scream "I am a marathon maniac, I've been running for 63 years, I have a lot of running gear, and I run one ultra-marathon per week."  They say, "I take running seriously, I am not a recreational runner who wears Nike's".  Not that there's anything wrong with taking running seriously.  But I still consider myself a hobby runner who isn't attached to any specific running gear one way or the other.

I cannot get all scientific (aka helpful) about reviewing the functionality of these shoes like Shelby the extraordinaire whose job was running shoe expert, because I know jack about shoes.  But in terms of functionality, I can tell you two things.

First, I noticed they forced my stride to shorten.  I probably need this.  Even though it may make for cool running pictures, my stride is a little too long, and I never hit 180 strides/minute--which is supposedly optimal--even when sprinting.  I am usually at 165-170 strides/minute.  A shorter stride should help me increase my speed, and maybe avoid injury.  I dunno.  I'm just talking here.


Stride = too long.  Newtons, help me out


same-sies

Second, I noticed the shoes gave me a little propulsion while running an incline.  A little boost when running up hills.  I think this is due to the miniature rockets that were engineered into the heel.  I think there is low-level atom splitting that causes a spurt of energy with each step.  You can attain this same atomic propulsion effect by farting with each step.  I dunno.  Can anybody tell me what I'm talking about?

Newtons: get them if you like ugly feet and believe anything I just said.  I'll give you an update on how they work for longer runs or faster runs (I've run a total 8 miles in them.  hold the phone).

******

One of the BEST things about racing (not hyperbole) is that you earn a feeling of accomplishment in your day by 8:30 a.m., and then you have the WHOLE day ahead of you to do fun things, which often do and should involve eating and drinking all sorts of delicious items.

The Gentleman and I decided to take advantage of our full day ahead in Healdsburg's beautiful wine country by....you guessed it....going to a brewery.  I won enough wine that I was now far more interested in getting my hands on some good beer.  Nothing like drinking a lot of beer on a sweltering day after running a half marathon and realizing tipsily that you cannot feel your legs.  'Tis better than feeling your legs and noticing they are sore.

So off to the Russian River Brewing Company we went, where upon arrival at 11:00 a.m., we found an obscenely long line of people who were there before the 11:00 a.m. opening to snatch up bottles of a brand new limited release, the Toronado 25th anniversary beer.  We were thankfully sat within a half hour (it's a big place) and everyone narrowly avoided me turning into the Hungry Hulk (this of course is what happens when I'm REALLY hungry).  We followed the crowd and ordered 2 bottled pints of the Toronado beer.

I always forget to bring a hairbrush while traveling...

Shelby: just like my failures in describing the Newtons, I could really use your help here too in reviewing this beer.  People, just go read her blog instead.  She can do everything I can't!

Let me set the mood for reading a review of beer from my limited beer vocabulary....I start by inviting you to forget everything you ever learned about words, and thesauruses, and professional critics, and your own personal taste, and know this: the Toronado tasted damn good.  It had an aftertaste of wine, because they throw that shit in used wine barrels to ripen up.  It wasn't absurdly hoppy, which to me is a plus, because I'm not a hop snob.  I will always pick the darkest stout over an IPA.  Hops be gone, coffee-flavored beer appear!

My drinking pardner

Lest you think all I did was sip on the toronado, I will prove you wrong.

We got a flight of tasters of all 22 Russian River beers that were on tap.  Best decision.  It was so much fun.  I hated about four of them (too much hops, which to me tastes perfumey like flowers) and loved the other 18.


Our flight, some already drunken...

So much to do, including, drinking 20 more shots of beer


I tried to calm the buzz down by eating exactly half of this pizza with the Gentleman (we shared both flavors, one was a vegetable bonanza and the other was jalapenos, corn, sausage, yum).



It didn't work.  But don't you worry, we ran around a Borders bookstore and annoyed the shit out of everyone who was pretending Borders was a library where you can read everything for free, until I was ready to drive us home.

And that concludes today's lesson on how not to review some running shoes and some beer.