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Better than Barefoot

As part of my preparation for running the Boilermaker 15K, I made my way to the Sneaker Store in New Hartford, NY for new running shoes.

I had been meaning to get the shoes sooner, as I noticed the tread wearing smoother and the gush getting less gushy on the pairs I was wearing (I have several; I don’t throw them away until they are completely useless). Still, I reasoned, some people run barefoot. I was at least protecting my feet better than those people.

On entering the store, I made straight for the clearance table. After all, I have to be frugal. I quickly found a couple in size seven wide. I sometimes take a seven, sometimes seven and a half. I had brought running socks to try the shoes on with, as I had been advised to do on a previous trip (I also have a tendency to wear my socks well beyond their peak usefulness).

A nice young man named Scott came over to see if I needed help. I explained my mission. I have to appreciate a place where you get the same attentive service whether you are browsing the clearance table or the most expensive ware.

I soon decided that seven and a half was my size now, and Scott found me a few pair to try on. I fell in love with some colorful New Balance, for the comfort as well as the look. I know you are not supposed to pick running shoes based on the bright green laces and flashes of purple, but my feeling is, if something can also be beautiful, why not enjoy it?

While I was trying on the shoes, I was chatting with Scott about my Boilermaker ambitions and general running technique. I shared my thoughts on barefoot running vs. old, worn-out running shoes. He said to run barefoot you needed good muscles in your legs. Now we all know why I will probably never run barefoot.

One thing Scott advised was that I stop training really hard two weeks before the big race and take it fairly easy the week before. Maybe one long run that week, and a very short run or walk the day before.

We also discussed the importance of hydration, especially on long runs. He said some runners are able to hide bottles of water at strategic spots along their routes. I told him how I often utilize the spring in Herkimer. Luckily there is not problem on the Boilermaker; they have plenty of water stations along the way.

I wore my new sneakers for a long run on Sunday, and they were great. I feel certain I will be ready to rock that 15K. If only I had somebody to meet me at the end and sing “We Are the Champions” while I walk around with my fists in the air, my life would be perfect.

The Sneaker Store is located 4490 Commercial Dr., New Hartford, NY. Phone number is 315-736-9237. They are open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit their website http://www.the-sneaker-store.com and/or Like them on Facebook.