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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 and/or Like them on Facebook.


My Feet Will Thank Me

Monday I finally made it to the Sneaker Store in New Hartford, NY, to purchase new running shoes.

I like to get two pairs, so I can alternate them, especially if I run on consecutive days. Scott suggested I look at the clearance table first.

“Of course, it’s pretty picked over,” he warned. I know: you snooze, you lose. How long have I been meaning to do this?

I liked the first pair I tried on, but Scott said they were more of a cross trainer. Still, if I also got running shoes, I could mostly wear the cross trainers for walking. I set them aside and kept looking. I had been looking for size 7 1/2, but found a pair of Aasics in an 8.

“I can rock this,” I said. In fact, it felt better than the cross trainers had. Then Scott found me a pair of New Balance. I liked those, too.

“Could it be this easy?” I asked. Apparently it could. I was glad of that, because Steven had graciously accompanied me, and I did not want him to get bored while I tried on fifty pairs of shoes.

I mentioned seeing the new Saucony sneakers on the Sneaker Store’s Facebook page. Scott told me how they were moving to the next generation of running shoe. It seems the sneaker manufacturers are going for more of a barefoot design. I know actual barefoot running is a big thing these days, but I quite frankly can’t imagine my feet, legs and back liking such a thing. I also have to think: before people wore shoes, there was no pavement. They ran on dirt, grass, sand. Sometimes stones, I suppose. Then too, they went barefoot all the time, and they didn’t go for pedicures where they got their callouses shaved off with pumice stones. Well, I’m sure the sneaker manufacturers have smart designers and shoe engineers working for them. They must allow for that sort of thing.

Be that as it may, I was very happy with my old school sneakers, purchased at clearance prices. In fact, when I got them home, I realized the New Balances were the exact pair I had purchased last year. I was very happy with them and expect to continue to be so.

While I was shoe shopping, Steven had noticed a Bosco t-shirt he totally wanted. Bosco, of course, is the parrot that lives at the Sneaker Store. The first time I was ever there, I couldn’t figure out who kept saying hello.

Alas, the t-shirt was not for sale. The owner had had it made, but had not decided whether to sell them or have his staff wear them or what. Steven voted for selling them. I suggested the owner sponsor a race and offer the t-shirts to the runners (thus ensuring I would get one and
Steven would have to borrow mine).

“Oh, he does sponsor a run,” Scott said and handed me a slip of paper with “Bolder Inspiration of Trenton Falls” printed on it. I read, “5 Mile Run, 1 Mile Kids Run…August 4th, 2012.” I “liked” Bolder Inspiration of Trenton Falls on Facebook a long time ago but for one reason or another have never run it. It’s on my calendar now.

So is the Boilermaker. As Steven and I drove through Utica en route to New Hartford, I looked over at the Running Hall of Fame for the Boilermaker count. 33 days. As I type this, it is one month from today. Eek! Good thing I got new shoes!

The Sneaker Store is located at 4490 Commercial Dr., New Hartford, phone 315-736-9237; For more information on Bolder Inspiration of Trenton Falls go to