I Hate Pink Shoes

Shoes make the difference between comfortably soaking your feet in Lake Tahoe after a hard run or gnawing them off at mile 10 like you were caught in a leg trap.

The boy was not at all surprised when I came home from running with the gang last night, dripping with sweat, cheeks flushed and sporting a plastic bag filled with running goodies including a bright and shiny new pair of shoes.  He was also not surprised to find that my new shoes were not pink.  After all, we had just had this discussion the day before:

Me:  It’s time for a new pair of shoes.

The Boy:  Don’t you have another pair already?

Me:  Yeah, but they don’t feel quite right.

The Boy:  But they are exactly the same as the other five pairs.

Me:  Yeah, but they don’t feel quite right.

The Boy:  Is it because they’re pink?

Me:  No.  I mean, I hate the fact that they are pink but I get hot spots and pressure sores from them.

The Boy:  Don’t you have to break them in?

Me:  I’ve tried.  They just don’t feel quite right.

The Boy:  I think you don’t like them because they are pink.

Me:  Whatever.  But I can get a pair in an awesome slate gray with green laces.  They are awesome.

The Boy:  See?  It’s because they are pink.

Me:  No, it’s not because they are PINK.  I still don’t understand why every shoe company insists on making PINK running shoes.  I HATE pink shoes.  They clash with everything.  Ugh.

The Boy:  Says the woman who put pink glitter laces in her skates.

Game, set, match.

Okay, I do hate those shoes (hereafter referred to as pair number five, we’ll get to that in a minute) because they are pink. Technically, the color is plum but that is really a fancy marketing term for PINK with some fuschia highlights.  When I think plum, I think purple and they are NOT purple.  Beside their abhorrent color, I hate them more because any time I get over three miles in them, I get hot spots on my feet and that creeping pain in the lower part of my shins that pretty much screams, “Danger, Will Robinson!  Danger!”  I had already relegated them to the land of dog sports where they may clash with my uniform but they are just fine for sprinting in short bursts and occasionally being peed on by naughty boy dogs.

“Mom, I would never pee on your shoe…while you’re looking.”

Anyway, here is how it all went down:

I treated myself to a bright and shiny pair of new shoes last night.  I say treated, but really I was in desperate need of new shoes.  It’s not that I need time to break in and get comfortable with a new pair of shoes before the Trifecta.  It’s more that my feet suffered horrific indignities on my long run this weekend which was only reinforced by angry burning shins last night on a most awful easy four turned “three and a walk.”

I am one of those horrifically neurotic women who had five pairs of the same running shoe.  At the same time.  Once I found THE shoe, I didn’t want to be without them when the style changed, particularly while training for big events.  For me, that shoe was the Asics GT-2160 (feel free to relive that moment by clicking here, including hearing about how much I hated the color in April 2011 HA!).

Four of the five pairs were absolutely identical, except pair number four which were the only size eights in slate gray and neon green left on the planet.  Looks aside, however, they were all equally comfortable, didn’t actually require much of a break in period and powered me through many, many miles.  They were virtually interchangeable.  Pairs one, two and three have long since been retired and pair number four remained my favorite for all activities because of the fabulous color.  Yes, I know color doesn’t matter at mile 15, but dammit, I love them.

Here I am with lovely pair number four…In November of 2011. Yeah, it might be a little past time to retire these bad boys.

Pair number five, however, was all wrong.  They were slightly more rigid, slightly heavier, slightly off (and of course pink).  In fact, they were just enough off that I refused to wear them on long runs.  On Sunday, I headed out in the very well worn perfectly colored pair number four.  I knew they were near the end of their running days, but even as worn as they are, they were a far better option than pair number five.  Still, I paid for it with.  My muscles may have felt great after 12 miles but my feet hurt like hell and there was this quiet ache in my shin bone that clearly said, “Liz, you need new shoes and if you don’t get them, I am going to get really ugly, really fast.”

I kill shoes. Case in point: I retired pair number three by running through the mud with them. This is after they carried me all over Scotland and ran a hill race through gorse. It’s not easy being my shoes.

It did get ugly last night.  Our entire “easy” run I was plagued by this rapidly spread burning pain in my shins.  The pain in the bottom of my feet was almost maddening.  I didn’t blame pair number four because I love them.  Nope.  I blamed pair number five for being failures at their job thus requiring me to wear my poor, old worn out pair number fours.  How’s that for over thinking the whole shoe situation?  Yup.  That’s me.

Seriously, how do you not love these beauties? They make mismatched sock look good! (or something)

As I mentioned yesterday, however, I already had my eye on a new pair of shoes.  I was committed to giving the GT-2170s a go.  After all, they are just this year’s version of my beloved GT-2160s and most importantly they came in gray and green.  I planned to give them ago right after the group run since we just happen to meet up at a favorite store (we also happen to get a discount there).  I was realistic, however, that the store might not have the color I wanted but at the very least I could try them on (even if they were pink) then purchase them online, of course having them overnighted in my chosen color.

After a miserable, hot and sweaty run I met with one of my fav sales girls (who is completely accustomed to seeing hot, sweaty runners directly after runs, horrible or not).  So we went through the whole, “Let’s check your gait and make sure these are still right for you, yup, they are I’ll go find them in your size, you might also like that Asics Kayano, I’ll get those in your size too, no don’t worry I don’t bring you pink” spiel.  And then she paused, clearly wanting to say something but not really sure she should.  I stared at her expectantly and then she blurted out, “I know you really love your Asics but I think you should try on a pair of Brooks.”  Then she hurriedly added, “They aren’t pink!”

I skeptically stared at the wall of Brooks of shoes. A pair of Adrenalines had been a close second to my GT-2160s when I was first selecting shoes but they weren’t Asics and I had developed some sort of weird brand loyalty to Asics.  What would I do without Asics?  Clearly my identity as a runner would be ruined without it.  Seriously, I don’t even have an identity as a runner.  Hell, I go out in Asics shoes, Adidas shorts with a Nike top and an Under Armor wind shirt.  I agreed to try them, so long as they weren’t pink.

First, I tried the pair of Kayanos.  I know there are people who love their Kayanos, but they are so not right for me.  There is almost TOO much support and cushion for me.  I couldn’t even imagine walking in them, let around running for miles.

They look pretty but were way too stiff for me.

Next, I tried on the GT-2170s.  They had so many of the attributes of my must despised pair number five GT-2160s that I was horrified.

The 2170s. At least they aren’t neon pink or worse, pastel but still. And they did not make my feet happy at all.

That left me with a pair of purple Brooks Adrenalines.  You know that moment when you put on a pair of shoes and the heavens open up while a choir sings “Hallelujah” and the shoes magically transport you back to that hill race in Scotland when you felt your strongest and you can see yourself pulling down mile after mile of the Trifecta while floating on puffy cloud pillows of joy?  Wait, that has never happened to you?  Well it sure as hell happened to me last night.  I ran around the store.  I ran outside the store.  Hell, I was ready to run four miles home and then some.

Brooks Adrenalines – My new shoes!

But of course, I had to pay for my new shoes first.  That’s right MY NEW SHOES.

I’m sorry, dear Asics, but I do believe you have been replaced.

Okay, I still have to log some serious miles before I can truly say that.  And of course, the store will absolutely take them back and replace them with something else if they are an epic fail but I am here to tell you that it took every ounce of will power for me not to put my Brooks on with a skirt suit at work today because it was love at first step.
Most importantly, they are NOT pink.