New Year, New Gear

My husband is quick to get rid of stuff. And I’m a bit of a pack-rat. We bought ourselves a new bed recently and suddenly our under bed storage no longer fit under our bed. In a prior stage of my life I likely would have simply found new under bed storage or a new place to store the bins. But Jp has influenced me to question why I hang on to so much stuff that I never use. This lead me to take the opportunity to really go through those bins and determine what was worth keeping. Ultimately the answer was – not a lot.

Much of what was in those bins was running gear. And the vast majority of that wasn’t in my current rotation for good reason. It was full of race shirts that I had kept “in case” that didn’t fit especially well, deep winter running gear that I’m unlikely to ever need in NC, the leggings that I bought my first winter running (which was well over 10 years ago) and a few gems that I actually pulled out and put into rotation. Purging those bins led me to purging my drawers (I have one for fitness tops and one for fitness bottoms). In the end I had a giant trash bag – the big black ones – filled with clothes to donate (a few went into the garbage instead).

That process got me thinking about what I really value in my running gear. These days I will only wear bottoms without pockets if I am working out at home. Knowing that I was rarely going to choose a pocketless tight/skirt/short I just said goodbye to most (I do have a few that I really love from Miami Fitwear that I made exceptions for). I had a really, spectacularly awful chafing experience at a race a few years back from a shirt that was a cotton-poly blend. It was sold as fitness wear so I thought it would be ok. It. Was. Not. So everything that wasn’t a true moisture-wicking fabric either went into my casual top rotation or went away. And bras? So many uncomfortable ones. So few that I love. Bye-bye to discomfort.

This whole process led me to a newfound sense of space and organization. I felt lighter.

So then on to fixing the other issue. My shoes. I have been wearing Hokas for years. There is much that I love about them and one thing that I definitely did not. Whatever I tried, running in Hokas left me with blisters on my toes (and occasionally the balls of my feet). I tried different socks. I went up a size – twice. All of it was to no avail. The blisters persisted. I tried giving up Hokas once before, after I had worn them for a year or so, but had a bad experience with my alternative shoe and went back.

This time, I opted to stay after my Galloway run and get fitted at Fleet Feet (our weekly Galloway runs start and end at a host running store each week). The woman who helped me was very knowledgeable. Fleet Feet has a cool tool that will scan your feet and give the staff data about your feet that will help them match you to shoes – but it wasn’t working that day. Luckily it didn’t matter. I explained my history and that I wanted new shoes but that I wanted that Hoka cushioning. She honestly told me that no shoe was going to replicate the stack height of Hokas but that many other brands have high cushion shoes. I tried styles by New Balance, Brooks and Saucony. The Brooks Levitate won the day. The other thing that won the day was Fleet Feet’s return policy. She told me that I have 60 days to try them out. That doesn’t mean 60 days to wear them gingerly inside my house to see if they seem comfortable. She told me to run in them, even outside, and to bring them back if they didn’t work. Given the crazy prices of running shoes these days, that made trying a new shoe feel much less risky. I wish I could say they are really cute but they are quite possibly the most bland running shoes I’ve ever owned.

So were they worth it? So far, so good. I have done 3 shorter treadmill runs in them and did a 5 mile run on the Tobacco Trail in them this week. I have gotten no new blisters and my old ones are healing. My long run was also a much faster pace than usual. I don’t know if I was just having a good day, if the cadence work I’m doing thanks to the Peloton “You Can Run” program is having an effect, or if it’s the shoes. Whatever the reason, I’ll happily accept the good run.

I will also confess to having purchased new running clothes. I have all that room now, right? Well, that and Skirt Sports just dropped more cute stuff. Oh, well. At least I can say that all of my new running clothes meet my criteria.

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