Friday, December 28, 2012


Runners are weird.  They are a mysterious tribe with their own customs, language, and traditional clothing.  I've wanted to join this tribe ever since, ten years ago, I started cheering on the runners who passed my house during the Akron Marathon.  I've learned from the experience of living three years in France that complete immersion is the way to go when one wants to experience a new culture.
If you dress like this guy while in Paris,
French people will mock you.

In other words, you want to be a runner?  Dress like a runner.  It all starts with the shoes.

The first piece of advice I received from tribal elders was to go to a real running store to buy shoes.  The mall will not do.  DSW will not do.  It must be a store that caters to runners.  Considering I wore the same pair of New Balance running shoes for over five years, I found this advice puzzling, but I ran with it (see what I did there?).  My store of choice is Second Sole Akron.  Vertical Runner is another good store, but it's too far away for me.

When I visited Second Sole for the first time, I was apprehensive.  My mind flashed back to the days of mall record stores where cooler-than-thou kids with multiple piercings would sneer at me when I tried to find the newest Duran Duran album.  Not so here.  The owner of the store was very welcoming, and when I told him that I wasn't really a runner yet, his reply was, "Nonsense.  Of course you are a runner."

The twenty minutes it took for me to find a pair of shoes was incredibly therapeutic.  I have never learned so much about my feet as I did that evening.  I had to take off my socks, walk, run, and grip with my toes.  Each time I performed one of these actions, the gentleman would give me a new piece of information about my feet and walking/running styles.  At the end of our session, he brought me a pair of  Women's Guide 5 | Saucony.
I've never looked back since!