My first pair of real running shoes

I've always been secretly interested in running but never really got around to it, I was unsure of myself and as silly as it sounds didn't really know where to start. I tried it a few times but never really put much effort into it and never really had any specific goals in mind so I just kind of lost interest. 

A few weeks ago my boss sat me down to have a chat about all the extra hours I was putting in. It hadn't gone unnoticed that I was coming in earlier and earlier and spending my lunch break at my desk. We agreed on a new schedule for me and she made me promise to stick to it. So there I was suddenly banned from my office for an entire hour in the middle of the day. For reasons that I do not fully understand I finally decided to go for it and spend my hour of exile running.

I quickly discovered how much I actually do enjoy running but could tell from the get go that the shoes I was wearing were all wrong for what I was trying to do. The minute I was done with my warm up my feet started to ache and every footfall just seemed to make it worse, yet the minute I stopped I was fine. Cross trainers are great shoes but not for pounding the pavement. I've heard horror stories due to improper shoe related injuries so I was all too aware of how important it was to invest in my footwear.

However, the only thing that I did know was that I knew absolutely nothing about running shoes. I decided that going to Dick's or Sport Authority wasn't going to cut it for me. The staff just isn't knowledgeable enough for my comfort level. All I know about my feet is that my arches are high but as much as I googled pronate I still couldn't figure out how I could get that information from myself, by myself. So I asked my personal trainer where she recommended I go and she sent me to this little local running store that I unknowingly drive by everyday on my way to and from work.

Even though I was tipped off about this place by a very reliable source I was still terrified to walk in there and found myself secretly hoping it was closed when I arrived so I could spare myself the awkwardness. I imagined a store full of seasoned runners scoffing at me as I shuffled in encased in my cloud of cluelessness. Boy, was I wrong. The shop was small and cluttered but I can appreciate organized chaos. The man behind the counter was chatting with a customer who was on his way out with an air of openness and familiarity. It turns out that the man behind the counter was the owner, Mark, and he could not have been more friendly or supportive which immediately put me at ease. He asked me a few questions, congratulated me on my decision to take up running, laughed at my converse because that's all he had for running shoes when he was in college and even made recommendations for safer locations for me to run on my lunch break, turns out there's a really great rail trail that I've been running right by every day without even knowing it! 

Then he looked at my feet, watched me walk and used a mat connected to a computer system to see what kind of feet we were dealing with. Turns out he and I have the same kind of feet so he understood my concerns first hand. Also, he claims that my super high arches make me a faster runner compared to someone with flat feet. I refuse to even look up if that's true or not because I'd like to think that I have superpower feet when I start to feel like I can't go that extra mile. Once he had all the information he vanished for 10 seconds and then presented me with a pair of shoes. No options, no decisions, just "here you go". He even showed me a better way to lace them up so they wouldn't fly off and then to my surprise he sent me outside to run in the parking lot and around the building. 

I felt like I was running on clouds. There was absolutely no trace of the horrible ache I experience in my old shoes and I felt like I could actually pick up my feet and go faster. The experience with the right shoe is night and day from what I have been dealing with. When he signaled me to run back to him I felt like a million bucks and didn't even mind that he invaded my personal space with a congratulatory pat on the back. He complimented me on my form and stride and the fact that I seemed confident in my gait instead of shuffling along like most people do when he asks them to run. 

So the shoes were mine, I didn't even care that they were purple (I'm so sorry to the rest of the world who seems to worship that color but my god how I hate it), they seemed like the right shoe for me. Mark explained to me that if there was anything about the shoes I didn't like I could come back and we would work on it. He also encouraged me to sign up for my first race and invited me to come running on Friday nights with a group that meets at the store. I'm really hoping I take him up on that and don't let my shyness and uncertainty get in the way. 

As someone who spent years in retail the high level of customer service he provided completely blew me away. If you're anywhere near Connecticut I would highly recommend Kilometers in Ridgefield to anyone who needs running shoes especially if like me you are unsure of where to start. 

So I know what you shoe junkies are thinking, what shoe did you end up with? Turns out my equating the shoes to running on clouds was dead on. I ended up with the On Cloudsurfer:

Described on their website as such: Equipped with On’s patented CloudTec® system, the Cloudsurfer is light, agile and excellent at transforming running energy into forward momentum, in training runs as well as competitions.
Fast feels good: the adaptive sole balances every step and activates your postural muscles. The Cloudsurfer intelligently combines what conventional running shoes have failed to unite: a cushioned landing and a barefoot takeoff.

Now, obviously can't even begin to compare this shoe to any type of running shoe but my experience thus far certainly backs up their statement. 

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