As much as I love writing about myself, keeping this blog has led me to the surprising discovery that there are actually a few other runners out there, and every once in a while some of them have something to say about running. Sometimes even people who almost never run have something to say about running. The problem is that they don’t have quite enough to say about running to make it worthwhile to dedicate an entire blog to the subject, and so I have solved this problem by generously offering up my blog to those who wish to put in their two cents about running, thus creating what will be a weekly series of guest running bloggers. This will continue until people stop sending me entries to post. Harsh criticism of my guest bloggers is encouraged, I will not be offended. And so I give you my very first guest blogger, Sam Boyce.
First, a little background. I’m in the army and currently deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq. I’ve been here 8 months and I can’t wait to go home. That last part has almost no bearing on my story I’m just letting everyone know how much it sucks here (a lot).
My adventure begins with a pair of dilapidated running shoes. I’m well aware I shouldn’t use them for more than 6 months or 500 miles or whatever. However, me being a consummate procrastinator I allowed that deadline to run over (pun intended) about 10 months. Eventually my knees started to hurt when I used them and I began to think it was time for a new pair.
Unfortunately the store here (yes there is only one) is not the most well stocked establishment in the entire world. Their selection of women’s running shoes was ample but they were severely lacking in the men’s department. Though I’m unsure why running shoes are gender-specific I did not want to risk the societal rejection or injury that may come along with wearing the wrong kind of sneakers. So to Amazon.com I went.
There I found a sleek-looking pair of running shoes from a heretofore unheard of (by me) company called “Merrell.” Those of you “in the know” are probably smirking at my ignorance already. The shoes arrived in a few weeks and they were everything I wanted and more.
Of course by “and more” I mean they were, unknown to me, a product meant to be integrated into a new(ish) running movement known as barefoot running. I did some internet research and asked Colleen about it and the idea grew on me. Plus, I’d already bought the sneakers and I didn’t feel like returning them.
I tried them out and although my calves were sore in places I was not aware existed and they scraped a good deal of skin off the back of my ankle I liked them. So I integrated them into my running life and now they are all I use to run. Unfortunately, the army doesn’t like that.
You see, as my squad leader “reminded” me the other day, part of the PT (physical training) “uniform” requires that you wear socks that cover your ankles. But, wearing socks sort of defeats the whole “barefoot” aspect of barefoot running. And no, I can’t just wear regular clothes; another fun army rule is that you can’t be out of uniform while you’re deployed. So what to do?
Well if you’re me, and I am, you just cut the bottoms off of a pair of socks and wear the top parts on the outside of your shoes. Now I can run all I want around the base, apparently wearing a pair of rolled down socks, while still enjoying all the benefits of barefoot running.
Only in the army would you have to trick people into thinking you’re wearing socks.
Not real socks!
Pulled up to reveal how truly fake they are