Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Horses in the Stable

Highway robbery!
When I played hockey, I loved nothing more than getting new equipment. My favorite, my baby, was getting a new glove. I used to play goalie and I relished stretching out across the ice to snag shots out of the air and commit a robbery with every save. I honed my skills in our dark, unfinished basement where I’d relentlessly hit tennis balls against the wall and do my best impression of Patrick Roy. I won a lot of Stanley Cups down there. When I took a year off of school between high school and college to play up in Connecticut, my coach, who was not one to sugarcoat, told me, “You’re a lousy skater, but you do have a great glove hand.”

I still remember a Christmas morning when our family room had turned into a wasteland of opened presents and wrapping paper. I sat there exhausted, surveying my haul (I'm an only child). And just when I thought another Christmas morning had come and gone, my parents pulled out one last box. The old Red Rider BB Gun behind the cabinet act. I tore open the box so fast that I didn’t notice my parents staring eagerly at me. I pulled out a pristine, black Vaughn glove. It creaked like an old ship when I opened and shut it, still straining against its own tautness. It still smelled like leather and not the unmistakable cologne of sweat brewing in a zipped up hockey bag. It was a thing of beauty.
The newest addition to the stable.

So, what, you may be asking, does this have to do with running? Well, I still channel that younger version of myself whenever there's a package on our door step. The anticipation grows the moment I hit "submit." I track it online and race home from work. I head straight for the kitchen and a pair of scissors to slice open the box...and pull out a brand new pair of running shoes. Miles of possibilities are etched into those pristine treads, and oh, that new shoe smell.

This time, it's the Asics Gel DS Sky 2. Oh, how I've coveted these shoes. Finally, distance running shoes with some color, with some swagger!

I hesitated to pull the trigger on this model because I continued to make my way through the various incarnations of the Asics DS Trainer family. But my last pair, well, they just seemed incredibly wide. I remember taking them out for the first time and thinking that I had a pair of bright red clown shoes on. I wear a size 14, so it's not a stretch.

But the DS Skies, according to Running Warehouse, are the ancestors of the DS Trainer 15s, a much narrower shoe. Don't you love that shoes have genealogy now? And the thing is, they were right. I don't have to cinch up the laces on these babies like I'm starting a lawn mower every time.

And after slipping them on, I was like Cinderella headed for the ball...or out for a run. Everything just felt right. That planned easy pace suddenly slipped into a tempo run. No matter how much I tried to hold back, I just wanted to run fast in my new shoes.

In fact, I love them so much that I already bought a second pair. In orange. Don't want my horses to be lonely in the stable.

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