Friday, July 31, 2009

July 31st, 3.1 miles

Woke this morning feeling like a sunken ship, like some invisible weight was pinning me in bed, rolling around my crumpled sheets. But I fought back, pushed off the early morning ennui, and headed out for 7:30am fun time sweat-a-thon along the Town Lake trail.

Of course, now it's called Lady Bird Lake, named after Lyndon Johnson's famed spouse and protector of all things wild and beautiful. She came up with the idea to make Town Lake a sort of central feature of Austin's urban landscape, and it seems the city owed her at least the name.

Just this past weekend I ventured out to East Texas, paddling along Caddo Lake, and passed through Lady Bird's hometown of Karnack. Not much to speak of there. I suppose that town could've used a bit of her magic.

But anyhow back to my run. I felt a bit sore in the knees today and noticed a number of older runners with all manner of bandages wrapped around wrinkled kneecaps. Funny how I hadn't noticed that before. Outer reality lines up with our predispositions and whatever's occupying our mind, it seems. I wonder if folks with an incurable foot fetish might sit on a city bench and watch pedestrians from the knees down all day. I suppose that would be more of a shoe fetish.

I have my own shoe fetish, it seems. Not sure if I believe in the idea of the "subconscious mind," but if there's anything to that theory, I need to give my subconscious mind a firm talking-to. It seems I subconsciously desire to run in really really shiny shoes.

My first pair of running shoes, which I purchased from the half-price bin at Run-Tex a year or so ago, were a ridiculously ostentatious female pair, silver strips running the length of them, with such blinding reflective flash that they would've made a fine substitute for a mirror. Hell, I suppose they are mirrors. Perhaps these shoes were designed for those particularly vain female runners who enjoy monitoring their perfect stride.

I don't consider myself one of those. Besides the fact that I'm not female, I don't much like to look at myself, especially when I'm all red and sweating and huffing and puffing and straining against my body. I made the mistake of observing myself in that state once, and I didn't exactly see the svelte, smooth motions of the effortless athlete. I looked more like a commercial for emphysema.

Thus I never much liked the reflective quality of the shoes. I called them "Buck Rogers" running shoes. Or perhaps I'm thinking of "Flash Gordon?" Some future world where people wear Mylar blouses and drink martinis that smoke like dry ice.

But I knew all that when I bought the damn things. No, the real problem with those shoes was they were way way too small. After a hard run, I'd be limping around the rest of the day. Not because of sore muscles or anything even remotely commendable, but because of tourniquet footwear. I felt like one of those Chinese princesses forced to wear miniature shoes. Only instead of gracefully balancing a cup of ultra-fine tea and trying to figure how to quell a peasant uprising, I was doing my best to ignore snickers on the trail.

So I eventually broke down and bought some nice new shoes. Yes, they're more expensive. Yes, that whole shiny female shoes debacle haunts me to this day.

Only I didn't seem to learn my lesson. Without realizing it, the shoe salesman guided me towards another pair of ultra-reflective shoes. Oh well. At least now I'm not limping to the fridge for my post-run beer. And if I ever get lost in the wilderness alongside Lady Bird Lake, I can signal a rescue team with my extremely shiny shoes.

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