Archive for the ‘footwear’ Category
J and I have moved so frequently in recent years that one would think we would be pros when it comes to getting rid of useless things rather than schlepping them around. To some degree we are, and the stuff we have sold or given away in the last decade alone would fill a large U-Haul truck. On the other hand, now that another major move is upon us, we see nothing but stuff to get rid of, even things we have moved four or five times.
Recently, I threw away my 20 year-old climbing shoes and just yesterday, I unceremoniously dumped my beloved Tacks in the trash. This strikes me as personal growth. I bought those skates in 1986, and have probably skated around the world twice in them. They were under my feet when I scored the one and only goal of my illustrious one-year semi-pro hockey career in Germany, and logged countless hours of practices and games for a variety of teams. They were also the skates under my feet when I first stepped on the ice for a speedskating session, soon to be replaced by actual speedskates, which I shall not be throwing away.
They are shot. The blades have been sharpened so many times that nothing is left and a sharp turn in a corner leads to ugly booting out episodes. A shop said years ago that putting on a new blade would be impossible because the boot’s integrity is gone. I have only skated on them maybe 25 hours in the last ten years since I finally admitted that my hockey skills were limited and that at my size and age, I could no longer substitute a mean streak and speed for tangible hockey skills and sense.
Still, parting should have been hard, but it really wasn’t. Time to move on, and I’m moving somewhere where picking up new skates should be rather easy.
Now on to the other useless or worn out things in our house …
I have this thing for John Fluevog shoes. Shoes have always been the one part of my wardrobe about which I actually think from time to time, and when I found my way to Fluevog via a friend a number of years ago, it was love at first sight. The only thing between me and owning twenty pairs is financial reality. Really, if I had the money, I would order, right now, these, these, and these, just for starters. I have nothing to wear with them, but that is a minor problem.
One thing I like about well made shoes is that many of them are resoleable, which makes laying out the pile of cash for them less painful since one can bank on getting many years out of the shoes. Not all Vogs are resoleable, which makes me weep when I consider the fact that my Charles will someday leave this world forever, but many of them are. The replacement soles sell for something like $15, and I got them slapped on here in Germany by a shoemaker for a reasonable sum. He even took pictures of them (and the other Vogs on my feet) since, as he put it, he and his partners are shoe obsessed and always looking for ideas. I felt like I was among my kind.
He couldn’t shave off the entire old sole since it would have messed up some internal stitching, so he smoothed them out and put the new soles over them. It makes the soles about 1.5 times thicker than they were, and since these are solid rubber/latex soles, they are now the heaviest shoes I own besides my ski boots. Once I got used to that, though, I dig the height and the fact that it makes my feet impervious to the rough streets of Leipzig.
That title is a weak bridge from my last post, obvious only to the most diehard Dead fans, I suppose. It seemed necessary to post something here before wordpress.com decided this blog had been abandoned and deleted it.
A few weeks ago, I ran my first marathon. Why did I do this? Part of me is still wondering about that, but most of it has to do with setting goals and challenging oneself. Also, J has dreamed for years of running a marathon and not done it yet, so I hope by blazing the trail I can light a small fire under her motivation.
I also happened to have a window where I had no teaching obligations. Sure, I had a ton of other work to do, but everyone has free time and I needed something to fill mine while living far from home and away from my usual time filling activities such as gardening, cycling, house repairs, UU activities, etc. Marathon training fit the bill.
Next I had to find a marathon in late September or early October. The obvious choices were either Bremen or Cologne, but the Cologne marathon is larger, and running with crowds in front of crowds is supposed to help with motivation (it does). Plus, I spent a year in Bremen, and using the words October and Bremen in the same sentence brings to mind visions of being wet to the undies and cold to the bone. Yuck. As it turned out, the weather in Cologne wasn’t exactly fab, but it only rained for about ten minutes, and the sun even made an appearance for the better part of an hour.
Running 26.2 miles takes a long time. When you do it in kilometers, it seems even longer, because 42 is a big number. On the other hand, you knock out the Ks faster, so maybe it is a wash. At any rate, it starts to hurt at some point, and around 36K it was like I lost fifth gear in my transmission. I could maintain my pace fine, but acceleration left the building.
I had trained like a laser–always timing myself and carefully measuring my distances, a rare moment of such athletic exactness for me–and got to the point that I can run a mile or kilometer and more or less tell within ± five seconds how fast I went. Doing the math, I knew that if I ran just a tad under five minutes per kilometer, a 3:30 marathon was possible. Ran that pace in my longer training runs and didn’t die, either, so felt optimistic.
Ended up with a 3:31:22, which over that distance counts for me as pretty much dead on target, so was very satisfied. Good to know that one can dole out one’s energy over such long distance with some degree of control.
Not sure I am eager to run another one anytime soon, although J and I are tossing around running one next June with me as her pacer, but am pretty glad to have figured out how one does such things without injury or drama. Had always wondered what it felt like, too, to run that far.
Apologies to Mr. Bowie for cribbing his lyrics for a title, but when I saw the sight captured in the photograph below, this song shot into my head like a lightning bolt. Let me set the scene.
This picture was taken at the new school year celebration for the new first graders (German school starts with first grade, not K), and this man was standing in front of me. I was there because G-girl was in the theater piece performed for the kiddos. Yes, my daughter spoke German in front of a large audience, four times, no less. Anyway, it was a warm and somewhat muggy day, and the cafeteria building where this was happening is a GDR relic with impaired air circulation. It was hot in that room, and any sane person was wearing light clothing.
Not this fashion icon whose foot is here immortalized. Although it was August 8th, he was dressed from head to toe in black. Jet black, and not one little thing was any other color. Even the buttons on his shirt were onyx black.
Black long-sleeve shirt (with little epaulatte thingies a la a Members Only jacket circa 1988), black balloon cargo pants tied at the ankles, black socks, black sandals, as you can see. Nice guy, friendly smile, but, wow, dressed like the Grim Reaper on summer vacation, not to mention the dark sock in sandal thing for which Germans are known worldwide.
While walking to school with G-girl today, I saw him again walking his kid to school. Today’s ensemble was much lighter in tone (khaki – so why wear funereal black to a kid program?), but his shoes, socks, pants, and jacket all matched in tone. I so wanted to take him by the shoulders and suggest, kindly, that it is OK to mix colors.
I will now return to my glass house and pretend that I have never worn stripes with plaid. Ever. Nor did I have bright green leather shoes in the late 1980s. That is a nasty rumor.
Some would say clothes make the man, but I would argue that shoes are the real deal. This picture shows the footwear I employed today.
It snowed today in Kansas, hence the lovely snow boots. The white splash is duct tape. Why? Well, the toe cracked a while back, and since I wear these boots about five or six times a winter in Kansas, it’s just easier to tape ’em up and wear them than buy a new pair.
The other pair is a Fluevog dress shoe I picked up on eBay recently for a Payless price. They say: piss me off and I might kick you and cause internal bleeding.
So I had the same clothes on all day. With the boots, I looked like some misguided math professor, wearing his practical footwear with pretty bland khakis and a blue dress shirt. With the patent leather daggers on, it was definitely not math prof. With shoes like that on, I could wear whatever and look respectable.
Oh, and for my female friends and relatives reading this, I think I now have some apprectiation for what it feels like to wear heels. These shoes are not comfortable. But, oh, how the suffering feels good.