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Posts Tagged ‘Big 5’

Sometimes, but not often, you can hear the sound of perfection.  Sometimes perfection is felt.  More rarely (I believe), it’s both heard and felt.
I don’t play golf, but I do enjoy going to the driving range to bang out a bucket.  Every now and then – for me it’s about once every 100-150 balls – you can get a “perfect” drive.  The swing is easy.  The ball is struck cleanly and true.  You hear a certain “ping” sound that comes to your ears almost as much as it travels up the club and through your arms.  And the ball jumps away from you straight and far.  It doesn’t happen often (for me anyway), but it explains completely why some folks LOVE golf.
For other folks, it’s the sound of the ball/net when a basketball goes through at just the right angle to miss the rim but not get hung up in the net.  It’s a “swish” sound.  It’s not the “bump” sound of off the backboard or the “bong” sound when the ball goes in but catches a bit of the rim.  Sometimes, even, when the ball falls through, just so, there’s almost no sound at all.  But for me, it’s that “swish” sound that makes the “perfect” shot sound.
In running (or jogging), when you’re on a gravel track and you’re “floating” along in your run, there’s a certain “crush / squishy” sound your feet make.  It’s kind of like a cross between walking on icy snow (“crunch”) or autumn leaves (“crush”) on your driveway.  You can hear (in the background) your breathing and the sounds of anyone you’re running with, but it’s that “cooush, cooush, cooush” sound from your feet – coming up to your ears through your body as much as through actual sound – that makes running feel perfect.
By now you’re probably wondering what is the point of this post?  Well, today I went out and bought a couple of pairs of running shoes to reward myself for …  well, for nothing in particular.  If you know me, you know I buy books, books and more books – and occasionally – running shoes.  Anyway, today I picked up a pair of Reebok SmoothFlex Ride 3.0 running shoes.
My New Keds

My New ‘Boks

They are mostly greyish/black with a little bit of orange thread for trim.  Well, being a S.F. Giants fan, all things Orange and Black call out to me.  Soooo….
Lacing them up, I went out for a spin around the local schoolyard to break them in.  In honesty, I was not expecting much.  I’ve never owned a pair of Reeboks before and of late, the last five years or so, I’ve been kind of a “minimalist” shoe user.  I tend to buy cheap or garish.  The “cheap” shoes I use for jogging and working out in.  The garish shoes I wear as fashion statements.  What?  You don’t think old men make fashion statements? (LOL)  (By “minimalist” I mean “water” shoes, after a few goes with “FiveFingers”.)
Shock of my life!!  Within five steps I heard that “cooush, cooush, cooush” sound coming from my feet.  As I’ve not heard that sound in nearly forty years, my body kind of lurched with shock as I looked down at my feet.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am no longer a “runner”.  Heck, I’m not even a “jogger”.  I consider myself to be a “slogger” – that’s a very slow jogger.  But, never-the-less, there was that sound.  I began grinning from ear to ear and just settled into that joyous feeling of remembering what it was like to be young (again).  I have NO idea how this sound is being created because I was jogging on asphalt, not a gravel track, but this shoe has “perfect sound” marketing for me.
I will try to do a fuller review after I’ve had them out for a few more jogs and then a final review after I’ve worn them out.  By the way, I picked them up at my local Big5 Sporting Goods store.  Still the best value for money, general purpose, sporting goods store in our area.  You can follow my attempt to get back into “slogging” by checking out my “Sweat Equity” page for the first quarter of 2014.  (And wish me luck…!)
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On This Day In:
2013 Still Waiting For Answers
2012 Informal Leadership
2011 A Little More Progress
2010 Bec’s Gone Again…

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First a quick note on the total miles on the 2nd pair – 56 miles.  Not quite half-way to the 125 I was hoping to do on each pair.  As an aside, I wore the shoes for work and they were extremely comfortable for the whole day – so it’s just the running in them that blisters my feet.
Ok.  Now, on to the third shoe review.  This will be one of the quickest in history.  The shoe is the Triton Water Sock, manufactured by Body Glove.  The retail is $19.99, but I got them at what seems to be the regular price of $12.99.  I say it’s the regular price because I’ve never seen them not at the “sale” price.  They can be had at Big 5 Sporting Goods.
The thing about this pair of shoes (which makes the review brief) is they don’t fit.  I checked out a site reviewing the shoe and it says it fits exactly as sized.  GONG!!  I am a size 12, but I normally wear a size 13 in most shoes because my feet like the extra room.  I’ll even go up to a 14 if the shoe feels narrow.
I tried these on with no socks at Big5 and they fit perfectly.  And they do…  As long as I’m only walking or sitting.  In fact, they are quite comfortable.  The problem is that nagging issue that I purchased them as “near barefoot running shoes”.  For that, they a fairly worthless.  They have a rounded front which makes them seem “toe-comfy”.  In reality, as soon as I began jogging my toes pressed into the front of the shoe and began curling and cramping.  The shoes (at Big5) don’t come in a larger size so these are walkers from here on out.
It’s a shame, because they felt really good walking into the building from my car in the morning.
This morning I did 4.39 miles in 70 minutes.  Another slow jog of medium duration.  I don’t think I could have taken much more of a pounding on my curled toes, though.
The shoes did not wear well.  I haven’t got a photo of the bottom yet so I’ll have to add one or two to the review later.  The basic wear was conventionally POSE/Chi-running, but the loss of tread was quite surprising for ONLY a little over 4 miles.  I seriously doubt the shoes would have made it 100 miles.  That’s not to say I’m marking them down (too much) for the soft soles – they are also what make the shoes so flexible and comfortably foot fitting.  In fact, wearing them to walk in reminded me of moccasins I once owned as a small child.
Anyway, I’ll add the photo of the wear later and just use these for kicking around – NO jogging.
The next pair up (number 4) is Hang Ten and are called the Belmont.  Same deal as before, purchased at Big5 and retailed at $14.99.  These were NOT on sale and I haven’t seen them on sale.  Everything goes on sale at Big5 eventually, so I’m sure if you wait ’em out, you can probably get a pair for a ten-ner.
As a courtesy, I’ve included a link to the Hang Ten web site, but don’t bother clicking thru – it’s CRAP!  On second thought, click thru – it’s good for a pathetic chuckle.  Considering they’ve been around for years and have made some really great stuff in their day – it’s sad…  Hopefully, the Belmonts are a lot better than the web site (that’s setting a pretty low bar).
For the record, test pair number one – the Ahnu’s are still the best of the three tested (although pricey at $40) so far.
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