Posts Tagged ‘shoes’


Whether we care to admit it, we have all done it – rolled our eyes as we’ve listened to someone go on about how difficult they have it.  I know I have.  Whether it’s food allergies or diabetes or behavioral issues, I’ve acted as if intently listening, truly concerned about what the speaker or speaker’s child is going through, all the while rolling my eyes internally thinking, really?  you’re complaining about that?  Oh.  My.  GOD!  Will you shut up with your non-problem?

I don’t try not to do that anymore.  I learned quite a while ago that for each of us, our issues are just that – ours.  They are personal, they are deep, and they can cause much distress in our lives.  I once rolled my eyes at food allergies – but you know what?  Food allergies can kill.  I used to roll my eyes at diabetes, self induced in particular – but you know what?  Diabetes can kill.

Unless you are living it (or have lived it) you can’t fully understand it.  Even within the autism community, there are such a wide range of experiences that are as unique from individual to individual as diabetes is to food allergies.  I cannot begin to truly imagine what it would be like to have to wipe feces off the wall on a regular basis.  I haven’t lived it, so I can’t/shouldn’t judge a parent in that situation for some actions that may seem a little “different” to me.

Which brings me to the awful events surrounding Mikaela Lynch.  Earlier this week, 9 year old Mikaela, who was more impacted by autism than my Brooke, slipped out of her parent’s care.  Sadly, a couple of days ago she was found in a creek, deceased.   Regardless of whether one was part of the autism community or not, I would have assumed that everyone would mourn the loss of this young girl and if nothing else, have thoughts of condolences to her parents and family.

But that was not the case.

To my horror, there were some who decided that maybe less than 24 hours after Mikaela’s body had been found, it would be a good idea to ask if  blame should be laid on the parents.  Now, I am not going to name anyone, in part because some bloggers get paid by the number of times people click on to their page and even more with every comment that is left on their posts.  The more clicks and the more comments, the more they get paid (I wonder what kind of writing such writers are inspired to produce?).

It became apparent that one particular person throwing blame at the parents was not a parent.  That person, when called on that fact, rightfully asked if the market on criticizing parents was cornered by those who are parents.  It’s true, non-parents have just as much of a right to criticize a parent’s action as anybody else…


…but that person, as any of us who would judge someone else, should have at least made an intellectual attempt to walk in their target’s shoes.

As much as we over share our lives via social media (and believe me, I know I am guilty in the first degree) how well do we truly know each other?  Not nearly as well as we think.

Were Mikaela’s parents negligent?  I can’t answer that because I didn’t know Mikaela, her parents or her 8 year old brother, who was apparently keeping an eye on her.  YOUR first reaction may be what? an 8 year was supervising a 9 year old autistic girl?  Horrors!  but then you would fail to recognize that you were looking at the situation through the lens of your life or your personal experience and  knowledge of 8 year olds.  I have known a few 8 year old kids who I would have trusted to keep an eye on things while I went inside to do dishes, sweep the floor or whatever it is that Mikaela’s parents were doing inside their house.   NT (neuro-typical)  siblings are unfairly asked forced to grow and mature quickly.  Unless you really know them, how can you really judge them?

I try not to jump to judgement on a daily basis and I fail at it over and over again on a daily basis (see Amy’s Baking Company meltdown on Kitchen Nightmares – it’s really hard not to judge) but I try to remind myself every time to at least imagine walking in someone else’s shoes for a bit before dropping the hammer.  I hope people will do that before snapping to judgement on Mikaela’s family, or anyone else’s for that matter.


It would appear that there are actual specifics to the timeline that one certain mean-spirited blogger chose to ignore.  The blogger chose to write that the parents didn’t notice Mikaela was missing for 30 minutes and that they were inside the house the entire time.  Sensationalist at best, mean-spirited and money driven (clicks and comments – there’s a reason why this blogger responds to comments with insults; to get a rise out of commenters who will then leave more comments, putting more money in her pocket) more likely, this blogger painted the worst possible picture without any real facts.  Here is the timeline and what the mother was doing according to to the National Autism Association –

While her two children played on a trampoline on Mother’s Day, Mikalea’s mother was in the back of their vacation home putting screens on vent holes because the wasps were building hives in them. During this time, a bee scared Mikaela’s brother, he ran and Mikaela disappeared. Based on video surveillance and time stamp, Mikaela’s parents were two minutes behind her. Thirteen minutes into frantically searching for their daughter, they called the police.

Please stick to reputable news sources when forming an opinion – the examiner.com, though generally entertaining, is not one of them.

Read Full Post »

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com]

…when it comes to speed. What is fast for some is slow for others and visa-versa. Still, the one standard you can compare yourself to is, well, yourself. Part of the reason many of us enter footraces is to see just how fast we are. Once we have finished one, we use each subsequent race to measure how our speed has waxed or waned.  Much of our change in speed can be attributed to diet, hydration, training, weather and quality of sleep & recovery.

But what about Mars Blackmon’s eternal question, “Is it the shoes?”

Can what you wear on your feet make a significant impact on how you perform on the streets?  Nike, along with Blackmon (Spike Lee) and Michael Jordan, tried to sell us on that idea way back in the early 1990’s.  “It’s gotta be the shoes” was everywhere.

Runners today have a myriad of shoes to choose from when they enter a running store.  Every shoe has it’s selling point, whether it’s support or cushioning, firmness or flexibility.  And of course, we all have different feet, so the range of choice is a good thing, right?  But what if you are simply looking to increase your speed.  You feel you are close to whatever goal it is you have set for yourself, but you have fallen just a little bit short.  Is there a shoe for that?

People are constantly asking me, “Can you run fast in those, uh, things?” They point at my Vibram Bikilas or Treks, not sure what to make of them.

Commercial hype and celebrity endorsements aside (Joe Montana – it is so sad to see you pitching those Skechers Shape Ups), let’s do a simple thought experiment.  Let’s pit twin brothers against each other in a long distance race.  Each has had the exact same training, eaten the exact same foods, and received the exact same amount of sleep.  They are wearing the exact same outfits and weigh exactly the same.  They also both incorporate the same running style.  Which one would you bet on to win this race?  You can’t, because any bet you make would be a complete guess.

Now, let’s take one of the twins out of his traditional shoes and put him in a pair that weigh half as much (12oz to 6oz each).  This is now the only difference between the twins.  One is literally carrying 3/4 of a pound less than the other.  Now you may wonder, what difference can 3/4lb make in a footrace?  Well, based on certain calculators out there on the internet, for a 175lb man like me, it can mean 9 seconds in a 10K, 22 seconds in a half-marathon and as much as 45 seconds in a full marathon.  For a 150lb runner, the time difference is even greater.  What’s 9 seconds?  Well, it can mean the difference between placing in your age group  or not (I’ve missed placing in my age group twice 5 seconds or less).  It can also mean the difference between qualifying for Boston or not.  I still have over 9 minutes to make up, but if I ran in traditional shoes and clocked a 3:21:40, I’d be pretty ticked off!

So what am I getting at?  Vibram Fivefingers are my racing shoe.  They literally are half the weight of my old Brooks trainers and I am convinced that they have helped me reached times that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.  Between the  forcing me to run in a more efficient manner and allowing me to carry less weight, my speed has picked up.  At the age 40 and with only a little over a year of consistent running under my belt, I was able to record a sub-40 in just my second 10K.  I was not a runner before November 2008.  Was it solely because of the shoes?  No way!  But I don’t doubt that they had a huge part in my race that day (of course, I still missed the podium by a few seconds).

If you are a dyed-in-the-wool heel striker with no desire to change your stride, then the minimalist shoe is probably not for you.  But if you are naturally a mid- to fore-foot striker, or are like me, a partially reformed heel-striker, and you are looking for ways to cut down your times, the Vibrams, and more specifically the Bikilas or Treks, may be the shoe for you.  I’ve heard people say that as heel-strikers they cannot possibly run in the Vibrams.   I would have to disagree.  I have always been a heel-striker and although I’ve  tried to alter my mechanics, using a cross between chi-running and barefoot techniques, I will still land just ever so slightly on my heel.

Providence Marathon

Boston 13.1

Boston Run To Remember

That said, my heels have been fine.  I am a faster, stronger and more efficient runner than I ever was.

Taken to extremes, you may ask, well why not toss out the shoes altogether? Go barefoot!  That’s another 45 seconds right there!  The problem with that for me is I don’t have natural tread on the bottom of my feet.  Both the Treks and the Bikilas have enough tread so you can run hard and still maintain traction with the ground.  If I tried that barefoot, I think I’d rip the skin right off the bottoms of my feet.

I’ve put well over 1000 miles in VFF’s over the last 12 month, with close to 400 in either Treks or Bikilas, interspersed with some runs in my traditional Brooks.  I know my comfortable pace in my VFF’s is about 20 seconds faster than my Brooks.

Based on my personal experience therefore, I have to agree with Mars. “It’s gotta be the shoes!”

Bookmark and Share

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: