Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Today's Lesson

I finally picked up my Newton running shoes that were a prize for placing 2nd overall for the See Jane Run half marathon in June.

Sparkling brand new

Notice the weird nubbins in the front.  Not an official term.

One more view

I've heard a lot about the Newtons in the past year.  I know of at least 3 running friends who love them, and I've inquired as to why.  I've read articles.  But I was never much interested, because I am not a heel-striker (or so I have been told) and therefore figured I didn't need an unusual shoe to fix my stride.

I also wanted to restrain from paying $150 for shoes that look ridiculously (or....hideously) bright and have a seemingly illogical design.  Similar to the barefoot running/minimalist shoe trend, I don't want to relearn how to run or go through some adjustment period where I run only 3 miles max in those shoes at once (and what, return home after 3 miles, switch shoes, and keep going? Girl, Interrupted.  I always wanted to have a reason to say that).

This is so cliche.  Can you see it coming?  Blog writer begins post with skepticism about a certain product; blog writer then explains how they tried the product out anyway; blog writer then announces that they now LOVE the product!

Cliche, be gone.  I'm not exactly there yet.  Not in LOVE, that is.  Here's what I've noticed so far.

They are really hideous.  I don't know when it became the trend for runners to be so bright and loud and LOOK AT MY NEON.  I like wearing a bright top to race in so that persons (the Gentleman) can spot me from afar.  But shoes....I'd rather not be pegged as a running geek because of my neon shoes.  I wish all running shoes were made in a black or grey.  I just want simple.  These Newtons scream "I am a marathon maniac, I've been running for 63 years, I have a lot of running gear, and I run one ultra-marathon per week."  They say, "I take running seriously, I am not a recreational runner who wears Nike's".  Not that there's anything wrong with taking running seriously.  But I still consider myself a hobby runner who isn't attached to any specific running gear one way or the other.

I cannot get all scientific (aka helpful) about reviewing the functionality of these shoes like Shelby the extraordinaire whose job was running shoe expert, because I know jack about shoes.  But in terms of functionality, I can tell you two things.

First, I noticed they forced my stride to shorten.  I probably need this.  Even though it may make for cool running pictures, my stride is a little too long, and I never hit 180 strides/minute--which is supposedly optimal--even when sprinting.  I am usually at 165-170 strides/minute.  A shorter stride should help me increase my speed, and maybe avoid injury.  I dunno.  I'm just talking here.

Stride = too long.  Newtons, help me out


Second, I noticed the shoes gave me a little propulsion while running an incline.  A little boost when running up hills.  I think this is due to the miniature rockets that were engineered into the heel.  I think there is low-level atom splitting that causes a spurt of energy with each step.  You can attain this same atomic propulsion effect by farting with each step.  I dunno.  Can anybody tell me what I'm talking about?

Newtons: get them if you like ugly feet and believe anything I just said.  I'll give you an update on how they work for longer runs or faster runs (I've run a total 8 miles in them.  hold the phone).


One of the BEST things about racing (not hyperbole) is that you earn a feeling of accomplishment in your day by 8:30 a.m., and then you have the WHOLE day ahead of you to do fun things, which often do and should involve eating and drinking all sorts of delicious items.

The Gentleman and I decided to take advantage of our full day ahead in Healdsburg's beautiful wine country guessed it....going to a brewery.  I won enough wine that I was now far more interested in getting my hands on some good beer.  Nothing like drinking a lot of beer on a sweltering day after running a half marathon and realizing tipsily that you cannot feel your legs.  'Tis better than feeling your legs and noticing they are sore.

So off to the Russian River Brewing Company we went, where upon arrival at 11:00 a.m., we found an obscenely long line of people who were there before the 11:00 a.m. opening to snatch up bottles of a brand new limited release, the Toronado 25th anniversary beer.  We were thankfully sat within a half hour (it's a big place) and everyone narrowly avoided me turning into the Hungry Hulk (this of course is what happens when I'm REALLY hungry).  We followed the crowd and ordered 2 bottled pints of the Toronado beer.

I always forget to bring a hairbrush while traveling...

Shelby: just like my failures in describing the Newtons, I could really use your help here too in reviewing this beer.  People, just go read her blog instead.  She can do everything I can't!

Let me set the mood for reading a review of beer from my limited beer vocabulary....I start by inviting you to forget everything you ever learned about words, and thesauruses, and professional critics, and your own personal taste, and know this: the Toronado tasted damn good.  It had an aftertaste of wine, because they throw that shit in used wine barrels to ripen up.  It wasn't absurdly hoppy, which to me is a plus, because I'm not a hop snob.  I will always pick the darkest stout over an IPA.  Hops be gone, coffee-flavored beer appear!

My drinking pardner

Lest you think all I did was sip on the toronado, I will prove you wrong.

We got a flight of tasters of all 22 Russian River beers that were on tap.  Best decision.  It was so much fun.  I hated about four of them (too much hops, which to me tastes perfumey like flowers) and loved the other 18.

Our flight, some already drunken...

So much to do, including, drinking 20 more shots of beer

I tried to calm the buzz down by eating exactly half of this pizza with the Gentleman (we shared both flavors, one was a vegetable bonanza and the other was jalapenos, corn, sausage, yum).

It didn't work.  But don't you worry, we ran around a Borders bookstore and annoyed the shit out of everyone who was pretending Borders was a library where you can read everything for free, until I was ready to drive us home.

And that concludes today's lesson on how not to review some running shoes and some beer. 


  1. Shit, I would say just drink the Pliny. Russian River is great in that they are super experimental (read: there's always some weird shit flowing from thier taps) but their staple IPA is consistently amazing. I had it on tap at the brewery and also paid to ship some back to myself. Great both times. I wish I lived closer!

    As for the shoes..I can't say I've ever run in Newtons but if they lower heel drop doesn't bug you, I see no reason not to keep them in your rotation. From what I understand they have a decent amount of cushion. The high price point has always been a turnoff to me but I know many people who love them!

  2. Mmm. Beer.

    A friend of mine looooooves the Newtons, but switched over to Brooks Pure Flow because of the price. She says the nubby things wear down super fast. I don't know. They felt weird, so I have no actual experience.

    PS, I'm registering for CIM tonight, and did you know you're in one of their promo videos? True story.

  3. I have those same Newtons as well. I don't swear by them but they are the only shoe that provide enough support on the pads of my feet so I don't get blisters. I run seriously far up on my toes (think Ostrich...or someone that did ballet). I'll be curious to see your final verdict on them.

  4. running shoes are so fugly. kyle has a red pair right now and he looks like spiderman every time he dons them. i am on the verge of buying a brand new pair and they will probably be neon pink. i hear you on black shoes, but once upon a time i tried on a pair of black running shoes and they looked geriatric. alas, not a good look.


  5. I have the hot pink newtons....I really like them, but dislike the price. I bought them because my friend at the running store gave me a huge discount. I stride too long when I get tired, so these help me "keep my feet under me'. I don't heel strike either, but I think it helped improve my turnover.
    I love pretending borders is a library, too!

  6. I dropped the $150+ on these kicks last year and decided after the fact that they most defineately not worth it. I've always been an over strider and heel striker where it seemed like good sense to try to change my gait and cadence to become a more efficien runner with a quicker turnover. BUT in the end I jacked up my knee after thinking hat I could change the way my body is biomechanically engineered to work. Yes heel striking is ugly, but things can get really ugly when you try to change 28 years of habitual motion. So now I sport my newtons when I walk the dogs, can't bring myself to throw them away because they cost so damn much.

  7. We are beer twins. I just don't get the IPA obsession. Not only does it taste like perfume but it also leaves my mouth as dry as the Sahara. I am unsure why anyone likes this. Coffee stouts and porters... yum. I can hardly wait until Kona Brew's Pipeline Porter is back on the shelves this fall.

    I actually really love the obnoxiously bright shoes. But I also have been wearing neon since I was 4 so I might not be the best person to judge shoe attractiveness. I hope you can figure out what is so magical about Newtons that they cost as much as two pairs of other shoes. Until then I will be unimpressed, and I will keep buying last year's New Balances on clearance.

    1. I'm going to search for this Pipeline Porter! yumyumyumyumyumyum you get the point

  8. I am no expert on mechanics (obvious since I keep getting hurt), but in those two running photos it would appear that you are a heel striker. But if it works for you, then I don't see the issue in it. Since you keep crushing races I would not worry.

    I've been interested in Newtons, but haven't dropped the cash yet. I'm also interested in Hoka One Ones for trail running, and those are officially the ugliest running shoe known to man. And I have poor taste, as is evidenced by my neon green shoes. Yes, there were other color options, but I picked the obnoxious ones. And since wearing them, cars have done a much better job avoiding me. I like to think the two phenomena are related.

    1. I've noticed that in photos too. I've also heard that a heel strike and midfoot strike look identical in photos just prior to the full landing. Who knows. A physical therapist and some running store nerds pegged me as mid-foot lander, but I'm sure my form worsens near the end of races (like those photos)

    2. Check the soles of a well-used pair of running shoes. The sole will be worn mostly in the middle, the heel, or the forefoot. Wherever the most wear is visible, that's likely where you are striking.

  9. I scored a leftover pair from my sponsor that they didn't sell. I guess $150 bright neon shoes do not sell out. I will be very interested to hear what you think about them in a few weeks. At first I loved them then started to notice soreness in my ankles. Now I only wear them maybe once a week. I do like them, just not as an everyday shoe. Also I was told not to wear them for long distances.

  10. Oh and I wear Nikes! But I still consider myself to be a hobby jogger so your recreational runner who wears Nikes comment fits me ;)

    1. When are running in the Olympic marathon trials, I hope you will peg yourself as a pro ;)

  11. I love me a good beer flight. The pics of that + the pizza = keyboard drool.
    I bought Newtons, last year, after trying them out at an Expo. I gave them about 20 miles (not all at once!) trial and decided they needed to be sent back. stat. (I did notice the "boost" you mentioned, too)
    I really, really wanted to love them. They didn't give me problems, per se, just never felt right.

  12. A beer flight that involves 22 samples? I need to find one of those. I think the most I've seen is 8.

    As for Newtons - if they are $150 in the US, they must be close to $200 here...yikes! Maybe I'll just paint my shoes and yell "LOOK AT MY NEON"

  13. I need those flight of beers!!!! By the way, I love love bright color shoes, maybe old age?? I heard you start to love colors more when you get older :)
    I have a pair of newton in hot pink, not sure what the model is or difference between the models, I strongly believe I also heel strike, lets see how long mine will last! I agree with you that those lugs sorta give me some response energy or whatever you call it, if you say it helps with hills, I'm wearing these babies at Nike when I died of hills last year. You see, normal people slow down by hills maybe 30 seconds...not me...for me it's more like 2-3 minutes...seruously!! I need to grow some balls!!

  14. I am so so so excited that you won Water to Wine!! way to kill the competition! I've heard nothing but fabulous things about the course and am still bummed I missed out running with you!
    I am sooooo not happy to read about your hip/glutes the shizzz outa those so that we can be toeing the CIM12 line with you healthy! :)
    I tried on these same exact Newtons at Road Runner Sports...and felt like a goofy runner, even though I run on my forefront/toe-ish...I could stand landing on that NUB. I hope you find they help you shorten your stride and feel comfortable!

  15. Great to see you today! (I almost wrote "great running into you" but then I realized that was too corny... even for me.) Were you wearing the Newtons today? I didn't notice them. Perhaps they are less bright now? I love neon shoes, especially orange ones for some reason.
    BTW, you didn't need to explain anything about the beers. Those photos speak for themselves. YUM.

  16. That is a damn big flight for the two of you! I assume that you didn't drink them ALL - just tastes? Because I would have slept overnight in the Borders before I felt ready to drive home after all that.

    Also, I know nothing about the mechanics or running but happen to like ostentatious shoes. Pretty sure it's scientifically proven that neon shoes make you run faster. Right?

  17. This is going to make me sound like a total nerd (which I am) but where are Borders bookstores still open? I thought they all went out of business?? I am a book nerd and library student and miss that bookstore.

    1. Santa Rosa! There's one there, who knows why....the one in my 'hood closed like 3 years ago...

  18. I've been to Russian River - on our road trip through Utah, Idaho, Eastern WA, Oregon, Redwoods, etc. Good beer. Expensive shirts (I paid something absurd like over $30 for a female-cut Pliny the Elder t-shirt).

  19. Love that shot of you with the shots. That's a lot of shots.

    Glad you're liking the Newtons so far. You have the calves to support them...unlike moi. But I still like mine...just can't run in them very far. Well, I can't run very far period! LOL

  20. What is the deal with the neon trend?? I don't know where it came from but I personally find neon things hideous... It is helpful for all those nighttime sport freaks though. Less chance of being hit by a car!

    That flight of beers looks amazing!! And the pizza looked pretty tasty too.

  21. As usual you crack me up Roserunner! I've been looking into getting Newtons, and likely I would have already bought some except that I got a stress fracture late last year, and my sports doc didn't want me to buy them yet. But hopefully soon!

    I went to a Newton presentation a while back, and here is some technical review stuff if you are curious:

    And Russian River Brewing Company is awesome! My favorite brewery alongside Bear Republic. Pliny the Elder is probably my favorite beer, great stuff.

  22. Newton neons, beer heaven, & pizza?!!! Great post of making the most of the rest of your day!

  23. "Hungry Hulk"- nice visual. Looks like some heel striking going on in those pics. Good thing you have those Newtons to fix you up.

  24. I'm with you on the fugly shoes take-over. I mean, I know the 80s are back and everything, but weren't we JUST making fun of that ridiculous decade?

  25. Ohhhh Russian River. I was spoiled because my husband lived in Santa Rosa when I was first getting into beer, so that was basically my neighborhood bar every weekend. I have had that sampler more than once.

    I now live around the corner from Toronado, so I can get Russian River beer without too much hassle, but I really, really miss the pizza.

  26. I love Russian River! I lived in Santa Rosa and worked downtown, so we would duck in there every now and then.

    Re: Newton. I've been very curious but they are out of my budget. I did try running in them on a treadmill once and it was rather difficult. Newtons are the rage in my fun run group right now -- our coach works with a rep who comes by the store often. I'll admit that I am drawn to the colors. I love all things neon.


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