Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cheap, smart or stuborn

When I first started running 123 years ago, my dad would not buy me a pair of running shoes until I proved that I was committed to it. There is nothing more intimidating than a skinny white kid running a leg of a mile relay in high white socks and low top basketball shoes. Since I was denied a good pair of running shoes at the beginning, I coveted them and was very excited when I got my first pair of Nike waffle trainers. After that I wanted everything that my parents money could by me - Goretex jackets and pants, fancy watches, fancy running shirts, racing spikes, etc. I didn't get everything I wanted (I actually got very little) but it didn't stop me from wanting and even dreaming about a specific pair of Nike racing flats.

Fast forward to adulthood and I now have my own money and I can buy whatever I want. I still get excited when I go to a bike or running store and see all the cool gear and clothes. I just got a new pair of olive LiveStrong shorts and am in ecstasy. So the wanting hasn't stopped. However, I get slightly nauseous when I go to Ironman races and I see the people with their $5,000 bikes and $500 bike outfits (on which they are ironically providing free advertising for someone), particularly the people who don't even have a shot at beating me. I understand that equipment can help improve performance but will an incredible bike really make a difference for someone who is 40 pounds overweight?

So I am now at the point where I am trying to decide what stuff is actually worth the investment to help me improve as an endurance athlete. Given that I haven't ran and swum in over a year, I think my5-year old $1,200 Bianchi Imola bike and $20 Tyra goggles and suit will suffice for now. I go through new Asics every 15 weeks and still mostly run in Old Navy shorts (besides my aforementioned LiveStrong fetish). So I seem OK in the status quo.

But what about things that I have never really tried? How will I know if Zensah compression socks will help me or if PureSport drinks can really make a difference over the long term. Have I become a caveman fighting against electricity?

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