Saturday race day will be the only thing I do that is consistent. On Saturday I'll count running shoes with the folks from Newton, On Running and anyone else who wants to join in. To be honest it's not counting. The process is actually calling out the brands as they run by. There are very few on the island as it turns out that can actually do that. I've found most brand people can find their brand but struggle with all others. I guess that's job security for me only that I don't get paid to do this. I actually very much enjoy it. My love of running shoes and runners is what makes this count so good. I'm often amazed at the shoe choices at a World Championship. I believe the running shoe choice is the most important choice of the day. You spend more time on the bike but there is no pounding and there is lot's of coasting rest on the bike. On the run there is no rest and it's all pounding. The surface temperature is 130F and you are in the sun the entire run. Well a little more than 1/2 of the field will run in the dark of the night but you get my point.
I've seen the following:
- Shoes that don't fit - There is a tendency to bring shoes a bit large to the Kona race. The heat causes your feet to swell. But I've seen shoes that are just way too big which can only lead to blisters.
- Bad Heel Fit - It amazes me how many runners run with bad heel fit. The heel of your running shoe should not slip. Yet I see that so often in Kona I'm blown away.
- Over-Pronation - There is a great deal of chatter about over-pronation. Does it exist and do you control it? Come to Kona and do the shoe count with me. I'll tell you that yes it does exist and yes it should be addressed. The people I see over-pronating the most are running in shoes because they are the latest shoes loved by the triathlon world. It was Newton for quite awhile and now it's Hoka. I see people wearing both brands when they absolutely should be finding a better shoe for their gate. It's not the problem of the shoe company it's the problem of the athlete. This is an athlete choice.
- Worn out shoes - It amazes me that this is the World Championships and you choose to run in shoes that are obviously worn out. When there is no compression happening in the midsole that shock goes one place, through your legs. Buy new shoes for a big race.
- The funny shoe choices - Crocs, Hurache sandals. Vibram 5 Fingers, and even trail shoes. 2000 athletes, 1800 who qualify to race there, 200 who get in on the Lottery or gifted an entry and every year I see these shoes.
It's a good life.....