March 20, 2007

My Two Right Feet

You know those super-duper, high-tech socks that are made specifically for running? They cost a whopping $12-$15 per pair and, if you believe what you read, they apparently are about as technologically advanced as the space shuttle (minus the random explosions, of course.) They've got all sorts of padding shenanigans in the high impact areas and stretchy malarkey in the flexing zones. If that's not enough, the socks are anatomically correct - one for the left foot and one for the right.

You just can't pay enough for that type of technology.

I remember back in my pre-teen years when I was the worst player on my basketball team. That was before I dropped team sports to become the worst runner on my track team. Which led me to becoming the worst racer at my first 10k. Which brought me to where I am today. Wherever the hell that is.

But I was talking about socks. Let's get back to socks.

Back in those horrendously painful basketball days, I tried my best to sport all the latest and greatest in pre-teen basketball wear. After all, I knew I sucked at the sport, the least I could do was look cool so I wasn't the butt of every joke.

To compliment my uber-hip Converse All-Stars, I'd strap on a pair of double-ringed knee-high basketball socks; the same ones that Larry Bird used to wear. The truth was, back then you really didn't get much more high tech than those double-ring knee highs. Besides, Sir Bird was a pretty good basketball player (butt ugly, but a good player) so, by the power of association, I wasn't as much of a fool, right?

As the years went by and my sports accomplishments leaned more towards sucking at individual activities rather than sucking in a team environment, my sock length started shrinking away from the knee and closer to the ankle. As if even my socks were embarrassed to be a part of me.

As I aged and foot technology advanced, so my socks became thinner as well. Shorter and thinner. As you age, apparently men's socks take a page out of the book of men's hairlines.

When I stumbled upon the now popular Wigwam running sock, I thought I'd died and gone to the great Sock warehouse in the sky. Thin, stretchable, cool looking... what more could a guy want in life?

You can probably imagine my surprise when, shortly after, I discovered the lovely folks at Wigwam made a triathlon-specific sock. I bought a whole truckload of them on the spot.

As for the difference between the running sock and the tri- sock? Beats the hell outta me but one of them had the Ironman logo on it and that was about all the convincing I needed.

So now here we are in 2007 and we've got these new, super expensive, anatomically correct, over-teched socks that are supposed to make me run extra fast. Apparently the new socks are to Wigwam's basic sock like Wigwam's are to my old double-ringed knee highs.

Catherine swears by this new expensive running sock style. She says they're the most comfortable sock she's ever worn. She says it's like walking on pillows.

But it's fifteen dollars?! I say in my most miserly tone. It's just a friggin sock!

About a month ago I found myself the recipient of some major discounts on some great athletic clothing. As I was carrying my double-armload full of clothing to the cash register, I noticed some socks hanging on the wall. Not only socks, but they were the super-charged running socks with all the padding and flexing and everything else you'd need to break land-speed records. I did a quick calculation and realized they'd only cost me about $6 per pair with my discount. I couldn't resist. I picked up a few pairs for both Catherine and me. After all, I trust my girlfriend's opinion, I might as well give it a shot.

Fast forward a few weeks later and we'll see the protagonist waking up at the usual early morning hour to get in the day's run. I put on my super-light sweat resistant shorts, slipped on my dry-fit wickable shirt, grabbed my extra light perspiration reducing visor and reached in the drawer for a pair of socks. As I lifted my hand out, I noticed myself holding one of these new pairs of anatomically correct tech-socks.

High-tech socks, I thought with a chuckle. Like you could actually make clothing that will improve performance.

With a large amount of doubt, I threw on the socks, put on my shoes and headed out into the morning.

I expected my world to change from the first step, as if I were running on pillows. It didn't. I was running on the sidewalk and it pretty much felt that way.

A mile later I did another foot check. The feet were comfortable, but there was no major pedi-breakthrough. In all honestly, I was looking for any excuse to take this technology down. Fortunately, that happened three miles into the run.

About the time I started heading up the mile long incline, my left foot started feeling funny. As if the sock was slipping off. Within another minute my foot started hurting. And then it went numb. And that, as we all know, led quickly to calf pain. Which stopped me in my tracks.

Goddam socks! I screamed.

I pulled the sock tight to make sure it wasn't bunching in my left foot. I stretched my calf. Walked. Let the blood come back to my foot. Then I started jogging again, super slowly. And somehow managed to waddle my way home without any major injuries.

I was cursing the socks as I struggled home. I was wishing ill will upon them as I walked inside. I was screaming profanity as I removed my left shoe. And just as I was about to peel off my left sock I noticed a big black "R" on the top.

I stopped.

I ripped off my right shoe and looked at my right sock. There was the same big black "R" on the top of that one too.

I slid over to my clothing drawer, ruffled through the mess, took out my other pair of high-tech socks and pulled them apart. Big fat "L" on the top of each one.


The entire time I was running with two right socks. Which explains why it felt like the left sock was bunching up, which explains why my left foot fell asleep, which explains why I got so gosh darn hostile at this piece of clothing.

I suppose this means I need to go for another run.
Maybe I'll just go back to those wonderful knee-highs. Life was so much simpler then.


Robin said...

Too funny! Or maybe too painful to be funny...

A week or so back, I posted a photo of my L & R socks, because I had never even noticed that they had these funny little letters on them. I guess I didn't know I had the highest tech socks around! I find them super comfy though, but maybe because that's because I only have pair, so I can't have two left feet.

No Wetsuit Girl... overseas! said...

Sooo funny! Sounds like the kind of thing that would happen to me... Only my mom calls herself the "Sock Fairy" (no kidding) and gives me cartoon socks about once a month. Each pair is different so there's no way to mix them up. But I wonder, if I'm wearing sock fairy socks is that the equivalent of doing the bike on a mountain bike? Or a cruiser? You'll have to let me know how the next trial turns out.

Rachel said...

I too, used to be the worst basketball player on the team.

I agree. Socks seem so insignificant but can make or break a run.