Yesterday Ph. picked out cleats for the fall.  No slowing down in these;
they won’t allow it.  I’ve never
seen shoes that made me feel so fast and so much like running just by looking at


On the subject of fast, he’s got to muster a six minute mile in
about two weeks.  To pep him up for it, I broke out one of the
when-I-was-young parentals
(that genre of uphill both ways; obscure,
groan-summoning lore of self).  Told him
that in college, guards had to break 5:30 and bigs had to make a mile under six
minutes before we could move workouts indoors in the fall.  And lap three,
lap three was my nemesis–the impossible leg of end’s not quite in sight. (To
say nothing of the heated debates about who was a guard and who was a big. 
Imagine the enthusiasm of newly converted 6-2 power forwards.)  But like so
many kids who hear the when-I-was-young parental, he rendered my wisdom
inapplicable: "We’re running it on a straight-away."  Hence, no lap three. 
But still, that anyone as lumbering as me can hit 6:00 ought to be of some
encouragement, don’t you think?  And if only I’d had shoes this glimmering-fast…

Added: Observing that I’m blogging about his cleats, Ph. just leaned in
to look.  Me: "Shiny, aren’t they." Ph.: "I just cleaned them." (He had a
summer league match last night.)


  1. Very spiffy shoes. I had to run a 9 minute mile to get an A in high school gym. Back then, there was not much tech in shoes at all. I remember them being white and having laces 🙂 Surely, with shoes like that he will just fly to the finish line. Good luck!

  2. Thanks, Marcia. They’re sharp alright. No telling how he’ll fare with the run, but soccer players tend to be runners, and Ph. runs pretty easily. He’s been needing new cleats for a few weeks (after his broken foot and Kenya trip, he hadn’t worn his old ones for a while, plus they were getting too small).

  3. Getting your mile time was the absolute WORST thing about pre-season. I still cringe. As far as the purpose of a basketball player (and maybe even a soccer player – i don’t know that much about soccer) having to run a mile as part of “conditioning” – i see little to no benefits (“mental toughness” not withstanding). Though i have no physiological studies at my finger tips to back this up (surely they exist, though), running on a track, stadium stairs or any other surface other than that on which an athlete will actually be playing has minimal benefits. I’m going to start a national lobby to have this torturous experience abolished!!!

    Until then, good luck to Ph. I hope he makes his time on the first try.

  4. We always did it in the name of mental prep, but I’m not sure how well it lasted. Sure, those of us who managed to hit the pavement for stretching/calisthetics by 6:00 a.m. every day of the week demonstrated some kind of discipline, but it was, as you say, incredibly painful considering the returns. I’m not sure it didn’t contribute to late-season fatigue sometimes, too. I was in the best shape of my life back then, but I still tended to wear out and get nagging fatigue injuries late in the season.

    Worst run we ever did (and it was just once) was a hilly seven miles my junior year. We had to come in under an hour. All told, just seven (five guards and two of us in the post) made it out of more than twenty folks. So what’s a coach to do–relax the time or play with seven? Probably has something to do with why I’m so bad about running for fitness these days.

  5. Wow. Those are some shoes. Almost too beautiful to wear. Here’s a question from a non-athlete: why do they lace on the sides? Aesthetics or practicality?

  6. I don’t know how long there have been side-lacing soccer cleats, but the last two pairs Ph. has worn have been this way. I never really played much soccer, but I’d say it has everything to do with the tendency of soccer players to use the insides of their feet for passing and shooting. This design prevents lace interference and gives a more uniform surface for knocking the ball. That’s my guess anyhow.

  7. Vince Lombardi once said, �Fatigue makes cowards of us all.� At the time, his championship Packer teams were the best-conditioned in all of football. Go figure.

    Back in the old days when we only had cinder tracks to run on, there was once a tall yooper kid with a big smile by the name of Jim. I would chase him around the track in the half-mile (no 800 m in those days). The cinder particles would come flying off the bottoms of his bare feet as he pursued the 2-minute mark for the event. While struggling to hold my position behind him, hoping to out-kick him down the stretch, I would be pelted in the face by the irritating particles.

    I still remember one late October x-country meet in Marquette when we had a fresh cover of snow for the race. Many of the track meets in the early U. P. spring were run in temps just a little above freezing. Track shoes, in those days, were heavy compared to shoes worn today.

    After high school I continued to run�, with lighter shoes, on the cinder tracks, while Jim went off to Vietnam.

    I never saw Jim again.

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