Shoe Retirement Time Again

That time has come again … time to retire a pair of shoes.

So, I went through the shoe drama I had after I retired the last good pair of shoes – in summary, I’d worn Beasts for years, decided to try something different, I wound up getting injured, went back to Beasts, but by then had gotten lazy and fat, and I’ll never wear anything other than Beasts for running again.

I bought this particular pair of Beasts – a 2014 model that I ordered online – last May, right after we moved to Florida.  Up until about three months ago the running was hit-and-miss, up to a few weeks at a time but then with breaks.  They wound up getting used as walking-around-shoes occasionally, and then I was wearing them when I started Crossfit.  And it turns out that Beasts are AWFUL Crossfit shoes.  They don’t provide stability for weightlifting, the aggressive heel-toe drop puts you up on your toes with heavy weights, and as good as they are front-to-back, they’re awful laterally.  I was trying to use them for something they were never designed to do.  Plus, I wasn’t able to calculate “miles” on them.  The final straw was when a small part of the sole started to come apart – it was time to do some shoe investing.

This morning I did my first run in my new pair of 2014 Beasts, and last week I started wearing Nike Metcons for my Crossfit workouts – and they are much better for that.  The retiring shoes only had 236.32 miles on them in just over a year, plus a whole bunch of Crossfit.  They were good shoes, and my last few rounds with shoes have convinced me that they are worth the investment – you need the right shoes for the right job, and sometimes saving a few dollars makes it harder to do that job.

As I have in the past, I’m going to post a poem that was originally posted on the Brooks Blog about retiring shoes.  They are only shoes, but for a runner, they are the single most important and personal piece of equipment we’ve got.  They deserve a bit of a ceremony, and so…

The following poem can be found in the original blog post here.

Retiring Shoes

By: Stephanie Schultz

The Shoe Retiring Ceremony is held for runners
once every five-hundred miles,
on a Saturday afternoon after a final race
in an old casket factory on the Northeast end of town.

The ceremony begins with the shoes—
bald, wrinkled and tired—
and their moment to say thanks
for the ability to do the job they were made to do,
the miles they were meant to run.

The runner then gets to remember
her ten minute improvement in the half marathon,
crossing the finish line of her first full marathon,
kicking up red dust in the Arches of Utah,
taking an unexpected dip in the Mississippi River.

These memories are then inscribed onto the box
in which the shoes came
and in which they will finally rest—
a box to be displayed on a mantel or bedside table
like a photo of a loved one or a gold trophy

where they can whisper to a new pair of shoes:
Take these feet, these legs
to further distances, to new places.
They are ready for you.

W-i-i-i-d-e Load

I find it remarkable, after losing 25 pounds and feeling good and starting to really see results, how a quick picture, taken when you aren’t trying to look your best, makes you realize that you still have a large way to go.

Pictures taken this morning, and they’re pretty badass, but if I look this big now, how in the hell must I have looked 25 pounds ago?



This is a paused front squat – got to get down into that position and hold it for 5 seconds, then stand up.  The pressure on my wrists to hold the bar was the most painful – I ordered some wrist wraps today.  Now, to focus on narrowing the load.

I’ve got a big ass, is what I’m saying.  I mean I’ve got junk in the trunk.  Big.Ass.Wide.Load


I had been putting off going to the doctor.  When I go, I always get the talk about my weight, and when I’m on my heavier side that talk is always a downer.  Also, I’m convinced I have a blood pressure problem when I’m heavier – and I stupidly don’t want medicine.  Even though that medicine might add years to my life.


Anyway – I decided to get real and go to the doctor.  I have access to some of the best medical care in the world, and early detection and diagnosis is the key to surviving most survivable things.  There is no excuse.

My appointment this morning went well.  Blood pressure 126/72, which I’ll definitely take, and a heart rate of 58.  This was my initial visit with this doctor, and he told me I had an athlete’s look and, after he listened to my heart, told me it was slow like an athlete – which is a good thing.  He ordered blood work, and we’ll do a complete physical in a couple of months.

My insurance requires me to go through a 3rd-party lab for the blood work, so he gave me that paperwork, and near the bottom, under the panel of tests he is ordering, is a section for “Diagnosis”.  Mine reads:

E66.01:  Morbid (severe) obesity due to excess calories

Now, I knew that I was considered medically morbidly obese.  But, I don’t feel that way (particularly after my WOD this morning), and there is a difference between knowing something is true and seeing it as an official diagnosis on a medical form.

If the first step is admitting you have a problem, then, Hi – my name is Matthew, and I am morbidly obese due to excess calories.

But I’m not as obese as I was three months ago.  And I’m a hell of a lot more obese than I’ll be six months from now.


Progress Pictures

I didn’t go away, and I didn’t stop with the CrossFit (though it would have been fair to get that impression) – I’m finding life is busy.  That’s a good thing.

So I took some progress pictures.  The first round, for comparison, is here, taken about 2 months and 20 pounds ago.

New pictures:


I’m not totally sure what I expected.  I know that I’ve lost about 20 pounds, and that everything is feeling slimmer.  My clothes are fitting much better (in fact, my go-to pair of pants is now too big and will shortly be retired, and today I’m comfortably wearing a pair of pants I haven’t worn in months), and I’m starting to get comments from people noticing that I’m getting slimmer.  I had to take a flight for work last week, and I had zero trouble with the seat belt, which is different than when I had to fly in February.  I also know that my strength and endurance have grown dramatically during my workouts – I can do things now that I couldn’t do two months ago.

All that to say, I don’t need the pictures to know it is going well.

My first reaction to these pictures is that I expected to see a more obvious visual difference, and I don’t see it like I expected to.  On closer examination, though, there is a clear improvement.  My face slims first, and between that and the haircut / beard trim you can really see it there – and then the other obvious place is the side view.  My gut is not bulging like it was, particularly at the top, and the flabby stuff at the bottom is, if anything more flabby, which means that I’m losing some of the hard fat that was stretching things out.  So any disappointment was unfounded and silly, and these show clear progress that reflect how I feel.

I spend a lot of time imagining what this is going to look like in two more months and twenty more pounds.  Or, even better, four months and forty pounds.  I’m excited for it.


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