Happy Birthday to ME!


It is not easy to find the perfect gift for a trucker turning 56. There is nothing exciting about turning 56. If there ever was an age less worthy of celebration, please tell me. You don't get anything for turning 56. It may be the most boring age ever invented. At least when you turn age 55, some places give you a senior discount. When you turn 60 , as a runner you move UP in age bracket. Your chances of winning or placing in races improves simply by attrition. 56 – you get nothing.


I had to find the perfect gift for myself. My first choice was a new mountain bike. The problem is that I live in northeast Wisconsin. The bike would hang in my garage for at least 3 months before I got to use it. My diet and exercise program hit a wall during the holiday season. Signing up for the Green Bay Half Marathon has motivated me. I am back to my pre Thanksgiving weight. I am running, lifting weights and using my FIT system. Success has fueled my motivation.


Then while trying to run my first sub 19 minute 2 mile of the year, my foot right foot was falling to the outside. It was a sign. My running shoes had worn out. One of the worst things a runner can do is keep an old favorite pair of running shoes too long. I finished the run in 18:52 and decided on the perfect gift for myself. It had to be, a new pair of running shoes.


Every new pair of running shoes should be special. The best way to make sure of that is buying them from a local running shoe store. They are more likely to sell you the right pair of shoes. Take your old pair of shoes with you. They can analyze why the old shoes broke down. The wear pattern on your old shoes lets the salesperson know what type of stride you have. Developing a relationship with your shoe store matters. When I got my shoes, I ran around the inside of the store jumping over stuff and landing. Checking out the feel. They felt great. I was psyched to try to break 30 in a 5k. They told me to try a run on a treadmill. That way, if the shoes did not feel right I could still take them back.


Last Saturday, the first outdoor run was scheduled for 7AM. I got back to our yard at 5AM and the temperature was reading -9F. The scheduled training run was for 3 miles. So, I made the decision to run a 5k on the treadmill. My goal was to break 30 minutes. My first mile was 9:45 and the shoes felt fine. I stepped the 2nd mile pace up to 9:31. I forgot about the shoes, and stepped up the 3rd mile to 9:22 pace and kicked in it to a 29:30 5k. I had found the perfect gift. Now, maybe if I can break 2:05 in the half marathon, the mountain bike would make a great reward.

Comments (9)

Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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Sean - after awhile runners tend to develop a "tell" when their shoes are wearing out. shin splints can be one of them. As soon as you feel a new pain - think - how old are the shoes?. If they have over 400 miles on them-take them to a running store - they can fix you up with the right shoes.

January 16, 2015 18:09:06 PM

Happy belated birthday Jeff. That is great that you are doing the Green Bay half marathon. Doing a half marathon is a big goal for my wife. Shoes can make a huge difference in running. I tend to have problems with my shins and it's always because I am in need of a new pair of shoes with fresh insoles.

January 16, 2015 8:38:56 AM

As always Jimmy your wife is right. Also, it is better to rotate your running shoes out of running too soon than too late. Old running shoes can cause injury just as quickly as the wrong running shoes. I rotate my old shoes into driving shoes.

January 16, 2015 2:52:38 AM

Me not really being a runner, but my wife definitely is, she swears the shoe makes a difference! I didn't believe her until I started to get rid of old ones and buy better shoes for specific purposes. Happy Birthday Jeff!

January 15, 2015 18:06:37 PM

Yes, Craig and at this age I get to choose, which is cool in itself.

Thx Beth:Now I have a running Buddy at MATS.

January 15, 2015 13:34:24 PM

Linda, quit listening to Roxanne. I only have 2 bikes for now.

January 15, 2015 13:32:29 PM

That's great, Jeff! Happy birthday to you! I just got a new pair of running shoes myself (about 7 years overdue), and it's amazing the difference they make. You're also much faster than I am with your pace - so at 56, you should feel pretty great about that! :)

January 15, 2015 10:30:03 AM

Happy birthday Jeff. It may be a slow birthday for presents but you still have your health and it sounds like it is improving with your diet and exercise.

January 15, 2015 8:14:45 AM

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEFF! Shoes are cool and they look like they can run fast. How many bikes do you have by the way?

January 15, 2015 6:46:17 AM