Be a “Try Hard”

As a marathon runner, I go through a lot of shoes.  I need to update my shoes at least once every three months.  Unfortunately, as many friends and family would attest, I also have a fairly sizable “every day shoe” collection as well.  All of these shoes can get costly. So, as a middle school teacher, I try to combat my shoe addiction by doing extra jobs in and out of school.  One of these jobs is lunch duty – a job outsiders usually consider perhaps the cruelest form of punishment an adult can endure.  On most days, these outsiders aren’t that far off.

However, some days being in a room full of 6th graders is actually entertaining, and even enlightening in one way or another. Yesterday- just over a week into the new year- was no exception. Having busted two boys for the crime of throwing grapes and Doritos, I was stationed next to these offenders at the middle “naughty” table. These two boys were minimal offenders, but we like to make a point early on in the year.   As adults we realize that to 6th graders throwing food is almost a natural instinct, and at times maybe even self defense, but we want them to know that if they do it, they will to pay the price.

So, I had the two boys sit at the middle table to learn their lesson and hopefully set an example. One of the boys was way too into his tacos to talk to me.  The other, a nice, personable kid, apparently decided he wasn’t going to let the middle table stop him from having a conversation.  He began by asking me if I knew who he was.  When I told him I didn’t, he informed me that his dad was pretty involved in our school’s athletics and as a result  (even though he was just a 6th grader)  he “knew A LOT of teachers, athletes, high schoolers, and students.”

The boy then began talking football with me.  He started by telling me a bunch of technical facts, to which I just smiled and nodded because I really have no clue about the game.  He then got into specifics about his team and his talents.  His personal summary went something like this, “I love the game.  I’m actually not that strong now, but I will be someday.  That doesn’t matter though, because I really understand the game. I know the strategies, plus I am really fast.”  Then, he paused and said, “The other kids call me a Try Hard.” 

I wasn’t sure if I heard him correctly so I asked him to repeat, “They call you a what?”

“A Try Hard.”

My initial reaction was to tell him this was really cool, but then I noticed he didn’t look all that thrilled with it.  “Wait, are they ripping on you when they say this?”

The boy’s expression answered my question- of course they were ripping. They were mean middle schoolers. Middle schoolers generally don’t come up with deep, meaningful nicknames aimed at each other.  Yet, ironically, I realized that these kids had in fact, inadvertently come up with one that had the reverse effect. An insult that was actually a secret compliment.  I had to share this fact with my new friend.

“Do you know what? It’s really cool to be a Try Hard. Those kids don’t know it, but they are actually giving you a compliment. Being a Try Hard is the coolest thing in the world, because by trying hard you will know more about the game  because you had to figure it out.” I wanted to add that he’d probably get a lot more job opportunities in the future with a try hard attitude… but I decided that perspective might be a bit heavy for the first week of middle school.

The kid sort of smiled and I think he got it, in a 6th grader kind of way and then proceeded to talk about football again. I continued to revisit our conversation all day, and thought about how this nickname was actually quite an ingenious concept. Whether we are trying to run five miles, a marathon, or just get through life, the best thing we can all ever strive to be is a bunch of Try Hards- great at some aspects, okay at others, and striving to improve (someday) in the areas that we struggle the most.

So, friends…always remember that life really isn’t about perfection or getting things right the first time. It’s about being out there, in the game, trying hard every single day. And most importantly, it’s not how far or fast you run…but how hard you try.

by abbey algiers

imrunnerchica 2014

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AIRIA ONE Running Shoes!

AIRIA ONE Running Shoes… a new shoe, a new concept, all the way from Sweden. 

Airia One Running Shoe

A few months ago, I was contacted by a rep from Airia One asking me if I wanted to try their shoes and write about them on my blog.  She wrote that these shoes would help me run faster.  Shoes from Sweden (how cool!) that would help me run faster. Did I want to try them? Of course I did!

Prior to receiving the shoes, I did some research on what was coming.  The website (airiarunning.com) said that, “Airia One helps 8 out of 10 to run faster regardless of their current level or running style.” I liked the sound of that, but wondered a few things-

1. Just what makes this company feel they can make this claim? What was so special about their shoes that 8 out of 10 runners would improve?  A video on the site explained:

http://youtu.be/_N4t6skyEBc

2. I wondered what the shoes would look like and if they would be dangerous to try in the middle of marathon training. For me, that’s always the snafu. I am paranoid to try new shoes for fear I’ll injure myself with shoes that aren’t right for my feet.  Again, I checked out their website for details.  I learned that a lot of research went into the design of these shoes that are dedicated to quite simply, making you run faster.  Check out the history of the company! Still, even with all of the research, I was skeptical.  Would these “fast” shoes pose a risk to my limbs?

3. I decided to wait and see what the shoes looked like, and would assess them at that point.  When they arrived in the mail, I was happy to see cool packaging carrying the fancy Swedish shoes.  Upon opening the box, I found a letter from the company that addressed my concerns about any danger involved with trying new shoes, and instructions on how to use them.  (Don’t you just lace them up and go? Nope.)

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In a nutshell, they suggested the following tips:

*  Since the Airia One alters one’s biomechanical running pattern, take it easy on the first few runs to see how your body responds.  Listen to your body and take care.

*  The directions warned that the shoes might feel a little odd when they are first put on- unlike anything you’ve experienced before.  They advised not to make any judgements until one has run a 10K in them, and also warned that these shoes are NOT made for walking… or standing for that matter. Airia One are solely designed for running.

* After reading these tips, I wondered just how these shoes worked.  The directions told me to let the shoe work for me. They suggested to try and relax and let the shoe geometry work for and not against you, and create a “silent stride with a rolling feel to it.”

 

IMG_6977

Well, I followed the instructions, and do agree that the shoes are unlike anything I’ve tried.  Because I am in the midst of marathon training, I’m putting them on my shelf until after the race, and then will dedicate some serious miles to them and see if I do run faster.  If one takes it easy at first and listens to any bodily warning signs, I do think the shoes are worth a try- the company research and testimonials make me want to run in them more.  Plus, they’ve got a good look- a slick, white shoe with flashy colors and a retro feel.  Plus, I think they look very European, which always makes things feel extra cool.

If you’d like to give running faster a shot, I suggest you look into the Airia One running shoe.  Check out their site, watch the video, and then try them yourself if you think they’re right for you.

Happy Running!