Runner’s Luck: What’s your lucky charm?

Since getting seriously into this running lark I’ve had some ups and downs.  I’m glad to say that at the moment I’m very much on the up.  A lot of the “up” is down to hard work but I’ve recently had a little bit of luck too, winning a pair of Brooks Ghost 7 courtesy of The Running Bug’s #brooksluckycharm competition.

I’ve been a member of The Running Bug for ages now (it’s free) and I go through phases of being on the site daily and then not visiting for weeks.  I was on one of my “no visit” streaks when a competition caught my eye and caused me to reacquaint myself with the site.

The Running Bug and Brooks had teamed up to celebrate the launch of the Ghost 7 by giving away 7 pairs for 7 days and all you had to do to have a chance of winning one of the 49 pairs was post a picture of your running lucky charms with the hasthag #brooksluckycharm on Twitter or Facebook.

So I decided to use my lucky charms to make some luck in the hope of bagging a pair of new shoes.  Each day I posted a photo – sometimes a little cliched, sometimes a little more unusual – to try to catch the eye of the judges.

My club top, my London 2012 wristband, my 2003 Great North Run water bottle all got looked over so I then went a little more abstract.

On one of my visits to New York the MetroCard ticket had the word “optimism” across the back with the punch hole making a perfect full stop.  I know first hand how the power of positive thinking can help in life and in running so I thought this could be my winning ticket, as it were.

My daily reminder to be positive from the greatest city in the world
My daily reminder to be positive from the greatest city in the world

Unfortunately it too had been overlooked.  Time was running out.  I changed tack and hopped on the “Ghost” theme but photographing my race bibs and medals of my 10k, half marathon and mile PB races, claiming them as “ghosts” of PBs past.  I was feeling confident about this one.

My "ghosts" of PBs past - medals & bibs from my best 10k, half marathon & mile races
My “ghosts” of PBs past – medals & bibs from my best 10k, half marathon & mile races

Nope.  Five days down and not a sniff of new trainers.

My 6th attempt was a no brainer.  At the age of 35 I was about to tackle my first ever track race that day.  With my new fascination that is the mile, the “Bannister” special edition Iffley Road top I’d received for my birthday was going to be my lucky charm in the hunt for a sub 6 minute mile.

The spirit of Bannister from Iffley Rd helped me to a new PB
The spirit of Bannister from Iffley Road helped me to a new PB

It worked – I shaved 6 seconds off my PB set at the City of London Mile to record a 5:58.11!  But no news on the competition.  I wasn’t sure if I’d got out of sync and couldn’t remember whether I’d even got the right days so I had one final stab at winning me some new shoes.  For the 7th and final day I pulled out the big guns, or rather more accurately: the small pants.

I don’t know about you but I am very particular about the pants I run in.  And, in case any American’s are reading, I’m not talking about trousers or sweat pants here!  My preference for running is a “brief” type of underwear.  Budgie smugglers, if you will.  And I am so fond of mine that, much to the despair of my wife, they are very much showing the effects of ageing.  This was their moment; they were about to win me some shiny new shoes.

My lucky pants.  Enough said I think.
My lucky pants. Enough said I think.

And what do you know, I got a message from The Running Bug saying I’d won.  I knew it – my trusty lucky pants!

Although, on checking – I had actually won one of Day 6’s pairs of Ghost thanks to my Iffley Road top so I needn’t have aired my underwear to the online neighbourhood.  Oh well, they’re nothing to be ashamed of….ok, maybe they are!

My prize greeted me as I returned home from work yesterday and I gave them their first run out this morning.  First signs are that they are my new lucky charm!

My #brooksluckycharm prize: a pair of Brooks Ghost 7
My #brooksluckycharm prize: a pair of Brooks Ghost 7

I’m training for the Great North Run at the moment and with a past history of problems caused by footwear I was a little anxious so I opted to test them on my shorter, faster run today rather than my long, slow run tomorrow.

I’ve got famously fat feet that I’ve been told overponate so I’ve been running in big, supportive, wide Mizuno Alchemy for a while now and have covered some great miles.  The trouble is they are heavy and I’m trying to get faster so this isn’t ideal.  Also, having been working on my running technique I am controlling my pronation a lot more and heel striking has moved considerably further forward to a decent mid-foot landing now.  My competition prize was going to be an ideal way to test the water with a neutral shoe.

A 43 minutes session of quicker-than-race-pace efforts with easy intervals was on the cards.  I went to my local park so that I could have some consistent ground and if all went wrong I was only a kilometre from home.

I needn’t have worried.  The Brooks Ghost 7 are light and comfortable.  The toe box is narrower than my Mizuno’s but my feet didn’t feel squashed at all.

I got going on my warm up and was really struggling – to go slow.  Whether it was the lighter shoe or just the feeling of having new shoes on, I’m not sure but my legs just wanted to go faster!

Arriving at the park I had found a steady rhythm (if not still a bit quicker than my warm up called for) and hitting my “yellow” pace was a breeze.  In fact, on a few of the efforts I needed to dial back and relax a little bit.

I’m not going to rush into binning my Mizuno’s just yet – they’re a faithful friend and with my mileage increasing I need to make sure I don’t shock my feet and legs completely but for my shorter sessions I’ll enjoy putting the Brooks Ghost 7’s through their paces, and by the looks of it, me through mine!

Do you have any running lucky charms?  Have you won any running gear from online competitions?  Do different running shoes make a difference to your running?  Leave a comment to let me know.

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4 thoughts on “Runner’s Luck: What’s your lucky charm?”

  1. Congratulations on your competition win! Those are some sweet shoes.

    Right after I ordered my RoadID bracelet and started wearing it at races, I got about 3 PBs in a row. I started calling it my “PR bracelet,” but it seems once I called attention to its powers it stopped bringing me luck… or at least PBs. I’ve never had a bad race while wearing it! It’s never won me any online competitions though. I’ll have to give it time 🙂

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