Back in 2007, I bought a pair of running shoes. Brooks Beast I think they were. I still have them, but I never used them for running, despite my best intentions. They became walking and everyday shoes, which seems like an awful waste of money since they were top of the line, around $130 at the time, with all the lateral support an overpronator like me needed.
The problem was two-fold. I was overweight by a lot and I had shin splints.
I’ve always been a runner. A casual runner. As a kid I loved to run. Growing up, I was the fastest on the block and on the playground. I remember the girl down the block, when were were in middle school, challenged me to a race. I forgot what I was supposed to do if I lost, but she said if she lost, she’d kiss me. To be honest, I’m not sure if I won outright or if Linda lost on purpose just so she could kiss me.
I used to brag that in high school I teased the kids on the track team because even they couldn’t catch me, but I think I made that up. I only teased the football players.
But I never ran in organized competition. I wish someone had encouraged me to back then. Running and swimming were my two best recreational sports, but my parents never pushed me to participate in athletics.
My mom wasn’t a sports mom and my dad probably gave up after I showed I had no aptitude for baseball. My defining moment came in the outfield when someone hit a ball to me and I was sitting on the ground reading a Bazooka Joe comic from my gum wrapper. The ball rolled by and my dad never spoke of sports to me again.
I was in my twenties when I started running more seriously. I ran on the road. I ran at my college’s indoor running track. I ran fast. I ran for distance. At one point, I managed a mile in 5:30. Not bad for a two pack a day smoker.
In distance, I was running 12 plus miles a day. I tried to eat right. I read and subscribed to every running magazine. I even read The short story, “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner,” by Alan Sillitoe (I wonder if that was a pseudonym? Sillitoe, writing about running?). Jim Fixx, despite his untimely death, was my hero.
Yes, I was a runner.
And then, shin splints. I tried to run through the pain, it did go away after about 3 or 4 miles, but it hurt the rest of the time and I barely had the strength to walk up stairs.
So I quit running. I tried biking. That was OK, but it’s more dangerous in winter and it just didn’t give me the same endorphin rush.
Then my thyroid went wonky. I gained so much weight and was so puffy, I looked like the Michelin Man before my doctor finally diagnosed it.
And the weight has been slow to come off.
I’ve tried running a few times since I quit, but the shin splints kept coming back and because of my weight, I didn’t have the wind any more for.
So I thought running was gone from my life. But then, last year, we bought a treadmill. I had so many plans for that! Yeah, I was going to get back into running, lose weight, and yeah! I bought myself a new pair of running shoes: Asics Cumulus 16. I had plans!
Yeah. The treadmill gathered dust for almost a year, as did the shoes. I refused to wear them for any reason but running. To put them on and go outside to the mall, well, that would be admitting defeat, wouldn’t it?
And I didn’t want to admit defeat.
So the treadmill languished. The running shoes silently mocked me on the floor by my dresser.
(to be continued)