Running Shoes Are Sacred

It’s funny how being a runner makes you think about things differently – namely shoes.  When you’re a kid, you get new shoes when the ones you are wearing start to fall apart; and you really only have two working pairs – one for every day and one for church.  At least, that’s how it was when I was growing up.  Things change when you become an adult and can pay your own way.  You buy shoes that match this outfit or that one and you end up having multiple pairs of shoes to choose from on any given day or for the type of activity you might be doing.

A few years ago, I fell in love with heels and bought as many as I could without breaking the budget or my closet; although there are some who would have said I broke both.  I still love the look of heels, but I just can’t wear them anymore (not that I wore them particularly well when I owned them).  They hurt my feet, they are hard to walk in and they just aren’t practical.  I could probably write a whole post about heels and my decision to get rid of every pair I owned.  But this post is about running shoes, which is probably a less interesting post than heels would have been…

As a runner, you buy shoes for practical purposes and to avoid injury.  I started getting shin splints a few weeks ago and the first thing my sister said was, “you need new shoes”.  I also didn’t realize there are different shoes for running and different shoes for training.  So, yesterday, I plunked down far too much money for two different types of shoes – running shoes and cross trainers.

I went to one of those running stores where they take a video of you running and that magically tells them which shoes are better for your stride… or something.  I actually did this a few years back when I first started getting serious about running.  And yes, it has been that long since I bought running shoes, which is bad, I know.  But this is really the first time since I started the process that I’ve been REALLY serious about it.

I have never run three times a week consistently until this year and I have never run more than 3 miles… Actually, there was this one time the first year I started running when we walked – it was on a paved road but it’s in the mountains and is a pretty steep climb so I could say hiked – about five and a half miles to a park, had lunch and decided to jog our way down.  I ran the whole way, but I don’t count it because it was 98% downhill and, well, I don’t know why I don’t count it.  I guess I should.  Anyway, the point is, I don’t do it consistently.

For the first time since that year, I actually ran a pretty difficult five miles last Saturday, and it was after said run that I started noticing my shins.  I knew my shoes were bad, but it’s funny how longer distances really punch you in the face (shins in this case) with “get new shoes, damn it!”  I bore it for an entire week and was finally forced to go yesterday after my shin started hurting consistently after running and training.

I’m pretty stoked I did.  The new running shoes are awesome!  I took them for a three mile run last night and could tell a difference right away.  I could also tell I will need to break them in; my feet felt constricted and they ended up falling asleep about half way in.  Not fun… but the shins didn’t hurt quite so bad when I was finished.

I’m also looking forward to trying out the new cross trainers tomorrow night.  I noticed when doing things like jumping jacks and burpees that I was stopping not because I was tired or because my legs hurt, but because the bottoms of my feet were hurting.  The guy at the store said it was my shoes.  He showed me how the bottoms of cross trainers are flatter and harder and some other science-y stuff on why they are better for what I am doing than running shoes.  Besides, every runner knows running shoes are sacred.  You can only put so many miles on them before it’s time to change them in – something I haven’t really cared much about but should probably start.

I’m not an expert on running or shoes or anything really.  I just wanted to let you all know how excited I am to have new shoes.  In some ways, it feels a little bit like getting new shoes when I was a kid, which happened so rarely it was cause for excitement and joy.  I will just try not to think about how much less is actually in my bank account after said purchase and continue tell myself I deserve it!  Oh yeah, and safety… or something!

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