Running Shoes – Who Am I?

When I rolled out of bed this morning at 7am I was disappointed I didn’t make it to the 7:15am alarm. I could’ve laid in there, scouring Twitter and Instagram, maybe dozed back off with hopes of dreaming of running a 5 star restaurant, coming off stage after a successful encore, maybe even a lovely evening with Lana Del Rey. But I had places to go, people to see. The place: Carl Cowan Park. The people: the wooded path running parallel with the river, bordered by the mountains; a true gentleman of the highest regard. This morning was overcast, the threat of rain was in the air, but the temperature was a mild 40-something and I was excited to go for a quick Sunday run.

A short-ish run today – just over 2 miles before loading up on this week’s groceries. I made my way through the produce, dairy and meat departments being “that guy” wearing my technical long-sleeve (covered with a classic Saturday Night Grindhouse tee!), my gym shorts with moisture-wicking running tights and my classic Adidas ClimaCool running shoes. I switched over to the Adidas some time ago when I first started running on the treadmill at the YMCA. I can’t remember if it was the first, second or even third time that I quit Couch-to-5k but what I can remember is that my New Balance cross trainers just weren’t cutting it. Shin splints, knee pain – the whole nine yards. I decided to quit running but quickly made it back on after a friend suggested I invest in some actual running shoes.

But what difference will new shoes make?

Turns out, a lot! While the new Adidas didn’t do much to make my desire to run any stronger, it certainly all but completely stopped any and all pain that I had been experiencing. Those Adidas have been my running shoes since then, whenever that was – a little over a year or so ago, I suppose.

I hung those babies up while I was busy getting diabetes but busted them back out when I started moving around again. They stuck with me through spin classes, treadmill running, school track running, park track running, wooded trail running and gravel / wood chip running. They’ve been awesome.

But when I got back from the store this morning I noticed my left shoe had a hole on the inside and a hole wearing out in the toe. My right shoe was getting a hole in the inside and outside. It was hard to do, but at that moment I had declared my beloved running shoes legally dead.

But then I did something today that may not seem like a big deal to seasoned runners but it means a lot to me: I went to FleetFeet in Turkey Creek, had my stride and gait studied and was, for the first time, properly fitted for some new running shoes. I learned a lot about how my feet work while I’m walking, learned a lot about the different shoes that were available to folks and in the end settled on some green/black/white Ravenna 5s by Brooks.

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Oh, here he goes, bragging about his expensive new running shoes. Maybe, but what I want to focus on is that I’ve gotten to the point where I had to replace my old shoes. I’ve worn my running shoes out. Run holes in them. I’ve made it to the point where I’ve gone and invested in better running shoes that are going to not only last me a little longer but are also going to support me in ways that even my Adidas couldn’t. Does this make me a real runner? No – I became one of those the day I started running again. What it does make me, though, is a new Justin that has made some serious changes in his life physically and, ultimately, mentally – maybe even spiritually. I’ve gotten to a certain point and I’m confident in going further.

This isn’t merely another start and stop like the many times I’ve done something similar before. No, this is me making my health a priority in my day – every day.

Someone cue the motivational music. Maybe Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now” – that isn’t too cliché is it?

So now when I wake up in the morning, I’ll be strapping on some new tools that are going to help me build myself as I continue working toward my November 27 5k date. I’ll move and shake in the office during the day, cook and eat a killer dinner at night and then maybe – just maybe – I’ll get around to that Lana Del Rey dream :-)

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