Yesterday I went to a running store in Charlotte to pick up a pair of shoes. Staying on the path of continual physical improvement I’ve signed up for the Spartan Race on April 7th. I have exactly 60 days from today in which to get ready to whoop up on the other contestants.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done any serious running, maybe a decade by now. So I figured the smart thing to do was to get somebody to help me with shoes. I want to make sure I’m wearing the right shoes for the way I naturally run, and this place has a system that uses electronic sensors to tell you what shoes you need.
Those of you who have seen me walk understand my concerns and why I’m willing to go out of my way to make sure I get the right shoes. Ever since I was young folks have told me I have a rather unique stride, but that’s story for another day.
Anyway, I get there right at 10:00 for my appointment and right away the lady helping me wants me to take off my shoes and socks. I immediately wished I trimmed my toe nails, but that became the least of my concerns when she handed me a pair of socks.
“Here, put these on.”
I could see they were some sort of socks that worked with the sensors, which meant I was not the first person to put them on. Gross, I know, but at this point I’m committed.
I’ve already driven 45 minutes to get here and I needed the shoes so I said a quick prayer for protection against possible toe fungus and slid them on.
Next the lady straps these big bands around my legs and cinches them down like a tourniquet before attaching triangular sensors to each of them so that I had reflectors front and back above my knees and ankles.
I had to roll my nylon shorts up so she could get the sensors on but, of course, they wouldn’t stay so she brought me a binder clip to hold them up. Finally we are ready to get started and I stepped, sock footed, onto a treadmill that looked like it was from 1980.
It started out easy enough, just some simple knee bends. She had these lights on tripods that shone on the sensors and she was recording the whole thing with an iPad. It worked fine in the back, but when she moved around front the equipment started acting up, so I had to do five or six sets of knee bends before it would record.
Next came the running. Still in sock feet I ran the treadmill up to the prescribed speed, a 12 minute-mile pace. Shooting from the rear there were no problems, I only ran for about 15 seconds. But when we moved around front the equipment wouldn't work right again.
“It didn’t record, keep going and I’ll try again.”
“Move a bit closer to the front.”
“Speed it up to the 11 minute-mile pace.”
“Try moving back.”
By now I’ve been running for six, maybe seven minutes. I don’t know for sure because the old treadmill didn’t have a display for time and, not planning on an actual run, I didn’t think to wear my Ironman® watch.
“Speed it up just a bit more.”
“Try kicking your heels up higher.”
“OK, let’s take a break.”
Thank god. I had to shed a layer. I’m pretty sure I had mile under my belt at that point and I was happy to just watch the sweat drip on the treadmill.
“OK, I’ve think I’ve got it now, let’s try again.”
“Ugh, I’m so sorry, can you speed it up a bit more?”
"A few more notches, please."
“And try kicking those heels up again.”
Eventually, I think at about the 1.5 mile mark, I was at a full sprint and my shoeless feet had enough. I had to call it quits because I wasn't about to injure myself just trying to get fitted for running shoes.
Using the old-fashioned "try them on" method I quickly settled on a pair of New Balance. By the time got to my truck my calves were already hurting and I knew I’d have problems today. Sure enough when I quietly slipped out of bed this morning (like a ninja so as not to wake the princess) I almost fell down because my calves hurt so bad.
All day I’ve hardly been able to walk. My legs are freakin’ sore!
Still, I’m going for a short run tonight.
I don’t feel like it.
I’d much rather snuggle up in the bed with Julia and watch reruns of Parks and Recreation since we have finally found something we can both enjoy.
But I’m going to run anyway, because nobody that I know has ever reached their goals by not chasing them just because they didn’t feel like it.