I picked up a new pair of running shoes today. I left my old pair in North Carolina – the pair that took me through my first half marathon, the Cap10K, and then a terrible post-injury 10k last spring.
So since June I’ve had thoughts about going to the gym – no shoes – or going for a walk – no shoes – or maybe even going for a little jog – NO SHOES. I’ve had vague plans to train for the 3M Half Marathon with friends, my comeback race after the last terrible comeback race that ended up being less of a comeback and more of a miserable experience. So I needed some damn shoes.
I’d tried ordering a pair online, resulting in terrible blisters, even though they were supposedly the same shoe I’d had before, just the latest model. I returned them and put off the act of shoe shopping once again.
Maybe a smarter or more efficient person would just take herself out to the store to get new shoes, but a) I try to reserve every precious minute the girls are in school to get work done, b) I am not taking three kids with me to pick out running shoes, and c) I was planning on training for the 3M Half Marathon coming up in January, so I couldn’t just pluck a pair of pretty shoes off the shelf. I over-pronate when I run, so fit was important to me.
But today I realized that my poor tootsies weren’t going to survive through many more cold fronts without proper footwear. I have a lot of slip ons – flats, TOMS, Bobs that alternate as shoes and slippers, and the Texas favorite – flip flops. But sometimes you just need an actual shoe to keep your feet warm. And to exercise in and stuff.
Anyway, I ended up with the ASICS GEL-Exalt 2 (affiliate link) because it was nice looking, felt good, and wasn’t terribly expensive. They’re mid-level shoes.
I was okay with these being mid-level shoes because I am not, in fact, going to run the 3M Half Marathon.
I’m not sad to say that my woefully short long distance running career is most likely over. Okay, maybe I’m a little sad to say that. In order to run the 3M, I’d have to start training at the beginning of November, and that’s with no cushion in the training schedule. We all know it’s too late for that by now.
In mid-September I started a strength training regiment. I immediately hurt my back again. And although it ended up being muscular and not my old disc issue, it scared the crap out of me. Debilitating and soul-crushing back pain will do that to you.
It hit me then that while I want to find ways to take care of myself and stay fit, pushing my body to the extreme is not worth it to me anymore. I spent almost a year recovering from my last disc herniation. Mild pain still springs up from time to time, but I’m not willing to risk injury and putting myself through that painful experience again, even if I do have the tools to work through it. This strength training routine was not by any means pushing my body to the extreme, and that’s what freaked me out.
I’ll head out to the course to cheer on my friends and meet them at the finish line. And I’ll try not to be insanely jealous as I watch them train and accomplish this awesome goal (it’s my friend’s comeback race as well, after having a baby and, oh, almost DYING from an infection post-surgery).
But most importantly, I am at peace with this decision. For now.