One of my earliest road races, if not my first, was September 8, 2012. I have no idea what that race was, or what the distance was, but I know I did it because I kept the bib and scribbled my finishing time on it – 45:50.79. I’m guessing it was a 5K, and I probably didn’t train for it.
In fact, until I decided I wanted to run longer distances, I didn’t train for anything.
I just showed up.
I ran until I needed to walk.
I walked until I felt like running again.
I crossed the finish line.
I probably skipped the free beer.
I went home.
Even several years later when I decided to run a local series to accumulate 26.2 miles in one calendar year (I just wanted the finisher’s jacket), I didn’t train.
It wasn’t until I decided to run a half marathon that I started actually running between races. And by “running in between races” I mean “training.” And by “training” I mean “getting a desk calendar and a box of markers and filling that bad boy in with the training plan I arbitrarily picked off the Internet, because it seemed like a good plan.”
And with training came the concept of shoes… up until this point, I had been a Nike girl. I loved my Nikes. I loved having an excuse to go to Kohl’s for a near pair in a cute color.
But if I was going to run a half marathon, I read somewhere that I should probably get fitted for running shoes. So off to my local running establishment I went. Because who needs groceries when you can spend that money on running shoes? This is why Ramen noodles and Easy Mac exist, and those qualify as carb-loading.
Here’s the thing about specialty stores… they make everything look like candy.
As a retail geek, I could do nothing but admire the massive focal wall at the back of the store, perfectly-lit and covered in candy-colored shoes.
But it gets worse… you can’t have new shoes without some new socks that claim to reduce possibility of blisters. And you need Body Glide, obviously. And if you’re gonna run in the early morning hours, you need a reflective vest and a headlamp. And you need a foam roller. And a massage stick. And an actual massage from a person who isn’t your significant other. And you need shorts with pockets. And a hydration vest for those long runs. And anti-fog sunglasses. And wireless earbuds. And… and… and… the list could go on, forever.
It’s really not as simple as just a pair of sneakers. Running becomes an obsession. You must have all the things! You will go broke. Just accept it now, if you haven’t already.
And on that note… yours truly needs a new pair of sneakers… marathon training wore the other pair out.