If you know me, you may remember that a few years back, I tried to get into the running thing.
My friend Tara and I used to go walking at lunch time and I had one of those moments where I talked before I thought about what I was saying and I told Tara all about this Couch to 5K program that I'd heard about that said it could get you to run 5K or half an hour straight in 9 weeks. Apparently, Tara doesn't understand what making conversation is, so all of a sudden, we're actually doing the program. Whaaaaat?
The only reason how I got suckered into it? Because we promised ourselves we'd reward ourselves HUGE and we got to buy running gear. Now, when I commit to something, I REALLY commit to it. Which means that if there's something out there made for it, I want it. So of course, to keep up the motivation, we had to keep getting ourselves running gear in order to want to go out and run so we could use what we just bought. Of course, it didn't actually mean I wanted to go out and run, but knowing I could buy stuff made it bearable.
Unfortunately, we started the program well into the hottest summer EVER and since we ran over our lunch hour which is pretty much the hottest part of the day, I ended up copping out on the outdoor running and took to running on a treadmill.
I can't even explain to you how that is NOT the same as running outdoors. Do not EVER do a majority of your runs on a treadmill and think you've got game outside because you don't. The asphalt will own you, chew you up and spit you out gasping for your next breath next to your crap treadmill. I'm just sayin'...
We finished the program and to make sure that we stuck with it, we signed up for a bunch of stuff. The CIBC Walk/Run for the Cure, Running Room's Resolution Run and the 5K at the Niagara Falls International Marathon. Granted, we only signed up for runs that gave us stuff - like medals or really awesome loot bags (hey, I never said I ran for fun or anything!) but they still got us out there running. Then, like most of my habits do, I shook it loose and went on to other things and just like that, my being able to run for half an hour - even on the treadmill - went kaputz.
The thing is, I just kept waiting and waiting for me to love running. I would read people talk about how much they hated running and then all of a sudden magically love it. Puh-LEASE, nobody magically loves running, man! I like loot bags and medals and feeling all nice and happy after a run, but you know where you can feel all nice and happy and get loot bags? Birthday parties and there's no suffering outside on the streets involved. Heck, you even get cake, too!
It took me a long time to get into my running stride and a big part of the uphill battle so to speak were my feet. We could not for the life of me figure out what my feet needed in order to be able to run comfortably. I said I could live with being out of breath and slow to a walk, but it was my feet and my legs that just made it so much harder. We wouldn't even be 15 minutes into our warm-up/jog and I'd already be limping from shin splints or my feet would be doing this sort of flopping walk because it hurt too much to even walk properly. I tried a lot of shoes, different brands that everyone swore by, I did walking tests at running shoe places, I tried insoles and different socks or a combination of insoles and socks, stretching, stretching some more and every single time, I would end up just needing to stop. Even when I was able to push through and get a run finished, it wasn't without pain and just a plain, ol' hate for running.
I know this is sounding dangerously infomercial-y, but it's so hard to lay down the background info in any other way so that I can get across how big of a deal it is that I ran for half an hour yesterday. Or I ran 2 miles. Or I ran 2 miles in half an hour. Whichever way I look at it, I did it.
CONFESSION: It was on the treadmill. But I'm not knockin' it. I didn't really even mean to run.
You know what I said about buying gear? I'm a big fan of it! Owning good gear makes me feel accomplished even if I don't actually do what it is that the gear was meant for. I just want it. *LOL* So when my friend Courtney (@treadmillrunway - or should I say, miss #fitfluential ambassador herself) started reviewing a pair of shoes on her blog, I didn't really even care what they were for or what they did. I was just like...oooooh, those are funky. So there's the seed already planted. Once it's planted, it's hard for me to let it go. I managed for quite a while actually. I think a month perhaps since she only mentioned getting them online and I'm a big fan of having things right away. But every once in a while, while lacing up my bulky runners for Insanity, I'd think to myself...hmmm...remember those Skora's Courtney mentioned?
One of those random thoughts hit me when I just happened to be near a computer and I decided to peek at their website and saw a store locator button. Now this intrigued me. Stores. Stores mean I can walk right into them and just have them if I really wanted them. Interesting...
Next thing I know, I find myself at an Athletic Locker and I'm pointing out a pair of blue Skora shoes to a very nice boy who has asked if I need any help. I pointed to the blue pair even though my eyes kept straying to the beautiful, bright white shoes with the shock of green laces and pink accents. But the blue pair were more in my budget range. Out they came and onto my feet they went, but I wasn't really paying much attention. Shoes all feel fine to me when trying them on. Unless these nice kids were going to let me run around their store for half an hour or bust out a Shaun T workout right there, I figured I would just have to take them home and try them. What's another pair of shoes that I could just wear casually, I figured. That's usually what always happens anyway - and this pair would be nice. They slip on and off easily enough.
And then...something magical happened. The sales associate helping me out said: "Did you know that all these shoes here are 50% off?"
CONFESSION: I couldn't be sure, but I think thank goodness he's probably too young to have seen the Exorcist. I feel like my head sloooooowly spun around the entire axis of my neck when he said that. Do you know what that is?
That was a GAME CHANGER, BABY!
I wasted no time asking for the beautiful white, neon green, pink and blue pair. They were comin' home to MAMA!
I felt bad for the blue shoes. It's not like there was anything wrong with them...but, you can't fight love at first sight though...I asked how long the sale was going on for and they thought it was going on throughout the week but he did mention that they only carry one size of each for Skora. ONE size? What?
Weeeeell, I was strong and I only brought the one pair home with me and that is the long story of how I ended up running 2 miles in half an hour (which, even though it's not that impressing, I'm PRETTY sure it's a PR for me!).
CONFESSION: I totally went back the next day (today) with Bart and got the blue pair and tried to peer pressure him into getting a pair as well so we'd look cute with matching shoes. He wasn't sold on them as he's not much of a runner due to his knees and he wanted more shoes with more cushion and support, but now I'm the proud mama of two awesome pairs of shoes!
And of course, not any one pair of shoes (no, not even Skora's) can automatically make you a runner if you've never run before (unless you're a freak in which case I hate you because I'm extremely jealous because we all know that I only hate running because I wasn't good at it right away). For me, I think it's a combination of the Insanity program but mostly weekly ultimate Frisbee that's helped me out in the running department. I know I'd heard that doing wind sprints or quick bursts of sprints in between runs helps with long distance running and I can't think of anything that comes closer to that than starting and stopping sprints and pivoting all over the Frisbee field. So while Frisbee may be a factor in my having been able to run after a long time of not having done so, my new kicks still took away all the other excuses I used to find myself having when going for a run. I couldn't stop myself and say, well, I should stop now because my shins hurt - because they didn't. I couldn't convince myself to stop because my arches hurt - because they didn't. Basically, just from the first trial run alone, those shoes took away any excuses I could have except to just RUN. And run I did.
We'll see how it holds up to the Shaun T test this week and I hope to be able to give a more thorough and detailed/factual review as opposed to me just talking about how pretty they are - even though they ARE! :P