Skip to main content

Just add running shoes

running shoesThe regulars around here know that I’m an avid (read incredibly enthusiastic) rollerblader – but it wasn’t always my go-to sweat activity. I used to be addicted to the pool (and the intense meditative silence of swimming back in forth in water), tolerant of the bike (I just never found a comfortable existence there) and, then, of course, there was the running.

Here’s the thing about running. It’s the easiest thing in the world. You don’t need a pool, you don’t need an expensive bike and helmet…you just need some good sneakers. You can run anywhere: dirt, pavement, sand, grass. I used to love my long runs all over Boston and its burbs. On the weekends, I’d hit the trails with my dog for epic ventures on wooded trails – jumping over roots, sloshing through streams, in heat, in rain, in snow. Never bored.

And then I got hurt. I was running a road race – 10 miles along the sea coast of New Hampshire from the border of Maine to the border of Massachusetts. About a mile in, I started to feel it – pain on the outside of my ankle. But I had come to this race with co-workers who were serious runners and I wouldn’t let myself stop. Pride is also a bitch.

So, I kept running. And it was the worst run ever. Drove an hour home, got into bed, fell asleep, woke up, couldn’t walk. The intensity of that injury lasted for a good month – and it took me away from running for a very, very long time. I told myself the separation was forever. I told everyone that running was baaaadddddd.

Everything happens for a reason, though. I left running and triathlons for yoga and walking in the woods. I reorganized the way my mind worked, I healed some long-held body image issues by being kind to myself and not manically slave driving. As many of you know, I’ve been working my way back into the hard core exercise world again, but I still gripped tightly to this 9 year story that I. Couldn’t. Run.

Then, last week, I got the urge. It was clear as day, ‘up in lights’ on the top of my brain. I wanted to put on my shoes and take off. The desire for sweat, a pounding heart and straining muscles pulling me to the store to buy my first pair of running shoes in almost a decade.


This morning I went running. My lungs burned and ached, but my body practically sang. Dirt, pavement, sand, grass – I tackled them all and only whined a little. I devoured that exhilarating sprint at the end – it being proof that the story I’d been telling myself for the last 9 years – I can’t run – wasn’t true.

What is true is that I can write a new story…one that only needs a good pair of running shoes and the belief that, dammit, I can do anything.

Image credit: ishane

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Edgy Mama says:

    Is that guy sniffing or kissing that running shoe?

    Nice one, J. As always.

    Funny how our lives are running in parallel lines. I jogged about a mile yesterday (for the first time since knee surgery 15 years ago) with my girl who is training for a 5K. I was thinking the same thing you were: “Wow, maybe I can run again.”

    Although I’m far from abandoning my swimming and cycling, maybe I can jog a 5K with my daughter. Hurrah!

  • Jason says:

    I re-train and re-educate runners all the time. The problem is we are never taught how to run, unlike speaking, throwing a ball, etc. Yes, injuries DO happen, (I just lost the past summer to injuries) but there is always something to improve technique… even if it is an attitude adjustment. ;)

  • No matter what it is, just because you stop doing something, that doesn’t mean you’re done doing that for good.

    You CAN do anything…you just have to do it.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Anne Fitten – I think he’s smelling that shoe, lovingly. I love our parallel-ness. Makes me happy from afar…maybe we’ll run the NYC marathon together next year?

  • Perfect timing for me, Julie.

    I am just about to finish the Couch to 5K training program and am toying with the idea of moving forward to train for a half-marathon in March. Part of me is saying, “Why not? You’re a runner now!” but part of me is hesitantly reminding me that I have never, ever been an “athlete.”

    THANK YOU for the encouragement to write a new story.

  • Ari Herzog says:

    YES! You can do anything in the world if you put your mind to it. I’m fond of the saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Will it and make it so.

Leave a Reply