Gotta Be The Shoes

I decided today it wasn’t worth it. All the sweat, all the pain and anguish, all the hard, hard work. It’s not worth it. I decided that, but I did it anyway. I took a big breath, and did something that scared the heck out of me:

I went and looked for shoes.

This whole running thing is going to be expensive. I know it. $100 running shoes every few months? Not something I’ve ever budgeted for in the past. Shoes, in general, aren’t in my budget. Right now I have six pairs of shoes:

  • Tan Loafers (my work shoes)
  • Winter boots
  • Everyday sneakers
  • Workout sneakers
  • Black loafers
  • Riding shoes

I think this is the largest amount of footwear I’ve ever owned. I got the two pairs of sneakers from my late step-father. My mom kept trying to foist his clothes off on me, and even when I weighed 240 pounds they were too big for me. Besides they were old man clothes. I took the shoes mostly to keep her from bugging me. The black loafers I got when I bought the suit I wore to my son’s wedding.

The suit, by the way, was the first suit I had purchased in several decades. When you lug a camera around for a living, there’s very little call for one. Can ya tell I’m not much of a fashion plate?

So getting running shoes puts me right out of my comfort zone. Not only do I have to go and purchase clothing, but clothing for a specific purpose, about which I know nearly nothing. Fortunately, I’m becoming more comfortable with being uncomfortable, so I steeled my nerves and walked into the store.

I chose a small little shop not too far from my office which specializes in equipping triathletes. In my mind I expected some sort of snob who would belittle my goals. Of course, what I found was a genuinely nice man whose own goal was helping folks like me reach their goals. I also told him I was just starting my search, and wasn’t going to leave with a purchase today. He spent a lot of time with me, discussing the functions of running shoes and different types of supports, and even got me onto a treadmill and videotaped me running on it to show me why I would need the type of shoe I will eventually buy.

And then I tried on some shoes. The first few were okay. Each one had something that didn’t feel right to it. One rubbed me on the fibula. Another squeezed my little toe. But one…wow. Very comfortable. I think I’ve found my shoe…the first step on my way to running.

Get it? First…step? Yeah, I went there. It’s a running joke!

I didn’t buy the shoes, mostly because I told myself I wasn’t going to buy today. But I did have him put them aside with my name on them. There’s other running stores out there and I may try and get to some of them this weekend. But I think I found the ones I want.

Of course, one of the things that sets me apart from most 50-somethings who decide to do triathlons is that I also have to shop for a leg, but that’s a story for another day.



I’m Back.

If for no other reason than to save this blog from having its last post be about my nipples, I’m back. (Go ahead and scroll down. I’ll wait)  And I’ve done a little bit of a redesign of the site as well. Because things have changed.

First of all, I did it. On August 20, 2011, I rode my bike up Mount Washington. Here–let me write briefly about the ride:

“Oh my God it was hard.”

Too brief? Okay. Here’s a bit more:

“It was hard. HARD. Unbelievably hard. Hardest thing I’ve ever done hard. Concrete-wrapped-in-steel-covered-with-diamonds hard.”

There. Better? Oh, you want details? Well…

That’s a bit harder. Seriously. I’ve tried a few times to write it, but it’s longer than a single post. There’s so much detail I could put in. Let me see if I can do something shorter.

…no. Can’t do it. Well, I can tell you this: It took me 2:20:46 to go from the bottom to the top. At the bottom, someone puked who wasn’t me, and that made me feel better. In the middle, I despaired. My friend Gordon said I would despair. I didn’t think I would. I despaired. At the top, a miracle occurred. Honest. A miracle.

I’ll post more about it as the days go on. It’s a long story, and it goes back years.

But writing about that is not why I restarted this blog. The reason I’m back is because I’ve got more to do. In 2008, I thought I would ride to the top of this mountain, and then go back to the way things were. Or, a Hollywood film crew would meet me at the top of the mountain and want to do an inspirational movie about me starring either Randy Quaid or Dennis Quaid, depending on how I was feeling about myself. And, as always, life presented a third option. It was something I did not expect. Although, in retrospect, I should have.

What I didn’t expect was that I would want to do more stuff like this. Hard stuff. Challenges. And I’m starting back up again with training. I’ve got long-term and short-term goals laid out.

My goals for 2012:

  • Start swimming again. Learn Total Immersion. (Sorry for the music)
  • Start running. Run in the Lilac 5k. (haven’t registered yet)
  • Continue cycling. Do a century ride (100 miles in a day. I’ve already registered for the Tour de Cure–and accepting donations).
  • Ride my bike to my brother’s house (on the other side of the state–241 miles away)
  • Participate in a sprint triathlon.

As far as longer-term goals, that last item’s what we in the writing business call a ‘dead giveaway.’ My long-term goal is to participate in a full-blown triathlon. Which one? I dunno. When? Dunno that either. My best guess is I’ll do it in 2014. When I’m 55 years old.

Heck, if some 60-year-old can be Darth Vader, why can’t I be a triathlete at 55?

And I’ll commit to putting information on this blog too–but this isn’t going to be a training blog. Not entirely. Maybe not even a little bit. I want this to be more of an outlet for what’s going on in my head. I’ll report on my physical progress, of course, but for me the biggest battles in this field are all between my ears. Because my default mental state has always been, and most likely always will be “I can’t do it.”

Well, maybe I can’t, and maybe I can. But if I can’t, it won’t be from lack of trying.

That’s why I’m keeping the name of this blog the same. Because for me, the true uphill ride has never been out there. It’s always been in here.*

*You can’t see it, but I’m pointing at my forehead. And maybe my heart as well. I’m guessing you already figured that out.