Bill the salesman is a quality guy. I know this because I am standing in his specialty store for runners, Second Sole, and HE is obviously a runner, and I am obviously NOT a runner, am I am trying to choke out the words “I am a runner” and he is not even poking fun. I don’t understand why this is so hard for me. I know what the dictionary says about being A RUNNER. A runner is a person who runs. And I do that. I really do. I have run two half-marathons in the past year and countless three milers and six milers and a good baker’s dozen of ten milers throughout the past few months. I have run in the woods and the rain and in the heat and on a treadmill and on the sand and by myself and in a crowd or with only an early-morning deer or skunk for company. But still I choke on this sentence.
But now it is time to grow up and show up, and officially become what I already am: a runner. So I am standing in front of Bill who is holding back a smile while I stammer and stutter and tell him I need new running shoes. Maybe THIS is the rub. Running is the sport that requires the LEAST equipment and I haven’t been doing even that much right.
My first pair of shoes when I started this new trend in my life two years ago was an eighteen dollar Target pair that was on sale for nine bucks. They served me well, those no name shoes, and helped me to fall in love with the sport. And I even ran my first 13.1 in them. I stepped on a nail when I was eight miles in, and finished the last five with a nail protruding from the bottom corner. Stubborn girl, this one. (I knew that if I stopped to pull it out I would never start back up again!)
I advanced a bit in the last year to the Asic’s gel shoes I found at Kohl’s with my thirty percent off coupon. They’ve gotten me through a lot of early morning miles and trips through the paved woods path near my home. They have gone the distance, (pun intended) but since I have been keeping up with this new sport that I love to hate, I know it is time to buy some big girl kicks.
So here I am, my stomach in a knot, my pulse racing, and sweet William is nodding his head and smiling. Bill examines my feet, takes a look at my stance and stride, and measures my foot size by sight. (This amazes me and makes me feel like I am in the right place, although this is actually his JOB, so why am I so surprised?)
He brings out five pairs and I love them all. (Smart man, this Bill.) I am sure the other customers enjoy my wind sprint trials through the apparel section, but I finally narrow it down to two: the Asics 21700 STORM with purple laces and the Adidas Supernova Sequence Y. I love them both. As I always have trouble making decisions, and they are both the same price, I close my eyes at the checkout and have Bill ring up whichever he chooses.
I walk out with the Asics (I think they are a bit more comfortable anyway, though you'll have to ask me after a 15 mile training run in a few weeks), a few of Bill’s suggestions for IT band stretches (the sore knee a major reason I went there in the first place), and a smile. And maybe, just maybe, there is a little swagger in my step and a bit of confidence in myself as a runner.
When my 350 miles are up and I go back for more, there is no doubt. I’m buying the bright orange Adidas. Now THAT will make my career as a runner official!