Friday, May 16, 2014


Subtitle: I always think I know best. I might be bossy, or have certain control issues.

I have a serious stubborn streak. (This is not news to my husband.) Don't tell me I can't do something. Don't suggest something would work better. Don't take a route that I think is slower. Don't hint that the way that I've been doing something is the wrong way, or that it could be done better. 90% of the time, I won't listen to you, I won't try your way, I won't back down.

For instance, I stubbornly believed I could only run in Nike Zoom Structures for four years, buying the same exact model three years in a row. The first pair I bought in the store. The second I found on clearance at Nordstrom rack. The third came from Zappos, and the last pair, a model that was two years out of date, came from an exhaustive search that ended at e-bay (but they were pink. My first pink running shoes. I shed a tear that I wouldn't be finding another pair the next year.)

From left to right: I had two of the first pair and second pairs that were identical to the ones pictured. The middle pink pair were my last Nikes, sniff. The fourth pair are the evil shoes I just retired, and the last pair are my newest hope.

This year, I decided I had to go away from my Nikes. So I went to the sporting good store and bought what I thought was the best pair of shoes. I sort of let the sales person help me, but mostly I just went off of what I thought was best, and ended up with some Brooks Adrenaline. They were pink and felt good in the store, so I figured I had succeded in moving away from my Nikes.

The shoes were okay for about a week. Then my right calf started aching after every run, which made my knee ache (I cannot explain how calf and knee pain go together, but whatever. They did.) Then I got a blister on the very tip of my left big toe; not a regular, easily treated blister, but a swelling just under the surface that made every barefoot step like a little bee sting. It took two months for that to go away. Meanwhile, still I have the annoying aching. And 5 miles into a run, my toes on my right foot would go numb. But still I remained stubbornly sure that they were weren't the problem, because the idea of the shoes fits the belief I have of what kind of running shoes are best for me.

I started dreading putting my shoes on. Finally this week I decided I had enough. This morning, shortly after they opened, I went to a running store I've never tried before. The nice Chinese man who owned the store watched me walk, asked what I've been running in, and then declared I needed a neutral shoe (there are three kinds of running shoes: neutral, neither support or cushion, but in the middle, stability, which I've always worn, which keep feet from pronating, and cushion, which, you guessed it, are cushiony.) I immediately started to argue, stating the 5 years of running in my Nikes as proof that I needed a good stability shoe. "No. Try neutral." he told me, and got his very helpful assistant to bring me a pair of shoes that I planned on hating and sending back after much wise council on my part that they were altogether wrong for me.

Except...I loved them. The Brooks Ghost 6 neutral running shoe he brought me were awesome. They have a wide width, which he assured would help me avoid mid-run toe numbness. The arch supports, being much less than what I've been running with, were perfect for my left foot, which is always a nightmare to fit. They felt really cushy and good and springy and I decided that I must put my pride in my pocket and let the nice Chinese man and his assistant tell me that I was wrong in my prior belief in types of appropriate running footwear.

Believe you me, it was hard. I called in the troops (Shane) for a consult. He told me that they sounded great, the reviews were good on them, and encouraged me to trust the men and let them tell me what to do. The guilt of buying another pair of running shoes just 3 months after buying the last pair was overwhelming. The risk that they might not feel good mid-run and being non-returnable almost made me leave the store and order them on Zappos or Amazon, where a return was more likely. But, after much debate and walking around the store, I bought them.


I didn't hesitate to try them out today. My feet felt happier than they have in months. I am 2.5 hours post-run and my calf still feels good (I almost can't keep that sentence for fear of jinxing myself.)

I keep learning this lesson. That's its ok to let others be the expert sometimes. That I won't be hurting myself by listening to someone else. I might have a problem with pride. I might be resistant to letting letting males boss me around. (Even writing that makes me twitch and want to justify this aspect of my personality. Geesh.)

Maybe it's the very female house I was raised in. Maybe it's a lifetime of watching my mom, who very rarely lets others tell her what is best for her. Maybe it's just a human thing. It might be related to my control issues, or because I was OCD in my youth about which gymnastics leo I could wear on what day to make sure I didn't get into trouble. Or maybe, maybe, maybe.

I'm learning. The world kept spinning, even thought I did what the man told me I should do.

I might try it again sometime.


Feisty Harriet said...

I nodded my head reading this entire post, because I am SO VERY SIMILAR!

And I probably need new running shoes.