Friday, July 31, 2009

A real run for your money

Short on cash? Stop shelling out $50 or more a month to LA Fitness and just lace up your sneaks and run outside instead. It’s free.

Or…maybe not.

You’d think that compared to joining a gym, signing up for expensive Pilates studio lessons or enlisting the attentions of a personal trainer, running would be the most cost-effective way to get fit. But you’d be wrong.

Did you know, for example, that you need three pairs of really “great” running shoes (great meaning tres cher) to alternate and that you need to replace all three of these shoes for every 300 miles completed?

I didn’t know this. But my orthopedist, the dashing Dr. Sheldon, kindly explained it to me when I went to see him today. After identifying my shin splints with a Sharpie pen on my legs (kind of the way plastic surgeons draw on their patients’ bodies—and I made the mistake of wearing a skirt to my appointment), he took a look at my running shoes and said, “Aha!”

He’d found the culprit. In addition to having too much mileage on them, my much beloved Nike Zoom Air Road Explosion IIs are too long and too wide. My poor feet jostle around, putting undue pressure on my upper shins.

So I’m off to see a shoe specialist. A guy with a ShoeHd. That’s not his real degree—it’s actually a CPed, which is a degree given to people who can expertly measure feet. I’m sure this shopping extravaganza will be a lot more expensive visit than my $25 co-pay today.

A few other running expenses I didn’t anticipate:

iTunes. My father and stepmother gave me a $100 iTunes gift card for my birthday, which was in March. I’ve already spent it. When they gave it to me, I remember thinking, Wow! This will last me a long time! How many new songs does a girl need when there’s the radio, Pandora, etc. But then I didn’t realize how quickly I’d bore of “Boom Boom Pow.” At almost $50 a pop, these incredibly comfortable skirts (which look like a cross between a tennis skirt and a “Grandma” bathing suit bottom) mean not having to deal with pants elastic tearing halfway into a run, chafing or the saggy-bottom blues. They fit much better (on my body type, anyway) than the Target knock-offs. But they are almost $50!! And they never have my size on sale, unless I want to buy the pumpkin-orange one, which I don’t.

Little rewards. I’m proud of myself for running as much and as far as I do! I’m proud that I wake up at 5:50 am every day, run through rain, dodging bats and mosquitoes and yippy dogs, even with shin pain. When I’m proud of my 6 year-old son, I’ll buy him a pack of Pokemon cards. When I’m proud of my 3 ½ year old daughter, I’ll buy her a Snow White tiara. And when I’m proud of me…well, I did need a new Kate Spade purse, anyway. And, I got the small one.

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