My Running Shoes

Over a year ago, I decided that I was going to be serious about this exercising thing. In years gone by, I used to love running, and I thought that it would be easy good for me to get back into running. Running is the most suggested thing to do to lose weight, you get to feel runner’s high, and your legs and butt look fabulous. So I dragged my boyfriend to Sports Authority and bought running shoes.

I consulted with the staff and decided on some running shoes. I ran a few sprints in them, and they felt OK. He advised me on different things I may need, but all I really needed to run was a pair of running shoes. I wasn’t training to run a race, after all; I was merely going to run around like I did in high school.

Only when I took my new shoes for a spin, I got the most excruciating foot pain. I mean high level, I can’t walk foot pain. I tried everything–running through the pain, slowing to a walk, stopping to do a few point and flex motions with my feet. Nothing was working. My arches would hurt so bad, I’d end up on hands and knees. What was wrong? I knew I was out of shape, but I couldn’t be too fat to run–could I? Maybe I just didn’t have it any more.

Many people told me I may need new shoes. Maybe I needed one with more or less arch support. Maybe I should have went to Fleet Feet for a consultation where they study your running motion.

Many episodes of “I Used to be Fat” later, I realized I was definitely not too fat to run. So this morning when I discovered I had to mail two payments, I decided to jog to the front of the complex and mail them, then go the long way back to my apartment–one full circuit. I started out fine, then foot pain hit halfway to the mail box. I slowed to a walk and tried again after I mailed the letters. It got so bad I had to stop a few times. When I jogged I felt fat. I felt fat because I had to stop because of the pain. I was so disappointed when I got home.

Then I looked inside of my shoe to see if I could figure out what was wrong. In the process, I took out the insert in the bottom and experimentally placed my foot back in the shoe. It felt great. Feeling determined, I put my running shoes back on, sans inserts, and set out again. I noticed a difference immediately. Here I was thinking the whole shoe I’d bought was all wrong, when in reality, I’d just ignored a key piece of advice the salesman had given me: you may need to try different inserts to support your feet.

I’d bought shoes with my high arches in mind. The first thing I told the salesman was I needed a shoe that would support my high arches and that I usually put heels down first and push off my toes (I know there’s a name for that, but I don’t remember). I knew how to describe the shoe I wanted, and I got the shoe I wanted. The only issue was I didn’t have the right insert.

Sometimes in writing we get to a point where we can’t figure out what’s going wrong with a story. We try to right through something that doesn’t feel right. We slow down and become deliberate in our word choices. We may stop and test some of the mechanics of the sentences. However, we just can’t seem to make the story feel write. It’s painful to write. We are upset because we used to love this story and couldn’t wait to get back to it. We think maybe we’re too old, too out of practice, to out of touch to do this anymore. We think we need a new plot, character, or setting.

Sometimes, we just need a new insert. The character as a whole may be fine, but we’ve given her a characteristic that doesn’t work with the story or who she is. The plot is great, but has a character acting out of character. The location is wonderful, but the season or timing is wrong. By doing a little tweaking, we can sometimes find there’s only a little that isn’t working. When there’s even a little  thing that isn’t right, it can throw off the whole thing. It’s like the difference between baking soda and baking powder in a cake–if it’s wrong, you can taste it. It’s worked it’s way through and ruined everything. The difference is with writing,  you can root it out, remove it, and the story is palatable again.

Have you ever had a bad apple detail spoil the whole bunch story? Were you able to identify and correct the problem? Is there a story you’ve given up on that upon further reflection you want to pick back up again now?

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One thought on “My Running Shoes

  1. I love how you did the analogy of the shoe inserts to writing. Very clever 🙂

    I have written stories where I get the general sense that something is off. I’m not an expert at pinpointing the problem. If I put it away for a while and come back to it, sometimes I can recognize the problem. If I can’t, then I just put it away again and I may or may not get back to it.

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