New Views from New Shoes

I come from a very active family. Read: my dad runs marathons, my mom and sister run half-marathons, and we have completed marathons as a family relay team with my other siblings.

I ran track in high school and have continued running throughout college, mostly to stay in shape, physically outrun my homework, get some sun, and impress all the tourists in Colonial Williamsburg (William & Mary students love CW).

Even with my background and training over the past couple of years, I never felt like I could go longer than a couple miles. I disgracefully accepted that a 5k is the max I can handle, maybe given my fitness, my motivation, my physiology, etc.

However, there is one relevant point I have to mention: I have not replaced my running shoes since beginning college.

All the runners reading this just rolled their eyes.

I know you’re supposed to replace running shoes regularly, even every couple of months. I have been thinking about it for a year, but what if the new ones don’t fit quite as well as my current pair? What if they give me blisters? But while on the treadmill yesterday, I realized I could not keep living this life anymore. It was time for new shoes.

Two hours and a couple laps jogging around the shoe store later, I have a new pair of light lavender Pumas. They are gorgeous and fit as well as I could ever hope. I was motivated to try them out, given the 55-degree partly cloudy day we had (my ideal running weather). So, I hit CW.

success after trying on 30,000 pairs of sneakers
yes, there is a Colonial actor on a horse in this photo

I ran for over three miles. Not only that, but I could have run for more. For me, this is an amazing feat. I have never stopped a run simply because I felt like it was a good place to stop. I always have to be nearly unable to move any farther from exhaustion and soreness. Today, though? I felt great! And I attribute it all to my new shoes.

My dad read us a fable when we were little about a competition between two woodcutters. Whoever cut down the most trees won. One woodcutter worked tirelessly without pausing. The other took breaks to sharpen his ax. Do you know who won?

The one who got new running shoes.

Aren’t these two stories great metaphors for how we should perceive personal productivity and self-care? I can run for miles, but it is more challenging with worn-out shoes. I can cut down hundreds of trees, but it is less efficient with a dull ax. I can accomplish a lot in my day, in my week, in my semester, but it is less fulfilling with a fatigued sense of spirit.

I know I am a hard worker. I know I can handle a lot. But, I am more capable than I think I am when I don’t neglect my well-being. The next time I fail to accomplish a goal, instead of believing I am not good enough or accepting defeat, I’m going to take a step back and evaluate my tools.

If my new running shoes experience has any validity to it, I’ll be able to achieve anything I set out to do.



photo creds: pinterest

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