Eight Mondays: Shoes.

This morning was the morning. The morning to buy the shoes that will go to Boston. The shoes that will glide over the giant word painted in bright blue and yellow - START, and hopefully 26.2 miles later cross the FINISH in the same bright blue and yellow letters.

This was a thoroughly calculated move. I purchased Brooks Women's Ghost 12 running shoes size 8.5. The shoes cost $121 with the $8 discount I had from Amazon points.

In November, I ran 27 of 196 miles in a 36 hour relay race. As I neared the day of the race, I knew my shoes were nearly worn out. I waited one run too long to buy a new pair, which meant I had to run in new shoes for the race. I tried running in the old ones during my first leg and immediately I knew it was a bad idea. The better idea was to run in the new shoes. This might all sound like too much information about a pair of shoes, but hang with me for a minute.

This will be at least my 12th pair of Brooks Women's Ghost running shoes in three years. I know how they fit. My foot knows how they fit. I wasn't going to rub blisters, it wasn't going to be a problem. They felt great. The calculation began. If I could stretch the pair of shoes from that race to six weeks before Boston, I would only need to buy one more pair. That pair would get me through two long runs and still have plenty to give for Boston.

It was risky. It meant keeping that relay pair as my running shoes one month longer than normal, but I'd made it. I had saved the money and was ready to order them this morning. I bought the exact same pair. The same color and everything. There are ten color choices, but this isn't time to change a thing, not even the color.

Shoes. They are the most crucial item for running long distance. I won't run if I don't have the right shoe. The risk of injury is too high. I strike on the outside edge of my foot, but I roll my ankle inward after every strike. Every shoe is worn in exactly the same spot. There is an entire language associated with this. Pronation. Supination. Strike point. Weight. Padding. Support. Shoes

Shoes. They are worth the investment. It is worth knowing exactly which shoe will do the job. It is worth understanding which shoe will work best for my foot.

As I ran my last run in my old shoes this morning (Old isn't the right word. They look brand new and they are only four months old, but for right now that is what we are going with) I had already bought my new pair and already giddy with excitement about their arrival. I'll probably even take a picture of my feet with those new shoes on and send it to my sister I'll feel so sentimental. I started thinking about how I'm so willing to invest in shoes for running. I don't even have to think about it, I am that confident when I purchase them. I just do it.

But, if I were to try and buy the right paint brushes for a painting, the right fabric to recover a chair, the right tools to change out a spark plug, the right dishes to make creme brulee, the right equipment to keep track of all the racers during the Boston, the right flowers to make a bouquet -- I'd be up a creek. I wouldn't even know where to start.

The truth is, I live with a lot of fear. Fear of trying and failing. Running works well because I know I'm not going to fail. I don't have to make any decisions, I know what to do. My dear George is willing to try almost anything. He will watch a pile of youtube videos and the next thing I know, the dishwasher is as good as new, the car works just fine, the pool pump is up and running, the front porch is redone, the wall is cut out and a door is there, the table we need for extra guest -- he made it. And that fiddle, and banjo and guitar and piano. He can play them all! He doesn't fear failure. He doesn't fear trying. Trust me, I've been through the learning to play the banjo year. And the fiddle. He doesn't give up!

We all have passions, talents, gifts, or artistic veins running through us. Most of them take some investment. They take something more than just going out and doing it. We have to invest time in projects, in community, in the tools we need to do what we do best. I often convince myself I don't need to try or I should just let it go. But, never would I do that with a pair of running shoes!

Be determined to invest in your passions. Be determined to work on learning something new. This week, my goal is to teach myself how to do something. Even if I have to buy a tool. Even if I have to take some time to watch a few youtube videos. Give it a shot. Don't be afraid to invest in learning, doing, creating, buying a few tools, talking to new people, watching some "how to" YouTube, making, composing, writing, painting, laughing! I'm not kidding. You can watch videos on how to be a comedian, I'm sure. Or just watch a comedian. That might work too.

If the metaphorical shoe fits, wear it! Wear it a lot. Wear it out so fast you have to buy a new pair every three months. Wear them with excitement!

I would love to hear from any of you out there that are finding some bravery. I'd love to hear your stories! What fears have you overcome? Are you learning something new? How do you challenge your mind, your heart, your soul, your body? Let's be brave!


  1. I was asked to put a few paintings I had done in a local art show. First time. I tried to hold back my enthusiasm .... not expect much, not talk about it or play it up or think about it. I am afraid of believing, " I CAN pursue this thing I love" because I don't want to have the let down, the rejection, the humiliation of my expectations not being met. If I hold back and distance myself emotionally then I won't be as hurt when I fail.

    But i DID put my art out there. Every time I post a painting on FB I feel myself being brave (as lame as that sounds) :)

    Thank you for challenging me

  2. Hi Elisha-- SarahKeith here :) My new morning routine is to read one of your blog posts while I have my tea in the morning, and I really really needed to read this today. Thank you. I am frequently so afraid of failure that I don't even try things. But a few things that I'm trying right now are: keeping houseplants (I've killed SO many!). I was afraid to try again. But I asked for one for Christmas last year and now I'm up to 8 and loving having them in our home. It helps that I'm always home now!

    Another thing I'm trying is jogging. I really like it. I'm incredibly slow but I am enjoying it. I'm also starting to keep a journal for the first time since I was a teenager! Thank you for the inspiration.


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