I’m still reeling on how much money I’ve spent on running gear this past week, signing up for runs and stocking up on supplements & healthy food. There is nothing frugal about getting fitted for running shoes or signing up for runDisney events that motivate me, but I’m going to take my soap box to defend my spending. Hear me out.
Last week, I spent $200 on new shoes, insoles, running shorts, sunscreen & new wool socks. I also spent an additional $480+ signing up for running events- so far, I’ve registered for the Los Angeles Rock N Roll Mini Marathon, Tinker Bell Half Marathon, Princess Half Marathon & the Hot Chocolate 5k. I’m happy to say that while I just dropped a paycheck on running, I feel better than I ever have and I’m actually keeping up with the training and nutrition adjustments I’ve put into place. Additionally, I’m going to be looking into a new yoga studio to do regular stretches so I can diversify my activity and stay limber.
This last week, I clocked 14 miles. I shocked myself. 14 miles in a week? 25 in two weeks? Never in my entire life, have I ever spent this much time or money on getting fit- but I have no regrets. I will say, there are ways to do it cheaper, but if you would have asked me a year ago if fitness could be fun, I wouldn’t have believed you. Nor would I have believed that I would spend this much money without feeling guilty. For the first time ever, besides a job interview, clothes aren’t just clothes, they’re an investment. Having the right shoes really (truly!) does matter. It’s not cheap, but neither is lookin’ this hot (or it could be the mile I just ran?)
Looking back on my fitness experiences as a youngun, I remember the humiliation of oversized gym clothes and ill-fitting tennis shoes that I hated to wear. Combine feeling embarrassed about my clothes with being embarrassed about my body (read: chesty girl running=not fun.) As an adult with the right gear that looks right, fits right & comes in adorable colors, I may not look sexy when I run (read=sweaty.) but it looks like I know what I’m doing!
For the past two months I’ve been using older running shoes that really needed to be retired, I started to notice aches and pains that I didn’t have before. I got a stern talking to from one of my runner friends, so I marched my butt down to Fleet Feet to get fitted for running shoes. I was a bit intimidated by the fitting process but now I can use fancy terms like pronation and know exactly what my foot does when it strikes the ground.
When I graduated with my master’s degree in May, I didn’t feel like it was real until I put on my cap and gown. The same seems to apply to my fitness gear. I don’t feel like I’m really training until I lace my shoes and put on my neon retina-burning running shorts. But just like with graduation, nothing happens unless you show up.
I always used to skimp on my exercise gear- I never really saw myself as a “fit” person and so my choices in what I wore to the gym or to yoga reflected that, they were an afterthought just like the days I chose to participate. Now that I’m serious about my life as a runner and have signed up for some big goals, I see that fitness has a real part in my life, and thus, it should have a real place in my wardrobe. I know it might sound crazy, but what I wear to workout gets as much headspace (and income) as what I wear to work- and at this point I seem to spend equal parts of my life working and working out!
People who knew me never called me fat, but then again, none of those people lived in this body. Nobody else got discouraged when I lost my breath after 2 flights of stairs or cursed the heavens in shame when the normal sized blue jeans created that awful muffin top effect. The only person living in my head and dealing with my body was me but I had relinquished my power and self-image to everything external from myself. People thought I was beautiful, I totally was, and totally still am- but nobody else knew how unhappy I was about feeling out of control about my health and weight.
Truth be told, while I’ve dropped paychecks on running gear and signing up for races lately, I spent a lot more on diet pills, exercise equipment/gear I didn’t use and of course, other gadgets & garments engineered to shortcut my weight control (or hide it completely.) Not only did I spend the same amount of money or more, I felt like a total asshat when that money was wasted- and it always was.
Honestly- I think “fat” is a horrible title to put on person. Fat is a noun for structure/cell in the body, not a label for an entire human being, but there’s something to be said about feeling powerless about your own body. To invest in others to make you “better,” and to pray to the diet industry that they’ll have the cure you need because you don’t know how to control yourself and you uncomfortable in your own skin. When I think of all the emotional costs, not just the monetary ones, of relinquishing control and connection with my own body, the price is just too high.
To be honest, the first day I spent money on running gear (around $170) I felt like I’d lost my mind. Sure, I’d spent more than $170 on “normal” clothes, but seriously, what had gotten into me? Was I really going to do this running thing after years of embarrassment about my body, hatred of being sweaty and PTSD from running in P.E. class as a kid?
Despite all this, I bought the clothes anyway. It didn’t help that the gentleman helping me pick out an outfit was a total hottie…but I digress. The next day, I put them on and knew when I hit the streets to run, I wouldn’t get very far, but for the love of all things holy, I wasn’t going to waste my money! I remember wearing the coral shorts & top with my new wool running socks and a running bra that actually did its job, and while I couldn’t run a mile at the time, I knew it was the beginning of a very long, well dressed journey. I knew I was going to look like a red-faced, sweaty novice… so at least my running clothes looked somewhat professional!