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Ready, set, sore

After my first half marathon I decided I was pretty good at this whole running thing. I always wanted to be a runner and I finally had the momentum to commit to the sport.

I went out and bought all the proper running gear to keep myself motivated. I got new clothes, fancy running shoes, a cute headband and a belt — that you stick all your valuables through a tiny hole and then never find them again.

I was completely outfitted and ready to go.

I had done serious research before purchasing my new shoes. I read running magazines and consumer reports, compared brands and saved money, all so I could buy the fanciest purple and green minimalist running shoes. My shoes were so fancy, I didn’t even wear them at first, for fear of getting them dirty.

I finally busted them out six months ago, in the middle of the winter, on a dry and sunny day. A friend and I went for an easy five-mile run. Afterwards, my left hip was stiff and sore. The next day I could barely walk. I came to the conclusion that I had pulled something snowboarding earlier that week and the run had aggravated it. So I rested and avoided high-impact exercise.

The next run was just three miles. I could feel my whole left leg getting stiff, it felt like my hip socket was grinding with every step. And again, the next day, I was in a great deal of pain.

Obviously it’s Hip Cancer, I thought, gravely.

I took a several month break from running, and started weightlifting at the gym instead.

Then on Sunday, after 21 days of rain, the sun came out. It was so glorious that I couldn’t bear to go inside a gym. I decided to try a run. The only problem was, my fancy running shoes were in a bag I had left at my parent’s house. I grudgingly put on my old trail running shoes and took off. When I was finished, I felt great. I stretched, and with a start I realized my hips felt fine. There was no pain! It must be all the weightlifting, I thought, I’ve really strengthened my legs!

I’m embarrassed to say it took several minutes for me to listen to the little voice inside my head yelling, “It’s the SHOES, stupid!”

Liz Marsh’s “Running Under the Influence” appears twice a month in the Colorado Daily.

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