Note: I realize that I should have written this post before I wrote about my running aches and pains. Sometimes less is more and sometimes less is just confusing. So, here is a bit of background that might explain some of my hesitancy about adding running to my exercise routine.
Just over seven years ago a podiatrist told me my cute shoe days were over. Okay, that is not actually what he said. But that’s what I heard. My foot hurt and it turned out that step aerobics three times a week had taken its toll. I was officially diagnosed with neuroma, which basically meant I had damaged the nerves on the ball of my foot, thanks to high impact exercise.
So I went to a specialty shoe store where the salesperson watched me walk and listened to my foot woes before putting me into a pair of very expensive shoes, with no regard to what they looked like. This was a novel approach to shoe shopping that I was not sure I liked. The arches were high; the style was almost non-existent. But I quickly learned that wearing the right shoes made a huge difference. So with the click of my now-banned ruby red slippers in the blink of an eye, my shoe wardrobe completely changed.
As did my exercise routine. No more step aerobics. No more walking for fitness (until things improved). No jumping jacks:) My 40th birthday was right around the corner so I splurged on an elliptical machine and began what I now refer to as my low-impact years. And I discovered cycling class as a great non-impact cardio alternative.
And over time, my foot improved considerably. Occasionally I would try on cute shoes, non-supportive cute shoes. Shoes that did not break the bank or come from Europe. Shoes with style. But just a short walk around the store would get my feet aching in all sorts of places, no longer limited to where I had felt the aches and pains from the past. I suspect a lot has to do with the affect of age on my arches. One more thing to dislike about growing older.
Fortunately, I found that taking good care of my feet by wearing supportive shoes meant I could actually add back some amount of impact exercise. Not step aerobics. (Except for one fabulous class at the spa this past June; first time in seven years and I loved every minute.) But I could take a walk without lasting discomfort even though I feel my feet in odd ways with each stride. And so I thought that maybe I could, seven years post-diagnosis, add a bit of jogging to the mix. Maybe.
But maybe not. Because I can (almost) happily live without cute shoes and without step aerobics if it also means living without foot pain. Sometimes I walk longingly through a shoe store and think how much better my summer dresses would look with a little matching sandal. And when I pack for vacation I wish I had a pair of decent looking shoes that could hold up to days of sightseeing instead of me having to pack and wear my clunky running shoes (with their supportive inserts).
But since I would hate to go back to the days when my feet hurt all the time and my toes tingled, I am living a life that is no longer footloose and fancy free. But knock on wooden heels, things could be worse. And I have to admit that while the cost is going up, at least the styles of the supportive footwear are slowly improving. Maybe my cute shoe days will eventually return:)