My beloved New Balance had lost their groove, each step I took on the treadmill felt completely flat and uninspired. I no longer felt the bounce that made me feel like instead of being just little old me that I was Bo Derek running on the beach with my imaginary corn rows flying in the air behind me, as my speed went from 3.0 to 4.0 mph. There was no air in my instep that helped me get my stride up to 5mph and beyond, like the gym-bound Athena I previously felt myself to be . Instead of an endorphin high or delusions of mythological fitness inflation, I felt nothing. And I didn't like that nothing. Nothing sucked. I hated nothing. Something had happened and it was subtle and sneaky and I hadn't noticed it until it was completely gone. It had been there one day and the next day it was gone.
I thought, as one does, about abandoning my old/tired and well worn shoes. I, when the shoes were out of the room, sneaked looks on Zappos.com at pairs that were shinier, prettier and with new and improved features. I read reviews about running shoes with five stars and promises of turning my morning run into something out of a fitness fairytale. I considered going to a fancy fitness store where a technician would determine through a running and gait analysis the exact best shoes for my feet. I was seriously tempted, and I even put a few pairs in some online shopping carts, but I just couldn't get myself to buy them. It wasn't about the money....it was about the letting go of a longtime companion.
After another less-than-inspiring run it became clear to me that I needed to do something. I took off my shoes and examined them to see if I could detect any obvious physical failings. After a cursory examination, I pulled out the insoles and saw they looked more like a deflated balloon than anything capable of support or cushioning. Seeing the insoles' sad state gave me the courage to hope that maybe my shoes could be saved if I just found the right insole.
I spent $40 and several hours reading to determine which insole might restore my shoes to their former glory. I got them home and put them in my shoes and headed to the gym. At first all felt good, there was bounce and contact and even some of my old ebullient running-on-air feeling. But everything went wrong all of a sudden. My old shoes started to hurt and burn and with each step I could feel blisters build. My beloved shoes hated the insoles and they were turning on my feet in an act of rebellion.
I came home hobbling and dejected. I told my husband about the ire that the insoles had inflicted on me. He was strangely unsympathetic and he began to argue with me for what felt like an hour. He made a passionate case for how there was no way that the insoles could have hurt me. As I sat and I listened to him and then later tried to get him to stop defending the insoles and to just look at the evidence that was my raw, red and blistered feet, two things became clear: 1) I needed to throw away the shoes (insoles and all) and 2) that I needed to leave this marriage. There were many moments before this one, moments back to almost the first week we met, warning me that my Prince Charming might not be my soul/sole mate. But it was at that moment, as I sat there with aching, red and raw feet that I knew I couldn't stand these shoes or my marriage another moment. As soon as my husband left me to go to work, I got up and threw the shoes away knowing there was no going back and that it was time for some new shoes.