Sun & Ski Challenge by Jillian Despard

Well, I finally took my exercising outside. Let me tell you, it was definitely no walk in the park. More like a jog interspersed with walking through the park. Lately I’ve come to realize why I dislike running so much; I feel like a troll lumbering through a fairy forest. When you see other runners on the trails, they almost look like they are floating their way down the path. I feel like every step I take thunders to the ground, sloppy and scraping across the gravel before my foot gracefully flaps up through the air again. Let’s not even talk about what my arms are doing during this time. Have you ever seen a T-Rex run? That is me, arms crunched into my armpits while my hands flop from side to side like sad little rag dolls. I’ve tried holding them straight by my side but the result is ridiculous and slightly creepy, picture a troll in a straight jacket careening through the nature trails with a slightly crazed grin. Will I ever be a graceful runner? Or will I and others be forced to embrace the awkwardness of my gait?

Hide so you don't have to run.
Hide so you don’t have to run.

It was thinking about this that I realized, I’m not doing this to make other people happy. I’m doing this for me, to make myself feel good, and to find a part of myself that I have never experienced before. Who cares if I scare away my fellow joggers or make them feel a little uncomfortable as they go out of their way to avoid eye contact? This is my journey and I shouldn’t feel compelled to go out of my way to make complete strangers feel comfortable with it.

On your mark, get set, GO!
On your mark, get set, GO!

On this journey I have come to realize how essential it is to have the proper equipment. My Nike’s might be comfortable for everyday but they don’t provide the support and comfort that your body needs while running. Comfort and fit aren’t the only things to keep in mind when searching for the perfect running shoe, terrain is also important. At a recent flash mob event I was introduced to Salomon running shoes, the perfect shoes for gripping the mud and slippery grass that lined the rain soaked course. I have enough problems with balance and coordination as it is so the less I have to worry about turning into a human toboggan, the better. My point is, do your research before taking on any new adventure. Wearing the wrong shoes can do some serious damage to your body and put any plans of an Olympic running career on hold. Go to the stores and don’t be afraid to try on a variety of different shoes, the first one isn’t always that perfect fit.

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