So, today I finally made the decision, bit the bullet and... no, not the blogging decision... Reader, I bought my first pair of running shoes. Oh yeah. I'm a runner. Ahem. It's a strange world, really, and one that I entered in the less-than-graceful manner that seems to characterise much of what I do.
Imagine: Girl walks into swanky, high-tech running store (which was, luckily for me, empty). Two super-fit, athletic types - one guy, one girl - are doing stretches and leaping and whatnot (ok, I lie, they were just standing there) and the guy says: 'Hi there, how may I help' (ok, pretty ordinary so far), to which I reply (blushing to the roots of my hair), 'Oh, yeah, um, hmm, I just, y'know, need a pair of shoes. Er, running shoes... for...running?'
At this point the girl left.
To his eternal credit, young chap (who, on closer inspection, was rather handsome) did not snort with derision and escort me from the premises as 'one-who-clearly-should-not-be-allowed-into-serious-sports-shops', but helped me through the selection of shoes. After explaining in-step support (I think - that's what it sounded like) and discussing the sort of terrain I would be covering ('er, muddy and a bit rocky, but sort of dry in the summer... and sometimes pavements...' - good lord, the boy was earning his money), he told me to that he need to analyse my gait barefoot on a running machine (?what? I mean, treadmill). Um, ok. He also asked me to roll up my trousers so he could see my ankles (saucy? methinks no. All I'm saying is: if you go to get your gait analysed, shave your legs first. Enough said on that one). So, crimson in the face even BEFORE exercise, I mount the treadmill - helpfully located in the centre of the shop for all to behold (by this time there was one other customer who, thankfully, looked even more out of place than I did) and start my running. The experience was surprisingly painless and it turns out that I roll in on my ankles (or something) and my achilles tendons bow, so SURPRISE I need some trainers for when I go running.
Next question: 'what size shoe are you, madam?' (Madam? Oh dear, my light-hearted, witty banter and self-deprecating humour has not broken the ice). 'Seven... or so, maybe 6 and a half?' HA. NO! I'm an EIGHT. My feet are so big that the handsome sales boy looked rather concerned that they might not have anything in my size. Cripes. Panic over, however, when he located a pair of Nikes in the storeroom (yes, Nike, the ones with the pocket for the transmitter thing - hurrah!) and they fit like a glove.
As we go to the till I continue my nervous I've-really-not-had-too-much-caffeine-sadly-I'm-always-like-this patter, and the boy suddenly looks up and says 'you're going to love me' (DEAR LORD, did you READ MY MIND, young man?!). 'Oh yes?' I replied nonchalantly, resisting the urge to say 'I think I already do'... the trainers were on sale. Well blow me down with a feather, cut-price trainers and a handsome sales assistant. What a morning. So I bought some other 'essentials' (£12 on socks? Are you kidding me? Oh, ok... er, I'll take them) to go with my lovely new shoes. Er, trainers.
As we're waiting awkwardly for the machine to connect to my account (anyone else get heart palpitations when the credit card machine is suddenly on go-slow mode?), handsome boy says 'Oh, do you mind if I take your email address so that I can check up later on how your shoes are doing?' WHAT? Is this a casual way of chatting me up? Does handsome boy like slightly deranged, clueless, hairy-legged women who can't run? Turns out no. I saw a look of panic in his eyes as he realised that he had just accidentally chatted up scary non-runner lady, and he mumbled 'it's store policy, you know. Customer satisfaction... and stuff'. 'OH!! HAHAHA, of COURSE!' I replied, no PROBLEM!', scribbled on the form and left as quickly as I could before my dignity suffered any more blows.
So now, I'm back home and sitting on my bed with my new shoes (ahem, trainers) perched next to me. And tomorrow, I'm going to try them out.
It's one step at a time, you know.
(These are the new babies. I really need to take them out of the box).