I stopped running on a regular basis last year. The main reason was that my favorite shoes were worn out, so I had to get new shoes. But my favorite shoes, the ones that I’d been wearing until they were worn out and then re-purchasing, were no longer being manufactured (I miss you Merrell Pace Gloves!). Those shoes had a very stretchy mesh toe box, and they allowed my toes to spread in comfort. I’ve been measured before at shoe stores and told that I don’t have wide feet. Which is HILARIOUS, because when I put on shoes that are not wide enough, I can feel my toes pressing uncomfortably into the sides of the material, which seems like I must have wide feet.

Okay, not hilarious, just weird. And frustrating.

At any rate, my replacement shoes were some Reeboks that I found at Costco for cheap that are okay, and a pair of Reebok Nanos that I absolutely must wear thin socks with and my toes still rub against the sides a bit. With those shoes, I was reluctant to keep on running, outside of the occasional jog for a CrossFit workout.

But it is spring now, and I’ve got several factors pushing me back into running, despite the discomfort of imperfect shoes. Most importantly, backpacking season is coming. I know from experience that if I’m not running regularly, then I have to loosen up my ilio-tibial band the hard way, while backpacking. I can do it that way, but I’d much rather not. I also have a Spartan race coming up in June and while I don’t intend to be running the whole time, I want to have a good baseline of running in addition to the obstacle training that I’ve been doing. Lastly, my CrossFit box has a running challenge going on this month, and it’s at a level that I actually feel comfortable achieving – 1 mile per day for 20 days in April. I’m competing only against myself, so I think I can win.

I’ve already kind of won – I’ve improved on my first time by nearly 2 minutes. Which may just mean that I was really going slowly on that first mile… But I do know I need to ease myself back into running, and one mile is a nice distance. I will have to run longer to loosen up for backpacking, but this lets my body get used to the pounding and the breathing and the pain.

I’d like to get a mile under 10 minutes by the end of the month. My first mile this month was 12:33, and on Monday I got one at 10:37 by running along with a much faster runner. And then 10:43 on my own yesterday. So below 10 minutes is probably not out of reach – especially if I keep doing run-alongs with those faster runners that I know through CrossFit. A whole bunch of them are currently training for the Robie Creek Half Marathon, so running with me is a nice, slow recovery jog.

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