For eight years I wrote a weekly column for a local paper in southeastern Ohio. We had been transferred to Ohio from a suburb of Philadelphia where I had been born and grown up. Southern Ohio is as southern as Alabama, which surprises many people, myself included. I transplanted poorly and for several years was homesick and unhappy.
When I am unhappy, I run. That is how I came to write the weekly newspaper column.
I lived across the street from the editor of the paper, and he watched me leave my house in the dark early mornings for a run. Women did not run in that town. Ever. It ruins their makeup. I was an oddity, so he asked me if I would write a human interest story about women and running. Sure, I said. I do not remember how this one piece morphed into a weekly column, but it was so popular that when I went on vacations, I had to write enough columns to cover my absence or the paper received letters from unhappy readers. This, in a place where almost no one ran. Go figure.
For Geneva Patch, I have written about manners in the past month because I am passionate about ettiquette, but not as passionate as I am about running. This week, I am changing it up a bit and am writing about the Skechers phenomenon and running.
You may remember when Skechers began to market the product that promised to shape and tone upper thighs and butts. This turned out not to be true, but people went wild for them and they flew off the shelves. When the butts stayed big, the lawyers got involved, and Skechers was sued. They now have to pay people money for their unchanged bottoms. You would think Skechers would have learned a lesson. No. They have now created a minimal running shoe that promises no injuries to runners because you run mid-sole. To me, it looks like the butt-toning shoe, but what do I know? An Olympic athlete does the talking for this shoe so it will fly off the shelves, which is exactly the point of it all, by the way. The point of it all is to sell the shoes.
Here is the thing you have to know about thighs and butts and excess weight: You have to do the hard work. The hard work does not involve the latest gimmick to entice you to buy a product. It involves hours and hours of running on the roads and trails, filling your gas tank with the appropriate amount of quality nutrients and getting enough sleep. Even so, you may get injured. This is one of the hazards of running or doing any physical activity with dedication. You may get injured. In 25 years of running, I have been injured. Some runners will get hurt in a certain shoe. Some runners will not get hurt in the same shoe. This is one of the mysteries of running, and no shoe company will ever solve it.
In the United States, we want the quick fix. But whether it's preparing a great meal, tending a fuitful garden, raising polite children, writing a good book or having a well-stressed body, these things take effort and time. There is no pill, no diet, no personal trainer and for heaven's sake—no shoe—that will give you your dream.
Also, I am sorry to report to you that no running shoe will give you a leaner body, faster time, personal record or a smaller butt. There is only one thing that will do that for you: running.