I am feeling pretty grateful that I have not had to endure true prejudice or judgement-based roadblocks in my life. The possibilities have appeared to be endless, thanks to my parents and others who have always told me that I can do anything. It almost seems silly for me to write this post, knowing that millions of people have been denied based on larger issues such as religion, race, or sexuality.
I am overweight, I know it and I am not denying it. My weight has always been MY problem and it has never prevented me from participating in any activity. I have been working to lose weight for 6 years and it has been much more difficult for me to drop the post-baby weight than I had ever imagined. Only in the past six months am I starting to get a better idea of how my body works and the best way for me to become slimmer.
I began running a year and half ago and it was so hard, but I found that I enjoy the “alone” time and the challenge of setting goals that I never thought I could reach. In the beginning, it took me 22 minutes to walk/jog a mile. Now, I can jog/run it in 14 minutes. I have participated in several 5K races and one 10K race. I am currently working on the endurance it takes to run longer distances. My ultimate goal is to run a marathon. I know that it will take me a while to get to that point, and I also know that it won’t happen until I lose more weight.
I bought my first pair of “good” running shoes a year and a half ago. They were wonderful, but after a year, it was time for new ones. I bought a pair, but noticed that when I hit about 2 miles, my toes were going numb. By mile 3, my feet are in serious pain. Since getting these shoes, I have been unable to run more than 3 miles at one time. I asked around and was given some suggestions, which did help, but not completely. I was also told to go to a local store that specializes in running. They could help me decide on the best pair of shoes for my feet.
So, on Saturday, John and I drove to one of the closer locations of this running store in the hopes of purchasing shoes that would be a better fit. When we walked in, an associate was already helping a lady, so we waited for the younger gentleman to come over. I explained what was happening. He asked me to walk a couple of feet then walk back. After sizing my feet, he brought over a couple of pairs of shoes. He went back to the counter to call another store to see if they had more in my size. That was pretty much the last I saw of him. I tried on both pair, one was a little tight and the other was okay. I noticed that the other associate was much more involved with his customer. He asked her to run, he asked about her running patterns and goals.
I went to the counter and tried to ask more questions about what he would suggest for me. Basically, he told me that my feet were normal, loosen my laces, and get a size 8. I then got the impression that I was wasting his time. I felt that he did not view me as a “runner”, but as simply someone who made a New Years Resolution and decided to buy overpriced shoes. I was immediatly uncomfortable and ashamed. I had so many questions but felt unworthy to ask. I wanted to know if I under or over pronated, if my running form was correct, if I needed wider shoes, the brand of shoe that would be best for me. It is so difficult to put into words the vibe he was giving me. I got out of there as quickly as I could.
I went to this specialty store for a reason. I wanted the personal expertise that this retailer and it’s customers boast about. I know what size shoe I wear, and I also know that not all running shoes are the same and that every person will have a different brand that fits best with their feet. Inside the store, I felt shut-out and belittled, that I wasn’t the serious type of customer they are looking for. Perhaps this associate was inexperienced and lacked the knowledge I wanted, I don’t know. I don’t blame the retailer and I will be going back…later. I will not go back to that particular location, next time I will go to the main store downtown.
I realize that my feelings may not be the reality of how the young man was trying to assist me. But I also know that actions speak louder than words. I saw his facial expressions, his lack of customer service, the tone of his voice. I spent the next half hour in tears and after a while became more determined than ever to be the runner he thought I wasn’t.