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Running shoes are priceless, even if you use them only for 'plodding'

On Second Thought
Lead Summary
Lori Sorenson, editor

In addition to journalism and survival skills, college taught me the harsh consequences of a sedentary lifestyle and reckless diet.
Late night homework with Cheetos, on-demand cafeteria soft-serve and weekend beer and pizza sent me home in sweatpants after my first spring semester.
Fortunately, a 20-something metabolism and occasional three-milers on the gravel road near Kenneth took care of the Freshman 15.
But it also taught me the value of quality running shoes and outdoor exercise.
It was tough to spend the money on that first pair of Asics, and I frugally wore them long past the recommended 500 miles. But the return on their investment made future purchases easier.
I continued replacing running shoes as they covered miles on urban lake trails and Twin Cities neighborhoods and then on blacktop shoulders when we moved “home” to Rock County.
When Jonathan came along, he rode in his stroller ahead of the Asics. (The rough gravel road bounced him to sleep.) By the time Carson arrived five years later, Jonathan was tooling along on his bike beside his brother’s stroller.
We lived within running and bicycling distance of the Blue Mound Trail when it was paved in the park. Carson graduated from his stroller, and we continued logging miles with two bicycles pedaling a safe distance ahead of Mom and often a dog.
As my running buddies grew older and developed their own interests, it became increasingly difficult to make time for the Asics.
There was T-ball, Little League, piano lessons, Tae Kwon Do, marching band, jazz band, football, basketball, tennis, outings with friends and numerous other activities that demanded attention.
I sneaked in a run whenever I could, sometimes late at night on the half mile of gravel near our home or during my lunch break on the bike path in town.
I’d occasionally meet 50-something marathoners on a 10-mile training run, and I envied their freedom — to the point where I wistfully contemplated a marathon in my retirement.
But soon enough my boys were driving to their own practices and social engagements, and before I knew it they were grown and investing in their own running shoes, much to their mother’s delight.
Among the wisdoms I hoped to impart on my children was the importance of outdoor exercise … for the body, brain and soul.
It's what has so far kept me healthy and my head on straight, and today I’m the 50-something runner (I “plod” now) amid younger athletes on the trail.
While I’m no inspiration for anyone’s marathon, I hope they know they’re on the right path.
Good health is a blessing, but it requires an investment of time and running shoes (and strollers, bicycles or whatever gets you moving) to enjoy for a lifetime.

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