A running (ok, jogging) Bobo.

by Ranim Elborai


It’s hard to believe, but this lazy sack of bricks (points to self) was at one point a serious runner.

Ok, more like a dedicated jogger.

I did the treadmill thing for a while at the gym. It was good training for gauging your pace and pushing yourself incrementally.

When I became comfortable enough with jogging non-stop for forty minutes at a time, I took my pitter-patter to the pavement, which I found much more satisfying and stimulating.

Since leaving New York I’ve become inert. I went to a gym close to home quite regularly for a while. When I started culinary school my visits became more sporadic. Then I just stopped going — waking up at six every morning and standing on my feet up to five hours a day felt physically demanding enough to me.

I might take a long walk on occasion, but I’m no longer the fit, active person I used to be.

Then last week, amidst some serious soul searching, frustration, and general upset with the universe, something snapped. You could say I was delivered a mood-altering kick in the teeth. And off I went on a jog. Apart from taking numerous long showers, it was the only productive and healthy way to settle my feelings.

Every cloud has a silver lining they say. I only managed twenty minutes, huffed and puffed on the way back home, but it was a start.

I’ve gone on a few more runs (ok, jogs) since then. Then on Tuesday, fully outfitted (completely in Asics gear, I looked like a spokesperson, it was embarrassing) and ready to hit the asphalt once gain, I looked down to my be-sneakered feet to find, to my horror, that the sole was coming apart from my left shoe.

I’ve had these running shoes for over a year, but I can promise you that they haven’t seen much use given my couch-sitting record this year. Super glue was one answer, but it would require a good long time to set. Then again, I had given these bad boys the super-glue treatment the week after I first gotten them. Come to think of it, I had acquired them at a steep discount… a

No wonder I haven’t been excited to exercise.

During my gym-rat days, there would come a period after, say, three-four months of dedicated working out when my motivation would dwindle. I would change up my routine, maybe do weights before cardio instead of after; throw a new floor exercise into the mix; try a new class or two, but to no avail. I still was feeling my enthusiasm wane.

Clearly, it was time for some new work out gear.

Yes. It’s stupidly consumeristic. I can see the meat-head men in the audience scoffing, “we don’t need no fancy Stella McCartney outfit to get us working a sweat!”

Well, I do.

stellaforadidasActually, nobody needs Stella McCartney for Adidas to exercise. But it is interesting to look at.

In many ways, Bobo-hood is about consumerism. It is both a celebration and a critique of being a slave to the fashion label. When I take my credit card out for a ride, I know very well what I’m doing, what vices I’m indulging and what weaknesses I’m reinforcing. I also know how pleased the things I buy will make me, and how they commit me to fight the good fight over and over again. After all, those fancy new shorts can’t just hang around in my dresser not earning their keep.

For many exercisers who find their zeal fading and their wills weakening, new gear can help.

A completely legitimate reason for new gear is your feet. This is particularly true if you’re a runner or do any sort of exercise that puts strain on your feet. Athletic shoes are engineered to provide your legs with support and cushioning for shock absorption, and running or walking in old or worn out shoes can lead to injury. It’s recommend that you replace your kicks every 300-500 miles.

It hadn’t been anywhere near 300 miles of use, but something told me that as someone whose finicky feet need a lot of support and stability to avoid crippling shin splints, a pair of  shoes that can barely keep it together needed to be consigned to the bin.

But it’s not just the shoes is it? I want flashy new leggings that make sweat dry quickly yet keep me warm when I’m outdoors. I want neon bright tops that are flattering and comfortable. I want high-tech windbreakers (also pivotal for keeping you from overheating and/or freezing). Then there’s that unsung hero of female athleticism, the sports bra. You need a good sports bra. Why, without the requisite support, even the lightest jog becomes rather uncomfortable, and fast.

So yesterday, quite convinced that my running days were back for good, I made a trip to a specialty runner’s shop just across Waterloo Bridge. I shelled out a respectable amount of money for the most garish pair of high stability women’s running shoes they had in the shop.

I figure they’ll push me to run, and rather fast too, if only not to risk inducing epileptic seizures amongst innocent passersby in my path.

  1. They taught us in law school the doctrine of  caveat emptor–buyer beware. I guess I forgot about that one.  (back)