Hey, I Got Running Shoes for Christmas

My wife bought me running shoes for Christmas. The nicest pair I’ve ever owned. Brooks Ghost 6.

I spent almost two hours at the running store trying different brands. I’d try on a pair and run around the store. Take one shoe off, put on another in its place. Run around the store again. And again. It was kind of fun. Rarely have I taken that much time to buy anything.

The shoes are light and comfortable. My feet are in love with them.

I am learning how to run again. I know almost nothing about it. But I feel inspired to do it. Here are a couple of reasons why.

The first reason is simple. I can actually do it again. After dealing with a chronic health problem since 2001, my doctor figured out what to do about it. One Methyl CpG a day. One. It is amazing how much better I feel. I can run again. Why not do it?

Another reason is I could run fast in high school. I recently remembered that. It’s been a few years.

Next, Jim Michie. I home teach Jim. He is in mid-70s and he runs four marathons a year. He is lean and agile, more than most people at any age. When you run four marathons a year, you have to train big. I have been so inspired by Jim. I want to be more like him—not when I grow up but now. 

Finally, Shawn Craig Wickard. I met Shawn at a writing conference last summer. He has a rare condition—lupus in his spinal column—and he is in a wheelchair. He had stem cell transplant 9 years ago and he is getting the use of his legs back.

We’re buddies on Facebook. Last October, Shawn posted that he had gone 0.81 miles on a treadmill. He said, “It feels so awesome being this close to my impossible goal of walking a mile! What’s holding you back . . . ? Mine was only paralysis and gravity!” He reached his one-mile goal on January 4, 2014.

When I read what Shawn said, something clicked. I realized that I was doing myself a disservice. If Shawn could walk a mile, why couldn’t I run a mile or three miles or five or 10? 

This is where I start. My goal is to run at least two 5Ks this year. It is a small goal, I know. My goal is also to come in third for my age group even though I may be the only one who enters in my age group. 

And that first race? No matter how fast or slow I run, I’ll PR.

I am 56 years old. I haven’t run consistently since I was in high school [no, my mission]. I am running now because I can. And because of Jim and Shawn. And because I have an incredibly supportive wife who believes in me. She has always believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. Thank you, Cristi.

I appreciate the running advice I have gotten from family and friends. Please keep it coming. I’ll take all the advice I can get. I need it. 

6 thoughts on “Hey, I Got Running Shoes for Christmas

  1. Shawn Wickard February 17, 2014 / 1:36 am

    I appreciate the mention! We all ought to have a goal to do something “impossible” to keep us moving forward. Whether, me walking after being paralyzed for seven years or you picking up running again after all these years. Doing more than you did yesterday is a small triumph


  2. Michael James Fitzgerald February 17, 2014 / 2:07 am

    Shawn, you are the man. If you can walk, then I had better get the mattress of my back. Thanks for being you.


  3. Anonymous February 17, 2014 / 11:59 am

    I had a stroke 4 years ago. I received running shoes for my birthday. I ran before the stroke, but haven't had the energy since then. My shoes are Brooks also. Awesome! I didn't know that running could be painless.

    I had a cold a couple of weeks ago and need to get back into the grove.


  4. Michael James Fitzgerald February 21, 2014 / 3:54 am

    Hey, Anon. Thanks for sharing your story. That must be a great feeling to be about to run again. I know from personal experience that it feels good to come back from near death.


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