I Don’t Know

“Can I help you?” she asked.

“Yes, ummmm…” (look around)

“What are you looking for?”

“I don’t really know.”

This was my second time stepping foot in a running store, except this time I was following a stirring for myself. The first time was for our oldest who needed running shoes when starting cross country.

I’m a self-admitted non runner.
I’ve tried.

Once, my college roommate ran the LA marathon and I was so inspired by the 80+ year-old souls who crossed the 26.2 mile finish line that I went home and threw on shoes and ran for four miles. I then proceeded to almost die an hour later.

My family and friends tease that I walk faster than most run.
“I’m not a runner,” I protest with my hand up.

Yesterday, though, somewhere between the busted silo and Mile 1 marker, between sprinkles and the hint of a summer storm, I took our goldendoodle, Mercy’s, leash and ran the remainder of the mile loop.

And I felt alive.

Maybe I can become a runner?
Or, maybe a jogger?

Thus, I’m standing here with an “I don’t know” that sounds familiar in the middle of a running shoe store.

“Can I help you?

“I don’t know.”

“I’m a green runner,” I say. “I need help finding shoes.”

This may sound funny, but the entire process felt vulnerable.
The measuring of foot width and “you need to go up a size” and “do you wear cotton or wool socks?” left me feeling unsure.

Green and I don’t know.

And yet, I’m here. I’m trying.

After trying on one, two, six pairs I leaned in toward the young running shoe expert.
“How do I know which pair is the right one?”

It wasn’t until I returned home that I reflected and saw that this was the vulnerable part.

“Go with the ones that feel most comfortable.”

The most comfortable? I almost laughed. I can’t remember the last time I was comfortable.

I felt eyeballs on me and realized I was holding my breath. Waiting for a laugh.

I wouldn’t have batted an eye if Young Shoe Expert had said, “Go with the most uncomfortable pair because your feet need to adjust. It sounds weird, but trust me.”

“Yep, that sounds about right,” I would’ve thought.

So to hear, “Go with what’s most comfortable” goes against much of my experiences which have been more like anything but comfortable.

I’d decided a decade ago to step out of status quo, secure, a neat plan for the hope of a dream, faith, connection.

I’m comfortable in the uncomfortable. Maybe I’ve gotten too used to being uncomfortable?

For someone to tell me to go with what feels good, what is that like? To intentionally choose a comfortable fit?

My standard answer: “I don’t know.”

Yet, these new running shoes and I are willing to give it a go. Even if just for a jog.