Sunday, February 7, 2010


When it comes to fitness, I'm great at starting things; not so great at the follow-through. Which usually means I expend a lot of capital with little to show for it. I've bought several gym memberships in my life and I'm diligent at going the first few weeks. And then it tapers off. I've bought velcro weights to wrap around my ankles so I get toned merely by walking between the couch and the refrigerator. I have no idea where those weights are and I developed cankles. I've been on several packaged cleanses - a quick fix where two weeks after I've tasted the last bit of the tincture, I'm full to the brim with toxins again.

The point is I've spent a lot of money to get fit, with little to show for it. So when I took up running it was because I needed a cardio activity and I figured that all I needed was a good pair of shoes and I was set.

I was soooooooo wrong. In fundraising we say you have to spend money to make money. In running I apparently have to spend the dimes to make my times. I know I'm doing it for charity but I could soon be a charity case myself.

Here's the list (to date) of what I've had to spend my hard-earned cash on:

Four running clinics
Two pairs of shoes
2 summer pairs of running pants
1 winter pair of running pants
1 winter pair of running pants with wind panels
9 pairs of running socks
4 long-sleeved technical shirts
2 short-sleeved technical shirts
2 technical tank tops
2 sports bras
2 toques
1 neck warmer
1 headband
1 running jacket
1 pair of mitts
1 pair of gloves
1 water bottle holder
1 jar of stuff for my skin to protect it from the wind
1 gym bag
20 drop-in gym passes
1 book on running marathons
1 ice pack
10 clips to keep my @#$%^&* hair out of my face
5 Active Release Therapy sessions
1 Athletic Therapy assessment
Many power bars and other post-run snacks
Many electrolyte replacement chews

You'll notice a theme. I think if I lived in Hawaii running would be an economical form of fitness (and I'd probably want to do it a whole lot more). Not so in Calgary. Winter adds a whole other layer (or five if you're smart). I've been trying to be frugal but I acknowledge in doing so, I'm taking my life into my hands. I've acquiesced to the layering and special pants and fabrics created by NASA that would let you survive in the sub-arctic as well as repel bullets, but I can't quite seem to bring myself to buy the strap-on spikey shoe thingys that enable one to run on the curling sheets known as Calgary's streets and sidewalks in the winter.

It's kind of bizarre that in this day and age an activity that the vast majority of us are able to do merely because we're homo sapiens comes with such a high price tag. I've been trying to figure out if I'm spending all this money because I must or because I feel I should. True, I did need more protection for my legs from the achingly cold wind that we're blessed with here. But I suppose I could have thrown on my cheapy biking shorts (that I got at a trade show for getting a four-year gym membership ......that I used for two months.....) rather than buying those NorthFace pants that, for what I paid for them, should also be able to shave my legs, give my car an oil change, and do my taxes.

Is it because we humans like our toys? Am I buying all this stuff so I can feel like I fit in better? Or am I just succumbing to the rabid consumer in me that I self-righteously deny most other times (except at consignment stores)? I can try and justify each expense (Winter: the Calgarian's Scapegoat) but there's definitely more at work here.

If I was running purely for fitness I know I wouldn't have spent as much. So I think a big part for me is that running a marathon scares the crap out of me and I want to be so completely and absolutely prepared that I can't fail in any way. These expenditures are insurance.

Which leads me to wonder if much of the other stuff I spend my money on is some form of insurance as well. Against what requires far more navel-gazing than I'm prepared to go into on a Sunday morning but it's worth a look one of these days. Gotta be more in there than lint :-)


  1. My favorite quote is from Louis Garneau - There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.

    Me being the thrifty bugger that I am, I managed to pick up a lot of decent gear from Winners.

    You could also look at the closet full of exercise clothes as motivation/guilt trip into getting out and using it!

    Have fun,

  2. Looking the part is always great incentive! Even if I am having a slow run, knowing I look good and and am warm ( nothing worse than being freezing cold during the run)keeps me going.
    One of the best quotes I heard lately is "Courage is keeping going when nobody will know if you quit". Like those run OYO sessions usually done on treadmill. How easy it would be to skip them!!
    The challenge comes with all that running I am a smaller size. If I don"t keep running all those new clothes won"t fit. LOL What a vicious circle we create.