Friday, September 12, 2008

Running up my tab

Running is often touted as an inexpensive the exercise you can do anywhere with no special equipment. All you need is a good pair of shoes, right?

Whatever. Perhaps when I started running, it was inexpensive. At that point, I was still wearing my 5 year old tennis shoes, cotton t-shirts, a regular bra, and pajama bottoms while running on the treadmill. Then, when I got more serious, running became more expensive.

When I got my first pair of real running shoes, the pair I selected came in at a very cheap (or so I'm told) $95. One hundred bucks is not "chump change" to me, so when I learned that some of these shoes go for $150 or more, I was a little stunned. I was more stunned to hear I'd need to replace the shoes at least once before my marathon.

Marathon training escalated things even more. I joined a local running club so I wouldn't have to log 20-mile Saturday runs by myself, which wasn't cheap. Actually, it cost more than my car payment. As my weekly mileage increased, so did my need for sweat-wicking garments. Wanna keep the sweat and sun out of your face? Try a running hat! But you can't just get a regular hat. You have to get one with all these little ventilation holes so the heat from your head can escape. Wanna prevent chafing? Try a stick of Bodyglide...only $10 for a something that looks like a stick of deodorant. Want some running shorts with plenty of pockets? They're yours for only $35. Want to listen to music during your solo runs? Let me show you this lovely iPod Nano.

Then, there's the race itself. At $60, an entry for the Kansas City Marathon was very inexpensive, when compared to other entry fees I've seen. If you're one of those runners who likes to do a 5K every weekend, that could be $100 a month right there. After I finish the marathon, I'll probably need to buy one of those "26.2" bumper stickers, and maybe a KC Marathon hat, or a sweatshirt, windbreaker, etc. The whole damn world will know I ran that marathon.

Obviously, I realize I don't have to buy all this stuff. The truth is, I enjoy purchasing products. I'm a whore for merchandise. The local running store is a mecca for me. When I walk in and smell the synthetic fibers all around me, I feel happy. Even as I'm forking over half my rent money for shoes, shorts, and some chocolate-flavored GU, I know that these things will make me more comfortable during my workouts. I need all the comfort I can get for that marathon, because let me tell you... after doing that 20-miler, I can vouch for the fact that there's not much comfort to go around.

Here's a fun commercial that helps me illustrate my point.


Topher said...

Totally cracking up at that commercial, and everything you said is so true. It can easily get out of hand. I've had pretty good luck shopping the clearance racks at Target and looking for off-season stuff on sale. Whoever said running is cheap "because all you need is a pair of shoes" is a liar.

Anonymous said...

hey morgan,

i keep randomly coming across your blog when i google stuff. just wanted to let you know there are people who are out here who support you and are impressed with your progress. keep up the hard work!

abby suzanne said...

My other habits are skiing and mountain biking - which do make running look cheap - however I live in a city where it is socially acceptable to wear mositure wicking garmets to work and out to dinner so that eases the pain of expensive workout clothes. I go bananas at outdoor gear store's sales.

kate said...

Still haven't bought an ipod because of the $$$ issue. Although everyone says they're worth it!

VerseFameBeauty said...

I think all sports wind up expensive once you get serious. I used to ride horses competitively in middle and high school... and even though I earned a decent bit of money training and managing barns part-time, that didn't totally make up the $500 or so a month it takes to keep up a horse. And that doesn't begin to get into all the equipment... thousands of dollars' worth! Ahh but if I could still somehow eat rice and beans and scrape up the money to still be able to afford it (without my parents help), I would be so there. It's still the only exercise (riding + horse/stall/etc. maintenance) I've ever found I actually enjoyed.