About five years ago, after my second daughter was born, I realized I needed to do something about my health. I had gotten out of shape enough that a flight of stairs would wind me, that bending over to tie my shoes was uncomfortable, that the prospect of running a mile seemed like something that had gotten beyond me. It was overwhelming.
I started with a gym membership, and good for you if that works, but if you’re anything like me, the first week or two is great, and then life gets in the way. Two kids (one a baby), a full-time job, and making it to the gym on a semi-regular basis became a lot to manage, and it was often easier just not to go. In that first week of hitting the gym, I also discovered that my body hurt, especially my ankles, knees, and back. Most likely, I thought this was due to the extra lbs. I was carrying around, but I also knew that those old soccer injuries (hairline fractures in both ankles, torn MCL) were not doing me any favors. It didn’t even occur to me that my running shoes could also play a factor. What, I asked myself, can I do to get back in decent shape? Something that won’t hurt my body too much and still allows me to spend time with my growing family? Enter walking/running.
I thought this is perfect; I can roll out the door, be gone for 45 minutes to an hour, break a sweat, and be home before anyone knows the difference, but what about this body pain issue? Luckily, I have a friend in the shoe business, so I called him and asked him for recommendations. He had just heard of a company called Hoka One One that did cushioned running shoes, so he ordered us a couple of pairs. When I received mine in the mail and pulled them out of the box, I was a little bit skeptical. These shoes had the fattest soles I had ever seen; they were over an inch thick, but I had bought the ticket, so it was time to take the ride.
My first walk in the Hoka One One cushioned running shoes was an experience. They added to my height (which was nice), but they also had an unfamiliar bounce. It was a little bit like I couldn’t feel the ground beneath me, which was unsettling until I got used to it. They are also extremely light, lighter than any other shoes I had in my closet. So I walked a block, then another block, and block after block until my confidence grew, and after a couple of weeks, the walk turned into a jog. Each time I would get home, I would check in with my body, and there was minimal pain.
Fast forward to now. I’m still a big guy, but I’m a big healthy guy. And a big guy who is virtually pain-free. I can get up and down a lot of stairs, I can bend over and tie my shoes without getting winded, and I have now run several hundred miles since the birth of my second and third daughters. It took a lot of hard work on my part, but I don’t think I would have gotten this far without my Hoka’s.