as in, "fail." I swear I never meant for it to happen. I swear, when I ventured into the REI flagship store in downtown Denver, I was merely curious about the behemoth as a whole. No funny business. Maybe, perhaps, I would have been interested had someone wanted to talk to me about climbing harnesses, but that was It, and no one did anyway. Before I even walked through the massive double doors with ice axes for handles, my mind exploded: they have a bouldering boulder out front. For actual bouldering! I walked in and right in front of me, there was a climbing wall! I'm sure I looked like a total idiot, standing behind the guardrail staring open-mouthed at the hulking mass of fake rock looming in the middle of the store. Then I looked right, and there was all the climbing gear. That's when the drool started. So many different sticky shoes; So many harnesses; So much dynamic rope; So, so many pieces of shiny, metal gear! Carabineers; ATCs; grigris; spring-loaded camming devices from very small to larger than my hand. Honestly, I'm not a gear head. I own a mediocre pair of climbing shoes, and that is all, but seeing all this stuff just reminded me of the possibilities, the potential. I have a whole, huge life ahead of me, and I intend to spend at least some of it climbing rocks.
Not knowing anything about what to buy, though, I tore myself away from the climbing department and wandered through the rest of the store. I happened into the daypack/hydration department, where my brain went, oh hey Caroline, you should totally get some sort of hydrating apparatus for when you're running long distances and you start to get thirsty! And it is so hard to tell your brain "no." Sigh. That was, perhaps, my first mistake. After too much deliberation, I opted for a 22 oz. hand-held bottle with a little pocket that my cell phone and a gel could fit in. Surely this was a good investment... A girl's gotta stay hydrated out on the trails, and not all of my running shorts have pockets for running-related miscellany. I should have left it at that. Should have taken my water bottle and gotten out of that den of lust and athleticism.
Too bad I kept walking around; too bad I ended up in the footwear department. Too bad a store associate started talking to me while I was gazing longingly at the running shoes, but again, not knowing where to start, I honestly wasn't thinking about getting anything. Yet here comes "Chris," 25-year running veteran, apparently a formerly competitive runner, and he tells me, oh yeah, sure, I'd recommend this trail running shoe for you. Here, just try it on.... That was it; game over.
I walked out of REI with a brand new pair of trail running shoes and a water bottle. Never mind my apprehension about being able to pay my rent. Never mind needing to eat. And certainly never mind getting a lamp for my bedroom. I've got new, bright lime green trail running shoes!! At least I didn't buy an $800 road bike...? I also used whatever will power was left and stayed out of the sock department. Socks being my Achilles heel, for serious. I guess I am already embracing a certain Coloradan tenet: spend any money you have on awesome gear for your crazy outdoor lifestyle. Anything left over goes to the rest of that "stuff" people supposedly need to pay for (rent, insurance, electric bills, clif bars). I might say their priorities are a little skewed, but, no, I don't think so.
So I made it back to my apartment and promptly took my new kicks out for a little run. Again, key word being Little. I wish so much I could just pick up where I left off running, six weeks ago, but life and fitness don't quite work like that. It is going to take time to acclimate to Denver, and it is going to take time for me to get back in good running shape. But hey, at least I've started. And now, if someone asks me to go for a run up a mountain, I have the right shoes for it. So that's something. Now, too, I know not to just wander into the REI store on a whim. Nothing good will come of it... well, nothing good to my bank account. I personally am pretty freaking excited about these shoes.
Running more. In lime green shoes!