I knew it was time to be concerned when the sales guy informed me that the running shoe was designed by someone from Porsche. And did I mention it includes biomorphic fit technology that conforms to my individual foot?
The sneakers looked like something from outer space, and curiously enough, they did make me feel light on my feet.
Wearing the ASICS Gel Nimbus VII felt like stepping into another dimension. And so did the price, topping the line at $109.99.
I noticed Bill, the owner of the Running Center, sporting a pair himself, though they had seen more mileage. Unlike this reluctant runner, he clocks 25 miles a week. I looked down at my fancy footwear embarrassed, as the gentleman was my senior in age. After he asked, I admitted to running five miles in a good week.
Running became part of my life in the military, where fitness is an integral part of the regimen. I had a knack for sprinting and ran the 400 meters on my college track team.
Since then I've developed a love-hate relationship with running. The passion that distance runners possess seemed to elude me because as a sprinter, I lost interest after a few hundred meters. And recently, as a mother of three young children, I've had the perfect excuse to slack.
Yet I envy the runner's zeal and long to feel fit again, as much as I long to fit into my pre-maternity wardrobe.
Runners are part of a disciplined group. In college, the cross country team boasted the highest GPA on campus.
Our new babysitter, Jenny Snyder, personifies this ideal. She captains the cross country team at Sickles High School and manages a few other activities, like school president, honors classes and a job at the local pizza joint. On her first visit, she fed my three kids, got them to bed on time and was studying for a calculus exam when we got home. She was the homecoming queen too.
It's easy to underestimate the value of physical activity in this sedentary age of information and technology. Children snack on Doritos while surfing the Internet or watching their latest TV shows. They're part of the most overweight generation. To make matters worse, schools have traded off physical education in favor of competing interests.
Society rightly places a high value on academic achievement. But there are many components to success in life. How do you measure the discipline, teamwork and stamina that one learns on an athletic team?
Regular exercise is cited as a key success factor for financially independent Americans, according to Thomas Stanley, who authored "The Millionaire Mind." He explains that the physical conditioning and the mental toughness developed by sports ward off fatigue and prepare us for risk and stress.
With this in mind, I have taken the step toward better physical conditioning and plan to get the right equipment. Runners need only one thing, after all: a good pair of shoes.
My last decent pair cost $70 a couple of years ago. Since then, I've been jogging in off-the-rack cheapies for 20 bucks. I couldn't justify the expense when I ran only once a week.
But what's the additional price of a Saturday night pizza order when you can run a couple of hundred miles in a good shoe?
At checkout, Louis, the sales clerk, remembered that I served in the military and gave me a 10 percent discount, setting me back only $98.99 plus tax. Louis is working on his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of South Florida -- some very heady stuff for someone so light on his feet.
But somehow that didn't surprise me.
What did was when I got home and read the shoe box. I learned what ASICS stands for: Anima Sana In Corpore Sano -- sound mind in a sound body.
MyLinh Shattan was captain of the West Point track team. She lives with her husband and three children in Lutz.