Mark Sutcliffe: My Running Life When you’ve got two right feet

When you’ve got two right feet


I’ve started looking forward to my occasional trips to the gym to get in a run on the treadmill.

They’ve worked out well, at least when I’ve remembered to pack the right items into my backpack. One time, I forgot to bring a towel (It’s surprising how quickly you can air-dry if necessary). One time, I didn’t bring soap or shampoo.

And a few nights ago, I made a bigger mistake: I brought two right shoes.

Yes, instead of bringing a pair of running shoes, I brought the right shoe from two different pairs. I paid my $8 one-day gym fee, went into the locker room, unpacked my bag and discovered I had two right shoes.

I’ve been accused of having two left feet, but I’ve never had two right feet.

I went back to the counter and asked the attendant if I could run barefoot on the treadmill or the elliptical trainer. He said no. I explained my predicament. The only thing I could do, he said, was wear my outside shoes on the elliptical, as long as they were clean.

So I marched into the training room wearing a nice black running t-shirt, a fairly new pair of running shorts and my brown Merrell hiking shoes that serve as my everyday footwear.

I haven’t used an elliptical trainer in years, but I wasn’t going to run on the treadmill in anything but running shoes. So I signed up for Elliptical #2 and walked over feeling like the eyes of the gym were on me, the guy with the dusty brown shoes.

I started pushing up and down on the machine, feeling like something was completely wrong. Then I realized: I was on Stairmaster #2. I climbed down, found Elliptical #2 and walked toward it, feeling like the rest of the gym population thought I was on my first visit to an exercise facility.

I got in a light workout and slinked away quietly. I’ll have to add something to my checklist: bring one shoe per foot.