Ask Cranky Fitness: running shoes & exercise break ups

The good news: yes, it's another Ask Cranky Fitness post!
The bad news: it's a Merry-based post. Ms. Crabby is off making sure Michelle is doing her arm exercises correctly.
Okay, that's a completely untrue rumor that I just made up. Actually, she's off making the world safe for slackers. Which is an important job, even if it doesn't involve many trips to the White House.

Dear Cranky Fitness,

For nearly two years, I have been in a monogamous relationship with my running shoes. I haven't been consistent about running, but whenever I exercise I wear these shoes. They've been good years, on the whole, but now I'm starting to wonder if we should break up.

"Experts," i.e. people who run more than I do, say it's not good to be exclusive with one pair of running shoes for more than six months, as the wear-and-tear on the shoes could damage your feet/knees/joints. But these experts are hardcore runners. I'm more of the softcore type, myself -- isn't it okay to wear them longer?

Runaround Sue

Dear Sue,

We feel your indecision. Or at least, I do. Crabby runs circles around me (and squares, and sometimes even polygons).

People who are addicted to running get so they can usually tell when it's time to go shopping. If you're not sure, try this: get another pair of running shoes as backup. Switch back and forth between the new and the old pairs. When your original pair start to feel less springy/cushiony/comfortable than the newer pair, that's a sign. Or, if your foot starts to hurt after running, that's another sign. If you start running on a more regular basis, then definitely go for the hardcore approach and shop more often. You can either pay at the shoe store or at the foot doctors.

Dear Cranky Fitness,

I have a relationship problem. I finally found a partner who seemed like the perfect match: we were both somewhat out-of-shape but wanted to become fit meisters. She's a one-time athletic friend who has gained a lot of weight in the last year or so, and she really sounded enthused when I used words like "5k" and "training." Now, she complains about how her leg muscles hurt when we do even a quite easy walk. I'm worried -- she used to run rings around me, but now she can't keep up? I would swear I haven't improved -- at least I haven't gotten thinner -- so maybe she's becoming ill and I shouldn't expect her to train with me. What do I do? Should I go on alone or wait for her to keep up with me?

Anxious in Arizona

Dear AA,

Sorry. I know the excitement of thinking you've finally found The One: an exercise partner who can keep pace without leaving you in the dust or holding you back as you try to improve. Face the fact that no one is perfect, not even an exercise partner. A friend will try to understand as you forge ahead, but will probably feel hurt all the same. If she's truly a friend, then I suggest you think of your outings together as good occasions for bonding, not as training. Do training on your own if you have to. Join running clubs, or cycling groups, or exercise on your own until you're up to joining a formal group. Keep your friend, and honor your time with her as good in its own right.

Dear Cranky Fitness,

How do I get my relatives to stop spamming me? I wouldn't mind it if they wanted to communicate via email, but the only time I get something from them it's a chain letter that's been forwarded 10,287 times, and has 26 lines of email addresses, 1 subject line, and 2 lines of pink text with a picture of a saccharine kitten. They never check before forwarding the latest Nigerian-Prince-needs-a-new-lung-because-his-kidneys-were-stolen story, and they don't seem to get it that I Don't Want To Hear It. What can I do to make them stop, aside from changing my email address or leaving the country?

Email Rebel

Merry: Um... Crabby... doesn't anybody screen these emails? What's this got to do with health fitness or... oh damn. I suppose it does come under the heading of 'whining.'

Dear ER,

At this point, I should probably say something Zen-ish like 'you cannot change others, you can only change yourself.' Unfortunately, someone borrowed my only copy of Zen and the Art of Enigmatic Wisdom, so I don't have any profound koans to offer.

The best thing I can say is that this is a great opportunity to practice patience. And respond to their emails with a Snopes link pointing out why their email was a hoax. It won't help to do this; at least, in my experience these people almost never read emails, they just send them. But it might teach them not to be so credulous.

Evil thought... you could always open a post office box near your home, then send them emails about how if they send cash to this address, they'll receive the winning ticket from the National Nigerian Lottery. Okay, no, don't do it. No, really. It was just an evil thought. Patience, grasshopper. Patience and

What, you don't like these answers? Please, please feel free to offer comments on when to get new running shoes, or how to break up with an exercise partner, or spam meisters!

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