In running, The Big Lie goes something like this: Running is so elemental. All you need is a decent pair of shoes (or run barefoot, if your trendy and brave), shorts and some ratty old T-shirt.
This is no huge revelation to anyone who's been running a while. But no one really talks about the expense. They'd rather perpetuate the lie, which appeals to our ascetic/monastic streak. Go to any road race, and you'll see runners decked out with all sorts of gizmos and clothing options that run well into the hundreds of dollars.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. Hey, it keeps the economy chugging along, which the country dearly needs and keeps bringing in ad revenue to media companies like, oh, The McClatchy Co.
Plus, if you want to spend some major coin, become a serious cyclist or triathlete.
I'm as guilty as anyone when it comes to collecting running stuff. I've got a Garmin GPS/heart rate monitor ($250), two foam rollers ($30 each), a TriggerPoint massage roller ($40), over-the-counter insoles ($40), Petzl headlamp ($30), reflective vest ($20), Camelbak hydration pack ($30). Then there are rain jackets, shorts, hats/visors, gloves for cold weather...blah, blah, blah...
But what really strains my budget at least are the recurring expenses. Here's my list:
Cytomax energy drink powder: $22.99 every two months
Rocktane GU: $60 for a 24-pack (lasts about 2 1/2 months)
Nike shoes: $129 (replaced every 300-400 miles)
Flex Power Pain Relief Cream: $20 every two months
Yeah, I should stop whining and either accept that running is an expensive hobby or decide to go low tech and drink only out of a fountain on long runs, wear a simple Timex watch or none at all and go minimalist.
But, hell, I need my Cytomax on 20-milers. I need that maltodextrin rush from Rocktane at Mile 12. I get injured when shoes get worn down.
Well, I guess I'm just a capitalist running dog...