When I got you, it was January 2012.
In what can only be described as a momentary lapse in sanity, I had signed up for a small triathlon at Raby Bay the following month and my current pair of cheap $10 Kmart shoes just weren’t cutting it for running.
Now that I think of it, that momentary lapse in sanity began way back even before Boxing Day (when I agreed to do the triathlon) it had started on November 15th 2011 when I just stopped drinking “as much” Coke as I did and tried out my parent’s hired walking machine.
You changed that.
You cost more than the entire amount I have ever spent on shoes in my entire adult life. I wish that was an exaggeration but I am a creature of the $10 cheapies. To justify spending that much on you meant I had to go from “trying something” to “getting fit”. You made what I was doing legitimate. While I would never BE a runner, I was now a runner with proper running shoes.
And so it began.
I ran. I cycled. For a month I trained my little heart out.
As the triathlon approached, I faced something I had never done before, wore you without socks. I am a sock man. I need socks so my feet don’t sweat and my baby-like skin doesn’t blister up like a well grilled cheese melt. I put baby powder in you and slide my foot in. Weird man, just weird.
Then, the morning of the triathlon. I came out of the swim breathing so hard my chest was about to rip apart and the lack of circulating blood meant my head was a washing machine. I bent down to put you on and I stumbled. I had practise putting you on dozens of time in “transition training” but this was different.
I couldn’t do the laces up in my state, so I fumbled until I got what would loosely be called a knot, grabbed the bike and headed out. The next day, I went and bought you some stretchy elastic laces that don’t need tying up.
So, there we were. Exhusted. Insane. Done.
But we did that.
Then, for some reason, we signed up for the short Gold Coast Triathlon. Double the distance. Once again, we trained like mad for the 2 months before the day. Lots of riding, running, walking, limping, crying and resting.
But we did that too.
We both know that running wasn’t ever going to be my thing. You stopped being my running shoe and became my doing shoe. As our training progressed, my love of road biking emerged, and you accompanied me on many adventures. The epic 9 hour, 150km ride to Nudgee Beach and back was a highlight. When I lifted weights, I also put you on, even in the living room. To put you on meant I was out to achieve some level of something.
As winter gave way to summer, we started triathlon training again. 4 in total. 3 small Raby Bay triathlons and the granddaddy full distance Gold Coast Triathlon.
We started a serious 5km running program but just 6 weeks before the GC, shin splints struck in my right leg. Not a fault of yours, just one of those things to happen to anyone, no matter the cost of their shoes.
On the day of the race, the 5km run was excruciating. We shuffled along the Gold Coast Highway. Even as people were packing up their tents and walking home, we still pounded away. Coming in last in almost every measure, including the 3rd last person on the course.
But, we did that too.
That was followed by OxFam TrailWalker. 100km bushwalk, along with all the trial walks, was probably going to be too much for you, so I bought a cheap pair of hiking boots. I still wore you for training on the bike and the occasional street stroll but the boots would do the heavy lifting. During the event, in a moment of inspiration, I swapped those boots out for you for the last 1/3 of the 100km and you got me home. You were light, flexible and comfy. A small respite from 41 hours of feet torture.
But we did that too.
Truth be told, essentially, you were rested in the paddock for a specific reason. Tough Mudder.
Tomorrow, you and I will take on the Tough Mudder Sunshine Coast event. 17km. 18 obstacles. Mud.
They say “this is where all shoes go to heaven”. That doesn’t sound good. From all reports, while you may still remain on my feet, you may not function as a pair of shoe tomorrow night. I have very mixed feelings about this.
For the past 18 months, you have represented what we have achieved. Movement. Adventure. Weight loss. Life gain. When you get put on, it’s business time. I could probably afford a new pair, but no amount of money will buy what has been invested in you.
So tonight, my trusted friend, I will give you a final clean, pack you up and prepare for one last hoorah.
For we will do that too.