Thursday, April 28, 2005


Thinking about my Nike tennis shoes today. I wear sandals about 350 days out of the year but when it gets cool I get out my Nikes. I love these shoes. Today I walked up to town with @ wearing my Nikes. I felt fast. Those of you who know me know that I am anything but athletic. It would be a fairly accurate statement to say that I am the antithesis of athletic (I have trouble spelling the word). But in my Nikes, I am a Kenyan (or whoever the fastest runner is in the world right now, actually it isn’t a Kenyan I’m pretty sure). I am all of those cheese ball commercials that the Nike people air on TV.

My first pair of Nikes were a pair of honest to goodness running shoes. I bought them after spending a summer working at Y camp. My sophomore year of college I took up running. I wasn’t a terribly good runner, low endurance really. I ran mostly from my gut. It was a venting strategy. I ran around campus some but mostly I would hit the rec center around 6 a.m. and run and ride the bike and stew. Great times really. But I remember I would come home and my legs would feel like rubber but I still felt fast. I ran in those shoes a long time. Then a year after getting married I began to realize that my Nikes were dying a slow painful death. I had stopped running a while ago and my Nikes were mostly the daily shoe of choice more than a special fast running shoe. So I started tennis shoe shopping. Went to the Nike outlet and the fast part of me said running shoes here we come. But it wasn’t practical- I had no intention of beginning to run again. It just wasn’t who I really was anymore. So the salesman (who knew that I wasn’t a runner anymore either) brought me a pair of “cross trainers”. It was then that I felt vaguely insulted but also like a closet athlete. These shoes are made for people who are the antithesis of athletic. They are made for those of us who need a well supported shoe because we are a little beyond our ideal weight and can’t really walk and stand that well on cement floors because we get back and knee aches. They are made for those of us who mostly walk around malls and go to food courts. People whose running is done when it is raining and they need to get in from the car. People who yell for their kids to come here and then when they don’t obey, we run after the kid. Of course the name “cross trainer” makes it sound like I’m involved in so many diverse athletic endeavors that I need a variety shoe that is good for my Basketball, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting, baseball, running career. It’s slick marketing. I bought them. They really were something. Shiny white with a blue swish. I was again fast. I love these shoes. They’ve gotten me through 3 continents and 5 years of walking, chasing, waiting, running, impatient toe tapping, and general bouncing.

I guess the thing that starts this aside is that I walked (in my Nikes) up to town with @ in his jogging stroller (further proof that I am a cross trainer). The walk up to town first requires going down hill and then up quite a steep hill. It’s a walk that started out taking me 20 minutes, now I’m pushing the 10 minute mark. Tell me I’m not fast.

Say what you will about Nikes and the fact they are apparently made my 3 year old North Koreans in a sweat shop where they are paid half pennies. I would buy one of those kids for the way I feel in these shoes. It would save money on therapy. Adrenaline and the euphoria are the best drugs and they are really good for thinking time.
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