Where haven’t they taken me?
I bought a pair of Mizuno running shoes in preparation for the 2009 London Marathon. Meaning I must have bought these… Christmas ’08. New pair of shoes for the training and they’d be broken in perfectly for the race. And they were. But not too broken in. So I kept wearing them. Right through that summer and my lovely light weight running shoes began to wear down a little. I still ran in them, but whereas they’d been almost sacrosanct and reserved only for training, they slowly evolved into multi-use footwear. And then I went traveling at the end of the year. Not a short trip, but a year long trek around the world. And naturally, it was these shoes selected to take. They weren’t a complete lost cause yet, and I figured they could take me as far as they would, and then I would abandon them somewhere along the journey.
But I never abandoned them. We wandered all throughout India, although admittedly, for much of that, especially in the south, they hung dangling from my backpack, shoelaces tied together. But then I went north. And found myself in the foothills of the Himalayas. And a friend and I planned a trek. Nothing strenuous, just a few days in the mountains. No need to buy hiking boots or anything like that. Although I might have looked. And might have failed to find anything even approaching size 12.
The trek though was rather more strenuous than anticipated. The trail in fact, was closed off as it was too early in the season and large portions of the track were still covered in snow and ice. ‘Officially’ closed I should say. A local was all too happy to go on in front of us and open a lodge for us to stay in. So my friend and I continued on. Me in my mesh-top running shoes, he in his Vans. Over snow and ice, sliding along three foot wide ledges over precipitous drops. And freezing!, as every plunge into deeper snow would leave my socks soaking wet. The last day ended with a mile-long trek across fields of foot deep snow.
Worth it? Every moment. But my shoes, my elite, purebred running shoes, forced to stand in as hiking boots on a trek in the Himalayas… I’m sure they complained every step of the way.
Our story didn’t end there though. We trekked down through Southeast Asia, across Indonesia, through ancient rice terraces in the Philippines, and down into an Australian winter. And then I washed up on the shores of America and met my sister and her boyfriend to take part in a triathlon.
And so my shoes, whose career began in preparation for a marathon, ended on the shores of a lake participating in my first triathlon. Or rather, the Hollywood version might have it so. I couldn’t part with them though.
I still have them, to be honest. We’ve lived together in Seattle, Hong Kong, and Reno. Strolled around the Alps, spent time in England, walked the streets of Beijing. And though I’m no longer much of a runner, we do occasionally pair up and go for a jog in the hills of the Sierra Nevadas. One day they’ll fall apart as I’m wearing them.
It will be a fitting end.