The Scribbler

13 December 2011

Old shoes, meet new shoes

Hello shoes. Here you all are together. My third year of running and my first year of three pairs. And yes I know, new Asics, you’re still waiting the moment when I lace you up and take you outside. But be patient my dears, your time will come.

My 2011 trainers

My 2011 traners l-r Saucony Pro Grid Triumph, new Asics Gel Nimbus, current Asics Gel Nimbus

Saucony’s, you’ve really weathered the tough runs this year. You’ve been taped up to tackle sand, mud and puddles; trecked your way along the coastline past castles and climbs; changed your laces and slipped on my feet for three triathlons of bike and run. You have done me proud.

It took a little while to settle with you. You were stiffer and harder than last year’s Nike’s but I soon broke your skin, gaining toe glimpses as I ran. Your support remained steadfast, even when I changed my allegiance to another pair.

You were there for my 50th race and returned from retirement without faltering to plodge through the mud and leap haybales at the Stampede.

For workhorses you were fast. A couple of close to 25 minute parkruns before we broke through that marker. And on one warm summer’s evening, a glorious, unexpected 10k PB. Thank you for some amazing adrenaline filled moments.

Asics Nimbus, do you remember that day when I tried all those different shoes on the treadmill and chose you, knowing you’d be the ones to take me round my third Great North Run? What a weight of expectation on your soles!

You slipped on so easily. We were soon in step and increasing the miles. Through the summer we ran out along the coast, to the lighthouse and back, a little further each weekend. And just two days after the Blaydon Race you sped me to a parkrun PB, sub 25 and a time not matched since.

But you always knew what you had to do. The goal I returned to as, step by step, you made me see it was in my reach. You kept my pace, kept me steady, took the strength and endurance built from cross training and gave me the faith in myself that I could do it. I could run a sub 2 hour half marathon.

We always understood each other you and I. So you knew my strange ways, my little habits and superstitions. You knew I’d run better with the pressure off. So on that day when I ran part of the course; on the day when I was meant to run 12, you gifted me the numbers and a 13.1 mile training run in less than 120 minutes.

And then we did it again. On a day marked by great friendships and amazing support, we carried each other. Focused, certain, confident. Just you and me doing what we knew we could. Running from Newcastle to South Shields, pace perfect in 1:57:32. You know how much that meant to me. Thank you.

New shoes, sister Asics, learn from your companions. Learn their strength, endurance, speed and reliability. And this year, their sensible side. Draw from the quiet confidence and self belief, the support and hope placed in you. There’s no need to fear the expectations. We have time to get used to each other’s quirks and rhythms. And although I’d hoped to race with you this weekend, be patient for our time will come. The Olympic Park is calling and we will run.

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