I took my new shoes out for a test run this morning.
It was awkward.
I’ve only ever had one pair of running shoes. That’s right. I’ve had one pair of running shoes that I’ve used for three half marathons during the past two years. Yikes. Apparently this is bad.
My new Nikes look kind of like these, only they’re dark purple. They’re super light and feel nicer on my back than my Asics. I don’t know yet if that’s because my Asics were so old or if it’s because they’re better for me.
It felt strange running in new shoes. It was like a first date – awkward, uncomfortable, weird. My old ones have been with me for so many miles. What do I do with them? I didn’t throw them away or give them away or anything. They’re just in my running bag, looking lonely. I guess I’ll figure out what to do with them later.
The new ones made me feel a little creaky in the knees, but maybe they need some more break-in time. We’ll see. At least thing time I’m going to try not to keep them for two years.
I realized a few weeks before the Williams Route 66 Marathon that there was a time limit on your water stops. If you ran slower than a 15-minute pace, you were out of luck. Too slow? Better carry your own water. I’ll be honest: it made me so mad.
I’m a slow runner. This isn’t modesty talking. I’m so slow, I sometimes get passed by walkers. Really. Once, my husband took a picture of me running, and we later discovered there was a man walking in hiking boots – hiking boots! – who was passing me. I don’t like to talk about my pace because honestly, I’m embarrassed. It’s slower than a 15-minute mile.
So when I realized that there was a limit for the water stops, I was scared. What if I couldn’t make it that quickly? What if ran out of water?
Also, setting a time limit can weed out the walkers and slow people like me. It’s pretty disheartening. Doesn’t my training count? Don’t my miles count? I do all the same miles. I do all the same runs. It just takes me twice as long as some people, even three times as long as the fastest folks. Does that mean it doesn’t count? The more I thought about it, the angrier I got.
I bought a water bottle belt the night before the race and my running buddy, Megan Rolland, gave me some Gu to put in the pocket. (She told me to eat it at Mile 6. I was pretty sure if I didn’t eat it right then, I would collapse on the course.) I wrote the mileage for the water stops at the time limits for a 15-minute pace. If I could make it to the first water stop at Mile 2, then I wouldn’t have to use my water until after then.
I headed out onto the hilly first half of the course with the determination to make it to the first water stop. I checked my watch over and over and over. I squeaked in and drank both water and Gatorade. I kept moving and made it to the next water stop. And then next. And on and on. Finally, I hit the last one – Mile 12 – just as they were packing up. I was there right at the 15-minute pace. Me. I was running a 15-minute pace. It was only 1.1 miles to go and I was spent.
It took me 20 minutes to finish that last bit. I ran a few steps, walked, ran a few steps, walked some more. It took so long.
I crossed the finish line and still didn’t really believe my watch or the time on the clock above. I shuffled through the food tent, my legs dragging. I met up with Megan, who had finished more than an hour an a half earlier, and then found my family. I sat down for a long, long time.
When I finally stood up, my husband took me to the timing tent, where a sweet woman in a cozy sweatshirt printed out a ticket for me. I beat my best time by 20 minutes.
Twenty minutes? Was that even real?
So, thanks, Tulsa. I was running as fast as I could so I wouldn’t dehydrate and die, and I set a personal best. So I guess I’m not that mad at you now.
It’s time to be honest with yourself. Are you really ever going to play hockey again? I mean, maybe. But do your knees think you should play hockey again? Exactly.
Or, maybe you’re like me: you just keep playing sports despite the fact you suck and are getting older by the day. You continue buying new stuff, hoping this will somehow make you run faster and jump higher. Or mabye just run less slow and jump less like a drunken snowman.
Or, maybe your kid is growing like a weed and only used a pair of cleats or a baseball glove for one season.
These are all good reasons to donate your sports equipment.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Today, Oklahoma Cleats for Kids announced a collection drive in conjunction with the nonprofit’s one year birthday.
“When we started Cleats for Kids, we assumed it would take off, but we really didn’t know just how fast,” said Stacy McDaniel, co-founder and Executive Director. “As many of us know, sports can be very expensive. We feel that the benefits of team sports – developing healthier lifestyles and building character – are so great for youth, that we’re dedicated to finding a way for all Oklahoma kids to be suited up, regardless of their family’s financial situation.”
WHO: Everyone in OKC and surrounding! “Kid volunteers” will be on hand to help with the collecting.
WHAT: Cleats for Kids will be accepting new and/or gently-used athletic shoes and equipment. The first 100 donations will get a free t-shirt. There will also be birthday cake, marching bands, and more!
WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, 10 a.m. to Noon
WHERE: Public Basketball Courts, Reno & Hudson, Downtown Oklahoma City
WHY: To celebrate the first year of Cleats for Kids! With this event, our goal is to make a visual impact that tells the story of what we do and why we do it.
HOW: Bring any used-yet-wearable kids athletic shoes or equipment and grab some cake. It’s that easy!
ABOUT CLEATS FOR KIDS
Founded in 2011, Oklahoma Cleats for Kids (C4K) collects and distributes new and gently-used athletic shoes and equipment to kids in need. Cleats for Kids was founded by Mark and Stacy McDaniel in October 2011. As parents of three children, all whom play sports, they saw, and heard, story after story of kids who could not play without getting help to acquire shoes, clothing and equipment. Since its inception, C4K has distributed more than 2,000 pieces of shoes and equipment. All donations are distributed to Oklahoma kids, free of charge. CFK partners with civic organizations to help kids get active and play sports. For more information, visit www.okcleatsforkids.org.