I have been using my favorite local trail, the West Ashley Greenway, for 8 years now. At first I walked down it every blue moon when I felt like working out (few and far between). However, two and a half years ago when I started running, I started to use it on a regular basis.
It is a trail full of beautiful tree lined sections and wide open fields that seem to be all mine as it is rare that I ever pass anyone. In truth, I might have continued to believe this was my own personal oasis if about a year ago the trail hadn’t begun to evolve. Suddenly, as I was running through one of my favorite wooded areas I noticed them – shoes dangling off a tree. At first it was only three pairs, but over the months I delighted in watching the shoe tree grow and evolve. It was a way to realize that other runners, runners who I have never even seen, share in my beautiful trail. It is now my absolutely favorite place to run by as I always look to see how many pairs have been thrown up there.
Since I consider this my trail (hey, it is practically in my backyard) I knew that I too had to become a part of the tree. I had planned on adding a pair of my shoes as a celebration after I finished the Marine Corp Marathon in Oct. 2012, but after injury forced me to defer I decided to wait. I wanted my shoes to hang there and remind me of my marathon accomplishment every time I ran underneath them.
It has now been 4 weeks since I set a marathon PR at the Country Music Marathon and proved to myself that no matter how many injuries, deferrals, etc. put me back at square zero I’ll never give up. I love running and I will continue to push, struggle, and fight to be able to do what I love
This weekend I took the trail out to the shoe tree and carried with me a pair of my old Mizunos. Fittingly enough I had used these shoes to train for the MCM race I was unable to run, now they will hang as a reminder to me – every time I see them I will remember that a set back is only temporary and that if you work hard enough you will make it through. (This too shall pass.)I was a bit worried about getting them up there since I throw like a small, awkward, child; however, on the third try they banged off a branch and started to fall to the ground, but on the way down they wrapped themselves over another pair of shoes and hung on for dear life.
Every other pair of shoes on the tree are white or grey… I love that my Mizunos are bright purple. They stick out so every time I run by they will be a bright, visible reminder of all I have been through – injuries, races deferred, and physical therapy, but more importantly these hang as proof of what I am capable of and a hope for all that is still to come.I don’t know the other runners who I share the shoe tree with (mine were the 21st pair), but I love to think about the stories behind their runs and their shoes. We are not alone- even on a trail by ourselves we are still, and always will be, a community of runners.Its like Where’s Waldo for shoes –
Can you spot my bright purple Mizunos high up in the tree among the other pairs?
What story would your shoes tell?
Make up an awesome/hilarious story for one of these pairs.