20 Comments

NIKE AND MR. BOWERMAN


I hadn’t gone far, not quite two miles, with not even a good sweat in the cool, foggy morning air. I was high, running easily, playing my usual mind game of imagining the cheering crowds at the imaginary finish line, me breaking the tape and then flopping down on the wet grass to celebrate the usual morning run. For several years we had run around the Lake chasing the resident geese out of the way and dodging dogs and people. Dr. Advice was beside me as usual, playing the role of the race announcer and critiquing my unusual running style, when suddenly without warning I found myself on the ground writhing in pain. The culprit was a board sticking up a bare half inch and my moving toe had connected with it. As it turned out, it was the finish of that race and all others to come when an x-ray showed a broken tendon in my right foot. The prognosis was not good. The loose half of the tendon had windowshaded up my leg never to be seen again.

runners 2

Early in the 1960’s a friend called me one morning about 6 a.m. and asked if I wanted to go for a run. Unaccustomed as I was to even being awake at 6 a.m. and not knowing anyone who ran in public unless going to a fire, I foolishly said OK. What began as a slow jog alongside the side of the road for the two of us, began a daily habit which soon had us switched to the high school track at 5:30 and included several other men and women. We all felt so superior and healthy.

All this time unbeknownst to us, Bill Bowerman, the great track and field coach at the University of Oregon, was working on an idea to make better running shoes for his runners. In 1970 he famously used his wife’s waffle iron to stamp the rubber sole of a running shoe which then became the iconic look of running shoes today. Together with Phil Knight, a business man in Oregon and graduate of the University of Oregon. they began the company known as Nike. My daughter then working in the sports department at the University of Washington sent me one of the first Nike shoes.

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It has been eight years since my accident, and I still miss those early morning runs while waiting for the world to wake up. Today I use a cane which amuses me sometimes because when my friend and I were very young we decided that if we ever grew old we would carry a really classy cane with a silver handle to discourage all intruders. My cane is not classy and there have been no intruders that a Jack Russell couldn’t discourage, but it works. One of my grandsons promised me he would pick me up one in London someday, but he never did. I found a shop in Nottinghill which had some lovely canes, but I didn’t need one then so I moved on.

I have discovered that if you can no longer manage things the way you would like, you can make adjustments. Sort of like that old saw about one door opening etc. My walker with its storage basket/seat is perfect for carrying things room to room, or stashing tools when gardening and purchases at the store. I can recommend one to everyone. My daughter was quite impressed when I used it to bring dishes to the table.

I began feeling sorry for myself because I couldn’t go for a walk, so we bought a wheelchair. The first day we used it to walk around “our” Lake, the wind came up and Dr. Advice caught a cold and was in bed for four days! The chair stayed vacant in the garage for a month or so as a catch-all storage, but it’s there when needed. I met a nice lady at the store where we bought it who had purchased the same model for her husband, but when she took him out for a spin the first time, it tipped over and out he went. No idea if she ever got the hang of it. I guess I was lucky that I didn’t tip over.

The whole point of life is making the best of it. I’m glad I danced, rode horses, climbed mountains and ran. It’s time to move over and let the rabble run past.

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20 comments on “NIKE AND MR. BOWERMAN

  1. Ow, I felt that, too. I’m glad you can adjust to less mobility without bitterness. I suppose that took time. Keep your eye open for that cane! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You inspire me. I think to myself “If Kayti’s gone through it with wit and love, I can too.”

    PS. I like the new gravatar. Very stylish.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Speaking of letting the rabble run past, that’s exactly the way I deal with freeways. Instead of trying to keep up with traffic, I slow down to only five miles above the speed limit and watch them go. It’s not worth the aggravation to try to keep up, or the stress of worrying about the lane changers who’d much rather go twenty miles above the speed limit.

    I think one of the best ad campaigns ever was Nike’s “Just Do It”. That’s not a bad suggestion for life in general, let alone running.

    It’s such a shame they couldn’t repair the tendon. I gather it’s a difficult procedure under the best of circumstances, and that “windowshading” you referred to suggests you may have had a more difficult situation. But you’re right: we cope.

    When my mom still was alive, she lived one building down from me, but on the same level. There was a covered walkway connecting buildings, so we always were going back and forth. She had one of those walkers, and it was great. She’d take a mind to bake cookies or whatever, and the next thing I knew she was here, with the basket filled with goodies and a book or some needlepoint. It was doubly nice because she could tote things too heavy for her to carry, too. Very convenient!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nike hit on a great thing with “Just do it”. It’s a good mantra.

      It must have been nice having your mom so close. Mine lived in Oregon and though we had been super close. after I married we weren’t able to see each other often. I missed that. I don’t remember her baking cookies! Cakes yes, but not cookies. I had so many “mothers” and the only one to bake cookies was my grandmother and she was a horrible cookie baker.

      The walker is terrific too for shopping. I can sit down if my leg starts bugging me, and I can keep my purse, book, etc. in the walker plus any small purchases. I take the cane too for roaming through the racks.

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  4. We do have to make adjustments – no choice. And it’s a damned good mindset to remember all the wonderful things we were once able to do … One of my favourites is the last time I was able to lie flat on the floor – it was in 1987. Never again – can’t like flat on ANYTHING.

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  5. Well, at the risk of sacrificing my humility, I will take credit for that gorgeous photo that is your new Gravatar. You are beautiful, inside and out. The stylish glasses ( I will admit to having on a pair yesterday myself (there goes the humility), chic blouse, jewelry and my lipstick ( Laura Mercier Antique Pink) all combined to produce an accurate photo of one of the most special people on this planet or any other.
    Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I admire your spunky determination. But…you do not sound like the ‘step aside’ type…more like the ‘plant your feet and let them runaround you’ type.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life is short. If his need is greater–let ’em go. Years ago, trying to get out of a gas station driveway in Hawaii, an older friend pulled over to let someone pass out ahead of him. “I guess he wants to get out”. I had never thought of it that way. It was more important to win. Sometimes it’s difficult to get down our road, so we just pull over and let them go.

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  7. Congratulations to Ladybugg for a terrific photograph. Mind you, the old one was very revealing – I hope you weren’t left to wash the dishes on your own.

    Will you be racing your wheelchair competitively? Have you thought of applying your waffle iron to the tyres? Could make you a fortune.

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  8. What a great attitude. You set a wonderful example for all of us baby boomers on the brink of a life that requires canes, walkers and wheelchairs. Love the glasses!

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  9. Unfortunately we all have something. My dearest friend became deaf about 15 years ago from meningitis. Since then it has been one thing after another. She cannot walk, Her mind is slipping now yet a week or so ago she said “I’m so lucky. I have my health and my memory, Some people don’t have either.” She has neither. She has been my inspiration.

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  10. HI, Kayti, it tickles me that “nike”, in greek, means “victory”, the inventor must have known this when he named his -better running shoes.

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