Dear Nike,

In August of 2014 I needed a new pair of shoes so I jumped onto your website. Little did I know that the shoes I would end up buying would change my life.

My Irreplaceable Nikes

I am the most boring shoe consumer ever; In the past I have always bought solid black Nikes simply because they match every outfit. As I was scrolling through your website, I ran into the pair shown above. I thought they looked incredibly cool but they were so different than what I was used to. I ended up bookmarking the page and walking away but I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I pulled the page up every day for a couple of weeks and eventually I pulled the trigger and bought them. I thought, “What’s the worst that could happen?” If I didn’t like them I’d just wait it out and then go buy a black pair when I had the chance.

A week after they arrived I was playing intramural flag football and I got laid out by two guys aggressively guarding their quarterback. After getting thrown to the ground I couldn’t get up… I’ve been an athlete my entire life and I had never experienced that problem before. It turned out that I had torn my ACL and two weeks later I was in reconstructive surgery. With an injury like that you can’t wear anything but gym shoes so I essentially lived in the Nikes you saw above. I went from not being able to go a day without playing a sport or training to being forced to watch from the sidelines…It was indescribably painful on every level. However, the shoes made it better.

My Limitations

Like most fiercely competitive athletes, I can’t stand showing weakness. I’m also impatient and it killed me to go from strong and talented to having to train my knee how to bend again. The brace and crutches were symbols of limitation, but that’s not what people saw. They saw my new shoes. I received compliment after compliment on how cool they were. The MRI technician told me that she had never seen shoes like them, all of my friends told me that I had found the most incredible shoes on the market, and everyone at my physical therapist’s office loved them. My sleek shoes distracted the public while I trained myself to walk, jump, and run again.

The consistent compliments didn’t stop when my brace came off. After four months of physical therapy I graduated from a permanent full leg brace to a smaller brace just for athletics. By that time I had moved to San Francisco for my last semester of college, so I finished my physical therapy by myself out west and picked up running. Like every other part of my recovery, at first it was a huge blow to my confidence; I couldn’t even run a mile. However, I kept lacing up my one-of-a-kind Nikes and I felt myself getting faster and stronger every day. Strangers would stop me on my runs or tap my shoulder in line where I got my post-workout smoothies to tell me how cool my shoes were. It was a HUGE motivator. One day out of nowhere my shoes took me 10 miles and even though I had never been a runner before I thought, “I bet I could do a half marathon.”

I signed up to run one in Ventura, California the very next weekend (I was 4.5 months out of surgery) and I rocked it. I had so much fun at the race I ended up running 3 more in California and another in Cincinnati the day after I flew home. I wore my shoes during every training session and on every race day receiving, no joke, HUNDREDS of compliments along the way. I’ve been racing ever since.

My Accomplishments

This past December I decided that I wanted to become a triathlete. I signed up to become an Ironman in October 2016 and I am currently chasing my goal. Over the last 2.5 months I have had a blast training, learning about the sports, meeting other triathletes, and getting new gear. I could not be more excited for my warm up races and to complete a full Ironman in Louisville on October 9th of this year!

I am normally outfitted in Nike gear during my workouts (using the limited wardrobe that I have) and almost 18 moths later I still never leave the house without my shoes. They have over 500 miles on them and I can’t bring myself to replace them. Not only do they encourage me to bring my best self to the pool, road, or gym but the confidence boost I get every time I receive a compliment is unparalleled. My shoes got me through a period in my life where I felt weak, they kept me safe throughout my recovery, and ever since then they’ve helped me earn PRs and they’ve enabled me to grow even stronger. I’m far past the point where they need to be retired but I don’t know what I’d do without them.

The reason I wanted to tell you this story was so that I could say thank you! Thank you for making products that encourage athletes to be their best. Thanks for equipping us with the apparel we need to feel comfortable and race ready everyday. Thanks for pushing us to not accept where we are today and for enabling us to chase after goals we typically would deem unattainable. You make us better. You make us stronger. You outfit us in confidence. Thank you!

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