By Christopher Cudworth
If there’s one thing you learn from all those miles of running and riding, it’s how and when to improvise. Creatively.
Extending Shoe Life
It’s hard to remember exactly who conceived the idea, but in the days of 100 mile weeks and long training seasons, someone in our clan devised a way to keep the heels of our shoes from wearing down too quickly. It was a simple idea that worked great. We all took good old white athletic tape and applied it to the heels of our shoes.
It was better than Shoe Goo, an invention that came along a little later. You could quite precisely control the thickness and breadth of the managed area by peeling specific lengths and sizes of tape and sticking them to the heels of the shoe. It worked brilliantly. We made our shoes last 600-700 miles in those days, and the taping of our shoe heels helped make that possible. Fortunately we also ran much of our mileage on dirt roads and grass, so extending the live of our shoes was not as difficult as running all our miles on asphalt or concrete.
Socks As Gloves
That type of ingenuity is evidence that those of us who run and ride are willing and able to adapt to life’s challenges in ways that others might not appreciated.
There are many other examples of creativity and ingenuity while on the run or on the ride. Some are so basic they barely qualify as ingenious. But the basics are sometimes the best response to need. That qualifies as creativity, because it’s just good enough to exceed the alternative, which is doing nothing at all.
Before running gloves evolved into Gore-Tex wonders with moisture wicking properties, there were no real viable alternatives for training in cold winter weather. So we wore socks on our hands. Usually tube socks. Sometimes two pairs, if the temps were below zero. And it worked. Mittens are still superior to gloves in many conditions. Not sure if socks were superior, but it worked. The practice is still recommended as affordable running gear.
Churches as Water Stops
While riding 50-80 miles, it is sometimes a fact that you run out of things to drink. My riding buddies happen to know the location of many churches, where there is almost always an available garden hose out on the lawn, or at least a faucet you can access for fresh water. Many times I have personally thanked Jesus for a re-filled water bottle.
All these little innovations add up to making us more flexible in our daily lives. We’re problem solvers with better attitudes because we realize that while life sometimes sucks and throws you challenges you wish weren’t necessary, you can make things happen if you think it through, and then try something new.
Carry that knowledge with you going forward. Your running and riding really are making you a better person. That’s something to be thankful for.