There hasn’t been a time in my life where I’ve had to picture myself not loving sneakers as much as I do. It is a somewhat harmless diversion into which we immerse ourselves. Every day, I check on my social medias and let myself be consumed by the sneaker world that evolves around us. I pay attention to news that might help me in my never ending quest for more shoes and notables that might be intetresting for the blog. My feed boasts a lineup of sneaker sites, sneaker feature accounts and sneakerheads, the majority of whom I have met online. When I look for new people to follow on Instagram, I always go through their feed to find out whether they are sneaker centric. To be honest, my feed is focused on my sneaker alter ego. I mostly post photos about sneakers, and I mainly follow people who are about this life.
So within a flow of sneaker photos full of fire poses and dope angles, I noticed my friend, Bryan’s photo of his wife, Leanne and him location tagged at the hospital. I didn’t have the details of what had happened, but they both seemed in good spirits. I did hope that all was well with them. Over the course of the following weeks, photos from Bryan didn’t seem too out of the ordinary, but I noticed a slight shift. Pictures of the wife with a buzz cut, Bryan’s facial hair growing, less sneakers, more life. Then, the first photo of a run tracker, next to a photo of the run-in sneakers he had worn. And then another run tracker photo, and another. Landscapes and running mates, winter and summer, Bryan seemed to be overtaken by running. Sneaker shots replaced with kilometer ticks, he was into this hardcore, and why not, his wife was running alongside him in most of the shots.
The tone of his photos inspired a sense of release, abandon, thankfulness and bliss. There was one photo that lead me to believe I understood what his life mission was and I found it echoed a mantra this man had been living since running changed his life. One photo that indicated he wouldn’t be consumed by sneakers as much, as he would let running wash over him and give him peace. I got in contact with Bryan and asked if he’d be like to share a bit of his story…
What should have been the best thing in our lives turned out to be our worst nightmare. I still don’t fully understand because it was and is just too hard to believe or accept. One day my wife was pregnant and the next day…
I can still remember it like it was yesterday, rushing to the ER, suddenly, I’m informed that I have seconds to grasp that my wife was losing a lot of blood and she would require immediate surgery. After pacing back and forth for 3 hours, the operating doctor came out with the news that my wife would be okay and that had we brought her in a few minutes later, we could have been receiving worst news.
Doctors informed us that my wife suffered an abnormal pregnancy leading to gestational trophoblastic neoplascia. A bunch of words that turned my whole world upside down. My wife was part of 3% of women who suffer the disease. Doctors called it the “treatable cancer”, the best one if were to choose. At the time, it felt like some sort of consolation prize.
My wife underwent 5 months of chemotherapy and we were advised that we would have to hold off being parents for a while – 2 years.
Growing up, I was a basketball fan but more importantly a Jordan fan. What started out as always trying to keep my J’s fresh as a kid, turned into my collection having a few signatures from Kobe to Lebron and also lucky enough to have a few classic Nike runners laying around.
When my wife got sick, I came to the realization that there are more important things in life, so my sneaker purchases became a little more “conservative”. I grew out of the line-ups and the hype around special releases.
Having become a runner, purchasing shoes now requires some needed research. From figuring out what kind of striker I am when my foot hits the ground to what kind of support and durability a shoe has to offer. It is it no longer based on what athlete was behind the shoe. Running has opened my eyes to shoe brands I probably never would have even considered wearing such as Brooks. It’s now about what the shoe can essentially offer to help take me the distance and minimize injury. But, who am I kidding to say that the aesthetic appeal of the shoe doesn’t play a role in my purchases. As an original shoe head, the colorway will always catch my attention first. It’s just that now, impulse takes a back seat and more thought is put into buying the shoe.
When my wife finished her treatments and started her road to recovery we decided to lace up our running shoes as a means of getting in shape. To be honest, it was my wife’s idea and I needed a lot of insisting to get started. We tried running before but we always found a reason to stop. This time we signed up for a 5k run as motivation. Following the event, I realized my wife’s fierce nature because as far as she had come she wasn’t satisfied with her time; a competitive attitude surfaced. I knew she was strong but running unlocked her inner toughness. Thanks to her, I can say that running has brought me to my healthiest state so far in my adult years. Running has also brought us closer. When we run together, we are able to push each other to be better, we get to cheer each other on as we reach new personal records. As painful as it can sometimes get, there is always a sense of fulfillment and we know we’ll be waiting for each other at the finish.
Together we have found that there is such a huge running community out there in which we’ve found the Yamajo Run Crew. They’re no ordinary running group, they’re family that help you reach new goals all while sharing a few laughs.